Archive for the ‘America’s Future’ Category

Interesting -Can’t Predict a Hurricane but Global Warming is a Certainty?

Weather and climate are not the same. According to NASA, weather represents atmospheric conditions over a short period of time compared to climate which is measured over relatively long periods of time. Both however use computer models attempting to predict the future.

As NOAA’s website explains, “Models help us to work through complicated problems and understand complex systems.” Indeed. Weather and climate are incredibly complex, influenced by sea, air, land, and the sun.

It is therefore no surprise that predicting the track of a hurricane, considered weather as it is short-term, is quite challenging. Below is a composite picture of multiple computer model predictions for tropical storm Joaquim, shortly before converting to a hurricane. This is from the Tropical Tidbits website, a well organized repository of storm information

Each line represents a different prediction based on a particular computer model.


Communicators Phasers Replicators Cloaking Device Impulse Drive and the Borg

In many ways I have always been a dystopian believing that the inevitable rise of a future technology enhanced totalitarian state will regiment and control a society that is as dehumanizing and as unpleasant as possible.  I was influenced by early and repeated readings of such works as 1984, The Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, and the Iron Heel.  I was also influenced by the History of the Twentieth Century and the steady erosion of freedom in America that marks the evolution of the Progressive agenda.  In spite of all that I also believe that technology has the potential to change the game and deliver us to an unexpected future.

Back in 2005 there appeared a two-hour television documentary, commissioned by Discovery Channel Canada and co-produced for History Channel in the United States and Channel Five in the United Kingdom., How William Shatner Changed the World.  In this well-done and very interesting film William Shatner presents a light-hearted look at how the “Star Trek” TV series has influenced and inspired today’s technologies including: cell phones, medical imaging, computers and software, SETI, MP3 players and iPods, virtual reality, and spaceship propulsion.

Ever since, I have been recommending that people watch this as a way to inform them of how much science fiction is becoming science fact.  Several recent announcements have spurred me to devote this week’s column to a more public pronouncement about where technology is leading us.

Think about the Star Trek franchise where  there was the original Star Trek, then the Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, the movies, and even an animated series.  For decades these imaginative shows have tantalized us about a future where humanity has left the death cage of a world that has been repeatedly almost wiped clean of life by meteors, volcanoes, and ice ages.  It is only by spreading beyond the womb of our home world that humanity can ensure its survival.

Technology also offers the prospect of transforming our societies and cultures in ways we need to examine unless we intend to fly into the future blind.

Wikipedia, the much maligned open user source that is much more accurate than it is generally believed has a good synopsis of what the documentary covers:

First hour

The first hour focuses on the original Star Trek series and the ideas that Gene Roddenberry had about the future of space travel.

It begins with the life of Dr. Marc D. Rayman, the chief propulsion engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and shows how Dr. Rayman became interested in propulsion through Star Trek. It also discusses how NASA’s newest deep space probe’s ion propulsion was inspired by the Star Trek episode Spock’s Brain. Shatner also states that “those pesky trekkies are everywhere in the space program,” hence the name for the first Space Shuttle: Enterprise.

The show then examines the life of Martin Cooper, the chief engineer at Motorola, who invented the cell phone. Cooper states that Star Trek was his inspiration for the cell phone, and discusses the similarities between the modern day cell phone and a Star Trek communicator. He also discusses how Star Trek introduced the concept of computer voice recognition dialing.

Next, Mae C. Jemison describes how Star Trek inspired her to become the first African-American in space, and Seth Shostak, of SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence), tells how it led him to astronomy.

The show also explores how Star Trek popularized the notion of the user-friendly personal computer, and how Trek fan Ed Roberts, invented the first home computer, the Altair 8800, named after the solar system Altair (Altair 6) in the Star Trek episode Amok Time. This led to Bill Gates writing the computer programming language BASIC for the Altair and forming Microsoft.

Medical technologies are discussed, in particular the inspiration for non-invasive Star-Trek-style imaging technology.

Warp drive and faster-than-light interstellar travel with theoretical physicist Miguel Alcubierre‘s theories are mentioned. Lawrence M. Krauss, physicist and author of The Physics of Star Trek, is also featured.

The show then investigates the research work of Kevin Warwick at the University of Reading and considers its links with the Borg. Warwick’s cyborg implants, linking his own nervous system into the internet, are featured.

Second hour The second hour focuses on further programs in Star Trek franchise: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise and their impact and how they differed from the original series.

Next up is Steve Perlman, at the time principal scientist at Apple Computer, who was inspired to invent the QuickTime media player by watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

As eye-opening as this documentary was it first saw the light of day back in 2005.  That was ten years ago, and according to Moore’s Law, based on the observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented and his prediction that this trend would continue for the foreseeable future, there has been an exponential rise in computing power every year since.  With rising computing power comes acceleration in the speed of innovation based upon the research and design enhancement that computing power provides.  So where are we today?

Communicators: Remember the two way links provided by those handy little medallions the Star Trek crew wore?  They could speak to the ship and each other.  Never more than a click away everyone was in constant communication.  When we first saw these most of us still had rotary dial phones and only the rich and powerful had something we called a car phone.  Today more people on Earth, six out of seven billion, have access to cell phones than have access to toilets.  And on those cell phones we not only have audio communication on mobile devices we have video, face-time, pocket computers, calculators, and cameras.

Phasers: In the real world we call these lasers, and they have been real for a long time.  Used in many ways lasers have become a part of everyday world with laser pointers and laser cutting.  Today after decades of development and testing they are moving into the world of weapons.  The U.S. Navy has already mounted them on ships and they are being tested on jet fighters, drones, drone killers, and rifles.

Replicators: In the real world we call them 3-D printers and they are already being used to:

  • Print organs used in medical procedures, and to create prototypes for manufacturing speeding up the time needed to develop new products. Dr. Anthony Atala at Wake Forest’s Regenerative Medicine department was able to create artificial scaffolds in the shape of an organ with living cells. First the scaffold is printed and then it is coated with living cells. Now the Regenerative Department is working on building 3D printers that can print artificial scaffolds and living cells at the exact same time.
  • Ford Motor Company uses 3D printing to make prototypes of many parts in their vehicles, such as cylinder heads, brake rotors, shift knobs and vents.  3D printing was used at Ford’s Torrence Avenue Assembly Plant for the production of the Explorer and EcoBoost engines.  Jim Kor and his team of engineers are building a whole vehicle with 3D printers called the Urbee 2. The body of the original Urbee was made through the use 3D printing. However, the Urbee 2 as a whole will be mostly 3D printed. The Urbee 2 will also look more like a production-ready car compared to the original.
  • NASA has fabricated rocket engine injectors. NASA is also going to send a 3D printer into outer space as part of a plan to set up a “mini factory” at the International Space Station (ISS). If astronauts run out of tools, they would simply be able to print out more. Astronauts would no longer have to carry spare parts for each mission.
  • Defense Distributed a high tech gunsmith group created a fully open-sourced 3D printed gun. Fifteen of the gun’s sixteen parts were made out of 3D printed plastic and the body can be etched overnight.
  • Tariq Rahman of the Nemours Biomedical Research facility at the Alfred DuPoint Hospital For Children worked with engineers at the hospital to build a durable exoskeleton that is helping those who cannot walk do so.
  • In Japan, Yahoo! is working with a creative agency called Hakuhodo Kettle to help a school for the blind.  Yahoo! is teaching blind children to search the web using a machine called Hands On Search.  The Hands On Search is shaped like a cloud and it combines voice recognition technology with a MakerBot 3D printer to turn voice queries into physical objects.

It may be a few years before we all have 3-D printers in our homes or before we can merely say, “Earl Grey Tea – Hot” and have it appear in a cup ready and waiting; however, at this rate it may not be long.

Cloaking Device: In the Star Trek universe the Romulans were always popping in and out of view with their cloaking device.  This was a stealth technology so advanced that it not only made their war ships invisible to enemy technology it made them invisible to the naked eye.

Today scientists are hot on the trail of invisibility.  Step by step and inch by inch we are coming closer and knowing the way the military has what we think is impossible long before we know it is reality many believe it is already in use.  In a reversal of the old saying, “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” invisible war ships, planes, tanks, and men will be extremely difficult to counter.  Except by blind luck you can’t hit what you can’t see

Impulse Power:  This is the slower than light drive used in Star Trek.  It may be slower than light speed but it is way faster than the primitive solid and liquid propulsion systems we have been using to dip our toe into the space faring sea.  The ships of the Federation in the Star Trek universe used it to zoom around inside solar systems and that may be a close approximation of what is looming on our horizon.

The no longer secret development of the Electromagnetic Drive (EM Drive) is about to take human space exploration to a whole new level.  Imagine going to the Moon in four hours or to Mars in ten weeks.  This is what scientist are telling us is the potential for the EM or Electromagnetic Drive being called an impossibility that works because it violates Newton’s Third law of Physics “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” It produces thrust by using solar power to generate multiple microwaves that move back and forth in an enclosed chamber. This means that until something fails or wears down, theoretically the engine could keep running forever without the need for rocket fuel.  Once it starts it is that holy grail of pseudoscience: perpetual motion.  Everyone knows perpetual motion is impossible.  The only problem is that it works.

This is being called a reactionless drive.  Reactionless drives lack the “reaction” defined in Newton’s Third Law so for this to work there must be an as-yet-undefined phenomenon taking place or our current understanding of physics is completely wrong.

With this technology it becomes feasible for humanity to make a real beginning of mass exploration and one day migration to the stars.  We are poised to leave the womb of the world and be re-born as a star faring race.  One day soon we may have cousins on Mars and brothers on the Moon.  One day soon we may leave ourselves and help secure the survival of humanity in this cosmic pinball machine where eventually a meteor will punctuate our equilibrium.

And there is the Borg. Which, according to Memory Alpha, “were a pseudo-species of cybernetic beings, or cyborgs, from the Delta Quadrant. No single individual truly existed within the Borg Collective (with the possible sole exception of the Borg Queen), as all Borg were linked into a hive mind. Their ultimate goal was the attainment of ‘perfection’ through the forcible assimilation of diverse sentient species, technologies, and knowledge. As a result, the Borg were among the most powerful and feared entities in the galaxy, without really being a true species at all.”

Is there any possibility that we are the seed of the Borg?  According to Ray Kurzweil, arguably one of the most intelligent men to have ever lived and demonstrably one of the most prescient futurists of all time in his seminal book The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology it is not only possible it is coming soon to a reality near you.  According to About the Book in this book Kurzweil examines,

The next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our own creations.

That merging is the essence of the Singularity, an era in which our intelligence will become increasingly nonbiological and trillions of times more powerful than it is today—the dawning of a new civilization that will enable us to transcend our biological limitations and amplify our creativity. In this new world, there will be no clear distinction between human and machine, real reality and virtual reality. We will be able to assume different bodies and take on a range of personae at will. In practical terms, human aging and illness will be reversed; pollution will be stopped; world hunger and poverty will be solved. Nanotechnology will make it possible to create virtually any physical product using inexpensive information processes and will ultimately turn even death into a soluble problem.

If this sounds too farfetched consider these recent headlines:

  • DARPA is testing implanting chips in soldiers’ brains
  • The Age of Enhancement: Technology is starting to give us superpowers once reserved for comic-book heroes.
  • Building the Real Iron Man
  • The Real Cyborgs
  • Plugging In Your Brain and Body – The Future Of Implanted Computers
  • Brown University creates first wireless, implanted brain-computer interface
  • Intel: Chips in brains will control computers by 2020
  • Will Microchip Implants in Humans Become Mandatory?

After even a cursory search of the Net, just a few clicks and these types of stories begin to appear endless.   This isn’t pie-in–the-sky sometime off in the future somewhere, this is today.  This is happening now.  There is a mad dash to enhance and improve upon God’s creation: man.  In our infinite wisdom we have decided that it is time to take control of evolution and kick it up a notch.

When I speak to people about this aspect of the near future I am often told, “I’ll never get any of that implanted in me.”  I always answer with this question, “If someone invents a chip that is implanted with a simple shot that makes you 1000 times more intelligent and you don’t get it, how do you compete with those who have?”

I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer.

As the Historian of the Future I am compelled to point out that the current events of today are the History of tomorrow, and just as the past is always the past the future is yet to be.  We live in a constant present where, as the future slides into the present the present slides into the past and our lives are the History of the future.  So live your life as if it matters. Face the future with a consciousness of the past so that the present can be used to shape what the future will be. Because it is coming whether we want it or not, and resistance is futile.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens


BREAKING: U.S. Army General Launches BOMBSHELL Claim Against Obama


by Scott McKay
The critic in question is not some crank. He’s a retired two-star general who held a variety of high-level command positions, including commanding the 2nd Infantry Division, which mans the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and the US-Israeli Combined Task Force for Missile Defense. And he’s disgusted with what the president has done to military morale by spending more time on whether gays are in foxholes and whether soldiers can get sex-change operations than actually being ready to fight and win the nation’s military confrontations.
Taking part in a panel at the Values Voters Summit in Washington, Army Maj. Gen. Robert Dees said the Obama administration is using the U.S. military for “social engineering” and the end result is damaging the nation’s ability to defend itself, according to CNS News.

“Not only are we losing physical readiness to fight, we have to fix the problem of moral readiness,” Dees said.

Since Obama was first elected to office, restrictions have been lifted on women in combat, homosexuals now serve openly and there’s an effort currently underway to remove a ban on transgender soldiers. And the president announced on Friday the nomination of Army Acting Under Secretary Eric Fanning as the first openly gay secretary of the Army.

“I think the moral readiness of our forces is even more important than the physical readiness, which is very low,” Dees told CNS News. “The moral readiness is degraded by social experimentation within our military.”

Don’t Attack Donald Trump for Refusing to Kiss Muslim Butts

by Eric Rush

Republican contender Donald Trump is now being excoriated by establishment elites in the GOP and Democrat Party for “failing to correct” a questioner at a town hall event in Rochester, N.H. who stated that President Obama is Muslim, and referenced U.S.-based jihadi training camps.

An article on even stated that the questioner in question “incorrectly stated President Obama is Muslim” (emphasis mine).

And does Fox News know with certainty that Obama is not Muslim? Has the news organization decided to reside among the fools who continue to contend that Obama is a Christian simply because the putrescent serial liar says so?

Angry-Donald-Trump-300x170Although I doubt it is the case, one might argue that Trump may not have corrected the person at the town hall event because Trump himself – like many of us – doesn’t know one way or the other if Obama is or is not Muslim.

In any case, it was gratifying to actually hear a town hall meeting participant speak to these issues without getting shut down, even if Obama’s religion – assuming he has one at all – remains in question. It was very gratifying to finally hear one of the candidates address the fact that “Obama is waging a war against Christians in this country,” which Trump said in a statement today. “Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake.”

Angry Donald TrumpMoving right along, the aforementioned GOP and Democrat elites wasted no time in scrambling like a litter of piglets going for momma sow’s teat to exploit the alleged gaffe. The shrill, perennial hag Hillary Clinton took to Twitter and accused Trump of supporting “false statements” about Obama and “hateful rhetoric” about Muslims. Not too surprising I suppose, coming from someone who has been rolling around in bed with Bill and the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.

The morbidly obese New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a GOP candidate who has been known to lavish smooches upon Obama’s august buttocks when it suited his purposes, said on NBC’s “Today” show that he would have corrected anyone saying something like that at his town hall meetings.

Well, nya-nya-nya, nya-nya-nyaaaaah, Chris. Does Trump have cooties as well?

I am not a Trump supporter, but I will admit that it’s hard not to be when he continues to aggressively articulate some of the things that most need to be said regarding this administration, the corruption of the establishment elites in both parties and how they are destroying this nation via their sick ideology and greed, respectively.

In the current climate, wherein we do indeed have jihadi training camps in the U.S. that are effectively being protected by the Obama administration, Obama-appointed Muslim Brotherhood operatives in our national security and defense infrastructure, the White House funding and arming ISIS, “refugees” from war-torn nations destabilized by Obama being secretly imported to our shores by the Obama administration, and the spectre of even more potential jihadis being diverted here from the Muslim “refugee” invasion occurring in Europe, the fact that we have politicians from both parties defending Obama and Muslims is deeply chilling.

There is little doubt that some of the politicians defending Obama and Muslims are doing so out of spineless, craven political correctness, and some – like Hillary Clinton – are doing so out of a desire to help Obama’s treasonous agenda handily along.

I for one am sick and tired of seeing our so-called leaders – particularly those who pretend at being conservatives – kissing Muslim ass, and admonishing the rest of us to do so. Islam is incompatible with American society and culture, and is currently operating in a militant modality that should only be responded to in kind.


RAUL IS OBAMA’S NEW FRIEND -Raul Castro’s First UN Speech Offers Little Goodwill Toward US

Any expectation that the Obama administration’s historic outreach to Cuba would bring a different tone from President Raul Castro was quickly dispelled when, in his first-ever speech at the United Nations, the communist leader criticized U.S. and Western policies from Latin America to Eastern Europe to the Middle East.

When he eventually got around to the restoration of relations with the United States – more than halfway through his 17-minute speech – Castro expressed no goodwill, but simply underlined Cuba’s conditions for normalization, including an end to the 55-year-old embargo.

“After 56 years in which the Cuban people put up a heroic and selfless resistance, diplomatic relations have been re-established between Cuba and the United States of America,” he said. “Now a long and complex process begins towards the normalization of relations.”

“But this will only be achieved with the end of the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba; the return to our country of the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base; the cessation of radio and TV broadcasts and of subversive and destabilizing programs against the island; and when our people are compensation for the human and economic damages they still endure.”

As long as the embargo endures, Castro added, Cuba will continue to present an annual draft resolution at the U.N. condemning it.

(The resolution each year passes by an overwhelming margin – last year’s vote was 188-2, with only the U.S. and Israel voting no. Obama has called on Congress to lift the embargo, and the Associated Press reported last week that the administration was considering an unprecedented abstention rather than voting against the measure this year.)

Earlier in the speech Castro did a tour around the region, voicing “solidarity” with the leftist leaders in Venezuela and Ecuador in the face of “destabilization” efforts (he did not accuse the U.S. by name, but the implication was clear); calling for Puerto Rico’s independence from the U.S. “after more than a century of colonial domination”; supporting slavery reparation for Caribbean nations; and backing Argentina in its sovereignty dispute with Britain over the Falkland (Malvinas) islands.

Looking further afield, he slammed NATO for its eastward expansion in Europe and for Western sanctions against Russia. The measures were imposed after Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea, which went unmentioned by Castro.

He also “demand[ed] the end of external interference” in Syria – although without saying whether that demand extended to the involvement of Russia and Iran, both allies of Cuba.

As for the refugees from warzones and other migrants flooding Europe, Castro blamed the crisis on Western interference in the Middle East, along with poverty in Africa.

“This is a direct result of the destabilization actions promoted and executed by NATO in countries of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as of poverty and underdevelopment prevailing in countries of the African continent,” he said.

Castro also voiced “strong support” for Palestinian claims to eastern Jerusalem and an independent state, and welcomed the nuclear deal with Iran as evidence “that engagement and negotiations are the only effective tools to settle disputes.”

More broadly, he criticized colonialism and imperialism, called for an end to “unilateralism” at the United Nations, and said the world body must be reformed and democratized, “to bring it closer to the peoples.”

Castro concluded by saying Cuba could always be depended upon to “raise its voice against injustice, inequality, underdevelopment, discrimination and manipulation, and for the establishment of a more equitable and fair international order.”

The end of the speech brought sustained applause, and a standing ovation from several Latin American delegations.

In his address to the U.N. earlier in the day, President Obama said the U.S. continues to have differences with the Cuban government, and “will continue to stand up for human rights.”

“But we address these issues through diplomatic relations, and increased commerce, and people-to-people ties,” he continued.

“As these contacts yield progress, I’m confident that our Congress will inevitably lift an embargo that should not be in place anymore,” Obama said, drawing applause.

“Change won’t come overnight to Cuba, but I’m confident that openness, not coercion, will support the reforms and better the life the Cuban people deserve, just as I believe that Cuba will find its success if it pursues cooperation with other nations.”

Obama and Castro are due to meet in New York on Tuesday, for what will be only their second substantive meeting.

Trump Points out Sleazy Ruling Class; Media Offended

A vast majority of people WANT a candidate who will label our sleazy ruling class for what it is, but the media thinks it is bad taste.
I really don’t like Donald Trump, but it is amazing to see the media attack him for the stuff that he is obviously doing right.
In this case he called a perv sleazebag a “perv” and a “sleazebag.”
Morality matters. It doesn’t matter only because it involves sin and the eventual judgment of God. That is significant enough for a person being immoral. But it is a public issue as well.
People with power have the constant temptation to abuse that power. This is a problem for the very best people. How much more will temptations beset those who are slaves to secret vices? Such people have no genuine track record for integrity. The people might think they have integrity, but that is because they are ignorant of the vices that grip them.

Additionally, the desire for sinful “pleasures” (though many of them aren’t even pleasant) becomes another temptation to abuse power in pursuit of the sin. How many times, when you vote someone into office, are you voting to give him new resources to pursue a secret vice?
Finally, we get to Bob Allen’s question about blackmail. Are there any politicians in office who are not subject to blackmail? Putting a person in power who is the servant of vices can easily mean putting a person in power who is the servant of anyone threatening to reveal the secret.
For all those reasons, the fact that our most powerful politicians and would-be politicians are disgusting sleazebags and pervs is a real concern to many people. Our sleazy ruling class means we are not likely to be ruled well. Our sleazy ruling class means we are likely to be ruled for the sake of the “needs” of the rulers, not for the good of the commonwealth.
And yet the media glosses over and looks away from the most extreme instances of sleaziness when they come to light, especially if the offender is a Democrat! No wonder Trump felt it was right to point this out!

As The Hill reports, “Trump rips Clinton aide Abedin and ‘perv’ husband Weiner.”
Donald Trump on Friday took aim at longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, poking fun at her marriage to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, whom he called a “perv” and a “sleazebag.”
Speaking to donors in Boston, The GOP presidential front-runner noted that Abedin — whose first name he repeatedly pronounced “Ooma” — has worked closely with Clinton and would have access to classified information.
“And who is Huma married to?” Trump asked. “One of the great sleazebags of our time, Anthony Weiner.”
The businessman then mimicked typing on a cell phone and said in a mocking tone, “I love you very much.”
It was a reference to Weiner’s admission that he repeatedly sent and received sexually explicit material via Twitter and texting. The scandal cost him his seat in the House of Representatives.
Trump noted that he “knew him before they caught him with the —“ he trailed off, again mimicking typing on a phone.
“And he was a bad guy then; it turns out that he was a really bad guy,” he added.
“So Huma is getting classified secrets,” Trump said. “She’s married to Anthony Wiener, who’s a perv. No, he is!”
“Do you think there’s even a five percent chance that she’s not telling Anthony Weiner … what the hell is coming across?”
I wonder if the writer knew that his text would be accompanied by the video. He left out the most interesting detail in Trump’s claims: Anthony Weiner is now working at a new job at a PR firm.
Was he really hired on the basis of his skills? It seems much more likely his relationships and knowledge might have been seen as an asset.
But the text of the article left out that part of what happened. I suppose the writer needed the line space to mention how Trump mispronounced Huma’s name, because that is so much more important.
And how did the Clinton campaign respond? Their press secretary, Nick Merrill claimed that Trump “should be ashamed of himself.”
Not for that, Nick. Not for that. Some other people should be ashamed, if they are even capable of such feelings.


Pope Francis tells Congress it should use its power for ‘restoring hope, righting wrongs’


In a historic speech to Congress that served as the centerpiece of his trip to the capital, Pope Francis added a powerful — and mostly liberal — voice to issues that dominate American debate, particularly immigration and global warming.

The pope urged Congress to put aside division and draw on the nation’s rich history to pursue “the common good.” He framed that bipartisan goal, however, by setting policy goals that largely confirmed the worries that some conservatives had expressed in advance of his visit.

And he vividly illustrated one of his concerns — the plight of the poor — by leaving the Capitol after he called on lawmakers to act and traveling a few blocks to a downtown Washington church. There, less than an hour after he had mingled with the nation’s most powerful leaders Thursday, Francis blessed the homeless as they ate a meal provided by a Catholic charity.

Pope Francis visit: Pontiff leaves New York’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral as his long day ends
The pope’s address before a joint meeting of Congress, the first for a leader of the Roman Catholic Church, momentarily disrupted the divisions entrenched in American politics.

Lawmakers from both parties listened — some at the edge of their seats, others jumping to applause, a few wiping away tears — as the 78-year-old pontiff admonished them to use their political strength for “restoring hope, righting wrongs.”

Outside the Capitol, thousands gathered to watch the address on Jumbotrons set up on the West Lawn. Some chanted “U.S.A.” and sang “God Bless America.”

Later in the morning, Francis appeared briefly on the Speaker’s Balcony to greet the crowd — “Buenos dias,” he declared — before visiting with the homeless and others in need at St. Patrick’s Church in downtown Washington.

There, he spoke about homelessness to 200 clients of Catholic Charities — the unemployed, those in need of medical help, and immigrants seeking aid. He then stepped outside to talk with about 300 homeless men, women and children having meals, blessing the food as they ate.

Francis had been invited to address Congress by Republican House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, who dabbed away tears throughout the day, including during a private meeting with the pope before the speech.

During that session, the Vatican interpreter told him that Francis had said Boehner’s green tie was “the color of hope.”

“I need a lot of hope today,” responded the often-beleaguered speaker.

The pope was the object of bipartisan applause when he arrived, and he said he hoped to reach the entire country with his words.
“You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics,” the pope told the lawmakers, some of whom seemed to strain to make out his words, spoken at times almost in a whisper and in a language, English, that is not his own.

“Politics,” he said, is “an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.”

But as his speech moved from general exhortations to specifics, the pattern of applause in the House chamber made clear that papal calls to abolish the death penalty, welcome immigrants, combat climate change and work against income inequality were more welcome on the Democratic side than among Republicans.

A section of the speech in which Francis cited the Bible’s golden rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — as he discussed immigration illustrated how he sought to mix his appeals, but also the overall impact.

@tommythek501 lolol – funny to see you call OTHERS hypocrites. You, comrade, are the poster child for hypocrisy. Your posts are filled with lies after lie. When you’re called on it and you have no answer nor the decency to admit it, like a true RWNJ the response is . . . BENGHAZI!!
AT 8:06 AM SEPTEMBER 25, 2015

“We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome,” he said. The golden rule “points us in a clear direction,” he added. “Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves.

“The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

That drew lawmakers to their feet, largely from the Democratic side of the aisle.

Francis immediately followed, however, by applying the same lesson to abortion, although he did not mention the procedure directly.

“The golden rule also reminds us of our responsibility to protect and defend human life at every stage of its development,” he said as Republicans led the applause.

No sooner had their cheers begun to abate than the pope spoke of another aspect of what the Roman Catholic Church — but not American politics — sees as a seamless continuum.

See the most-read stories this hour >>
“This conviction has led me, from the beginning of my ministry, to advocate at different levels for the global abolition of the death penalty,” he said. “A just and necessary punishment must never exclude the dimension of hope and the goal of rehabilitation.”

Although the pope raised several other topics — including global warming, against which he urged “courageous actions and strategies,” and the global trade in weapons — immigration was the central element of the address.

Francis, whose family immigrated from Italy to Argentina, challenged Congress to act with compassion in dealing with migrants, not only refugees in Europe, but also those fleeing north from Mexico.

“When the stranger in our midst appeals to us, we must not repeat the sins and the errors of the past,” he said.

“Thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories.”

Francis, who had never before visited the United States, called himself “a son of the continent,” and invoked historical lessons from four American figures — Abraham Lincoln, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and two U.S. Catholic leaders, the Cistercian monk Thomas Merton and the labor activist Dorothy Day.

He admonished Congress to use the nation’s civic traditions as a spur to action. “A good political leader is one who, with the interests of all in mind, seizes the moment in a spirit of openness and pragmatism,” he said.

Those ideas drew praise from people in the audience outside.

Jonathan Soo Hoo, 23, from Mill Valley, Calif., a master’s student at George Washington University Law School, spoke of the pope as “a tremendous leader on issues relating to faith” who “serves as a beacon for morality and spirituality that should inspire everyone.”

“We can all learn something from listening and internalizing the lessons he speaks of from the holy book,” Soo Hoo said.

Jose Cabrales, 37, of Watsonville, Calif., arrived at the Capitol at 3:30 a.m. along with a friend’s parents, who had traveled from Anaheim.

“I came today because the pope’s message of justice and peace resonates with me, as well as his Jesuit values — competence, conscience and compassion,” he said.

U.S. House chaplain, a fellow Jesuit, hopes for the rare honor of blessing the pope
U.S. House chaplain, a fellow Jesuit, hopes for the rare honor of blessing the pope
Inside the building, however, there was little indication that Washington’s warring factions had heeded the pope’s exhortation to unity.

“I welcome the pope’s call to put aside petty bickering and come together behind shared values,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a presidential candidate who portrays himself a disruptive force in politics and is threatening a government shutdown. “What I have endeavored to do is speak the truth with a smile.”

As Francis headed for New York, lawmakers were back to work in the afternoon, voting in the Senate on a measure to keep the government running past next Wednesday’s deadline. It failed.


Times staff writers Marcus Howard in Washington and Michael Muskal in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

What Can’t happen Here Did

Revolutions happened in other countries.  That great slave house of nations the USSR, their satellite countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, African countries and of course those banana republics somewhere down south but one thing is for sure, it can’t happen here.  Following in the footsteps of giants who have used these prophetic words of Sinclair Lewis I want to examine how it did happen here.

In the America of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison, the America we inherited from our forefathers, we knew that there could never be a revolution.  We had the Constitution with its checks and balances, its separation of powers, and its Bill of Rights.  These were rock solid, carved in stone, and strong enough to preserve the Republic and safe guard the freedom of its people.

Besides the American people would not stand for some wannabe dictator and his brown, black, or whatever color shirt followers marching through the streets and into the White House.  The sons of the Pioneers wouldn’t sit still for any attempt to curtail limited government, personal freedom, or economic opportunity.  No way!  No how!  Others might accept censorship, surveillance, and rigged elections but not us, not Americans.  We had fought wars to defend our independence, wars to defeat totalitarianism; we had even fought wars to spread freedom.  No, we wouldn’t quietly allow homegrown tyrants to grasp the levers of power.

It sounds so comforting, “It can’t happen here.”  If you take a beginning Political Science class in either High School or College you will learn how the government works. How bills become laws, how the legislature is made up of the freely elected representatives of the people, how the President runs the executive branch and the Supreme Court sits atop the judicial branch.  You will learn about the Declaration of Independence and how the Constitution was written to replace the Articles of Confederation which were too weak to work.  Yes, you will learn all about how it’s supposed to work.

In most schools you will also learn that the Constitution is a “living Document” that can be re-interpreted to fit every generation and every age.  The results of 100 years of re-interpretation have led us to the brink of ruin and me to recommend that the study of the Constitution should be moved from Political Science to History since what rules us today is legal precedent and bureaucratic regulation.  The courts use foreign laws and traditions to interpret our laws and traditions.  The legislature passes laws they don’t read filled with thousands of pages of vague platitudes and goals that the bureaucrats fill in with no oversight and the force of law.  And the President does whatever he wants and no one says a thing.

So how did America fall for the second oldest con in the world, “Give me your freedom and I’ll give you security?”

Those who wished to gain power had no ideology or theology which inspired them.  They only sought power for power’s sake.  They espoused whatever populist themes gave them the broadest support.  To bring as many interest groups as possible into their coalition they embraced an “I’m okay you’re okay” relativity that rejected absolutes and extoled the fringe as the mainstream.

And all the while the decedents of the blacksmiths and farmers who once congregated on corners to discuss the latest political pamphlet or to debate the merits of economic policy snoozed on the couch waking up long enough to go to work or watch the game.

The Revolutionaries of the New America first took root in the faculty lounges of academia providing the intellectual and cultural cover for an American movement that promoted the opposite of everything America stood for.  From the classrooms of our colleges, came the next generations of teachers, journalists, lawyers, artists, and politicians.  Soon it was common knowledge that our once rock-solid Constitution was a Living Document to be twisted and changed whenever those in power found the need.

From here it was just a matter of time until a revolution was accomplished through evolutionary change.  Once the centers of power were secure in Washington, Hollywood, and in the media the trickle of change became a torrent and the torrent became a tsunami.  Two wings on the same bird of prey, perpetually re-elected representatives from the twin headed party of power pander to the lowest common denominators, buying votes, using taxes to punish enemies and tax money to reward friends.

Our tyrants-in-training have captured the government and the economy, created a dependent class of motor-voters, convinced people that a continually growing debt is sustainable and turned the government into the one who picks winners and losers instead of a free economy.  The slow slide down a slippery slope has accelerated into a precipitous procession over a predictable precipice.  To those who have seen this coming it is like watching a slow motion train wreck.  The coming destruction is not mitigated in the least by the decades or warning.

Our prideful boast of it can’t happen here has become a heart wrenching analysis of how it did happen here.  How did the Progressives capture our land and subvert our Republic?  They did it gradually inch by inch, step by step.  When they lost a round they held their gains and as soon as possible recovered their long march toward a fundamentally transformed nation.

How they changed it brings us to the question, “How do we change it back?”

Violent revolt is both repugnant and obviously suicidal to people who understand that once that genie is out of the bottle there is no way to know which way it will go, except that the odds are heavily against it ever landing back in a stable land of limited government and personal freedom.  The power of the state is overwhelming.  Millions of shot guns, pistols, and even those terrible assault rifles we are constantly being lectured about would make no headway against Abrams tanks and F-18s.

There are only two ways to have a successful peaceful revolution.  One: the vast majority of the people must go on strike and refuse to operate as a society until the changes have been made.  Or two: it must happen gradually line upon line verse upon verse always keeping the goal in sight and moving forward at every opportunity.  In other words we must do to the new establishment what they did to the old: not overthrow it. Supplant it and replace it in the hearts and minds of the people.

We can rest assured that all people at all times eventually yearn for freedom thus the stage is set by the very nature of man that God imprinted on us in His creation.  Free choice is the natural state of man and in the end we will return to it.  This pall of totalitarianism which is falling like a shadow across the land will one day awake to find the light of liberty cannot be quenched forever.

What should we do?  Education is the key.  If you are not a teacher become one.  Learn to show yourself approved.  Teach anyone who will listen of freedom, of the true History of the American experiment.  Become involved in any way you can to retake control of our education system so that we can train the coming generations to love freedom, truth, justice, and the American way.

And don’t lose hope.  God created us to be free and though tyrants always seek to ensnare people in their self-serving systems we will one day be free again.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.  Remember what we thought couldn’t happen here did, and what they think can’t happen to them will. Freedom will rise from the ashes, and one day the light of liberty will once again burn brightly in America the beautiful.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ © 2015 Contact Dr. Owens Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens





Donald J. Trump on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.

The Second Amendment guarantees a fundamental right that belongs to all law-abiding Americans. The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

It’s been said that the Second Amendment is America’s first freedom. That’s because the Right to Keep and Bear Arms protects all our other rights. We are the only country in the world that has a Second Amendment. Protecting that freedom is imperative. Here’s how we will do that:

Enforce The Laws On The Books

We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals. The Obama administration’s record on that is abysmal. Violent crime in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and many others is out of control. Drug dealers and gang members are given a slap on the wrist and turned loose on the street. This needs to stop.

Several years ago there was a tremendous program in Richmond, Virginia called Project Exile. It said that if a violent felon uses a gun to commit a crime, you will be prosecuted in federal court and go to prison for five years – no parole or early release. Obama’s former Attorney General, Eric Holder, called that a “cookie cutter” program. That’s ridiculous. I call that program a success. Murders committed with guns in Richmond decreased by over 60% when Project Exile was in place – in the first two years of the program alone, 350 armed felons were taken off the street.

Why does that matter to law-abiding gun owners? Because they’re the ones who anti-gun politicians and the media blame when criminals misuse guns. We need to bring back and expand programs like Project Exile and get gang members and drug dealers off the street. When we do, crime will go down and our cities and communities will be safer places to live.

Here’s another important way to fight crime – empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves. Law enforcement is great, they do a tremendous job, but they can’t be everywhere all of the time. Our personal protection is ultimately up to us. That’s why I’m a gun owner, that’s why I have a concealed carry permit, and that’s why tens of millions of Americans have concealed carry permits as well. It’s just common sense. To make America great again, we’re going to go after criminals and put the law back on the side of the law-abiding.

Fix Our Broken Mental Health System

Let’s be clear about this. Our mental health system is broken. It needs to be fixed. Too many politicians have ignored this problem for too long.

All of the tragic mass murders that occurred in the past several years have something in common – there were red flags that were ignored. We can’t allow that to continue. We need to expand treatment programs, because most people with mental health problems aren’t violent, they just need help. But for those who are violent, a danger to themselves or others, we need to get them off the street before they can terrorize our communities. This is just common sense.

And why does this matter to law-abiding gun owners? Once again, because they get blamed by anti-gun politicians, gun control groups and the media for the acts of deranged madmen. When one of these tragedies occurs, we can count on two things: one, that opponents of gun rights will immediately exploit it to push their political agenda; and two, that none of their so-called “solutions” would have prevented the tragedy in the first place. They’ve even admitted it.

We need real solutions to address real problems. Not grandstanding or political agendas.

Defend The Rights of Law-Abiding Gun Owners

GUN AND MAGAZINE BANS. Gun and magazine bans are a total failure. That’s been proven every time it’s been tried. Opponents of gun rights try to come up with scary sounding phrases like “assault weapons”, “military-style weapons” and “high capacity magazines” to confuse people. What they’re really talking about are popular semi-automatic rifles and standard magazines that are owned by tens of millions of Americans. Law-abiding people should be allowed to own the firearm of their choice. The government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.

BACKGROUND CHECKS. There has been a national background check system in place since 1998. Every time a person buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer – which is the overwhelming majority of all gun purchases – they go through a federal background check. Study after study has shown that very few criminals are stupid enough to try and pass a background check – they get their guns from friends/family members or by stealing them. So the overwhelming majority of people who go through background checks are law-abiding gun owners. When the system was created, gun owners were promised that it would be instant, accurate and fair. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today. Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system – and it should go without saying that a system’s only going to be as effective as the records that are put into it. What we need to do is fix the system we have and make it work as intended. What we don’t need to do is expand a broken system.

NATIONAL RIGHT TO CARRY. The right of self-defense doesn’t stop at the end of your driveway. That’s why I have a concealed carry permit and why tens of millions of Americans do too. That permit should be valid in all 50 states. A driver’s license works in every state, so it’s common sense that a concealed carry permit should work in every state. If we can do that for driving – which is a privilege, not a right – then surely we can do that for concealed carry, which is a right, not a privilege.

MILITARY BASES AND RECRUITING CENTERS. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We train our military how to safely and responsibly use firearms, but our current policies leave them defenseless. To make America great again, we need a strong military. To have a strong military, we need to allow them to defend themselves.


The Obama administration is just weeks away from imposing a new ozone particulate standard that manufacturers say will cripple jobs and productivity in the U.S. and leave some firms and industries clinging to life.

The National Association of Manufacturers released a study suggesting the standard would cost the U.S. 1.4 million jobs and $1.7 trillion in productivity by 2040 if the standard is lowered from 75 parts per billion to 65 parts per billion. The EPA could bring it as low as 60 parts per billion, which the study projects would be catastrophic.

For business owners like Summitville Tiles CEO David Johnson, the change would be devastating. The firm is based in Ohio, which relies heavily on manufacturing for jobs and economic growth. Johnson recently wrote a column explaining what’s at stake if the Obama administration get’s it’s way.

“We have 88 counties in this state and under this new ozone standard, all 88 of these counties would be out of compliance, just by the stroke of the pen of this executive order of the president,” Johnson said.

In addition to burdening existing manufacturers, Johnson said the new ozone standard would stifle new business.

“It would essentially stop any new projects from going forward unless there were reductions in emissions in other plants in other areas,” he said. “In other words, there’s a trade-off. If you’re going to add new emissions, you’d have to reduce emissions somewhere else. So (if you) shut down a factory or a company goes out of business, then and only then would you have a permit to expand your particular operations.”

According to Johnson, American manufacturing has never received a gut punch like this from its own government.

“This is not a bill that’s been passed by Congress, hasn’t been vetted, hasn’t been studied,” Johnson said. “It’s simply President Obama and his EPA’s effort to combat what they believe is global warming. So yeah, it would be the most expensive regulation in the history of regulations.”

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with David Johnson:

Johnson said the looming change is especially maddening when the EPA admits ozone levels are vastly improving over the past few decades.

“By EPA’s own public admission, concentrations of ozone have actually declined by 33 percent from 1980 to 2013, during the same period of time when the U.S. population had increased by 40 percent and the economy had more than doubled in size,” he said.

Summitville Tiles has been in business for four generations and for over a century. In recent years, however, Johnson said, a 700-member workforce has been trimmed considerably just to stay afloat. The firm is the only remaining member of its national trade association from the ceramic tile industry because most cannot compete with cheaper materials flooding the market from China and Mexico.

Johnson said the ozone regulations are part of a looming double whammy that could leave manufacturing in dire straits.

“This new Pacific trade agreement is a perfect example of another whole new category of countries that will be given preferential treatment to ship product into the United States to undermine and undercut our products,” Johnson said.

He added, “At the same time, we’re being hammered by these new regulations and those will be very costly to comply with.”

A public comment period is open before the ozone standard goes into effect, but Johnson thinks voicing opposition to the EPA is a waste of oxygen. He said the only way to fight back is at the ballot box.

“Another four years of Obama thinking could do irreparable harm to this country’s ability to compete and its ability to provide jobs,” Johnson said.

He said 2016 must be a change election for the sake of American jobs.

“I urge people to get involved in this next election and make sure that there’s a change in the White House,” he said. “That’s where it’s coming from. This is government by fiat, not government by deliberative democratic process.”