Do these “special” elections tell us anything?

Politics is both fickle and local. So, despite the “whipped-cur” facies of the Dems and the victory lap by the President (fun for us Republicans at the moment) can we draw any conclusions from the Georgia 6th district election?

I am loath to try to forecast the future in the midst of so much turmoil bequeathed to us by Barack Obama. The world is a powder keg. The Democrat Party has gone “total obstruction” and having some success. We have a “Special Counsel” investigating God knows what – but he’ll find something in that cesspool we call our Nation’s Capital. And, let us not forget the Republican congressmen and senators who disagree about every plan offered by the Republican leadership. I am especially loathe to rely on pundits who have been wrong so frequently that one must wonder how these morons ever became “pundits.”

There is, however, one pundit that still strikes me as sane and calculating. He is Michael Barone and he recently penned an interesting analysis.

[Source: The Outlook After the Special Elections, by Michael Barone]

This is an edited version of the Barone analysis:

  • Democrat Jon Ossoff won 48.1 percent in the special election’s first round on April 18
  • The Ossoff campaign spent $30 million (the most expensive House race ever)
  • The race had a huge turnout (260,000 which was more than the 210,000 who voted in the 2014 midterm)
  • Ossoff won exactly 48.1 percent again

One does not need to be a mathematician to realize that these numbers indicate that the Democrat Party, while logically targeting this college educated district (59 percent of adults, sixth-highest in the country), could not muster a majority.

Let’s take stock for the Democrat Party – the “Plan”:

  • Georgia’s 6th District is a traditionally Republican district – these are districts that the Democrats need to wrench from the Republicans to regain control of the House
  • This district was repelled by Donald Trump. Mitt Romney carried it 61 to 37 percent in 2012; Trump won it by only a 48.3-46.8 percent margin last year.
  • As well, Democrats were able to hold Handel to a Trumpish rather than the traditionally expected margin in such a district.
  • However, there aren’t that many other Republican-held districts with a high percentage of  college-educated voters – the districts that the Democrats plan to target; Republicans hold only six of the 23 districts with college graduate majorities)
  • Of the Republican-held districts where 40 percent or more of the voters are college graduates, only 14 were carried by Hillary Clinton last year

What are the Democrat targets for 2018:

  • Obviously the 14 districts carried by Clinton last year
  • There are four more that Trump carried by less than 5 percent
  • If the democrats “run the table” that would be 18 regained seats
  • Republican incumbents won 15 of these 18 seats by double-digit margins in 2016 despite the fact that these district either didn’t vote for Trump or did so by minimalistic margins
  • They need a 24-seat gain to retake the majority

[Directly from the Barone article] In off-year congressional elections, the dynamics are different. Incumbents enter with an edge and often without serious opposition. You can’t cast a protest vote without risking a change in party control, a risk that seems likely to be palpable in 2018.

As I have previously posted, the Democrat Party has one goal in regaining the majority in the House of Representatives. The House is where impeachment proceedings begin. Do you think that will be their campaign slogan?

Roy Filly

 

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Lucky Trump gets the Fed Dump.

For the life of me I cannot understand why the left wants Trump to fail. He wants “more” and “better” jobs for Americans. He wants the economy to “grow at 3 plus percent.” That helps everyone from the poorest to the richest American.

But the roadblocks are constantly in the news. The latest is the Federal Reserve.

[Source: After Raising Rates Once During The Obama Years, The Fed Promises Constant Rate Hikes During The Trump Era, by Michael Snyder]

During Obama’s presidency, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates exactly one time – and near the end of his tenure. Indeed, they kept interest rates near zero. They actually considered negative interest rates, as some European nations and the Japanese actually adopted.

Historically, the U.S. economy has always slowed down whenever interest rates have been raised significantly. So what is the Federal Reserve’s current plan now that Trump is president? They have decided it would be the perfect time to start raising interest rates. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) unanimously voted to raise rates by a quarter point.  Stocks immediately started falling, and by the end of the session it was their worst day since October 11th. In addition to this most recent rate hike the Fed also announced that it is anticipating that rates will be raised three more times each year through the end of 2019… Let’s see, that takes us through the 2018 election cycle.

The Federal Reserve could have raised rates throughout 2016. Everyone thought they would. Why did they hold off, ask you? Because, answer I, they didn’t want to hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of winning. The FOMC predicts the fed funds rate will be 1.4% at the end of 2017, 2.1% at the end of 2018 and 2.9% at the end of 2019, up from forecasts of 1.1%, 1.9% and 2.6%, respectively.

The Federal Reserve is supposed to be an “independent agency.” But somehow Donald Trump is going to have to fight against an economic drag with which Barack Obama did not have to contend.

As John Tamny writes, “In a recent opinion piece on the Federal Reserve for the Wall Street Journal, authors R. Glenn Hubbard, Hal Scott and John Thornton argued that the ‘Fed must above all maintain its political independence in conducting monetary policy.’ What the authors missed is that the Fed has never been non-political or independent, nor was it intended to be autonomous. The Fed is not an independent body free of political coercion, but rather an institution whose actions have long been dictated by the president and politicians in power. More important, since Congress is empowered through the Constitution ‘To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof,’ it’s folly for general defenders of central bank independence to presume that this applies to our own Federal Reserve.”

Roy Filly

 

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Dems don’t know what the “frack” is happening.

Why does the Democrat Party hate the greatest economic boom in decades? Here is an example from a progressive action group:

Fracking is a type of drilling that injects millions of gallons of hydraulic fluids — a mixture of chemicals, water and sand — into a well to create pressure that cracks open rock underground, releasing natural gas or oil. This process can deplete and contaminate local water…

The above is one of, if not THE most common claim of the anti-fracking left. As I have recently posted these drilling advances have made it possible to recover oil and gas not previously accessible. Recoverable US oil and gas resources are now valued at $50 trillion (more than twice our GDP and national debt). This is our nation’s treasure. The left wing wants it left in the ground.

[Source: Study Finds Fracking Doesn’t Harm Drinking Water in Texas, by Fred Lucas]

Contamination of ground water isn’t the only grouse, cavil or quibble from the left. They also believe it creates an earthquake hazard. However, yet another new study concludes that there is no effect on drinking water or earthquakes and is in line with multiple other studies of hydraulic fracturing.

The new Texas report was undertaken by the Academy of Medicine, Engineering and Science of Texas (Austin – not a bastion of conservative thought) in a three-year study. They concluded that “direct migration of contaminants from targeted injection zones is highly unlikely to lead to contamination of potential drinking water aquifers.”

Christine Ehlig-Economides, a professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Houston who is chairwoman of the task force, states that “In Texas and pretty much everywhere, hydraulic fracturing has not been proven to have an adverse impact on drinking water.” 

Roy Filly

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Taxation and behavior.

If it were totally up to me, I would raise the cigarette tax so high the revenues from it would go to zero.

Michael Bloomberg (As New York Mayor) (I guess Bloomberg understands the Laffer Curve)

The government believes in taxation to alter the behavior of its citizens. Tax law is used to affect individual behavior in many different ways. The latest craze is the taxation of “sugary” beverages. However, cigarette taxation has been with us for many generations. The nation’s first federal cigarette tax was enacted in 1864 as a Civil War revenue measure. The nation’s first state-level cigarette excise tax was enacted in Iowa in 1921.

‘Sin tax’ is defined as a tax on a product that can be harmful to a person, such as cigarettes or sugary drinks. On the other hand, from an economist’s perspective, it’s not enough for something to have negative consequences to justify taxing it. Things like rock climbing and cave diving have potentially markedly negative health consequences. Driving has lots of negative health consequences. The fundamental problem is that there is ample evidence in behavioral economics that document the tendency for people to under weigh distant consequences and over weigh the upfront benefits or costs of doing something.

Why do Democrats favor “progressive” taxation instead of “flat” taxation. They believe it to be fair to poorer Americans. However, their desire to “know what is best for Americans” trumps (no pun intended) their desire for “fairness to poorer Americans.” Cigarette taxes, as it turns out, are highly regressive.

There is a lot of data “on the effectiveness of high excise taxes on behavior.” But that data does not “oppose” the following.

[Principle source: Smoke ‘Em Even If You Can’t Afford ‘Em, by Ethan Epstein]

The professional classes and the more affluent of our citizens long ago gave up the devil’s weed. A Washington Post article that ran last week backed up this observation (again, the Washington Post is hardly a conservative perspective). The nation’s adult smoking rate has fallen to a mere 15 percent. However, 40 percent of those with only a high school equivalent education still smoke. These individuals are among the country’s poorest demographic. Thus, cigarette taxes are highly regressive.

A pack of cigarettes in cities like Chicago and New York now tops $12. Paradoxically, the poorest Americans continue to smoke, while the rich, who can presumably afford the high taxes, have quit the habit. That suggests that demand for cigarettes is quite inelastic among the addicted – addicts will buy cigarettes despite the price. It also shows us that Americans who can afford cigarettes do not smoke for reasons quite distinct from the taxes imposed on cigarettes.

High cigarette taxes are probably healthy for state coffers, but they don’t appear to be making the poorest people in the country any healthier.

The notion of taxing for morality is beyond the proper objectives of taxation. It is a use of force to control citizens. How is it that “progressives” can square this with their “principles?”

Roy Filly

 

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“Climate Change” hypocrisy.

Our President was roundly bashed by world “leaders” when ho dropped out the Paris Climate Accord.

[Source: Climate change hypocrites, by Stephen Moore

Let’s check the record:

  • Sanctimonious “leaders” of Asian and European nations pledged to move full speed ahead on clean energy without the United States.
  • Europeans backed the Kyoto Protocol in 2005. (We rejected it.)
  • None of the Europeans met (or even came close to meeting) their promised goals.
  • Saintly Germany is moving away from “clean energy sources.” Their policies are hurting their competitiveness and their citizens – very high electricity prices.
  • The US (despite not being a signatory to Kyoto) is the world leader in environmental stewardship, and our energy use, as a share of the economy, continues to shrink.
  • China continues to be the world’s largest polluter (and not just CO2) despite claims to be moving toward wind and solar power (China “cancelled” 103 coal power plants), but Chinese energy companies have been starting two coal power projects a week according to a new Greenpeace analysis.
  • The lame-stream media loves the story that Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, resigned as a Trump consultant out of protest to the Paris Climate Accord exit. Of course they fail to report that Musk’s companies have a multibillion dollar stake in global warming and have received $5 billion in government subsidies.

Because of advances in drilling, recoverable US oil and gas resources are now valued at $50 trillion (more than twice our GDP and national debt). This is our nation’s treasure. Do you want the Chinese or the Europeans telling us to keep it “in the ground?”

As a brief aside, many, including myself, are highly skeptical of global warming. For those of you in the “skeptics” camp this little news note will give you a chuckle. A global warming research study in Canada had to be cancelled because of “unprecedented” summer ice. (And thanks to HP for sending this last tidbit to me.)

Roy Filly

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What happens when a side dish of rationality is added to food stamps?

Food stamps [or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)] is a program that went completely out of control under President Obama. Below one can see the massive surge that occurred in 2009. So what happened in 2009? Was it the great famine of 2009? No. Was it the meteor that stuck the US farm belt? No. Oh, right! Obama The Socialist took office.

[Sources: Food stamp charts, Matt Trivisonno’s Blog; These 13 Counties Started Work Requirements for Food Stamps. Here’s What Happened, by Christine Roe]

According to the United States Department of Agriculture’s latest data released on June 9, 2017 a total of 41.97 million Americans receive food stamps – more than the entire population of many large nations.

I believe every one of my readers would agree that any American who is hungry and can’t provide their own food should be helped. But the following will show that this is just another boondoggle.

Would you further agree that if a food stamp recipient can work that they should, at least, look for work or enter a job training program – presuming they are an able-bodied adult (and let’s throw in that they do not have dependent children)? This is what happened in 13 Alabama counties after officials required that recipients in the above category must work, look for work, or get approved job training. (Footnote)

Participation in the food stamp program plunged by 85 percent!

Draw your own conclusion. However, my conclusion concurs with Mary C. Mayhew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. She said that the government “cannot enable willful inactivity,” and calls it “imperative that these programs are designed to help people who are making a genuine attempt to transition from poverty… They cannot be a way of life.”

Roy Filly

Footnote: In 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. You remember “The Stimulus.” It’s not that easy to remember because no Democrat will even use the word “stimulus” any longer. The Obama administration allowed all states to waive the work requirements for food stamp enrollment.

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We all could use a laugh!

The recent hysteria over Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord is summed up nicely in the Ramirez cartoon below.

I would add that the Ramirez cartoon below sums up the Comey testimony!

Although it isn’t a cartoon, Bill Clinton is a “cartoon figure.”

Roy Filly

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How do we stop drug trafficers?

The answer is simple. CAPITALISM.

Although my above statement was a “tongue-in-cheek” remark, it doesn’t alter its truth. Interdiction – “The War on Drugs” – has been an abysmal failure. In the words of Talleyrand, “It’s worse than a crime; it’s a blunder.” To oppose the “war on drugs” and to believe that legalization is a better course of action does not mean that one who believes the latter also believes that drug use is a good thing.

The point is that interdiction has been tried for decades and it doesn’t work! R. Gil Kerlikowske was the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He brought 37 years of law enforcement and drug policy experience to the position. What does he say about the “war on drugs?” “In the grand scheme, it has not been successful,” Kerlikowske told the Associated Press. “Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified.” After 40 years, the United States’ war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and God knows how many thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread. The only thing that I can see that was accomplished is that the United States has the largest prison population in the world.

I posted a 5-part series on the War on Drugs:

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/the-war-on-drugs-part-i/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/the-war-on-drugs-part-ii/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/the-war-on-drugs-part-iii/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/war-on-drugs-part-iv/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/war-on-drugs-part-v/

It is difficult to know exactly what will happen if drugs were legalized, What isn’t difficult to know is that what we have been doing is a failure. Persistence is futile.

Roy Filly

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Rewriting Civil War history.

Dear Readers,

Today I am reposting some historic facts of which all Americans should be aware. Slavery is a blot on our history, but it is our history. Today, there is a strong movement to eradicate every visible vestige of this history.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu had a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee monument removed last month. Former Memphis Mayor A C Wharton wants the statue of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, as well as the graves of Forrest and his wife, removed from the city park. In Richmond, Virginia, there have been calls for the removal of the Monument Avenue statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gens. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart.

If carried to its natural conclusion the Washington Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial would also need to be removed. Both Founders were slave owners.

The US Civil War was the only time in the history of the world that slavery was ended by war. The American Civil War was the largest, bloodiest and most costly war ever waged in the Western Hemisphere. We have great concerns over those Americans who lost their lives fighting in Iraq, as we so rightfully should. But it is worth knowing that more American combat soldiers died (or were wounded) in the morning of the first Battle of Antietam than died in Iraq and Afghanistan combined to date. Also, more Americans died at Gettysburg (3 days), not including those that died later from the diseases the carnage wrought, than in the entirety of the tragic Vietnam War.

No American is proud of our history of slavery. But it is ill advised to attempt to eradicate it from public view. Please read the following history.

Roy Filly

Liberty is rendered even more precious by the recollection of servitude.

Marcus Tullius Cicero

If there ever are great revolutions there (in the USA), they will be caused by the presence of the blacks upon American soil. That is to say, it will not be the equality of social conditions but rather their inequality which may give rise thereto.

Alexis de Tocqueville

Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by power and by force… All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual.

Albert Einstein

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God cannot retain it.

Abraham Lincoln

If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.

Abraham Lincoln

“We had a little slave boy whom we had hired from some one, there in Hannibal. He was from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and had been brought away from his family and his friends, half way across the American continent, and sold. He was a cheery spirit, innocent and gentle, and the noisiest creature that ever was, perhaps. All day long he was singing, whistling, yelling, whooping, laughing – it was maddening, devastating, unendurable. At last, one day, I lost all my temper, and went raging to my mother, and said Sandy had been singing for an hour without a single break, and I couldn’t stand it, and wouldn’t she please shut him up. The tears came into her eyes, and her lip trembled, and she said something like this – ‘Poor thing, when he sings, it shows that he is not remembering, and that comforts me; but when he is still, I am afraid he is thinking, and I cannot bear it. He will never see his mother again; if he can sing, I must not hinder it, but be thankful for it. If you were older, you would understand me; then that friendless child’s noise would make you glad.’ It was a simple speech, and made up of small words, but it went home, and Sandy’s noise was not a trouble to me any more.”

Mark Twain

Why am I writing about slavery in a political blog? I’m not sure I have a good answer, but I know exactly why I am compelled to write this blog. First, everything contained within is the result of the education bestowed on me through Professor Thomas Sowell. As I was reading Black Rednecks and White Liberals I came to his chapters on slavery. I was embarrassed that I knew virtually nothing of what he was teaching me. I literally was ashamed of myself. Here I am, an educated American with an advanced degree. Further, I pride myself on the fact that my “education” didn’t stop when I finished my schooling. Yet I was clueless about something that has, in so many ways, shaped America both in the past and today.

Let me state at the outset that I do not believe in collective guilt. Collective guilt is a political tool that has been used effectively by collectivist/statist proponents. It irritates me that the collectivists are so adept at their game and I am not. They are masters at controlling the conversation. Nowhere have they been more effective than in making today’s Americans feel lingering guilt over slavery and using that guilt to manipulate them. Did America have slavery? Indeed we did to our everlasting shame. However, I have never owned a slave. My father never owned a slave. No living American has ever owned a slave. Yet, through the mantra of collective guilt, we are made to feel as though we are personally responsible for this horrible past. One cannot read the quotes above without feeling immeasurable remorse that humankind ever engaged in the ownership of men, women, and children. Moreover, we should regret that the Constitution we so dearly love used slavery as a bargaining chip for its ratification, such that slaves were given the value of “three fifths of all other Persons” for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives (Article 1: Section 2). How sad!

Alexis de Tocqueville was prophetic in his prediction about “revolutions on American soil.” However, that “revolution” was not our War of Independence but our Civil War. What I did not know, and what I predict that most of my readers also do not know, is that the United States Civil War was the only time in the history of the world that slavery was ended by war. Oh, of course, you may argue that slavery was not the “issue” in the War Between the States, but it was, and denying it does not do justice to the vast number of Americans who lost their lives in the pursuit of this end. Yes, secession was the “reason” for the Civil War, but slavery was the “reason” for secession. [“One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war… He (God) gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came…Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address.]

As Professor Sowell points out, slavery has been know on every part of the globe and has existed for the entire length of recorded history with ample evidence that it existed before recorded history. This “institution” was culturally accepted by virtually everyone on planet Earth. It existed for 18 centuries after the Sermon on the Mount. Not a single religion or moralist questioned the existence of slavery during those 18 centuries! Indeed, Christian monasteries in Europe and Buddhist monasteries in Asia owned slaves. Even Saint Thomas Moore’s ideal society, Utopia, had slaves. So the bigger question is how and why did something that endured unabated for millennia and that was universally accepted end and who ended it? No other institution of human design of this magnitude has ever disappeared. So how did it happen that slavery ended?

When an American thinks of slavery they envision a white master in a southern state and a black slave. There is an unambiguous racial overtone to this vision. However, little attention is given to the fact that enslavement of people of a different race or even a different heritage was a “modern” phenomenon in the history of slavery. What caused one person to enslave another was not a difference in race or religion, but a difference in vulnerability. For thousands of years before the first black slave was transported to America, Europeans enslaved Europeans, Asians enslaved Asians (China was one of the largest markets trading in humans), Africans enslaved Africans, Pacific Islanders enslaved Pacific Islanders, Aborigines enslaved Aborigines, and Native Americans enslaved Native Americans long before Columbus made landfall. It is unlikely that ANY civilization (or uncivilized enclave) was without the sin of enslaving others of their own ilk. It mattered little who the enslaved individual was, all slaves of all races and cultures were viewed with disdain by their owners – could one human “own” another human without convincing oneself that the slave “deserved” their disdain (and true enough, in America that disdain was unambiguously racially enshrined. But “racism was neither necessary nor sufficient for slavery…racism was a result, not a cause for slavery” – Thomas Sowell). The reason for slaves being taken from relatively near localities is technological and nothing more intriguing than that. It took ships capable of transporting a large cargo of humans across an ocean before white Americans could enslave black Africans. Obviously, this technology did not exist for most of human history.

The word “slave” comes from the word “Slav” because the Slavs were the most enslaved peoples (proportionately) of all time, and Slavs were Europeans. Indeed, approximately a million Europeans were enslaved in Africa, many more than the number of Africans transported as slaves to the United States – by a factor of more than double. Also, many more Africans were enslaved in the Islamic world than in the United States. Even at the peak of the slave trade to the Americas and the Muslim world, Africans kept more slaves for themselves than were transported abroad. Remarkably relevant to the image of the black slave and white master, the last remaining places on earth where slavery survived were Mauritania, the Sudan, and Nigeria. These are African nations where black masters enslaved black men, women, and children (footnote).

Most importantly, no one, and especially not me, is arguing that slavery was remotely justified nor am I trying “to spread the blame.” To repeat the quote from Lincoln, “if slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.” Americans participated and those that did were wrong to do so and those that turned a blind eye share in the culpability. However, what is also “wrong” is to assail Americans of today with the vision that it was their country that was the “great enslaver,” and that they too are culpable. Indeed, it is this vision that is the root of the modern political utility of slavery. But that is for a bit later in our discussion.

The end of slavery was not the Civil War. It was not even the beginning of the end of slavery. The remarkable effort to end slavery “was one of the most momentous dramas in the history of the human species” (Thomas Sowell) yet little is written about it and I was (almost completely) unaware of it. Ending slavery required a sustained action at great cost over many generations. Who provided that “action” and who bore the “costs”?

There were two changes that brought slavery to its knees. First, more and more of the world became divided into nation states. Nation states usually have armies and, sometimes, navies making it expensive to take slaves in that geographic locality. The chance for retaliation was too great. Therefore, new areas for slave raiding needed to be found. The less developed African “nations” were prime targets in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the image depicted on “Roots,” by Alex Haley, was that of white Europeans clubbing and capturing black Africans in sub-Saharan Africa and dragging them to the western coast to be placed on slave ships headed for the United States. Indeed, they were clubbed and dragged to the western coast to be placed on slave ships, but not by Europeans. A European in sub-Saharan Africa had a life expectancy of less than one year because of the endemic diseases for which they had no immunity. Therefore, Europeans did not venture into the interior. In truth it was Africans who “clubbed and dragged” the more vulnerable, not racially different, co-inhabitants of Africa off to be slaves. As well, they did not take them only to the western coast for trafficking to the Americas (yes, that is correct, the West Indies, Brazil, and other South American nations had proportionally more slaves than the United States), but also to the eastern coast for trafficking to the Muslim world in great numbers.

However, the more salient change was occurring in the British Empire. In Great Britain, at that time, there was an outcry to end the slave trade, largely conducted by the British. Over time, the outcry became too loud for Parliament to ignore. The push came from religious groups that would today likely be called the “religious right” (Quakers and Evangelicals). Isn’t that a large pill to swallow for the “Liberal” establishment?

Slavery died fighting to the very end and its death knell was rung by one of the great imperial nations, the British Empire, and against their own pecuniary interests. Yes! European Imperialism, so reviled by the Liberal establishment (another pill to swallow), caused the ultimate demise of slavery. The British Empire occupied one fourth of the world and, as well, controlled one fourth of its inhabitants. Only a force this formidable could have had so profound an effect on history. Of course, as other western nations observed the efforts of the British gradually the western world joined the struggle including the United States and even Russia.

The British Navy interdicted the slave trade and sustained the effort for more than a century attempting to foil every ingenious effort by determined slave traders to continue their nefarious business. The numerous stories, as related by Dr. Sowell, of privation and bravery by British sailors and their personal commitment to the task are too numerous to detail here.

As well, the British freed all the slaves in Britain and its colonies. However, as it was legal to own slaves in the British Empire, the slaves’ freedom was purchased at a cost of 20,000,000 pounds sterling, a handsome price in the 19th century and approximately 5% of the gross national product of the British Isles at that time. To put that into perspective in modern American dollars it would have been a price of $730 billion – a nice stimulus package. Of interest, a bill was introduced into the US Congress to do exactly the same thing, that is, purchase the freedom of the American slaves. The bill was defeated. In the end, of course, the cost would have been far less in dollars compared to the Civil War costs, and neither does that include 618,000 dead, the utter destruction of the South, nor the century of bitterness that followed the defeat of the Confederacy.

As slavery came to an end under the constant efforts of the British over many generations two stories are of interest. The Brazilians ended slavery by emancipation and set a date for all slaves to be freed. Indeed, virtually all slaves were freed in advance of the date. However, when the day came for the emancipation the people went into the streets in great elation, the likes of which had never been seen in the history of their nation. By contrast, when the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire sent his representatives to read the declaration that slavery was to end, the messengers were murdered on the spot.

No one should be (and certainly I am not) an apologist for slavery. But that does not mean that one should “buy into” the current rhetoric that portrays slavery more along the vision of “Roots” than historical fact. The current political issue is the distortion of the history of slavery used to extract concessions. Black “leaders” like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton use black slave history to promote agendas more suited to their goals than those necessarily of their brethren. The political problem is twofold: they made white Americans “guilty” and they made black Americans “victims.” This served neither race. Quite to the contrary, I will later offer mounting evidence that this accrued to the detriment of both races. The vision of slavery generated by those that would use it to extract gain is a poor framework for resolving today’s issues of race in America.

Finally, please read Dr. Sowell’s Back Rednecks and White Liberals. This treatise does not begin to do justice to his painstaking research and cogent arguments.

Roy Filly

Footnote: As a child I very much enjoyed movies about Africa. Tribes like the Maasai and their brave warriors were so heroic to me. However, the Maasai were fearsome slave raiders. It wasn’t just the lions who had reason to fear Maasai warriors.

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One Obama legacy: His regulatory frenzy.

The Obama administration has many “legacies.” Today we focus on just one. The disaster that was the presidency of Barack Hussein Obama is fading from the memory of the voting public. That’s good. The reason it is fading; the total focus of the media on destroying Trump is not good (more on this tomorrow). But it is worthwhile to take a walk down memory lane from time to time to see what poor President Trump still needs to fix.

[Source: EDITORIAL: The Obama regulatory frenzy. Las Vegas Review Journal]

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is a public policy think tank that is “dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty.” Annually, the CEI releases what they term the “Ten Thousand Commandments.” The document analyzes the “hidden taxes” associated with America’s vast regulatory state. The report examines the size, extent and cost of these rules and mandates.

According to the CEI report the total federal regulatory costs have hit an astounding $1.885 trillion per year. Again, such a number is so large that the average American simply can’t grasp its significance.

Under such circumstances, comparisons are useful. Let’s say you are Canadian and you pick up the morning newspaper and see the headline “GDP of Canada has sunk to ZERO!!!” That might get your attention. The sum of $1.885 trillion per year is greater than the GDP of Canada. Or let’s say you are an Australian and you pick up the morning newspaper and see the headline “The value of all goods and services last year was just STOLEN from the treasury!!!” Again that might get your attention.

I could have gone on and on and on. Only 8 nations in the world have a GDP larger than $1.885 trillion. The remaining 190 nations DO NOT! Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and Norway – all those nations that the left points to as great socialist nations – are not on the list of nations with GDPs of $1.885 trillion. They would all be beyond “broke.”

And how about us Americans? That price tag is essentially a hidden tax that amounts to upwards of $15,000 per U.S. household each year. The cost of that regulatory compliance exceeds the $1.82 trillion that the IRS collected in both individual and corporate income taxes.

Let’s return to our “benefactor,” Barack Hussein Obama. The Federal Register studied in the report (for the year 2015) clocks in at 80,260 pages. That is the third highest page count in its history. But here is the kicker!  Of the seven highest Federal Register page counts, President Obama was responsible for six of them in seven years. The Obama administration averaged 81 major regulations a year over that period. But he had a little time left to feed his regulatory frenzy! He didn’t waste it! There are currently roughly 60 federal departments, agencies and commissions with 3,297 regulations in some form of development.

This is what President Trump is trying to reverse. It isn’t as though getting rid of every last one of the Obama regulations gets us back to zero. There were plenty of unnecessary regulations that preceded his presidency.

Poor President trump – so much work to do.

And thanks to BC for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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