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