How Germans Saw Americans After WWI

America has always been an exceptional nation deserving our pride.  But, thanks to pseudo and leftist historians like Howard Zinn, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. and many more, generations of our chidren see America as a racist land of greed, nation-building, and oppression of women and minorities.

Until the progressive movement took hold, that was not what most of the world thought of us.

In 1919, following WWI, the Intelligence Section of the American Expeditionary Forces compiled candid comments from Germans about their attitude toward Americans. Statements were excerpted from German soldiers, priests, women, village notables, politicians and statesmen.

While their was some understandable bitterness, our children might do well to hear what these Germans thought of America and Americans.

Comments:

“I fought in campaigns against the Russian Army, the Serbian Army, the Roumanian Army, the British Army, the French Army, and the American Army. All told in this war I have participated in more than 80 battles. I have found your American Army the most honorable of all our enemies. You have also been the bravest of our enemies and in fact the only ones who have attacked us seriously in this year’s battles. I therefore honor you, and, now that the war is over, I stand ready, for my part, to accept you as a friend.”  —Chief of Staff for General v. Einem, commander of the Third German Army

“Americans are good fighters with nerve and recklessness.” —Arunlf Oster, Lieut. of Reserve

“The prevailing opinion in Germany before our entry into war, was, that American was a money hunting nation, too engrossed in the hunt of the dollar to produce a strong military force. But since our troops have been in action the opinion has changed, and he says that though Germany is at present a defeated nation, he believes that they would be victors in a war with any nation in the world with the exemption of the United States.”  —Karl Finkl of Bolingen

There were only a handful of Americans there but they fought like wildmen.” —Antone Fuhrmann of Mayschoss

“[American] troops lack the snap and precision of the German soldiers but…the cordial relations between the officers and men more than make up for the lack of iron discipline.” —Anton Liersch, Postal Agent in Dernau

“The attitude of the American officer towards enlisted men is very different than in our army in which officers have always treated their men as cattle.” —M. Walter of Minderlittgen

“We were informed that your men were inclined to be rough, and the impression was left with us that we had a very serious time before us…but today, after living 24 hours with them, we have no longer andy apprehension. They are wonderfully mild mannered men and a great contrast to the domineering attitude of our own soldiers. Your troops, not even one, have spoken a single disagreeable word to anyone, and when we offered them wood for cooking and heating purposes they accepted with what seemed to be a certain shyness.” —Statement of the Mayor of Kaschenbacm

“Children have constantly talked of the Americans’ arrival, and pictured them as a band of wild Indians, however, when they troops arrived, we were astonished at their behavior and pleasant attitude toward our people.” –Michael Simon of Neuerburg

“Bolshevism is slowly spreading all over the world. I spoke to a Frenchman a few days ago, who stated that the working men in France demand 25 francs per day. I am glad and thankful we are having American troops occupying our town, otherwise we would have the same trouble as many of the larger cities.” —Translation of a letter from Coblenz

“The American troops show much more consideration for the private rights of the inhabitants of the village than did the German troops.” —Karl Schramem, Landstrumer of Zermullen

For more, check out Nick Green’s blog on Mental Floss.

MY PATRIOTIC CREED

(The following prose is from the 1918 Liberty Reader.  It was courtesy of the New York Times.)

I BELIEVE

In my country and her destiny,

In the great dream of her founders,

In her place among the nations,

In her ideals.

I believe

That her democracy must be protected,

Her privileges cherished,

Her freedom defended.

I believe

That, humbly before the almighty,

But proudly before all mankind,

We must safeguard her standard,

The vision of her Washington,

The martyrdom of her Lincoln,

With the patriotic ardor

Of the minutemen

And the boys in blue

Of her glorious past.

I believe

In loyalty to my country,

Firm, unchanging, absolute.

Thou in whose sight

A thousand years are but as yesterday

And as a watch in the night,

Help me

In my weakness

To make real

What I believe.

The Most Rapidly Declining Culture in Modern History

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In a reversal of the early America that set the world ablaze with her record-breaking growth of freedom and prosperity, today our nation is experiencing the most rapid decline of any culture in modern history.

Political correctness now silences conversations that were commonplace just 10 years ago.

Law enforcement can arrest and even imprison people for so-called “hate speech” in the very country, that prides itself on a foundational first amendment.

Christianity, the genesis of our societal, legal and educational structures, today is restricted in its application and confined to designated public rooms and private homes.
Together, two seemingly unrelated historic events have accelerated America’s cultural decay.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Jodi Wilgoren, of the New York Times observed that the number of Christians in America converting to Islam had quadrupled. Recent statistics estimate that figure has doubled again.

Joel Richardson, in his book, the “Islamic Anti-Christ” explains that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, and is spreading with 4 times the speed of Christianity in the United States, Canada and Europe. Other biblical scholars predict that within 20 years, Islam will replace Christianity as the world’s largest religion.

With the record numbers of American Christians converting to Islam and the rapidly populating families of US Muslim immigrants, many experts predict that as early as 2020, Islam will be the dominant US religion.

While the speedy Islamic ascent in America may be surprising, when coupled with this second historic event, the national outcome is ominous. The Supreme Court’s same-sex ruling in June of 2015, literally untied America’s Constitutional mooring, sending our nation into a cultural freefall.

America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our Constitution designates Natural or God’s Law as the basis for our rights. But God’s Law placed responsibilities on the recipients of those rights. Man was required to accept accountability and honor his neighbor. The welding of God-given rights to personal responsibilities was the self-management code that prevented man’s routine squabbles from escalating into retribution, legal intervention and ever-stricter enforcement. Even in a Constitutional Republic, it is man’s accountability under God’s Law that prevents freedom from devolving into a police state.

Marriage is one of the most fundamental religious traditions in our Judeo-Christian roots. When the Supreme Court dares to interpret what is and is not acceptable in the eyes of God, then forces Christians to violate their own beliefs in favor of the court’s; in effect, government replaces the church as the final arbiter of religious doctrine and therefore replaces God’s Law with its own governing authority.

Ordering same sex marriage based on “social fairness” and feel-goodery is not only a breach of the first amendment, it is the total collapse of the singular barrier produced to shelter the church and ultimately all Americans from an imperious government.

In a single shocking stroke, the high court replaced our tolerant Christian-based culture with the non-Christian values we once tolerated.

Over the decades, our nation has strayed so far from her Christian roots that in 2015, even football players are penalized for thanking God for a successful game. Americans just shrug and cannot believe the anomaly is happening.

But, it is happening and is no anomaly. If the national community continues to ignore the cultural cataclysm, the consequences are breathtaking.

The Christian principles of hard work, personal accountability and mutual respect are the structural beams that support our Constitution.

But hard work has diminished in a society where the number of food stamp recipients has increased 16 fold from the program’s 1969 inception.

During 11 hours of dissembling during her Congressional testimony in October 2015, Hillary Clinton displayed no personal accountability for the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. Even though they died under her watch. While Clinton’s lapses may not be pivotal, the fact that she leads in the polls to become America’s next president is tectonic.

Mutual respect has withered as evidenced by a gay Colorado couple who sued, leading to the destruction of a Christian family’s bakery. The bakers had merely refused to defy their religious convictions and participate in a homosexual wedding ceremony. Rather than find one of many willing bakers, the couple chose to destroy the offending family’s business, and assure that no other business would ever refuse them, regardless of religious convictions.

On June 28, 2006, when future President Obama proclaimed, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation,” it was not a paean to religious diversity, but a searing blade in the flank of our very culture.

Today, America is a nation in cultural free-fall. Like a powerless ship, dead in the water, our country awaits its plunder. With the current growth rate of Muslims, unless more Americans of all stripes, all ethnicities and races, and all political persuasions can unite in understanding why liberty matters and how it is lost, Islam is our future.

There is hope. It is us.

Income Equality: The Fast Lane to Poverty

I remember sightseeing on a particularly impoverished island a few years back. The dust from our bus’s wake bloomed across turquoise shutters that opened on a hollow beauty shop next door to a hand-scrawled sign that announced, “Se vende cerveza.” A woman, probably the shop owner, stared absently at our rolling vehicle. Not much else to do.

“Who lives there?” I asked our guide pointing to a row of mansions near the local hilltop. “Those belong to the politicians and movie stars,” she said. “No one else can afford to live there.”

Later I returned to my poor, middle class and even a few wealthy American friends. That harsh visual of the little nation’s inequality between poverty and wealth, never left me. Imagine my shock when I discovered that little nation, with people so poor they scrubbed their clothing in a washtub, had more income equality than the United States.

It is popular in America to treat the disparity of household wealth, as the root of lowered living standards for the poor and middle class. The meme goes something like, “the top 1/10th of 1% of Americans have more wealth than the bottom 90% combined. If we shuffled that money around we would all be better off and the rich would never miss it.”

Actually, global research proves the opposite. According to Pew Research, at the end of 2014 upper income families earned almost 7 times as much as middle-income earners and nearly 70 times as much as lower income families.

Stats like this send Mother Jones on another “Odyssey of revolt.” Her website even explains how much income the average household has surrendered so the top 1% can be, well, the top 1%. (Hint. It cost nearly $597,000 each year for your family to support folks like Donald Trump.)

It is true, US income inequality is worse than that of Guyana, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Nor have things improved under President Obamas’ “spread the wealth” campaign. According to Georgia Keohane a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, median family income is declining in the US and “the growing chasm between the rich and the rest – is at levels unseen since 1929.”

Here is the part Ms. Jones and Ms. Keohane missed. A newly released report shows the income of middle class Americans is over 3 times higher than their Venezuelan counterparts, and 10 times higher than those families in Nicaragua and Guyana. Researcher Scott Winship of the Manhattan Institute, discovered that “Americans in the bottom fifth have incomes 4.5 to 34 times larger than their counterparts” in countries with higher levels of income equality.

As Winship’s report shows, areas of very high wealth concentration, do accompany lower incomes at the bottom. But, there was no indication the wealth caused the decline. Rather, culture, historical and geographical differences appear to be larger factors in predicting the level of living standards than income equality.

The message is clear. While some may grumble that the rich have more money than they do, when the rich earn more, in most cases, so do all other income levels. Spreading other people’s wealth around does not help anyone. Winship goes on, “Across the developed world, countries with more inequality tend to have, if anything, higher living standards.”

The next time you see folks clamoring for income equality, remind them. Equal income is often the fast lane to poverty, and that may be too big a price for anyone to pay.

 

How HUD Will Legally Enslave Your Community

Local rule died in America on July 8, 2015. With it passed the rights of rural and suburban communities to decide their own futures. The trigger was the final 377-page ruling from HUD called Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing that attempts to remove discrimination and achieve balanced and integrated living patterns.

As one blogger beams, “What could possibly be wrong with helping low-income families to move into better neighborhoods?” In this case, everything.

AFFH is reminiscent of the old cartoon character Elmer Fudd, who used his shotgun to abolish an annoying fly. He blew up furniture, broke windows and destroyed his home, while the fly happily buzzed away. Like Elmer, AFFH leaves a destructive wake and does little to solve the problem.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing requires the agencies that apply for HUD grants to perform massive demographic analyses locally and again regionally to determine any imbalances in living patterns as defined by HUD. Communities then resolve the imbalances to HUD’s satisfaction. Recipients must complete the analysis every five years.[1]

Communities receiving HUD grants must complete an Assessment of Fair Housing that requires recipients to analyze occupancy data including, race, color, religion, national origins, English proficiency[2] and more along with a list of factors that might contribute to an imbalance of living patterns between low, middle, and upper middle-income families. Imbalances might be the result of segregation or disproportionate housing needs based on race, color, religion, national origins and more.

Recipients then create a list of community assets such as parks, recreation areas, schools and jobs along with a breakdown of any barriers[3] that might prevent access by all community members. A barrier might be as simple as an application requirement for public housing, home size, or a neighborhood voicing resistance to having low-income housing next door. Once the recipients identify the barriers, they submit a mitigation plan for HUD’s approval.

Through each process step, HUD maintains control. The Assessment of Fair Housing even measures the success of your community outreach against HUD’s own national standards.[4] HUD provides, and communities must use, nationally and regionally uniform data[5] to create their assessment.

Sound exhausting? You are just beginning. AFFH also makes you provide a similar regional Assessment of Fair Housing. As Stanley Kurz, author of “Spreading the Wealth” explains,

“it’s not enough for, say, Philadelphia’s “Mainline” Montgomery County suburbs to analyze their own populations by race, ethnicity, and class to determine whether there are any imbalances in where groups live, or in access to schools, parks, transportation, and jobs. Those suburbs are also obligated to compare their own housing situations to the Greater Philadelphia region as a whole.” [6]

If you think AFFH will not apply to your community, you are wrong. The new regulation targets each of the nation’s 74,000 census tracts[7] and applies to current, future and past recipients of Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships, Emergency Solutions Grants and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS.

Given the scope of the analysis and the dual local and regional requirements, virtually every recipient will require a discrimination mitigation plan that can include additional affordable housing, additional transportation choices or new hi-density structures, all paid for by the communities.

Through AFFH, HUD guides the mitigation process and can dictate where and how communities build homes and even who will live there. To reduce disparities, communities can be required to construct hi-density urban villages that guarantee access to “community assets” for all residents. Some may be required to advertise in nearby regions to attract sufficient families to eliminate HUD-defined imbalances.

Because the mitigation of local and regional imbalances are part of every analysis, communities can join a regional consortium as a way to receive Fair Housing certification.  Conversely, regions can fulfill their obligations by annexing suburbs used in their analyses.

HUD generously states, “…joint and regional collaborations are entirely voluntary.”[8] They are about as voluntary as keeping engine oil in your new car. If communities balk at annexation, HUD threatens to withhold or redirect their funds.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing exposes current and past[9] recipients of HUD Community Development Block Grants and other HUD money to lawsuits by predatory third party opportunists.

HUD grant recipients must certify that they “…will take meaningful actions to further the goals identified in [their fair housing analysis]…and will take no action that is materially inconsistent with its obligation to affirmatively further fail housing.”[10]

This important bit of legalese contained in the Federal Register links fair housing to the Federal False Claims Act. It enables the government or a third party to bring legal action in the event recipients “knowingly present or caused to be presented…to the US government, a false claim for payment or approval.”

Example –

Westchester County New York was the first community sued under a HUD-related false claims act by a third party. Greg Gurian of the Anti-Discrimination Center of New York accused Westchester of falsely claiming to have removed barriers to discrimination in the county’s HUD application.

Westchester lost their main case, was placed under court monitoring and ordered to build millions of dollars of new affordable homes. Gurian fared well for his troubles. According to court documents, he will receive $7,500,000 and his attorney another $2,500,000 once the US Treasury receives Westchester’s settlement[11].

Thanks to AFFH, recipient communities will have lawsuit targets on their backs. The rule’s wording has created a hunting ground for predatory third parties to “get rich” suing recipients who fail to meet the commitments they made to the US government.

Merely completing the Assessment of Fair Housing can create legal vulnerabilities. In June of 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that even agencies with neutral policies and practices that have an unintended adverse impact on protected groups, are still liable under the Fair Housing Act.

Example –

The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs offered low-income housing credits to residents in poor African-American areas as a way to help gain home ownership. A local group, the Inclusive Communities Project, sued the agency, alleging they allocated too many tax credits in poor areas and not enough in wealthy white neighborhoods, thereby creating a “disparate impact.” The SCOTUS ruled in favor of the ICP arguing that even an unintentional “disparate impact,” resulting from seemingly beneficial efforts can be in violation of the Fair Housing Act.[12]

While there are limitations on the court’s ruling, any agency that completes the Analysis of Fair Housing, is arming third parties with evidence of “disparate impact” and is vulnerable to a lawsuit.

Proponents of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing want you to think that those favoring the program help minorities, while the opposition allows poor families to suffer in poverty and discrimination. The opposite is true.

By herding African-Americans, other minorities and low-income families like cattle, the government is resigning them to a future worse than poverty. They have lost their rights, their choices, and their ability to excel through self-determination and personal growth. Those who believe AFFH helps poor and minorities are thinking only of the grand Oz-like scheme and ignoring the gritty reality of life under centralized rule.

Under AFFH, local officials’ hands are tied accommodating draconian federal requirements. This diminishes their ability to represent their constituents.    As regions fulfill their AFFH obligations, suburbs will find themselves annexed with little ability to refuse.

Congress could eliminate AFFH by sponsoring a bill with enough votes to override a presidential veto. With the 2016 election in gear, if enough Americans understood this ruling, that might be possible.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing may be an attempt to create balanced living patterns. Rather than remove discrimination, AFFH leverages it to codify oppression.

[1] http://www.fhco.org/pdfs/AFFHJeffrey1.pdf

[2] Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 136 / Thursday, July 16, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 42342

[3] Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 136 / Thursday, July 16, 2015 / Rules and Regulations 42348

[4] http://www.fhco.org/pdfs/AFFHJeffrey1.pdf

[5] http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pdf/AFFH-Assessment-Tool-data-tables.pdf

[6] http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/421389/attention-americas-suburbs-you-have-just-been-annexed-stanley-kurtz

[7] Federal Register /Vol. 80, No. 136 /Thursday, July 16, 2015 /Rules and Regulations 42339

[8] Federal Register /Vol. 80, No. 136 /Thursday, July 16, 2015 /Rules and Regulations 42319

[9] http://www.cdpublications.com/hud-unveils-massive-integration-plan-71

[10] HUD Final Ruling page 51

[11] http://www.clearinghouse.net/chDocs/public/FH-NY-0012-0009.pdf

[12] http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/13-1371_m64o.pdf

 

Unraveling the Secrecy of the Trans-Pacific Partnership

President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership is actually the name of one of three agreements that together comprise the largest international trade agreement in US history. In popular use, the name also refers to the entire trade pact.

Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner are working tirelessly to pass the TPP.

Fast-track, or trade promotion authority, are temporary powers Congress grants to the president in which they agree to pass his trade agreements without any amendments or filibusters. The president needs these powers to advance his TPP. On May 22, the Senate passed fast-track and set the stage for full passage of the agreement. John Boehner is now pushing aggressively to pass fast-track in the House.

Unlike any trade pact ever presented to Congress, the TPP authorizes control over vast segments of Americans’ lives, including the information internet service providers must collect, the healthcare system, the privatization of hospitals, and even control of banking institutions. The agreement consolidates greater power in the executive and diminishes Congress’ role in trade oversight.

Opponents complain the President shrouded the trade deal in secrecy. The administration counters, “There are going to be many months in which people will be able to look at every comma and period and semicolon in this deal.

The president argues the pact will “level the playing field” internationally, boost imports and lower tariffs for US goods in Asia-Pacific region nations. All of this will create 650,000 new jobs and $77 billion in new income.

TPP is shrouded in deceit and misrepresentation
While the WH did solicit opinions and publish summaries of their intentions for the pact, this might have been little more than a polite listening session. Most Americans still have no clue what the actual agreement says or does nor if any of those opinions were included.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is in a locked room where Congress can read it. Congressional members may not remove it, nor repeat or distribute details of what is in the agreement. Any notes they take must be surrendered upon exiting the ‘secret’ room.

President Obama rightly says he does not want to “announce our bottom lines…to the other side of the table.” Still, this whole process raises red flags, given the expansiveness of the new program, and that the Constitution provides Congress, not the executive, final trade authority. At the least, Congress is guilty of neglecting their responsibilities. It appears few members have gone to the private room to read the TPP.

As for “leveling the playing field,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), read sections of the agreement and concludes it does the opposite. According to Warren, the TPP is a handout to large international corporations. Under the agreement, if a multi-national corporation is in violation of US law, they can bypass our judicial system and take their case to an international board of arbiters.

Not only does this undermine the US rule of law, the conflict of interest is staggering. Many of the board judges are the same corporate lawyers representing the companies they are to judge. Since only large international investors, not small businesses can use this court; the TPP is inherently unfair.

Then there is the claim of improved exports and new jobs. According to an Economic Policy Institute report titled, “Heading South, US-Mexico Trade and Job Displacement After NAFTA”, as the result of the 1994 trade agreement, the US lost a total of 682,900 net jobs and continues to lose more every year. Over 60% of the job losses were in manufacturing.

Nor did the predictions of improved exports under NAFTA materialize. According to the report, “Abstract promises about increased jobs and exports misrepresent the real overall effects of trade on the U.S. economy.”

What is most disturbing is that congressional leaders and administration officials continue to make the same job predictions for newer trade agreements. KORUS, the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement signed in 2007, predicted a $4-5 billion improvement in our trade balance with South Korea. Instead, domestic exports decreased by $3.5 billion in the agreement’s first year alone. By 2012 KORUS had cost the US 40,000 jobs.

We now know that the administration fabricated the 650,000 new jobs claim by manipulating the data in a policy analysis from the Peterson Institute for International Economics. It is unlikely the TPP will create any net new jobs. Peter Petri, one of the report’s authors explained, trade agreements barely effect new jobs at all.

Sen. Jeff Sessions: Power the agreement bestows on the executive branch and the worsening of our trade deficit

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) read the agreement and defied the WH by speaking out. He points to several inclusions that should disturb Americans. Two of his major concerns are the power the agreement bestows on the executive branch and the worsening of our trade deficit.

Under the agreement, the president can make additions to the trade deal. Congress is limited to either accepting or rejecting his regulations, but cannot change them.

This creates a large problem for Americans. Trade deal changes can run into hundreds or even a thousand pages or more. Congress does not read them. Like the Affordable Care Act, the stimulus package, Dodd-Frank and now the Trans-Pacific Partnership, most of Congress never reads bills before voting on them. They have no idea what the fine print contains.

There is no reason to expect future practice to be different. ‘Take it or leave it’ deals forced on Congress by the executive branch further erode government’s checks and balances and remove another layer of representation for Americans.

The TPP does require the president to submit any changes to Congress 60 days before providing the accompanying legislation. Even this is little help as it also authorizes the president to redact or black out information he does not want Congress to see. So, once approved, the agreement that was born in near secrecy, authorizes itself to continue in near secrecy.

Finally, the only way Congress can end TPP is to agree to vote it out of existence at the end of its authorization period. Even here, the administration has the advantage. The president, by filing a simple request receives an automatic extension.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a California-based non-profit firm that “protects civil rights in the digital domain.” They promoted President Obama’s Net Neutrality, (at least until they voiced serious reservations about the wording after the regulation passed,) and have generally supported the president’s initiatives.

After reading the leaked TPP Intellectual Property chapter, the group was outraged at the extensive control the agreement exercises over freedom of speech, right to privacy and limitations on due process. EFF notes, “The entire process has shut out multi-stakeholder participation and is shrouded in secrecy.”

The group concludes that “…innovation, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities” are all placed at risk under this secretive agreement.

Few in the world are better at shedding light on secrets than Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. His group recently published online the complete Investment Chapter of the TPP.

TPP constructs an entirely new regulatory structure above US laws and places it in treaty form

Assange observes that the TPP constructs an entirely new regulatory structure above US laws and places it in treaty form.

“By putting it in a treaty form, there are 12 countries involved, that means it is very hard to overturn. So, if there is a desire, a democratic desire to do it on a different path…you can’t easily change the TPP treaty because you have to go back to the other nations involved.”

In January of 2014, WikiLeaks published the TPP Environment chapter. While the administration presented the TPP as an “ambitious 21st century trade agreement,” upon reading the section, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the World Wildlife Fund all agreed, “the TPP Environment Chapter text does not meet that goal.”

Assange remarked, “Today’s WikiLeaks release shows that the public sweetener in the TPP is just media sugar water. The fabled TPP environmental chapter turns out to be a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”

Judging from emerging documents, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is more like a treaty wrapped in the verbiage of a trade pact. This construction enables the administration to win the authority of a broad treaty, while sidestepping the required 67 Senate votes.

Even more than secrecy, the TPP is shrouded in deceit and misrepresentation. Until there is greater transparency and an opportunity for all Americans to see what Congress is signing, I urge you to tell your representatives to vote “no” on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Betrayal: Why Americans Can Never Blindly Trust Government

Americans look to government programs to provide social, environmental and economic protections. Many do not realize, that, in addition to its ‘good works’, government is often the most corrupt and secretive entity in the social equation.

Public treachery is equally distributed among democrats and republicans, left and right. Here are three recent examples of betrayal by the people upon whom we depend.

Subject: Florida’s regional ‘flip’

Under Florida State law, all counties must join and pay dues to support a Regional Planning Council. In addition to the added fees, many Floridians oppose RPC’s because they receive millions in grant money, which forces them to advance the federal government’s “Livability Principles” by implementing compact living, costly mass transit and even higher taxes. Regional Planning Councils also create a layer of unaccountable governance that often diminishes local authority.

After hearing concerned citizens, in January 2015, Republican State Senator Wilton Simpson, introduced SB 484, a bill that included the elimination of the 11 Florida Regional Planning Councils. Supporters were delighted to have someone on their side, even though they expected a tough fight to win passage. They never expected what happened next.

Bills pass through several committees before going for a Senate vote. In the first committee stop, before even reviewing SB 484, Senator Simpson had already stricken all of the text that had eliminated Regional Planning Councils. Not only were RPC’s safe, he added $2.5 million for their funding. The Senator’s flip shocked community residents.

The official people believed was supporting their cause, not only betrayed them, he did so with no explanation and little opportunity for their response.

Subject: Congress ditches parents’ rights in name of “Success”

It is hard to conceive that, in America, any elected official would try to pass a bill waiving parents’ rights over their children’s education.

In February 2015, that and more are exactly what happened when US Representative John Kline, a MN Republican, sponsored HR 5, the Student Success Act. HR5 re-authorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which gives states their critical Title 1 education money each year. On his website, Rep. Kline writes that his bill “reduces the federal footprint, restores local control… and empowers parents.”

That is not all it does. Section 6561, of the Act reads, “STATES TO RETAIN RIGHTS AND AUTHORITIES THEY DO NOT EXPRESSLY WAIVE.” The rights this section refers to are clearly stated, “State Sovereignty over Public Education and Parental Rights over the Education of their Children.” Why, would anyone want to “expressly waive” their rights over their children’s education? The stunning answer is in the next paragraph.

The text explains that to receive the HR5 grant money, States must approve the use of the grant money in their States’ budget. It then goes on…

“…by approving the budget, the State legislature is expressly approving the grant program and, in doing so, waiving the State’s rights and authorities…”

In other words, if the State accepts the grant money, they automatically waive their rights and those of parents over education. The State no longer has the “authorities to act inconsistently with any requirement that might be imposed by the Secretary” of the US Department of Education.

When TN public official Karen Bracken, called Kline’s office for an explanation of the paragraph, a staffer responded, “That was not what Rep. Kline intended.” Someone intended it, because upon releasing a second version of the bill, the same wording appeared, just on a different page. Senator Kline had betrayed every States’ education department and every school-parent in America.

Congress tabled the so-called Student Success Act. For now.

Subject: Net Neutrality neuters users

President Obama lobbied hard to manage internet providers through an FCC ruling called Net Neutrality. He argued Americans needed protection from broadband providers (ISPs) like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast that might restrict content. Under the president’s proposal, ISPs could not:

  • Discriminate among content providers (users) trying to reach you online
  • Block or slow the traffic from websites or services, or
  • Provide a faster lane for some providers (users) and not others

The Electronic Frontier Foundation was one of Net Neutrality’s biggest supporters, claiming it would defend digital civil liberties.

Opponents countered with, “defend them from what?” The internet is already open and free, the scarce offenses the president cited were trivial, already corrected; and government controlling the internet is a bigger neutrality threat than ISPs.

In February 2015, the democratically controlled FCC voted 3-2, along party lines to control the flow of information on the internet by declaring it a public utility under the name, Net Neutrality. They released the text of the ruling in March. As the president promised, Sustainable Open Internet Rules now govern how broadband providers deliver content. However, buried in the text are clauses proponents did not expect. Convoluted wording display the FCC’s willingness to violate free speech:

“…our rules would not violate the First Amendment because they would be considered content neutral regulations…” The government defines content-neutral regulations as ones that, “furthers a substantial government interest” and does “not burden substantially more speech than is necessary.”

The FCC maintains that free speech only applies to the person communicating, not the broadband providers who are “conduits” for that speech. While government controlling the “conduit,” might not stop free speech, it can thoroughly manage how far and wide that speech is distributed. After reading the released document, even the Electronic Frontier Foundation sees what they call, “at least one worrisome bit: the repeated reference to ‘lawful content.’”
EFF now questions,

“Is the FCC saying it is OK to ‘throttle’ some content? How can the Internet providers determine what is ‘unlawful’ without snooping on their users?”

The rules’ text refers to the speech of the broadband providers, not users. But, by controlling one, you automatically manage the other, and the government’s record on transparency is far worse than that of any internet provider.

Through deceptive labeling and a marketing campaign that misled Americans, the federal government has rendered the ultimate betrayal. They handed themselves the ability to throttle free speech on the pretext of protecting us from those who never have.

The United States federal government has more power than any corporation or any other political body on earth. When people have power, they use it. It is up to Americans to assure they use it wisely.