Archive for April, 2014

Not Just For Conspiracy Theorists Anymore: Fear Of Federal Government Goes Mainstream

April 20, 2014

From here:

More than half of Americans view the Federal government as a major threat to individual liberty and a growing number express outright fear of the Nation’s governing apparatus.

cartoon irs

According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 37 percent of likely U.S. voters say that they are afraid of the Federal government and 54 percent say that it is a threat to individual liberty. That’s compared to 47 percent who don’t fear the government, 17 percent who aren’t sure and 22 percent who feel government protects their liberty.

Rasmussen reports that America’s decline in comfort with government has been rapid:

As recently as December 2012, voters were evenly divided on this question: 45% said the federal government was a protector of individual rights, while 46% described it as a threat to those rights.

According to the poll results, men and all Americans over the age of 40 are more likely to fear the Federal government than young voters and women.

Support for the 2nd Amendment may have some bearing on how Americans feel about the Nation’s political leaders, as 42 percent of gun owners expressed fear of the government compared to 30 percent of people who do not own guns.

Among union members, whose labor leaders often encourage government expansion, trust in government is also not particularly high. Fifty-two percent of unionized workers said that they fear the government versus just 30 percent of non-union workers.

Rasmussen relays that political affiliation plays a significant role in Americans’ comfort with the Federal government. Democrats are, unsurprisingly, less likely to worry about government overreach.

From the polling agency:

Democrats, as they do in most instances, have a less critical view of the federal government than Republicans and voters not affiliated with either of the major parties. Most GOP voters (53%) and 43% of unaffiliateds fear the federal government. Just 18% of voters in President Obama’s party agree.

Seventy-three percent (73%) of Republicans and 59% of unaffiliated voters view the government as a threat to individual liberty, a view shared by only 34% of Democrats. GOP and unaffiliated voters are twice as likely as Democrats to believe that the federal government rarely or never does the right thing.

The majority of Americans with any of the aforementioned political affiliations, however, agree that the Federal government has become “a special interest group that looks out primarily for its own interests.”

According to the opinions recorded in the survey, 71 percent of Americans believe that the Nation’s Founders would be disgusted by the current size of the Federal government, 21 percent believe they would think it is about right.

The results of the Rasmussen poll tie in with the findings of a Fox News poll released earlier in the week which found that around 60 percent of Americans think that President Barack Obama routinely lies to the public.

Only 15 percent of respondents to that poll feel that Obama is truthful at all times, while 37 percent said that the President lies about important matters “most of the time.” Twenty percent felt that Obama lies “some of the time.”

“Culturally Sensitive” female Canadian gynecologists provide legal FGM!

April 17, 2014

From yesterday’s Ottawa Citizen, (Tuesday April 15, 2014, P.#A4) here:

Controversial surgery performed in Canada

Vaginal ‘mutilation’ banned in Britain, but allowed here

Giselle Portenier Ottawa Citizen

(Please note: the online version’s title no longer contains the words “controversial” or “mutilation” because, I guess, to those liberals, it isn’t)!

Canadian doctors performing vaginal surgery banned in Britain

Canadian doctors performing vaginal surgery banned in Britain

Dr. Beverley Chalmers of the University of Ottawa believes that Canadian doctors should not be permitted to perform any form of genital mutilation that is not clinically necessary.

A doctor in Britain faces up to 14 years in prison under that country’s Female Mutilation Act for allegedly performing an operation that is condoned in Canada by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists as part of a “culturally competent” approach to medical care.

In the first-ever prosecution under the British law, Dr. Dhanuson Dharmasena of London’s Whittington Hospital has been accused of leading the operation while Hasan Mohamed is charged with aiding and abetting him. They are to appear in a London court on Tuesday.

The procedure involved is known as reinfibulation, in which the vagina of a woman previously subjected to infibulation, the most serious form of female genital mutilation (FGM), is sewn up again after she has given birth, leaving a smaller opening.

The United Nations estimates there are 125 million survivors of female genital mutilation worldwide, including around 80,000 in Canada. FGM is done because it’s thought to purify the girl and prevent promiscuity.

According to Dr. Gamal Serour, past president of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, reinfibulation is itself a form of FGM that violates human rights, ethical principles of justice and the medical code of ethics.

He described reinfibulation as “heartbreaking … there are no benefits whatsoever for it. On the contrary, it is associated with immediate risks, delayed risks, and long-term risks.”


These risks include difficulties while urinating and menstruating and severe pain during sexual intercourse, as well as increased maternal and child mortality, Serour said.

And yet it’s happening in Canada.

Dr. Margaret Burnett, an ob/gyn in Winnipeg, says that when women who have been the victim of infibulation have babies, their labia often have to be cut open for the baby to come out. After, she says, requests for reinfibulation are relatively common. That’s because it is considered normal for women who come from countries where FGM is widely done, mostly Africa and the Middle East.

“It’s my impression that we do get many requests for this and almost all of them come from the husbands,” Burnett says. “They want their wives closed again.”




In Canada, the ob/gyn society’s new guidelines, issued last November, suggest doctors explain the dangers of reinfibulation to patients, and that requests for the procedure “should be declined.”

That’s a softening from a policy statement issued 20 months earlier, which stipulated that requests for the operation “must be declined.”

Burnett, chair of the society’s social sexual committee that helped draw up the guidelines, says the approach was softened to be more culturally accepting. The change was made after speaking to immigrant women who have been through FGM.


If a couple “is very insistent and really are going to be very very devastated if it (reinfibulation) can’t be done,” then the guidelines allow “for that decision to be made between the doctor and the patient,” she says.


Dr. Beverley Chalmers, adjunct professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Ottawa, believes that caregivers in Canada should not be permitted to perform any form of genital mutilation that is not clinically necessary.

“To hide behind ‘cultural accommodation’ to permit the practice of FGM, or any other practice that is unquestionably harmful, is a craven distortion of political correctness … (and) is simply moral cowardice,” she says.


Kowser Omer-Hashi, a Somali-Canadian who wrote a book with Chalmers about Somali women’s birthing experiences in Canada, is shocked that Canadian society appears to tacitly allow reinfibulations. She remembers being mutilated — her clitoris cut and infibulated — as a child.


“I will never forget when I first had to pee,” she says. “The pain is indescribable.”

As a 14-year-old midwife looking after women during childbirth, she herself reinfibulated women in her native Somaliland, before realizing how damaging the whole procedure was after she arrived in Canada. Her view is that anyone performing this operation is “forgetting their Hippocratic oath of ‘do no harm.’”

What they are doing may also be illegal.

The British Female Mutilation Act, under which Dharmasena and Mohamed have been charged, states that it is an offence to “excise,” “infibulate,” or “mutilate” any part of a girl’s labia.

Similar legislation and wording exists in Canada under the aggravated assault section of the Criminal Code, but so far no one has been prosecuted under that section.

“Everyone is expected to respect Canadian values and abide by Canadian laws,” said Alexis Pavlich, spokeswoman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander. “We are committed to pursuing the full strength of the law against those who violate them.”


In Britain, with a large influx of immigrants from the countries affected, the issue of FGM has gained huge momentum in the last year. Victims are speaking out, help lines have been set up, hospitals are being required to record cases in a centralized database and the prime minister is hosting a summit on the issue this summer.

Canada, too, is experiencing a wave of immigrants from Africa and the Middle East — 29,000 women became permanent residents of Canada in 2011 alone — and many of them will have undergone FGM before they came.

Chalmers says much more needs to be done to raise awareness of this issue, including preparation of immigrants prior to coming to Canada, explaining the laws against FGM and its health consequences.

There should also be information about and treatment of FGM made available for doctors, midwives and nurses during their training, and education for school teachers who may encounter teenaged victims of FGM, she believes.

Similar “FGM is Fun!” nonsense noted from America and Sweden all of a sudden (is this a pre-planned muslim political campaign push?!) from here:

Democrats Gone Wild

April 12, 2014

By Wayne Allyn Root, from here:

Don’t look now, but it’s like a new TV infomercial called “Democrats Gone Wild.” We are experiencing a Democrat crime spree. Democrat politicians are being arrested all over this country. Forget the GOP, Democrats are scared to death of RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). You’d almost think the Democratic Party was one big widespread organized crime enterprise.

I have advice for the GOP in 2014 and 2016. We don’t need good candidates to defeat the Democrats…We need good prosecutors.

Keep in mind Democrats are the ones always claiming to care about women, children, minorities and the poor. It turns out this is all a cover for “Show me the Money!” While they are busy painting Republicans as “mean spirited” “racist” “radical” and “extreme” for wanting to cut spending, reduce the debt and allow taxpayers to keep more of their own money…Democrats are busy being involved in bribery, fraud, theft, extortion and gun running. Al Capone and John Gotti would be proud of this scam. Maybe their new slogan should be, “The Party That Makes Crime Pay!”

This week’s Democrat crime spree started with Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon. He resigned after being arrested by the FBI on corruption charges in a FBI sting operation.

Then Rhode Island Democratic House Speaker Gordon Fox abruptly resigned after an FBI raid on his State House office. This should come as no surprise to Rhode Island citizens. Right next door in Massachusetts the last three speakers of the Massachusetts House were convicted of felonies. Would it surprise you to learn they were all Democrats?

In California, powerful Democratic State Senator Leland Yee was arrested for gun-running. Investigators said Yee was helping the arms buyer obtain weapons such as shoulder-fired missiles, from a Muslim separatist group in the Philippines, in order to pay off campaign debts. WOW.

But Yee was only one of three Democrat Senators suspended that week from the State Senate in Sacramento. Democrat Senator Rod Wright faces voter fraud charges. Democrat Senator Rod Calderon faces federal charges for accepting $100,000 in bribes for passing bills.

In Philadelphia the local newspaper reported that the Pennsylvania Attorney General caught four leading Philadelphia Democrat politicians (members of the Pennsylvania House delegation) red-handed accepting bribes, but the entire investigation was shut down when a new Democrat Attorney General took office.

Then just days ago it was disclosed that Democratic Nevada Senator Harry Reid gave $31,249 in campaign funds to his granddaughter Ryan Elizabeth Reid for “holiday gift expenditures.” Nice job if you can get it. Reid claims there was nothing wrong with what he did.

I have news for our U.S. Senate Majority Leader. Using campaign funds for personal use (like enriching family members) is a crime. Ask Jesse Jackson Jr. You can reach him at The Federal Correctional Complex in Butner, North Carolina.

Keep in mind this was just one week of a Democratic crime spree. One week of “business as usual” for the party that claims to care about “fairness, equality and social justice.” I guess some people are more equal than others.

And in this story about Democrats and crime, I haven’t even mentioned the IRS scandal, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, the AP scandal, the NSA scandal, or the biggest act of criminal fraud of all-time, “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.” Those are really serious crime emanating from the Democrat in the White House.


Obama Travel Abuse Update from Judicial Watch

April 12, 2014

I just broke my calculator adding all these “vital” expenses up….!



Michelle Obama Riverdances through Dublin, Helps Rack Up $7,921,638.66 Vacation Tab For Taxpayers

When it comes to tracking the cost of Obama family vacations there are two primary challenges.  First, the Obamas are prolific jet-setters, so there are many details to track. And second, the Obama administration, clearly embarrassed by these lavish and frequent family vacations, stonewalls the release of records at every turn.

But we have been relentless in pursuit of this information. Our attorneys file the lawsuits and make our case, and our investigators pour through pages of records and crunch the numbers. And the information we’ve uncovered – information that would otherwise remain under lock and key – shows that the Obamas have a disturbing lack of regard for taxpayer resources.
Most recently, when reviewing the Obama family travel log, Judicial Watch recently obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealing that President Obama’s June 2013 trip to Belfast, Ireland, including a Dublin sightseeing side trip by Michelle Obama, her daughters, and her entourage, cost the taxpayers $7,921,638.66. (Per usual, and owing to the enormous public interest in Michelle Obama’s luxury travel, our discovery earned quite a bit of press coverage.)Here’s the breakdown from the two agencies.

•    According to the Department of Air Force documents, the flights to, from, and around Ireland for the June 17 – 19, 2013 trip totaled 33.6 hours at $228,288 an hour, which comes to a flight expense alone of $7,670,476.80  (These records came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on January 13, 2014.)

•    According to the DHS documents, the total cost for “security and/or other services” for the Dublin side-trip by Michelle Obama and her entourage was $251,161.86, including $55,004.85 at the Shelbourne Hotel and $70,855.44 at the Westbury Hotel. Vehicle rental charges were $114,721. (These records also came in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information lawsuit filed on January 13, 2014.)

Now I can hear the White House’s defense. This was a business trip. It’s all about diplomatic relations, etc., etc.  And while this might at times be true for the president, it is certainly not true for the other members of the First Family.

For example, after accompanying the president to a meeting with Northern Ireland youth on the morning of June 17, the First Lady, her daughters, and her entourage departed on their own, apparently aboard Air Force Two, for a sightseeing side-trip to Dublin. Though the White House claimed the trip was for diplomatic purposes, reported that the itinerary showed, “She and her daughters will visit the Trinity College library to explore President Obama’s Irish family roots, attend a performance by the world-famous Riverdance troupe, and visit the Wicklow Mountains national forest.”

Yes, someday we will all hail Michelle Obama’s grand diplomatic accomplishments during her “Riverdance Summit of 2013.”

And purpose of the trip aside, is it really necessary for the First Lady to drop $3,300 per night on her hotel suite for any reason at all when taxpayers are picking up the tab?

Because that’s exactly what her Dublin suite cost per The Washington Times: “First lady Michelle Obama is sparing no expense on her trip to Ireland, staying at a $3,300-per-night hotel suite in Dublin. Irish press reports Monday said Mrs. Obama and her entourage have booked 30 rooms in the five-star Shelbourne hotel. The first lady is said to be staying in the Princess Grace Suite …. ”  According to the hotel’s website, the Grace Kelly Suite features two guest bedrooms, a living room, and a dining area, and measures 1,530 square feet. More space for riverdancing, I suppose.

And the Obama entourage? Well they followed the First Lady’s lead and spared no expense either.

The Secret Service documents obtained by Judicial Watch reveal that members of the Obama entourage also rented rooms at Dublin’s Westbury Hotel. The hotel’s website describes the “glamorous, iconic 5 star” Westbury as, “a great social hub and Dublin’s ultimate city address.” The Daily Mail estimated the cost of Michelle Obama’s the two-day trip to Ireland, in addition to flight and security costs obtained by Judicial Watch, at around $5 million.

The American people can see through the “official business” lie used by the White House to justify the cost of this trp. The Obamas’ clearly abused the perk of the president’s official trip to the G-8 summit for a luxury European vacation at taxpayer expense. And this is far from the first time.

In February, Judicial Watch reported that the Obamas incurred $1,164,268.60 in flight expenses alone for the August 2013 family vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.  In March, Judicial Watch released flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that the Obamas incurred $8,104,224 in flight expenses for their June to July 2013 official trip to Africa, and $7,781,361.30 for their 2013-2014 Christmas vacation to Honolulu – for a two-trip total of $15,885,585.30 in flight expenses alone.  These numbers may seem astonishing, but remember they only skim the surface of the true costs of these trips.

As you know, we’ve had to scratch and claw for these records. The Obamas love to wax philosophical about the subject of transparency, but when it comes to covering up their abuse of taxpayer resources their secrecy knows no bounds.

The Truth About Income Inequality

April 2, 2014

From here:

Mises Institute: A Closer Look At Income Inequality

This article by Andrew Syrios originally appeared on the Ludwig von Mises Institute website on March 31.

Economic inequality is the big thing these days. Barack Obama has called it the “defining challenge of our time,” and the number of books being published on the subject could fill a small library. Of particular note is a survey by Michael Norton and Dan Ariely of 5,000 Americans asking what they thought wealth inequality should be compared to what it actually is. Norton and Ariely asked which of two distributions the survey participants preferred, either that of the United States or Sweden (without knowing what those distributions represented). Here’s what they were given:


Needless to say, 92 percent chose Sweden. This survey has become all the buzz on the progressive left, and a YouTube video about the study has gone viral with more than 14 million views. Not surprisingly, however, there are enormous problems with this analysis. First and foremost, Norton and Ariely used Sweden’s income distribution instead of wealth because “… it provided a clearer contrast.” I’m sure the left’s love affair with Sweden and an attempt to stack the deck had nothing to do with it. The top 20 percent in Sweden actually own 73 percent of the wealth. (In the United States it’s 85 percent.)

More importantly, though, like just about every other discussion on inequality, they neglect to control for age. Age is by far the most important and most ignored variable in both income and wealth inequality. The word “age” doesn’t appear once in Norton and Ariely’s paper, nor does it in the Wikipedia page on the subject; and it is not controlled for in Edward N. Wolff’s influential paper on wealth inequality, on which this survey appears to be based.

This feeds the illusion that the top 1 percent, or 10 percent, or whatever is a static group. But as the OECD noted, in 2008 there was an annual 27.2 percent turnover figure in who was in the top 1 percent of income earners. Further, a University of Michigan study showed that only 5 percent of the people in the bottom income quintile in 1975 were still there in 1991, and 29 percent had moved to the top.

Wealth is a bit more stable than income, but it grows with time just the same. According to a Pew study, the net wealth of those over 65 between 1989 and 2009 went from $120,000 to $170,000. For those younger than 35, their wealth actually decreased from $11,500 to $3,500. Indeed, people under the age of 44 possess only 11 percent of the wealth in the United States.

To further illustrate this point, try this thought experiment. Say everyone in the country made the same income, but got a promotion each decade. They start at $20,000 per year in their 20s, then they go to $30,000 per year in their 30s, etc. In addition, they save 5 percent of their income each year and make no return on their savings. To make things simpler, we’ll assume there is the same number of people in each age bracket. Income and wealth inequality would look like the following with the wealth figure representing what they would have at the end of that decade of life:



This is about the same as the distribution the survey participants desired, which should make it clear that they didn’t take age into account either. And this thought experiment assumes that everyone is equally talented, that every industry is equally profitable, and that everyone has just as good saving and investment habits. In addition, if we add just a small return on their savings, that chart would be skewed even more.

There are many other factors that need to be considered when discussing wealth inequality as well. For example, while the entitlement systems in the United States are embarrassingly underwater, they should be considered. According to, “A male average earner who retired at age 65 in 2010 paid out $345,000 in total Social Security and Medicare taxes, but will receive $417,000 in total lifetime benefits ($464,000 for a woman).” If the government simply mandated people to have a health savings or retirement account (or better yet, let people keep their own money), that would smooth out the curve. Since payroll taxes are capped at $113,000, most of the increase would go to the lower and middle classes.

Furthermore, Norton and Ariely’s study compares households instead of individuals — a tried and true way of distorting income and wealth data. Households vary in shape and size and cannot be directly compared. As Thomas Sowell has said, “… there are 39 million people in the bottom 20 percent of households, and 64 million in the top 20 percent. So you’re saying, yes, 24 million additional people do tend to have more money.” When we further take into account that many in the bottom 20 percent are recent immigrants from poor countries, in prison, single parents, on welfare, disabled, drug addicts, etc., it becomes clear that dividing the country into such groups is simplistic at best.

Underlying all of this discussion is the belief that wealth inequality is out of control. While it has increased in recent years (primarily due to the loss of home equity for the middle class), according to Wolff, “… [wealth inequality] remained virtually unchanged from 1989 to 2007.” The liberal Economic Policy Institute released a study showing how much the top 1 percent owned at various times over the past 50 years and found the following:


Other studies have detected a similar “trend.” In fact, a recent study found that economic mobility in the United States has “remained extremely stable,” just the “rungs of the ladder have grown further apart.”

So wealth inequality is not nearly as out of control as many liberal pundits say. This, of course, does not mean everything is fine and dandy. Cronyism and government largesse have caused serious problems throughout the economy and should be done away with, not compounded with more redistribution and government control.

Andrew Syrios is a Kansas City-based real estate investor and partner with Stewardship Properties. He also blogs at See Andrew Syrios’s article archives.