Alert! EPA Monster Sighted in Kansas

Paul A. Ibbetson

In the current GOP 2012 presidential debates, all the Republican candidates have voiced the need to drastically re-structure the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under the current EPA director, Lisa Jackson, the Obama administration is unleashing on the country the most comprehensive and far-reaching environmental regulations ever seen.

Framed around the need to fulfill job growth in conjunction with cleaning up America’s portion of the planet, Jackson disseminated $ 6.2 million for Brownfield clean up jobs in July this year. This benign sounding program was advertised as an environmentally “friendly” job plan that would clean up old gas stations, smelter plants, and industrial properties. Of course what is not mentioned during the high-blown rhetoric about saving Mother Earth by uniting government and environmentalism is that businesses that find themselves in ideological conflict with the ever growing list of “Green initiatives” will face a monstrous State apparatus that is all too eager to unleash “green justice” on all violators. Herein lies the economic quandary for Kansas.

Unfortunately for Kansas, its cattle industry, oil and gas development, and even the growing of crops are directly in the stomping path of the EPA. Through increased regulations and government manipulation, oil drillers are finding it harder to drill oil in Kansas, and even drill for natural gas, a highly abundant energy opportunity in the state. Building coal burning power plants that have the potential to create hundreds if not thousands of new Kansas jobs is like pulling teeth. The environmental regulations and the misguided Green mentality that the current Obama administration embraces and allows to flourish has become an EPA monster with Lisa Jackson in full charge going full throttle.

The EPA monster was recently spotted in Western Kansas where is was battling the rural cooperative, Sunflower Electric, now at risk of having to charge higher rates to customers or not supply services at all to rural areas of the state due to a new thrashing “sea of regulations.” I had a chance to interview on my radio program, Conscience of Kansas, Congressman Tim Huelskamp, a native to the First District of Kansas. He is attempting to combat EPA aggression against free market initiatives within the state. Huelskamp is the co-sponsor of the TRAIN-Act, Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation. The Act would require an impact analysis to determine the cumulative effect that EPA regulations are having on the economy.

In my interview, Huelskamp made clear his concern. It is a concern that is on the minds of many Americans, namely, that the EPA is overregulating business and industry in the country. In Kansas alone, Huelskamp said that the EPA treats farm “spilt milk as if it is an oil spill.” The Congressman is also aware of new EPA regulations that make the common practice of transporting fuel, over 119 gallons, a violation of Federal law without a hazardous materials permit. Obviously the bureaucrats that are crafting EPA regulations have never worked on a farm. But, is it simply ignorance that brings about such terrible regulations or is there another agenda still?

In reality, the EPA monster is motivated by a mentality that opposes the capitalistic free market foundations of traditional America. On the subject of the chasm that exists between big Green governmental ideology and the free market Kansas mentality, Huelskamp commented that a business owner in Kansas told him that liberals in Washington see all business as nothing more than a “bunch of crooks.” They are bad guys that need to be taken down a notch. I feel that the current administration’s hostility toward free market initiatives in places like Kansas goes far deeper. There appears to be anger in Washington toward the American spirit that fights for individualism and against becoming part of the collective, even when that collective is touted as being beautifully “green.” It has become all too apparent when we watch the EPA monster grow larger each day and the idea of the individual becomes ever more endangered that without the American people adjusting the leadership of this country, the American economy remains at great risk. What is the EPA’s goal? The monster wishes to gorge on both the innovators and free marketers in Kansas and elsewhere.

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Thank Goodness for NFL Football!

Paul A. Ibbetson National League Football may be nothing more than temporary escape for the average America when we must face the rigors of our country’s economic crisis, but it helps. This semi-barbaric, violence-laced competition comes just in time and ironically also delivers its own unique, positive message. First, football is truly an American phenomenon. Unlike soccer, the sport that is so popular across the world with its infrequent scoring, rules that forbid the laying on of hands, and the even more bizarre acceptance of ties, (where everyone goes home a loser), our football is made of different, or should I say, better stuff.

Similar to the psyche of the America people, football is a game where the winners and losers are decided on the field of play and not by politicians making midnight deals behind closed doors. If teams have an equal score at game’s end, the National Football League authorizes the deliciously ruthless, but very definite rule of “sudden death.” Yup, NFL football fans will go home either happy or mad from their game but never with a politically correct score sticker that says, “Everyone’s a winner just for coming out and trying. It was a well-played tie.”

Football embodies the traditional American economic standard of the famous bottom line, the finality of outcomes that are the result of the tenacious competitiveness of the free market. NFL teams spend as much time jockeying for American talent in the draft as they do molding that talent in practice and making their players perform in game competition. This wondrously unique ballet of acquisition, training, strategy, and implementation unfolds week after week before fans who sit entranced on metal seats in crisp airy stadiums, as well as others who spill popcorn on their living rooms floors while perched on the edges of their couches, rooting their favorite teams to victory. NFL football reinforces with blitzing clarity and precision the words of George C. Scott in his Patton persona when he said, “Americans love a winner, and will not tolerate a loser.”

It is certainly not “off-sides” here to mention that the start of the NFL season will employ thousands of people, ranging from those hired by large manufacturers to private vendors who sell individual wares. In truth, the economy will get more positive yardage from this year’s NFL season than from Obama’s offered stimulus programs. As important as jobs are, football also brings forth that pulse quickening air of competition that combine with a sense of the unknown, as we watch the potential of our favorite players and teams try to rise to greatness through victory. President Barack Obama would be wise to avoid attempting to schedule his future “addresses to the Nation” during NFL games and again for two reasons. The first being that Obama’s mantra for the country runs counter to the NFL’s as a nation of winners who will always fight the notion that they should strive no higher than to be merely average. Secondly no one likes a coach who calls the same play (socialism) on every down. Barack Obama’s answers to the economic problems of America are painfully repetitious and as self-destructive as choosing to run the ball on fourth down with fifty yards still to go.

I hope that as fans across the country begin to invest themselves once again into their own teams and the statistical world of truth and fantasy that NFL football produces that they will take another moment to realize the uniqueness of what this sport does bring to the country. NFL football is the embodiment of the ruckus and flamboyant nature of the American cowboy, combined with the mass marketing skills as embodied by Henry Ford and the automotive explosion. I, for one, am very happy to take a moment to watch running backs hit the high gears in the open lane while linebackers steamroll unsuspecting quarterbacks, or watch quarterbacks “go deep” with the entire game on the line. There is little political correctness in this sport after the snap of the ball, and I doubt any member of the United Nations could make it through four quarters. Throw a flag if you will, but I say that this truth is just another reason why we love this game so much. NFL football is a truly unique American sport, and as this country sits mentally and economically at its own low point in current history, the beginning of the NFL’s season has come this year just in time.

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America’s Job Status: Unemployed

Paul A. Ibbetson Need a job? How about a job that pays the bills? These questions no longer apply to isolated parts of the country that have faced natural disasters or workers displaced by ENRON-type white collar criminal activity. In America, finding substantive work and keeping it has now become a national question of importance to everyone. For a growing number of people, the answer from the business world to the question of employment has been, “We are not hiring at this time.”

As reported by Chris Stirewalt on Fox News, the argument for saying America is not in a recession because we have stopped having three sequential quarters of negative growth becomes moot when every quarter’s growth is so small that it cannot improve the economy. The truth is that America’s economy, and its subsequent lack of job growth, is like a heavy anchor dragging the bottom of the deepest ocean. Now imagine the American worker strapped to that anchor, and the mental image is complete.

As Shaila Dewan writes in The New York Times, we see that the most recent reports show the unemployment rate at 9.1 percent. These numbers are scary enough, but they fail to show just how bad unemployment really is. Given America’s current economic dilemma, the percentages of the unemployed whom people read about in newspapers and hear discussed on the television should be more accurately described as “nice scenario” numbers, because “true unemployment” numbers are much, much higher. In reality, unemployment figures for Americans are at least double of those reported: more and more people continue to run out of Obama’s extended unemployment benefits and no longer qualify to stay on the rolls; others are tired of looking for jobs that don’t exist and simply abandon the job hunt and go home to stare at their sofa cushions. People who have fallen off the official count of the unemployed are not the only means by which the current employment numbers in America are being obscured; there are also the Obama “fantasy employment numbers.”

The Obama “fantasy employment numbers” are undoubtedly a fiction originally created to combat the administration’s inability to make good on the president’s pledge to the American people to stop unemployment numbers from reaching 8 percent if given a historic “good faith” loan of $787 billion. After the president’s social programing and “shovel ready” New Deal approach failed, the administration started counting unemployment from a new perspective; that is, new jobs would be counted from people who still had jobs. If this sounds a little weird, that’s because it is.

As if pulling a clip from an episode of the Twilight Zone, the Obama administration said America’s new reality on unemployment would now be evaluated from the perspective of people who didn’t lose their jobs due to the president’s actions. As reported by William McGurn in The Wall Street Journal as early as 2009, this method of gauging how Obama’s economic stimulus plan is affecting American jobs was full of phony bologna number crunching. There is no way to quantify jobs saved by the stimulus package; this is a projection of pure fantasy born of desperation. At least in a real Twilight Zone episode, Rod Serling would have taken viewers to the side and told them they were now leaving the real world. Barack Obama needs to be dragged back to our reality, because Americans are just too broke to be able to play along anymore.

The truth is that Obama’s philosophy and the capitalistic/free market system, the system upon which America was founded, cannot co-exist without American workers suffering. Employers of businesses that are still economically viable in today’s economy will not expand their companies nor, hire new employees, so long as the Federal government impinges on the free market and creates future economic uncertainty. The administration’s failed economic policies have protracted an employment downturn beyond what political spin and fantasy statistics can legitimize. Our country’s painful reality is that the more common job status question for the average America is not, “What do you do for living?”, but “Do you do anything at all?”

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Through Greed and Communism the Dream is Lost: The Martin Luther King Washington Monument

Paul A. Ibbetson Opportunities to do good are lost every day. Either through apathy, stupidity, or unfortunately sometimes, bad intentions, situations where good can be done are not only lost, but are replaced with something that is detrimental to society. The Martin Luther King, Jr., Monument in Washington’s National Mall is just such an example. The series of events that brought “this version” of the depiction of the famous civil rights activist to “this location” shows the world just how out of line the culture of our country has now become.

First, the King monument is placed in the National Mall, a location specifically designated for U.S. Presidents and fallen soldiers. There is a strong argument to be made that the sculpture of the civil rights icon would be better placed in a different location. However, this argument pales in comparison to the residual implications derived from who actually created the monument and how King is portrayed in stone.

As reported by John Hayward in Human Events, in oddly bizarre fashion, the King monument was not commissioned for creation by Americans, but was rather given to the fifty-seven year old Chinese Communist, Lei Yixin. Yixin is known among other things for his stone depictions of the Communist Chairman Mao Tse-tung. He thus created a depiction of King that some would say runs counter to a true reflection of the man and what he stood for. Martin Luther King Jr. looks decidedly Asian. The civil rights leader, who was known for both kindness and compassion, is reflected in stone by Yixin having a stern look on his face and with arms folded as if he is in opposition to those who view him. In the stone statue King also grips an unknown document with force, and one can only guess if the artist meant the document to be one with biblical scripture, the constitution, or one of Mao’s many versions of the “Little Red Book.”

Some have asserted that the carving of this statue should have been commissioned to a black artisan; however, I think that King would have preferred to look at quality of character, and artistic ability, over color of skin. With that observation in mind, it is still hard to fathom that King would have wished that his memorial depiction to be created to exhibit a Communist mentality, certainly void of the Christian values he championed. The “angry Asian, the Communist Martin Luther King, Jr.” monument also includes inscriptions of many of King’s famous quotes, but minus his famous “I have a dream,” apparently, purposely omitted. This lack is almost fitting as little of King’s true Christian nature is on display.

The final note, in what has become a sad story, is that it appears that the King monument was never intended to be designed for posterity, but rather for family profit. As reported in the New York Post, the Martin Luther King, Jr., family charged to the foundation that built the monument $800,000 to use King’s words and image. This King family money scheme further removes the appropriateness of the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial being placed alongside distinguished U.S. Presidents and fallen soldiers whose families never asked, nor received any residuals for the honor of being memorialized. Sadly, there are now no redeemable qualities to retrieve from exhibiting a King memorial in Washington, as both Communism and family greed have instead simply created an anathema of a monument now placed in the National Mall.

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life deserves a more honorable and precise legacy than what is depicted in the new Washington memorial. It is said that the reported inspiration for the piece came from King’s “I have a dream” speech in which the civil rights leader stated, “Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Instead of a noble transformation, people in the National Mall will now view a Marxian mountain that is too arrogant and more fitting to a Communist bloc than to the powerful role Martin Luther King Jr. played in a movement for equality gained through passive resistance and the power of prayer. Opportunities to do good are lost every day, but some are more painful to watch than others.

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