Sunday, January 11, 2015

If You Want to Know What Free Community College Will Be Like, Take a Look at Your Free Healthcare

Is anybody else in this country sick and tired of being treated like an idiot by our government?  I am only asking the question because it seems that no matter what we do, Washington D.C. never changes its tactics.  After two presidential election cycles of massive spending, lies, blunders and embarrassment, last fall we sent the Obama Administration a clear message--ENOUGH!  This week, a new Senate was sworn in and whether or not they do a good job, we as Americans made ourselves heard:  We're tired of all this nonsense.  We've had it.

You would think that Washington would finally understand.  Apparently not.  On Thursday, Obama reverted back to a familiar pattern.  I am going to promise you all the free stuff you want.  Never mind the cost--somebody else is going to pay for it.  This has disturbingly the same ring as the 2008 and 2012 elections--the government is here to pay for everything for you.  All you have to do is vote in another big government liberal in 2016.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

For the next two days, Obama's newest promise, #FreeCommunityCollege was a trending hashtag on Twitter.  Suddenly, everyone is excited over the idea of the first two years of school being provided free. For every person who wants to go to college, for every parent who had their savings wiped out and will have a college age student in a few years, this one's for you.

Unfortunately, the truth is that virtually nothing in this life is free.  The air we breathe is free.  Sunrises and sunsets are free (although our view of them is not).  If we are Christians we believe salvation is free.  That's pretty much it. Everything else costs someone money.  If I have lunch with a friend at a posh downtown Dallas restaurant, and my friend picks up the check, that lunch is certainly not free--I just did not have to pay for it. If the owner of the restaurant is a close friend and he comps the check for me and my friend, the lunch still is not free--the owner paid for the food and venue and cost of the service. There is never a point at which my lunch becomes free--it is just a matter of who pays.  And as adults we know this, but unfortunately, as we saw in the case of "free" healthcare we don't care.  We really don't care how much something costs or who pays for it as long as the party doing the paying is not us.  So when Obama promised Americans free healthcare they all rushed down and voted for him--twice--blissfully aware that, just as with lunch, healthcare can never actually be free but the cost was going to be paid by someone else.  We were very happy to vote in a system that would transfer the cost of our healthcare from us to the American taxpayer--oh wait, that actually turned out to be us!  Or maybe we could transfer it to the those evil rich people--unfortunately that turned out to be us too.  Free was not really free, free was subsidized and those who did not get the subsidy had to pay ten times as much for a product that was substantially inferior.

Now it is 2015, and we all know this.  Unhappiness over Obamacare was one of the reasons for the massive shift in control of the Senate last fall.  But Obama is starting all over again with free education.  But just as with lunch and healthcare and the rest of life, education is not and cannot be "free".  It can only be subsidized.  And as we saw with healthcare, it cannot be subsidized for everyone--just a select few.  Obama says that he wants "free community college for those willing to work for it".  That is as big a lie as "if you like your doctor you can keep it."  The trending hashtag should be #Freesubsidizedcommunitycollegeforthosewhoqualifyforeverybodyelseitwillcostmuchmuchmore.  At least that would be honest, though admittedly hard to tweet.

I taught at a community college for four years after I received my master's degree, so this is a subject I know something about.  I have family who work in the community college systems.  There is a place for community colleges.  In the late 1980's and early 1990s when I was teaching, there were essentially three types of students who went to community colleges.  The first were kids straight out of high school who had been given three options by their parents--go to school, join the military or get a job.  These were by far the least motivated students.  Most of them started classes and dropped them, but continued to hang out in the halls so their parents did not know they weren't in school.  The second block was older returning students who were picking up some courses for a job.  On the Mexican border we had several mothers who took English classes so that they could understand their high school age children who only spoke English at home.  There were men in their late thirties and early forties who needed courses for their jobs.  Most of these people were good students and finished the classes diligently, but they were not on a degree plan.

The third block was people in their twenties who wanted to get a degree but were put off by the cost and some of the difficulties of going directly to the university.  Every year I would open my classes by asking each student why they were taking my class and what they hoped to get from it.  There were always a few who were taking the history classes at EPCC because they had a better chance of passing.  History classes at UTEP averaged about 200 students and were mainly taught by a Teaching Assistant who was usually a grad student.  To be certain, there was a professor with his or her name on the class roster, but the TA was the only person with whom the students had any real contact.  The TA did a lot of the grading There was really no way to get any assistance.  History classes at EPCC were much smaller--about 50 students per class and were taught by an instructor with a master's degree in his or her field.  We did the grading and we interacted with the students.  After credits became fully transferable from the community college system to any state college in Texas, the community college became a better option for students who were taking difficult classes and could not get help in a bigger university setting.  Plus, the courses cost much less.

Interestingly, nearly all the students I taught were receiving financial aid.  One of my inlaws got his Associates Degree through EPCC and paid his own tuition.  He was in and out really quickly on registration day because he paid his own way and the line to do that was quite short.  The line for the financial aid students wrapped around the building.  As long as students stayed in class and earned a decent grade, they received their financial aid.

I stopped teaching in 1993 and moved into the private sector, but I did revisit the community college systems.  I taught for a summer in 2006.  During my six years on the board of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce I became friends with the then president of El Paso Community College and attended programs at the campus.  I currently have family members employed by the Dallas Community College.  The model has not changed, but it has expanded. Today, many high schools offer programs that allow students with good grades to earn their last two years of high school and their first two years of community college in the same program.  Far from being less accessible, community college is actually more accessible than it was when I taught.  According to the Heritage Foundation, the average cost of a community college today in 2015 is $3800.00 a year.  That works out to a little over $300.00 a month.  For the student graduating this year who will not receive any help from Mom and Dad toward higher education, that figure is low enough so that he or she can work and pay for classes to earn a two year degree.  In Texas, those credits are fully transferable to any state university.  So conceivably, with a little planning, a student could pay $7600.00 for his first two years of college, and then transfer 100% of those credits to the University of Texas system and get a degree that could help him land a job.  It is an option that makes sense for working families.

If, however, community college becomes "free", that option will go away.  Whenever the government begins to subsidize anything for a select group, the price for everybody skyrockets.  So "free" community college will mean much higher tuitions for those who don't get the subsidy--just like Obamacare.  An option that allows young people to get a degree affordably is suddenly going to be a lot more expensive--out of reach of the private pay.  When the government starts tossing around the "F" word whatever they are subsidizing becomes really expensive.  Not only is it not "free"; it's also no longer "affordable".

The irony is that by their nature community colleges are heavily subsidized--through state governments, through federal grants, through private foundation grants, etc. Subsidies and grants pay for the entire system. This is just the federal government seeking more control--disguised as another freebie which in the end will have a huge price tag.  But as long as that price tag is being paid by somebody else, we are not supposed to care.

After everything we have already been through with Obamacare, with Dodd Frank, with the Obama phones, and all of the other "free" stuff over the last six years. I would like to think the American people are way too smart to fall for this again.  But then I look at the 2012 election, and I'm just not sure.  So what about it?  Are you tired of it yet?





 Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.


Friday, January 9, 2015

2015--The Year of Housing Change

The new year is off to an amazing start.  Only 9 days in, we are confronting yet another year of massive change.  Many of those changes are coming to the housing sector, and they will affect you whether you want to buy, sell, or merely refinance your home.

1. After months of speculation, yesterday Obama announced a .5% drop to FHA MIP.  This is an executive action order which does not have to go through Congress.  Of course, the stated purpose of increasing the premiums in the first place was to help FHA attain solvency, which the Administration says it has now achieved.  Regardless, this drop will make FHA a more desirable option for borrowers, and with new increased loan limits in many counties and dropping interest rates we can expect to see more borrowers and lenders choosing FHA over tougher to qualify for conventional loans.

2.  And speaking of tougher to qualify for...Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are implementing their new collateral underwriting system for appraisals on January 26th.  This new system will turn warnings into hard errors for appraisals submitted to Fannie Mae.  It is also going to make underwriters responsible for finding and verifying additional comps, which may result in a lot of delays getting appraisals approved and loans to the closing table.  

Although the powers that be seem to believe that an increasingly automated system for identifying comparables makes property valuation more secure, the truth is that only a qualified human can often really judge whether two properties are really comparable.  A custom built home with fixtures imported from Italy may be the same square footage as the high end track home that is one step above builder grade, but the properties are not actually comparable.  A trained appraiser knows that; a computer program does not.

It is going to be really interesting to see how this works out as the system is implemented on January 26th.  Will we see the normal pattern for real estate over the past six years--extreme paralyzing over-caution in the beginning followed by a loosening of standards later as underwriters get used to the new rules? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are supposed to interpret the new rules very differently from each other, creating yet another series of obstacles for lenders.  If FHA does not adopt similar rules, the new guidelines may  encourage more buyers to turn to FHA.  Time will tell.

3.  This is the HUGE one.  In August the CFPB is finally to going to combine the two most important forms in the mortgage world into one new monstrous form.  It seems impossible that it has already been five years since the 1 page, easy to understand Good Faith Estimate was morphed into a 3 page, difficult to understand Good Faith Estimate and the Truth in Lending became a contractual document which had to be  re-disclosed if the APR went up more than .125%.  In 2015 these two long, confusing forms will become one new long confusing form.  The HUD settlement statement is going away too; it will be replaced by a five page form which must be delivered to the buyer three days before closing.  Oh--and there won't be any more real estate closings after August 2015--after that date there are only "consummations."

To paraphrase Betty Davis in one of her most famous roles, "hang on to your hats; it's going to be a bumpy ride."



Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Best Gift Ever

As a child, I loved Christmas, as I think most children do.  To me, Christmas meant delicious food and toys.  Growing up in a large middle class family in the 1970's, we did not have extravagant gifts, but I remember many Christmases fondly.  There was the year that I received the baby doll in the pink blanket, and the year that I got the little record player that played Christmas songs on 45s.  One year, my brother received a set of plastic cowboys and Indians complete with plastic cows and horse corrals, and we could not wait to get up to start playing with them at the crack of dawn Christmas morning.

We always opened our presents on Christmas Eve, and then my mother would read the Christmas story to us from the Bible while we ate candy and treats.  It was the most wonderful day of the year.

I am reminded of that joy now as I purchase gifts for my nieces and nephews.  Their wish lists are a lot different than mine were since they are a lot more technologically savvy than I ever was--maybe than I still am--but the excitement over Christmas is the same.

It seems to me that as we get older, the Christmas spirit is a little harder to catch.  For those of us who are self-employed or commissioned, the holidays are an especially stressful time of year as we try to adjust to ever changing demands of an economy that does not want to cooperate. In 2014 I moved to the Dallas metroplex, took a new job while continuing to run my own media company and worked unimaginably long hours while attempting to make new contacts and friends and learn how to navigate a city of six million people.  It was joyous and stressful and wonderful and brutally tough--all at the same.

Add to this stress the normal stressors of packed malls, and packed streets and packed freeways--I did not know what traffic was until I found myself stuck for hours on 1-35--and the invariable stresses of work and finances, and it can all combine to make the most dedicated lover of Christmas throw up his or her hands and shout "Bah Humbug".

But it is at those moments that I force myself to take a deep breath and to remember that Christmas is still the most wonderful day ever.  Although my nephews and nieces would take exception to this, the best gift ever is not a video game, or a doll, or a toy, or a car or a vacation. This year the best gift ever is not even a new job or gas prices below $2.00 a gallon, although that does make my heart sing.  The best gift ever is the gift of Christmas itself, which reminds us that we always have hope and that miracles happen no matter how bleak the world may seem.  For those of us who are Christians, Christmas is a powerful reminder that God is with us and we don't have to fear the future, even if at times it looks scary.  It is a reminder that we are loved. "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17).  And it is a chance to express love and kindness in real terms to people around us and to those we are blessed to have love us in return.  And all of those things are priceless and worth celebrating.

Merry Christmas.
Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Don't Wait for the Next Election--Vote with Your Dollars Now

Last December I wrote a post entitled, Don't Wait for 2014, Vote with Your Dollars Now.  I wrote about my own experience of deciding to purchase my pathetically small number of Christmas candles at Hobby Lobby to support them as they fought against the government mandate that they pay for abortions.

I promised myself last December that as long as Hobby Lobby remained open, I would always patronize them at Christmas with whatever candles and Christmas lights I needed for the holiday season.  Honestly, when I made that promise I did not expect them to be open past mid-2014.  Although I wanted Hobby Lobby to win their case and I prayed that they would do so, after so many years of political disappointments I simply did not believe that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule that a business can make moral decisions with its dollars.

Of course, Hobby Lobby did prevail at SCOTUS and is very much alive and well.  And this, my first Christmas living in the Dallas metroplex, I drove to a very conveniently located Hobby Lobby and made my purchases.  The dollar amount was small, but the commitment to support this business and others like it that stand for freedom was important.

In that spirit, I want to take this moment, now that the holiday shopping season is in full swing, to remind all freedom loving Americans that where we spend our dollars does matter.  The society we fight to preserve is a free enterprise society which promotes personal freedom and responsibility allows people to find success beyond their wildest dreams.  And yet, so often when it is time to spend our money we forget that our dollars are the most important ballot we will ever hold.

As conservatives we just won a historic election, which has bought our country some time as we attempt to undo the massive damage that big government policies have done.  Our fight is not over; it is just beginning.  And the only reason we are still in this fight is because of companies who had the money and will to stand up to the government--companies like Hobby Lobby who were willing to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend their right to run their own business according to the dictates of their own conscience. Each victory has been a victory for freedom that ultimately made the victory one month ago possible.

Voting with our dollars does not have to mean a huge lifestyle change--it does not mean boycotting certain companies or products or making grand, sweeping promises we can't or won't keep.  We can vote in simple decisions--by choosing to give to charities that actually support conservative goals and values rather than those that are merely smokescreens funneling money to causes we find repugnant--yes Susan G. Koman Foundation, I'm talking about you.  In October I was making a purchase when the twenty-something clerk at the store asked me if I would like to donate some money to Koman.  When I politely declined she rolled her eyes as if to say that I was clearly a bad person who didn't care whether women got cancer.  I did not have time to explain to her that I cannot donate to Susan G. Koman because as a woman and a Christian conservative I support the health and well being of all women--including pre-born women who will be killed thanks to the organization's donations to Planned Parenthood.  I don't support abortion, so I don't give to Susan G. Koman.  Plain and simple. 

I do support free enterprise, freedom of speech and entrepreneurship; therefore, I buy my candles at Hobby Lobby.  I don't make all of my purchases based on a company's political views, but when I am able to do so, I support those organizations who support the liberties that we hold dear. I have found that the more consciously I evaluate WHERE I spend my money the easier it is to do so.  I invite all of you to do the same.  Through our spending we can send an even more powerful message than we can with our votes. 

Don't wait for the next election 2 years from now.  Make an impact in your day-to-day life.  You will be surprised at the changes you will see.

 Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Give Thanks

Every Thanksgiving for as many years as I can remember, my mother had a tradition at Thanksgiving dinner. After my father prayed over the food, my mother asked each of us to name one thing that had happened in the last year that we were thankful for. As I got older, knowing that I would have to state what I was grateful for, I started thinking about the year a couple of weeks in advance of the holiday, and I found that even in difficult years, I had a lot to be thankful for. My mother's tradition, which she continues to this day, has helped me to really think about the meaning of Thanksgiving each year.

It seems almost inconceivable that it has been an entire year since I last wrote my Thanksgiving post.  When I wrote the post for 2013, the world looked bleak--in fact I had to really think about what I was grateful for after such a tough year. 2014 has been a much better year.  I am living in a city where I wanted to live since I was eighteen years old and and working with a great group of people.  Frontier 2000 Media Group is now four and half years old, has published a dozen titles and is launching new projects next year.  And I see real hope for our country.  So in that spirit, I record a few things that we can be thankful for this year.

1.  The Tea Party is alive and well (along with the desire for freedom and liberty that gave birth to it.)  In August I was able to attend the Americans for Prosperity national conference here in Dallas.  When I saw the enthusiasm of the three thousand Americans of all ages, races and ethnicities, many of whom had traveled a long distance to attend this event (some from as far away as Alaska), I was genuinely encouraged.

Although the media has long tried to pretend that the Tea Party is nothing more than a phony "astro-turf" movement, the mid-term elections show something quite different.  Americans who care about the size and growth of government are making their voices heard and we are making a difference.

2.  We are getting the message out!  Last year I wrote about my initial disappointment when Jim DeMint announced he was leaving the Senate to take over the Heritage Foundation.  He explained that we had lost in 2012 because as conservatives we had failed to communicate our message effectively--the message that small government and individual liberty and responsibility provide a better way of life for all Americans.  But two years later, the hard work of communicating that message, through blogs, through new media outlets, social media and face to face interactions, is paying off.  Heritage played a part, as did Breitbart, The Right Scoop, Bill Whittle, and countless others who worked tirelessly to tell Americans the truth about government.  Our very own Liberty Project grew this year from just a few hundred likes on Facebook to over 6000.  Together all of us are sharing our message and Americans are starting to listen.

3. We now have the Senate and with that prize we have the opportunity to bring some real "hope and change" to our government.  The 2014 elections represented a huge opportunity for conservatives to bring our ideas to the table and implement them.  We cannot take this victory or the opportunity and responsibility it affords lightly.  We MUST demonstrate leadership and positive change over the next two years.  We MUST be willing to override the president and stand up to his ever-growing abuses of power.  If we fail, we won't get another chance.  We have a huge job ahead of us and part of that job includes holding our elected representatives responsible for doing the job we have entrusted to them.  We must shrink government and empower the private sector.  We must stop persecuting business. And we must encourage Americans to get back into the workforce (after we create a climate where there is actually a workforce to get back in
to.)

4. Wherever we are in this country and in our lives, we are still alive, and we are not alone! "Don't worry about things--food, drink and clothes. For you already have life and a body--and they are more important than what to eat and what to wear. Look at the birds! They don't worry about what to eat--they don't need to sow or reap or store up food--for your heavenly Father feeds them...And why worry about your clothes? Look at the field lilies! They don't worry about theirs. Yet King Solomon in all his glory was not clothed as beautifully as they. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, won't He more surely care for you....So don't be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time." (Matthew 6: 25-34 TLB)

Now that's something we can be thankful for every day! Happy Thanksgiving.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Isis, Ebola and the 2014 Elections: Do You Want To See Something Really Scary?

This marks the fifth annual edition of "Do you want to see something really scary?" The recurring title of this post is, of course, a tribute to Twilight Zone--the movie. I did not see it--my mother was extremely strict and never allowed us to watch horror movies or even light comedy containing anything that smacked of the occult. But I remember my father coming back from a trip and telling us that he had been driving with his nephew on a dark, wood-lined road when his nephew told about the scene from Twilight Zone where a set of characters are in a car at night trying to scare each other. Finally, one of them says to the driver of the car, "Do you want to see something really scary?" When his friend agrees, he turns his face away, and when he turns back he has become a monster who kills the young man who is driving.

Over the past four years that I have been writing this post, I have used it to highlight the scary problems in our political world.  And every year there is more and more to fear.  The real life events taking place in our country today are worse than any scary film plot ever hatched in the mind of any Hollywood producer.

1. ISIS/Terrorism:  Just two years after Obama and Joe Biden proudly proclaimed that "Osama bin Laden is dead and GM is alive" we are now dealing with unprecedented terrorism.  This new brand of terrorism does not need a unifying leader like bin Laden to unleash havoc on the world.  It is like the mythical Hydra--when one head is cut off, two more appear in its place.  The attacks this week in Canada and in New York City highlight the very real problem created by a soft, squishy foreign policy with regard to radical Islam.  We are now experiencing more and more isolated attacks against individuals in the name of Allah.

Add to that the fact that not only is the Obama Administration not serious about stopping ISIS, they are apparently helping to supply them through inadvertent food and weapons drops, and you have a mess of epic proportions. Obama not only has not stopped terrorism--he has emboldened our enemies on a level we have never before experienced.  He has essentially taken the fight against Islam from the desert sands of Iraq to our own shores and made each of us a potential target and a potential combatant.  The recent case of the young man in Oklahoma who beheaded his co-worker before being shot by the company's owner highlights that no part of the country is safe and no one, young or old, is off limits.

2. Ebola:  Living in Dallas I was confronted daily with news reports of Thomas Duncan and the nurses who were infected while caring for him--thankfully they appear to be recovering.  I also heard all of the conspiracy theories that Ebola has been brought here on purpose by our government to destroy us.  Regardless of whether you believe Ebola patients are being allowed in here intentionally, I think all of us will agree that the Ebola crisis is at best another example of gross mismanagement.  Individual schools are now denying applicants from Ebola-stricken nations while the federal government tries to figure out whether we should have a no-fly list. The U.S. government's primary responsibility should be to protect American citizens and to act in the best interest of the American people. What is in our best interests is restricting travel and access and quarantining those from infected nations--rather than worrying about being culturally sensitive we need to be working to curtail the spread of this disease.

At the same time, the Obama Administration is sending thousands of our young men and women from the military into infected areas. We all worry when our troops go overseas to fight human enemies, though we all understand that this is a necessary part of our existence and of military life.  But to send men and women overseas to combat diseases which they have neither the training nor experience to fight is irresponsible and corrupt.  We owe our troops more than to risk sacrificing their lives to battle a disease with no cure on a foreign continent.  The fact that our government is defending this decision is unthinkable.

3. The 2014 elections:  We have a real chance to see the GOP take control of the Senate this year.  I keep seeing trending hashtags with catchy slogans such as #stoptheGOP as Democrats vent because their candidates are in tight races.  Right now polls look good for a solid win in the next two weeks, and every time the president talks, our chances improve.  Yesterday he was on Al Sharpton's radio show reminding the nation that although Democrat Senators and Congressional Representatives may be distancing themselves from him now, they all support all of his policies and will vote with him faithfully.  (Obama's ongoing rhetoric reminding the nation that this election is really all about him and his policies almost begs the question, "Are you actually trying to lose or are you just really this narcissistic and clueless.")  In Texas, Wendy Davis' campaign has devolved in a vicious mockery of current attorney-general Greg Abbott's disabilities.  In spite of attempts to derail them, our state's voter ID laws have been allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to stay in place for this election cycle.  For the first time in a long time, we have real hope.

But here's the deal--none of that matters if every last one of us does not get out this Fall and vote.  I don't normally agree with Obama about anything, but he is right about this.  All of these politicians who are pretending they have never heard of Barack Obama will go right back to voting the party line and supporting his every whim if they are re-elected.  The amnesty that he delayed until after the election will go into place as soon as Harry Reid is safely back in as Senate Majority Leader.  Obamacare's small business provisions are going to go into effect next year and those provisions are going to make it even more difficult for the over 90 million unemployed Americans to return to work. The war on coal and Obama's draconian rules aimed at stopping man-made climate change are just in their infancy; they are about to come to adulthood in radical ways. The policies that have wreaked havoc on this nation--policies that endanger our civil liberties, our freedom, our prosperity, our security and our very sovereignty will continue on unhampered unless on November 4th we are willing as a nation to stand up and say to the president, "You are right--for once.  This election is all about you and your policies.  We know that your lackeys support you unwaveringly and we have had enough.  It's time for some real hope and change and time for Harry Reid and his liberal cronies to go find a new job."

If enough of us are willing to do that on November 4th, we can awaken on November 5th to a country that is still badly damaged but a country with hope of recovery.  The road back is going to be long and difficult, but if we don't start making changes to this country's leadership today, there will be no road back.  If Harry Reid keeps his job, we can expect more of what we have already had for the last six years, plus two years of set up to elect yet another leftist idealogue as President so that we as a nation can continue careening further and further away from the nation we have been--the land of the free and the home of the brave--and more and more into a socialist dystopian hell.  Now that's a really scary thought.

Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The People's Climate March Against U.S. Prosperity and Freedom

Today the streets of New York City were filled with hundreds of thousands of people participating in the people's climate march.  I understand that UN Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, who has made international legislation to regulation climate change a top priority, was on hand.  Actor Leo DiCaprio marched, as did environmentalists and anti-capitalists from all over the world.  Ironically, these earth lovers left the city streets where they gathered littered with garbage--a testament to the fact that they are marching primarily AGAINST capitalism and the American way of life rather than FOR nature.

The People's Climate March coincides with the UN's climate change summit in New York.  Obama has announced that he supports the UN initiatives to control climate through wealth redistribution.  In fact, since Obama knows that in the current political climate he has little chance of getting a federal climate change bill passed, and since he is limited through what he can do only through draconian regulations, he is counting on the UN to do what he cannot.

The very thought that human beings can determine the weather patterns used to be the subject of bad jokes--"Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody ever does anything about it. " Now climate is being used an excuse to advance a radical environmental agenda which is simply old-time Marxism repackaged and renamed.

As the UN and the Obama Administration work to further these goals, it is vitally important that every American fully understand what is at stake.  This is not about cleaning up the environment or saving the planet for our kids--it is about advancing the United Nation's radical environmental Agenda 21 and destroying Western Civilization.

In 1992, the United Nation's Earth Summit drafted a policy document called Agenda 21 which calls for "a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced--a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources...This shift will demand a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level."

For the past twenty-two years, all of us have experienced almost daily indoctrination into global environmentalism and "sustainability" as this "profound reorientation of human society" works its way into our daily lives.

To really understand what the global environmental movement is doing, we need to accept that all of us who live in wealthy developed nations, and particularly everyone in the U.S., are the enemy as far as the U.N and environmentalists are concerned.  The major threat to the world's survival is Western affluence and Western lifestyles. According to environmentalists, we produce too much, and we consume too much because of economic systems which foster prosperity. This prosperity and our levels of consumption and production cause other nations to want to emulate us and to produce and consume at equal levels. But this aspiration for a better life is "unsustainable" and will lead to global disaster, according to climate change proponents. The only solution to this problem is to reduce the living standards of Western nations to the levels of third world countries so that all of the world is in an equal state of misery.

In 2012, the Earth Summit and Agenda 21 had a twentieth anniversary party in Rio de Janeiro where the U.N. reaffirmed its dedication to global environmentalism in a new document called The Future We Want.

The Future We Want is a 21st century message with 21st century messaging. It has its own Twitter hashtag--#futurewewant--and links to live streaming UN web TV with messages from the current Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, covering everything from his zero hunger challenge to the eradication of poverty worldwide to his goals for a more sustainable future. Last year, China asked 230 of its citizens to participate in a video titled, "The Future We Want 2032" which they stated their dreams for the next two decades.

I really encourage all Americans to watch this short film, 2032: The Future We Want, which includes young Chinese people expressing hope for a future in which national boundaries no longer exist and they are able to speak Chinese with people from all over the world.  The film takes on special significance when we recognize that China's one-child policies are a model for the global environmental movement and that a primary goal of the "sustainable" movement is to transition China to the world's premier economy.

Here in the U.S., Agenda 21 is being implemented locally, in cities and towns across America that have joined ICLEI.  However, it is also being implemented through mandates from the EPA, the USDA, various grant programs which provide funds for "smart growth" and executive orders signed by President Obama. This piecemeal enactment is necessary because we have failed to pass a federal climate change bill which would allow proponents of climate change legislation a huge framework in which to enact all of the elements at once. Agenda 21 calls for each of the 177 countries which signed onto the treaty to enact a federal bill implementing its goals.

Although there are hundreds of U.N. programs linked in some way to climate change and Agenda 21, I have reduced the U.N.'s policies down to five basic stages of implementation. Many of these are happening simultaneously.

Stage One--Control of Housing and Transportation

This stage is being implemented through "Smart Growth" and Smart Code which rezones areas of cities to mandate small, urban mixed-use housing with retail on the bottom of buildings and residents packed into tiny housing over the stores.  Although Smart Growth advances on a local level, the Obama Administration is openly using all of the tools at its disposal to get rid of suburbs and "Manhattanize" America.  Closely related to this is an increased emphasis on public transportation through grants and funding designed to increase the usage of public transportation while the EPA and the government raise fuel efficiency standards on cars that will price lower-income people out of cars  totally. Also closely related is higher energy prices which make driving automobiles unaffordable--for example, refusing to approve the Keystone Pipeline.  Obama's "war on coal" will increase the cost of heating and cooling single family homes to the point where they are no longer cost effective.  These policies, combined with new restrictions on mortgage credit which take effect in January of 2014, high property taxes produced by urban redevelopment projects, and high housing costs produced by land rationing, will all serve to move people out of individual housing and into tightly packed "sustainable" human settlements.  A primary goal of Agenda 21 is the abolition of all private property, and getting people out of houses is key to the accomplishment of that goal.

Stage Two: Global Arms Control and Disarmament

This stage is essential because of potential fallout from the remaining three stages. It is no accident that Obama began his second term by demanding new gun control measures and a national gun registry. On an international front, he is also insisting that we reduce our nuclear arsenal even as other nations like South Korea and Iran are working to develop their own nuclear weapons.  Last month the U.N. announced that it was Iran's "turn" to chair the nuclear disarmament conference.  In an ironic twist worthy of the world's great literature, the treaty that is supposed to protect the civilized world from "rogue nations" is being overseen by the leader of one of the most dangerous nations on the planet.  But Obama is a "citizen of the world" and he understands that the decline of the U.S. is necessary to the accomplishment of the U.N.'s greater goals, so he does not mind crippling the defenses of our nation or our citizens.  The weaker we are, the better


Stage Three--Control of Food Production and Agriculture
"Sustainable" agriculture and food rationing is being preached everywhere right now. In a very misleading ad, ConAgra Foods is currently implying that 1 in 5 children in the United States is hungry.  According to the USDA, 1 in 5 American children is "food insecure" without hunger or threat of hunger--which means that their families are concerned about the family finances as it relates to food. Only just over 1% of children is hungry, according to the USDA. One in three American children is obese--which in the doublespeak world of global environmentalism is actually the same thing as being hungry. All of this propaganda is being pushed out to persuade Americans that we need to give up our high output, high consumption ways of producing food in exchange for "sustainable" farming systems where we will only consume food that is grown locally and is in season.  This goes back to the theory of over consumption and over production that I discussed at the beginning of this post.  Current food systems produce plenty of food, but those methods are "unsustainable."  As Babtune Osotimehin, a Nigerian doctor serving as the executive director of the UNFPA, said a few weeks ago at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, "A homeless person in Denmark actually consumes more than a family of six in Tanzania." And since the biggest problem that the world is facing now is that "every young person who grows up in Tanzania wants to drive an SUV" the solution is to ration and create scarcity until all of us are starving, rather than to try to lift up the standards of farming in Tanzania so that they can be better nourished.
The U.N.'s Zero Hunger Campaign is the newest program dedicated to ending over-consumption and food waste.  On June 5, for World Environment Day, U.N. officials asked people worldwide to pledge to reduce their own food consumption. I only hope that everyone who signed the pledge understands what they are really signing on for and the profound and dire consequences of trading systems of food production which have historically produced an abundance of food for systems which have historically produced famine and starvation.

Stage Four--Worldwide Population Control

There is a reason that when President Obama spoke at the Planned Parenthood Conference he invoked God's blessing on them.  The global environmental movement says that the world cannot support more than between 1 and 2 billion people.  This is one reason that China is heralded as a hero in the Globalist New World Order.  Their "one child policy" combined with forced abortions makes them perfect country for other nations to pattern themselves after.
Ted Turner, founder of CNN, has said that if we do not reduce the world's population, within 30 or 40 years the planet will be eight degrees hotter, and all of the people left on it will be cannibals.  According to Turner, we MUST reduce the population of the world to prevent this. Turner says this can be done voluntarily, just as it is in China.
Of course, China's policies are not voluntary. Last year China made international headlines for the forced abortion of a young married woman who already had a child but had decided she wanted another one. Her dead baby was laid beside her in the hospital bed where she was recovering, and the photos of her lying next to her forcibly aborted child soon went viral and resulted in three Chinese officials being fired.

Yet, at the Women Deliver Conference a few weeks ago,  Princeton professor Peter Singer advocated new policies where women are not allowed to have children for the good of the environment.  Singer maintains that even with more reproductive choices and family planning, too many women are choosing to have children, and we are entering a new era in which women's reproductive rights can no longer be considered "fundamental".

Maurice Strong, chair of the Earth Summit in 1992, gave an interview to the BBC in the 1970's in which he predicted that in the future people will have to receive licenses from the government in order to be allowed to reproduce.

Stage Five--Global Governance
Speaking on a panel at the Women Deliver Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Kavita Ramdas, an Indian representative of the Ford Foundation, said that people must be forced to make better choices for the environment.  "You force it...you can force women to have less children, you can force people to consume less."  But the problem with "forcing" people to do what they don't want is that this is incompatible with Western ideals of democracy in which politicians who try to force unpopular agendas typically find themselves out of a job.

To achieve the massive restructuring of the world demanded by global environmentalists, we have to get rid of pesky documents such as the U.S. Constitution which grant individual rights and freedoms as well as democratically-elected forms of government.

Global environmentalists don't really care if the science behind their programs is debunked as long as they can bring in this new system of global governance to correct all of the inequities of the world and create a new world order.

As 1992 Earth Summit chair Maurice Strong has famously stated, "We may get to the point where the only way to save the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse."  His sentiments were echoed by former Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev in 1996, "The threat of environmental crisis will be the international disaster key to unlock the New World Order."

While the 1992 Earth Summit treaty was never ratified by the U.S. Senate, making it only a soft treaty and basically unenforceable, the Obama Administration is looking for a way to sign a new binding treaty which will force the U.S. to comply with the massive economic and lifestyle changes Agenda 21 requires.  And they are looking for a way to do that without Senate ratification, something that has never before been accomplished.  The Obama Administration believes that they have found a loophole that will allow them to unilaterally commit the U.S. to new carbon emission standards without any Congressional oversight.  If they can accomplish this, the Obama Administration will have finally accomplished its goal of completing remaking every aspect of American society with one stroke of a pen.

It is time for Americans to wake up and understand that the global environmentalist movement is not about science--it is about crashing centuries of Western civilization, freedom and democracy and remaking the world into a destitute Hell managed by a global, centralized government of elites.  The very people who are selling us this bunk know that they are scaring us into abandoning freedom, prosperity and our way of life in exchange for poverty, misery and slavery.  Shame on us if we sit by and let them succeed.


Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her novel, The Planner, about an out of control, environmentally-driven federal government implementing Agenda 21, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at http://www.frontier2000.net.



Download The Planner Free this weekend (through Monday September 29, to see how Agenda 21 plays out in the life of one American family.