I’ve been asked lately on more than one occasion if my last name ‘Overton’ has any relation to the Glenn Beck novel entitled “The Overton Window”, and the answer is yes and no, and I’ll say no more. But I will say that having read the book after being given it by a friend, I found the book compelling and was mesmerized by it’s plot. I thought that what Beck talks about in his book is not too far from being a possibility at some point in the future, if it already hasn’t been. I’ve always been interested in political conspiracy theory, with some reservation, but I’d recommend this book to everyone who cares about the direction our country is going with regard to public policy makers, and without reservation.

The ‘Overton Window’ is a concept developed originally by Joseph P. Overton, and is a way of explaining our governments methods in swaying public opinion in matters of war, economics, policy and more. The ‘Macinac Center for Public Policy’, of which I am a member, explains this concept in more detail where it states on it’s website the following:

The concept of the Overton Window was first developed in the mid-1990s by Joe Overton of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and it was discussed regularly at Mackinac Center seminars. For a brief explanation of the concept, an interactive tool and answers to common questions about the Window and the Mackinac Center, go to www.mackinac.org/OvertonWindow or click here. The essay below is the earliest published Mackinac Center article on the Overton Window for a general audience.

(Prefatory Note: The late, esteemed Joseph P. Overton exerted enormous influence from 1992 to 2003 as a researcher, author and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s senior vice president. He was killed in a plane crash on June 30, 2003 but continues to be a source of inspiration to the many around the world who knew him. He would be 46 years of age today — Jan. 4, 2006. On this day we are pleased to publish this essay by Nathan Russell as a further tribute to Joe and his legacy. — Lawrence W. Reed, President)

What does a think tank do? Does it educate? Advocate policy? Should a think tank focus on short-term or long-term goals?

Among Joe Overton’s many contributions, he was instrumental in defining the role of the Mackinac Center in particular and think tanks in general. He understood that, regardless of how persuasive the think tank, lawmakers are constrained by the political climate. Therefore, Overton concluded, to be truly successful, the Mackinac Center should not focus on direct policy advocacy, but instead should focus on educating lawmakers and the public in an attempt to change the political climate.

To answer the inevitable questions about the role of a think tank, Overton developed an explanation that others have since dubbed the “Overton Window of Political Possibilities.” Though his theory has roots in complex public choice economics, it boils down quite easily.[1]

Imagine, if you will, a yardstick standing on end. On either end are the extreme policy actions for any political issue. Between the ends lie all gradations of policy from one extreme to the other. The yardstick represents the full political spectrum for a particular issue. The essence of the Overton window is that only a portion of this policy spectrum is within the realm of the politically possible at any time. Regardless of how vigorously a think tank or other group may campaign, only policy initiatives within this window of the politically possible will meet with success. Why is this?

Politicians are constrained by ideas, even if they have no interest in them personally. What they can accomplish, the legislation they can sponsor and support while still achieving political success (i.e. winning reelection or leaving the party strong for their successor), is framed by the set of ideas held by their constituents — the way people think. Politicians have the flexibility to make up their own minds, but negative consequences await the elected officeholder who strays too far. A politician’s success or failure stems from how well they understand and amplify the ideas and ideals held by those who elected them.

In addition to being dependent on the ideas that form the boundaries of the political climate, politicians are also known to be self-interested and desirous of obtaining the best political result for themselves.[2] Therefore, they will almost always constrain themselves to taking actions within the “window” of ideas approved of by the electorate. Actions outside of this window, while theoretically possible, and maybe more optimal in terms of sound policy, are politically unsuccessful. Even if a few legislators were willing to stick out their necks for an action outside the window, most would not risk the disfavor of their constituents. They may seek the good of those who elected them, and even the good of the state or nation as a whole, but in pursuing the course they think is best, most will certainly take into account their political future. This is the heart of the Overton window theory.

So, if a think tank’s research and the principles of sound policy suggest a particular idea that lies outside the Overton window, what is to be done? Shift the window. Since commonly held ideas, attitudes and presumptions frame what is politically possible and create the “window,” a change in the opinions held by politicians and the people in general will shift it. Move the window of what is politically possible and those policies previously impractical can become the next great popular and legislative rage.

Likewise, policies that were once acceptable become politically infeasible as the window shifts away from them. Think tanks can shape public opinion and shift the Overton window by educating legislators and the public about sound policy, by creating a vision for how things could be done, by conducting research and presenting facts, and by involving people in the exchange of ideas.

 Then the other day I was looking up some information on Beck’s book via the internet and came across the following story written by Gina Miller who I follow, and thought I would share it with you. Thanks for the story Gina, it was great! Read on…

By Gina Miller on April 5th, 2011 – The “elites” of the world view me as a “useless eater.” I understand this and the evil thinking behind it. I’m just a no-name blogger who is not only of no use to the elites, but in my writings, I am a small voice of opposition to their goals of a one world order, because I write about the virtues of true liberty with personal responsibility, the fragile preciousness of American sovereignty and the overarching truth of God’s Word. That makes me an enemy of the state of the elites.

These thoughts are always in my mind, but recently they have been larger in my thinking after my trip back home to Texas. My dear 82-year-old grandmother died on Tuesday, March 22, after suffering for a while with severe breathing problems. Despite my previous vow to never fly again, especially in light of the overbearing and invasive Transportation and Safety Administration’s (TSA) excessive policies, I found it necessary to fly home for her funeral.

I was pleasantly surprised at the smooth trip. The TSA workers were polite, and even though my city’s airport has one of those nude body scanners, it was not in use, so I did not have to choose between having my body groped and having a pornographic image made of myself. The only thing I dealt with besides walking through the metal detector was the stupid requirement to remove my shoes, for which I had the Muslim moron Richard Reid, aka “the Shoe Bomber,” to thank.

On the return trip, I had a three-hour layover at Dallas-Fort Worth. I had finished reading the novel I had brought along for time-killing, so I browsed a book store in the airport. And, there they were: paperback copies of Glenn Beck’s The Overton Window. So, I thought, “I’ll bite,” and I bought a copy.

The first thing I noticed about the book was the strange depiction of the Statue of Liberty on the cover. I immediately saw that although it looks like the Statue of Liberty, it is not an exact likeness. This is explained in the book. It turns out the figure is an imaginary cross between the Statue of Liberty and the Colossus of Rhodes.

Although the story is fiction, there are many true events woven in throughout the book. After a disturbing prologue, the story opens in New York with the protagonist, a young man named Noah Gardner, who is the son of a powerful public relations magnate, Arthur Gardner. The character of Noah’s father is loosely modeled after Edward Bernays, who was a nephew of Dr. Sigmund Freud and an American pioneer in public relations and propaganda.

Noah meets and is smitten with Molly Ross, whom we recognize as a type of Tea Partier, although she is not called a Tea Partier. She belongs to a group called Founders’ Keepers, and she recognizes that “the America as we know it is about to be lost forever.”

The story goes from there as Noah is forced to face the hard truth of a globalist takeover of our country in the aftermath of an unheard-of attack on the United States.

I was impressed with Glenn Beck’s skill as a storyteller. His writing style is fresh and distilled, not given to excessive descriptions or flowery words to say what he wants to say. The story is fast-paced and intense, and it is apparent that Glenn and his team did a boatload of research in crafting the story.

The Overton Window concept is explained in the book and on the book’s back cover,

“There is a powerful technique called the Overton Window that can shape our lives, our laws, and our future. It manipulates public perception so that ideas once seen as radical become acceptable over time. Move the Window and you change the debate. Change the debate and you change the country.”

I have Glenn to thank for a song being stuck in my head right now. One of the book’s characters, a member of the Founders’ Keepers group, is a man named Danny Bailey. As soon as I read his name in the book, Elton John’s song, “The Ballad of Danny Bailey (1909—1934)” from his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album popped into my head and has been playing off and on ever since. I don’t know if Glenn considered the ill-fated character in the song when naming his book’s character, but it could be that he did.

Glenn’s book highlights the long-standing plan by the globalists to assimilate America into one world governance. It’s plain that we’re just a moment away from it, even at the door. Many of us are waiting and watching for “the event” that plunges us into a total police state where citizen patriots are rounded up in special detainment centers—for our own good and the good of the country, of course.

The events in The Overton Window are entirely plausible. You cannot read this book and think it can’t happen here. Our nation is teetering on the brink of financial collapse. We cannot imagine a situation that makes the Great Depression look like a walk in the park, but we are being set up for just such a time.

What about a catastrophic terrorist attack? Whether an attack is done by Islamists or shadowy globalists, the result would be the same, and our already vanishing liberties could be suddenly and completely swept away in a tide of martial law. Our government and military have done extensive planning for just such a scenario, and Glenn includes citations in the back of his book of a few example stories. In fact, he includes forty pages of footnote-type citations in the afterward of the book.

The elites have been hard at work for at least a hundred years in our country, determined to undermine our free republic and subvert the Constitution. They want the United States to be like the rest of the world, where freedom exists only in theory, if at all. While the elites have worked toward their goals, most Americans have slept and allowed the government to mutate from servant of the people to master of the people. Glenn points this out in his book. Glenn also illustrates in the book the fact that I mentioned in the first sentence of this column about being viewed by the elites as a “useless eater.”

As our nation has collectively turned its back on God, killed millions of our babies in the womb, and embraced all manner of sinful behavior, it should come as no surprise that we are getting the government we deserve. In reading The Overton Window, you get a powerful sense of powerlessness in the face of global evilists—yes, there’s a nice new term for us—but it’s not written as an entirely hopeless situation.

Although the evilists in Glenn’s book do not fully succeed in implementing their age-old plans, you can see they’re on the brink of doing so. Can we stop them? That is the question, and I know the ultimate answer in this world is no, because the Bible tells me so. But, that still does not mean we are without hope. Those of us who cling to God through Jesus Christ have all the hope in the world, and we know how this story ends. It ends very badly for the enemies of God and the kings of the world.

Glenn’s book ends on a clear “sequel forthcoming” note. The future Overton Window book or books have many storyline possibilities, and it will be scary to read them. Some of us occasionally read novels as a distraction from our real-world lives and problems. The Overton Window is not a distraction from the real world, but a focus on the world as it is. So, if you’re looking for an escape from the world, this book is not for you, but if you don’t mind looking reality in the face and staring into the eyes of the truth behind the lies of the world, I recommend a dose of The Overton Window.

Gina Miller, a native of Texas, is a radio commentator and disc jockey. She also works with her husband installing and repairing residential irrigation systems and doing landscaping on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Almost everybody in Minnesota loved him, not only for his loyalty to the state of Minnesota while he lived there as a wrestler, but also for his forthrightness and pull-no-punches attitude while serving as the states first celebrity Governor. And Jesse Ventura it seems, is about to do it again. In the past year or two Ventura has been active in his TRU TV cable television series “The Conspiracy Theory” in which he and his team of investigators are on a mission to examine some of the most frightening and mysterious conspiracy allegations of our time. They review evidence and meet with experts and eyewitnesses to learn more about such topics as the JFK assassination, Area 51 and a possible plot to kidnap our nation’s water supply. “This is my personal journey,” Ventura says, “to prove that there is more to these stories than you know about.”

But this week Ventura took a step in a very familiar direction…back toward the limelight of the political arena. But it should come as no suprise to Ventura fans who always knew he wasn’t one to back down from a challenge. So I came across a story on the news feed I watch and heres the latest  from The Associated Press:

Former pro wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura says he would consider getting back into politics if Texas Congressman Ron Paul would run for president as an independent.

Ventura told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” that he would “give great consideration to being his running mate.” But Ventura says he wouldn’t run on Paul’s ticket as a Republican.

He said he would not align himself with Democrats or Republicans, as the established political parties are the problem and not the solution.

The former governor dedicated his latest book “63 Documents the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read” to Paul, who he says is the only federal elected official to “stand up for America” on the congressional floor.

Another possible White House contender represents the Minnesota congressional district in which Ventura resides. Could Ventura support Michele Bachmann for president?

His answer: Not with his vote.

from The Associated Press

Libya’s rebels are about to export their first oil shipment under a deal with Qatar to market crude from eastern Libya.

The Libyan opposition provisional national council is on the verge of gaining a key source of revenue as it prepares to begin shipping oil from the eastern port of Marsa al Hariga.

An oil tanker arrived Tuesday to take delivery of the first shipment.

Most of Libya’s oil fields are in rebel-controlled territory, but production has slowed to a trickle due to the political and military conflict.  A rebel spokesman said recently that the provisional council was hoping to increase production from 150,000 barrels per day to 300,000 barrels per day.

Al Jazeera TV reported Tuesday that fighting on the fringes of several eastern Libyan oil fields was endangering production facilities.  It said forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had cut power to the Serir oil field and had arrested some employees at the Mesila field.  Unconfirmed reports Monday spoke of artillery fire from pro-Gadhafi forces on both oil fields, but there was no confirmation of damage.

The government of Qatar has agreed to help the rebels market crude oil from eastern Libya.  The opposition needs hard currency and weapons to fight Gadhafi loyalists.  Qatar, France and Italy, Libya’s former colonial power, have recognized the rebels as the country’s legitimate government.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, says both Libya’s strategic location on the Mediterranean Sea and the country’s oil and gas reserves make it a prize for international rivals:

He says that Libya is the gate to sub-Saharan Africa, and that oil is one of two key interests. The first, he says, is geo-political, and the second is oil and gas, because Libyan oil is among the least expensive to extract and among the best in terms of quality.  He says there may also be untapped oil fields that oil companies know about and are hoping to compete for.

Abou Diab says Italy, Britain and France all want to protect their interests in Libya, as do China and Russia.  He notes Libya returned U.S. oil concessions several years ago when political ties were restored.  The French oil conglomerate Total has important oil interests in eastern Libya, and Italy has an important gas pipeline from the town of Brega.

Current fighting between Gadhafi loyalists and rebel forces has paralyzed Brega and the neighboring oil facility town of Ras Lanouf.

In western Libya, gasoline is reported to be in short supply and recently-imposed U.N. economic sanctions are crippling the economy.

Obama Rejects Spending Bill

Posted: April 5, 2011 in Current Events

from The Associated Press – A visibly frustrated President Obama said Tuesday that Democrats have agreed on how much to cut from the budget and that he won’t accept another temporary spending bill that House Republicans are rallying behind to prevent a government  shutdown this weekend.

“We’ve already done that twice,” Obama said in a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room. “That is not a way to run a government. “I can’t have our agencies making plans based on two-week budgets.”

Obama said both sides are closer than ever to a deal and that politics shouldn’t stand in the way of preventing a shutdown that would harm the economic recovery.

“There is no reason why we should not get an agreement,” Obama said. “At a time when the economy is just beginning to grow, the last thing we need is a disruption that’s caused by a government shutdown.”

House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were to meet on Capitol Hill later Tuesday to continue negotiations, Obama said, adding that if that meeting does not lead to a deal, he would summon the pair back to the White House Wednesday.

“Myself, Joe Biden, my team — we are prepared to meet for as long as possible to this resolved,” Obama said.

In a statement following the private White House meeting earlier Tuesday, Boehner had said there was no deal. And he warned that House Republicans “will not be put in a box” of accepting options they refuse to endorse.

Boehner has proposed an agreement that would keep the government running for one more week and slash another $12 billion in spending. The GOP-led House has already passed a pair of stopgap bills, so far cutting $10 billion from an estimated $1.2 trillion budget to fund the day-to-day operations of government through Sept. 30.

Obama said he would only accept another short-term funding extension, of two or three days, in order to get a longer-term deal through Congress. But he ruled out a longer extension to allow negotiations to continue.

“What we are not going to do is once again put off something that should have been done months ago,” the president said.

Republicans are already  pointing their fingers at the White House for not considering another temporary spending bill.

“The White House has increased the likelihood of a shutdown,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.

The extension was a backup that Boehner would only “break glass” on if he had to, and senior budget negotiators say they weren’t sure it had the votes to pass even if it were accepted by Democrats.

Tea Party-backed freshmen lawmakers said they will support the new resolution, particularly since it is attached to a Defense spending bill.

But a spokesman for House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the new resolution “irresponsible and unacceptable.”

Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said he will oppose the one-week resolution and added that he hopes other Democrats will follow his lead. Hoyer, who has voted for previous temporary spending bills, said they are “ineffective, inefficient and costly.”

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., also said he wouldn’t support another short-term extension.

“The can has been kicked down the road long enough,” he said in a statement. “It is time to stop playing political games and finish the job that the American public is paying us to do.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told a Senate legislative committee Tuesday that forcing the government to live week-by-week this far into the fiscal year risks undermining the economic recovery underway.

The last-ditch deal — which had been drawn up because the House needs to allow a three-day buffer before considering a longer-term budget, pushing back a vote beyond Friday night’s deadline for a shutdown — includes $12 billion in cuts from an array of places and a funding plan to provide for the Pentagon through the end of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

Most every department of the government would face some kind of cut from prior spending levels, including military construction, high speed rail corridor funding, first responder grants, foreign assistance accounts and hospital readiness grants.

Other “riders” are not as high-profile as earlier proposals to cut government aid to Planned Parenthood or de-fund the health care overhaul, but would include a ban on federal and local money from paying for abortions in the District of Columbia, prohibition from transferring Guantanamo detainees to the United States and a requirement that the secretary of defense certify the transfer of a detainee to another country that would not put the U.S. at risk.

Stopgap measures, though, have become increasingly unpopular in Congress, particularly among House conservatives, and Republicans could have to look to moderate Blue Dog Democrats to help pick up votes. At the same time, congressional leaders were at the White House trying to work out a deal to fund the government for the rest of the year.

As negotiations continue, the administration is preparing for a possible government shutdown.

A top official at the White House Office of Management and Budget has written a memo to agency heads directing them to review and share their contingency plans for a shutdown.

The Committee on House Administration also sent out a memo instructing employers in the House of Representatives to determine which “essential personnel” should keep working should funding lapse. The only House employees allowed to keep working would be those whose jobs are “directly related to constitutional responsibilities, related to the protection of human life, or related to the protection of property.”

Looks like “Two and a Half Men” may be whole again soon.

Without determining who represents what fraction, NBC’s Jeff Rossen is reporting that, according to a source close to Sheen, two weeks after Sheen was fired from the show, the $2 million an episode man may get his job back on the biggest sitcom on television.

“Sources close to Charlie Sheen tell NBC News, CBS has offered him his job back. Discussions ongoing. Not a done deal,” Rossen said via Twitter.

Of any reporter, Rossen would know; Sheen has praised the reporter who interviewed him for his multi-part NBC special report (part one and part two).

Hollywoodlife.com also reports that discussions are ongoing. A show insider told the site, “The rumors are true — CBS wants Charlie back. They saw how popular his tour has become, how it has been selling out, and when word spread that he started talking to Fox about a late-night show, some decision-makers got a little antsy.”

There’s an 80% chance that Sheen returns, the source told the site.

If this is all true, it’s a huge turnaround for the network and Sheen, who have been at war over the last month. Sheen ripped series creator Chuck Lorre in a series of radio and television interviews, and sued for $100 million following his firing and the show’s decision to shut down for the rest of the season.