The Press-Dispatch

January 10, 2018

The Press-Dispatch

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A-6 Wednesday, Januar y 10, 2018 The Press-Dispatch OPINION Submit Letters to the Editor: Letters must be signed and received by noon on Mondays. Email: or bring in a hard copy: 820 E. Poplar Street, Petersburg I often wonder what my grand- parents or a visitor from outer space would say about the world in which we live. My grandparents were raised and lived a Christianized life, which their culture supported. Little discussion would have been heard about sexuality, gender, and right-to-end life. They would have ended the conversation before it got started. An alien from another planet would have to study our way of life and what is deemed important be- fore conclusions about life on earth could be made. This is what our an- cestors would have to do to under- stand daily life. Issues that dominate daily dis- cussion revolve around sex, gen- der identity, covet- ousness, individual- ity, war and conflict, drugs, and xyz [place your favorite topic here] just to name a few. The big picture is that the Western world has lost its singular identity as Christianized nations and have turned towards individu- ality and self-indulgence. A donnybrook has developed over legalization of recreational marijuana with at least 29 states recognizing its medical use. At issue is not marijuana's me- dicinal properties but ingesting it for the sake of getting buzzed, high, ripped. baked, or stoned. Marijuana and other hallucinogenic plants have been known to mankind for millenni- um, and for the large part was the stock and trade of the shamans and oracles. However, large scale use by the general population was not practiced. So why the rush to stay stoned today? Minority View by Walter E. Williams The Weekly by Alden Heuring Dangers of government control Points to Ponder by Rev. Ford Bond The health of a nation A six-question test for 2018 and beyond Heritage Viewpoint by Edwin J. Feulner Conservatives, we have our work cut out for us this year. Mind you, 2017 definitely had its ups. Neil Gorsuch is on the Supreme Court. The war on ter- rorism moved in the right direc- tion, with the prime minister of Iraq declaring victory over ISIS. The Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate- change agreement and is work- ing to reduce regulations. We al- so have a much-needed tax cut in place. On a more personal note, we wel- comed a new president at The Her- itage Foundation: the immensely talented Kay Coles James. Direc- tor of the Office of Personnel Man- agement under President George W. Bush, and a senior member of President Trump's transition team, Ms. James was the Heritage board of trustee's unanimous choice af- ter an extensive search. The na- tion's leading think tank couldn't be in better hands. Good thing, too, because there's plenty to do in 2018 — and beyond. Take health care. Despite Pres- ident Trump's claim to the contrary, re- pealing the individu- al mandate does not "essentially" repeal Obamacare. Key pro- visions, such as the expansion of Medic- aid, remain in place. "Repeal of the in- dividual mandate is certainly a signifi- cant victory for congressional Re- publicans," writes David Sivak in the Daily Signal. "Yet the change is modest compared to prior Republi- can attempts at repeal." Indeed, he points out, "Some predict that re- peal of the individual mandate may actually lead Republicans to shore up the Obamacare exchanges." Or take spending — please. It continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Budget expert Romi- na Boccia, in a review of federal spending in 2017, notes that the deficit reached $ 666 billion (how appropriate), the debt hit $20 tril- lion, and Social Secu- rity spending topped $1 trillion. This is unsustain- able. No wonder we're always told we can't "afford" tax cuts. The money we send to Washington flows out at such a prodigious rate that policymak- ers naturally howl at the thought of even a modest re- duction. The problem is that freedom requires constant work and vigi- lance. There are no permanent vic- tories or defeats. It's like weeding a garden. Policymaking is never a "one and done" situation. There will always be something to do to- morrow. And the next day. With that in mind, here's a six- question test that I introduced in my 2006 book "Getting America We are a nation of 325 mil- lion people. We have a bit of con- trol over the behavior of our 535 elected representatives in Con- gress, the president and the vice president. But there are seven un- elected people who have life-and- death control over our economy and hence our lives — the seven governors of the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board controls our money supply. Its gov- ernors are appointed by the pres- ident and confirmed by the Sen- ate and serve 14-year staggered terms. They have the power to cripple an economy, as they did during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Their inept monetary policy threw the economy into the Great Depression, during which real out- put in the United States fell near- ly 30 percent and the unemploy- ment rate soared as high as near- ly 25 percent. The most often stated cause of the Great Depression is the Octo- ber 1929 stock market crash. Lit- tle is further from the truth. The Great Depression was caused by a massive government failure led by the Federal Reserve's rapid 25 percent contraction of the mon- ey supply. The next government failure was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which increased U.S. tariffs by more than 50 percent. Those failures were compound - ed by President Franklin D. Roos- evelt's New Deal legislation. Left- ists love to praise New Deal inter- ventionist legislation. But FDR's very own treasury secretary, Hen- ry Morgenthau, saw the folly of the New Deal, writing: "We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent be- fore and it does not work. ... We have never made good on our promises. ... I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started ... and an enormous debt to boot! " The bottom line is that the Federal Reserve Board, the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and Roo- sevelt's New Deal policies turned what would have been a two, three- or four-year sharp downturn into a 16 -year affair. Here's my question never asked about the Federal Reserve Act of 1913: How much sense does it make for us to give seven unelect- ed people life-and-death control over our economy and hence our lives? While you're pondering that question, consider another: Should we give the government, through the Federal Communications Commission, control over the in- ternet? During the Clinton admin- istration, along with the help of a Republican-dominated Congress, the visionary 1996 Telecommuni- cations Act declared it "the poli- cy of the United States" that inter- net service providers and websites be "unfettered by Federal or State regulation." The act sought "to promote competition and reduce regulation in order to secure lower prices and higher quality services for American telecommunications consumers and encourage the rap- id deployment of new telecommu- nications technologies." In 2015, the Obama White House pressured the FCC to cre- ate the Open Internet Order, which has been branded by its advocates as net neutrality. This move over- threw the spirit of the Telecom- munications Act. It represents creeping FCC jurisdiction, as its traditional areas of regulation — Shear terror Cold week Continued on page 7 Continued on page 7 Continued on page 7 I took one easy step and shaved off five pounds overnight! That's right – Jill cut my hair. It's been about four months, and I was starting to have trouble fitting all that hair into my hats. Since most of our house is carpeted, we did the deed in the bathroom. I sat backwards on the toilet while Jill revved up her chainsaw, and be- fore long, the hair was falling off in big wispy chunks. Well, it wasn't quite so easy. At first my hair was so long, the razor would catch, then tug on my scalp, so Jill ended up awkwardly hack- ing at the back of my head with a ti- ny pair of scissors not accustomed to cutting that much hair in one go. Finally it was short enough for the razor to tackle, and Jill swiftly got to shaving. And shaving. And shaving. And shaving. We didn't keep track of the time, but maybe we should have, because we spent over an hour crammed into our bathroom. Luckily, Flannery is pretty self- sufficient, but she definitely felt the lack of attention and came in to spread the cut hair around the floor and run underfoot. We had to pause a few times for Jill to let the razor cool down or for me to stretch my legs. Some of the hair got on the toi- let, some got on the sink, some got on Flannery's feet and was tracked all over the house. To make it even worse, there was a bunch of static electricity built up, so a few hours later and hair is still clinging to everything. There's so much hair on the toilet that we just saved a ton of money on one of those fan- cy toilet seat cushions that Jill has been wanting. And I only lost a lit- tle blood! A fter it was all over, we gathered up the hair in a mesh bag and buried it in the back yard so that in a few years, we'll have a beautiful wig tree. Now that that's done, I have a cropped head that looks kind of weird paired with my enormous beard. But I get the feeling that's going to be another epic battle. Maybe next week... And I don't think I'll be able to convince Jill to cut that for me. As always, I accept shaving tips and long-winded diatribes at Have a great week! Continued on page 7 Continued on page 7 Gannett: A cancer on small-city newspapering Lucid Moments by Bart Stinson I got my first real newspaper job at a small daily that had recently been bought by the Gannett me- dia chain. It was my impression that Gannett professionalized our news staff, and improved the ap- pearance of the paper. I enjoyed the perks of working for the large corporation, includ- ing an annual bonus, an extrava- gant Christmas party and a subsi- dy of my legal expenses when I ad- opted two daughters. Our chain-smoking executive editor came from Gannett's native upstate New York. He never spoke to me until, after a few weeks, I got a note that he wanted to talk to me in his office ASAP about my ex- pense account. I blushed and gath- ered up my photocopies to go de- fend my expenditures. He was hunched over his type- writer when I came to his doorway, and squinted at me through horn rim glasses, from under a green eye shade. He looked like he was auditioning for a Damon Runyon role. He reached for a sheaf of expense re- ports, threw one leg up on his desk and leaned back in his chair, read- ing. "How long you been on police beat? " he asked, never looking up. I don't remember, 35 years lat- er, how long it was. But I answered him. It was probably three or four weeks. "You've been on police beat [ X ] weeks and you're turning in ex- pense reports for [ X ] dollars? " he sneered. "Yes," I answered, and launched into a line-by-line defense of my mileage and document copy fees. But he waved me off. He was scold- ing me, not for spend- ing too much of the company's money, but for not spending enough. "How do you ex- pect to develop your sources over there if you never take a ser- geant out for a beer? " he demanded. I could have given him some pretty good answers to that ques- tion if I were thinking clearly, but I wasn't. And in any case, it was a rhetorical question, not intended to elicit an answer. Apart from the miserable pay, it was a great place to work. Great for adrenaline junkies like me. Great for unmarried entry-level journal- My Point of View by Dr. H. K. Fenol, Jr., M.D. It has been a very cold week. As I watch the Weather Channel to see what's going on in the na- tion, I get a mixed feeling. On one hand I feel sorry for those who got hit by winter storms. On the oth- er hand I feel envious as to why some parts of the country enjoy relatively comfortable weather without the snow. So, when I see states buried un- der heavy snow and temperature plummets to bone chilling levels, I begin to wonder-is there truth to global warming? 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