Istook's Insights: Racism, Abe's lament, Hillary's emails, Google and Security, Big Top Loss
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Published: 16-Mar-2015

Today, you don't have to be a racist to be a racist.

For those who stay in school, work, and avoid drugs, crime and having children out of wedlock, America offers success regardless of race.

True racism has become rare. 

That threatens the grievance industry, so their new theories claim they are victims of invisible racism:

* If a group disproportionately breaks a law, the law is called racist for having disparate impact on a minority.

* Lenders must make loans to bad credit risks who claim their problem is prejudice rather than their failure to pay their bills.

Thin-skinned people re-label innocent behavior as micro-aggression or white privilege, magically transforming it into subliminal racism. 

Tax scams claim huge refunds as reparations for slavery.

Schools hand out social promotions.

Profiteers continue to demand money, benefits, or special privileges based not on the content of character, but on the color of skin.

***

Meanwhile, what has happened to government of the people, by the people and for the people?

In his Gettysburg Address, President Abraham Lincoln praised those who died so that government of the people, by the people and for the people "shall not perish from the earth."

But now, 101 years later, government tells us what to do instead of listening to us. 

The Gallup Poll reveals that Americans believe our biggest problem is our government. Not jobs. Not the economy. Not health care and not immigration. Government.

Government is both incapable and too unwieldy to fix everything. But scaredy-cat politicians don't want to be accused of failing to fix something, so they create expensive programs with lots of activity but few results. People realize that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also strong enough to take everything you've got. That's how government becomes the problem, not the solution.

***

It's no wonder people don't trust big government. People want their email to be private, so why not Hillary's?

Millions of us were appalled when Americans learned that our emails are not safe from federal snooping.

We want intelligence agencies to intercept terrorist messages, but they should focus on select targets, not snoop on everybody.

People deserve privacy in their personal life. So why the big fuss over Hillary Clinton's emails? That's easy the concern is not her personal life; it's how she conducted America's foreign policy.

With exceptions like national security, our government should make its actions open to us. That's a safeguard against tyranny and against corruption.

The Obama presidency has been marked by secrecy, not letting the public know what they're doing until it's too late to reverse things.

Hillary Clinton's emails are another symptom of official arrogance, of not wanting people to know what's happening, much less to let the public guide the decisions that are made.

***

I'm wondering: Who can keep you alive the longest: Uncle Sam? Or Google?

Google is using its massive profits to fund medical research into longevity, with a goal to help us all to live to be 500.
The Bible says Methuselah lived to be 969. But 500 years still beats today's life expectancy of 82 years for Americans born in 2015.

Another headline says there are active Social Security numbers for 6.5-million people who are already 112 or older. That's more than 10% of the 56-million people now receiving those retirement befits.

The problem is that the agency is not tracking deaths. That enables fraudulent claims to be filed in the names of dead people. And it provides an easy way for identity thieves and illegal immigrants to use a stolen Social Security number.

But there's something else that never seems to die: government inefficiency.

***

With regret, I noticed that the greatest show on earth is losing some big stars.

Bowing to years of pressure campaigns, the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus will remove elephants from their shows, once they finish current tours and commitments.

Activist groups like PETA complained for years about how circus elephants are treated. Many accusations were false. The Humane Society and the ASPCA, American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, had to pay a combined $25-million to Ringling Brothers for making false claims about treatment of the elephants.

But activists were able to get local governments to pass ordinances that essentially blocked elephant acts from major venues. If you can't bring the big top into the biggest arenas, then your national tours get wrecked.

Ringling Brothers always maintained that it took good and proper care of their elephants. They won in court, but ultimately they just couldn't beat city hall.

NOTE: Istook formerly represented Oklahoma's Fifth Congressional District. Now based in the nation's capitol, he is a scholar at the Heritage Foundation.

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