I saw a recent Ted Cruz ad that made some claims about his rival Donald Trump. I did some searching and found the facts behind the ad in the UK Guardian.
Since he shot to the top of the presidential polls, Donald Trump’s serial bankruptcies and bullying nature have made big headlines. But no one seems to have brought up a bullying business practice he’s particularly fond of: eminent domain.
The billionaire mogul-turned-reality TV celebrity, who says he wants to work on behalf of “the silent majority,” has had no compunction about benefiting from the coercive power of the state to kick innocent Americans out of their homes.
[…]Trump turned to a government agency – the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) – to take Coking’s property. CRDA offered her $250,000 for the property – one-fourth of what another hotel builder had offered her a decade earlier. When she turned that down, the agency went into court to claim her property under eminent domain so that Trump could pave it and put up a parking lot.
[…]Ms Coking and her neighbors spent several years in court, but eventually with the assistance of the Institute for Justice they won on July 20, 1998. A state judge rejected the agency’s demand on the narrow grounds that there was no guarantee that Trump would use the land for the specified purpose.
But Trump is quite unrepentant:
Trump consistently defended the use of eminent domain. Interviewed by John Stossel on ABC News, he said: “Cities have the right to condemn for the good of the city. Everybody coming into Atlantic City sees this terrible house instead of staring at beautiful fountains and beautiful other things that would be good.” Challenged by Stossel, he said that eminent domain was necessary to build schools and roads. But of course he just wanted to build a limousine parking lot.
[…]When Donald Trump says: “I give to everybody. They do whatever I want,” this is what he’s talking about: well-connected interests getting favors from government. Vera Coking knows the feeling.
Here’s the Ted Cruz ad summarizing the story above:
Donald Trump is a New York billionaire who inherited a fortune from his father. He brags about how he donated money to Democrat politicians. His view on eminent domain really shows what he thinks of ordinary Americans – and the Constitution.
Here’s the story from the radically leftist CBC News.
North Korea’s Supreme Court has sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labour for what it called crimes against the state.
Hyeon Soo Lim, who is in his early 60s and is pastor at the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was sentenced after a 90-minute trial. He had been in detention since February.
Lim’s relatives and colleagues have said he travelled on Jan. 31 as part of a regular humanitarian mission to North Korea where he supports a nursing home, a nursery and an orphanage. They said Lim has made more than 100 trips to North Korea since 1997, and that his trips were about helping people and were not political.
[…]Charges against him include:
Harming the dignity of the supreme leadership.
Trying to use religion to destroy the North Korean system.
Disseminating negative propaganda about the North to the overseas Koreans.
Helping U.S. and South Korean authorities to lure and abduct North Korean citizens, and aiding their programs to assist defectors from the North.
State prosecutors sought the death penalty.
Now I would imagine that this is the kind of thing that our own radical atheist groups in America would celebrate, e.g. – the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Human Rights Campaign, etc. They are very anxious to get rid of using public expressions of Christianity from the public square, and big government is their preferred weapon to achieve that. I would say that the opinion of Christianity among the North Korean elite is similar to the opinion of Christianity held by the secular elites in the Democrat Party, and I have blogged many times on their anti-Christian statements to that effect,here for example and here for another example and here for yet another example. Personally, I would think that in the Obama administration, more work is done spying on Christians, pro-lifers and conservatives than on radical Islamists and radical environmentalists. Which is why we need to vote the Democrats out – they are not serious about the real threats we face as a nation.
Let’s go ahead and review what atheist regimes in other times and places are like.
Let’s take a look at what Josef Stalin did during his rule of Russia in the 1920s and 1930s.
The Soviet Union was the first state to have as an ideological objective the elimination of religion. Toward that end, the Communist regime confiscated church property, ridiculed religion, harassed believers, and propagated atheism in the schools. Actions toward particular religions, however, were determined by State interests, and most organized religions were never outlawed.
The main target of the anti-religious campaign in the 1920s and 1930s was the Russian Orthodox Church, which had the largest number of faithful. Nearly all of its clergy, and many of its believers, were shot or sent to labor camps. Theological schools were closed, and church publications were prohibited. By 1939 only about 500 of over 50,000 churches remained open.
Atheist propaganda and the struggle against religion began immediately after the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917. While social change would, under Marxist theory, bring religion to disappear, Leninists argued that the Party should actively help to eradicate religion as a vital step in creating ‘New Soviet Man’. The energy with which the Party struggled against religion, though, varied considerably from time to time and from place to place, as did its hostility to particular faith groups. The 1920s saw the closure of innumerable churches and synagogues (and to a lesser extent mosques) and the active persecution of clergy and harassment of believers. From 1930, though, Stalin introduced a less aggressive approach, and wartime support for the government earned for the Russian Orthodox Church, at least, a level of toleration which lasted until Stalin’s death. Under Khrushchev antireligious efforts resumed, if spasmodically, and they lasted until the end of the Soviet Union.
An article from the pro-communism Marxist.com web site says this about Stalin:
During the ultra-left period of forcible collectivisation and the Five Year Plan in Four an attempt was made to liquidate the Church and its influence by government decree. Starting in 1929 churches were forcibly closed and priests arrested and exiled all over the Soviet Union. The celebrated Shrine of the Iberian Virgin in Moscow – esteemed by believers to be the “holiest” in all Russia was demolished – Stalin and his Government were not afraid of strengthening religious fanaticism by wounding the feelings of believers as Lenin and Trotsky had been! Religion, they believed, could be liquidated, like the kulak, by a stroke of the pen. The Society of Militant Atheists, under Stalin’s orders, issued on May 15th 1932, the “Five Year Plan of Atheism” – by May 1st 1937, such as the “Plan”, “not a single house of prayer shall remain in the territory of the USSR, and the very concept of God must be banished from the Soviet Union as a survival of the Middle Ages and an instrument for the oppression of the working masses.”!
Take a look at this UK Daily Mail article about a great achievement of the atheist Josef Stalin, which occurred in 1932-1933.
Now, 75 years after one of the great forgotten crimes of modern times, Stalin’s man-made famine of 1932/3, the former Soviet republic of Ukraine is asking the world to classify it as a genocide.
The Ukrainians call it the Holodomor – the Hunger.
Millions starved as Soviet troops and secret policemen raided their villages, stole the harvest and all the food in villagers’ homes.
They dropped dead in the streets, lay dying and rotting in their houses, and some women became so desperate for food that they ate their own children.
If they managed to fend off starvation, they were deported and shot in their hundreds of thousands.
So terrible was the famine that Igor Yukhnovsky, director of the Institute of National Memory, the Ukrainian institution researching the Holodomor, believes as many as nine million may have died.
[…]Between four and five million died in Ukraine, a million died in Kazakhstan and another million in the north Caucasus and the Volga.
By 1933, 5.7 million households – somewhere between ten million and 15 million people – had vanished. They had been deported, shot or died of starvation.
This is what follows when you believe that the universe is an accident, that there is no objective good and evil, that human beings are just animals, that no God will hold us accountable, and that human beings are not made in the image of God for the purpose of freely choosing to come into a relationship with him. The Ukrainian famine is an action that came from a man whose worldview was passionate, consistent atheism.
Investors Business Daily has some good news for us. The Democrat Party of Venezuela has been CRUSHED in a recent election.
Venezuela’s voters delivered a sledgehammer blow to the country’s ruling Chavista socialists Sunday, winning a likely supermajority in the National Assembly. It’s a great awakening from a 17-year nightmare.
Given the past two decades of near-victories, electoral fraud, chicanery and fractious political opposition mistakes, many Venezuelans are still in disbelief at the scale of the victory in the nation’s legislative elections, which have decisively handed one of Venezuela’s leading governing bodies over to the democratic, pro-free-market opposition.
As this was written, the opposition, known by its Spanish initials MUD, had declared a 112-seat, or two-thirds, supermajority in the National Assembly as a result of Sunday’s vote. The Chavistas won just 46 seats.
It’s total victory in legislative terms and will enable the legislature to throw out politicized Supreme Court justices and appoint honest ones.
The new Congress can also boot corrupt election officials and appoint fair ones. And they will even be able to declare President Nicolas Maduro — the late dictator Hugo Chavez’s hand-picked successor — mentally unstable and unfit for office, or remove him for incompetence. They can also stop his executive orders dead.
The Congress also will have the power to free the 71 or so political prisoners now rotting in Chavista dungeons without trial, including top opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez. And Venezuela’s central bank will stop destroying the country’s money, now nearly worthless.
[…]Most important, the leftist government’s mismanagement of the economy — through currency controls that prevented imports of spare parts, created shortages of basics such as toilet paper and devastated the health care system — and the central bank’s infamous money-printing spree, which has pushed Venezuelan inflation to near 700%, made ordinary life for Venezuelans hellish. There also was corruption, with as much as 1 trillion dollars in oil earnings stolen or misappropriated over the years by high-living Chavista elites, whose lavish lifestyles mocked ordinary, poor Venezuelans.
Top it with the monstrous infiltration of the country by the drug lords, and the likelihood of an electoral housecleaning was perfectly clear.
Still, an element of disbelief remains, given how dirty the Chavista rulers have played their democracy game.
They have broken election rules, violated ballot secrecy, shut voters out and banned popular candidates from running. Many of those dirty tricks were evident in this election, too — the Chavistas illegally extended voting hours and campaigned at polling stations, to cite just a couple of examples.
But the opposition won anyway — with turnout so high, at 74.5%, and margins of victory so wide that the election was impossible to steal.
It helped that the the opposition had the wind at its back with the disastrous result of socialism. But it also helped that MUD had improved its electoral game over the years, learning from each near-miss election.
It also helped that MUD had strong leaders such as Maria Corina Machado and put out strong candidates with a clear, unified message — often summed up as “Down with the left.” And with all the pain of 17 years, it helped most of all that they never lost heart.
There is literally no different between the socialists of Venezuela and the Democrat Party in the United States. They are in lock step on every issue. Should the Democrat Party continue to hold power in America, we can look forward to a reckoning like this one in the future.
The Wall Street Journal says that the whole country is basically in the grip of ignorant socialists at every level, so there is lots to do.
Pulling out of that death spiral, economists say, will require a series of painful and unpopular adjustments, rolling back more than a decade of populist and statist policies. Among the measures needed is raising the price of the world’s cheapest gasoline—which goes for less than one U.S. penny a gallon—overhauling a cumbersome and inefficient foreign-exchange system, and cutting generous social programs on which Venezuela’s poor depend.
[…]The government still controls more than 20 governorships, hundreds of mayors, the judiciary, much of the press and all auditing agencies. It will be up to Mr. Maduro whether to take steps to stabilize the economy, like loosening currency or price controls.
It’s not just Venezuela that has hit bottom under socialism. Recently, the people of Argentina also threw out their socialists after years and years of disastrous leftist policies.
Under the current president, Cristina Fernandez, Argentina has become an international financial pariah. The country defaulted on debt last year in a long-running feud with hedge funds — remarkably, that was the eighth default in Argentina’s history.
Fernandez refused to settle. That’s left the country to squeak by in isolation, using protectionism and capital controls in a quixotic battle with globalism. The economy is stagnant, foreign currency reserves are dwindling and the inflation rate is around 30 percent. Last week, American Airlines said it stopped accepting pesos for ticket sales because it was tired of collecting revenue it couldn’t convert to dollars.
At times Argentina has embraced trade and economic openness, only to slip back into bad habits thanks to populist Peronistas like Fernandez. Macri, a conservative, wants to re-establish free market principles, but there are a lot of details he didn’t fully explain before his November victory because they will require some short-term pain, and he wanted to win the election.
Everything Macri is talking about makes sense. He says he will lift the capital controls that have wrecked the peso’s credibility. Like other backwaters it shouldn’t resemble, Argentina has a thriving black market because the government insists the peso is worth a lot more than its actual value. Freeing the currency would devalue it, a first step toward making Argentina more competitive.
The next big step would be to negotiate a settlement with the hedge funds that bought up Argentina’s debt after its previous default in 2002 and demand repayment. Fernandez got political mileage from attacking the “vultures,” but Macri seems to understand Argentina can’t get unstuck when it’s essentially shut out of international capital markets. He sounds like he wants to do a deal.
Macri’s got a tremendous balancing act to pull off: He’ll need to cut spending and reduce taxes without destroying the country’s big social safety net, while walking the country through a devaluation.
This is how countries that are ruled for a prolonged period by the political left eventually end up. I know so many of you lose heart and think that there is no hope, but there is hope. Even in countries where the left is running everything from the universities, to the judiciaries, to the mainstream media, there is hope.
Over the last 7 years, Obama added $10 trillion to the national debt. And although few of his Democrat low-information voters know about that, they will be able to tell the difference between prosperity and poverty when the United States reaches the Venezuela / Argentina tipping point. There comes a time when there are no more bailouts for the economics deniers. Reality wins in the end.
Here’s an article from The Stream about the second Thanksgiving, by Dante Witt. I like this article because it tells us so much about the character of the United States of America. Why are we so conservative about economics?
She briefly retells the story of how the pilgrims were helped by Squanto, which I blogged about in my previous post, then she talks about the troubles they had next.
Although Squanto’s farming techniques worked better than their old ones, the pilgrims still could not produce enough food. Was it bad luck? Bad soil? No. The Mayflower pilgrims were part of a joint stock company which stipulated that the pilgrims would pool their resources, and receive a share of the profit.
The strategy turned out to be deeply misguided, working about as well as various communist economic schemes hundreds of years later. The sad state of the colony after two years of communism, wrote William Bradford, “may well evidence the vanity of that conceit of Plato’s and the other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and the bringing of community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God” (p. 121).
So the pilgrims amended their contract so that each family was now responsible for its own provision. The difference was stark. Bradford explained:
This had good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so that more corn was planted than could have been by any other means the Governor could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
In fact, it’s estimated the colonists planted about six times the crops they would have planted otherwise.
That shows where Americans get their views of economics, but what about the praying and the gratitude?
With new farming techniques and an amended government, the pilgrims did all they humanly could to ward off starvation. But they could not control the weather. A drought settled on the colony and threatened to kill the corn before the harvest. Recognizing with the Psalmist that “except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it,” the colonists turned to God. According to Bradford, they “set apart a solemn day of humiliation to seek the Lord by humble& fervent prayer, in this great distress.” What was the outcome?
And he was pleased to give them a gracious& speedy answer, both to their own& the Indians admiration, that lived amongst them. For all the morning, and greatest part of the day, it was clear weather & very hot, and not a cloud or any sign of rain to be seen, yet toward evening it began to overcast, and shortly after to rain, with such sweet and gentle showers, as gave them cause of rejoicing, & blessing God. It came, without either wind, or thunder, or any violence, and by degrees in that abundance, as that the earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith. Which did so apparently revive & quicken the decayed corn& other fruits, as was wonderful to see, and made the Indians astonished to behold. (p. 131)
Seeing the speedy results of the Puritans’ prayers, an Indian named Hobanak said, “Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God, for he hath heard you, and sent you rain, and that without storms and tempests and thunder, which usually we have with our rain, which breaks down our corn, but yours stands whole and good still; surely your God is a good God.” (pp. 64-5)
Then William Bradford again proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving to God, the forerunner of the American tradition of Thanksgiving.
So, this story explains why the United States has this character that values the free enterprise system, hard work, individual achievement, prayer, and gratitude. These are the values that make us American, that made us into such a great nation.
A great episode of the Unbelievable podcast. This is a great debate. I really enjoyed it. All three speakers were excellent putting forward their points. It’s nice to hear an American voice, a British voice and an Australian voice debating an important issue. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Wayne Grudem is a theologian known for his conservative approach to both doctrine and economics. His new book “The Poverty of Nations: A Sustainable Solution” (co-authored with economist Barry Asmus) makes the case that pouring aid into developing countries is a failed strategy. Grudem debates whether the Bible supports free market, capitalist economics with Australian economist and theologian Richard Glover who wrote a critique of the book for the Australian Bible Society.