Apr
06

Finding Nemo at SeaWorld

By Katie Kieffer
Katie Kieffer at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Katie Kieffer at Discovery Cove Orlando.

In Finding Nemo, a whale helps a clownfish find his son; at SeaWorld, killer whales helped me dismantle PETA’s lies. Last week, I had the opportunity to tour SeaWorld Orlando behind-the-scenes. I observed how the theme park’s animals are trained and treated. I also learned that SeaWorld has rescued over 25,000 animals. On my first day, I had the pleasure of meeting four-month-old “Tenacious,” a petite Gentoo penguin, who let me pet her silky head. I also met “Jasper,” a four-year-old female penguin who is so friendly that she has a following of super-fans who regularly seek her out at SeaWorld. I can see why. Without prompting, she waddled over to me, tilted her head up and squawked. “She’s greeting you!” her trainer exclaimed. PETA has authored 110 press releases to depict SeaWorld as a place where whales go to die. A Beluga whale named Nanuq did recently die at SeaWorld. He was 32 years old, which is roughly the life expectancy of Belugas in the wild. With the exception of whales that it has rescued, SeaWorld has not removed a whale from the ocean in 35 years. I met 38-year-old “Katina,” a healthy killer whale who is one of the few who were removed from Icelandic waters many years ago. Killer whales were hunted and harvested in Icelandic waters at the time she was removed and that practice has continued to some degree today. Contrary to what PETA may say, removing Katina from the wild arguably lengthened her lifespan. All of her calves have been born at SeaWorld through natural insemination. Six dolphins leaping in tandem was my favorite part of SeaWorld’s dolphin show. I captured the moment on my camera along with a toddler in the front row—reaching his tiny arm toward the dolphins as if to say: “I want to jump too!” Zoos serve educational and therapeutic purposes for humans, and SeaWorld assumes these roles in a free market manner.
Dolphin jumping at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Dolphin jumping at Discovery Cove Orlando.

After the show, I went back stage and met Kelly Flaherty-Clark, SeaWorld’s Curator of Animal Training and SeaWorld veterinarian Dr. Chris Dold. I observed as four pilot whales—once stranded on a Florida beach and dying from severe dehydration and illness—now twisted and bobbed in their pool, squealing as they played with each other and their water toys. Flaherty-Clark has spent 28 years with SeaWorld. Her face glows with authentic passion when she tells the story of rescuing the pilot whales when they were washed ashore in two separate strandings in 2011 and 2012. The U.S. government requested SeaWorld Orlando to keep and care for the whales because they were deemed unfit for survival in the ocean. The scientific community knows very little about pilot whales. SeaWorld is one of the only organizations in the world to care for pilot whales in a zoological setting. Along with their non-profit research partner, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, SeaWorld will utilize their research to help better understand future mass strandings of pilot whales. Americans should applaud SeaWorld—a for-profit organization—for raising funds for animal rescue and research independently. Last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) created a “Top 5” list of wasteful scientists and he included an $856,000 taxpayer-funded study to train mountain lions to walk on treadmills. Silly as this study may sound, its goal was to develop collars for tracking wild carnivores and deter them from humans. Every ticket purchased at SeaWorld raises money for work that would go undone or be picked up—and in a less efficient manner—by the government. Activists insist that zoo animals would enjoy better lives in the wild. Which makes you wonder how much time PETA’s disciples actually spend in the ocean. You know, that idyllic body of water where plastic refuse strangles turtles; boat motors grind manatees up like hamburger meat; a plethora of pathogens attack killer whales; and mother dolphins are forced to abandon disabled calves. You also wonder if PETA’s followers have a penchant for napping through major world events such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Because, post-tsunami, humans trained elephants to help clean up the massive wreckage in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Wild animals are willing partners in improving the world, but they need us to help train and enrich them instead of ignoring them. At SeaWorld, many of the “tricks” that whales and dolphins perform are extensions of actions they perform in the wild—like jumping and spy hopping. Several of the learned techniques, including providing voluntary blood and urine samples, allow trainers to provide the whales and dolphins with a higher level of healthcare than they would find in the wild. Blood samples also allow Dr. Dold’s team to gain incredible insights, such as whether a female whale is sick—or simply pregnant. On my last day, I visited SeaWorld’s resort, Discovery Cove. I swam with a dolphin named Hutch, a strong and gregarious animal who willingly whisked me through the water as if I were as light as cotton candy. Before I left, Hutch’s trainer popped over to ask me if I had enjoyed the day. I had. I asked her how she had become a trainer. It’s “competitive,” she said. “I drove four hours every Saturday to volunteer at Georgia Aquarium [the world’s largest aquarium]. I think that helped SeaWorld see how passionate I was about the animals.”
Katie Kieffer swims with dolphin at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Katie Kieffer swims with dolphin at Discovery Cove Orlando.

Like all of SeaWorld’s trainers, she then underwent a rigorous and structured apprenticeship. You see, before they ever touch the animals, rookies spend several years learning and proving their passion: scrubbing tanks, working the 4:30 a.m. fish bucket shift; and mastering animal signals. When I asked the trainer if she had a response for people who were concerned that the animals’ habitats are too small at SeaWorld she said, “The government has standards for caring for animals and ours are way higher. Everything our dolphins do is voluntary. If the dolphins didn’t enjoy this, I know they wouldn’t willfully come out here [to perform tricks and let people swim with them]. They get as much enrichment out of it as we do. Sometimes, a dolphin will decide [mid-show] that he wants to swim off, and that’s fine. I’ll let him go and call on another dolphin. We only use positive reinforcement. It’s all about the animals.” She smiled as she looked out over the glistening blue waters where the dolphins dipped and dived: “They have a pretty good life here.” When PETA gets you down, “just keep swimming,” as they say in Finding Nemo. Eventually, you’ll end up at SeaWorld: petting penguins; swimming with dolphins; and supporting one of the world’s most successful animal rescue and rehabilitation teams.

Mar
09

True Stories of Soldiers Left Behind

By Katie Kieffer
The late Marine Sgt. Rob Richards and Lt. Clint Lorance.

The late Marine Sgt. Rob Richards and Lt. Clint Lorance.

“No Man Left Behind” is an American adage of chivalry and solidarity that we do not always practice. Young men and women in military service risk their health and careers for the majority of us who never lift a finger in battle—unless it’s to control simulated snipers wielding digitized NA-45s in a computer game like Call of Duty. Go stand before a mirror. Take a look at your hands; your feet; and your head. If you’re like me, you’re fortunate to have all ten digits and a brain that has never been riddled with trauma. Your body is free from shrapnel. We are very fortunate, while some of our brothers and sisters are not—and they need our help. When my grandfathers—a Marine and a sailor—came home from World War II they had battle scars. As a little girl, I would sit at their feet and ask them to tell me about the War. But, like most veterans, they kept their pain to themselves. They had experienced tragedies too painful to share with anyone except another veteran. Yet, my grandfathers were at least treated as heroes. Less than ten—seven to be exact—of all the Americans who fought in the WWII, Korean and Vietnam Wars were ever tried and convicted of a “crime during combat” according to United American Patriots. Alas, for veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq, there has been a 2,943% increase in U.S. veterans who have been convicted of war crimes. Are our troops suddenly 3,000% more unethical than those who served in WWII? Of course not. Rather, our media and government have grown more politically correct. As a result, most Americans are unaware of the fact that veterans are being used as pawns in strategy plays to appease foreign governments. In WWII-era America, the public understood that the rules of engagement during a war are different from the rules at a high tea. There’s no time for good manners when you have to make a split second-decision on whether or not to fire at the enemy. You may insist that a teapot be passed clockwise around the table because the direction does not have life or death consequences. But, you would be cruel to ask an American soldier in Afghanistan to do something as silly as fire clockwise, rather than to take out the most threatening enemy first. Our current rules of engagement are as impractical as expecting soldiers to fight terrorists—who practice no rules of decorum—to behave in a minefield in the same way that they would behave while serving tea and crumpets in the parlor. Men who have witnessed their best buddies slaughtered by vicious brutes will sometimes react in the heat of war, as was the case with the late and heroic Marine Sgt. Rob Richards. Likewise, men like Lt. Clint Lorance will make split-second decisions in the face of Taliban motorcyclists suspected of carrying grenades. Lt. Lorance is serving a 19-year sentence at Ft. Leavenworth in large part for the “crime” of ordering his American snipers instead of his trigger-happy Afghan snipers to fire at the motorcyclists. Technically, his order violated of a new rule of engagement at the time called “Afghan in the Lead.” But Clint saved innocent lives by ordering his snipers with more experience to fire. So, why is he sitting in prison for doing the right thing? Could it be a way for our government to appease the Afghan government? You and I have a call of duty to rise to action and support our brothers like Lt. Lorance who are unable to speak for themselves; to unfold our legs from our comfortable meditative pose on our living room floor and log off Call of Duty. Please come to Freedom Plaza on March 14 in Washington, D.C. and rally with your fellow citizens and the United American Patriots to support soldiers and Marines unjustly charged with war crimes. You’ll have a chance to hear more stories of soldiers left behind—and your show of support will help reform our politically correct culture so that, eventually, no veteran is ever left behind. Find the full stories of Sgt. Rob Richards and Lt. Clint Lorance in “Let Me Be Clear.”

Jan
05

When Orangutans Get Lawyers

By Katie Kieffer
Female orangutan in zoo.

Image credit: “Orangutan female, Minpi of Tama Zoo” by Toshihiro Gamo on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Monkeys are not people. Trees are not children. And human beings are not causing the earth to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. “It’s probably the equivalent of watching your family getting shot before a firing squad,” environmental extremist Tom Whitaker described his emotional response to logging for National Geographic in July of 2000. Fast forward to December of 2014: a 29-year-old orangutan named “Sandra” was represented by a lawyer named Andres Gil Dominguez who helped the ape win human rights in an Argentine court of law. Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is succumbing to animal rights activists by threatening to put 400 horse carriage drivers and stable hands out of business by 2016. By nature, you have more inalienable rights than your dog or houseplant. Certain political groups and crony capitalists are trying to reverse the natural order by forcing humans to be subservient to flora and fauna. They don’t realize that by disrupting the natural pecking order they will harm plants and animals. Certainly, animal abuse and wanton destruction of wildlife is wrong. But it is wrong for lawyers to profit from classifying pets, zoo animals and houseplants as prisoners with human rights. It is also immoral for scientists to pretend that (actual) humans are vermin on a mission to destroy the earth. There is no scientific evidence that humans are responsible for harmful global warming and the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reports that warming is a non-issue: “Sea ice in Antarctica has remained at satellite-era record high daily levels for most of 2014.” Back to Sandra. She did not ask Mr. Dominguez to be her lawyer. Indeed, there are no known cases of any animal or plant asking for a lawyer. Nonetheless, a corrupt judge ruled that Sandra has the natural right to “freedom” and “avoiding suffering from being in captivity” in the same sense as humans. This legal ruling sets a very dangerous global precedent. If the U.S. follows Argentina’s lead, most pets could be classified as abused captives. Anyone with a pet larger than a finger monkey could be incarcerated for denying their pet the autonomy of animals who roam free. Gardeners who keep house plants could be found guilty of “child abuse” for subjecting potted ivy to periodic trimming instead of letting the ivy creep freely across the home’s interior and exterior walls. Panther attacks are at a historic high in West Palm Beach, Florida. In 2014 alone, over 50 pets and livestock animals—ranging from a swan and a Shetland pony to cats and calves—were killed by endangered Florida panthers. The large cats are certainly “free.” Yet, their freedom is to the detriment of other animals. Ask yourself: at what point is an animal “suffering” in captivity? For example, Sandra is being moved from the Buenos Aires zoo to a sanctuary. But who is to say that she shouldn’t be moved into the wild where she can enjoy ultimate freedom? If Sandra is “suffering,” then all zoo animals must be suffering and we should close all zoos. But the truth is that zoos conserve animals from painful deaths caused by starvation, disease and predators—while educating the public. Even if you describe yourself as an “animal person,” you would never call yourself an “animal animal” because you innately know that there’s a crucial difference between animals and people. As the philosopher Aristotle notes, only humans can be held accountable for their decisions—such as murder, rape and theft—because only humans have reason and the ability to act according to intangible principles. Animals act on instinct and can neither be rewarded nor punished (in a court of law) for acting on their instincts to mate, eat, or defend territory. If a bear mauls you to death, the bear will not go to prison. “It’s like saving your child,” whimpered one environmental squatter to National Geographic who advocates “roosting” or living in trees to deter logging. Other activists caress the bark of newly logged trees in makeshift funeral ceremonies. Tree-huggers forget that responsible logging helps prevent forest fires—and the resulting devastation of woodpeckers, toads and saplings. Never sacrifice your natural human rights of free speech and private property to animals and plants. Doing so is harmful to domesticated animals that will be gobbled up by panthers; plants that will be consumed by forest fires; and humans whose livelihoods will be decimated by politicians. Lovable and majestic as a monkey and an evergreen may be—they’re not human—they are a ball of fur and a fir tree.

Dec
22

No Room for Vets in the Inn

By Katie Kieffer
Graves of veterans.

Image credit: “never forgotten.” by iris.river on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Homeless American veterans shiver in the bitter cold while illegal immigrants receive subsidized four-year degrees. At midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold, Christ was born in a stable after his parents were turned away by every innkeeper. Joseph and Mary did not respond with entitlement: “If you don’t shelter us, then you’re racist.” Rather, they used their ingenuity to find an alternative birthplace for their son among friends—farm animals, shepherds, kings, and angels—beneath the light of an extraordinary star. “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swadddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 Earlier this month, I spoke at American Legion Post 3 in Lincoln, NE. I was impressed by how veterans—many of them disabled or elderly—are actively working to serve homeless veterans in their community. The post commander distributed a long list of items including bath towels, silverware and blankets that he wanted help gathering for local homeless vets. Post 3 American Legion Riders and the Legionnaires were also planning monthly pancake breakfasts where homeless veterans could receive warm meals served by friendly faces. Veterans who are active within the American Legion are working very hard to help their brothers and sisters who have served their country—only to find themselves on the streets. However, it is troubling to see that our federal government seems to be prioritizing aid for illegal immigrants over care for our homeless veterans. American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm has taken a firm stand against the current administration’s recent executive order, which will essentially grant amnesty to as many as 5 million illegal immigrants. On November 20, Helm wrote:  “The American Legion urges the President in the strongest possible terms to put our security, and our citizens’ interests and wishes, ahead of providing amnesty for millions of immigrants here illegally. …we have reached out to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to offer our help in bringing immigrants to fullcitizenship. Rewarding illegal immigration is a slap in the face to those who have obeyed the law and patiently went through the process.” Indeed, legal experts such as American Center for Law and Justice Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow call the President’s executive order “an unconstitutional power grab of historic proportions.” Arthur Schwab, federal judge in United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, authored a 38-page ruling last week showing that the President’s order violates the Constitution’s “Take Care” clause, which states: [The President] shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed….” Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution mandates that the President enforce the laws.Only Congress, per the Constitution, may make laws. Since the executive order changes U.S. immigration law by decree of the President rather than through an act of Congress, it is unconstitutional. Amnesty proponents often cite the economic contributions of illegal immigrants. Certainly, many illegal immigrants do backbreaking work. They have also broken our laws. Veterans, in contrast, served while risking their lives to defend our laws. Until every homeless veteran is in permanent housing, we should not be granting work permits and college financial aid packages to illegal immigrants. Plus, here’s the dirty little secret: the current executive order is not about helping destitute people achieve the American Dream. It’s about buying votes. A careful read of a Dec. 14 New York Times article reveals that organizations fronting as advocacy groups are brainwashing illegal immigrants to abhor Republicans so as to secure millions of future votes for Democrats. Immigration is a non-partisan issue, and Latinos should not be used as pawns for lobby groups, non-profits and crony capitalists. The current administration has used young people (Millennials), gays, blacks and women to win votes while abandoning and betraying our veterans like Lt. Clint Lorance and Sgt. Rob Richards. Now, the administration is using Latinos for votes. Here’s the real humanitarian crisis: our political leadership has no respect for veterans. Veterans were denied access to the WWII, Vietnam and Korean War memorials in Washington, D.C.—while amnesty advocates were allowed on the National Mall and the state of California confiscated millions of taxpayer dollars to bankroll the education of illegal immigrants. 50,000 veterans will cope with homelessness every night this winter—while the President promises protection from deportation and work permits for up to 5 million illegal immigrants. Away on a bleacher, no cot for a bed, a veteran lay down his sweet head. The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay—in solidarity with the little Lord Jesus asleep in the hay. In 2015, demand that  your government make room for vets in America—“the inn” they fought so hard to defend.

Meet Katie and discover the clarity you need in 2015:

Monday, December 29, 3:00 – 6:30 p.m. The Vintage | Wine, Spirits and Beer 8971 Crossroads Boulevard, 160, Chanhassen, MN 55317 Saturday, January 3, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon American Legion Post 577 1129 Arcade Street, Saint Paul, MN 55106 "Let Me Be Clear"

Nov
24

Obama Flips Blacks on Backs

By Katie Kieffer
Barack Obama

Image credit: “Barack Obama on Christian Faith” by Been Buddy Longway on Flickr via Creative Commons.

How does the first black president reward blacks for voting for their hero? With an executive order: “Go to the back of the employment line. Get behind illegal immigrants, including carriers of tuberculosis and criminals at large. Blessed are the politically useful and illegal immigrants are more useful than African Americans.” Blacks voted for Obama in record numbers: 91% in 2008 and 87% in 2012. It was historic. Yet, last week via unconstitutional executive order, the president announced an immigration “reform” plan that will disproportionately hurt African Americans. Trayvon Martin could have been “my son,” Obama sighed in 2012 when his re-election was at stake. Obama used Martin’s tragic death to tell blacks that they could not trust white people. They could only trust him. In 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014 Obama fanned racial tensions in order to win the black vote. Instead of using his biracial heritage to foster harmony, he told Republicans they “can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back.” In August of 2014, a white cop in Ferguson, MO used lethal force to defend himself against a black man named Michael Brown who had just participated in a strong-arm robbery. Desperate to turn out black voters in the 2014 midterms, the Obama administration made Brown into the new Martin. Attorney General Eric Holder warned blacks not to trust white law enforcement: “I understand that mistrust. I am the Attorney General of the United States. But I am also a black man.” Today, Obama fans racial tensions with the goal of giving his party a permanent monopoly on the White House. “You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law. That’s what this deal is.” Obama said on Thursday. Over and over, he painted illegal immigrants as victims of a life in the “shadows.” 21.9% of young blacks are unemployed and 14.7% of Millennials overall are unemployed. All Americans are hurting but young people—especially young blacks—are hurting the most. Good thing Obama is focused on a bigger humanitarian crisis: how he and his political party can capitalize on the scores of children who are entering our country illegally. Empirical data is racially neutral, which is why it is trustworthy. The 2008 Commission on Civil Rights found that illegal immigration is responsible for 40% of the 18-point decline in black unemployment rate between 1960 and 2000. The commission unanimously agreed that competition with illegal immigrants lowered wages and dried up job opportunities for legal Americans, particularly African American males. “…are we a nation that values families and works together to keep them together?” Obama chided us last week. His question is ironic given that he and Michelle have done more than any president in recent memory to destroy the family, particularly the African American family. Johns Hopkins University reported this spring that nearly 60% of Millennial women—particularly minority women—who are raising children are doing so without committed fathers. An influx of immigrants into the United States will exacerbate the struggle that single black mothers face as they raise children on their own, in poverty. Commission on Civil Rights member Peter Kirsanow has testified: “The dearth of job opportunities gives these [black] men less confidence in their ability to support a family, and gives women reason to fear that these prospective husbands will be only another mouth to feed.” Ideologically, Obama is like a boy addicted to the thrill of roller coasters. He spent the past four years telling us:
  • “I’m the president of the United States, I’m not, uh, the emperor of the United States. My job is to execute laws that are passed.”
  • “With respect to the notion that I can, uh, just suspend deportations through executive order, uh, that’s just not the case.”
  • “I can’t do it by myself; we’re gonna have to change the laws in Congress.”
“If you’re a criminal, you’ll be deported,” Obama promised on Thursday. Really? Then why hasn’t Cinthya ­Garcia-Cisneros been deported after being convicted of killing two young women in a hit-and-run? Surely this has nothing to do with helping your ol’ pal Hillie overcome Benghazi allegations with a few votes from criminals. “Even as we are a nation of immigrants, we’re also a nation of laws.” Obama preached on Thursday.Take your own advice, Mr. President. Law-abiding African Americans who voted for you are hurting the most because of your policies, and they should not be told to go to the back of the employment line, behind criminals.

Sep
22

USPS: Where The Customer Is Always Last

By Katie Kieffer
USPS trucks

Image credit: “USPS_” by Ron Doke on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Bang! Lee looked up from addressing a package while she waited in line for service at the post office. Despite a lobby packed with customers—without notice—a postal worker slammed down the service window gate and went to lunch, leaving Lee and the other patrons to fend for themselves. The U.S. Postal Service excels at treating customers poorly. My friend Lee’s story is but one of many nightmares of churlish postal workers and deficient USPS customer service. Many government workers get away with behavior that would get them fired if they worked at a private company like McDonald’s or Apple. There should be a “Yelp” for government services. We deserve an open place where we can rate the “customer service” that we receive from the post office, as well as the EPA (which has distorted scientific data), the Federal Reserve (which inflates our currency), and the IRS (which hires employees like Lois Lerner who are admittedly “bad at math”). Salaried workers in the private sector often skip their lunch break and shovel down a sandwich while preparing for an afternoon conference call with a big client. But government workers will take their lunch break whether they have a long line of businesspeople, senior citizens and parents with young children waiting in line—or not. Certainly not every postal worker is slothful, yet massive reform is necessary. Elderly residents in the Brooklyn, NY neighborhood of Borough Park recently had to fight to regain mail delivery service after a mailman complained about having to stoop down to drop letters into mail slots. Based on a single whining mailman, the post office told Borough Park residents they would have to install higher mail slots or pick their mail up at the post office. The Brooklyn Eagle reported: “senior citizens [had to] stand in long lines to get their medications and other vital deliveries that used to come directly to their homes.”
mail stuck in a slot

Image credit: “dead letters” by vistavision on Flickr via Creative Commons.

You just can’t make these stories up. I was at the post office around 5:45 p.m. on a recent weeknight. The post office officially closed at 6:00 p.m., but many people were in line. (Some Americans actually work during the workday.) My jaw nearly dropped to the floor when one of the postal workers loudly complained for all to hear: “Everyone always waits to come in at 6:00 p.m.” He wasn’t finished barking. He shouted at me, as I hurriedly taped up a package: “Are you going to be finished soon? We close at 6:00 p.m.” I felt like saying: “You can see I’m rushing and you don’t close for another fifteen minutes. If this were the private sector, you’d be happy to serve a paying customer instead of pushing them away. You’d also have business hours that were more conducive to your customers.” Last week, I opened my P.O. box to find a clear plastic bag containing a ripped piece of my outgoing mail, along with a note from the post office: “WE CARE. Dear Postal Customer: We sincerely regret the damage to your mail during handling by the Postal Service.” There was also a sticker: “SENDER. Affix correct postage and remail.” The ripped envelope contained a check that I had sent out to pay a bill. Apparently, the postal machine had removed my postage and shredded the envelope and check. The next day, I brought a new check and envelope to the post office and asked them to reimburse me for the postage and make sure that the envelope arrived by the check’s due date. After checking with her supervisor, the clerk told me: “No. We can’t do anything other than what we’ve already done.” I said, “You mean other than ruining my mail?” She said: “Well, we put it in a plastic bag for you.” At this point, I realized that logic and reason were pointless and simply re-mailed the envelope and left. Last strange but true story: my mother bought a roll of stamps. When she returned home, she noticed that the roll of stamps was unusable because the stamps were affixed together. She immediately returned the roll to the post office, explained the situation and asked for a replacement. The postal worker told her: “Are you kidding? We can’t give you your money back or exchange it. Would you go to a grocery store and buy a loaf of squashed bread and then try to return it? How do I know you didn’t glue those stamps together yourself and then come back here?” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to point out that the aforementioned excuse is full of holes. Why would someone intentionally damage stamps and then ask for a fresh set? They would have nothing to gain, except an inconvenience. Also, who buys a loaf of bread that is obviously squashed? The roll of stamps looked perfectly fine and there was no way to tell that they were glued together until my mother tried using them. Postal workers, kindly reform yourselves. The customer should always be first. For more eye-opening reading, dive into “Let Me Be Clear

Aug
18

Welcome to Juristic Park

By Katie Kieffer
T. Rex

Image credit: “Daily Disney – T. Rex” by Joe Penniston on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Steven Speilberg directed Jurassic Park 21 years ago. Barack Obama is now directing Juristic Park. Hold onto your popcorn. T. Rex is back. The Tyrannosaurus Rex is one of the most dangerous land carnivores in world history. In the 1993 movie Jurassic Park, a genetically engineered T. Rex viciously attacks the park’s tourists after a duplicitous park employee deactivates the park’s electric fences. Fast forward to 2014. A clone of T. Rex is prowling America for red meat. This time, “T. Rex” particularly craves the blood of Americans who are entrepreneurs. Juristic Park is a great metaphor for the state of America under the Obama administration. By trampling on the U.S. Constitution and overloading Americans with laws and regulations, the current administration has effectively unleashed a “T. Rex” that is destroying the pristine democratic republic that our founders created. The official Universal Pictures trailer for the 1993 movie described Jurassic Park thus: “On this private island… genetics has mastered creation. …Welcome to Jurassic Park.” This eerily echoes President Obama’s vision of America: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Genetically modified capitalism is slowly overpowering business creation in America. Crony capitalism and redistributive tax policies have the impact of reincarnating a “T. Rex” that is devouring small business owners. As in Jurassic Park, the tables have turned and it is now humans, particularly entrepreneurs, who are at risk of going extinct. “Juristic Park” is an America where there is an excess of laws and a deficiency of justice. We have a president who recently visited the Vineyard Golf Club and sent his security detail ahead of him to welcome—I mean ‘frisk’—the club’s regular golfers with intrusive wands while they were in the middle of eating and golfing. We have an administration that sends SWAT teams after American citizens without due cause. We have a Vice President by the name of Joe Biden who promotes pilfering of American taxpayers; a Vice President who is only pro-life when it comes to 57,000 non-American citizen children: “These are not somebody else’s kids. These are our kids.” America is “Juristic Park” because we have the highest and therefore least competitive tax rate in the entire world (approximately 40 percent, according to KPMG). Duplicitous politicians in both parties are meanwhile scheming to make it even harder for American job creators. Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Democrats are leading the charge on a proposal to close a so-called loophole in the tax code that allows U.S. companies to avoid egregious taxes through “inversions.” The Journal reports: “The proposal, detailed by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.), would restrict the practice of earnings stripping, where U.S. companies borrow money from overseas parents and deduct the interest expense on U.S. taxes.” Democrats are foolish to think this proposal won’t backfire. Instead of pondering ways to make it harder for U.S. companies to profit, why not make it easier? Why not make it more attractive for companies to stay in America by reducing the corporate income tax rate to the lowest in the world and by simplifying the tax code? American companies would voluntarily opt out of the administrative and legal expenses of engaging in inversions if our corporate income tax rate were in the single digits. American companies will not “sit and take it.” They will move abroad or shut their doors. In April, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity reported that the nation’s business creation rate has been steadily dropping for the past two years. In July, the Brookings Institution reported that the number of American companies that are over fifteen years old has been steadily increasing. In other words, American companies are getting older and new entrepreneurs are not able to replace them fast enough because it’s too difficult to run a for-profit company in the United States. Besides lowering the corporate income tax rate, we need to reform the overall tax code and eliminate Obamacare. I explain in “Let Me Be Clear,” how individual Americans can immediately opt out of the Obamacare exchanges and how we can improve our healthcare system with one of the many free market solutions that I uncovered after interviewing close to 300 medical professionals. Schumer knows that he has a good chance of winning bipartisan support for his anti-inversion scheme because Republicans like Sen. Chuck Grassley have lambasted inversions as “immoral.” Both parties are hacking away at our country’s foundation. It’s time for the American people—especially the young Millennial voters whose long-term futures are at stake—to mobilize for action at the midterms. Like the creator of Jurassic Park, President Obama is effectively replacing “creation” (in the sense of business creation) with “genetics” (or socialism). So, educate your friends and get out and vote in the midterms. Don’t become T. Rex’s next snack. Events this week: Minnesotans, meet me at O’Gara’s Bar and Grill this Tuesday, August 19th from 5-9 p.m. or at the Eagan Barnes & Noble this Wednesday, August 20th from 6-9 p.m. Click here for details.

Apr
21

Help Wanted: Girls Gone Wild to Replace Lois Lerner

By Katie Kieffer
Gadsen Flag

Image credit: “Court of Flags Los Angeles” on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Female, feisty and unemployed? Fear not! Obama will need to hire IRS Girls Gone Wild to replace Lois Lerner. To secure his legacy and help Democrats win future elections, Obama needs to replace former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner, his number one Agency Girl Gone Wild. Lois has already been replaced in name since she retired (with full benefits!) on September 23, 2013. But, Obama still needs to find a mini Lois Lerner. It’s hard to find a replacement for Lois. Who could possibly replicate her trademark trickery? Or her passion for repression? Who could duplicate her talent for exercising shake down efforts on tea party organizations faster than spring breakers can shake their booties? Obama needs a woman who is willing to email the IRS Commissioner’s Chief of Staff and say: Hey, is there any way we can chat with the Department of Justice and “piece together false statement cases about 501(c)4 applicants who ‘lied’ on their 1024s”? (Thanks to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit filed against the IRS in 2013, we now know Lerner said that.) Qualifications Needed to Join the IRS Girls Gone WIld: 1.)  Must be able to bat your lashes, evade questions and employ your Fifth Amendment rights under pressure. 2.)  Poor math skills. For example, the ideal candidate will not know that 75 is exactly one quarter of 300. 3.)  Wear stiff, matronly suits so as to appear smart and industrious. 4.)  It is helpful to have a lust for power and to derive S&M-like pleasure from shutting down and targeting groups that promote freedom, individualism and the values of America’s founders. When Lerner carried the big stick at the IRS, it seems it was acceptable for IRS agents to perform their jobs with the professionalism of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. ABC News reported last week that Oregon resident Vincent Burroughs is persisting with his sexual coercion and invasion of privacy lawsuit against the federal government and IRS agent Dora Abrahamson. According to Burroughs’s story, Abrahamson had a crush on him. (She was apparently attracted to his hobby of ‘rac[ing] motorcycles.’) Abrahamson was assigned (or assigned herself) to Burroughs when he fell behind on his taxes. She allegedly began sending him flirty texts and then one night she showed up on his doorstep on the pretence of helping him organize his paperwork for the IRS. When he opened the door, she threw on the moves—pushing him back, bombarding him with kisses, and jumping on top of him. It ended up as you can imagine. Burroughs says he felt pressured to have sex with Abrahamson given her position at the IRS and her influence on his finances. He recently described the incident to 20/20: “I felt like a cheap *****.” Abrahamson recused herself from his audit the next day. We may never know the full truth about the rendezvous of IRS Girls Gone Wild like Lerner and Abrahamson. For, the Obama administration’s top lawyer, Attorney General Eric Holder, appears to be doing everything he can to obstruct justice and cloud the truth. Obama’s Attorney General refuses to assign an independent prosecutor to investigate the IRS’ targeting of patriotic groups—despite the fact that the Treasury Inspector General released a report back in May of 2013 confirming that such targeting had been in practice since 2010. Instead, Holder supports the Obama administration’s pick for an investigator: a Democratic Obama donor. Bill Clinton was not a perfect president, but at least his Attorney General Janet Reno appointed independent special prosecutors in the interest of promoting justice. And we thought Clinton was the ladies’ man! It’s time to bring credibility to the federal government. We’ve exposed the IRS Girls Gone Wild. We can’t let the Obama administration hire any more. Holder should be fired if he won’t appoint an independent prosecutor. Holder can join Girls Gone Wild Extraordinaire Lois Lerner at the beach, as she enjoys her permanent spring break. Check out Katie’s new book, “Let Me Be Clear.” Preorder for early bird discount.

Apr
07

A Story of Love and Liberty

By Katie Kieffer
love

Image credit: “loving sunset” by Ferran Jordà on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Americans are incredibly generous individuals. Last week, when tragedy tore two young lovers apart—anonymous donors across the nation reached out, proving that individual goodness trumps social welfare. 24-year-old Indianapolis resident Nathan Trapuzzano stepped out the door last Monday, April 1 for his traditional morning walk on the west side. Nathan had high hopes for his life. He had recently moved to Indianapolis and was enjoying his career as a computer programmer. He was a year into his marriage to Jennifer—the love of his life—a stunning strawberry blonde with a gorgeous smile. Nathan and Jennifer were a match made in heaven—from the moment he dropped down on one knee and proposed in front of their Catholic church, to the memorable hot summer days they shared volunteering or watching baseball games together. Both Nathan and Jennifer were looking forward to the birth of their first child. They had already selected the baby’s name: Cecelia. Life was sweet. The future was bright.
Nathan and Jennifer Trapuzzano

Nathan and Jennifer Trapuzzano. Image from: http://www.gofundme.com/7zj4fo

Then, everything went dark. Gunshots pierced the brisk spring air around 6:00 a.m., ending Nathan’s young life. For no reason, a gunman ran up behind Nathan and forced him into an alleyway. As Nathan resisted and tried to break free, his attacker shot him in the abdomen. A surveillance video from a nearby tire shop reveals that there was another man involved, apparently playing the role of keeping watch. Both men fled the scene, leaving few clues as to their identity or motivation. A passerby called 911 and Nathan was rushed to the hospital. At 7:40 a.m., Nathan drew his last breath. Jennifer’s life was changed forever. She lost her husband and her unborn baby girl lost her father. Only God knows why this happened, and Jennifer is looking to Him for strength and healing. Jennifer’s family released a statement saying: “Nathan Trapuzzano was the most kind-hearted person you would ever know.  He never had an unkind thought in his head. He was so in love with his wife Jennifer, and unborn baby daughter, Cecelia. He was so excited about being a new Daddy. …Nate would not want us to become angry, but rather focus on the good and what is yet to come.” Friends set up an online donation site to help Jennifer pay for funeral expenses and establish a fund for her newborn. They set a modest goal of $25,000. Within 24 hours, they had exceeded their goal by fourfold—raising $100,000. Donations came in from all over the country—most donors had never heard of Jennifer before, but they were touched by the story. Benevolent Americans donated whatever they could afford, in amounts as small as $5.00 and $25.00. Many donors chose to remain anonymous and refused personal recognition. Many wrote notes of condolence and promised prayers. Individual generosity compounded at an amazing pace. Nathan Trapuzzano’s story is spreading like wildfire across America. He was a good man whose life was stolen from him. He was a wonderful friend and a devoted lover. He’ll be deeply missed. Nathan’s priest described him in a blog post: “He was a true gentleman, considerate of others and always wanting to become a better man.” Through his well-lived life and early death, Nathan has shown us all the power of individual Americans to freely and bigheartedly give their help to strangers in need. At a time when politicians and bureaucrats continually try to tell us where and how to spend our money—only to end up spending it on frivolities like line dancing in Las Vegas—we can all benefit from a beautiful reminder that the most effective generosity is voluntary. Check out Katie’s new book LET ME BE CLEAR: Barack Obama’s War on Millennials and One Woman’s Case for Hope. Preorder and get early bird discount.

Mar
24

Stop No-Knock SWAT Attacks

By Katie Kieffer
police

Image credit: “/////BREACHING/////” by (vhmh) on Flickr via Creative Commons.

Gun owners beware. Squirt gun owners, that includes you. If a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team SUSPECTS you of crime, you may receive a late-night visit from an armed SWAT team. That’s right, an armed and militant SWAT team could trot right through your front door as you slumber this summer. No-knock warrants are increasingly used by military-style police units, like SWAT teams for drug raids. Unfortunately, SWAT teams can obtain these warrants too easily from judges and consequently do not always perform sufficient due diligence. As a result, tens of thousands of decent, law-abiding American citizens are surprised every year by a no-knock visit when the SWAT team gets it wrong. While we do not know the exact number of wrongful No-Knock SWAT invasions, a 2006 article by Cato Institute policy analyst put the number at 40,000 a year! We must rally together and use our freedom of speech to protest such an atrocity. Think about it: When a SWAT team invades the wrong home in the middle of the night, as happened in the case of Tracy Ingle in 2008, the results can be bloody. SWAT team members barreled through Ingle’s main door and bedroom window under the cover of darkness. Understandably, Ingle thought he was being robbed and attempted to exercise his natural right to self-defense by reaching for what The New American describes as “a non-working gun.” Completely disregarding Ingle’s natural and constitutional rights to self-defense (2nd Amendment); private property (4th Amendment) and right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty (4th, 5th and 6th Amendments)—the SWAT team fired at Ingle over nine times—pummeling his chest, calf, arm and hip and shattering his leg bone. It wasn’t until afterward that the SWAT team thought to verify Ingle’s identity by asking him if he was the criminal they were looking for named “Michael.” When they realized Ingle was not “Michael” but “Terry,” they rushed him to the hospital. We certainly have many good and conscientious law enforcement officers in the United States. However, it is completely unjust and unethical for a team of law enforcement officers to storm into our homes and blast bullet holes through any moving shadow. Using this irresponsible method of “law enforcement,” a SWAT team could also accidentally kill many innocent bystanders such as children, spouses or even pets who happen to live at the same house as the suspected criminal. 58 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana, according to an October 2013 Gallup report. The number of Americans who favor legalization has risen steadily as more Americans witness the failure of the “War on Drugs.” The combination of violent Mexican drug lords and unethical American drug cops (think Eric Holder) has been a recipe for disaster. Besides performing better due diligence, there’s another solution to preventing wrongful No-Knock SWAT invasions. If we were to legalize drugs, we would see a decrease in the narcotic crime rate. Legitimate business owners would eventually put the drug cartels out of business by reducing their profit margins. How many more “Fasts and Furious” scandals are we willing to endure where we lose the lives of U.S. Border Patrol agents like Nicolas Ivie and Brian Terry? How many more chronically ill patients must be deprived of natural and effective treatment for their cancer or multiple sclerosis? How many more Terry Ingles need to wake up in the middle of the night to a spray of SWAT bullets? How many more Americans need to endure needless pain and bloodshed before we recognize the constitutional right of states to legalize drugs? One more American is one too many. Speak up and tell your elected representatives to defend your 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Amendment rights. Say no to No-Knock SWAT Team invasions. To bring Katie Kieffer to speak at your professional event or college campus, please follow this link to inquire about booking a speech.