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Dr. Steven J. Allen

Searching for intelligent life at NASA

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

The National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) is the U.S. government agency responsible for the government’s civilian space program and for research on aeronautics (the science and art of flying machines) and aerospace (earth’s atmosphere and outer space in the context of flight).

Forty-five years ago, during the Apollo 11 mission, every American, including every schoolchild, knew that NASA was the agency that got us into space. Nowadays, I feel obliged to explain what NASA is, because the agency itself doesn’t seem to know.

It seems to have re-imagined its mission to include conducting outreach to the Muslim world by emphasizing the contributions of 10th Century Muslim scientists <>, outsourcing its work to companies owned by people with political connections <>, and promoting a belief in Global Warming theory <>.  It’s a re-imagining – and abandonment for the near-future of manned spaceflight – that has left the U.S. dependent on, of all countries, Russia <>. This dependence is something that has been recognized even by some on the Left <>.

Not to worry. NASA is going to find complex life outside the earth. In the next 20 years. Like Babe Ruth’s home run in that legend about the “called shot”: It’s guaranteed.


NASA: Humans Will Prove ‘We Are Not Alone In The Universe’ Within 20 Years – CBS Connecticut

NASA predicts that 100 million worlds in our own Milky Way galaxy may host alien life, and space program scientists estimate that humans will be able to find life within two decades.

Speaking at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Monday, the space agency outlined a plan to search for alien life using current telescope technology, and announced the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017. The NASA administrators and scientists estimate that humans will be able to locate alien life within the next 20 years.

“Just imagine the moment, when we find potential signatures of life. Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe,” said Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018.

“What we didn’t know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 per cent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone,” added Mountain. “It’s within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever.”

. . . “I think in the next 20 years we will find out we are not alone in the universe,” said NASA astronomer Kevin Hand, who suggested that alien life may exist on Jupiter’s Europa moon.

“Do we believe there is life beyond Earth?” asked former astronaut and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “I would venture to say that most of my colleagues here today say it is improbable that in the limitless vastness of the universe we humans stand alone.” . . .

“Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say, ‘that star has a planet like Earth’,” said Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass. “Astronomers think it is very likely that every single star in our Milky Way galaxy has at least one planet.”

Read all »

Green Watch: Europe’s Greens Hit Stormy Weather: Europeans are moving away from “green” policies that caused energy prices to soar

Europe’s Greens Hit Stormy Weather
Europeans are moving away from “green” policies that caused energy prices to soar [PDF here]

By Michael Bastasch

Summary: Thanks to rebellions among the people and second thoughts among the politicians, European nations are beginning to see the folly of “green” policies they have enacted. As skyrocketing energy costs throttle consumers and businesses, and even lead to deaths, Europeans are turning back to domestic, carbon-based energy sources like coal and natural gas. The new trend is also pushed along by fears of a newly aggressive Russia, whose current dominance in natural gas production threatens other nations’ security.

It’s been called the European counterpart to the Tea Party movement—a grassroots uprising across countries that are members of the European Union (EU), a rebellion against rule by elitist bureaucrats. And a major component driving Europeans to this revolt is those bureaucrats’ “green” policies that hinder businesses of all sorts, raise electricity prices, and push people into so-called “energy poverty.”

In Britain, where cold weather caused 31,000 deaths last winter, a political party that defiantly promotes a scientific approach to the Global Warming issue—and so is smeared by environmental extremists—has become the fastest-growing party in modern British history. Indeed, that party, Read all »

The “Today” show: J. Fred Muggs was the smart one

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

On January 8, 2007, Meredith Vieiera, then the co-host of NBC’s “Today,” summed up the Global Warming controversy this way:  “So I’m running in the park on Saturday, in shorts, thinking this [warm weather] is great, but are we all gonna die? You know? I can’t, I can’t figure this out.” ]

On “Today”—a show that once featured chimpanzee J. Fred Muggs as its mascot—not figuring things out is par for the course.

On environmental issues, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Ann Curry, and others current and former members of the “‘Today’ family” (as they call themselves) are often listed among the worst offenders among biased, dimwitted TV personalities.

Their promotion of environmental extremism should come as no surprise. NBC, its openly extremist cable channel MSNBC, and other NBC networks strongly promoted the environmentalist views of Al Gore (donating 150 hours of airtime to the “LiveEarth” environmental project), and in recent years have backed the President’s “green” agenda while systematically attacking the President’s critics.

NBC was owned until recently by General Electric, and GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has been a top advisor to President Obama, serving currently as head of the President’s Jobs Council.

Currently NBC, part of NBCUniversal (slogan: “Green is Universal”), is owned by the cable giant Comcast. Earlier this year, after Comcast announced its plan to buy another media conglomerate, Matthew Continetti, editor-in-chief of the Washington Free Beacon, described Comcast’s relationship with politics as one of cronyism and corruption:

Comcast announced in February that it would buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, creating the largest cable provider in America, with more than 33 million customers. That is about one third of the U.S. cable- and satellite-television market. FCC approval is required for the merger to go into effect. . . . [T]here is little chance the merger will be stopped. Comcast, Time Warner, and their political fixers have spent years preparing for this moment — by buying off the Democratic party.

Comcast, which employs more than 100 lobbyists, spent almost $19 million last year on lobbying activities. Its president and CEO, Brian L. Roberts, is a golf buddy of President Obama’s, and a Democratic donor who has contributed thousands of dollars not only to the president’s campaigns, but also to the Democratic party of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the DNC Services Corporation, and to [House Democratic Whip] Steny Hoyer and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Bob Casey. Roberts’s executive vice president, David Cohen, is a former aide to Democratic bigwig Ed Rendell. Cohen skirts lobbying regulations through loopholes, has raised more than $2 million for Obama since 2007, and in 2011 hosted a DNC fundraiser at which the president called him “friend.” Cohen has visited the White House 14 times since 2010, including two visits to the Oval Office. He attended the recent dinner for President Hollande of France. . . .

Of the $33 million Comcast has spent on political campaigns since 1989, more than half, or some $18 million, has gone to Democrats. Barack Obama is No. 1 on the list of the top ten recipients of Comcast’s largesse. . . .

Comcast has one channel, MSNBC [sister to NBC News], which is almost entirely devoted to furthering the president’s agenda and the broader priorities of the American Progressive movement.

NBC News is so close to the Clinton operation that it recently paid Chelsea Clinton approximately $27,000 a minute for her airtime as a “news” personality.

Here’s a look at some of the

►Ann Curry, the network’s national and international correspondent and anchor-at-large, was on “Today” from 1997 to 2012. In a recent, hour-long special report, she claimed: “Our planet is changing. Vanishing waters in the West, rising waters on the coast. Could all this, the sunny paradise of Miami Beach, one day be overcome by the ocean? Is it already beginning to happen?”

Said Curry: “There is virtually no debate among climate scientists now. Most agree that climate change is here and that we are the biggest reason. We may also have to be the solution. You’ll see powerful new evidence from people who say climate change is already changing lives, right where we all live. You’ll also learn what we can do to protect our planet.”

The scientists interviewed for the program included no skeptics of Global Warming theory. (The only partial exception: Roger Pielke, Jr., a political scientist who believes in “man-made climate change” and would like to see additional taxes on traditional carbon-based fuels, disagreed with attributing specific weather events to man-made change.) Curry painted a picture of catastrophic man-made warming that already caused drought, wildfires, snowstorms, superstorms, ice melt and sea rise,, citing the “groundbreaking” report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

►Al Roker has been the weather anchor of “Today” since 1996.  On the April 3, 2013 edition of the program, the on-air personalities discussed a poll on “20 widespread conspiracy theories.” “Global warming is a hoax, 37% believe that,” said fill-in host Willie Geist. “Wow!” said weatherman Al Roker. After “Today” laughed at people’s belief in Bigfoot, the faking of the moon landing, and the conspiracy to kill JFK, Roker reiterated, “37% said, 37% of these people don’t believe in global warming! They think it’s a hoax!” Newsreader Natalie Morales: “All these weather events!” Roker: “Okay, two words: Superstorm Sandy!” Morales: “Sandy? Right. There you go.”

(Sandy is called a “Superstorm” rather than a hurricane because , when it did most of its damage, it wasn’t strong enough to be classified as a hurricane. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA),  Hurricane Sandy was no longer a hurricane when it made landfall on October 29, 2012 near Brigantine, N.J., just north of Atlantic City. Sandy’s severe damage resulted from bad luck and bad politics; it hit at high tide under a full moon, in an area where politicians had refused to make proper preparations and  where the availability of subsidized insurance had encouraged people to build in flood-prone sections.)

On May 7, 2014, Roker again weighed in support of Global Warming claims about so-called extreme weather, even though, in fact, there has been no increase in hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires, and other extreme weather. During an interview with President Obama, Roker pontificated: “More dangerous floods. More frequent and powerful storms. Wildfires burning more often with less water on hand to put them out. And on the heels of America’s warmest decade, more heat waves and periods of severe drought. All these symptoms set to grow more severe, according to the latest National Climate Assessment put out by the White House Tuesday. [To President Obama:] Why has it taken so long to get to this point where you’re sounding this urgency?”

►Not even movie reviews are exempt from Global Warming propaganda. The late film critic for “Today,” Gene Shalit, in his March 29, 2006 review of Ice Age: The Meltdown, made his position clear. “Think Global Warming isn’t real? Ask Manny the Mammoth, Diego the Tiger or Sid the Sloth. . . . The herd’s 88 happy minutes will melt away your out-of-theater cares while attesting that Global Warming is no snow job.” If you can’t trust a cartoon sloth, who can you trust?

►And then there’s Matt Lauer. The longtime “Today” co-host has falsely characterized moderate/conservative positions on Global Warming as “Far Right” (a term that likens their view to those of Nazis); he has put forth absurdities about mass extinction and about mankind’s ruination of the earth; he has promoted “green energy” scams that happen to enrich the owners of NBC; and he has promoted the views of the likes of Al Gore and Michael Bloomberg.

Here are some samples from just the period 2006-2007 (from the “Today” show unless otherwise noted).

Lauer: “When you look at some of the things the Tea Party and others on the Far Right are asking for — no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting — does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economic policy debate and they are making an ideological stand here?” Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York): “That’s exactly right, Matt. You’ve hit the nail on the head.” —April 6, 2011. [emphasis added]

Lauer: “Today, life on Earth is disappearing faster than the days when dinosaurs breathed their last, but for a very different reason. . . . Us Homo sapiens are [sic] turning out to be as destructive a force as any asteroid. Earth’s intricate web of ecosystems thrived for millions of years as natural paradises, until we came along, paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Our assault on nature is killing off the very things we depend on for our own lives. . . . The stark reality is that there are simply too many of us, and we consume way too much, especially here at home. . . . It will take a massive global effort to make things right, but the solutions are not a secret: control population, recycle, reduce consumption, develop green technologies.” —Countdown to Doomsday, a two-hour Sci-Fi Channel special, June 14, 2006.

Lauer (regarding Global Warming): “[I]f you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you’d sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make — you could be in a position to save the planet, without putting too much emphasis on it. Wouldn’t that be enough of a reason to run for President for you?”
Former Vice President Al Gore: “Well, I appreciate the impulse behind the question. I am not planning to run….”
Lauer: “But as someone who feels as passionately about the subject as you do, and your documentary is evidence of that, why pass up the opportunity to have that world stage again?”
—December 6, 2006.

Lauer: “A controversy in Washington over what literally could be the end of the world as we know it. Did the Bush administration freeze out scientists trying to sound the alarm on Global Warming?” –January 31, 2007.

It might be easier to take the views of Lauer and Company seriously if they knew anything about science. But no.


In a December 22, 2010 report on the previous night’s lunar eclipse, which coincided with the winter solstice for the first time since 1638, Lauer interviewed astrophysicist and science popularizer Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson.

sja GW1408 Mat Lauer with Dr Tyson on what causes seasons 140704Lauer: So we have the winter solstice…

Tyson: Yes.

Lauer: …so the sun is as close to the earth as it ever is.

Tyson: No no no NOOOO.

Lauer (shocked): No??

Tyson:  In fact, it’s the opposite of that.

Lauer: It’s as far away from the earth?

Tyson: It just turns out, that tells you that our distance to the sun has nothing to do with our weather.

Lauer: So how far was the sun from the earth last night?

Tyson: The sun – ah, no, no – Distance has nothing to do with the solstice.

Lauer (stunned): Really??

Tyson: Yeah, no, no. So it turns out that we will be closest to the sun on January 4th, or 3rd, somewhere around there. And we will be 91 million miles, close to the sun, three million miles closer than we are in July. So that’s a whole other, that’s a different show.

Lauer, who has berated skeptics for their views on Global Warming, was stunned to learn that the earth is closest to the sun in the dead of Northern Hemisphere winter – something that any 3rd grader should know.

Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Lauer’s ignorance about the cause of the earth’s seasons, and about his apparent belief that the seasons are caused by the earth’s proximity to the sun, is that he is a world traveler of some renown, visiting some 50 countries as part of the “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” series. In 2011, Lauer listed two Southern Hemisphere locations among his Top 4 favorite places in the world. Of course, the fact that the seasons in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres run counter to each other is a pretty strong indicator that the seasons are not caused by earth’s closeness to the sun.

Ira Flatow, host of “Science Friday” on the government’s National Public Radio, commented: Matt Lauer got stumped by one of the simplest questions: why do we have seasons?” As Flatow noted, if the seasons are caused by the distance between the earth and sun, “why is it winter in Australia when it’s summer up north?”


sja GW1408 Mat Lauer stunned about what causes seasons 140704

Matt Lauer—stunned to learn something that every 3rd grader should know.

Global Cooling is on the way! Give up your freedom NOW!

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Here’s the opening of a New York Times article: “The question is again being discussed whether recent and long-continued observations do not point to the advent of a second glacial period, when the countries now basking in the fostering warmth of a tropical sun will ultimately give way to the perennial frost and snow of the polar regions.” The date: February 24, 1895. A subhead on the article noted: “Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again.”

By the 1930s, the concern had shifted. “NEXT GREAT DELUGE FORECAST BY SCIENCE / Melting Polar Ice Caps to Raise the Level of Seas and Flood the Continents,” proclaimed the New York Times, May 15, 1932.

By the 1970s, we we were back to Global Cooling. “Get a grip on your long johns, cold weather haters – the worst may be yet to come. That’s the long-range weather forecast being given out by ‘climatologists,’ the people who study very long-term world weather trends.” So reported the Washington Post in a January 11, 1970 article entitled “Colder Winters Held [sic] Dawn of New Ice Age / Scientists See Ice Age In the Future.” The article continued: Read all »

The President who was “too perfect”: How the media gave us the Obama disaster

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

President Obama’s disregard for the law and his abuse of power were utterly foreseeable.

From the IRS targeting of the President’s opponents (and the convenient “loss” of evidentiary e-mails along with backups and backups-of-backups), to the illegal mass spying by the NSA (literally billions of violations of the 4th Amendment), to the intervention in Egypt and the attempt to intervene in the Syrian civil war (in both cases, effectively on the side of Al Qaeda), to the use of immigration policy as a political weapon (and the resulting humanitarian crisis on the border), to the illegal passage of Obamacare (followed by the President’s refusal to obey the very law that bears his name), there’s nothing that President Obama has done that should come as a surprise.

The fact that his behavior and the behavior of those around him did surprise many people is a tribute to the bias of the news media, the degree to which they were advocates for Obama and actively worked to hide unsavory aspects of his background.

The news media had a duty to warn the American people, and failed to do so. The result: the dead-in-the-water economy (shrinking almost three points, annualized, in the first quarter, with workforce participation at a 36-year low), the Middle East in flames and China and Putinist Russia on the rise, and a culture of corruption that stretches from NASA to the Census Bureau to the IRS to the EPA.

Here’s some evidence of that foreseeability: a memo I wrote for a prominent political activist shortly after the President’s election in 2008.




FROM: Dr. Steven J. Allen

Subject: Media bias in 2008

December 26, 2008

Some random thoughts:

This was the Year Journalism Died. Read all »

Labor Watch: A Bad Day for Bad Teachers: Sixty years after Brown, a California court strikes a blow against the 21st Century equivalent of Jim Crow

A Bad Day for Bad Teachers
Sixty years after Brown, a California court strikes a blow against the 21st Century equivalent of Jim Crow [PDF here]

By Richard Berman

Summary: In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the landmark decision Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down racially segregated schools because, the court said, they were inherently unequal and they unjustly harmed poor and minority children. Last month, a California court cited Brown as it struck down multiple state laws, passed at the behest of teachers’ unions, which the court said unjustly protected incompetent teachers and unconscionably harmed children, especially the least fortunate.

In a landmark decision that sent shock waves through the educational establishment, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu ruled last month that California’s teacher tenure laws unconstitutionally deprive students of their guarantee to an education and to equal rights. “The evidence is compelling,” Judge Treu wrote. “Indeed, it shocks the conscience.”

In Vergara v. California, nine students sued the State of California, claiming that ineffective teachers were disproportionately placed in schools with large numbers of “minority” and low-income students. Judge Treu agreed and quoted the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that education “is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.”

The Vergara decision came down less than one month after the 60th anniversary of the Brown decision Read all »

To the members of the Washington elite, we’re ALL children

What do Sports Illustrated magazine, vampire movies, NASCAR, The X-Files, piña colada, and puns based on the expression ‘Let it go’ have in common? Why, they’re all aimed at children, of course – which you would “know” if you were a U.S. Senator or other member of the Washington political elite.


Are they idiots, or do they think the American people are idiots?

As a resident of Washington, DC, and as a journalist who has covered politics for 41 years, I often get asked that question. Do the President’s defenders really believe that the e-mails of Lois “I take the Fifth” Lerner were lost in a horrible, coincidental accident – e-mails that vanished, along with backups and backups-of-backups, 10 days after a Congressional inquiry about IRS targeting of the President’s political opponents? Do the environmentalists and the EPA allies, who are frantically seeking to justify their regulatory War on Coal, really not know what carbon dioxide is (that it’s a harmless gas that people exhale)? Do the Progressives have any consciousness of how ridiculous their claims are, on one subject after another – the reason for the sudden influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border (it’s, uh, the sudden appearance of gang violence in Latin America), that 20 percent rape rate on America’s college campuses, the supposed benefits of Obamacare, the claim that “Al Qaeda is on the run,” and on and on.

For good examples of the ways in which they insult your intelligence, see last week’s Senate hearing on the e-cigarette industry.

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) dragged before his committee Read all »

Climate McCarthyism*

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

As regular visitors to this space know well, there is no basis for the claim, put forth by President Obama and other radical environmentalists, that “97 percent” of scientists believe in Global Warming theory. They repeat this imaginary statistic over and over because, when it comes to real science, they got nuthin’.

In place of scientific argument, they rely on intimidation and censorship. Some recent examples:

►The National Center for Science Education—which, despite its name, promotes the dumbing-down of science education Read all »

Bergdahl, Benghazi, Global Warming, and the Census: a roundup on deception

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

The power of Big Brother is rooted in deception.

Most of the time, freedom is lost not because it is taken from people by force, but because people give it up; they give it up because they accept the lies told them by the political classes.

The Obama administration is putting into effect an energy policy that will (in the President’s own words regarding his cap-and-trade scheme)  cause the price of electricity to “necessarily skyrocket,” which will cripple the economy (hurting poor people most severely) and critically weaken the U.S. in its dealings with other nations.  The administration will probably get away with this, because lots of influential people have come to believe in Global Warming theory, despite the scientific evidence to the contrary.

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve seen news stories that accepted without challenge the following “facts”: Read all »

Words matter

[Continuing our series on deception in politics and public policy.]

Words matter, according to the Barack Obama of 2008.

During the presidential primary campaign, Obama was attacked by his opponent, Hillary Clinton, as a speechifier—as a man of words, not deeds. He lashed back: “Don’t tell me words don’t matter. ‘I have a dream’–just words. ‘We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal’–just words. ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’–just words, just speeches.”

In defending himself, Obama plagiarized his friend, now-Governor Deval Patrick (D-Massachusetts, who had said in 2006: “‘we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ Just words—just words! ‘We have nothing to fear but fear it.’ Just words! ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’ Just words! ‘I have a dream.’ Just words!”

Obama and, earlier, Patrick were right, of course, about the importance of words. Lawyers are trained to examine carefully each word in a statement, to examine each utterance for subtle nuances that can hold hidden meanings. Witness Bill Clinton, a lawyer (before being disbarred), who attempted to weasel his way out of (true) charges of sexual harassment by playing with the definition of “sex” (interpreting it as meaning only potentially procreative intercourse, which must have come as a surprise to the many gay people who, by Clinton’s definition, would be virgins). Famously, Clinton declared that the answer to one question “depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

Leftists are quite skilled at Clintonian twisting of language.

Government spending becomes “investment,” as if government spending on education or roads or concert halls or “green” energy had a bottom line by which profit and loss could be measured. A terrorist hostage becomes a “Prisoner of War” so that we can bargain with terrorists for his release. “Public health,” which involves the prevention of infectious diseases and diseases that spring from a common environmental source, is twisted to mean anything that affects the health of any person, so that the government can tell us what we can eat and so that the government can conduct “public health” studies attacking Second Amendment rights. The Constitutional standard that government promote the “general welfare” is twisted to allow the government to provide benefits to identifiable individuals. The standard that private property can be seized by government only for a “public use” is twisted to allow the taking of property for the enrichment of politicians’ friends and supporters. “Interstate commerce” morphs into its opposite, “intrastate commerce,” for the purpose of interpreting the Interstate Commerce Clause.

Consider the new standards on carbon emissions. Carbon dioxide, as you may know, is the invisible, generally harmless gas that makes up a tiny part of the atmosphere (less than one part in 2,500, the equivalent of five tablespoons of water in a 50-gallon bathtub). It’s a gas that is exhaled by humans and all other animals and that is necessary for life as we know it on earth’s surface. But in the hands of the Left, carbon dioxide becomes “carbon pollution” akin to carbon monoxide or black carbon soot.

Consider the way that leftists treat the religious section of the First Amendment. “Freedom of religion” (phrased as “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . . “) is in the Constitution. The “wall of separation of church and state” is not. WOSOCAS refers to the idea that the two must be kept artificially separate — that, for example, beliefs are somehow tainted by being associated with religion (the Intelligent Design case, the Ten Commandments cases), that a minister can’t run for office, that a city can’t commemorate the death of a town priest, that the U.S. government can’t have an ambassador to the Vatican, or that the government must deny the use of public school textbooks to Catholic schools. The concept originated in efforts to get preachers to shut up and stop complaining about slavery. Jefferson used it in that sense, but later regretted that interpretation of the First Amendment. It was later promoted by “nativists”/anti-Catholics and inserted into legal doctrine in the Everson case, in which the majority opinion was written by Justice Hugo Black, who, as a Kladd (“conductor” or swearing-in officer) of the Ku Klux Klan, had administered the Klan’s oath of allegiance to “eternal separation of Church and State.”


Some further ramblings on the First Amendment:

How ignorant is the Left about this fundamental matter of Constitutional law? So ignorant that leftists openly ridiculed people who understand the distinction between “freedom of religion” and “separation of church and state.”

During the 2010 campaign, Christine O’Donnell was a Tea Party candidate for the U.S. Senate. In the Republican primary, she defeated an extremist candidate who had been favored by the GOP establishment—whereupon the Left, seizing on a joking comment she made about her reckless youth, declared that she was a witch. Then she appeared in a debate against her Democratic opponent, in front of an audience of law professors and law students. When she correctly noted that “separation of church and state” doesn’t appear in the Constitution, this is how it was reported:

 O’Donnell questions separation of church, state


The Associated Press

Tuesday, October 19, 2010; 12:54 PM

WILMINGTON, Del. — Republican Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion.

The exchange came in a debate before an audience of legal scholars and law students at Widener University Law School, as O’Donnell criticized Democratic nominee Chris Coons’ position that teaching creationism in public school would violate the First Amendment by promoting religious doctrine.

Coons said private and parochial schools are free to teach creationism but that “religious doctrine doesn’t belong in our public schools.”

“Where in the Constitution is the separation of church and state?” O’Donnell asked him.

When Coons responded that the First Amendment bars Congress from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, O’Donnell asked: “You’re telling me that’s in the First Amendment?”

Her comments, in a debate aired on radio station WDEL, generated a buzz in the audience.

“You actually audibly heard the crowd gasp,” Widener University political scientist Wesley Leckrone said after the debate, adding that it raised questions about O’Donnell’s grasp of the Constitution.

Erin Daly, a Widener professor who specializes in constitutional law, said that while there are questions about what counts as government promotion of religion, there is little debate over whether the First Amendment prohibits the federal government from making laws establishing religion.

“She seemed genuinely surprised that the principle of separation of church and state derives from the First Amendment, and I think to many of us in the law school that was a surprise,” Daly said. “It’s one thing to not know the 17th Amendment or some of the others, but most Americans do know the basics of the First Amendment.”

O’Donnell didn’t respond to reporters who asked her to clarify her views after the debate. Her campaign manager, Matt Moran, later issued a statement saying that O’Donnell wasn’t questioning the concept of separation of church and state.

“She simply made the point that the phrase appears nowhere in the Constitution,” Moran said.

The Washington Post was among those ridiculing O’Donnell for her correct claim; it took the paper a day and a half to correct itself. By then, O’Donnell was not only portrayed as a witch, but as an idiot.  (It happens all the time, particularly to Republican woman. Sarah Palin was depicted as a fool for her correct assertion that Obamacare would lead to death panels, as well as for her correct description of Paul Revere’s ride. A popular Internet meme from this past week has Michele Bachmann believing that Benjamin Franklin was president. And so on.)

By the way, anti-First Amendment activists such as President Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton  often use the term “freedom of worship” or “freedom to worship” in place of “freedom of religion.” The difference is that “freedom of [or to] worship” excludes the right to evangelize, wear religious garb in public, and otherwise promote one’s religious views. (Note that the President and then-Secretary of State were involved in jailing a man—and framing him for causing the 9/11/12 attacks—over his exercise of his Constitutionally protected right to express his religious views, however offensive that expression might be to some, many, or most people.)

Words… just words…