Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Feds Earn 78% More Than Private Sector Workers, Study Finds

Government Executive ^ | 10/6/15 | Eric Katz 

Federal employees on average earned 78 percent more in total compensation than private sector workers in 2014, according to a new study from a conservative think tank.

The Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards compared data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis to show that, in his view, civilian federal workers are overcompensated. Factoring both salary and benefits, Edwards pointed to BEA data showing the average federal employee earns about $119,000 annually, compared to the private sector worker who earns $67,000 per year. When comparing just salaries, feds collect 50 percent bigger paychecks, Edwards said.

The wage gap between the federal and private sectors has grown since the 1990s, Cato’s director of tax policy studies found. The divide has doubled since 1990, when it was just 39 percent. The growth, he said, came from not just raising pay levels and offering more generous benefits, but also a more “top-heavy” bureaucracy that routinely moves employees into higher salary brackets and redefines jobs as higher earning positions.

“The federal government has become an elite island of secure and high-paid employment, separated from the ocean of average Americans competing in the economy,” Edwards wrote in his findings.

The Cato study examines raw compensation data, and does not account for any fundamental differences in the demographics of the federal workforce or the work it does.

“I want to stress the importance of comparing apples to apples,” said Robert Goldenkoff, director of strategic issues at the Government Accountability Office and author of a 2012 report examining the federal-private pay gap, of the new study. “Federal employees tend to be better educated and work in jobs that require higher skill levels compared to non-federal jobs, so Cato's results comparing average wages of feds to other sectors are both not surprising and don't tell the whole story. More rigorous, sophisticated analysis is needed.”

Several efforts have been made at such analyses, comparing federal and private sector pay based either in job-related attributes or individuals' personal attributes. The Federal Salary Council, a group made up of union representatives and pay experts that advises the President’s Pay Agent, has consistently found federal workers are severely underpaid compared to the private sector. Other conservative think tanks, such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Heritage Foundation, found compensation favored feds, but by less than Cato’s findings. USA Today and the Project on Government Oversight both found a 20 percent gap in favor of federal workers, while the Congressional Budget Office has said the divide depends on education breakdowns of high school, bachelor’s degree or professional degree.

In its analysis, GAO said there is no perfect way for making the measurement. The Office of Personnel Management has attributed any gap to federal employees tending to be older and more experienced than the average private sector worker. This chart shows the various findings in recent studies, arranged from smallest to largest federal pay gaps.

In the Cato report, Edwards said groups representing federal employees have successfully blocked any significant reforms to their compensation structure.

“Federal workers are a powerful special-interest group, and they are effective lobbyists,” Edwards wrote. “Federal unions actively oppose legislators who support restraining worker pay.”

He added that it is not just “rocket scientists” who earn inflated salaries, but “regulator white-collar” employees as well. Feds enjoy the added benefit of better job protection than their private sector counterparts, Edwards said, and pointed to their lower “quit rate” as further evidence that they know they have it good.

“In the past, there was a view that it was a privilege for citizens to serve the public in a federal agency, and that federal pay should be fairly modest,” Edwards said. “Unfortunately, that sort of thinking has gone out the window as the federal compensation advantage has continued to increase.”

Josh Earnest: Obama may do executive action on guns!

Hot Air ^ | October 6, 2015 | Taylor Millard 

Fresh off Hillary Clinton announcing she was going to do gun control without Congressional authority, President Barack Obama appears to be leaning the same way again. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Monday it was time to get serious about keeping guns from certain people.
“The president has frequently pushed his team to consider a range of executive actions that could more effectively keep guns out of the hands of criminals and others who shouldn’t have access to them. That’s something that is ongoing here.”
How this is different from the 2013 executive orders, no one is saying. Earnest promises there are things which can be done that won’t affect “the constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans,” but that’s obviously not true. Jazz wrote in 2013 how almost 35K people lost their right to own a gun because of the New York SAFE Act. The New York Times also pointed out another problem with trying to do the “others who shouldn’t have access to them” game when it comes to guns. There are plenty of people out there who might fit the profile of “mass shooters,” who don’t go out and kill people (emphasis mine).
Dr. [ Jeffrey ] Swanson of Duke said studies indicated that only 7 percent of people with a diagnosed mental illnesses might do anything violent in a year, “and that is something as minor as pushing or shoving somebody.” With many of the killers, the signs are of anger and disappointment and solitude.
“Sure, you’ve got these risk factors, but they also describe thousands of people who are never going to commit a mass shooting,” Dr. Swanson said. “You can’t go out and round up all the alienated angry young men.”
Therein lies the problem with wanting to increase mental health standards on who can own guns. Just because someone feels depressed, angry, lonely, etc. doesn’t mean they’re going to go out and start shooting people. There are other outlets which can help people whether it’s going to church, counseling, medication, video games, writing, working out, or just talking to someone. Trying to predict how people will act is just one closer step to Minority Report and precrime. There may be people who are in favor of trying to predict the future, but as Yoda proclaimed, “Difficult to see. Always in motion is future.” There’s no way to get around this, despite how many psychoanalysis and studies are done.
Here’s another problem with Earnest’s comments: if someone thinks they need protection, they’ll do whatever it takes to get it. There was a Chicago grandfather who was arrested and charged with owning an “illegal gun” in 2012 after he used it to fight off a 19-year-old who broke into his home. Thankfully reason prevailed, in one of the few times in Chicago, and charges were dropped against the 80-year-old. But it shows the man got a gun because he believed he needed one to protect his home. Swords and warhammers aren’t always effective against a gun at less than five feet and not everyone is Green Arrow or Hawkeye. Sheldon Richman is right when he reminds everyone at Reason the only “defender guaranteed to be present at any attack against you is: you.” Unless the government is going to start assigning personal police officers for every person on the planet (and they shouldn’t even try that) the individual is best way to stop another individual from committing a crime. Donald Trump made a great point when he mentioned Death Wish over the weekend. That was a guy going out and stopping crime because the police couldn’t. It’s why characters like Batman, the Punisher, Huntress, Spider-Man, Wonder Woman (even if she was affiliated with the government at times), and the Flash are so popular. They go out and protect people who can’t protect themselves and the cops are available. Because these fictional characters are, well, fictional the only way people can be secure in their homes, apartments, cars, etc. is if they have protection against those who want to hurt them.
This is why it’s important for people to get past the emotion of “do something!” and stop and think before reacting. When people don’t try to rationally think things out it turns into reactionary, unconstitutional laws like the Patriot Act or the Alien and Sedition Acts. There’s common sense which can be used to point out why not having restrictions on guns won’t bring about the Wild West, but will bring about more safety. If a killer thinks they have free reign to attack a place because of “no guns” it’s going to keep going on, regardless of how many unconstitutional executive orders the White House passes. The responsibility shouldn’t fall on the government to “do something!” it should fall on individuals to protect themselves. That means letting guns be available, whether the government likes it or not.

The Myth That White Supremacy is Bigger Threat to U.S. Than Jihadis

Atlas Shrugs ^ | 10/6/15 | Pamela Geller 

This patently false claim is part of the ongoing Big Lie campaign to try to downplay and minimize the jihad threat. It first surfaced in June, and in wake of he Oregon murders, the media elites are dragging it back out again. But it is no more coherent or reasonable than it was in the summer.
The study is based on the number of those killed by each group since 9/11. It skews the results by leaving out 9/11: what possible justification can there be for leaving 9/11 out of what is supposed to be a calculation of the magnitude of various threats to the U.S. Adherents to the belief system that led to 9/11 are still very much around. This article says that 48 people have been killed by right-wing extremists, versus 26 by Islamic jihadists, but the results would look much different if one adds one more day to the period surveyed, September 11, 2001. Then you have 3,003 people killed by Islamic jihadists, versus 48 by supposed right-wing extremists. Which is the bigger threat again?
The study also ignores the many, many foiled jihad plots. If even a fraction of them had succeeded, no one would dare make this equivalence, for even without adding in 9/11, the number of casualties of the jihad would be much higher.
Also, this is really a comparison between the threat posed by Islamic jihadists and that presented by not actual right-wing extremists, but everyone else. For there is no ideological kinship between Dylann Roof, the murderer in Charleston, South Carolina, who really was a racist lunatic, and Oregon shooter Chris Harper Mercer (linked below at “yesterday’s tragic shooting”), who had none of the Confederate paraphernalia or race hatred that Roof had. The only thing they had in common was that they both targeted Christians; but that is not the group that the mainstream media wants you to think “right-wing extremists” and white supremacists are targeting.
In reality, people like Roof and Chris Harper Mercer  kill because of the crazy voices inside their paranoid heads. They are not part of any movement with an articulated agenda or goal. Islamic jihadists, on the other hand, have a shared belief system with clearly defined goals. They are members of or ideologically aligned with groups that have declared their intention to destroy the U.S. and the free world. Islamic jihad groups are determined to kill as many Americans as possible and conquer free societies. There is no comparable “right-wing extremist” movement determined to subvert, destroy and replace the U.S. government.
Chris Harper Mercer
“Statistics Show White Supremacy is a Bigger Threat to the U.S. Than Radical Muslims,” by Keisha Hatchett, Complex, Yahoo News, October 2, 2015:
Despite what Donald Trump and many other politicians have told you, the major threat to America isn’t Muslim extremism. In fact, statistics show that the real danger lies with domestic extremists who aren’t of the Muslim faith.
The New York Times reported back in June that since Sept. 11, 2001, almost twice as many people have died at the hands of white supremacists and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims. Using data compiled by New America, a Washington Research center, a study found that 48 people have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim—including the mass killings in Charleston, S.C.—compared to the 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists.  However, this does not factor in yesterday’s tragic shooting or less publicized incidents likethe Las Vegas couple who murdered two police officers and left a Swastika on one of the bodies.
These stats reveal a vast difference between public perception and the number of actual cases in which Muslim extremists have claimed American lives. So why aren’t more people outraged about domestic terrorists? Because then we’d have to admit that white supremacy is still a problem.

While the public hasn’t quite caught on yet, scholars say that the issue needs to be addressed. “There’s an acceptance now of the idea that the threat from jihadi terrorism in the United States has been overblown,” Dr. John G. Horgan, who studies terrorism at the University of Massachusetts said. “And there’s a belief that the threat of right-wing, antigovernment violence has been underestimated.”
That’s an understatement.
In reality, it has been vastly overestimated. There are a few right-wing anti-government people out there, sure. Few, if any, have targeted or ever will target random civilians. Most of these random shooters are profoundly disturbed people who aren’t acting upon any coherent ideology at all. But this threat must be overestimated, as part of the ongoing campaign to force Americans to deny the evidence of their lying eyes and proclaim that Islam is a religion of peace after all.

VIDEO: Watch Ted Cruz Make A Fool Out Of The Sierra Club President On Global Warming

The Louisiana Hayride ^ | October 6, 2015 | Scott McKay, publisher 

This happened Tuesday at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing, during which Sierra Club president Aaron Mair, who holds bachelor’s degrees in History and Sociology and is most certainly no scientist, has testified about the necessity of the EPA and its push for climate change regulations no matter who – including racial minorities and especially people who look a lot like Mair – is harmed by the economic cost of those regulations.
Cruz, having endured this pontificating by the Sierra Club president, commences to ask some very basic questions of Mair – specifically surrounding the query that if global warming is such an ongoing catastrophe how come satellite data don’t show any warming of note?
Hilarity ensues, as it becomes clear that Aaron Mair, who runs an organization largely built around the idea that, as he says, the planet is “cooking and warming and heating,” has absolutely no idea what in the blooming hell he is talking about.
And at the end, Delaware Democrat Chris Coons attempts to rehabilitate Mair by saying that since the subject of the hearing is the effect overregulation has on minorities it’s not that important for him to have offered his knowledge on global warming. Cruz’ response to Coons is almost as devastating as his demolition of Mair.
It would not be a surprise for Mair’s career at the Sierra Club to end quietly after what Cruz did to him in this hearing.

It's very sad...





How could he?


I'ma Commin!

Mission Accomplished!

Guns Don’t Kill People, Liberalism Does! ^ | 10/6/15 | Trevor Thomas 

Mother Theresa warned us years ago, “We must not be surprised when we hear of murders, of killings, of wars, of hatred. If a mother can kill her own child, what is left but for us to kill each other?” As she accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, Mother Theresa declared that abortion “is the greatest destroyer of peace today. Because if a mother can kill her own child—what is left for me to kill you and you kill me—there is nothing between.” In other words, if as a culture we’ve become comfortable killing in the womb, we shouldn’t be surprised at killings in the classroom.
In addition to making what should be one of the safest places for a human being into a killing zone, once outside the womb, the most dangerous places in America are run by liberals (i.e., democrats).
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Perth electrical engineer’s discovery will change climate change debate! ^ | October 5, 2015 | MIRANDA DEVINE 

A MATHEMATICAL discovery by Perth-based electrical engineer Dr David Evans may change everything about the climate debate, on the eve of the UN climate change conference in Paris next month.

A former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics, Dr Evans has unpacked the architecture of the basic climate model which underpins all climate science.
He found that, while the underlying physics of the model is correct, it had been applied incorrectly.
He fixed two errors and the new corrected model finds the climate’s sensitivity to carbon dioxide (CO2) is much lower than was thought.
It turns out the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has over-estimated future global warming by as much as 10 times, he says.
“Yes, CO2 has an effect, but it’s about a fifth or tenth of what the IPCC says it is. CO2 is not driving the climate; it caused less than 20 per cent of the global warming in the last few decades”.
Dr Evans says his discovery “ought to change the world”.
“But the political obstacles are massive,” he said.
His discovery explains why none of the climate models used by the IPCC reflect the evidence of recorded temperatures. The models have failed to predict the pause in global warming which has been going on for 18 years and counting.
“The model architecture was wrong,” he says. “Carbon dioxide causes only minor warming. The climate is largely driven by factors outside our control.”
There is another problem with the original climate model, which has been around since 1896.
While climate scientists have been predicting since the 1990s that changes in temperature would follow changes in carbon dioxide, the records over the past half million years show that not to be the case.
The new improved climate model shows CO2 is not the culprit in recent global warming.
(Excerpt) Read more at ...

Three Types of People ^ | October 7, 2015 | Allen West 

This past Sunday night I decided to watch some war movies, first “The Thin Red Line” and after that it was “American Sniper.” One of my favorite lines in the movie “American Sniper” is the dinner scene when Daddy Kyle explains that there are three types of people – sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. The statement surrounded a young Chris Kyle coming to the rescue of his younger brother, who was being beaten up by a schoolyard bully.

When I think about the three types of people, it relates exactly to the current geopolitical situation we are facing. It is a situation that the world has faced before and the results then were horrific. The question is, what shall be the result for today?

During the period of 1936-1939 the great Western Powers were still reeling from the “war to end all wars,” World War I. They sought to avoid and evade any semblance of confrontation and escalation of violence. They truly believed that they could engage despots and dictators with the incessant rhetoric of peace. They were the sheep of the day. See, sheep only want one simple thing – to be herded to green pastures and provided safe passage in doing so. They do not want to engage trouble, and will huddle together closer when danger confronts them.

The wolves of that period- Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo - recognized that their time had come. The sheep sat back and watched their aggressive actions, such as Germany’s rebuilding of its war machine, participation in the Spanish Civil War, taking of the industrial Rhineland, Italian ventures into Ethiopia, the annexation of Austria, Japanese Imperial expansion in Asia, the demands on the Sudetenland (masked under the cover of protecting ethnic Germans). All of this happened, but it wasn’t until the fateful German advance onto Czechoslovakia that the great Western Powers rose up to take action – they sent Neville Chamberlain to talk. A lamb was sent to do dealings with a wolf. Belligerence was met with rhetoric and appeasement.

Chamberlain returned with his signed document, the Munich Accord of 1938, and made the declaration that there would be “peace in our time.” The sheep rejoiced and returned to grazing in their green pastures. The wolves smelled blood, and that only served to create an even more insatiable appetite. By 1939 it had begun: World War II. The soothing lie of peace was nothing more than a hope. It was a hope rooted not in reality but rather in preference.

During all this, there stood one; one sheep dog that was sounding the clarion call. One whose bark was loud but the sheep came together to drown out and disregard his voice. That guard dog was Winston Churchill. Rejected at first, then called upon to safeguard the sheep.

So here we are today in a world that closely resembles that state of affairs then. President Obama leaned over in an off mike moment and conveyed to then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that “after my reelection tell Vladimir I will have more flexibility.” Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov a cute little yellow toy box with a red button and claimed it was the Russian reset button. In the final presidential debate of 2012 when asked about the No. 1 geopolitical threat to America, Gov. Mitt Romney responded: Russia. President Obama ridiculed him with laughter and stated, “the 1980s is calling for its foreign policy back, the cold war is over.” So again, the liberal progressive minions joined together to drown out a guard dog. Sadly the American people, told to believe they were beleaguered and not willing to fight, reelected the sheep.

Now here we are, with Russia having taken the Crimea and former SecDef Chuck Hagel having announced defense cuts and the termination of the A-10 Warthog aircraft. We have Russia invading Ukraine - a sovereign state - because Vladimir Putin stated he wanted to protect ethnic Russians. We have Russian ground troops and combat aircraft conducting operations in Syria – despite Obama’s “red line.”

Similar to the Munich Accord is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iranian nuclear agreement. The sheep tell us that the only alternative is war – and the sheep do not want war, so we must acquiesce to the No. 1 state sponsor of Islamic terrorism in the world. Is there any doubt that Iran now controls Baghdad, Sanaa, Beirut, and Damascus – and now we have Iran’s Quds Force and their proxy army, Hezbollah, operating in Syria under the cover of Russian combat aircraft.

The last time we witnessed an Asian nation make a dedicated effort to build its maritime power was Imperial Japan. Today it is Communist China that is building archipelagos and emplacing military fortifications and airfields along a major sea lane of commerce in the South China Sea. The Japanese diplomatic delegation was in Washington, D.C., right up until the last moment – we just hosted China’s Xi Jinping with all pomp and circumstance.

The wolves then were Germany, Italy, and Japan. The wolves today are Russia, Iran, China, North Korea, and Islamic jihadists. The Western Powers are once again playing the role of sheep. And sadly, it appears that America, once the sheep dog, has joined with the sheep.

It is as Alexander the Great stated, “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."

Isaiah Chapter Six, Verse Eight asks a very simple question, New International Version (NIV), “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” That was Isaiah’s response, but who will answer, “Send Me” -- who will be the sheepdog? Who will be the Lion?

Just as Churchill stood up, so did Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu last week before the UN General Assembly. In a time of sheep and wolves, we saw the Lion of Judah.

Sheep find comfort in the incessant noise of empty rhetoric. Wolves make their howl to instill fear. But sheepdogs stand firm issuing their bark of confidence – and lions roar in defiance, strength, and victory.

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