How Long Is One Year On Earth? You Might Be Shocked!

As Elton John might say, astronaut Scott Kelly is “packing his bags, pre-flight.” His “zero hour” comes March 1, at which time he will have spent almost a year on the space station Soyuz.
His descent will come quickly, depositing him near Kazahkstan in a mere 3-1/2 hours. Counting all six missions, Kelly has spent more time in space than any other American astronaut.
One thing Kelly learned during this last mission: “A year is a really, really long time.”
He was there to serve as a kind of lab rat for experiments on the effects of long-term space travel on the human body and mind, to gain a better idea of what a trip to Mars might do. Bone density, vision, inner ear, cognitive ability, mood — all can be affected.
Conveniently, Scott has a twin brother, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, so valuable comparison studies can be made. Scott Kelly likened his time in space to being on a submarine — in that you can’t really go anywhere — but found things to do to pass the time, like corresponding with his more than 900,000 Twitter followers and cavorting in a (wait for it) gorilla suit.
When he steps out of the craft and begins to adjust to the Earth’s gravity, he may be dizzy for a while. But what strikes me is the dizzying amount of change that can happen for the rest of us here on Earth while the space station orbits high above.
Imagine if you were taking off today to spend a year on the space station. When you returned, it would be almost March of 2017. It might be a different world.
We complain that things stay the same regardless of who wins elections, but that’s not true. Things that look bad now have the potential to become better or infinitely worse.
The government can turn on a dime as yet another freedom disappears. If Obama hadn’t won his two terms, we would have different Supreme Court Justices and arguably different decisions that affect millions of lives.
We wouldn’t be looking at a ruined healthcare system. We might even have a coherent foreign policy.
Think how many antiquities might still exist, how many people might still be alive, and how many fleeing migrants might not be fleeing. As crazy as this campaign season is, it does no good to drop out of the system or cast a poorly considered vote in anger and disgust. We must do what we can do.
So, here’s my message to any American about to be shot into space:  Be sure to vote absentee!

My Advice To Trump On Releasing His Tax Forms: ‘Just Say No!’

Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a young political candidate who thought people would praise his transparency if he released 20 years’ worth of income tax returns, going all the way back to when he was first married. Alas, nobody gave him credit for his honesty or charitable giving. The only people who cared were his political opponents, who poured over his forms, hunting for any obscure item they could wrench out of context and turn into attack ads. The unsurprising twist: that young candidate was me. And the moral I learned was: “Never help somebody load a gun when it’s pointed at your own head. It’s not going to end well.”

Donald Trump is the latest candidate to be pressured to release his income tax forms. My Reaganesque advice to him: “Just say no!” Some have tried to interpret that as me favoring Trump, but I’ve given this same advice to candidates for years: Don’t release your personal tax forms. Trump, like every other candidate, is required by law to release detailed financial information. It must be signed under oath to verify that it’s accurate on penalty of perjury. Trump has done that, and it’s available for all to see.

Personally, I think that’s better than income tax returns. We all know how complicated tax forms are, particularly for someone like Trump. No average human can comprehend them; that’s why we have to pay experts to do our taxes. Do you really think some junior reporter at the Washington Post will understand Trump’s voluminous tax forms?  If he did, he’d be a seven-figure CPA.

I was disappointed to see Mitt Romney suggest that Trump might be hiding something in his tax returns. That’s the same kind of baseless innuendo that Harry Reid aimed at Romney in 2012. If Trump becomes the nominee, he’ll likely release his tax forms. But for now, he’s complied with federal disclosure laws, and his personal tax forms are nobody’s business but his own.

I know the argument: if he doesn’t release them, the media will beat him up. News flash: if he does release them, no matter what’s in them, the media will still find some reason to beat him up. I learned from bitter experience: when you’re a Republican, even if you’ve got nothing to hide, the media and your political opponents will find something anyway. Why make their job easier?

You Want To Give The FBI The Right To Kill You AND Crack Your iPhone?

When I was growing up, the FBI was personified by Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and the Highway Patrol by Broderick Crawford.

The G Men and the State Troopers were there to keep us safe from bank robbers and people who would commit carnage on our nation’s highways.

And no little boy in the 50s and 60s would ever think anything different.

We trusted them, and we believed they were the good guys because, for the most part, they were.

They have lost that luster in many cases, and much of what has happened is reflected in the FBI’s ongoing attempt to force Apple to write an entirely new piece of software to hack one of its iPhones, ostensibly to “help” them in the investigation of a now dead terrorist.

It all gets down to who you trust, and frankly, it is an interesting juxtaposition to see Donald Trump complaining about Apple’s actions in this case when his candidacy has been boosted and supported by many of the people who no longer trust the Federal Government to do the right thing. And, as smart as I believe Trump is, he’s being badly misinformed in this case.

Back when I was growing up, it took some research if you wanted to commit a federal crime. There were maybe a few thousand violations of the law which would possibly qualify for the FBI’s attention. Robbing a federally insured bank was a mainstay. So was kidnapping across state lines.

Today, because some clown in Congress is always crying, “There ought to be a law!” there are nearly 5,000 acts for which the FBI can investigate and arrest you. If you mistakenly import wood from a country on Barack Obama’s list, as did the Gibson Guitar Company, you can be a target as they were.

So, before we get all high and mighty about Apple’s “duty” to assist the FBI, let’s put this question in a different form.

Sure, we want to make the world safe from terrorism.

But what if the FBI was—two years after the fact—investigating Cliven Bundy and his guests who made the Bureau of Land Management stand down in 2014? And what if they wanted to hack THEIR iPhones to get evidence against them? (Was the FBI carrying Harry Reid’s water there?)

Or…what if you told your bank a fib on your last Mastercard application and that application only existed and was encrypted in YOUR iPhone? (Yes, you can go to prison for that.)

In point of fact, the FBI can lie to you all day long with no legal consequence; but if you lie to them, you can go to prison. That’s the law. Ask Scooter Libby.

Now do you see the problem?

And that’s only one of a number of problems.

The second problem here is that what this little Federal Magistrate in California has ordered Apple to do is to write a piece of software which doesn’t exist.

Writing software is like writing this column. Could that Magistrate order me to write a column? I think not.

The third problem is that once that software is written, the genie is out of the bottle.

Which returns us to the issue of who do you trust.

This is, after all, the same FBI which orchestrated the killing of one Lavoy Finicum recently in Oregon by the Oregon Highway Patrol. He was killed because he did not comply with the “commands” of law enforcement.

These folks are not Efrem Zimbalist Jr. and Broderick Crawford. Do you really want to give them the right to shoot you dead for not obeying their “commands” AND the right to peer into your most private information which you carry with you every day?

Truth be told, I carry an aging iPhone 5, and I had not password-protected it.

Until I discovered that the FBI couldn’t crack Apple’s encryption software.

Now, I’m much more impressed with my iPhone than I used to be..

But, if Apple caves, I’ll find a new phone which is manufactured by a company which won’t.

Progressive Totalitarianism: Prescription For A Slow Death For America

In his book The Snapping of the American Mind, David Kupelian asks the painful question that millions of Americans like myself have pondered for years and will ponder for some time to come as America slowly rips itself apart.

Kupelian writes, “How could it be that hundreds of thousands of Americans fought and bled – and many died – on foreign shores to contain an evil and metas tasizing ideology variously called communism, Marxism, socialism, collectivism, or statism, and yet now, just a few years later, we would gaze up at the pinnacle of power in our own country and behold leaders in thrall to essentially the same core ideology we fought and died to protect strangers from?”

The answer can be found within the culture itself and more specifically within America’s youth who have seemingly embraced the concept of socialism with little to no understanding of what it even is. Yet, like frogs slowly boiling to death in the cesspools that have become our college campuses, our nation’s youth collectively embrace the ideology that will destroy them while demanding they be “protected” from opinions that run contrary to their beliefs.

For instance, after outspoken conservative and feminist critic Milo Yiannopoulos gave a speech at Rutgers University, the college responded in a way that has become typical in the cesspools that are our academia. Writing in the Rutgers campus newspaper The Daily TargumNoa Halff notes:

Students and faculty gathered in the Paul Robeson Cultural Center on Busch campus to generate dialogue about Yiannopoulos’s visit and the protest that occurred during his lecture. A variety of different organizations and departments were present to listen, answer questions and show support.

Representatives from the Rutgers University Police Department, the Office of Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance, Counseling, Alcohol and other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services and the Bias Prevention and Education Committee were present. Members from the Black Student Union, the Asian American Cultural Center, Center for Latino Arts and Culture, College Student Affairs and many more were also in attendance.

In short, this official response to a conservative speaker from what was once one of America’s most prestigious universities is a damning indictment of a generation that has been primed for totalitarianism. The fact this isn’t an isolated example is bad. What’s worse is these very same college students have become champions of government-regulated speech so long as the speech being regulated emanates from the right.

This is happening while, at the same time, students are actively discouraged from thinking for themselves. It’s a testament to how successful the left has been in capturing our nation,s schools that analytical thinking, once the basis of our education system, is now virtually gone.

It’s a symptom of progressivism to see the supposed “college educated” of today have become fierce proponents for government-regulated speech. But progressivism itself is not the underlying root cause. The cause itself can be found in the ideology known as liberalism, which has been carried to its logical and practical extreme — totalitarianism.

As James Burnham explained in his 1964 classic Suicide of the West, “Liberalism has always operated most naturally as a tendency of opposition to the prevailing order, to the status quo, the ancien régime, the Establishment in general or in its several parts.” Liberalism, continues Burnham, “has always stressed change, reform, the break with encrusted habit whether in the form of old ideas, old customs or old institutions. Thus liberalism has been and continues to be primarily negative in its impact on society.”

What is different today is that liberalism now controls all the powerful institutions of culture — from the media to education and everything in between — while at the same time it faces literally no opposition. The left controls the culture and given that political issues are often decided at the cultural level before they even reach the political realm, the opposition is almost always rendered defenseless.

Or in the case of college campuses, the opposition isn’t even permitted to make its case.

It is outright totalitarianism that is taking place today within American society, from the silencing of conservatives on college campuses to forcing Christian business owners to pay excessive fines and face prison sentences for holding true to their beliefs in traditional marriage. The nation has fractured into two separate Americas that continue to drift further and further apart, with half the nation seemingly convinced their rights stem from the government while the other from God.

The former seeks not only to control the latter, but to see to it that the latter is utterly destroyed. To accomplish this, liberalism functions as all totalitarian movements have functioned in the past by subjecting individuals to unbearable stress, conflict and crisis until each is broken.

Whether the means to do so are accomplished financially, spiritually, culturally, or psychologically matters little, as it always justifies the end. The end, of course, being the destruction of the will of each and every American so that liberalism can remake the individual from the ashes in which it has destroyed them.

Liberalism wants you to snap. It wants to challenge your sanity and destroy your belief system so that it can remold you in its image of dependency. First and foremost though, it must extinguish those institutions in which we hold dear. It is why, since his first day in office, Barack Obama has relentlessly attacked the cultural, moral and religious institutions that those of us on the right hold dear.

Yet Obama himself is not solely to blame, for he represents the logical extreme of liberalism. He is a symptom of the progressive creation and his rise to the pinnacle of power in this nation represented a turning point for the worse as the government has been infused with an ideology of totalitarianism. Take a look at any government agency functioning today and you’d be hard pressed to find just one that isn’t completely politicized into attacking the ideological opponents of progressivism.

In turn, you can do the same exact thing with our culture itself and you’ll find the same results. Wherever the progressives are in power, from the government to the culture to the academia and the media, the hatred of Western values dominates.

Popular discourse today sees the West in general as being “guilty of genocidal crimes against civilization,” for Western values seen through the lens of liberalism represents the “greatest repository of racism, sexism, xenophobia, antisemitism, fascism, and narcissism.” As the “Father of the New Left” Herbert Marcuse so eloquently put it, “American society is oppressive, evil and undeserving of loyalty.”

With this notion in mind, liberalism places a new emphasis on liberating all men and women from the “evil repression” and “tyrannical values” Western civilization was built upon. To bring this about, progressives have designed numerous strategies to discredit and smear the values that had forged and sustained the West for the past 2,000 years.

“Critical Theory,” writes Nelson Hultberg in Cultural Marxism: The Corruption of America, “was the first and most important of these strategies” as it was not only critical to discrediting capitalism but also social conditions of contemporary society and existing social institutions. Hultberg explains, “Under its auspices, every tradition of Western life was to be redefined as ‘prejudiced’ and ‘perverse.’ And these redefinitions were to be instilled into the social stream via devastating scholarly criticisms of all values such as family, marriage, property, individualism, patriotism, faith in God etc.”

Critical Theory precisely defines the tactics used by progressives today as they attack Christianity, capitalism, family, patriarchy, hierarchy, morality, tradition, loyalty and patriotism. It is this routine and consistent attack on any and all foundations of our society in which liberalism has destroyed our culture and advanced its totalitarian agenda.

The left, no matter what they call themself today, breeds the ideology the totalitarianism as every single proposed and forced through “reform” serves to reduce human personality to its most primitive levels and extinguish the highest, most complex and “God-like” aspects of human individuality. Even equality itself, while serving as a powerful appeal to the masses with its great promises of “each according to his need,” turns out to signify not equality of rights, of opportunities, and of external conditions, but equality of complete uniformity in thought and condition.

The total implementation of the principles espoused by liberalism deprives human life of individuality and simultaneously deprives life of its meaning and attraction. America isn’t at this point yet, but it is coming as reflected in a generation that is at best negligent, and at worst complicit in the march towards totalitarianism.

How do I know for certain this is where we are headed? Because what I’ve been calling progressive totalitarianism is what was once called socialism. And following the basic tendency of socialism, liberalism is hostile toward human personality not only as a category, but ultimately to its very existence. In the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, “Socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death.”

Socialism masquerading as progressivism is really totalitarianism that will inevitably lead to the total destruction of the American spirit and to a leveling of America into death.

 

When Is A Lame Duck So Lame That It Finally Stops Quacking?

At what point during his administration does a duck become lame?

While meeting in the Oval Office Wednesday for a photo op with Jordan’s King Abdullah, President Obama addressed that issue by taking a question concerning the nomination of a new Supreme Court justice before he leaves office. He spent nine luxurious minutes answering, taking yet another opportunity to lecture us at length on the Constitution and show us how he stands up for it every time that doing so will suit his political purposes. Lame duck or no, there was more quacking going on than in any given chapter of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

In true Alinsky-like form, Obama pointed his finger squarely at Republicans for causing further deterioration in his ability to make judicial appointments. It’s all their fault that such appointments become “simply an extension of our polarized politics.” He then tied this to the loss of credibility of the Court itself.

Who knew that “GOP” really stands for “Grand Old Polarizers”? As if the most polarizing President in history — I’d be happy to make that case — had nothing to do with this political reality.

Without mentioning it specifically (a smart move), he alluded to Joe Biden’s message to then-President George H. W. Bush in 1992, etched into history on videotape, that a nominee should not be put forward during an active Presidential campaign. Biden made it clear that the Senate Judiciary Committee “should seriously consider not scheduling confirmation hearings until after the political season is over.” Of course, he anticipated criticism over such a move — the accusation that they were just trying to “save a seat” for the Democrats. “But that would not be our intention,” he insisted.

I’ll pause for a moment while you double over laughing and dab your crying eyes.

Sometimes in our political discourse, there’s an irony so rich, a humor so intense, that it actually brings a bit of entertainment value to the passing parade of idiocy and frustration. But Obama knows good and well that this is much more than a show or a political game. He knows everything that’s at stake in his waning months in office, and he’ll pound like mad to carve his ideology into stone before heading off to his Hawaiian lair. Regardless of tradition, or the Constitution, or how the American people want to live their lives, the duck is lame when he says it is. As for Biden’s words from 1992, Obama had this to say:

“Senators say stuff all the time.”

So do lame duck Presidents, but that doesn’t mean we have to act on it.