Monday, December 23, 2013

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, 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. This is my 16th Christmas self-employed and it seems that every year there is additional stress at the holidays. This year the stress has come from selling my office building which housed our company for 10 and a half years. Our final day here will be December 30th. I have spent the month of December packing a decade of experiences and memories into cardboard boxes and looking back at all we accomplished here. As I look in 2014 I see the likelihood of relocating to a new city and starting a new life--a prospect which is filled with both opportunity and difficulties.

Add to this stress the normal stressors of packed malls, packed streets--I work relatively close to a major shopping mall so traffic can be a real headache--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.  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


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Don't Wait for 2014; Vote with Your Dollars Now

Last night I kept a year-old promise. Last year when Hobby Lobby began its battle to uphold the family-owned business' Christian values by battling the contraceptive mandate of Obamacare, I mentally promised that if the company were still open at Christmas 2013, I would buy my Christmas candles there rather than at one of their competitors. Our Christmas decorations involve a lot of pieces that require candles, so every year after we set out the decorations at the office and the house I inventory the candle supply and go pick up whatever we need at one of the stores nearby.

I never shop at Hobby Lobby. It's not that I don't like the store or that they are inconveniently located--actually there is a large store that is located pretty much on my way home and sits directly next to the Sam's Club that I frequent. I have never had any sort of a problem with Hobby Lobby--it's just simply that I never think about purchasing anything from them. I am singularly untalented at any type of crafts projects--I can't arrange flowers; I don't have any hobbies; so in the past when I have heard the name I have dismissed it as a merchant for somebody else. I have bought my candles at a store where I can pick up lipstick and a frozen turkey on the same trip.

This year is different. Hobby Lobby has been embroiled in a year long battle that threatens their very existence. They are fighting for a basic right that affects all of us--the right of Christian business owners, and actually all business owners of all faiths, to run their own companies in a manner that is consistent with their own values and beliefs. In spite of what President Obama thinks, those who own businesses in this country DID build them--through years of hard work and thousands of hours of toil. To have the government endanger a business through regulations that challenge the faith of the business owner is unthinkable. (In my opinion, to have the government destroy businesses through regulation, as this Administration has consistently done for the past five years, is unthinkable under any circumstances.)

So last night I trekked over to Hobby Lobby. Since the closure of my own business of fifteen years last April 1, 2013 has been an extremely difficult year for me, so my purchase was a meagerly small one, but I did it to make a statement. I had very little to spend, and I spent very little, but what I spent I spent there. My purchase alone will not help the Green family with their legal battles--a legal battle that should be completely unnecessary if it were not for this badly-written, poorly thrown together hodgepodge of a law that should never have been passed in the first place. I heard last year that there are an estimated thirty million Teaparty evangelicals in the United States. If all of us took our candle and decorative item budgets to Hobby Lobby this Christmas, that would actually would make a difference.

I shopped at Hobby Lobby last night for another reason also. I am very involved with various conservative sites. I spend time each week on Freedom Works and The TeaParty Community A few months ago Joyce and I started a Facebook page called The Liberty Project, where we share information from various conservative sites after a friend at church complained that she did not have time to pick through all of the information that was coming to her email every day. The Liberty Project is designed to provide insight into the key issues happening daily. I spend about an hour on Twitter every day on the The Liberty Project's Twitter @thelibertyproj, my own account @alexandraswann, and our media company account @Frontier_2000. I was on Twitter when #StandwithRand was the number 1 trending hashtag, and I tweeted for Ted Cruz during his 21 hour floor speech. Through all of this social networking I see building anticipation of the 2014 Congressional Elections. As we have watched the abysmal roll out of Obamacare followed by mounds of lies and excuses, we have seen our hopes surge. But it occurs to me that we who are conservatives, and maybe particularly those of us who are Christian conservatives (the values voters), can be doing something right now that can make an impact for our nation.

This year I have begun to think much more seriously about WHERE I spend my money. So much of the reason that the U.S. is in the mess that it is is due to cronyism. Corporations take our hard-earned dollars and use them to support candidates who are destroying our freedoms and our way of life. International non-profits do the same thing. The first person who told me that the Susan G. Koman foundation was funding Planned Parenthood was my brother Stefan. He went to an event and looked through a pamphlet that listed Planned Parenthood as an organization they supported. He never gave them a dime of assistance again and I haven't either. How many of the charitable contributions that we make to assist the needy and those in distress are actually being funneled to causes that we find repugnant?

Now, with the Christmas shopping season in full swing, is actually a good opportunity to think about where we are spending the money. I'm not talking about boycotts, although those have been effective for the AFA. I am not talking about making hard and fast rules that we can never break. For each person this is going to be a very personal decision based on your own values and priorities. I recently reviewed a list of the campaign donations of major U.S. companies and was surprised to discover that Home Depot gives a disproportionately high level of their donations to the GOP in spite of their well-known promotion of same sex lifestyles. I personally do a lot of business with Amazon although I disagree with the politics of Jeff Bezos, the CEO. I have a Facebook page although I strongly disagree with Mark Zuckerberg. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, you can't live in this world without interacting with and being around people with whom you disagree.

But where I am able to support a company that is defending the values of this nation, I am going to do so, even if it means making an extra trip or going out of my way. In the U.S. profit is a powerful indicator of public opinion. We don't have to wait until next fall to have an impact. We can start having one right now.

Through December 6th, The Planner, Alexandra's novel about the real cost of big government, is on sale for just 99 cents on Kindle.

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013

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.

For many of us, 2013 has been an exceptionally tough year. Last Thanksgiving, as I looked at 2013 knowing that Obama had been re-elected and there was no chance of stopping the onslaught of new regulations which would--and did--close my mortgage company of fifteen years, I had very little hope. In fact, 2013 turned out to be a brutal year, for me and for a lot of other people. With 90 million unemployed and underemployed Americans and the lowest participation in the workforce in decades, it might be very easy for a lot of us to focus on the problems rather than our blessings. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving I have compiled a list of some items for which I personally am grateful.

1. Obamacare is now in serious danger. After years of warnings that Obamacare would spike premiums, raise the cost of health care, and limit access to good medical care for millions of Americans, the whole nation is now having to admit what we have known all along. Finally even the mainstream media is starting to line up against this mess--the new issue of Time Magazine is featuring a realistic portrayal of the long-term consequences of President Obama's signature law. In addition to the five million people who have lost their individual plans, there are as many as 100 million more Americans who stand to lose their employer-sponsored health plans next year.

Don't misunderstand--I am not glad that people are losing their health coverage. But I am glad that this nation is finally waking up to the real-world consequences of socialist big government. The truth is that Obamacare is desolating the U.S. economy. It is transforming Americans into a nation of part-time and temporary workers with no hope of bettering their situations. Unfortunately, most Americans overlooked the obvious problems with this law until they could see how it was going to personally affect them. Now, with Obamacare's popularity at just 31%, we might have a real chance for a full repeal, and that could turn around our entire economy.

2. The captain is sinking with his ship. None of President Obama's scandals or leadership failures has ever stuck in the past, but it is really hard to run away from a piece of legislation that in popular usage bears your name. The epic failure of the roll out of Obamacare has exposed in embarrassing detail just how out of touch and removed from reality President Obama really is. As his personal approval tanks along with approval for his law, he is going to have a much harder time steam rolling through other massive pieces of big government legislation, such as amnesty and gun control. The more weakened he is personally, the less damage he is able to do to the country.

3. For the first time in a long time we have a good number of solid, true conservatives in and out of government who are standing on principle fighting for the Constitution and smaller government. I am very encouraged by the work of Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah who have stood up against this government's most egregious abuses without fear or apology. And now there are others--Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, for instance. My own Congressional representative, Congressman Steve Pearce of New Mexico, is one of the lesser known, unsung heroes of the conservative movement. We have a solid block of conservatives who are willing to face ridicule and criticism and fight for the Constitution and that is something for which I, personally, am very thankful.

Not all of the champions of conservatism are in government. When Jim DeMint announced last December that he was leaving the Senate to take over leadership of the Heritage Foundation, I was depressed. DeMint was, for a long time, a lone voice for conservatism in the Senate, and I was sure that without him there would be no one at all to stand up for conservative values (a fear which proved to be completely unfounded.) While I agreed with his assertion that we lost the 2012 elections because we had failed to properly articulate our message to the American people, I did not believe that DeMint would be able to "sell" Americans on conservative values. I was wrong. Under DeMint's leadership, the Heritage Foundation's presence has grown dramatically. Some of this growth is easy to measure--Heritage has gained more than half a million new followers on Facebook this year. I share their material every morning and I can see that through a steady production of posters, pictures, videos and blogs, DeMint is explaining, clearly and concisely, why freedom is preferable to socialism, why small government is preferable to Big Brother, and how Americans can once again be exceptional. DeMint is a powerful reminder that one person who is completely focused can make an enormous difference. He is also a reminder that conservative principles DO make sense because they work in the real world--we just have to go out and share our message with everyone around us.

4. 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

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Friday, November 15, 2013

A Whole Drawer Full of Good Ideas--That Don't Work

My brother Chris has been on his job for over twenty years. For at least a decade of that time he has worked in management. He worked his way up from an entry-level photo journalist when he was nineteen years old to an operations manager of the top television station in El Paso with a very simple philosophy--a manager should know the jobs of those he manages. He was able to train news photographers because he had been a news photographer. He was able to manage IT because he has worked in IT. When he took over management of master control, he spent hours running master control himself so that he knew what the job entailed. As he explained to me this last weekend, this approach to management has multiple benefits--one of which being that he is able to "fill in" in case of staff shortages--but the primary benefit is that when one of his employees comes to him with a story about why something is not working or why a deadline has been missed or what they need to do to fix a problem, he knows immediately whether they are being honest or merely making up some excuse. He has the hands-on experience to dissect excuses and to determine whether a particular story is the truth.

Yesterday as I watched President Obama stumble through that painful presser with a series of apologies and excuses (you know it's really bad when ABC News describes the president as "deflated"), I was reminded of the value of my brother's words. President Obama started out by assuring us over and over and over that everyone who had liked their insurance policy and doctor could keep them; more recently, he and his surrogates also promised that the disastrous website would be fixed by the end of November. Yesterday he finally admitted that neither of those promises was true--as of yesterday he says that the website will be working substantially better on November 30 than it was on October 1st, which even POTUS admits is a very "low bar" and that a year from now it should be working still better. As for the Americans who lost their coverage, he proposes an administrative fix to allow insurance companies to continue to sell the plans that don't conform to the Affordable Care Act for an additional year.

As experts immediately pointed out, the problem with these cancelled policies is just not that simple. Insurance companies have already begun cancelling these policies in order to comply with the ACA--the people who have been dropped are not going to be able to just turn around and go back on. What Obama really did was punt--he left it up to the insurance commissioners in each state to determine whether they would allow companies in their individual states to continue to sell these policies for another year. Within hours of his comments, Washington State Insurance Commission Mike Kreidler had announced that his state will not provide cover for the White House by allowing the continued sale of these policies because to do so is not fair to the insurance companies in the state. (The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has also said that the fix will not work.) And, of course, Obama said nothing about the very real issue of potential increases in premiums for policies that are allowed to continue in effect.

Even Huffington Post led with an article about the intense criticism of Obama's demeanor, his apologies, and his approach to fixing this mess. The real problem with Obama's policies--other than the fact that he leans slightly to the left of Karl Marx--is that he has no practical experience whatsoever, and it is really starting to show. One reason he becomes so "deflated" when faced with problems like the growing backlash over his signature health care law is that he has never solved any problems. He went from being a "community organizer" and cheerleader of all things socialist to having to try to implement his ideas in the real world. Now he is finding out that all of that liberal theory doesn't work out so well in real life, and he is at a complete loss as to what to do next.

Just over a week ago, Obama made a speech in which he said that he wanted the GOP to get to work on the other items on his agenda--immigration reform, climate change, etc. and that if they did not do so he was going to start implementing his ideas through executive order. Saying that his Administration has a "whole drawer full of good ideas", some of which he has the power to implement on his own, he threatened to circumvent Congress wherever he can. Yesterday's attempted "fix" was one such circumvention. Obama is still thinking and talking like an academic who only has to propose theories that may never get tested in real world situations. His "drawer full of good ideas" is not unlike a "pocket full of miracles". In a perfect utopia--what my mother always described as "the land of chocolate soldiers and wax lips" everyone can have health insurance that works perfectly; a university education can be free to all and all can benefit from such an education equally and tap their fullest potential to "be all that they can be"; and all energy can be produced by an endless supply of solar power. In utopia, birds are not killed by windmills and solar panels; in utopia, declaring war on coal does not lead to increased unemployment in coal-producing states and increased energy costs nationwide;  in utopia, quantitative easing does not cause inflation so that low interest rates which benefit Wall Street lead in turn to higher prices on everything else which elevate costs for average Americans. In utopia Americans don't need to borrow money for mortgages so when leftest ideologues like Elizabeth Warren help to craft bills like Dodd Frank and agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which constrict lending and the flow of money there are no adverse consequences. In utopia, good ideas abound because they don't have to face the litmus test of real world problems.

In real life, entitlements discourage personal initiative; artificially low interest rates DO cause inflation; restrictive lending policies make it harder for Americans to own their own homes and start their own businesses, and insurance for all is ending up as insurance for none. By the Obama Administration's own admission, fewer than 107,000 Americans have signed up for Obamacare, while five million Americans who were previously insured have lost their health care coverage because of this new law. Far from increasing the number of insured Americans, Obamacare is causing more and more Americans to end up uninsured. Rather than addressing the legislation that caused all of these problems, Obama is trying to patch it with a "fix" that doesn't work any better than the original law--a patch that he undoubtedly pulled out of his "drawer full of good ideas". It is just a real shame that he lacks the experience to understand that just because something sounds like a good idea does not mean it will actually work.

Alexandra Swann's 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


Friday, November 8, 2013

5 Things Obama Should be Apologizing for, but Isn't

This week President Obama "apologized" to the American public on NBC for his Obamacare mantra, which he repeated as many as 36 times, "If you like your health insurance; you can keep it. If you like your doctor; you can keep him." We all now know for certain what we conservatives strongly suspected all along--this was a patently untrue statement. As the Obamacare rollout has taken place, millions of Americans are getting notices that their health insurance policies, which they did actually like very much, are being cancelled because they don't comply with the new law. In the effort to make everything "fair" and everyone "equal" we now have young men paying for maternity care and people who are childless covering the cost of pediatrics as part of the cost-spreading wealth redistributing policies of the Obama Administration.

Obama's apology on NBC was not unlike the old joke where somebody calls another person an idiot and then, when forced to apologize says, "I'm sorry that you're an idiot." If you listen carefully to what he actually said, he apologized for not making it clear that some Americans might lose their coverage. If you read between the lines a little you will hear a loud and clear, "I'm sorry you weren't smart enough to understand how this was going to work and now you're mad." The President whose most famous tag line is "Let me be clear," is apologizing for not being clear enough in a statement made over and over about how his signature health care law would work. He's not apologizing for lying to everyone; nor is he apologizing for ruining the health care of millions--he is merely apologizing to the American public because they believed what he said in the first place.

With that in mind, I have compiled a list of five things that I believe Obama should apologize to the American people for. I do this with the clear understanding that such an apology is not coming--now or ever. But that in no way changes the fact that an apology--followed by action--is owed.

1. Obamacare. No, not just the rollout or the "misstatements" about Americans losing their coverage. Obama should be apologizing for the entire debacle. This is a law that was passed with backroom deals by politicians who did not even bother to read it before voting for it. We need a heartfelt sincere "I'm sorry" for giving the IRS power over our lives and health care, for causing the loss of health insurance for millions of Americans, for forcing millions more into part-time employment under 29 hours a week and for raising costs of insurance. If he wants to apologize for misinforming the American people, he could apologize for convincing millions of Americans that they were going to get something for nothing--that somewhere on this planet there actually is a free lunch. Only now are Americans beginning to understand that the "free" health care they were promised is actually very expensive. Obamacare is a disaster that will only get worse with time; an apology won't fix it but sincere contrition for this mess would be a good starting point to getting some real solutions.

2. Dodd Frank: The OTHER huge piece of legislation from 2010 is also just beginning to make itself felt. In two months the qualified mortgages will go into effect, along with the 3% caps on points and fees. Small business people who make their livings originating mortgage loans are finally waking up to the fact that caps on points and fees in the QMs are not workable with a small business model and will in fact drive them out of business. Dodd Frank makes the Wall Street banks too big to fail, makes the small business owners too small to succeed and eliminates the dream of homeownership for nearly 50% of Americans who qualified to purchase homes in 2010. In 2014 as this law fully takes effect, the ramifications will echo through the housing and mortgage markets for a long time.

3. The NSA surveillance program: Not only is the government recording all of OUR phone calls and Internet communications; apparently they are recording all the whole world's phone calls and Internet communications. This is a flagrant violation of the Fourth Amendment in our country, and a slap in the face to world leaders who are supposed to be our allies. Obama should apologize to the American people on two fronts: First for violating our Constitutional rights and second for making us the laughingstock of the world by letting our security protocols be exposed.

4. Climate Change Regulations/War on Coal: At a time when American businesses and individuals are struggling, Obama is working to make energy more expensive via his climate change regulations and his war on coal. Without control of both houses of Congress, Obama has had no chance of passing his climate change bill, so in the absence of such a bill, he is enacting more and more climate change regulations through executive order and administrative action. Through these regulations, and particularly his newest executive order issued last Friday, Obama is using the power of the presidency to remake the nation into a socialist urban utopia where energy is scarce and expensive, housing is limited and expensive and the American dream of a home and car is just a vague distant memory.

5. $17 Trillion Deficit--and Counting... Whereas Senator Obama told us that high deficits were unpatriotic, President Obama has hosted a five year spending spree, which includes presiding over the largest debt increase in one day in our nation's history--$328 billion incurred on October 17, 2013 after the standoff over the debt ceiling and the government shutdown ended. Under the terms of the deal made with Congress, the president has the power to borrow as much money as he likes between now and February when the debt ceiling battle begins again. Experts predict that we will see a total of $700 billion in new debt by that date--taking us close to the $18 trillion dollar mark. We can expect about $21 trillion in debt by the end of Obama's second term. This massive debt is the result of government bailouts to big corporations, expansion of welfare entitlement programs and expansion of government itself, all at a time that many middle class Americans lost their homes, businesses and savings, jobs and futures. We are going to spend the next several decades paying for a party that we did not even get to attend. For that, Obama owes this entire country an apology.

Alexandra Swann's 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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Do You Want to See Something Really Scary?--2013 Edition

I have not been able to write a post for five weeks because of the time I have had to spend getting my newest novel, The Force, co-written with Joyce Swann, edited and published. The marketing for The Force touts that it is the "best scary Christian fiction book of the year"--a description which I believe is very accurate. But today, I turn from a futuristic scary tale of population control and genetic engineering to real life scariness.

This marks the fourth 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.

The year 2013 has seen its share of scandals and problems--revelations of massive NSA spying on millions of Americans as well as millions of non U.S. citizens living in other countries, hearings that went nowhere on the Benghazi scandal, revelations that the IRS was deliberately harassing conservative groups prior to the 2012 elections, and of course, the epic joint failures of the Obamacare website and reports that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance plans after being promised by POTUS that "if you like your health coverage you can keep it." For scariness, it would be hard to pick a favorite out of this monstrous mix, but what really stands out is the White House's response to every one of these revelations. If Jay Carney and Barack Obama are to be believed, the president has absolutely no idea of what is going on in his own Administration. It turns out that he finds out what is happening in America the same way the rest of us do--by seeing it on the nightly news. No wonder everything is in such a mess!

To drive this point home, MSNBC--a news outlet so left-learning that if you looked up the phrase "liberal media" in the dictionary you would find their logo as an illustration--has compiled a montage of Barack Obama and Jay Carney insisting that the president did not know about any of the problems in his administration before the nightly news reported them. (The only thing more noteworthy than Obama's shameless admissions that he is apparently clueless about all of the activities of his own Administration is that his most fervent supporters in the mainstream media are now starting to turn on him.) You can watch the clip here:

If Obama actually does not know anything that is happening in the Administration before it is reported to news media outlets, that begs the question, "Who is actually running the country?" I realize that Obama did not have a lot of executive experience before being elected POTUS--in fact, his experience appears to have been limited mainly to running his own campaign--but even he must understand that the job of the executive branch is to manage the country. Obama spends so much time campaigning for what he wants that he does not understand that the implementation phase is always more critical than the sales phase--and infinitely more difficult. After all, I can tell you anything and I may be able to convince you that what I am saying is true, but the real question is whether I can deliver on my promises. Last week, National Review's Jonah Goldberg wrote an excellent article titled King Obama about this dichotomy in the Obama Administration between his salesmanship and his actual delivery on his promises. (The G-file is a free newsletter from National Review which you can get to your inbox every Friday by subscribing here.)
The question is worth repeating, if Obama is just the front man who goes out and makes great speeches and rallies the country, then who is the real executive? Whom do we blame for all of these failures? Who is actually accountable? And why is an unelected, nameless, faceless individual actually running the nation? It's a scary question.

The second possibility is that Obama is not learning of these fiascoes on the nightly news with the rest of us; he has been briefed well ahead of time, but he does not care enough to deal with any of the issues facing the country. Just as important, he does not have any qualms about repeatedly lying to the American people by using the worst excuse imaginable--that he is too inept to be president. Such a lie shows not only a blatant disregard for the truth, but an extreme disrespect for the nation that elected him president twice. He does not take the job America hired him to do seriously enough to even admit that it is his job. "I didn't know what was happening" is a perfectly acceptable excuse for failure from a man who never admits that he should have known what was going on, should have been supervising the IRS commissioner, should have logged onto the signature website for his Administration to see what all Americans would see, should have made sure the ambassador and the four Americans who died at Benghazi were rescued. By using, "this is the first I've heard about it" as an excuse, he is telling the American people that we are not important enough for him to get up each day and do his job. That's scary too.

We have not seen the last of the scandals; an Administration this mismanaged can only sink further and further into failure. But all Americans, regardless of political party, should be gravely concerned that we have a leader who either doesn't care enough to find out what is going on, or doesn't respect us enough to give us a straight answer when asked about the failures. It's pretty scary stuff.
 Alexandra Swann's 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

Download The Force free on Kindle through November 2, 2013. 


Friday, September 27, 2013

Lobbing a Cruz Missile at Ameritopia

Last night I finished reading Mark Levin's Ameritopia. I have never listened to Levin's show--even when it was on the air in my market, which is no longer the case. My mother listened to him, though--she admired him a lot and would often repeat something she had heard him say. Her respect for him caused me to begin to follow him on social media and as I did so, I developed my own respect for his genuine belief in the value of conservatism and small government. That, along with the blockbuster success of his newest book, The Liberty Amendments, inspired me to read Ameritopia.

I highly recommend the book; I have a master's degree in history and I taught U.S. history from the discovery of the Americas to 1865 and from 1865 to present day (which was 1989-1991 when I was teaching) for four years, but I still learned a lot from Levin's book--both about the philosophies that drove the Founders and the philosophies of those who have worked to blur the boundaries of government and empower this growing central authority.

Last week I wrote a post entitled Stand up to Bullies--Defund Obamacare--encouraging the Senate GOP to grow some backbone and defund this monstrous new piece of legalisation which is killing jobs, reducing us to a nation of part-time workers and destroying healthcare. Then on Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz gave his twenty-one hour floor speech about the evils of Obamacare, to the profound admiration of Tea Party members and most limited government conservatives and the contempt of everyone else. I was proud of Cruz--I spent my afternoon sending tweets to encourage his efforts. Even though the majority of the Senate GOP has openly distanced themselves from his floor speech and his demands to defund Obamacare, he brought awareness to the problems of Obamacare in a way that no one else was willing to do.

As I finished Ameritopia last night, I appreciated what Cruz had done this week even more. Ted Cruz and I were born the same year (1970) in a post Lyndon Johnson Great Society world. To our generation, entitlements--Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security are a way of life. We have never lived without these big government programs and we cannot envision a world without them. I have always openly supported the "safety net" as a necessary function of a compassionate society. But Mark Levin's book challenges the thinking of my generation that says that big government programs are necessary even if they need tweaking. He bluntly reminds us that when Social Security was initially passed in 1935 there was no big public support for Social Security for all people; the Congress could have passed a smaller measure to provide for the needy and indigent during the Depression, but Roosevelt shot down those measures in favor of an all-encompassing bill that would provide an unsustainable model for government funded retirement. Now, seventy-eight years later, even though all of us who watch the news at all know that the current Social Security program is unsustainable and facing bankruptcy, the idea of getting rid of it is unthinkable. Even those of us who basically know that we will never be able to collect Social Security ourselves find the idea of scrapping this program difficult to comprehend. After all "it's always been there."

A similar case can be made for Medicare and Medicaid. These precursors to the national health care system we are getting today were introduced within the decade before Cruz and I were born. "Free" health care for seniors is a real misnomer--seniors pay for expensive supplemental plans to offset the shortages of a program that is also unsustainable. When my mother turned sixty-five, she had to start paying for her "free government health care" out of her own pocket because she had elected not to draw Social Security until she was sixty-six. Normally, Medicare premiums are deducted from the senior citizen's Social Security check, but when the Social Security payments are delayed or deferred, the senior still has to pay the premiums. Our business was slow and she ended up having to pay premiums for her "free" health care on her credit card so that she could make ends meet until she started receiving Social Security to offset the premiums. Only in America.

As Levin points out in his book, the price of these "entitlement" programs is government dependency and centralized control.  We trade our individual rights and liberties in exchange for the promise of something "free" all the while deliberately ignoring the fact that nothing is free and that the price we pay for these entitlement programs is huge, both in terms of our finances and in terms of our liberties.  The first generation to suffer the losses of liberty feels the effects most profoundly, but subsequent generations accept the control and the expenses of the huge programs with no concept of the freedom and independence that has been traded away.

Now we are faced with another massive, unworkable government program. We know already that Obamacare is even now forcing businesses to drop their health care coverage, that it is causing employers to cut hours down below 30 hours a week for part-time employees and that it is causing insurance companies to cancel policies. I know that Obama and his cronies keep preaching that premiums will drop, but we haven't seen any evidence of that so far. This week the new premiums for single individuals were released for Texas--the average for a single person is a little over $300.00 a month. Also this week, the employees of one of the large school districts here were informed that their out of pocket premiums for their district employees were going to more than double--to over $200.00 per month for individuals. We have plenty of evidence that Obamacare does not keep any of the promises that the president made when he sold it to the nation.

But Ted Cruz understands something else that only a person from our generation can truly appreciate. He knows that, good or bad, entitlements become ingrained into the fabric of society with each new generation. The generation that is born in 2014 and after will grow up in a world in which health care--however mediocre--is a universal right and the idea of repeal will be as foreign to them as the idea of repealing Social Security is to us. We are just one generation away from losing this battle forever.

To those who claimed, as Harry Reid did this week, that Ted Cruz's speech was a "waste of time", nothing could be further from the truth. Cruz is doing much more than grandstanding--he is reminding us that we have a responsibility to protect liberty and that massive government and massive social entitlements pose a threat to liberty easily as great as the threat we face from foreign governments or terrorism. If we want to live under the U.S. Constitution, as many of us say we do, we must wholeheartedly reject what Mark Levin terms "Ameritopia"--big government programs and entitlements that allow the federal government to micro manage our lives at the expense of our freedoms. To all of those in the GOP who claim, as John McCain did this week, that Obamacare is the law of the land we need to accept it, we respond "No, We Don't." We don't need to accept big government, massive spending, massive debt and massive intrusions into our independence. We need to stand up as a people and reject "Ameritopia" and the big government "sugar" that goes with it.

Mark Levin ends his book with a quote from Ronald Reagan's 1981 inaugural address. In light of what happened this week with Cruz's speech, I found this appropriate and inspiring, and so I will finish my post today with these words from possibly the greatest champion of conservatism who has ever been elected to the presidency:
If we look to the answer as to why for so many years we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on earth, it was because here in this land we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We're not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing."

Download The Planner Free on Kindle through Saturday September 28.

Alexandra Swann's 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

Friday, September 20, 2013

Stand up to Bullies--Defund Obamacare

Just 9 days ago we all remembered the losses our nation suffered on 09/11/2001. A couple of years after that event, I had the privilege of hearing "America's mayor", Rudy Giuliani, speak in El Paso about the lessons of 09/11. The main lesson Giuliani reminded us that night was the most important one, the importance of standing up to bullies.
It seems very appropriate that just a week and a half after commemorating the 09/11 anniversary, the House GOP voted today to defund Obamacare. Already, the vote has been met with shock and disbelief on the part of the left. Harry Reid was engaged in his very own meltdown from the Senate floor this week as he vented that the Republican party is destroying itself from within. (Reid's speech begs the question: if Harry really believed that to be the case would he be so angry about it?)
Right now the media is trying to sell the defunding of Obamacare as a move by the mean GOP, which has been hijacked by the "hard right" TeaParty led by Ted Cruz, to destroy a popular and loved bill. The truth is quite different. Obamacare has always faced stiff opposition. Many people have already forgotten that when Obama was trying to get Congress to pass this mess of a bill three years ago, he and speaker Nancy Pelosi faced obstacle after obstacle. A wiser woman would have retreated in the face of so much public backlash, but not Pelosi. She vowed to get Obamacare passed no matter what she had to do--if there were walls blocking its passage she would "pole vault" over those walls. And through a series of late night dirty deals and special incentives, she did, indeed, force the bill through. This was not the triumph of populism--it was plain old simple bullying. The very idea that Pelosi would tell us that we had to pass Obamacare to find out what was in it illustrated this bullying technique--we did not need to know what the law said or what it would do. She and her elitist comrades were making the decision for us and when the legislation had passed we would like what they gave us--not so much because it was good but because we would acknowledge that our masters had decided this for us, and we had no choice but to accept it.
The progressive socialists of Pelosi and Co. have been bullying America for years. Obamacare, Dodd Frank, the intrusive TSA, the intrusive NSA, the out of control EPA, HUD and its new definition of Fair Housing--all are designed to remind Americans that we have a new generation of government--one run by special elites who tell us what we can have and when we can have it. And they are used to a compliant GOP who bows its collective head and runs scared at the sign of any type of confrontation. The Grand Old Party is so afraid of being criticized that they have failed to do anything useful for almost five years and through cowardice and inaction have earned the universal scorn which belongs only to those who repeatedly shrink before their tormentors. We have become the party that gives up our lunch money as soon as we see the school yard toughs approaching in the vain hopes that they will not beat us up.
But now we have a new brand of Republican--Ted Cruz. Cruz doesn't mind fighting to protect his lunch money or ours. He has weathered all the beatings from the left and from his own party who whine that he will be the death of the GOP. Together with Jim DeMint, another man who's not afraid of bullies, he has taken his case directly to the American people and reminded us that we don't have "masters"; we have elected officials who work for us. If our laws are bad and intolerable it is our own fault because we elected those people who passed bad and intolerable laws on our behalf and we refused to stand up to the very people whose salaries we pay when they decide to kick us around.
The elites in the GOP complain that Ted Cruz is destroying the party, and he might well be. The GOP in its present form--a party of spoiled rich kids who would rather go without lunch everyday than risk a fight with the school yard bully--may not be worth saving. But he is protecting conservatism, the Constitution and the values that built this nation--and upon those values we can built a Grand New Party which is capable of earning the respect of all Americans because it's not afraid to fight for what it values.

Read The Planner Free on Kindle through September 28th.

Alexandra Swann's 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

Friday, September 13, 2013

Eminent Domain in Richmond, CA--The Slippery Slope to Agenda 21

In my novel The Planner, published last year, local municipalities use eminent domain to take the homes of families so that these families can be forcibly removed to new Smart Growth-style, sustainable housing as a part of a coordinated plan to implement Agenda 21 nationwide.  Unfortunately, we may be about to see something similar take place in our country.

This week, Richmond, California became the first city to vote, 4-3, to partner with Mortgage Resolution Partners to use eminent domain to seize underwater homes for the purpose of restructuring the mortgages. The plan purports to help homeowners obtain more favorable terms on their mortgages so that they can avoid foreclosure and stay in their houses.

Eminent domain by a municipality to seize private property and invalidate mortgage contracts is such a dangerous precedent that if the stated purpose were not to help the "poor victimized homeowners" the entire nation would be up in arms. As it is, this is being sold as another magnanimous attempt to help regular people at the expense of the banks, and so this plan is not getting the attention it deserves.

As soon as city council voted to approve this plan, the major banks announced their intentions to sue Richmond for attempting to invalidate their contracts. HUD instructed the Federal Housing Finance Authority to not allow Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to make any more loans in Richmond. Presumably the moratorium on loans will also extend to FHA. In other words, Richmond is about to become the only city in the United States where no individual, regardless of financial solvency or credit worthiness, can get a mortgage.

I cannot stress enough how important it is that this effort by the Richmond City Council and the MRP be repudiated in court as soon as possible. MRP has been running around for over a year pitching this concept to cities, including San Bernadino, California and North Las Vegas, Nevada. All of the other cities where they have tried to sell this concept have soundly rejected it--probably because someone stood up and explained the short-term consequences which would most immediately be a moratorium on mortgage financing in the city. That means not only that the fine folks in Richmond won't be able to buy properties; they also will not be able to sell their properties--unless they find cash buyers.

As bad as that is, the long-term consequences are worse. MRP has been trying to get a test case to demonstrate that a municipality can nullify mortgage debt and a contractual obligation, and Richmond has just agreed to be the guinea pig. If they prevail in court, this will open the door for cities across the U.S. to "erase" billions of dollars in mortgage debt. The action does not just hurt the big banks; it also harms the taxpayers who have been saddled with the burden of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since 2008. In the last five years, taxpayers have invested hundreds of billions of dollars into these two agencies. Now, Fannie and Freddie are paying back the Treasury out of their earnings. But if Richmond and the MRP prevail, cities can simply say, "Guess what, these mortgage obligations for all of the note holders in our city are worthless. Go suck lemons."

MRP website actively recruits citizens to take this concept to their own city councils.  Under the website's How You Can Help tab, readers are encouraged to contact their local mayors and city councils about the CARES program.

So who are these generous people at MRP and why are they so eager to get this experiment started? According to their website Mortgage Resolution Partners current chairman is Steven Gluckstern.  Although Gluckstern has had a long career, a pivotal part of it was his position as the General Manager of reinsurance operations of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group. In 1988 he founded Centre Reinsurance with $250 million in start up capital, which made the company one of the largest start-ups of its kind.

CEO Graham Williams was the Senior VP and Director of Residential Lending at Bank of America in 1990's. Graham created BofA's "Neighborhood Advantage" housing initiative which allowed select groups to borrow money for their houses with very low down payments and reduced credit score requirements. (We all know how well those programs turned out). The website also credits Graham with developing "credit policy, pricing models and capital management tools" at BofA.

John Vlahoplus, founder of MRP who is the current Chief Strategy Officer for the company, worked for Zurich Financial and Credit Suisse--a banking firm that was heavily invested in subprime mortgages prior to the market crash of 2008.

  In 2012 the SEC charged Credit Suisse Securities with misleading investors about their offerings of mortgage-backed securities and Credit Suisse paid 120 million to settle the SEC's charges.  Vlahoplus, while not personally implicated in any wrong doing, is a product of this environment.

Partner Bill Falik's description says that he has practiced "land use, real estate, and environmental law in Northern California for the past 40 years." He currently is "a managing partner of Westpark Associates, which developed at 1483 acre masterplanned [Smart Growth] community in the City of Roseville." WestPark constructed 4300 residential units and created a "precedent setting open space funding mechanism for Placer County" and then the project sold to three of the largest builders in the US before Falik bought back 50% of the project in 2009 along with an additional 400 acres. As if his devotion to environmentalism and Smart Growth were not enough of a signal of his extreme progressivism, Falik also tells us that he is a visiting professor at Berkeley Law School.

Finally Byron Georgiou, also a partner, is the owner of Georgiou Enterprises "with wide ranging interests, including as lead investor in Xtreme Green products...lead investor and director of Health Fusion ( providing practice management and electronic health records information technology to U.S. healthcare providers" among others. (Obamacare requires a lot of these electronic health records so Health Fusion stands to profit handsomely off of the new regulations.) Other industries in which his company invest include aerospace and defense and "various real estate development and management projects in Nevada and California." Georgiou was Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor Jerry Brown during the second of Brown's three terms as governor. More recently Harry Reid appointed Georgiou as one of ten bipartisan nationwide members on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission--the commission responsible for the official inquiry into the causes of the financial, economic and housing crises which reported directly to the President and Congress.

The only other partner mentioned on the website is Garrett Gruener, the founder of Ask Jeeves, which is now

The only name missing from this stew pot big government and environmentalism is the former chief of staff BJ Greenspan, who left MRP in March to accept a new position with a New York non-profit. But it is Greenspan's prior employment that is more noteworthy; before becoming the chief of staff at MRP she worked for Institute of New Economic Thinking, a think tank founded by the patron saint of the New World Order himself--George Soros.

So we have here an organization made up of people who worked in the very firms which created and sold the products that caused the financial crisis and housing crash and who are now heavily invested in everything from Obamacare, to green energy to Agenda 21 style housing--Smart Growth, Smart Code--who hired one of George Soros' former employees as their chief of staff, and who have now persuaded the city council of Richmond, California, to allow them to subvert the property rights of the entire city on the pretext of protecting homeowners trapped in notes they can't pay. Why? Because if they can win this suit and have a court declare that a municipality can invalidate mortgage debt with eminent domain, then any city can invalidate any mortgage obligations with eminent domain, which means that municipalities can nullify not only mortgage obligations but all private property rights. This is only the beginning; if this is successful we can expect to see American cities using eminent domain to implement Smart Growth and sustainable development for the greater good of the society without regard to the rights of property holders or lien holders. Since the goal of Agenda 21 is to eliminate private property rights and force all Americans into dense urban living, one solid victory for this group would advance this by light years. And this group's initiative is moving Agenda 21 to the next level.

Now they have talked the people of Richmond into going along with this experiment. Be afraid; be very afraid.

Read Alexandra Swann's novel The Planner, about Agenda 21 implemented through eminent domain free on Kindle 09/25/2013 -09/28/2013

Find out what Agenda 21 is, who is behind it and how it is being implemented in cities across the United States:

Alexandra Swann's 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


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Freedom Prayer

Today, on 09/11/2013, millions of Americans all across this country are praying and fasting for America. For many of us, today is a national day of prayer and repentance as we ask God to heal and save our country. In that spirit, today I repost The Freedom Prayer:

“Lord we come to You tonight to ask for Your forgiveness. The Bible promises that when we seek You, we will find You, if we search with all our hearts.

"Lord we confess that we have not followed Your commands. We have not loved You with our whole hearts--we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not stood for the truth of Your Gospel. We have sat by and said nothing when Your name was blasphemed and mocked. We did not take a stand when we saw Your laws despised.

“We know that many times we ourselves have been among the worst offenders. We have lived sinful lives that are contrary to the word of God. Like Esau, we have traded away our birthright for a little convenience; we have despised this incredible gift of freedom that You provided for us and allowed all of the liberty that our country offered to be trampled down. We have forgotten the words of King David who said that it is better to fall into the hands of God than to be at the mercy of men, and so we now find ourselves living under the rule of a cruel and despotic government who has stolen everything from us and shows us no mercy.

“We know that everything that is happening to us is a result of our bad choices, both individually and as a nation. You gave us the gift of being born into a free nation—the greatest nation the world has ever seen. You gave us a form of government unlike any other that had ever been known by any other people, and we did not value it enough to defend it.

“For all of these things, Lord, we ask Your forgiveness. We pray tonight that You will change our hearts so that each of us will begin to love what You love, to hate what You hate and to want what You want. We ask You to save our nation, for we know that the Bible teaches that salvation belongs to our God—no political party, no ideology, no government can save us. If we don’t find salvation in You, we won’t find it at all.

“Please turn Your face to us again, and give us back our freedom, and restore our country so that we can truly be one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We ask all these things in the name of Your son, Jesus. Amen.”

Alexandra Swann's 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

"'For I know the intentions of my plans for you,' said the Lord, "thoughts of peace and not of evil, so that I may bring you hope in the end. And when you call on me and (kneel down and pray) before me, And as you love me with all your heart, you shall find me,' said the Lord." Jeremiah 29: 11-13 as translated from the original by Victor Alexander.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Obama Lacks the Moral Authority to Lecture U.S. on Syria

Over the weekend I was in my office working when a friend tweeted me a video link to an interview that author Joel Richardson had done with a Syrian pastor about the conflict in Syria and the true makeup of the "freedom fighters" we seem determined to assist in ousting Assad.  The next day, I found myself in a long Twitter conversation with two pro-Obama, pro-Syrian conflict people who apparently wanted me to feel guilty about my complete opposition to getting involved in this conflict.
I left my Twitter exchange more puzzled than ever as to how any rational thinking person can favor U.S. intervention in what is essentially an internal civil war between a very bad man--Assad--and a group of very bad men--the rebels opposing Assad.  What I did take away from our exchange is that because there is no real upside for the United States in getting involved in this conflict, the proponents are using a moral argument--Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons against his own people is an action so vile and morally reprehensible that we as a nation must act even though to do so cannot possibly be in our national interests.  I signed out by telling the war proponents that Assad could not do anything within his own borders that, as far as I was concerned, would justify U.S. intervention in this conflict.  One of them responded back that I clearly had no interest in "saving humanity" but she was glad that I was at least honest about it.
So just to clarify for everyone, I want to state my position.  First, my Twitter opponent is quite right. I do not believe that the U.S. has either the power or the responsibility to "save humanity".  Our experience in the Middle East over the last decade should have taught us that we are apparently woefully ignorant of Middle Eastern cultural forces.  I supported the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.  Afghanistan was easy--after all we had experienced 09/11 and we needed to respond. I believe in firmly in peace through strength.  But Iraq was also easy.  I believed that Saddam Hussein did have WMD's, but when none were found, and I saw documentaries on the extremely cruelty that Hussein and his family visited on the Iraqi people I still felt righteous.  After all, we had saved them--hadn't we?
Now over 10 years since the start of our conflict in Iraq, we have learned that the Middle East is a much more complicated place than we had originally imagined.  We saw the brutal death of Muammar Gaddafi, but we did not see him replaced with a peace-loving government.  We replaced one Egyptian dictator, Hosni Mubarak  with another, Mohammad Morsi, only to see our pick ousted by his own people who then accused us of supporting the Muslim brotherhood.  Rather than being a hero in Egypt, Obama is now the subject of bawdy Internet videos which accuse him of supporting him of supporting terrorism and Islamic extremism.  Nicely done.

We can see a trend developing in the Middle East that began in the 1970's with the overthrow of the Shah of Iran and his replacement with the Ayatollah.  We have developed a national habit of ousting brutal dictators who don't like us much but don't pose an immediate threat and replacing them with brutal dictators who really, really hate us and do pose an immediate threat.
Now we are told that we need to launch missile strikes against the Assad regime in Syria over a chemical weapons attack that the Assad regime denies launching.   We are told that these will be limited strikes that will not lead to "boots on the ground".  But after a decade of war we know how this really works: our strikes can lead to other attacks, against us or our allies, which will force us to respond in kind and soon we are sending men and women to die in another war between two factions we clearly don't understand--neither of whom likes us.  And at the end, if we have been used as Al-Qaeda's Air Force, as Senator Ted Cruz suggests is highly possible, we will have armed and empowered extremely dangerous forces who will be an immediate threat both to us and to Israel.  We will have spent much, lost much and won nothing.
I still believe firmly in "peace through strength" but only when our national interests or the safety of an ally are immediately threatened.  Unless those two factors are at work I believe in "peace through minding our own business."  While I do not believe that it is any way our duty to "save humanity" I absolutely believe that it is our duty to protect American lives and property.  And it is on this point that I assert that President Obama has abdicated any authority to lecture us on moral grounds about an attack on Syria.
Wednesday marks September 11th.  We can never forget the tragedy of 09/11/2001 when we were attacked and thousands of Americans died in the New York City.  We should never forget; we should always remember that the world has dangerous people in it and we have a responsibility to stand up to them when it is in our interest to do so.  
Wednesday also marks another anniversary--the one year anniversary of the brutal death in Benghazi of ambassador Chris Stevens and the three brave Americans who attempted to save his life.  The Obama Administration had a clear moral obligation to protect our ambassador one year ago, but rather than ordering in our troops to stop the torture and murder of Chris Stevens and those brave men who fought to protect our embassy, President Obama chose to do nothing and let them die.  Promises to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice have not been fulfilled.   The attack was blamed on an awful YouTube video--the director of which was jailed--and then nothing.  At the hearings to get to the bottom of what actually happened and to explain the events led to this tragedy, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton finally shouted in exasperation, "What difference does it make?"  We sent our ambassador and our marines overseas to a dangerous country, failed to protect them, allowed them to die in the most ghastly manner, and our Secretary of State could not understand why she should have to explain herself on these issues.
Now, one year later, President Obama is going to lecture us tomorrow night about the need for military action against the Syrian government.  He will presumably tell us that we have  moral obligation to act against Assad and to stop possible future attacks against the Syrian people.  We are going to be told that we have to act to stop this on humanitarian grounds.  Yet we are being lectured on our moral obligations by a President and an Administration that failed in its clear duty to protect the lives of American citizens overseas or even to bring their killers to justice.  We are being asked by this same Administration to entrust more American lives--more men and women--to go to the Middle East at the President's bidding.  From what we have already seen, we can be fairly certain that if they are captured, they too will be abandoned to be tortured and killed just as were Chris Stevens, Tyrone S. Woods, Sean Smith and Glen A. Doherty.
The President has no moral authority to speak to us on this issue.  Until and unless his Administration is willing to address what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 and bring all those responsible to justice, both in Libya and in D.C., he will never have any  authority to lecture us on the Middle East again.
Watch the Joel Richardson's interview with a Syrian pastor about the Syrian "freedom fighters" and draw your own conclusions.
Alexandra Swann is the author of No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master's Degree at Age Sixteen and several other books. Her newest novel, The Chosen, about one small group of Americans' fight to restore the Constitution and end indefinite detentions without trial, is available on Kindle and in paperback. For more information, visit her website at

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rethinking Progress

Now that we have a new city council, El Paso is beginning to rethink--at least to some degree--the Smart Code driven master plan that our last "progressive city council" forced on us. One of the preludes to implementing our new Master Plan for the city was the implementation of high impact fees on builders to disincentivize building in the outskirts of the city.

Because land is available cheaply just outside the city, builders have purchased tracts of land cheaply to build affordable housing. To stop resulting "sprawl" which requires that the city connect these outlying areas with utilities and sewer, the city implemented "impact fees" as high as $820.00 per unit on the builders so that they, and ultimately the purchasers of the new houses, would pay a premium for building and living in the suburbs. Since our new Master Plan was implemented, bringing with it Smart Code and Sustainable Development, mixed use communities with retail on the bottom and apartments or condos on the upper levels are springing up all over El Paso. These mixed use, walkable communities have the type of high density housing that Agenda 21 demands.

Now, however, at least one of our city reps, Michael Noe, is questioning whether Smart Code is really the right plan for El Paso. Noe argues, correctly, that the price per square foot of the housing provided by Smart Growth is out of reach of many El Pasoans. El Paso has tried to emulate Seattle or Portland or even Stockton even though our median income is substantially less than those cities. We have embraced the philosophy that if we build it--whether "it" be a new Downtown Arena Stadium at a massive cost to taxpayers or new high priced mixed use housing--the hip urban young people we want so much to attract will come. The whole concept is rather amusing if you consider that the major complaint of all young people in El Paso is that our city has nothing to offer and nothing to do. Since we had housing and minor league baseball in a relatively new stadium more than half a billion dollars ago, when people were eager to move because they complained of "nothing to do", why will these same young people want to live here after we build more rental housing and a new downtown stadium?

Now Michael Noe has the revolutionary idea that El Pasoans should be able to live where ever they want and that impact fees to builders should be reduced. Mathew McElroy, the city development director, argues that not encouraging inner development in the city costs the taxpayers too much money since the inner city already has the infrastructure. This is hilarious from a department that brought us massive new debt in the name of progress. Why wasn't the city worried about saving money before they tore down city hall and moved the city offices and built a new stadium we did not need? The bottom line here is that the City Development office does not really have any interest in saving the taxpayers' money. And they don't really care how much they spend--in fact more is better--as long as they continue to advance the liberal radical green ideals of Agenda 21.  Anything that works against Agenda 21, with its demand for densely populated urban housing and walkable communities, is bad and must be fought. Anything that promotes Agenda 21 is good, no matter how much it costs.

I don't hold out much hope that our new city council will act on Councilman Noe's suggestion to revise El Paso's new progressive vision. But I do hold out hope that an already disgusted populace will put an increasing amount of pressure on city council to stop spending money we don't have for projects we can't afford and return to market-based city development determined by what El Pasoans actually want rather than socialist-style central planning providing, as Randal O'Toole from the CATO institute describes it, "housing nobody wants at prices few can afford." At the end of the day, it is not the central planners or city council who have the final say--it is we the citizenry. We either reward socialists and those who think like them with more votes and more responsibility or we kick out these politicians and replace them with others who will listen to us. The choice is ours.

For more on Agenda 21 and the cost of El Paso's Downtown Renovation watch this video:

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Forward on Climate Change--with or without Congress

Last week, Gina McCarthy, President Obama's recently confirmed nominee who is now head of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced that the Obama Administration and the EPA plan to move forward on regulations aimed at preventing climate change with or without Congressional approval.  The urgency, we are told, comes from the fact that the President, "can no longer wait" for Congressional action. 
Beyond just the simple fact that this is yet another example of the expansion of power from the executive branch of government, the Administration's decision to make this "end run" around Congress is important for a couple of reasons:
1. Cap and trade regulations governing carbon emissions have real world consequences for Americans in terms of energy availability and cost.  Although, as usual, the Administration is being deliberately vague about the scope of its plans, we do know that President Obama has clearly called for new standards to be applied to coal plants which will close many existing coal plants across the United States. Since coal produces affordable energy and the coal industry is a major job provider in many affected states, the President's plan will cost American jobs and will raise the price of energy for all Americans. 
2. Climate change legislation is a cash cow for those who are properly positioned. While higher energy prices and job losses hit average Americans hard and take a major toll on the quality of life of regular people, green energy projects and efforts to reduce carbon footprints make the few who are positioned to take advantage of them very rich.  So while an aggressive EPA hurts most Americans, it greatly benefits a small number of elites.
For an example, let's take a look at the last major federal push for legislation to stop climate change. In 2010, a climate change bill which would have provided for such leftist regulations such as a "cap and trade" system for controlling carbon emissions died in the Senate when lawmakers finally realized that their careers were on the line if they passed this bill.  The death of the cap and trade bill killed the Chicago Climate Exchange, a company which had been created for the sole purpose of orchestrating carbon emissions trades and which boasted that it was "North America's only cap and trade system for all greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide."  The Chicago Climate Exchange had been founded as a "voluntary" method of trading "carbon credits" but since few Americans really bought into the idea that they truly needed to buy "carbon credits" the real success of the exchange lay with the expectation that a federal climate change bill would make the purchase of carbon credits mandatory. 
Start-up funds for the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) came from grants from the Joyce Foundation, which Barack Obama served as a board member of from 1994 to 2002--during the period that the start-up grants were issued.  Valerie Jarrett, President Obama's senior adviser, had also served on the board of the Joyce Foundation.
Richard Sandor, the founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange and a former research professor at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management, which also received funds from the Joyce Foundation, is quoted in the November, 9, 2010 issue of as saying that climate trading and carbon credits could be a $10 trillion industry. In 2002 Time Magazine named Sandor one it's "Heroes of the Planet" in 2007 the magazine named him one the "Heroes of the Environment".  Prior to the collapse of the CCX, Sandor reportedly sold his 16.5% interest in the CCX for $98.5 million--a big payday for a research professor.
The two biggest investors in CCX--Al Gore's Generation Investment Management, and Goldman Sachs--were not so lucky.  The collapse of the climate change legislation meant the loss of all of the potential profits that the investors of CCX had hoped to reap.
A major reason that the Senate could not get the votes together to pass a comprehensive climate change bill is that news began to spread of the cronyism and the powerful political names who stood to profit handsomely financially from the passage of the bill.  The knowledge that the passage of this bill really meant huge payoffs to the rich and powerful soured the American public on the legislation as much as the prospect of increased costs for energy and the reduction in jobs and American wealth.
Now President Obama and the EPA are back at it again--sans Congress this time.   In spite of the fact that virtually everyone agrees that global warming has not occurred in over a decade, proponents of climate change are pushing hard to give the EPA massive power to regulate and micromanage the lives of ordinary Americans at the expense of opportunity, jobs and liberty. The question we should be asking ourselves is, "Why the rush?"  What is so desperately important that the Administration has to push through the climate change policies now, rather than waiting for the 2014 elections to try to regain control of both houses of Congress?  Who benefits this time?
In the coming months, as opponents of Obama's policies challenge his aggressive new environmentalism, much will and should, be made of the real human cost of shutting down coal plants, of stopping fracking and of raising energy prices and rendering thousands more Americans unemployed.  These are unnecessary tragedies of an aggressive environmental policy being unilaterally enforced by one president with his own agenda.  But while we take up the cause of those who are losing their jobs and livelihoods because of the EPA's mandates, and while we are complaining about the skyrocketing costs of energy, we need to make sure that we also look to see who is profiting from the new rules.  Sometimes revealing the winners to the world is just as effective as highlighting the stories of those who are on the losing end of these draconian new rules.  Following the money that is flowing from this new green energy push might be worth more than a thousand sad stories of regular Americans who are suffering because of the EPA.
Understand where climate change policies originate and what they mean to you by watching this short video:

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