Perspectives is the "opinion" page of War On Terror News. Here we analyze the actions of the battlefield and political arena for what they mean to America's National Security and future.
See the Article by MarineTilDeath in the full article here: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/05/on-combat.html I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for every past, present and future Warrior, whether Police or Military.
I cannot recommend this book strongly enough for every past, present and future Warrior, whether Police or Military.
See information on Author and Book by Blake Hurdis here: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/07/by-blake-hurdis-editor.html
The Facts about what has happened at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and who is detained there. More here: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2009/02/the-unvarnished-truth-about-gitmo-long-overdue.html
Perspectives is the "opinion" page of War On Terror News. Here we analyze the actions of the battlefield and political arena for what they mean to America's National Security and future.
The "American Experiment" is being slowly strangled. The lust of power of politicians is successfully selling the snake oil of "free" government handouts for the price of citizenship and Liberty. And, it is diametrically opposed to the very foundations of the united States.
The very core principal of Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, is that all men have equal Rights and duties of Citizenship, that government is a necessary evil, that must be contained, and rulers are inherently untrustworthy.
The Founding Fathers set out to limit the power of government, and politicians, to base necessary authorities, while guaranteeing that the Rights of The People, Sovereign Citizens, exceeded those of the person they chose to preside over the government. Despite modern perceptions that the President governs the Nation, and rules the people, the very concept of the office in the Constitution is that he is in charge, only over the day to day business of running government offices, employees, and infrastructure of the government.
They wrote of united States, not the United States, as a State, by definition is Sovereign, and our States were united in Foreign Affairs and Defense, and Sovereign in governance within their borders. They knew that politicians closest to the Citizenry would be forced to be most responsive to it, yet that small States were vulnerable to rivalries and invasions. The Constitution specifically forbids the Federal government from interference of the affairs of States within their own borders. It affords for the Federal government to regulate only those issues that cross State borders, to maintain a level playing field.
The only authorized role of the Federal government in the lives of individuals, of Citizens, was to guarantee their God-Given Rights. The Declaration of Independence makes clear the Founders attributed those Rights to be granted by God, not man, and not the Government. Provisions were made for those that betrayed the Nation, that betrayed the Constitution, and for those that betrayed the trust of the People. And protections were built in, to ensure that Rights were removed from Citizens, only with a high bar of evidence, and the conviction by a jury of peers, and rule of judge.
It was given that the fruits of the labor of the Citizenry should not be taken easily by the government, and only in those amounts that were necessary for the functioning of a very limited government.
"Giving power and money to government is like giving car keys and whiskey to teenage boys." P.J. O'Rourke
That's clearly not one of the Founding Fathers, but it does elaborate on the wisdom they shared in the Constitution. It demonstrates the same distrust the writers of the Constitution had for those of not just unlimited power, but of any power, even the limited power they afforded the Republic of the united States.
Today, there are those that believe that the government should provide for the People. There was a time when it was argued that the government should provide a safety net, for those that could not provide for themselves, but that has expanded to arguments that the government should force the Citizen to be caught up in that net. The government simply cannot give everyone everything they need, much less want. The very concept of the fruits of Citizen's labor going to government, in exchange for the government deciding what morsels it will give the Subjects of the Empire, is slavery or serfdom.
It is fundamentally different than the Liberty of Citizens to determine their own futures, to benefit from their own labors, and decide for themselves what goods and services they need and want to purchase. But why would a Citizen prefer to keep his money and decide for himself to buy a service, rather than give his income to the government and receive the same service "for free?"
Let's say you want health insurance. Insurance is a payment to a company in an amount greater than your current costs, in return for defraying the future costs of the actual service you may need. The company invests excess funds to decrease your costs, and attempts to sell policies to those needing less of the service, at present. In order to not go bankrupt, the return on their investments and the total payments of all customers, must be greater than the payments for the insured services. A reasonable amount to charge the insured customer might be $5000.00 a year, with payments in the early years of $2,500.00 a year, with the company investing the rest. Already, the customer is paying twice as much for the insurance, as he would for the direct services.
Insurance is most effective for events that are unlikely, but catatrophic. That's why home insurance costs so much less than car insurance, despite insuring a greater amount of value. A far greater proportion of cars end in total destruction than do homes. The "risk" of a payout is far greater for a car insurance policy. The cost increases due to the government requirement that drivers purchase it. It is also why it costs more to insure a rental property than a homeowner occupied property (the structure, not the contents). Renters are less likely to protect the property from damage than is a homeowner.
So, if you have the option of insuring your own health, you would be paying for the associated risks based on your current health, plus the costs of the company to hire employees that would manage it, and the buildings they would work in.
But if you instead pay the government to insure your health care, you still have to pay (through taxes) the costs of your health care risks (that $5000/year), plus the government bureacrats that will collect those funds (IRS), that will choose your insurance company (DHHS), and disburse those funds (Treasury), as well as those that support those agencies (GSA), and maintain those buildings (ACE), and protect those buildings and bureacrats (DHS). All of those costs are additional to the $5000 you are paying for the insurance, and the base $2500 you would pay for the actual service.
Before the government has even begun collecting those taxes, and before it has even begun paying your health insurance bill, the Federal government is already collecting more taxes and borrowing more money, than any other government in the world.
For most people, it is already financially better to take the money and buy their own health insurance or medical services, than it is to take the health insurance as a "benefit" of employment, but when you add the costs of bureacracy to the equation, your "free" health care is costing you far more than that of even that "benefit," that ties you down to a company. Initially, these costs will be paid with "greater debt" of the Federal government, but already the Administration has pushed through greater taxes and is pushing for more, under the general auspices of government, while cutting back on the amounts they spend on actual Constitutionally mandated affairs, such as Defense and Diplomacy.
Wouldn't it be great if the government provided you all your basic needs, like food, shelter, and water? Or would you chaff at the idea that you were given 3 brussel sprouts, 6 slices of bread, and 12 ounces of meat a day, in exchange for your day's labor? Oh, yeah, that was tried, and it was called Feudalism, and tried again, and it was called Communism. Despite the ideological slogans that one was led by the divine decision of a diety to choose a monarch, and the people's communal property of everything, nothing good was achieved by an enslaved nation of men that were not allowed to make their own decisions. And current day examples of North Korea, Cuba, and Iran afford no better outlook on the powerful few ruling the individual lives of subjects.
The recent scandals at the IRS, DOJ, and Department of State (Benghazi) afford us plenty of reason to maintain, and regain, the limited government Our Founding Fathers prescribed.
To reattain it, those that understand it, must regain the halls of education. History must be taught. It is not just a list of dates and data, but a story of real men, doing things fiction writers cannot fathom. To reattain it, the Constitution and the Federalist Papers must be taught. To reattain Liberty, Citizens must not only understand their Rights, but why Our Founders attributed them to God, not government, but still saw the need to guarantee them from government.
To regain the Rights of a Sovereign Citizenry, the subjects of the Empire will have to give up some of the "free" goods the rulers have promised them.
History is wrought with examples of subjects of a government rebelling against their ruling tyrant, whether King, Emperor, Czar, Caesar, Ayatollah, or Secretary-General of the Politburo. When the tyrant, the dictator grows too overbearing, too oppressive, or too stingy with the goods, the serfs rebel. They rebel not against the rule of kings, but against the oppression of the current king. They cry out, not for freedom, but instead for an easing of their suffering.
The American War for Independence was different. The People fought for Citizenship, for Rights, for Liberty itself. They established the US Constitution, and guaranteed the Individual Rights of Citizens, in the Bill of Rights, given by God, not government, as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.
What is the difference? The serfs are demanding the tyrant end his oppression, that he allow them a bit more food, or benefits, while Citizens refuse to allow the government to intrude in their Rights, which are equal to the leader of the government.
Many would pick and choose when they support one or another of the enumerated God-Given Rights, specifically protected in the Bill of Rights, but would deny others their other Rights, when they find them less appealling, or when denial of Rights is deemed expedient. The MSM is particularly frought with hypocritical claims to rights beyond those enumerated, while arguing against the Rights (2nd) of others.
The Boston Bombings provide the most recent example. A 1st year law school dropout could successfully prosecute the case. The evidence is overwhelming, and yet terrorism is not a charge, nor is murder. The excuse is that prosecutors are hedging their bets. They are saying it's not as open and shut a case as everyone that watched the news would note. They are claiming that by not charging the terrorist, now, with murder, they reserve the "right" of the government to charge him later. They point out that McVeigh was also not charged with terrorism, as if that is a reasonable fact. It is a fact, but it is wrong that he was not charged with terrorism, unless the US law defining terrorism as a crime was not yet written. In 1995, and now, my position was that McVeigh should have been tried by a Court Martial, with charges including Treason. He wanted to claim he was a Soldier, and he did in fact have time remaining on his Individual Ready Reserve contract. He should have faced a firing squad, of Soldiers.
In a much more difficult case, McVeigh was convicted for the murder of a handful of Federal Agents. There was no video of him placing the bomb. He was not caught red-handed throwing bombs. LE got lucky that his ideological idiocy convinced him to speed down a highway in a car with no license plate, and a pistol showing under his shirt. Still, he almost was released on the weapons charges. LE got lucky in 1995, because his ideologies told him that the Sheriff's Deputy that pulled him over was a "legitimate" authority figure.
He was not convicted for murdering dozens of kids, or other civilian employees of the government, or senior citizens at the Social Security Admin office. The Janet Reno "Justice" Department and Clinton Administration, had hedged its bets. It did not charge McVeigh with all the murders, because it wanted to reserve "its right" to put him on trial a 2nd time, if the first trial didn't convict him. McVeigh was put in the express line for executions, but his buddy and partner in the act of terrorism is still in the prison system. His buddy only got Life in Prison, and to date, no other prisoner has convicted him to death.
The Bill of Rights says the government has ONE chance to prove your guilt in a crime. It doesn't get to keep trying until it finds a jury that will agree with them. It doesn't get to keep you in jail, or keep you away from a source of income for years, while it keeps trying. It doesn't get to charge you with using an explosive now, and then the effects of that explosive later. It gets ONE chance, and you are presumed innocent, until they do. The jury on the other hand, can convict you of killing the Federal Agents, while finding you "not guilty" of killing the nurse killed by a piece of falling debris hours later.
The Boston Bombing case may very well demonstrate a need for "Immigration Reform," in a way Congress isn't currently discussing, but like it or not, Tsarnaev attained US Citizenship on 9/11/2012. He DOES have Rights, until and unless his citizenship is revoked. He IS an Islamist Terrorist, and it should not be difficult to prove that he perjured himself, under oath, when he swore loyalty to the US and the US Constitution, while acting as an agent of the enemy in attacking American civilians. We DO need to look at the means to prevent such enemies from attaining the shield of US Citizenship, but at the moment, we have an Islamist Terrorist who holds US Citizenship, that should be facing charges of terrorism, treason, murder, and more.
It may be politically expedient, and even popular, to keep putting him on trial, until the warranted death penalty is attained, but it would undermine the Rights of Every American Citizen, if we endorse that. Instead, we should charge him with everything we can in the Boston Bombing case. Throw the book at him. Prove it all. Give him 10 death penalties. The police shootouts may be a separate case, but the two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and ALL the effects, as well as ALL of the charges from it, are ONE event, and one trial. Terrorism is a Federal charge, because it is an attack on the Nation, on the US Constitution, not just the individuals in the city of the attack.
If we wish to remain, or re-attain, Our position as Citizens, of Equal Rights to the man that presides over OUR govenrment, not serfs, subject to the dictates of the man who Rules our people, we MUST stand up for the Rights of Our Fellow Citizens, even when we find them despicable examples of evil that should have their lives snuffed out. If we wish remain, or re-attain, Liberty, we MUST protect each of the Rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and we must send Representatives to Congress who uphold their oath to the Constitution, rather than those that pander to the lobbyists that pay their way to maintain their power of office. And at this point, I'd almost say that being a lawyer should be an automatic preclusion to office. Let lawyers argue the law in court, but they lack the ability to write in clear, concise, coherent language.
Evidently, when it is not politically expedient to admit terrorism exists. Tsarnaev, a Chechen Islamist Terrorist who killed 4 people in Boston, wounded hundreds, in two shootouts and three bombings, who had more bombs and had planned more attacks, who ran over his own dying brother and fellow terrorist, is not being charged with terrorism. He is being charged with using a "weapon of mass destruction" (I guess Obama is admitting that Saddam had millions of WMD) and "malicious destruction of property resulting in death." Not only has he not been charged with terrorism, but he has not been charged with murder, or attempted murder.
There are at least two counts of terrorism (two bombs), at least four counts of murder, a count of carjacking, and at least 185 counts of attempted murder (injured), that should be charged against him. These are low-hanging fruit, with sufficient evidence, in the public eye, with which the Obama Administration and Eric Holder's "Justice" Department have chosen to not charge the Islamist Terrorist. The White House was slow to admit that the Boston Bombing was an act of terrorism, but to not charge the Islamist Terrorist with terrorism is a slap in the face to every American, not just those that were victims of the attack.
Tsarnaev attained his US citizenship on 9/11/2012, so I can accept the argument to try him in a civilian court. In addition to the clearcut and obvious charges that should be made against him, due to his US citizenship, additional charges of treason, perjury (swearing an oath to the United States and US Constitution while acting as an agent of the enemy) should be levied and his citizenship should be revoked.
In other news, the Canadians announced today that they have arrested terrorists involved in a plot to attack trains in that country. They were far more forthright, clearly stating that this was a plot by AL-QAEDA, In IRAN. Given that currently, investigators are saying they don't know what connections to other terrorists the Tsarnaev brothers had, it is very interesting that the White House was so quick to say that there was no connection between the Boston Bombing, and the Iranian Al-Qaeda plot on the Northern Border.
The terrorists have not "ended" their war, no matter how badly the politicians want to claim the war is over. There is only one way that one side of a war can end it, of their own accord; surrender. There is only one basic goal that must be recognized to win a war; War must take the necessary steps to remove the enemy's will to fight. It appears that the enemy is closer to that goal, despite their heavier losses, than are we.
"There is only way you can be guaranteed peace, and you can have it in a second. That is to surrender." Ronald Reagan, decades before he became President, during the era that politicians were purporting that cutting Our Defenses, and talking the enemy to death was the "right path." Negotiations in weakness did not end the Cold War, and it has not ended the Terrorists' War on Us. Reagan's buildup of Military Strength did bring the Cold War to an end.
While politicians and police slap each other on the back for their "successes" in Boston, they also continue with their calls to cut defense, and to militarize the police. One resident in the search area described the situation as a "police state." And indeed, one of the goals of terrorism is to induce the government to tighten its grip on civilians, while simultaneously demonstrating the lack of effectiveness of the "security blanket" of the government, until the civilians are fed up. The police cannot protect you. That is not their job. Their job is to arrest criminals that have already committed the crimes.
While the first 7 seven years of the War on Terrorism saw a few modest intrusions on our lives, the last 5 of "Overseas Contingency Operations" have seen (TSA) state sponsored sexual assaults and pornographic xrays at the airports, a government which deems your 3 month old email as theirs to read without a warrant, and require new cell phones to update their location to within a few yards.
"Mr Obama and his intelligence community know the threat from al-Qaeda affiliates, but have chosen to downplay it to the US public." Peter Foster, UK Telegraph
The Administration's policies are not one of ignorance, not anymore. They are policies of stubborn partisanship, and party platform to change the very nature of the US Military, from one prepared for war, to one that is utilized only as part of a coalition in peace-keeping operations. Bill Clinton and Eric Shinseki openly espoused that fundamental shift in the 90's, when the world believed we had entered a new era of peace, but the fact of Islamist Terrorism has hampered this Administration from being as straightforward about its goals. It couches the shift in saying that we will pin our defenses on allies given our best equipment, while stripping our own ranks of its Troops and latest equipment.
Islamist terrorists are not just Al-Qaeda. Indeed, islamism is not just terrorism. Islamist terrorists include Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Quds Force (Iran), Boko Haram, al-Shabab, and many, many others. Yet, partisan supporters of the politician in chief would have us believe that various regional commands of Al-Qaeda aren't even part of Al-Qaeda. While at times they proclaim the core element of the former headquarters of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been defeated, they deny that Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Al-Qaeda in Iraq, or Al-Qaeda in the Islamic West (Maghreb) are the same organization. And yet, reports continue to point out that Al-Qaeda is still active in Afghanistan, and still strong in Pakistan.
Josef Biden has stated both that the Taliban have always been the enemy, and that they are not the enemy, but the Taliban are some of the most fundamental of Islamists, and some of the most atrocious of terrorists, superceded perhaps by the Chechens, in the department of atrociousness.
Islamism is stronger now than it has ever been. It has grown and spread and taken over governments in the last 3 years, through "Arab Spring." The battle lines which had shrunk in 2008, have expanded greatly since 2010. Mubarrak had "contained" Islamists in Egypt for decades. Bashir had pulled back from open support of Islamist terrorists in the Sudan, when he saw the 2001 results in Afghanistan. His final efforts in Darfur were finally ended. Saudi Arabia had quieted and Yemen was slowed. The tide in Iraq had shifted.
Today, Islamism rules Egypt, Tunisia, Iran, and is fighting for Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, Mali, and Libya. Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Turkey are trending towards, not away from Islamism. And while political Islamism espouses the use of tyranny, rather than openly supporting terrorism, to achieve its goal of establishing the caliphate, of conversion of ALL to Islam, it remains diametrically opposed to Freedom, and the Rights of Citizenship, of Human Rights themselves.
The brutality of Islamists towards religious freedom can be seen in the imprisonment (and death penalties in many cases) of ex-Muslims converted to Christianity in Iran, in Egypt, and in Pakistan. Riots have been seen in Kabul, Afghanistan, over the existence of Bibles written in Dari. All Islamism is political, though it does not all use terrorism as its means. It prefers tyranny. In fact, the goal of Islamist terrorism is to attain the reins of government, so that its tyranny can be more complete. The great migration of religiously oppressed from Tunisia, Egypt, and Somalia are testament to this. And many of those religiously oppressed, like the Bahai of Iran, are Muslims.
For the Coptic Christians in Egypt, the distinction between the fire bombs and explosives of Islamist terrorists during the Mubarrak era and the attacks of Islamist tyrannical government forces under Mosri, is the distinction of lost hope. It is the distinction of being opposed by the government to supported and enforced by the government. While Mubarrak never took the measures Bashir Assad did in wiping off the map, and face of the earth, an entire town for supporting the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, he did keep illegal, though ineffectively suppressed, the organization which called for the brutal oppression of Human Rights.
The Boston attack should serve as a reminder that Islamist Terrorists have not "ended" the war, but so should have the Little Rock, and Fort Hood attacks. In each of these, the terrorists succeeded in killing unarmed Americans, but these are not the only reminders that the terrorists have not lost their will to fight. The panty bomber, the Times Square bomber, the Wrigley Field bomber, the Christmas Tree bomber in Seattle, and many, many more attempted attacks have been downplayed as "lone wolves" or forgotten due to the failures of the enemy to execute the attacks.
Like so many of these others, the Chechen Islamist brothers will likely be played off as "self-islamized, home grown, lone wolves," but the Islamization of those with US passports or greencards is not a new factor in this war. It has long been known that Islamists were trying (and succeeding) to convert violent criminals in our jails. Adam Gadahn, of California, was already a ranking member of Al-Qaeda on 9/11, and the "American Taliban" was captured on the battlefield in the early days of the War in Afghanistan in 2001. It was only a few years ago, that 7 gang-bangers went on a rampage in Oakland, CA in the name of Islamism, after their conversions. The government has known for a decade that the strategy of the enemy was that the first wave of terrorists would be Saudi, the second wave others, and the third stage of attacks carried out by those with US passports and green cards.
A stereo-typical terrorist cell has 4-6 members. It is purposely de-centralized. Tamleran was known to the FBI. He was reported to them by a foreign country, probably Russia, as a potential terrorist. He likely had religious leaders, and terrorist directors, at the Mosque partially paid for by governments in Massachusetts. His Islamization did not occur in a vacuum, and his Uncle has clearly stated that the attack was a dishonor to the family and to all Chechens. But the Chechens were in Afghanistan in 2001, and they are still there in 2013, in lesser numbers, but more often across the border in Pakistan.
While I will agree with Jonn, at This Aint Hell, that Obama was not directly responsible for the Boston Attacks, I must also recognize some of the points made by the UK Telegraph, that the Administration's attempts to claim the War on Terrorism is over, that Al-Qaeda is defeated, has led, partially, to the complacency of the people.
And while "Blame Bush" is overplayed, he didn't quite get it right when he only told the American people to go about their lives. In no way, should he have espoused that the people live their lives in fear, but he should have found a way to give the people a meaningful purpose in the War against Terrorists. He had the foresight to know that this war would not be over quickly, that it would take decades to win, and the humility to recognize that he must change his party platform on "nation building," but in some way, the American People needed to be engaged in the efforts, as were the People, in WWII. That doesn't mean recycling metal, and food rations, or even higher taxes, but it should mean a heightened sense of Situational Awareness.
Neither Bush nor Obama can be blamed for idiots walking around with eyes glued to their iPods, but both should have told the American People to be aware of those around them, to recognize terrorists and criminals. Instead of demonizing Warriors as PTSD afflicted for their heightened sense of awareness after having seen the evil in this world, they should have sponsored people having an awareness of what's around them. They should have reminded the Nation that being aware was not the same as being afraid, that instead that knowing their environs was an innoculation to fear.
The Office of the President, has a mandate to preside over the government, and to lead the Nation, to explain to the People "why" a war is in their interests, and how they can help win it. It is not enough for him to say I'll do what I want, what I believe, because I won the election, particularly not in these times, where we choose from the less bad choice, rather than those we truly believe prepared for the Office. It is not enough for the President to understand the importance of fighting terrorists there, so we don't see American Civilians murdered here. It is his duty to explain that "why" to the American People, so they understand it, particularly when his partisan opponents see the lack of explaination as the means to undermine him, and the Nation, for political purposes of attaining power. And not giving that "why" was Bush's failure.
Three were killed and more than 100 were injured. Two explosive devices (at least) were used. The target was not the military, or even government officials that could be characterized as having a legitimate role in military affairs. That makes it terrorism. Terrorism has a goal of inflicting terror in an otherwise unafflicted population. It does so by making a population feel as if the terrorists can strike at will against whomever they desire. It does so by making security and government officials appear incapable of protecting the populace from the terrorists. It has a goal of convincing the population to force the government to bow to its desires. It does so, for a profit.
It does not matter if the terrorists are white, arab, asian, black, or hispanic. An act of terrorism is terrorism, period. Terrorism is not just a prank, like setting a trashcan on fire, and not just a crime conducted by organized crime.
It is not just a crime, but also an act of war. It is not just an act of war, but a war crime. As an act of war, the Geneva Convention affords that those involved can be held, without trial, until the cessation of hostilities. As war criminals, the Geneva Conventions hold that they can be tried, and if convicted, held beyond the end of hostilities. In particular circumstances, the Geneva Conventions afford a death penalty to war criminals, including those who use terrorism as a tactic or strategy.
While there is no substantial proof in public that this was an act of international terrorism, there is less evidence that it was a case of domestic terrorism. While the media pontificated yesterday that it could have been an innocent natural gas explosion, and when they finally abandoned that theory turned to suggesting it was domestic, their reasoning for both suggestions was flawed.
One of their "explanations" was that the devices were too crude and too small. Everyday, more crude and smaller bombs, aka IED's, are used in places like India, Israel, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Mali, and Pakistan. In fact, the documented cases of using a pressure cooker bomb have ties to the Taliban, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even in New York City's Times Square.
Another of their suggestions was that it was "tax day." The McVeigh types have less connection to 4/15 than they do to 4/19. The 19th of April is the anniversary of Waco, of Ruby Ridge, and of the Murrah Building attack in Oklahoma City, and events deeper in History. One would hope that the backlash from OKC would be enough to force the McVeigh types re-think such a tactic. In the aftermath, American recoiled against such groups, and McVeigh's hopes that it would turn into a Revolution fell flat on the reality that we don't like people killing kids, or attacking unarmed civilians. The terrorist attack in OKC hurt his "cause" far more than anything the government has ever done.
Moreover, the McVeigh types have a beef with the government, not those running the Boston streets. Their target is far more likely to be a federal government installation than a sporting event.
Some have suggested that the Boston Marathon was "not international" or "not global enough" to be a viable target for Islamist terrorists. First, Islamists don't need a target to be international, but this was by far international. More than 90 countries were represented by the runners. Nearly half the nations in the world were represented. That's international! Al-Qaeda in particular does not need an international flavor to an attack. The Times Square attack was less international than this. They gain financial support by attacking Americans. They have a stated position that ALL Americans are considered to be militants, regardless of whether they are running the streets of Boston, or defending a base in Eastern Afghanistan.
Some whackos have suggested that US Government agents conducted the attack on orders of top US politicians. Simply idiotic. Politicians will use any event that pops up to make themselves sound more compassionate, stronger, and get their pet legislation passed, but they have no need to create the events. There are enough psychos out there that will create the events for them.
But the question of the common man is "What can or should I do?!?!" The answer is to reach down inside, and find your resolve, your resolve to not be afraid. There were more people killed and injured on the streets of Massachusetts by traffic accidents, than by explosives, last week. Of 310 Million Americans, this act of terrorism only killed 3 people. We don't fear cars, nor phones on which text messaging has become the number one factor in accident fatalities.
That does not mean that you should pretend terrorism does not exist. You should have a plan for what you would do if someone entered your building or office or shopping mall with a bomb, or even a firearm. You should think about this NOW. You should decide NOW, under what circumstances you would KILL the attacker, and consider the means you would use. You should decide NOW how you would assist the injured, learn how to help the injured, and when your duties would require instead that you protect your child or others.
And you should come to grips with the fact that following an explosive event, your pure intentions to help, could mean that you're just a person in the way. You should come to grips with the fact that an explosion occurs in a split second. You need not fear it. An explosion will kill some, injure others, and leave others unscathed. It is over in an instant. There is little anyone can do about it, and most victims of it have no idea it is coming. You can keep your eye out for suspicious behavior, for suspicious packages, and avoid them, or report them.
What else can you do? You can give to Pro-Troop and Catastrophic events Non-Profits. The American Red Cross not only runs blood banks, but assists with victims, in these types of events, as well as natural catastrophies. If you give in the name of this event, they may use your money for the next one. Our Troops are on the front lines, risking their lives on a daily basis for your safety.
You can pressure your politicians, your Congressman, your Senator, to call terrorism what it is, and to continue to take the fight to the enemy, rather than to bow to pressure to prematurely "end" a war the enemy has no intention of ending.
You can educate yourself on the enemy. You don't have to know the differences in theology of Sunni, Shia, Bahai, Salafi, and Sufi, but you should have a concept of the atrocities of Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, the Weather Underground, and the Animal Liberation Foundation. You should understand the difference between Islamsists and Muslims.
You must come to grips with the fact that evil does exist in the world, that there are a minority of psychotic people who will kill, maim, injure, or steal from you, for nothing more than their own personal entertainment, but possibly by justifying their actions as "part of the greater good," or even to "teach you a lesson." What stands between you and evil, are the Sheepdogs, Military and Law Enforcement, but when the Wolf knocks on your door, it is YOU that is your first defense, no matter how willing the Sheepdog is to deal death to the Wolf that would do you harm.
"Situational Awareness" or being observant and alert to the world around you, to the possibility of evil knocking on your door, is your most potent defense. Paranoia is your enemy, as is anger and blissful ignorance, but recognizing when someone is behaving abnormally can save your life. If the hair on the back of your neck stands up, don't ignore it. Explore why your subconscious is warning you.
Having a plan, preconceived, of what you would do, if you were confronted with any variety of bad situations will help you, if you face any of them. The fewer responses you can identify for the greatest number of incidents is the best. People "freeze" because their mind is overwhelmed, and cannot decide between responses. Decide, and consider, ahead of time, for as many events as you can imagine.
But don't stick your head back in the sand, and don't allow fear to stop you from doing the things you must do. Live your life, but be aware of your surroundings. Support Our Troops, and their mission to keep you safe, but be ready if the enemy slips in, to your door. The Israelis have done it for decades. Our Troops volunteered to fight the enemy in their backyard, so you could be safe in yours.
Laughing Wolf has additional tips for planning for and acting in an emergency situation (natural disaster or terrorist attack) and Assoluta Tranquillita has more common sense to add to the discussion.
Out of GITMO comes word that there are 'clashes' between guards and detainees, as over 40 of them continue to stage a hunger strike.
From the BBC:
13 April 2013
Clashes at Guantanamo over hunger strike prisoners
The move came after detainees covered surveillance cameras and windows, a US Army spokesman said.
He said some prisoners used "improvised weapons" and in response "four less-than-lethal rounds" were fired.
The Pentagon says 43 prisoners are on hunger strike, but lawyers for the detainees say the number is higher.
Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of England a few years after I left 'England, MY England,' (D H Lawrence reference for those unaware,) but over the years I have followed her career with interest and watched her undeniable impact on the British way of life.
When I first heard this morning of her death from a stroke, the first thing that came to mind was her unflinching response to IRA Bobby Sands' hunger strike, and her unswerving decision to reclaim the Falkland Islands after the Argentinians decided to occupy those British territories. (An interesting video on the Empire striking back, here.)
In the hours following the announcement that yes, she has actually died, I have been listening to the global responses to her death. I don't know that there is ever a good time to die - for any of us - but I have to think that Margaret Thatcher would not be pleased with the state of the world today. It occurs to me that the current POTUS should probably be relieved that he has not had to face the indomitable Iron Lady during his own term(s) in office. Margaret Thatcher's principles and philosophy were diametrically opposed to every decision, in any arena, which he and his 'most transparent ever' government have forced on the American people - often behind closed doors.
The State of America is in disarray from the priorities of the average individual, to the elitist attempts of politicians to control the everyday decisions of Federal Subjects of the government. We must figure out, at least the major symptoms of what is wrong, and the causes. We must re-examine the body of laws on the books. And yes, we must also study the words, meanings, and intent of the US Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, through the prism of the Declaration of Independence. We must examine where we went wrong.
I've examined, discussed, and expounded upon the US Constitution several times and several ways before this. In short, the Constitution is not the problem. Ignoring the simple rules laid out by the Constitution by legislative judges, elitist power-mongering politicians, and greedy partisans is the problem.
The symptoms of the problem are myriad, far too numerous to discuss in a single body of work. Some of the problems have previously been discussed here: "policeing for profit," debilitating taxation, search and seizure of persons, papers, and effects without a warrant, and more.
The subject of the education system has been touched upon, and it is one of the key roots of the problem. Forty years ago, many children walked to school, while today even those that live next door to the school may be bussed to it, or away from it, to one further away, to mega-schools. While spending upwards of $250,000 per classroom per year, our kids are walking texting while driving away with a diploma that won't get them a job, and barely knowing how to read and write.
Politicians have turned the school system into an instructor of morals, and have used kids to pressure their own parents into behavioral change, while teaching to the test, but not the subjects. Parents have relinquished their parental duties of teaching morals, and accepted medicating their children out of kid behaviors. Parents are using the school system as a babysitting service and teachers have trended towards having the kids teach themselves, via technology, rather than actually doing their jobs. In these inefficient, expensive mega-schools kids learn that they are just another cog in the wheel, while attaining feel good awards for attendance.
Some school board somewhere should seriously consider trending back to the small, neighborhood schools. Schools, that are close enough that kids can and do walk to them. Not only would it have an effect of providing a little exercise for children, reducing the obesity epidemic, but would save the school system considerable money on fuel, as well as the purchase and maintenance of busses. More importantly, these smaller schools would re-build the personal relationship of parent-teacher-student and likely increase the accountability of teachers to actually teaching, and the student to actually learning.
Instead of moving back towards kids getting out and experiencing the world around them, we're seeing kids encouraged to withdraw from an insular, inside buildings lifestyle, to an inside electronic device life. I've literally seen the current generations sit at a party, and text on their "smart" phones the entire time, some of it to those around them, but oblivious to those across from and next to them.
Schools need to get back to the basics: teaching actual subjects, not morals.
Policeing needs to be re-evaluated. Citizens and Politicians need to recognize that the Police do not prevent crime. They catch criminals that have committed crimes. As alluring as it might sound to incarcerate someone before they commit a crime, it would be wrong to do so. But when those criminals are arrested, charged, and found guilty, they should not be allowed to walk back out through the revolving doors of the prison system. Yes, we need to prioritize who should be in prisons, but we also need to recognize that child molesters are not rehabilitated. It also means that we must stop criminalizing immoral behavior.
When the police, or the politicians, break the law, they must be held accountable, and due to their position, held to a higher standard. This needs to come from within their ranks, which currently have a reputation for protecting their own, even when one of their number has disgraced their profession. The badge is not a license to bully Citizens, nor to ignore the laws they claim to enforce.
When a policeman or police department goes on a rampage, shooting up neighborhoods and citizens, because a car happens to be similiar to that of a suspect, their fellow brothers in blue should condemn the lack of professionality, and call for that department to go back to the Academy to learn basics like "positive ID" of your target, announcing your status, and actually aiming your weapon.
And the use of technology to conduct policeing must be evaluated and regulated, in accordance with the Bill of Rights. The use of cameras, for example, is not necessarily an invasion of privacy, but the technology is being used beyond Constitutional bounds. A license plate reading camera that alerts police that a stolen car, or criminal's car, is in the district is not an invasion of privacy, but the maintaining of records of movements of law-abiding citizens does cross that line. Security cameras that record activity in case a crime is committed are not the problem, but use of those cameras and recordings beyond the documentation of crimes is wrong.
The use of the word "Right" has been abused, misused, and distorted. You have a Right to: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. You have the Right to Free Speech, to the Religion of your choice, to own Firearms, to not have your home, person, or papers Searched or Seized by the Government. You don't have a right to take someone else's life, or use the government to seize the property of others. You don't have a right to be guaranteed happiness, or to goods and services you can't afford, aside from a Lawyer when the government accuses you of a crime. You don't have a right to a play station, a job, a paycheck, or health insurance.
The word "Citizen" is misunderstood. A Citizen is equal to all other Citizens, including the Politicians, the Lawyers, and the elitist billionaires like Bloomberg. The Citizen is not a subject of the government, as Americans are becoming. A Citizen is not ruled by the Government, but is an equal ruler of the Government. A Citizen is not simply the resident of a locale, of a city, a state, or a Nation, but instead involved in the decisions of the servants selected to run those governments. And that comes with the responsibility to make an informed to decision about those politicians, and to monitor the actions of the employees they selected to run the governments.
Even "State" isn't perceived according to its definition. Israel, Egypt, Britain, and Russia are all States. State is not a synonym of Province, Department, County, or any other form of subordinate government. The States were united in a common defense and common foreign policy, not in an agreement to subordination to the dictates of elite politicians. The term State is regularly used with the adjective "Sovereign," though that is somewhat redundant, and most often used to emphasize that other States don't have the "right" to interfere in their business. "United Nations" means the same thing as "United States" but the UN has no authority to tell the US or any State within it what to do.
It is not better to have a bunch of cheaply made stuff that you bought on credit than to have a fewer quality goods that will last into your grandkid's lifetimes. It is better to have a business, than a job. It is better to be a stockholder, a co-owner, of a good company, than a gambler at the slot machines. It is far better to have quality goods that you can use to make money, than to have the money itself, and having savings and investments is better than having cheap stuff that'll break or be outdated in a month. And having cash on hand, or in the bank, is better than having debt to the bank.
It is better to buy something made by someone you know than someone you don't. It is better to spend a dollar or two more for something made by someone in a Factory in your State, than by kids in Pakistan. It is better to Buy American, than to buy cheap stuff made by political prisoners in China. The more Americans you keep employed by buying their goods and services, the better your own chance of finding and keeping a job. Not everyone needs a college degree. College does not and should not teach the skilled trades, like carpentry, electrical work, and plumbing. A factory worker doesn't need a college degree to push a robot's buttons. It is better to take your car to a mechanic with a HS Diploma, than to a Doctor with a law degree from Harvard as well.
But pointing out that you as a consumer are also responsible for your employment status, is me, using my Right to Free Speech, not me, calling for the government to make a law to force you to act responsibly. Your decisions on what to buy have an impact on the whole economy, but they are your decisions to make, even if your irresponsibility decreases your chances to earn a paycheck.
And me pointing out that the education system is broken is not me being against teachers. It is me calling for School Boards to look back to what did work, and fix it. More money thrown at the problem won't fix it. Better use of the money that is already there is the place to start. It is not me calling for Federal greater involvement of the Federal Government in the local government, but rather in calling for less.
And pointing at the oppressive trend of police forces is not anti-Police. I have great respect for most of my Brothers in Blue, but they need to rid themselves of Wolves in Sheepdog's clothing, and Citizens need to hold responsible the politicians that are ordering them to infringe on the privacy of the People. Ninety-nine percent of the Police Officers I know are upstanding members of society, and avoid even the appearance of wrong-doing, but the unions and administrators who priortize writing speeding tickets over investigating burglaries, or who are paying outsourced camera companies, so they can collect a portion of the fines, over cops walking the beat, have forgotten, or ignored, their mandate.
It is time for the American People to read George Orwell's "1984," and consider the parallels of "Big Brother" watching their every move, of the consequences of "double-think" and a diminishing vocabulary. It is time for the American People to read the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence, and re-think what they want politicians to do. It is time for us to stop infringing on the Rights and Liberties of others in order to attain the "free stuff" the politicians promise for subservience.
It is time for all of us to practice Responsibility, rather than to claim a right to infringe on others.
Regardless of the aspect of government, or legislation, or budget of it, "It's complicated," is an apt description, and it should not be. The US Constitution was written in plain English, on 4 pages, with strong, concise language. It clearly defines what is the responsibility of the Federal government, what is within the authority of the State governments, and with the Bill of Rights, what are the God-Given Rights of the Citizens who allow the existence of the Federal Government.
The primary responsibility of governance falls upon the States. The Federal government is charged with external policies; war and diplomacy. And where Federal government is concerned, it is the Representatives of the People that are given the power of the purse, and without which no law can be enacted. The Constitution creates 3 branches of federal government, one to legislate, one to preside over the affairs of government, and one to pass judgement when conflict occurs. All those that take position within the government are required to swear an oath to the Constitution, not the political party on whose ticket they ran.
Consider the prophecies of doom regarding "sequester." If the chief politician is to be believed, there will soon be kids turned away from school, criminals let out into the streets, firemen left to watch homes burn, long lines at the airport, as well as a new invasion of illegal aliens and gnashing of the teeth. And all of this is to come because the Representatives of the People have not submitted to greater taxation of the most taxed population on Earth.
Let's look at the dire prophecy again. The US Constitution does not authorize federal involvement in schools, in local law enforcement, or in fire fighting. That is not to say that government has no role in these things, but rather that these are the responsibility of State and local government, not the Federal government. The taxes collected, laundered through bureacrats at the Federal level, and returned in lesser amounts to the districts and States is money that is not available for the Citizens to pay directly to the Teachers, Firefighters, and Policemen through local taxation.
Contrast the US Constitution's 4 pages with ObamaCare's more than 2000 pages. Any Citizen with a basic grasp of grammar can understand those 4 pages, while even the politicians that sponsored ObamaCare noted they could not comprehend ObamaCare, even with their law degree. While lawyers of the chief politician argued that it was a tax, and hence allowed under the 16th Amendment, the politicians themselves argued that it wasn't.
And even if the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, appointed by the chief politician of the "other party," argued that as a tax, it is Constitutional for the politicians to force Citizens to purchase a service, it is not. Domestic government is not within the Constitutional authorities of the Federal government. Insurance, corporate law, and legislation of Citizens falls under the responsibilities and authorities of the State Governments.
When one considers that for the first 120 years of American History, the Federal government was funded primarily by a tax on alcohol, and tariffs, both of which remain today, and without any income tax, and that it was during that time that Andrew Jackson was the only person to preside over a government of zero debt, one must ask how the most taxed nation on Earth has a deficit greater than the budgets of vast majority of governments on Earth, combined.
The Federal Government has grown to such a great and complicated size, that not even the highest levels of bureacrats or politicians can accurately state its size or nature. Even the relatively small Department of Veteran Affairs has such a complicated set of regulations, and unionized disorganization of bureaucrats, that not even they can understand its complete nature. The much larger, if better organized, Department of Defense has published enough regulations and manuals to fill whole libraries, and require a specialized cadre of lawyers to prosecute. And those are Constitutional bureacracies.
The Constitutional role of Federal government was so small that it was only required for the Congress to convene annually. There was that little for them to do, and it was up to the man elected to preside over the government to implement their decisions. The majority of laws effecting the average Citizen were to be enacted by State governments, not Congress, and certainly not Executive dictates.
If Americans will elect Representatives, instead of politicians, that return government to its Constitutional bounds, Freedom can be returned, deficits erased, and taxes decreased. Prosperity will return. And it really isn't complicated, or at least does not need to be. Yes, State taxes would increase, but to an overall total less than those amounts paid today, without the deficits and debt.
In many minds, Freedom and Democracy are synonyms, where benevolent governments obey the will of the people, and prosperity follows. The spread of "democracy" has been highly heralded in recent years, after a few years of slogans that we can't force "democracy" on others. Our Founding Fathers did not predict the "elections" of Islamist dictators in Iran or Egypt, or the perpetual "re-elections" of Communist Premiers in the Socialist Democratic Republics, but they did understand that democracy can be a detriment to Freedom.
They understood that those that seek power, i.e. politicians, can never be satisified with the amount of power they attain. As they looked around the political landscape of the day, they saw Princes who dreamed of Kingdoms, and Kings who could not be satisfied with Empires.
The Founders rebelled against monopolistic power of Monarchs, against the most democratic Empire of their day, because it had usurped the Rights of the People.
The 20th Century brought a new kind of tyranny, Communism and Socialism, whereby dictators ruled completely by convincing the workers to shed their blood in pursuit of the tyrant's governmental monopoly. Attempts of Empire by Hitler's National Socialist Party and Stalin's International Socialist Worker's Party were equally tyrannical and murderous, all in the name of "the People."
The deciding defining difference between the democracies of the Iron curtain, Islamist Iran, the democratic monarchies, and the United States, was and is the Bill of Rights. The Constitution affords no caveat to the Sovereign Citizen's Right to Free Speech, to Bear Arms, or to Remain Silent in their own defense. The Constitution sets itself as above all desires, or laws, of the politicians. It sets the Rights of the People, above their democratic right to vote the Rights away from their fellow Citizens, or the politicians democratically elected to represent them.
The missing link in "pro-democracy revolutions" of the Middle East, as well "Occupy" movements, has been that while rebelling against a suppression of rights (or perceived rights), they espoused the denial of Freedoms of others. Egypt did not even have a Constitution when the Islamist President called for a worldwide ban on speech that "slandered" Mohammed. While committing violence against fellow citizens, "Occupiers" called for the banning of other Citizens to start or run businesses. Claiming to be "the 99%," they have an unusual number of the top 1% of wage earners, and unrepresentatively small number of "the masses" they claim to be.
It isn't that the rich elites of socialist/communist movements wish to give up their own financial well-being or power, but that they wish to consolidate even greater power under their own hand of government. Unsatisfied with the shared financial successes in a competitive system, they want to control all finance, in a government monopoly.
But large swathes of politicians find the chants of the entitled "Occupiers" intoxicating, and hoped it would find traction. The growth of government means a growth of power of the politicians that rule the government, and popular support for the monopolism of swathes of the economy by those political elite would mean monopolies of power.
While democracy makes allowances for the voters to suppress the Rights of others, Freedom prevents even the most powerful, with widespread support, from removing those Rights. Freedom means protecting the right, but not the implementation of Speech calling to curtail Free Speech. Freedom cannot survive, without the force of the strong protecting the weak, from the masses.
Freedom not only means the Right to pursue success, and happiness, but the right to fail in those pursuits, on one's own merits, and to keep whatever was gained, or to lose what was risked in those pursuits.
While Iran has a "right to speech," as well, it is caveated that the government can ban speech it doesn't like, and does ban that speech which is "anti-Islamic."
"We, The People" laid down rules and restrictions on the Government in the US Constitution, which not even the popular will of we the people can take away, no matter how power hungry the politicians we democratically elect may be. And when, we, the people, accept the specious slogans of the party to overturn the God-given Rights of Our Fellow Citizens, we have given away Our Own Freedoms, and in the end, our own prosperity.
The War on Terror has not been won. The enemy in Afghanistan is not defeated. It is entrenched in Pakistan, and has expanded in Africa. It has taken the reins of government in Egypt and Tunisia, and fighting for power in Syria. The Administration has called for and is implementing an "ending" of the war, while expanding the drone wars, and few will argue to continue a fight the Troops are not allowed to win by the politicians that sent them there.
For years, I have argued that we cannot afford to "end" the war, without Victory. Many times, I've answered the trolls' question of "what is victory?" The simple answer is "breaking the enemy's will to fight." Previously, I've explained the particulars of how and what that is in regard to Afghanistan, and the greater War on Terror. At this juncture, it is immaterial. For the next 4 years, we are stuck with an Administration that will do exactly the wrong thing in nearly every case, and an opposition to the Administration that has less interest in actually righting the ship, than in exploiting how far off course the POTUS takes it.
In 2008, MilBloggers warned Americans that the junior Senator of Illinois was either clueless, or too arrogant, and would make the wrong decision for the wrong reasons, and backstab the Military, the Troops, and Veterans in the process. They were right, and proven right, consistently over the next 4 years. In 2012, MilBloggers pointed out the record. The candidate promised "fundamental change," and he has delivered.
His speeches have called for screwing the military, at the same time he promised to "not break faith" with them. It's like announcing a retreat, while calling for a "surge." Or devoting nearly an hour a week to the "top priority." Or telling Veterans how dedicated he is to them, while adding a few thousand dollars a year in new tax to the the health care benefits they earned.
The current Administration is going to continue those policies, while promising not to, in the same speeches that promise to protect them from it, like opposing sequestration because it'll break the military's back, while calling for greater cuts to the DoD.
The War in Afghanistan is winnable, but this Administration won't allow it to be won. The War on Terror is winnable, but this Administration will continue to commit to the policies that are losing it. Where does that leave us? Fighting to fight for a Victory that the Administration won't allow? Sending Our Troops to risk their lives in a war that will "end" but not be won? The clock has been turned back to 9/10/01. Americans have slipped blindfold over their own eyes. The current crop of politicians will remain in power until at least 2014.
While Our Troops are deployed to Niger, Uganda, and places unreported to the people, and our drones bomb "threat TV stations" in Africa and elsewhere, Liberty and Rights at home are being curtailed. And the same old politicians are being re-elected.
Increasingly, I am reminded that I cannot protect Our Nation alone, and that my words are less persuasive than I would have liked to think.
Is there a point to fighting the War on Terror, including the War in Afghanistan? Yes, but only if we are going to fight to win. Is there a point in fighting to keep Our Liberties at home? Yes, but if I can defend only those of my own, then it will be mine for which I maintain a defense. If Americans won't fight to keep their own Liberty, can it be kept?
If America wants her Warrirors to fight, then Americans must also stand up for their own Rights, and must defend their Warriors from the politicians they put in office.
Today, President Karzai has ordered US Special Forces out of Wardak Province. The US-Afghanistan relationship has changed significantly since 2008 and its unlikely to improve before 2017. To be fair, the relationship has constantly deteriorated since the first trip that then Presidential candidate, and junior Senator from Illinois, but presiding chairman of the Senate Afghanistan committee took to Afghanistan in 2008. The junior politician with no real experience disrespected the elder President, in his own home, back then, ordering the President to bow to the junior Senator's orders, while alleging crimes against his host.
The complete lack of cultural understanding meant that the Obama-Karzai relationship would never be a good one. There is no more enduring memory, than that of an Afghan. They are slow to befriend strangers, and have strict rules of conduct with regards to host-guest. They are loyal to friends, but not to those that attempt to buy them off. Their trust is not given lightly, but once given, it is enduring.
So, when Obama campaigned to install a "counter-weight" to Karzai, despite the elections of Afghans, it was not just in disregard of democracy, but a direct assault to Karzai. When it campaigned to elect Karzai's rival to his position, it sealed the animosity towards Obama, personally. When Obama sent the arrogant Holbrooke to an "AfPak" to tell the two countries what to do, it ignored the proud sovereignity of the Afghan people, and implied the larger Afghan nation was subservient to their neighbors, which still supports the terrorists undermining the Afghan government.
Since 2009, Karzai has demonstrated a less than positive response to the Obama Administration, and has made some demands that are less than positive towards operations there, but until now, it has been mostly bluster, the kind of political mouthing off that is expected of a politician, while the reality of enforcement of those demands was less than forceful. Mostly, it was the kind of talk the Afghan people expected of their own sovereign and duly elected leader, while he winked at US Commanders, though not so much at the "diplomats" of the Administration.
Eikenberry, Holbrooke, and Clinton had all burnt their bridges with Karzai, with a total disregard for Afghan culture, and an attitude of Karzai being a vassal of Emperor Obama. If there was one positive to Kerry's appointment, it was that his previous encounters with Karzai had demonstrated respect of that culture. Despite, all the other negatives of Kerry, Karzai was the one place I expected he would make a positive difference.
Nevertheless, the re-election of Obama, to serve for the rest of Karzai's term, means that Karzai knows relations with the US will not improve while Karzai is President. It means that Karzai has no need to pretend to get along with the Obama Administration, during the rest of his lame duck session. And Obama's insistence on "ending" the war, while demanding the basing of "counter-terrorism" Troops and drones to bomb the neighbors in Afghanistan means that the best Afghanistan can hope for, is a steady stream of dollars, after Karzai is out of office.
There is very little future for Karzai, or Afghanistan's democratically elected government, except the recognition that there will be a steady increase in Taliban, and other terrorist elements. That means the smart money is on a return to Taliban rule, or at least great swathes of Taliban control. It means the smart Afghan politicians are making accomodations to that eventuality. Obama is pulling out, and cutting the number of Afghan Troops he'll have America pay for, while at the height of US, NATO, and Afghan Troops, there was still a great deal of Taliban influence. He's "ending it" to demise of US friends, and the joy of the Taliban, and other enemies.
The post 2008 Karzai-US relationship is in stark contrast to the 2001-2008 relationship. In 2001, Karzai was nearly killed in the fight against the Taliban, alongside US Special Forces Troops. It was a US Special Forces Medic that saved Karzai's life. In 2004, he was asking Bush for a continued US presence in Afghanistan, and even a bigger presence. As late as 2008, he was a strong ally of the US. And it is astounding that few else seem to notice the link between what was and what is.
But then RealPolitik comes into play. The reality is that Karzai's deteriorated relationship with the Obama Administration is terminal. It means that Karzai is moving towards appeasement of the Taliban, in part out of insistence from the Obama Administration, but more due to the reality that they will be too strong to resist with too few Afghan Troops in 2015.
At this point, the US must consider whether to consider the Afghan government an enemy, and fight another war of regime change, or to abandon the country completely, to the Taliban, but the allied relationship is no longer salvageable, and the Obama Administration made a bunch of commitments, but received little in return when it signed the "spike the Football" tour agreement with Afghanistan on 1 May 2012. The greatest gift, and greatest asset, we have to offer Afghanistan is Our Special Forces Troops. Kicking them out of an entire province does not bode well for the future of Afghanistan, the War on Terror, or our continued efforts in Afghanistan related to it.
The only real certainty is that 2017 will bring a new US President dealing with a different Afghan leader, but at this juncture, it's difficult to imagine a scenario where the 2006 US-Afghan relations have returned, or an Al-Qaeda as weak as it was in 2008.
If we are to not watch Liberty and America evaporate for another 2000 years, we must convince American voters that Freedom is more important than "free stuff."
"What has become of society? Common sense has gone out the window. Morality is a lost art. Half the people are getting some kind of aid from the rest who are giving it at the point of a gun. Principles get warped with time. Politicians lie with abandon. What was evil is now good and vice versa." Continue reading at The Caveman
The inalienable Rights of the Citizenry are guaranteed, not granted, by the US Constitution, in the Bill of Rights. The separation of powers, between States and Federal government are crucial to Liberty, and Prosperity
The erosion of the Constitution, and the principles of Freedom, has been steady, but has seen periods of acceleration and slowing. From 2009 to 2011, it was a mudslide, and politicians are again trying to accelerate the un-Constitutional powers of the Federal Government.
But, we did not arrive at this point overnight, and the erosions of the foundations we now see were set up by legislation and amendments of a century ago. But there comes a point in the erosions of a foundation, when the structure itself rapidly collapses, and we are approaching that point. We have arrived here due to the apathy of the voter, and the activism of power-grabbing politicians.
Hence, to rebuild Our Constitutional Republic, we must awaken the voter, and vote in Representatives of the People, rather than the crooked lawyers that have taken over the Halls of Government. Liberty cannot be forced upon the People. Those that understand its importance must use their voices to convince the People of the mechanisms of maintaining it, and rebuilding it.
If the Dorner/LAPD event should tell us anything, it is that the Police cannot protect the citizenry. They may plaster "To serve and protect" on their cars, but they've forgotten whom they are supposed to serve, and their job is not to protect. Their job is to catch, arrest, and bring to the courts criminals who have already committed crimes. Even if they wanted to prevent crimes, they cannot arrest those who have not yet committed a crime. And there are not and can never be enough police officers to be everywhere a crime might be committed.
In fact, IF they are in an area where a crime is being committed, the sooner they are able to stop the crime, the lesser the charges against the criminal, and the sooner the criminal is back on the streets.
The first line of defense against criminals is the Citizen, the potential victim of the criminal, who must decide whether to attempt to stop the crime, to submit to the criminal, or to hope someone else will come to their rescue.
The Dorner case is particularly relevant, as one of the largest police departments in the Nation went to war against a single man, fired thousands of rounds, conducted a manhunt, and shot at many innocent bystanders, without ever hitting their actual target. In at least 3 separate events, numerous LAPD officers opened fire on property and citizens that had nothing to do with Dorner. It remains unknown how much damage they did, but after thousands of rounds loosed at his final location, in an area not only occupied by Dorner, but populated with innocent bystanders, it was not an LAPD bullet that killed him. Dorner killed himself, after the LAPD set fire to a citizens house.
Given audio evidence of Police calling to "Burn it," as well as historical evidence that the LAPD is using devices that are prone to causing fires, denials that the cabin was fire was intentional have the same credibility as the kid who denies getting in the cookie jar, while crumbs litter his mouth and shirt.
The MSM has largely ignored that the incoherent writings of Dorner were in line with Democratic platforms, and prefer to paint him as a "trained military killer," than as a disgraced Navy Reserve officer with little ground combat training, and no combat experience. While much has been made about the "automatic fire" during his final "battle" with the LAPD, little has been said that Dorner was armed only with handguns, and the automatic weapons of the police department failed to be aimed at, or hit Dorner.
It should be pointed out that if a private citizen had fired even one bullet in the manner the LAPD did, the LAPD would have charged that person with felonies and other charges, including reckless endangerment. Video evidence shows that the Police were barely pointing in the general direction of the cabin, owned by an innocent bystander, suspected of being occupied by Dorner, and not at a positively identified threat, much less the subject of the manhunt. It is no wonder they didn't hit their target. They didn't have a target. It surprising that they didn't hit and kill more citizens that had nothing to do with Dorner, or any crime.
But the Dorner case is not the only case that demonstrates a lack of marksmanship training in police forces. In 2012, the New York Police Department shot several innocent bystanders while missing the shooter they were "trying to stop."
Nearly every homicide is a demonstration that the Police cannot protect the Citizenry from criminals. The remainder are those few cases when criminals have penetrated the police forces and murdered those that police officers cannot protect. This should not be taken to mean that my Brothers in Blue are not well-meaning, or that they don't attempt to do their jobs well, but rather that their bosses, the politicians, have set the wrong goals for them, and set false expectations of the people in them.
Numerous cities, particularly the larger police forces, have determined that they don't have the resources to respond to property crimes, except when tens of thousands of dollars have been stolen or destroyed. The same politicians that cut back on police response to crimes against the citizenry, have not cut back on demands for citations for minor infractions of the citizenry. Drivers and pedestrians are still paying fines for speeding and jaywalking, while the police take a "phone it in" response to theft from the vehicles and homes of those taxpayers. The courts are still padding the retirement funds of judges with "court costs" of those taxpayers that don't argue their guilt in speeding tickets, while politicians push for traffic fines, instead of investigations of burgularly rings.
And what is the response of the most powerful politicians? To remove the tools of the citizenry to defend themselves.
While the politicians refuse to prosecute David Gregory for breaking Washington DC laws against possession of 30 round magazines, they push for National bans of private citizens to own or sell their own 15 round magazines.
It is not a surprise that the LAPD failed to hit the target they didn't take the time to identify or aim at, or that the politicians have attempted to increase their own power and influence by removing it from the citizenry, but it still astounds me, that the people have failed to push back against the efforts to subject them to "elected" rulers, and the efforts to remove their Right to Self-Defense.
It is surprising that so many partisan voters have bought into the party line that they should report suspicions that their neighbors are "extremist" supporters of the Constitution, but give up their own Right to prevent a criminal from turning them into victims.
But remember, when life and death is measured in seconds, the police are only minutes away.
A popular question in politics has been "What is the American Culture?" or "What are American Values?" There has been an emphasis in America placed on "multi-culturism" which has implied an equivalency between American Culture to "racism," and excluded it from the realm of multi-culturism. The answer of would be rulers is that there is no such thing as "an American Way of Life," as the real answer is at odds with their own greed for power.
The truth is that American values and culture do not exclude cultural aspects of immigrants of other countries, but rather it is a culture of God-given Rights and Liberties. Americanism means that the Citizen, not the ruler, is the Sovereign. It is a largely unspoken and undefined definition of the American Way of Life. It is implicit in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, and understood, if unstated, by those that argue for the restoration of principles and policies of the US Constitution.
The American way of life is not democracy. Democratic election of Representatives in a Republican form of government, was simply the means used to achieve personal freedom, and sovereign liberty of the Citizenry.
Competing forms of government: monarchies, socialism, islamism, theocracies, and the like that have come before, during, and after the "American Experiment" were distinctly different because the government ruled the lives of the citizenry, rather than being the servants of it. Whether King, Ceasar, Pharaoh, Emperor, Premier, Caliph, Holy Roman See, or "Dear Leader," the difference was that these rulers dictated the rules to their subjects, rather than bowing to the rules written by the Citizenry.
The subjects of these rulers were forced to beg the Sovereign for the means of survival, and called the Sovereign a tyrant when allowed to keep too little of their labors.
The "American Experiment" was less that it afforded the Citizenry a means to peaceably change the politicians in government, than it was that it placed the Citizen as Sovereign over the government, and those politicians, by binding them with the constraints of the US Constitution. While politicians have clung to the title of "public servant," they have shed the cloak of what it means to be a Representative.
The American way of life required a new name for the senior executive of government, for he was to preside over the government, not rule the lives of the People it served. He was the President, not the Commisar, King, Emperor, or Czar. He was to preside over the daily business of running the government, based on the authorizations of the legislation, budgets, and constraints of the People's Representatives, and the US Constitution, not dictate to the Citizenry what they could or could not do, or own.
Should the "Post American Century" prove to be a reality, it will not be that the resulting economic prosperity has waned, but rather that the concept of the Sovereign Citizen has been removed from reality. The prosperity of the People, and of the Nation, is a measure of the results of Liberty, not the measure of the American way of life. While that prosperity has attracted many that have not grasped the concept that government is subservient to the people, but Liberty prevents their belief that government is a tool to bar others their own Rights, prosperity is the result, not democracy, of Liberty.
There are aspects of some cultures and religions that are not within the American Culture. Among these are those that would ban speech as a "hate crime," or blasphemy, or that would prevent one religion from converting others from it.
And, as the American way of life places the Citizen as Sovereign to the government, the servants running the government of the People, has no authority to remove or forbid property, including firearms, to its Sovereign, even if the Citizens' Right to Free Speech convinces others of the Citizenry that "something must be done" to include the removal of other Sovereign Citizen's Rights.
The American way of life, the American Culture, means that Sovereign Citizens accept responsibility for their actions, in return for their Rights to their Liberties. It means that they must respect the Sovereign Rights of Fellow Citizens, even when they dislike the manner in which those rights are executed. It means that the government is authorized to step in, only when one Citizen (or government) interferes in the Rights of another, not to remove those Sovereign Rights of the Citizen who has not. It means that sending a bullet into another Citizen's land is an infraction, while the sound of that round being fired is not.
The erosion of these principles has occurred only with the tacit approval of the Citizen, and with the greed of greater power by those that desire to be politicians and rulers, rather than Representatives and servants of their district. The erosion has occurred by means of promises of delving out small bounties of "free" things, taken at greater cost than if purchased directly, from those it is given. The erosion has occurred by means of specious slogans by the would be rulers marketed to the beneficiaries of those "free" things, in exchange for a few Rights removed here or there.
For example, public housing is given freely to those that will promise not to own firearms, and are willing to commit to less in income. For those willing to live in a state of "poverty," by American standards, a financial incentive is available in the form of free housing.
When the American Citizenry have accepted their role as subjects of the Ruler, of the Government, then the "Post-American Century" will have begun. It will not have been a "move forward," but a return to the past, with the illusion that elections have afforded the subjects a choice in who rules their lives, and titles that have lost their meanings clung to, in order to maintain that illusion. The "public servant" who decides the fate of "citizens" is not a servant, but a bureacrat of the ruler whose dictates it enforces. The "President" who rules its people, rather than presides over their subservient government can be as great a tyrant as any King or Czar, as the Iranian People can attest. Then again, elections in Iran were emplaced solely to provide that illusion, not to provide the people a voice in their government.
Following the terrorist attack on our Consulate in Benghazi, in which Ambassador Stevens, and three US Veterans, working for the US Government were killed, a number of Flag Officers, Generals and Admirals have had their careers or positions cut short. Rumors are beginning to circulate that the Russian Military Intelligence Service, the GRU, has concluded that the Flag Officers were fired due to a fear by Obama that they were plotting a coup d'etat. Others are speculating that the same officers were fired for refusing orders to ignore pleas of help by the US diplomats in Benghazi.
These officers include the AfriCom commander, General Carter Ham, the CentCom commander, General Mattis, and, a strike group commander, Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette. This would be in addition to General David Petraeus resigning in the wake of the attack on exposure of an investigation into an affair, and General Joseph Dunford, 2nd in Command of the Marine Corps suddenly stepping down, and General John Allen, who is the ISAF (Afghanistan) commander.
While little has been said on why most of these officers are suddenly being replaced early, resigning, retiring, or relieved, vague allegations have been made against some of them, such as "questionable decision making" or unproven and unsubstantiated allegations of improper emails. There is little doubt that so many senior officers having their careers cut short in such a short period of time would spark interest by Russian Intelligence. Intelligence services are always interested in the changes of leadership, the why's, and the implications of the replacements. There is no doubt a report on it, somewhere in the Kremlin.
On this side of the pond, we should have a public accounting for the strange departures of so many Flag Officers, as it does raise questions, and drive rumors.
Is there a possibility that Obama fears a coup? It is a possibility. Those that crave power are often narcissistic, and paranoid. If it's possible that he fears one, is it possible that there is a chance of a coup? Highly doubtful. Our military officers have served under Republicans and Democrats, short of the young lieutenants, who joined in the last 4 years. There is a significant independence of politics in the military. The flag officers in question are not in Washington, for the most part, so they don't have the physical capacity to do so either. Unlike many countries, the opportunity for US Generals to take over the reins of government is incredibly remote, even if they had the motivation and internal support for it.
There are Generals that are very political, as Admiral Mullen and General Dempsey demonstrate, but they served under President Bush, before openly using their positions in support of Obama's politics. So, if Obama fears a coup, it is an unrational fear, ie. paranoia.
Obama does have a record of firing Generals that don't toe the party line, whether they support the party and him, or not. Examples include every General that has been in command in Afghanistan since he took office: General McKiernan, General McChrystal, General Petraeus, and General Allen, none of which served a normal tour as combatant commander, and only one of which is still in the military, but whose next position, as well as current position, is unknown and un-nominated. Several Generals have been nominated for what amounts to a demotion: General Allen (since withdrawn) for ISAF to EurCom commander, General Petraeus from CentCom to ISAF commander, and General Dunford from Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps to ISAF Commander (possibly withdrawn).
The frequent change of command in Afghanistan has contributed to a flailing effort there. Different leaders have different styles, and different ways of accomplishing the same goal, but there has yet to be a commander in charge since 2009 that was able to bring his way into fruition. Consequently, violence in the country has been higher than 2008 (and every year prior) in every year since 2008. Despite claims of "progress," the "end" of the war will be on the heels of its most difficult years, and without victory.
Admiral Charles M. Gaouette had assumed command of Carrier Strike Group 3 in April, 2012. Of the current round of firings, his is the most unusual. He had served less than a year in the position and was relieved during the middle of a "float," which occurs only in the most significant of circumstances, not normally for "questionable judgment." It generally takes proof of a major error, like shooting at civilian craft, or invading a non-warring country, without orders.
According to some rumors, General Ham was physically restrained during the Benghazi attack, for attempting to assist American defenders, and relieved of command by his 2nd in command. Authority for such moves would have had to have been ordered from levels higher than the subordinate officer, ie. General Dempsey, the Secretary of Defense, and/or the President. These kinds of things happen in Hollywood more often than in the US Military.
Nominations by the POTUS for promotions and positions of General Officers are rarely opposed by the Senate. I can't think of a single instance when a nomination has been denied, and only one, General Pace, that the Reid led Senate made known that would be opposed, and hence his continued position was not nominated by then President Bush. And despite rumors and political meanderings, until this POTUS, there has been little substantiation that Flag Officers were being terminated for political reasons, at least in the United States.
Politicians have terminated Generals for other reasons. Abraham Lincoln fired Generals like Donald Trump fires celebrities, likely extending the Civil War by years, but that is an example of why politicians should stay out of military decisions, rather than why Generals should stay out of politics. Hitler and Stalin were both known for not only firing, but executing Generals, and that too proved disasterous.
General MacArthur was terminated for openly opposing the restrictions placed on him in the Korean War, and the war was fought to a truce, and still today threatens to become a shooting war again.
The question in my mind is not whether these Generals were considering a coup. I seriously doubt that. The question, for me, is whether they told the hard truth the politician did not want to hear; ie. that Al-Qaeda is growing stronger (due to the policies of the POTUS), and that they wanted to, or attempted to do something to change that, either in the Battle of Benghazi, or in an attempt to persuade the politicians about the greater War on Terror.
My hope is that the Generals that have served honorably, and retired gracefully, will soon step up and tell the truth about the situation, but that is rare for good Generals. More often, the Great Generals, like Petraeus and Schwarzkopf maintain silence in retirement, unlike the political generals such as Wesley Clark and Shinsucki. And unless the Generals (retired) do step up to the plate, it will continue to be left up to the former NCO's and Colonels to speak out.
In the meantime, the Benghazi and Afghanistan commissions of Congress should call these Generals to testify. The American People deserve to know if the Generals are guilty of misconduct, or they were fired for political reasons. The American People deserve to know if the Generals were ready to save Americans' lives, even if their politicians were not.
To begin with, let's get this straight: the government is the servant of the people, not the other way around. We're making the government, reluctantly, because its a necessary evil, but we're limiting it because well, history proves that government usually abuses power (Preamble).
So, we're going to select Representatives by election, and they are the ones that are going to write all laws. If they suggest a law, the President then has a choice to make it a law or not. The Representatives are going to the people we think are the most level-headed, and smartest, and most like us. ONLY Our Representatives can suggest increasing taxes on us, and they're the ones that will tell the government how much it can spend.
We get to decide when we hold elections, through Our State governments, and the politicians have to work, at least once a year, in December. Since we already have governments (States), and they're closer to us than you are, we're going to have Our Representatives at those governments send Senators to also keep you in line. We'll pay you for the work you do.
Our Representatives can fire the President if he breaks the law or becomes a tyrant.
Don't be taxing us into the poorhouse. Don't be spending Our Money like drunken politicians. You have to tell us how every dime is spent. All your taxes have to be uniform to all. You can't be playing favorites. Only Our Representatives can borrow money.
Our Representatives will make the rules for the Military, and pay Our Troops and build places for training and living of the Troops. And before you go starting wars, you have to convince Our Representatives that we should go to war. No one gets to use Our Troops against us, unless there's a rebellion.
You can't make laws against things that already happened. Any laws you make are only about the future, and no one is guilty of breaking the law before it was made.
Our Representatives get to make the laws for what goes on in Washington DC too. They get to decide about printing money, building post offices and roads to them, and make copyright and patent laws, as well as punishing pirates.
Don't be taxing us a bunch of money. And don't be spending Our Money without Our Representatives saying you can.(Article 1)
And because we know that there needs to be someone to conduct the day to day business with the world, we'll pay a guy to preside over the government we authorize. He doesn't have any authority over us. His job is to run the government, not to rule the People, us. Remember, we're the boss, not you. You don't rule us. We rule you. You work for us.
He can talk to the Ambassadors of other countries and make agreements with them, for us, if Our Senators say its okay. And if the Senators say so, he can pay people to help him run the government. If the Senators aren't around, he can hire someone TEMPORARILY until they start working again.(Article 2)
And since we know people are always arguing over stupid things, we'll let the President suggest judges that Our Senators have to approve, to settle disputes. The judges get to judge. They don't get to make any laws. You have to let us decide, by jury, if the person did what you said they did. And you can't be hauling him off to another place to have the trial.
And you can't be killing people just because you call them traitors. You have to prove they actually helped the enemy, while we're at war, not just because they said they don't like how you act or you think they insulted you. To prove they are traitors, you have to have two people swear they did. (Article 3)
Citizens of one State get to move to other States and be Citizens there if they want to, and the new State will trust the other one's papers. Criminals will be sent back to the State where they did the crime. All the States will be run by Representatives elected by the People too. The Federal government is responsible for making sure foreigners don't invade their borders. (Article 4)
If you don't like the rules we made for you, you can suggest changes, but 2/3rds of the politicians have to convince 3/4ths of the States to change Our Rules. (Article 5)
We'll pay the debt you racked up in the old government, and all the agreements you made.
Our government, Our Rules. These Rules supercede all rules, agreements, and anything else you say or do. If you want to make a rule we said you can't, it doesn't mean anything, no matter how many times you say it does. Now, before you can be part of Our Government, swear that you'll obey Our Rules. (Article 6)
These Rules are in effect as soon as 3/4ths of Our States say so. (Article 7)
Yeah, we figured you'd get too big for your britches, so here are some more rules for you:
We get to say what we want to say, where we want to say it. We can do it in churches, papers, or in petitions and protests. And you can't tell us what religion to have, nor stop us from praying. You can't stop us from telling you that you're a bunch of blood sucking leeches. (1st Amendment)
We get to keep Our Guns. Guns are important to keep us Free. You ain't takin' our guns. (2nd Amendment)
Our Troops won't get free lodging on Our Property, unless there's a war going on. Otherwise you have to pay us rent if you want us to give Soldiers a bed. (3rd Amendment)
You don't get to look through Our Stuff unless you can prove to a Judge that we did something wrong. You don't get to take Our Stuff from us either. That means you can't go through any of Our Stuff, not our pockets, nor our homes, nor our papers. You can't search NONE of Our Stuff, unless you prove to a judge that we did something wrong. (4th Amendment)
You can't try to kill someone, unless a bunch of us (grand jury) says there's a reason to give him a trial. You can't take Our Stuff, until you've proven to us (due process/court) that someone did something wrong or you pay us a fair price for it. You can't keep trying to prove someone guilty. You get one chance. You can't take his Stuff, his Liberty, or his Life, until you have proved he's a criminal. (5th Amendment)
If you're trying to convince us he's a criminal, you have to have the trial right away. It's got to be in public and in the place you said he did it. You can't be using the infamous "someone" as a witness to your allegations. Either the person says it to the guy on trial, or it doesn't get said. And the guy you accuse gets to have one of those educated, double-speaking lawyers too. You're not the only one that gets to hire the liars. (6th Amendment)
Any time more than twenty bucks is on the line, we get to have a bunch of us decide, a jury of us. And if a jury says we're not guilty, you can't take us to a different court and try again.(7th Amendment)
You can't make us pay a bunch a money while we're waiting for a trial. And you can't be making up cruel punishments, even if our peers say we're guilty.(8th Amendment)
Just cause we didn't tell you you couldn't do something doesn't mean you can. Anything we didn't say you could do, you can't. Remember, WE are YOUR bosses, not the other way around. (9th Amendment)
Let me say this again, if we didn't tell you you can do it, you can't. Anything we didn't say you could do, are things we get to do, or Our States get to do. (10th Amendment)
Like we said in the beginning (Preamble), WE, THE PEOPLE, are in charge of the government. You work for us, not the other way around. We tell YOU what to do, what you can and can't do. Don't be getting too big for your britches. Don't start thinking you can tell us what to say or do, or what we can or can't own, or what we can or can't buy, or what we have to buy. Don't be trying to take Our Stuff, or looking through it.
Cpl Joshua Boston, former Marine, stepped into the spotlight following his open letter challenging Senator Feinstein's gun grab legislation, and calling Britain's Piers Morgan to return to the island of Banned Guns. Boston is representing sanity fairly well though Obama has decided not to deport the gun hating Morgan who is on a crusade to scrap the Bill of Rights.
UPDATE: Piers Morgan was fired in May of 2004 from his Editor position at Britain's Daily Mirror for publication of falsified pictures of Troops mistreating Iraqi prisoners.
Meanwhile, someone claiming to have also been a Marine, decides to throw his two cents into the pool:
"Boston’s attitude towards authority is frankly disgusting and his open letter is wrong in both its assumptions about why the gun-control debate has become heated, and the reasons why we should care about his opinions at all. It implies that because he served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Marine, that he can choose which laws to obey while at home." "Anonymous Marine," as reported at This Ain't Hell
Let's put this in another context: Politicians and journalists attitude towards the Supreme Law of the Land is frankly disgusting and their open contempt for the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect is wrong in both the arrogance that they are above the law, and the reasons why we should allow them to sit in their chairs at all. It implies that because they won a popularity contest in the career pathes of the least trusted people in our Nation that they can choose which instances they will obey the Supreme Law of the Land.
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding." Article VI, US Constitution
In other words, the hierarchy of law is: The US Constitution (including Amendments), US Law made in accordance with the Constitution, Treaties, and State Laws. Any law that violates the provisions of the US Constitution is hence not a law, including treaties, including treaties with the UN.
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Amendment II, US Constitution.
Activist judges included, any law that infringes on the Right of the People to keep and bear arms is hence illegal and NOT a law to begin with. "Common Law" does not supercede the US Constitution, as the Judicial Branch is not given legislative authority, and are specifically bound by the US Constitution above and beyond their bounds of State and US Law, and common law legal proceedings which are also bound by the Law.
Hence, the only Constitutional or legal means by which that Right can be infringed is to amend the Constitution, changing the 2nd Amendment itself. No Vice-President, President, Journalist, Judge, UN body, or even the unanimous votes of the entire Congress can legally infringe the Right of the People, unless the Constitution itself is amended.
The anonymous Marine, along with General McChrystal, need to review their oath, to the US Constitution, and the Constitution which they swore to protect. It supercedes the whims of Congress, Presidents, Governors, Mayors, Politicians, and Pundits of the MSM, particularly those non-Citizens.
Piers Morgan, who is a journalist, a profession that is supposed to report the facts, not to advocate policy, is not an American, and has a passport for a place that has already banned firearms. If he wants to live in a place with the soaring violent crimes of a gun-free country, he can move home. If he wants to advocate for something, it should be for the arrest of his fellow journalist David Gregory to be arrested for breaking current gun laws in that gun-free mecca of violence and hot air, Washington DC.
Piers states (on CBS) that his brother is an officer in the British Army and has served in Afghanistan. That does not mean he "understands," as he claims, what a Warrior sacrifices. That means his brother does, not him. Piers states that he doesn't want his child growing up in a country with assault weapons, which are almost "M4 machine guns," further demonstrating his ignorance of weapons. (M4 carbines are NOT machine guns and the only way that AR-15's are "assault rifles" is by declaration of politicians and parroting of journalists.) The automatic firing M4 is an assault rifle, as is an automatic version of the AK-47. Civilian semi-automatic weapons are NOT.
However, given the updated information above, Piers is probably not very welcome in the Island Nation. I doubt visits to his brother's house are welcomed either. Given his lack of integrity, even by journalist standards, he fits right in at CNN, who must have known of the pictures published by Piers. The Piers Morgan resume ain't so shiny either.
Piers has a place to go, home. It already meets his criteria. As a subject of the British Empire, he doesn't have a dog in this debate. We broke our chains of the monarchy 237 years ago, and restated Our Independence, and the Independent Rights of Our Citizens in 1812, when they attempted to enslave Our Sailors. In both wars, we were outgunned and outmanned, by a Empirical force that was better trained and equipped, but let not the memory of Andrew Jackson and Tennesseans at New Orleans fade too quickly. That battle was fought with the best firearms a civilian could buy, and more Volunteers than Jackson could pay, but a far smaller force than the Empire sent.
No where in the 2nd Amendment does it mention what a Citizen "needs" or "hunting purposes." What it explicitly states is "shall not be infringed."
Despite the facts, some are arguing that long metal tubes embedded in plastic, ie. rifles, are evil. Senator Feinstein is arguing that we should ban and confiscate the tools of self-defense, though she owns and carries firearms herself, and works behind the protection of armed security.
Several politicians have stepped up to the podium to bemoan the electoral muscle of the NRA, but the NRA cannot pull a lever or push a button for any candidate. What it does do, is monitor the politicians and tell the voters how a particular candidate has voted on gun legislation. The influence of the NRA is that the majority of voters are against unConstitutional gun restrictions, in most of America.
Paul Howe, a 20 year Special Operations veteran and weapons instructor, explored the possibilities of how gun confiscation programs would be executed. In essence, he concluded that a forcible attempt to take firearms from the People would result in violent resistance, and that those officials that attempted it would be run out of town. In places like Texas, where Mr. Howe works, and in places like Tennessee, he is possibly correct. In places like Chicago, California, and New York, things could very well be different. In fact, much of the Northeast and the Left Coast have already voluntarily given up huge parts of their 2nd Amendment Right, voluntarily, without a fight. These days, I don't underestimate the people's willingness to tolerate "small" abuses of tyranny, by the government they "know."
“Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.”– Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.
Others have opined that the gun control debate is just a distraction technique, to get people's attention off the fact that Obama just raised taxes on 100% of America's workers, and other negatives out of Washington. At a minimum, FICA taxes went up by 2% on the first dollar (and most of the rest)you made this year, and 2% on your employer for paying you to work, as well as the ObamaCare taxes. These tax increases won't pay for the new subsidies to DNC special interests, like "green energy." In their arguments, the politicians know that the House will prevent gun grabs, and are happy that the economy and fiscal cliff are finally seeing reduced air time in the media.
Even General McChrystal decided now was the time to break his silence. He opined that M4's belong on the battlefield, not in schools. Who could argue with that? I'll argue that airplanes belong in the air and airports, not on the roads and rivers, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be allowed to land one on your own cornfield, or keep one in your barn. When I was on the battlefield, I preferred that I had better weapons than the enemy, and that the bystanders be unarmed, but that doesn't mean I shot someone just because they had an AK-47, or even took it away from them. It just would have been easier to identify the actual enemy if non-combatants didn't have weapons, and that I could have shot all those that did, from a distance beyond the AK's effective range.
Then again, General McChrystal was fired by the politician he voted for, and ordered that Our Troops unload their weapons inside our bases in Afghanistan. Perhaps, he should have weighed in on why that politician ignored him and his recommendations on Afghanistan, instead of whether or not American Citizens should be stripped of their Rights. Perhaps, he should protect the Constitution he swore to protect, rather than the party he voted to put in power.
The gun industry and sports stores got an economic boost from the "debate," as law abiding citizens stocked up on what they feared would be taxed out of the supply system, or banned outright. Or as others have opined, Americans aren't stocking up before a ban, but preparing for a Civil War.
While the state legislature in Tennessee along with county and municipal officials discuss meaningful means to safeguard Our Children, politicians in other States are passing new laws that infringe the 2nd Amendment Rights of their subjects. Some of the new measures do include armed officials at the schools, as well as controlled entry points into those schools, with locked doors and key cards to get inside. Tennessee is considering the authorization of armed teachers, which has worked in Utah and Texas. The discussion of School Security did not start after Newton, but it was given greater prominence as a result.
On the other hand, Govenor Cuomo is pushing for banning even more rifles in the State of New York. The mayor of Burlington, VT has enacted new laws against rifles, though there appears to be no history of rifles being used in Burlington crimes.
And while the MSM returns to using the Aurora, CO massacre as an emotionally charged call for banning the means of self-defense, it ignores the more recent San Antonio theater shooting, in which a massacre was prevented by a woman with a gun. They ignore the Aurora church shooting which preceded the theater shooting, where an Armed Citizen prevented another massacre. They ignore thousands of such stories every year, because it doesn't fit their argument.
Some are claiming that the NRA and gun-owners are out of touch, and short on facts, or unskilled in debate. I contend that those that defend the Constitution, and Individual Liberty, are instead poor at executing their "marketing campaign." History and facts are clearly behind Liberty and small government leading to prosperity, and national prominence.
I would argue that the MSM's monopoly on information dissemination has hamstrung those that oppose their view. While the internet provides the tools for information to be disseminated outside of the MSM monopoly, even those that report information on websites rely on the MSM for their sources of information. This has created a circuitous cycle where the MSM still controls the debate, while individuals can falsely conclude that they are immune from its influence. The MSM talks about Aurora, or Newton, or Karzai, and the bloggers and Facebookers cite them. If you don't believe me, just look at the topics you discuss on Twitter and Facebook versus what the MSM is talking about.
While there are occasions that the internet buzz forces the MSM to address that which they attempt to ignore, like the Green Movement in Iran, or the Islamist takeover in Egypt, or Benghazi terrorist attack, it is both rare, and again slanted to their views. While CNN has no qualms publishing classified information from the US, it bowed to the demands to keep its reporters out of the streets of Tehran. And as they ignore the persistance of Islamist terrorists taking over the revolution in Syria, their female reporters are indicators as they cover their hair in the presence of Islamists. The more their hair is covered, the more extreme the Islamist faction.
Some facts: 33,808 Americans were killed in automobile accidents in 2009. 4,872 of those killed were not even in a vehicle. 4,092 of those killed were simply walking along. In contrast, 351 people were murdered with a rifle in 2009 (323 in 2011). Personal objects (817 murders) such as hand and feet, blunt objects such as hammers (623), knives (1,836), and shotguns (423) were used in more murders than were rifles of ANY kind in 2009.
Hopefully, there will never be a call to ban hands and feet, though more people are killed with them. It is impractical to attempt to ban hammers, though there are probably fewer of them. And despite the fact that cars kill more people than firearms, by more than 100 times the rate, I haven't heard anyone call for a ban on automobiles, other than the environmental whackos, and that's for an entirely different reason. Ten times as many pedestrians were killed by cars than were all Americans killed by rifles, and yet, there's no call to ban Sports Cars, or Limos, or even Pintos.
And let's look at England, as "gun murders" there are often used as proof that dis-arming the People leads to lower crime rates. The reality is that it does change the weapons used, but that England has a far greater violent crime rate, per capita, than does America. We could look at Mexico, but there are far more similiarities between the English and Americans than there are between Mexicans and Americans. Still, the gun murder rate in Mexico is far greater than in either, and they've banned guns for far longer. More than 12,000 were murdered over drugs alone in our less populous Southern Neighbor in 2011.
In England and Wales, 615 murders occurred in the 2009-10 timeframe, along with 588 attempted murders. Of the 54,509 sexual crimes, 13,991 women and 1,174 men were raped, making Detroit's 427 rapes look like a safe haven. There were 1,868 kidnappings. England and Wales had 55,240,000 people at the end of that period, or roughly 1/6th the US population. There were 871,712 violent crimes in that period, which includes part of 2009 and part of 2010. There were 32,491 charges of illegal weapon possession, along with 9,962 conspiracies to commit murder, in 2007/08. 19% of violent crimes involved a weapon, including 7,995 involving firearms and 33,771 involving a knife.
Only 45% of violent crimes were reported to the Police in England. Of those not reporting, 52% said they believed the Police could not or would not do anything about it (or it was "too trivial"), while 36% said they dealt with it themselves. Another 3% said they didn't report it because it was "a common occurrence." There were an estimated 2.2 Million violent crimes committed in England & Wales in 2010/2011.
England and Wales have a violent crime rate of 1,574 per 100,000 in 2009/10 and far worse than even America's most violent cities, such as Chicago's 1,050 per 100,000 or Washington DC's 1,326/100,000. And far worse than the US National rate of 405 per 100,000. What do Chicago, DC, and England have in common? Anti-gun laws. In contrast, Chicago is far more urban than England, and England is less urban than America as a whole.
Many argue that we "must do something." The "something" so many argue for ignores the facts, and plays on emotion. The "something" almost always calls for greater government interference in the lives of individual Citizens. It may feel like we have "done something" by holding a protest or signing a petition, and sometimes those are the best ways for Individual Citizens to "do something," but the most important "something" we can do is educate ourselves, and point Our Friends and Family to the base information, so that they can as well. It may be emotionally satisfying to "do something" but before we do, we should look at the facts, and make the decision based on logic and reason, not just jerk our knee in reaction.
In this particular case, the fact is that about 1 in One Million Americans are killed by a rifle, so banning rifles, much less a particular type of rifle would have negligible or no effect on anything. The problem is not the means by which a life is taken, but the person who takes the life. As the trend in China demonstrates, evil, or psychotic individuals if you prefer, will use the weapons on hand to commit violence. In their case, is mass stabbings at schools, since that is the weapon to which they have access, and all guns are banned.
And if the government banned cars, more people would be killed in horse accidents.
Sheepdogs don't take the world for granted. They know that not only does evil exist, but that the wolf will attack on his terms, and that he, the Sheepdog, may not be as prepared, mentally and physically, as he would like to be. The Sheepdog knows the battle may come, that he does not win.
“Lord, make me fast and accurate. Let my aim be true and my hand faster than those who would seek to destroy me. Grant me victory over my foes and those that wish to do harm to me and mine. Let not my last thought be “If only I had my gun”; and Lord if today is truly the day that You call me home, let me die in a pile of brass” Rhino Den
The Sheepdog knows that only with constant vigilance, and preparation, will he be ready for the day the Wolf comes, and that only in that moment will his abilities and actions be proven. All of the bold statements before that mean nothing. All of the bragging thereafter will seem hollow. It is that moment in time that matters.
[No advertising partnership exists between WOTN and Ranger Up, nor has RU authorized use of its photos to WOTN. Ranger Up is a Veteran Owned business, with a great blog, and Warrior themed T-Shirts. Sheepdogs everywhere find a kindred spirit in the words expressed there.]
The same vigilance is necessary in verbal and political defense of Our Constitution and Liberties, as are necessary in the physical defense of Our Nation and People. Just as the Wolf may use the same weapons to kill Our Citizens, as the Sheepdog uses to defend the Sheep from the Wolf, so too can the political wolf use words to strip Our Citizens of Our Rights, as the political Sheepdog use to defend them. So too, can a tyrant use elements of Security to oppress the People, as a Statesman uses those elements to defend them from harm.
Unlike most of the world, in America, it requires the tacit approval of the People, to oppress them. The power of words becomes more important. The power of persuasion becomes paramount. But, it may not forever be so.
The ruling class, with the cheerleading of their Main Stream Media, continues to call, to persuade, to use the power of speech, to call on The People to support the suppression of Rights of the People. They continue to call for ever increasing "security measures" to reduce the personal security of the Citizen, while decreasing the Rights of the Citizen from those "security measures."
The Sheepdog alone cannot defend against these incursions on Freedom. And some Sheepdogs may even find themselves a tool of the Oppressor. Our Sheepdogs in blue must guard against the incremental incursion into the Rights of the Protected. They should more strongly condemn those Wolves that slip into their midst than the Wolves they hunt in the wilds, but they must swear allegiance to the law, not the ruler. And should the ruler order them to act against the law, against the Constitution, they must disobey those orders, for the Sheepdog serves the People, not the ruler. The Sheepdog follows the Law, the Constitution, not the whims of the ruler.
As we navigate these troubled waters, Our Sheepdogs need the protection of the Sheep, of the People, from the ruling class in Washington, from the corrupt class in Chicago, from those that would de-fang them, from those that would disarm the Sheepdog.
Those that would suppress Liberty, and oppress The People, have lulled the Sheep with specious speech. Those that would be rulers and those that sing their praises, now try to tell us that if only we disarm the Sheepdog, the Wolf will end his attacks. Despite the reality that Chicago, where they have de-fanged the People, violent crime is 3x greater than in Tampa, where the People are encouraged to provide the first line of defense against the Wolf, they tell us that we should take the means of defense from the law-abiding Citizen, knowing the criminal will retain his ill-begotten weapons.
Those that would suppress Liberty tell us that some speech must be outlawed, and label it as "hate speech." They tell us we should limit our words to only that which is politically correct. They tell us that any dissent from the politician in chief is "racist." They tell us that Our Troops should have no voice.
Those that bid the People to allow them to rule their lives for them, have convinced the voter to ignore their deeds and blindly endorse the Party in all it does. They have succeeded in diverting the Peoples' attention from their actions in Washington to the antics of mis-behavers in Hollywood. They've convinced parents to trust the schools to teach their kids their morals instead of the Bill of Rights. They've bought the compliance and obediance with trinkets to the masses, while ignoring their duties.
Their sirens sing their songs, and condemn their opponents as "do-nothing" as they ignore their duties to control the purses-trings of the People's Treasury, rather than restrict the People's Liberties with new legislation. And it seems that no matter how loudly the Sheepdogs bark, the Sheep will not awaken to the Wolves in their midst.
The Sheepdogs are barking, and it behooves the Sheep to awaken from their slumber.
If a Soldier were to disregard the 3rd Amendment, and occupy the house of a Citizen, the people would be outraged. If he were to follow the orders of a superior and execute a prisoner, they would demand his imprisonment. There is clarity in such cases, and the Soldier understands these immoral and unlawful orders may not and can not be carried out. Superiors understand that such orders will not be carried out and do not utter them. They have sworn an Oath, to protect the Constitution, and have learned when orders are Superceded by higher law.
But what of the lesser transgressions? The more ambigious legal conundrums?
The 4th Amendment guarantees the Right of Citizens to be "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures...."
What if a bureacrat, or law enforcement official is armed with a law which requires him to search persons and documents? What if it is the job of the bureacrat to search the documents, without a Warrant, or to search their persons without cause? To refuse would be cause for termination? Does not the legislation of Congress or the Orders of the President make lawful what the Constitution prohibits?
No, it does not become Constitutional or lawful just because Congress or the President says so, just as it would not become lawful for the Soldier to commit murder just because he was ordered to do so.
The bureacrat knows however that if he refuses an un-Constitutional order, he will be terminated. In most cases, he was hired by the government to do precisely what he is being ordered to do, though also swearing upon employment to uphold the Constitution which prohibits it. The bureacrat knows that behind him are a hundred people willing to accept those orders, for the sake of the high pay, bountiful benefits, and "safety" of a government job.
So, the bureacrat justifies, in his own mind, that the citizenry is paying him to follow the dictates of politicians, despite the Rights enumerated in the Constitution. The politicians praise the bureacrats as "public servants," even as they order them to disregard the Supreme Law of the Land, the Constitution, to which they have sworn to uphold.
And these abuses are accepted by the People, as recognized by the Founders themselves, in the Declaration of Independence, "that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." They further noted "that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes." In most cases, the people ignore the abuses, because they convince themselves it's only someone else abused, and often "that there's no reason to worry if you're not breaking the law."
History is replete with tyrannical governments, and the bureacrats which supported them, which subjected and are subjecting their people to far greater abuses than are our rulers, but those in power in Washington should take note that Liberty is ingrained in the DNA of the American People, that it is not a generation removed that the People would have stood up against the current dictates of Washington.
In such discussions, politicians will often point to the "will of the people" as justification for legislation which subverts the Supreme Law of the Land, but there is a reason that the Founders established a Republic, rather than a democracy. There is a reason that they established the Bill of Rights as supreme to any popular legislation by the majority of rulers in Washington, or even a Treaty signed by them.
And while the politicians claim to speak in the name of the people, they do so as they see fit, and do what they desire, regardless of the voice of the people. TARP, the UAW bailout, and ObamaCare were all opposed by the People, yet Pelosi, Obama, and Reid pushed it through anyway "so we could see what is in it." Obama claims his re-election means the people want higher taxes and more spending, though neither were on the ballot, and the people elected a House of Representatives that ran against those things.
And there is a reason that the Founders made clear in the 9th Amendment that "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people," and in the 10th, that, "Powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The Constitution clearly delineates the authorities of the THREE (not four) branches of government. Legislative authority, as well as the power of the purse, and taxation lies with Congress. The authority to preside over that government lies with the Executive. The President is given the responsibility of running the day to day business of the government, NOT to rule the day to day lives of the People. The power to judge disputes, of law or property, lies with the judiciary. It clearly states that domestic law is the purview of State governments, while interstate and external policy belongs to the Federal Government.
The erosion of Constitutional principles began nearly as soon as the Founders established it. Alexander Hamilton himself accepted it only reluctantly, as better than the document it replaced. He worked the rest of his life to create a stronger central government, with fewer constraints. Then again, what he really wanted was a monarchy, and he knew it wasn't going to happen. It took centuries to get where we are, and would not be possible if the people themselves understood the Constitution, and the reasons for it.
The biggest blows to the Constitution came in the early 20th Century, a series of Amendments to it, which left the States with no representation in Congress, prohibited the sale of the government's primary source of funding, and established a more lucrative form of taxation. The 16th and 17th Amendments were ratified in 1913, and the 18th in 1933.
Few politicians would seriously challenge the Constitution for decades to come. Instead, Congress, with signature of the President, would use the power of the purse, to co-erce State legislation, such as helmet laws, seat belt laws, and speed limits. Because the Treasury could collect more taxes than it needed to run foreign policy, it held those dollars hostage from States that failed to bend to its will. The States became subservient to Washington, instead of the people.
But there has been no period in American History, when the rulers in Washington have so clearly flaunted their disregard for the Supreme Law of the Land. The POTUS is demanding that Congress give up the power of the purse, while he orders TSA to commit searches of persons, and the IRS to relieve the People of their earnings, if they don't buy things he wants them to buy. Congressmen of the 111th Congress have flat out stated that they will not be constrained by the Constitution, and the President has declared that "it is a flawed and outdated document." The Secretary of Defense (Panetta) flat out told Congress that the Executive Branch not only feels no compulsion to get approval for war (Syria, Libya), but that he doesn't even need (or plan) to tell them about it when he decides to bomb foreign TV stations or commit the Nation's aircraft to war.
And Bureacrats, which would demand imprisonment of a Soldier that followed orders to commit murder, face the situation to refuse un-Constitutional orders and be fired, to quit of their own accord and be replaced, or to carry out those orders, as judiciously as they can. These bureacrats, which can see the moral clarity when thinking of problems of enforcing the dictates for Hitler, Stalin, or Ahdiminijihadist, must justify to themselves that they are "only enforcing the law," as did Troops on all sides in World War II. Their very means of survival, their paycheck and livlihood, is at stake if they refuse. They are not forced to swear allegiance to "the party," but rather co-erced to pay the Union, which will be more than willing to hang out those that fail to pay, and eagerly protect those that follow their party decisions, no matter how lazy and inefficient.
I can honestly say I wouldn't want to be faced with the moral conundrum of a Federal bureacrat. I cannot honestly say how I would decide. I like to believe I'd choose to defend my Oath to the Constitution, but the threat of losing one's livlihood is one helluva threat. It's far easier to see the moral clarity from the outside looking in.
And as to the rulers in Washington, remember that Americans may one day awaken to the reality. I can only hope it will be in time to peaceably elect true Representatives, to turn back the abuses, because if Americans cannot be convinced by speech of their need to protect their Rights of Citizenship, no degree of violence will force them to re-establish those Rights, and those Rights themelves would be placed in jeopardy in a Civil War.
In the meantime, if my article of the promised land of low (State) taxes has you considering a move to the South, remember too that low taxes mean greater Liberty for your neighbor as well, and less government, that it means you can't tell your neighbor what to do on his property. It means the government won't enforce your desire to remove his old junk car, or stop him from target shooting (so long as those bullets are not ending up on your land), or make him buy something. So, if you want big government, go to San Francisco, or New York, or Chicago, where its illegal to own the means to defend yourself, and live on thee hope the Police come in time.
Down here, neighbors help each other and you're responsible for the repercussions of your own actions. Bring your snobbiness and you'll likely end up on your own, isolated and alone in a sea of Liberty. Be a good neighbor, and you'll find the meaning of "neighborly" and "Southern Hospitality." You might be awoken by a chainsaw too early in the morning, only to find the tree that fell across your driveway is just firewood, or kept up too late with legal fireworks on the night we celebrate Independence, but you're likely to be welcomed to the neighborhood with a warm Pecan Pie, and that feared phrase: "You ain't from around here, are ya?"
You may have a millionaire neighbor that wears bib overalls, an unkempt beard, and has a trailer home, but don't judge his intellect by how carefully (and slowly) he chooses his words, or how much grease is on his clothes from working on his own car. Don't judge his education by a lack of ten dollar words. You may one day appreciate his hard-working, traditional values of independence when your own car won't start. Yeah, we can get our own cars on the road down here. We don't have to wait 45 minutes for the tow truck to change the tire.
The United States spends $7.9 Trillion between Federal and State governments, including Social Security benefits. These spending programs are wrapped up into one in most other Nations. This amounts to 31.2% of all spending by governments worldwide. To put it another way, US governments spend more than next 4: Japan, China, Germany, and France combined and collects as much tax as Japan, China, and Germany, combined. Of 225 governments analyzed by the CIA world fact book, US governments collects more taxes than 208 governments combined, and spends more than 215 of them, combined, including Greece.
California alone, collects more taxes than all but 13 governments worldwide, and still can't balance its budget. The combined total of India's one billion people pay half as much as Californians do in taxes, and its government spends less than the booming Indian economy does.
The US Federal deficit alone could fund the Italian government, with a surplus, or Britain, or France, or even the 3rd biggest spending government in the world, Germany. There are 53 countries in the world that have a balanced budget, chief among them, Brazil, with a booming economy. The US deficit could fund all of them combined. The US Federal deficit alone is as much as China collects in revenue from its billion people.
Americans are paying enough taxes. 166.3 Million Americans are paying nearly $5 Trillion/year in taxes. That's 2.37% of the world's population of 7 Billion people paying 22.6% of all taxes collected in the world.
State and Federal governments are spending much more money than is necessary, or helpful. If spending or debt caused economic growth, then the US economy would be growing faster than any other in the world.
In the business and finance world there is such a term as "good debt," as well as "bad debt." Good debt is money borrowed that causes more money to come in than what is paid in interest to borrow the money. Good debt would be money borrowed to build the factory that produces the next major consumer item. In households, your mortgage would be considered "good debt," but a rental mortgage would be better debt (assuming you were profitably running the property.)
In economics, it is purported that you can grow an economy by one of two means: cut taxes or spend more. To an extent, that is true. A government that borrows money to provide transportation for goods from an industrial area to a port, will see that money returned exponentially, in new tax revenue. The government that borrows money to throw lavish parties for its bureacrats and politicians will see its debt grow without positive return. The government that borrows money to tear up a good road and build it again ("Stimulus" bill) will also see no positive return. It slows transportation temporarily, without adding any benefit.
Hence, the interstate system built by Eisenhower, as well as the Autobahn system built by Hitler, saw the economies boom and tax revenue spike. And yet Obama's "stimulus" spending that exceeded the spending of all but 8 governments in the world has done nothing to help the US economy.
Every dollar that the government takes from those that produce goods, decreases the amount that they can use to produce more things. You can't run a government, or protect those producers, without taxes, but the government should not take money from the producers without providing necessary services in return. It should not tax, just because it can. Spending for the sake of spending is wrongheaded, and in this case, theft.
China provides an example of the kind of deficit spending that is beneficial to economic growth. It spends about 4.8% more than it collects from its people, but has done so to modernize its military, and to expand its infrastructure, including transportation, ports, and energy production. It was expanding its infrastructure to such a great extent that worldwide copper and concrete prices soared, as well as oil prices. When it doesn't see double digit economic growth, financial markets see it as a downturn.
And Communist China is buying up America, while American consumers are buying their cheaply made goods. Communist China is loaning money to American politicians, so they can keep forcing American factories overseas, to China.
Temporarily, the Federal government is paying very little interest rates on that Debt. When those interest rates return to "normal," the deficit and debt will truly balloon.
The US government is spending more money than 95.6% of all the governments in the world. Not spending enough money is not the problem. Not enough taxation is not the problem. Americans are paying more than 92.4% of world's governments are collecting. 2.4% of the world's population (American workers) are paying 22.6% of the taxes collected in the world. It is time to return to the Constitutional limits of what the Federal government can do. It is time to cut spending to what is Constitutional. It is time to end pork spending. It is time to quit spending by Congress and the President that we don't have and can't afford to pay the interest on.
Ever heard about how you make more money up North? The problem is that it means big taxes, and less money for you. After taxes and costs, you get less and have less if you are the median wage earner in Massachusetts versus in Tennessee. Sure, you start out with $62,859 in Taxachusetts versus $41,693 in Tennessee, but you end up with the equivalent of $29,897 versus $37,417 in Tennessee.
Big government means big taxes and big taxes mean less money for those that actually produce things that pay the taxes. Some believe that making more money is worth having higher taxes, but the cumulative effect is that everything must cost more to pay the extra taxes. Chances are, that if you live in a high tax, "high income," state, you're living on less land, and paying a lot more for a smaller abode, with higher electric and gas bills.
There's a correlation between cost of living and taxes. The cost of living (COL) in Massachusetts is 138% of the cost in Tennessee. Tax burdens are 212% higher there. COL is 156% of TN in New York. The tax burden is 220%. COL is 152% of TN in California. The tax burden on workers is 200%.
I looked at 4 States: California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, & New York. The median income is $55.4, $62.6k, $41.7, and $57.3k a year respectively. They collect $3,157, $1,784.46, $3,350 & $3,477 in taxes per resident respectively. Unlike the other 3, the primary source of taxes in Tennesse is sales tax. There is no income tax. That means if you need to lower your tax bill in TN, all you have to do is spend less money. And with $14.1 Billion in tourism dollars spent in Tennessee annually, that lowers the taxes per resident down to $1577/resident.
Now, not every resident earns or spends income, so the actual cost to workers is different. The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that only 58.3% of the population is employed, as of August 2012. That brings the tax burden to $5,415, $5,746/worker in Massachusetts, $2,705/worker in Tennessee, & $5,964 in New York at the state level, in addition to property taxes, which is primarily a municipality/county tax. The average property tax is $1,369 in California, $5,207 in New York, $915 in Tennessee, and $2,613 in Massachusetts. This varies greatly in California, with many areas paying $6k/year in property taxes for 1500 square feet homes on postage stamps and others living in the desert. And yes, renters pay property taxes too. The landlord passes it on to you in the form of rent, because to do otherwise would mean he was losing money.
And then there's the mortgage/rental costs itself. Because everyone pays more taxes in three of those states, everything costs more, including real estate. The average home size varies in the 4 states, but 2500 square feet is not far off the average. In Tennessee the average 2500 square foot house costs $188.7k, where as in New York it costs $305.8k, in California $322.3k, and in Massachusetts $314.8k. On a 4% APR 30 year mortgage, that's $7,356 more per year in mortgage payments between a $315k home versus a $188.7k home, of the same size.
It's not just more expensive to buy a house in the high tax states, you also get less land. There's one person per 4 acres in Tennessee, one per 3 acres in California, where vast areas are uninhabitable, one per .65 in New York, and 1.3 per acre in Massachusetts.
And then there is the electricity to power your home. This too is more expensive in high tax states. The average house uses about 950 kilowatt hours/month. In Tennessee, that is $1022, in Massachusetts, $1743, in New York, $2124, and in California $1744 per year.
These aren't the only things that are more expensive because of the higher taxes, but these are some of the big items. The Cost of Living compared to the National Average is 88.9% in Tennessee, versus 135.1% in California, 125.2% in New York, and 123.3% in Massachusetts. That means it costs 138.7% more to live in Massachusetts, 140.8% more in New York, and 152% more in California, than it costs to live in Tennessee.
And just with the tax burdens and those few major expenses, homes and electricity, the take home income is less when the remainder is divided by the Cost of Living. If you have 2 dependents, your median income Federal tax is $8,537 in Massachusetts, $3,786 in Tennessee, $6,964 in New York, and $6489 in California. The remaining income is equivalent to $36,821 in Massachusetts, $41,676 in Tennessee, $29,263 in New York, and $29,240 in California.
But, how far does that money go? Sometimes, making less, with less government, means you have more to spend.
American States spend $592.3 Billion (State level only) on education alone, and yet our education ranks lower than many Nations in the world. More money doesn't mean a better education. Tennessee spends 29.75% of its budget on Education, or $1,457/resident, while California spends only 26.76%, but $2,029/resident on Education, but California has the worst ranked schools in the Nation. The tick on the back of Education spending is the Federal Department of Education, which has ZERO students, and yet sucks up $77.4 Billion in "Education" tax dollars.
Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Census Bureau, Property taxes.us, Electric Choice.com
Liberty cannot survive where the majority can strip their neighbors of it. Liberty cannot exist where the individual is dependent on the government. Rights come with responsibilities for your own actions, and for their results.
We live now in a Nation where many parrot slogans paradoxical to themselves. The same people that proclaim a right to "choose" seek to deny the rights of others to choose whether or not to pay for the choice of strangers. The same organized syndicates that proclaim themselves the defender of the worker, violently oppose the right of a worker to be employed without their union. The same politicians that work behind the security blanket of armed guards claim it would send the wrong message to protect children in our schools with the same. The same partisans that blamed W for an attack barely 8 months after he took office was still blaming him for the economy 4 years after he left.
And the same groups that cast criminals as hapless victims of society, call for all society to be disarmed as a result of the crimes those criminals commit. An ancient notion of objects having good or evil inherent in their character has been revived in the party of "critical thinkers." "Critical thinking" itself is used in a manner anything but what the sum of its words mean. It is most often used to defend the blind acceptance of the thoughts others tell them to believe.
The calls for a safety net for everything from businesses too big to fail to able bodied men too lazy to work fail to realize safety nets already existed before the government monopoly began nationalizing the scene. It's called insurance and it has always worked best when it was regulated by the laws of supply and demand. And the more the government taxes the worker to pay the non-worker's grocery and prescription bills, the less incentive the worker has to work instead of take the handouts he's paying for. The problem is that as the percentage of working to to non-working Americans continues to shrink, the less there is available in taxes to pay the non-worker's bills.
The more the government taxes, the less money there is for workers, and the less competitive American factories are against the child laborers of Communist China. And when factories are no longer competitive in America, the corporations have to decide to either go bankrupt, or build factories where they can be competitive. That means fewer Americans have work.
The cost of American labor, through greater regulations, higher taxes, and excessive hidden costs are not the only reason it's now difficult to find anything "Made in America." The American consumer has bought into buying cheap products made in China, rather than paying a little more for quality products made here, by their neighbors. But, cost is a factor. It is now cheaper to ship American cowhides to the other side of the world, to Pakistan, to be tanned into leather and sewn into coats, than to ship it down the street for the same process.
When an American consumer chooses the cheap foreign product over a quality American product, he is contributing to the unemployment rate, he is contributing to his own difficulties in finding work. He can make an excuse that its the corporation's greed, but it was his decision to buy cheap instead of buying American. It is his responsibility that he made those foreign made products profitable, and the American made products unprofitable.
If you want the right to do on your property as you wish, then you must surrender your desire to tell others what they can do on theirs.
Only 4 countries in the world spend more money than the Federal government borrows to spend, and no government in the world collects more in taxes, or spends more than the US Federal government. In fact, only one government spends more money in total than the Federal Government spends on "Social Benefits" alone.
With every new piece of legislation, your liberty is eroded a little more. With every benefit you get from the government, a little more of your right to choose is taken. With every new tax, your income is eroded a little more, as is your chance to find employment. With every liberty you ask to be taken from someone else, a little more of your liberty is lost.
In the practice of special counter-drug patrols, cars and semi-trucks are pulled over on excuses of small infractions. The targets have out of state license plates. They are then "asked" if they will allow a search of their vehicle. (Just say NO!) The police are looking for cash. The cash is then seized on the suspicion that it is drug profits. The driver is pushed to deny ownership to make the legal proceedings simpler. The cash is then kept by the law enforcement agencies involved in seizing it. If the Citizen wants his money back, the prosecutor's office requires them to fight for it, with lawyers, sometimes for years, at considerable cost.
While it was Tennessee's journalists that uncovered it here, these shakedowns are not just happening here. News Channel 5, WSMV, Nashville has been investigating the illegal seizures of property for two years, since the Institute for Justice came out with their report. What they found was an abuse of power, greed, and corruption. It is clear from the words of those in power, those stealing from The People, that it is a breach of the Constitution. The people of Tennessee are outraged over it, even though the police are targeting guests of our great state.
The Institute of Justice points out that this practice is happening elsewhere. It includes Michigan, Texas, and Georgia in its reports as being worse than Tennessee, and more than half the Nation gets graded at least as bad. It found that in 2008, more than $1 Billion had been seized from individual Citizens and was being held by the Department of Justice's Assets Forfeiture Fund. Download Inst for Justice - Policing for ProfitNewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather
I encourage you to watch the video series. The defense of the practice by prosecutors and police officers should enrage you. When a police officer says "he didn't prove it wasn't drug money," it demonstrates a practice of "guilty until proven innocent."
"It is illegal to have proceeds." [of criminal activity], District Attorney General Kim Helper. The "fact that no one ever claimed the money proves it was illegal."
"The doctrine of in rem forfeiture arose from Medieval ideas, rooted in the ancient law of “deodand.” Kings, for instance, could seize an instrument that caused the death of another in order to finance the deceased’s funeral mass. The idea arose from a superstitious belief that objects acted independently to cause death." Policing for Profit, Institute of Justice
There is nothing illegal about using and/or having cash. I understand that in today's world few people use cash, but short of gold and silver, paper currency is still the closest thing to real money.
Constitutionally, it is the burden of the prosecutor and police to prove guilt in a crime, not the accused to prove innocence. This fundamental premise must be upheld in law, in legislation, and in practice.
Constitutionally, you and your property cannot be searched without proof of cause. It cannot be seized without Warrant.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures shall NOT be violated.." 4th Amendment, Bill of Rights, US Constitution
".. nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." 5th Amendment, Bill of Rights, US Constitution
If you are pulled over and asked to forfeit your Rights, i.e., "Can we look in your vehicle?" Just say NO! It may be the practice, but it is un-Constitutional, for the government to presume you are guilty because you retain your rights.
What should happen now? The Governor and Legislature of Tennessee should act to remove the excuse for unlawful search and seizure. The Judges should clamp down on the practice and protect the Constitution they swore to uphold. And beginning with the DAG Kim Helper, and including every official uncovered in Channel 5's investigation, demonstrating the corrupt and un-Constitutional "justification" for these roadside shakedowns should be fired, and stripped of any chance of ever being in a position of authority again. Ms. Helper should be disbarred.
And Citizens of other States should press for their governments to do the same. I'm all for seizing the finances of criminal organizations, but that money is not guilty of anything. The owner of the money must be proven to have gained it through criminal activity, before it can be seized.
Archeologists today are regularly finding evidence of technologies of the ancient world that match or exceed those of today. Wonders remain that have not yet been explained by today's crop of scientists, archeologists, and historians. Legends of old are being proven to be less myth and more history, that civilizations of 2,000 and 4,000 years ago weren't as primitive as modern man often thinks, that battles of old did occur, along with the fact that Heroes that fought them did exist.
Many of these new discoveries of old lack the details to understand the mechanics. And often, things that can't be explained are chalked up as extra-terrestrial interference. Yet, we know that even modern technological results can be achieved by various means. Flight today can be achieved by propeller, rotary, blimps, or glider aircraft. Physics may allow for other means of flight as yet undiscovered, or even lost in history.
The motivations and machinations of modern man are not much changed from those of ancient man. Why did Egyptians and Mayans strive to build bigger and better pyramids? Why do modern Asians and Americans strive to produce ever taller buildings and longer bridges? To put their mark on the world around them. To be the -est; the biggest, the brightest, the tallest, even if only for a moment in time.
We know that science and education has been learned and lost. We know for example that the current cycle of learning produced indoor plumbing in the 16th and 18th Centuries, but that the Romans also had it in 1st Century, and the Minoans had hot and cold running water, as well as sewage systems in 1700 BC. We know therefore that simple plumbing has been learned and lost at least twice in Western Civilization alone. Where would we be today if the technology of the Romans had not been lost to the invasions of the Muslim Caliphate in the 7th Century, had we not been plunged into the Dark Ages by "mini-Ice Age" and invading marauders?
Today's science and knowledge is expanding and advancing at paces unknown in human history, in large part due to concentrations and sharing of the same, in places like libraries and universities. In times past, there were parallels, and others there were perpendiculars, where inventors more closely horded their knowledge, but no man can maintain the whole world's body of knowledge in his own brain.
Today, archeologists are finding evidence that ancient man moved or formed buildings of stones greater than modern man can move or make, that ancient man may have understood aerodynamics and flight to some extent, that he knew astronomy as well as 21st Century scientists. The Mayan calendar, for example, takes into account astronomical events that occur only once in 5000 years.
We even know that we already losing the ability to read from technologies that were new in the 1980's, such as the 5 1/4" floppy disks and VHS tapes. We don't know how soon the internet or USB ports will be lost to history, or that the CD will go the way of the 8 track tape. How would future archeologists and scientists interpret the discovery of a collection of CD's, particularly if electricity and CD players were to be lost technologies, and unrediscovered?
Instead of admitting the most likely possibility, that invading Armies destroyed the records of how the feats of ancient man were accomplished, as were the technologies of the Romans and Greeks, many look to the stars, to say that aliens helped, or ordered the construction.
That is not to say that life does not exist in other places of the universe. It most likely does, and while some of the religious world might call that blasphemy, the Bible and other texts don't claim that life exists only on this world. In fact Genesis refers to many things it does not say were created or done. It does not tell us how Cain's wife came to be for example. It elaborates only of generations of a single son, for the most part, through Noah, yet tells of many wives and cities of people. A lack of detail in the Bible does not imply that anything did not exist or did not occur. A lack of understanding of how something occurs in the modern world does not mean that there isn't an underlying law of physics.
And in the possibility of extraterrestrial life, both scientists and clerics can be blinded by what they know. Scientists look for oxygen breathing, water drinking, carbon based life forms, instead of considering that life elsewhere might breath carbon dioxide (or some other gas) and drink oil (or not at all). Some clerics look to their texts and see that it only mentions life on Earth, and hence must exclude other worlds. What we do not know we don't know can be as limiting as the things we know we can't yet explain.
Ancient Incan miniature sculptures in gold present us with what could be a model of an airplane. Ancient Greek texts tell us of a chariot that flew inside a building for the entertainment of visitors. Biblical and other texts of the Middle East speak of other means of flight. And let us not forget the "Flight of Icarius" and the drawings of Michelangelo, which predate modern flight by hundreds or thousands of years. Not only is it possible that ancient man figured out the principles of lift, it is also possible that he knew other means of defying gravity. It is not impossible that Egyptians studied the flight of birds and built their own versions of planes, or it could be they simply carved out a miniature sculpture of what they saw in flight.
And while Science at one time insisted on the "fact" that the Earth was flat and the Universe revolved around it, modern Scientists may be insisting, and likely are, that "facts" and theories today are just as wrong. Since the first child ask his father, "Why is the sky blue?" man has attempted to speak in absolutes of knowledge he may or may not have. And just as many of those fathers gave an absolute reason of utter nonsense, so too do some today tell tales of absolutes they do not know, some of which may even make sense. Too often humans do not wish to admit to those that believe them smart, that they don't have an answer.
Science is not sacrireligious, nor does modernly known laws of science preclude intervention of a Supreme Being; the existence of God. While we have Theories of how the Universe and Life on Earth was formed, even if someday they are proven, it does not mean that it wasn't the machinations of a Supreme Being. Confined to Earth, man and Scientists cannot prove that anything does not exist. While we have only recently learned to send probes to other rocks in the Solar System, as far as we currently know, we've only sent life to the moon.
We haven't even planted a seed on Mars, or figured out how to get a camera to the next Solar System in our lifetimes. And we have only theories of what is actually in the center of the Earth or below the Marianna Trench. We know that magnetism works, and have harnessed its energies in many ways, but we do not know necessarily how or why, or all of its uses.
In every theory of the Universe, something was always there, timeless. While timeless is a concept we cannot fathom, Scientists and Clerics alike admit there must be something immune from time, from the cycle of life and death. Proponents of the Big Bang Theory believe the Universe was once compressed and exploded, while Christians believe it was God that caused the creation of Heaven (space) and Earth. While atheists point to the laws of physics as precluding the notion that God exists, there is nothing to say that God didn't author those laws as Congress authors the tax code.
Even today, technologies are being lost as other technologies are being invented. When I grew up, my father and I often worked on the cars we owned, adjusting the timing, changing spark plugs & alternators, occasionally even attempting to rebuild carburetors and transmissions. He wasn't a mechanic nor am I. Then, paying someone else to change an air filter or the oil was unheard of, except for "the rich" who also paid others to clean their house and pool. Today, many couldn't even find the oil plug bolt on their car, and don't consider that they could change the oil in less time than it takes to drive to the shop to have someone else do it.
Today, people will wait hours on the side of the road, waiting for someone else to come and to take off 5 lug nuts, and change their flat tire, while others can change 4 tires in 14 seconds. Ask a modern carpenter to build a shed without electricity, and you'll get an interesting look of puzzlement, but only a hundred years ago, there was no other way. He knows it can be done, but he likely has no idea of how to turn trees into a house. It doesn't necessarily take a laser to create precise structures and a modern crane is not the only way to lift a multi-ton stone. Even in the last few hundred years, a single man of small stature was able to build a multi-ton structure, without cranes, by himself. The means by which he built the structures, in Florida, remain unknown and bewildering to modern engineers.
What we think we know can be as limiting as what we don't know we don't know. We know that diamond can cut just about anything, but it is not the only thing that can cut rock, and just because we don't know how the Mayans built such precisely cut stone structures high in the mountains doesn't mean there's not a better way to cut and move rock than we know today. And just because we no longer have that technology doesn't mean that only aliens could have done so. In the 11th Century, hot water wasn't available to a king in his castle, though it was 28 centuries earlier.
Just because light travels faster than anything I know, does not mean there isn't something faster. Just because it is accepted that diamond is the hardest substance on Earth, doesn't mean there isn't something harder, or more brilliant. Just because we haven't found a reason to disprove the Theories of the Big Bang, or Evolution, does not mean they are fact. Just because modern flight was invented by the Wright Brothers does not mean the Mayans had not figured out the same or better ways thousands of years ago.
Just because we don't understand how the Egyptians or the Mayans came to the knowledge they had, or the technology to build the things they did, does not mean they had extraterrestrial help. They could have easily discovered the same laws of physics and aerodynamics, as have modern scientists, just as the English invented modern plumbing, despite the Roman systems of plumbing being lost to Invasion of the Caliphate. It's possible and even likely that they knew other sciences and had other technologies that we haven't re-discovered. It's possible that those technologies are even simpler than today's, like the abacus to the calculator, like magnetism to aerodynamic flight.
Just because we cannot explain something, does not mean it's unexplainable.
Still, in a world where Scientists note that the Earth has gone through numerous cycles of worldwide tropical environments and Ice Ages, that they can only theorize about causes, it is surprising that they alternately predict a man-made Ice Age (1970's) and Global Warming (1990's) based on so little empirical data (100 to 200 years), while simultaneously ignoring their own research of a 1000 year warming since the last "mini-Ice Age."
There is nothing wrong with developing theories in attempt to explain and discover the Truth, or in the belief in Aliens, God, or Atheism, but there is something profoundly wrong with teaching that theory as Fact, as we should have learned from the history of Science in proclaiming the Earth as Flat. There are things which can be believed only by Faith, including many tenets of Science.
As we approach the Christmas Holidays, the most dogmatic of Atheists seem ever more intent in preaching a religion of no God, though they cannot disprove God, and simultaneously must confess that something (matter) has eternally existed. The human need to convert others to one's own belief propel them to attempt to convert others to "non-belief," while some hubristically believe that only supreme beings of other planets could have helped ancient man in his feats, while others believe themselves the supreme beings of the Universe. While Science proves ever vastness of the Universe or Multiverse, and ever more microscopic elements, few seem to consider that the Universe itself may be a part of a being greater than our own comprehension, as incomprehensible to us, as we would be to a living being on a photon.
Just as man is the world upon which microorganisms live, and can transport knowing or unknowingly across vast distances in its lifetimes, which would take the equivalent of billions of lightyears to us, for the species to move, so too might we be the microorganisms as yet undiscovered by beings so vast that a solar system is an atom.
There are some things we each believe to be true, but we cannot prove as fact. Every belief you hold is probably contradicted by the belief of someone else, who holds its truth to be just as indisputable. Hence, it is important that we be honest with ourselves in what is fact, and what is belief, what is proven, and what must be accepted on Faith.
As we race towards the "Financial Cliff," there is a lot of tough talk, and while the word "compromise" is thrown around a lot, there is little compromise in the talk. While "negotiation" is used, those discussing how to do it seem inept at the principals of negotiation.
Compromise does not mean that you get everything you want, or that you give the other side everything they want. It means that the result is equally uncomfortable and equally agreeable to both sides in the end. It means you have to give up something you want to get some you want.
Negotiations do not begin by giving away your cards before you start in hopes that the other side will give them back to you when you have nothing they value, later. If the House of Representatives gives up their negotiating points in December in hopes they'll be approved in July, they'll get nothing in July, in 2013, or in 2014.
If the POTUS were as strong in negotiations with foreign enemies, if he were as demanding in "diplomacy" with non-allies, as he is with the Representatives the American People elected to Congress, and the allies who have stood by us throughout the centuries, the Administration would not be calling this "the end of the American Century." Instead, his political appointees in the Defense Department are noticing that China will outspend us militarily in a few years, as the Administration continues to call for spending cuts on Defense. It notes that China, India, and others will become greater economic powers than the US, and rather than doing something to stop this, accepts it.
"Elections have consequences," is a true statement, but it isn't so easy to say why people pulled the lever for one or another person or party. The people re-elected pretty much everyone, including the House of Representatives, which Constitutionally controls the purse-strings, i.e. Budgets, Taxes, and Spending, as well as the "debt limit." There are many people who voted for the POTUS because his challenger was considered boring, just as there were people who voted for Boehner because he has demonstrated his "sensitive side."
While the Administration heralds its own stubborness in the drawdown of "all combat Troops" from Afghanistan by 2014, it looks at having 14,000 Troops in Afghanistan post 2014 "to prevent Al-Qaeda" from returning.
But, back to the precipice of the "Financial Cliff." The Administration has complained that it needs to spend more to get the economy rejuvenated. It complains that factories and office jobs are being outsourced overseas, while it encourages the companies (GE) that are doing it, and selling American corporations (Chrysler) it took over to Foreign companies (Italy's Fiat).
Nancy Pelosi has gone out front for the Administration to say that cutting (certain) spending does not "add revenue," while calling for adding taxes which she calls "revenue." This is the same politician that earmarked $7 Million dollars for 7 monkeys to live in a pagoda in California and whose personal wealth has grown exponentially since elected to tens of millions of dollars in single years.
If the government were a business, it would have filed for bankruptcy decades ago. It is NOT a business. It does not have customers. Its services are not superior to those businesses provide. It should not be discussing "revenue increases."
The government collects taxes, which are an additional cost to businesses and a diminishment of the wages that workers earn. It decreases what they can use to buy the things they need and want. Every dollar the government collects means that a dollar less that businesses have to expand their operations, to build new factories, and to hire new workers. Every dollar it collects means that workers have a dollar less to buy the products that those factories make, and to spend on the services they provide.
While those consumers may not be making the decisions in the way I prefer, or the way the Administration wants, it is the money the taxpayer earned, and his to spend. It is the money that drives the US Economy, and excessive taxation is sucking it dry. And in the end, the dollar the consumer spends does a lot more to rejuvenate the economy than does the dollar the politicians tax away. And the combined tax collections of State and Federal government exceed 75% per worker of per capita Gross Domestic Product.
While the Chinese annual tax burden per individual is $1,225.40, the Federal tax burden alone on Americans is $10,524.22, in addition to state taxes (average tax burden per individual including State and Federal is $15,851.19 per person or $35,407.71 per worker) which are equal or greater to that in states like New York and California. While GDP growth was 1.8% in 2011, 157th in the world, inflation was 3.1%, in large part due to "Quantitative Easing," or the magical means by which Bernanke has proclaimed more American Dollars to exist, diminishing the value of each dollar that did exist. Economists believe that only Quantitative Easing "One" has hit the inflation rate, while Bernanke is already considering QE4.
Currently, 15.5% of all US Gross Domestic Product is sucked out of the US economy in Federal taxes alone. Including Social Security and Medicare taxes, brings this brings Federal taxation to 22%. In 2011, 8.7% of Gross Domestic Product was borrowed by the Federal government annually in new Federal borrowing, decreasing the amount of money available for consumers and companies to borrow. As of 2011, the government owes 67.8% (up by 5% from the year before) of annual US production in debt. Including government debt "to itself" brings this to 100% of GDP. If Americans and Corporations donated all of their labor and profits, keeping NOTHING for themselves, not even a morsel of bread, it would take a full year to pay off the Federal debt. Of course, the American people would die without food and water nearly 12 months before that.
Only 37 countries (only 13 when we include intra-government debt) owe a greater percentage of their GDP in debt, including Libya, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Spain, Italy and Greece, but State government debt is not included in the US percentage. Source: CIA World Fact Book. China owes only 43.3% of its growing GDP and Russia owes only 8.3% of its own.
Government is a monopoly and exhibits all of the largesse and irresponsibility that monopolies do. Whereas a person normally has at least the ability to decide against buying from a monopolistic business, or to limit what it buys from a monopoly, taxpayers have no option to stop buying from the government. Employers are required to collect taxes on the wages workers earn, whether he likes it or not. Stores are required to collect sales tax on the goods consumers buy, whether the taxpayer likes it or not. Companies are required to charge more for the goods they produce, whether the individual sees it or not.
Monopolies are bullies, and the government monopoly is the biggest bully of all. Even the taxpayer that decides not to file a tax return pays taxes. Not even an illegal alien working off the books can get away from paying taxes, even as he escapes many such as income taxes and FICA.
Hence, the Founding Fathers created the smallest possible government that it could. They got it wrong the first time, and made it too small, so they went back to the drafting table and created the US Constitution. The beauty of the new form of government was that it created competitive government: sovereign State governments allied in foreign affairs, that competed on a level field for workers, employers, and votes. They re-created the concept of Citizenship, removing the then norm of subjects of monarchs, which had not been a reality since the early days of the Roman Empire, and the Greek city-states from which it had derived.
Today, the US Federal government is the biggest government, in the world, and growing faster than the economy it sucks off of can endure.
The Founding Fathers prominently stated that government derived its authority from the Citizens that created it, that while government would assuredly attempt to overstretch that power, the Citizenry had a God-given right to dismantle that government. They noted that while Citizens would endure the small abuses of government and politicians, the People had a responsibility to overcome that government that took the abuses beyond what they could endure. Excessive taxation was among the enumerated abuses that caused the Founding Fathers to risk their lives and fortunes to throw off the chains of an abusive monarch.
Countries having more than $1 Trillion in taxes and/or spending include (as of 2011, CIA World Fact Book):
China: Revenue $1.646 Trillion, Expenditures: $1.729 Trillion
France: Taxes $1.415 Trillion, Spending: $1.559 Trillion
Germany: Taxes $1.598 Trillion, Spending: $1.633 Trillion
Italy: Taxes $1.025 Trillion, Spending: $1.111 Trillion
Japan: Taxes $1.956 Trillion, Spendig: $2.514 Trillion
United Kingdom: $984.8 Billion, Spending: $1.183 Trillion
United States: $2.303 Trillion, Spending: $3.599 Trillion, plus $1 Trillion in taxes and $2.3 Trillion in "social benefits" spending, plus State & Municipality taxes & spending.
While some imply that US taxation has decreased, the fact is that it has increased, substantially. In 1996 $1.45 Trillion was collected, growing to $1.82 Trillion in 1999, and $2.67 Billion in 2008. These tax collections increased, despite the dot.com bubble, despite the recession of 2000, despite the 9/11 attacks, and despite other downturns, during tax rate cuts. The problem is that spending by the Federal government has outpaced increased tax collection.
Worldwide, governments collect $20.37 Trillion dollars in taxes, and spend $23.25 Trillion annually, as of 2011. The United States Federal government collects 11.3% of ALL taxes worldwide and spends 15.4% of all government money WORLDWIDE. This, despite the fact that we have only 4.5% of the world's population (2012). And when we include Medicare & Social Security taxes and expenditures, the US Federal government collects 16.2% of all taxes worldwide and spends 25.3% of worldwide government money every year. It adds 10% of all national debt to the accumulated worldwide government debt every year.
The combined State Governments collected an additional $1.67 Trillion in taxes, according to the US Census Bureau, which exceeds the tax collections of all other nations in the world, except Japan, in addition to Federal tax collections, and means that the United States collects more than twice the taxes of any other Nation in the world. States, had a combined debt of $1.13 Trillion, made up significantly by the top 5 debtor States: California ($149.7 Billion), New York ($134.9 Billion), Massachusetts ($74.3 Billion), Illinois ($64.8 Billion), and New Jersey ($64 Billion). These are also members of the highest taxed states.
This brings a combined Federal and State tax collection total to $4.97 Trillion dollars (after $593.7 Billion in "intergovernment revenue" was subtracted), or an average (before municipality taxes) to $15,851.19 per person and $35,407.71 per employed person (Sep 2011, Bureau of Labor Statistics). It means that there is very little left for the worker, after the taxes are collected, already. Not all of these taxes are readily visible. These include corporate taxes, FCC taxes, oil taxes, property taxes, license fees, as well as sales tax, employment tax, and gasoline tax.
The federal government paid $432 Billion in interest on that debt in 2012 versus $454 Billion in 2008, despite having 50% more debt in 2012 versus 2008. This is due to artificially low interest rates. And when interest rates return to "normal," the interest rates alone will soak up nearly all of the taxes the government collects on worker production.
The US Federal debt has reached critical mass and must be dealt with. Taxes are not the problem. Americans already pay more than 24.4% of all taxes collected world wide, with only 4.47% of its population. There is a reason why the US Economy is stalling, why the Administration has prounounced the death of the American Century. There is a reason why China, India, and others will overtake the US as the world's leading economy, but it is not because we aren't taxed enough, or that the government doesn't spend enough. As tax collections, government spending, and government debt have increased, the US Economy has slowed.
Sources of figures in this article include: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the US Census Bureau, the CIA World Factbook, and the left wing "non-profit" Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In 2012, two videos achieved notoriety. One demonstrated the atrocities of Islamists in Egypt against Christians and spotlighted the precedents of the "prophet's" behavior in child molestation, and murder of civilians, war crimes, tyranny, and terrorism, as written in their holy book. The other was of an Asian in a dance he "created" which mimics the actions of a cowboy riding a horse.
One of the artistic creators was invited to perform for President Obama. The other was jailed by agents of the President.
But these men have a history. One is a refugee of Islamist abuses in Egypt while the other called for the torture of those following the orders of a previous President, following the orders of the American People. These are the 2004 words of one of the artists:
“Kill those f–ing Yankees who have been torturing Iraqi captives.”
“Kill those f–ing Yankees who ordered them to torture.”
“Kill their daughters, mothers, daughters-in-law and fathers”
“Kill them all slowly and painfully.” Psy
One was accused of hate crimes and of inspiring violence around the world. The other was given photo-ops with the Royal, er, First Family. One has lived under threat to life and family and the other espoused that the families and children of others be tortured. One has been threatened with death and the other has called for the death of innocents. Both have American citizenship. Both have attained the attention of the Emperor, er President.
You know what, I don't give a dayum about an apology 8 years after the fact from the rapper. He has a 'right' to say what he does and I have a right to invite him to move to North Korea where his anti-American antics will get him celebrity status in a kingdom where subjects must express gratitude for every grain of rice they receive, from their Communist god-king.
But since the POTUS is so good and experienced with apologies, I do call on him to apologize for his actions, for his rewarding of and embracing a man who called for the rape, torture, and murder of Americans, and their children. He can't claim ignorance. It was well known who and what it was before he met with him. And he can't claim lack of authority. He has used the power of the office to uninvite others to functions he has attended, as well as having the symbols of Christianity covered in his presence.
It would be nice for him to apologize for his own misdeeds for a change, instead of for the successes of America, and for the hard road American Troops have taken to free the people of foreign lands of tyrants.
His apology doesn't mean I'll forget his actions, nor that I'll forgive him for embracing the one that called for torture and jailing the one that complained of oppression, but it is the right thing, for him to do.
I'm not alone in my disgust with the actions of the POTUS in this. Fellow Veterans reported the story first, over at This Ain't Hell.
Americans today are more educated than they ever have been. Americans are an intelligent people. Historically, we are a hard-working and hardy people, that can overcome any enemy and any hardship. We have a tradition of seeing through the BS and making the right decision.
But, in today's world, many people are parroting the talking points of political parties without thought. Partisans are more concerned with which political party will be hurt more by sending us over "the financial cliff," than with how it will effect Americans. They are more concerned with pushing through partisan programmes than with the Constitutionality of those plans.
In one of the most classic of "a lie repeated often enough.." many Americans will often cite "a separation of church and state" as being a part of the Constitution, while that phrase is found no where in the Constitution, but rather is a part of the Communist Manifesto. And the courts and protestors continue to act on the misquote, while ignoring the actual words of the Constitution, of the 2nd Amendment that prohibit laws preventing "the free exercise thereof," of religion.
How can Americans not comprehend the importance of the US Constitution? Because their attention has been diverted to Hollywood. They have been entertained by the movies, by the antics of Hollywierdos, by starlets and harlots, to the point that Hollywood ran out of ideas and told Americans to entertain themselves with video games. Meanwhile, the mudslinging of political campaigns has become so repetitive and deceitful that its entertainment value is nil and its disgust value is maxed out. We've fallen prey to advertising slogans while failing to look below the surface of what the commercials claim the ruling class is doing.
"A wise Hebrew prophet once said 'No man liveth unto himself alone.' " Henry Noble Sherwood. Preface, Civics and Citizenship, Bobbs-Merrill: Indianpolis, 1934, a school textbook
Part IV of the textbook discusses government, including the US Constitution, its Amendments, as well as state and local governments. Chapter IX discusses "The Unfortunate Members" of Society, including the deaf or blind, the impoverished, and the mentally infirm, and civic responsibilities, through charity and community, at the local level, to help them. It goes on to define idiots, imbeciles, and morons. The point is that kids used to learn about the Constitution, as well as their responsibilities as a Citizen, in school. By law (PL 108-447, section 111, 2004), every educational institution that receives federal funding must teach the Constitution on the 17th of September, along with every Federal Agency, but both ignore the law.
The Civic duties of learning, knowing, and understanding the US Constitution have been removed from the educational system, replaced by political correctness, embedding the morals of the state, and preaching the tenets of environmentalism.
Politicians and parties will openly propagandize that "the Constitution is an outdated 200 year old document," while ignoring the Supreme Law of the Land. Their opposition will deny that it is "a living document," because the living concept of it, the Constitutional means of Amendment to it, is being ignored by those that are subverting it. And though the lie is oft repeated by party and partisan, rarely can any of the propagandists point to any clause that is outdated, or impertinent, because they don't know or don't care what it actually says. The Constitution is not a "living document" in that it can be overridden by politicians and legislative judges, but because it has the means built in to amend it, if the world changes around it.
It is only through ignorance of the importance and supremacy of the US Constitution, through ignorance of what is written in it, through ignorance of why the Founding Fathers wrote what they did, that voters allow partisan politics to ignore and erode the Rights and Freedoms of the People, from which all governing authority derives.
The Constitution is the law of how the US Government functions, and for what reason. It limits the scope of authority. The Bill of Rights further restricts that government, preserving the God-given Rights of Citizens in the face of that government. Those Rights are derived of "a higher power" than government, and hence not within the authority of government to remove, but they are guaranteed by the Constitution, specifically by the Amendments, known as the Bill of Rights.
The Supreme Court is set to rule soon on the "Constitutionality" of Constitutional Amendments to State Constitutions, in what is clearly a state government authority: definitions of marriage. There is only one possible Constitutional ruling: an amendment to a state Constitution is Constitutional unless the US Constitution spells it out as a federal authority, i.e. each state has jurisdiction over marital law. That is why it would take an amendment to the US Constitution in order for the Federal government to enter the legislative process of defining marriage. Neither Congress, nor the President, nor the Supreme Court, has any authority to create a law defining who can or can't "get married."
Congress does have the Constitutional authority, as an employer, to determine how and to whom it pays employee benefits, but not how the States define marriage. The Supreme Court does have authority to rule on whether or not those State Constitutional amendments are reflected legally in state laws, but not to overturn State Constitutions in regards to contract law, i.e. marital contract law, based on the US Constitution, because the US Constitution gives the federal government no authority on the matter.
The Federal Government does have the authority to levy an income tax, because of Constitutional Amendment, but it does not have the authority to tell a property owner to do or not do anything on his land, nor the authority to compel Individuals to purchase anything.
The supremacy of State Government in matters of domestic affairs is an implicit division of power within the US Constitution. This is as important for the subjects of Massachusetts and California, that want state run health insurance, as it is for the Citizens of Texas and Tennessee that don't. It means that both groups can get what they want, and the US Constitution bars the federal government and Congress and the President from legislating that Texans pay for Californian's health care, or preventing New Yorkers from voting in state run health care.
It means that businesses and people are free to "vote with their feet" and move from those states that strangle their financial success and upward mobility, to those states that fertilize it.
The benefits of small government are such that citizens are setting up private small government at the lowest levels. I'm referring to "Home Owner Associations," which are not unlike the roles of city governments, but as governed by mutual consent and more restrictive/invasive than municipal government. It is by mutual contract that the residents of an HOA has authority. By mutual contract, the property owner gives up rights of ownership of his own property, in order to control the activities of his neighbor.
And it is by mutual contract that the Citizens of the Individual States gives authority to the Federal government. But that mutual contract is the US Constitution, and it gives no authority to the Federal government, or its politicians to domestic governance. It gives no authority for treaties with the UN or Communist China to remove the authority of State Governments in domestic affairs, as the US Constitution retains all governance not given the federal government to the State Government, and it holds the US Constitution as supreme over all treaties.
But for every time that you insist or approve of a removal of the rights of your neighbor, you are also removing your own rights. And for everytime that you support the erosion of the US Constitution by your politicians, or fail to oppose it, you also support the erosion of your own Rights, as given by God, and guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. And while it may be things you think good being compelled on others in the moment, it may be things your ideological opponents consider good pushed on you later.
If your politicians compel me to buy health insurance I don't want today, my politicians may compel you to buy a modern firearm for defense of the Nation tomorrow. If your politicians insist that I maintain a proper exercise and diet routine today, my politicians have as much, if not more authority, to insist on you maintaining a proper marksmanship program at the firing range tomorrow. If there is a compulsion for me to get a vaccination to extend an umbrella of "protection" to those around me, then there is an equally valid argument that you maintain firearms, ammunition, and training to extend an umbrella of protection for your neighbors from criminals, terrorists, and foreign invasion.
It is your duty, as a Citizen, to know what the US Constitution says, and to understand why, to hold your politicians accountable, to defend my Rights, even when you don't like what I say, just as it is my duty to defend your Rights, even when I don't like what you're saying. It is your Responsibility to do so, before you exercise your right to vote, so that you can vote without ignorance.
While Syria slaughters its own people and Cairo burns yet again, idealism reveals again, that war is to be left in the dustbins of history. Similar predictions were made in 1909, just 4 years before the first World War, and in the 1930's by Neville Chamberlain, on the eve of the Second World War. In the 90's, Clinton slashed our military with the idealism that the world would be a safer place. It ignored the rising attacks by Islamist Terrorists and declarations of war by al-Qaeda, in hopes it would just go away. It claimed terrorism was a law enforcement problem, and should be tried in court, rather than prosecuted by militaries.
Zero Ponsdorf of This Ain't Hell points out the latest prediction of the impending future world of peace. And some blame the realism of Veterans, of the fact that Sovereign Nations maintain standing Armies for self-defense, that wars continue. Evidently, some believe that if Nations will just give up the means to defend themselves, then dictatorships will stop trying to take over their land and people.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the Communist Central Party of China has selected their new set of leaders, without ANY input from their Chinese subjects and are publishing new passports with maps of claiming the territory of several Pacific Nations, from the Philipines, to India, to Korea, to Japan, and of course Taiwan.
Communist China has been using the profits of the lead coated toys it sells to our kids, to buy modern battleships, aircraft carriers, and troop transports. It has taken over from the Soviets in stealing our technology, for such things as the Stealth Fighter which the Obama Administration decided was unneeded for our own military. It has doubled its military spending in the last decade, and continues to increase it by double digits. And now, it is making claims on the islands of the Pacifics in a manner reminiscent of 1930's Japan. The one thing that has contained China's military threat for decades is being erased: its inability to project the power of its 4.5 Million man Military.
As the world begins to see the results of Islamism unleashed in the wake of Obama's retreat from the Middle East, it is becoming more apparent that we have repeated 1978 Iran, rather than 1989 Eastern Europe. Veterans that lived through those days predicted it. The people of the effected countries feared it.
Tunisians ran for the boats before the Islamists could loot & burn their homes. The Italians had to beg the European Union for help in dealing with the refugees as thousands flocked to their Island. Women in particular feared as the Islamists returned from exile. A formerly stable country, with remarkable freedoms, considering its geographical position, and its nervous ethnic and religious divides, de-stabilized rapidly, opening the door for Islamism to seize power.
Egyptians, enamored with the idea of a greater say in their own politics flocked to the square, and got what they thought they wanted, unleashing the Islamists Mubarrak had held in check for decades in the process. Obama had ordered Mubarrak to step aside and make way for the Muslim Brotherhood. He had begged the Military to force out Mubarrak, and then demanded they hold elections before non-Islamists could organize political parties.
Today, Egyptians have learned the Muslim Brotherhood's Morsi, is declaring himself greater authority than even Mubarrak dared claim. They have learned that democracy can be as much an illusion in Egypt, as it is in Islamist Iran.
Islamist terrorists are pushing the war front South in Africa, into Mali, Nigeria, and Kenya, while civil wars continue to be as prolific today on continent, as they ever were, along with corruption, poverty, disease, and famine. Tyrants, like Islamist al-Bashir of Sudan, care less what stripe of Ideology they "represent" than that they maintain tyrannical control. And the 2 decade alliance of Islamist Iran and Sudan, finally bore fruit in 2012 Egypt, a country they had given up on in the 2000's.
And let us not forget Syria, where unrest of reasonable people has been seized upon by the jackals of Islamism, as they fight for the future dictatorial rights of tyranny. Average, freedom loving Syrians are now being crushed in the middle as Iranian backed Islamists, including Iran's Quds Force and Hezbollah, battle Hamas backed al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists. The violence has spilled into Turkey, Lebanon, and Israel.
In Pakistan, Taliban terrorists continue to slaughter Shi'a celebrating the assassination of a 7th Century descendant of Mohammad, as other Islamists do the same in Baghdad and Iraq.
Europe is not immune, and not just on the fringes of the Empire. While Turkey becomes more Islamist, Greece has burned at the behest of Communists and Socialists, who first created a debt crisis, and now violently protest measures to correct the problems. The birthplace of city-states, citizenship, and democracy is rocked and fire-bombed into the mayhem of socialism on the fringes of the Islamist Caliphate its descendents in Turkey helped create.
Spain continues to experience the pains of 25%+ unemployment, despite voting out the Socialist that turned their record economy into shambles in just a few years. Italy is having similar problems but not to the same extent. The good news for Spain is that the economy is so bad that even the Islamist terrorists are considering giving up. Parallels in Spain and Italy are erily reminiscent of pre-Fascist days of the early 1930's Europe, years before World War II.
In America, the words "Military Industrial Complex" continue to be spoken derisively, in an economy closer to the 1930's depression, than at any time since Jimmy Carter. Like FDR, the Obama Administration has attempted domestic spending programs with similar failures. The National Debt to Gross Domestic Production ratio exceeds any since FDR's World War II. Our entire Nation's annual production is now worth less than what our Government owes. But lost in the lessons of history is that FDR's attempts at spending the US out of depression failed. Lost in the lessons is that it was Defense Spending that lifted us out of Great Depression.
In the 1930's, as FDR saw the threat of a rising Nationalist Socialist dictator in Adolf Hitler and an Imperialist Emperor heading his own religion in Japan, he ramped up production of military equipment, selling it to Britain & the Soviets, and backfilling Chinese and Burmese fighting the Japanese.
And all of the treaties and the precursor to the United Nations, the League of Nations, could not ensure their prediction that World War I had been the war to end all wars. The treaties had limited the production of the machines of war, particularly that of Japan, Germany, America, France, and Britain. And while the Allies enjoyed the elimination of expenditures on military equipment, Japan and Germany enjoyed the economic benefits of a robust and aggressive weapons business. They invested in the technologies to be at the forefront of warfare, and ignored those de-moralizing treaties that ended the war to end all wars.
By the late 1930's, the dictators of Germany, Japan, & Italy had the Armies they needed to sweep across their neighbors, who had believed that if they just didn't build defenses, they wouldn't have wars. In less than 6 years, between 1939 and 1945, 4% of the population of the effected Nations, 62 Million to 78 Million, including up to 55 Million civilians and 25 Million soldiers had been killed, just 30 years after "the war to end all wars," and the new era of peace.
Today's threats include an Imperialist minded Communist China, parallel to the 1930's Japan, and Islamist Iran, expanding its influence in the Middle East and South Asia, which uses the same anti-Semetic propaganda and symbolism as did Germany's National Socialist's Goebels & Goehring. Like Hitler's Germany, there is the appearance of elections, so long as you vote for Ayatollah's Islamists. And the Aryans oppressed under Iran's Ayatollah & Ahdiminijad have as little say in their fate as did the Aryans oppressed under Germany's Hitler & Goebels.
Today's military defenses see increases in Russia rather than Germany, while Europe, including Britain, increasingly cut their own. The policies of appeasement espoused by Neville Chamberlain for Hitler are in full force in modern Europe to Islamists, Socialists, & Communists.
While Russia's Putin is more akin to the National Socialism of Hitler than his historical experience in Communism's KGB, he is re-building the grip on power Stalin and Lenin executed to create the largest empire of the 20th Century. To quote Hillary, "one would have to be willfully ignorant" to not see the friendly relations between Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, & Syria.
For the prophets of peace, the lessons of history should be ignored in the hopes that the human race will "evolve" beyond the base animal instincts, which continue to drive 99.5% of all the human animal does. Idealists continue to hope that if individuals stop attaining the means to defend themselves, and Nations stop attaining the means to defend their borders and citizens, the predators: criminals, terrorists, and tyrants, will stop swooping down on the weak, and taking what they want.
While it is disappointing that the most respected man in Washington has admitted to marital infidelity, that isn't a crime, at least not given that it occurred after he retired before the affair. Nor is it really difficult to understand it occurring. A younger, not unattractive woman was hanging on his every word, and literally writing a book about his life, and "genius." Every one of those medals, that reach the epaulette of his uniform, he wore in the military are just as earned today, as they were a year ago. He still turned the Iraq War around, and accepted a demotion to run the War in Afghanistan, for a President that had disrespected him. He is still an honorable man, even if he fell to human temptation.
But as the MSM and FBI continue into the mudpit of the affair, some common threads are becoming apparent. And those common threads are perhaps bigger than the original story, which took an honorable man out of the leadership of Our Nation's government. The common links are a Tampa socialite, Jill (Khawam-خاعم) Kelley, the FBI, and private emails.
"As they looked further, the FBI agents came across a private Gmail account that used an alias name. On further investigation, the account turned out to be Petraeus's." RICHARD LARDNER, AP
In the latest developments, the FBI conducted a middle of the night search of Paula Broadwell's house, General Allen is now being investigated, and the FBI agent that started the investigation on Jill Kelley's behalf has also been implicated. At the center of the web, remains Jill Kelley.
Mrs. Kelley appears to have great influence and access. She has enough influence to get the FBI to investigate what seems to have been anonymous emails from someone that simply knew too much about her private life. She's a civilian that has access to the top brass at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, those at Central Command that runs Military Operations in the Middle East, and to FBI agents. She is of Lebanese descent.
In contrast to initial reports, the email account used by Ms. Broadwell wasn't the General's/CIA Director's official account. It was instead a private email account, and anonymous, which means that the FBI conducted an in-depth search into private email, and IP addresses, and the personal computers attached to them, on behalf of a Tampa socialite. And they didn't just look at emails that were sent privately, but also the draft email folder, of emails that were never sent.
Apparently, the FBI struggled to find a justification for the investigation into an anonymous email account that sent unsavory emails to Mrs. Kelley, and the stricken FBI agent fired off letters to a Congressman to get the fire lit again. According to current reports, Mrs. Kelley did not know who Ms. Broadwell was.
So far, in all of this, no actual crimes or security threats have been confirmed. Marital infidelity is an issue of morality, and an issue for the parties involved: General and Mrs. Petraeus, and his biographer, Paula Broadwell. Sending email, or even using a draft folder in an anonymous, private email account to cover immoral, but not illegal activity is not a crime. Sending unsavory email is not a crime. Even the FBI agent's sending of an email with a topless picture of himself is not a crime, even though it was to a married woman.
The more troublesome details of the investigation are that so many FBI resources were diverted from investigating child-pornography (Cybercrimes Unit of FBI), and hunting terrorists, to satisfy the displeasure of a Tampa socialite and an FBI agent enamored with her, the amount of influence she appears to have attained, and perhaps more than anything the degree to which the FBI is willing to invade private communications in such a case.
"With subpoenas and warrants, the FBI and other investigating agencies routinely gain access to electronic inboxes and information about email accounts offered by Google, Yahoo and other Internet providers." RICHARD LARDNER, AP
And if the government is willing to go to such depths for a civilian socialite who was unhappy with the emails she received, what would they do for their political bosses? And evidently, if you want the FBI to have to get a warrant to look at your email, you need to delete the stuff that is 6 months old, though there is nothing in cyberspace that is truly deleted.
At present, at least two leaders troublesome to the Administration have gotten caught up in this: General Allen and General Petraeus.
Blame the weather. Blame "global warming." Blame hurricane "Sandy." Perhaps, Washington DC has run out of hot air for a moment. Perhaps, they're just taking a breath to spew some more. But tonight, and for the last 24 hours, my flag has been limp. It was flyng high when I voted. It was flying high when the MSM reported that 59% of Tennesseans voted against the incumbent.
I think it fell limp when CBS called Ohio for Obama. I could dissect how that could have been fraud, or could have been attained, but more than Ohio would have had to gone against him to vote him out of office. They called it way too early, and hours later they were reporting it was within 10,000 votes of going the other way. Like a great number of those that pushed the button against the incumbent, I am not a supporter of the opponent. It's not that I dislike Romney, but that he rarely gave me a reason to actually support him.
And therein lies the problem: Romney did very little to convince Troops and Veterans that he was the better choice. Like many, I can tell you ten to a hundred reasons to oppose the guy re-elected, but I can point to less than a dozen times that his opponent said he'd reverse those policies. Perhaps, had he campaigned on the issues important to those that do or have fought for Freedom, instead of taking for granted they would vote for him, the results would have been different. Reports indicate the military vote was below normal, and that even that, was undercounted. Some have claimed that enough military votes went uncounted to change the election results. I don't have the energy to even look into the claims.
The fact is that if Americans understood and believed in the Constitution, if they paid attention to what politicians are actually doing, instead of Hollywood gossip, we would never have arrived at this point. The fact is that the largest area of America voted against this, and the Founders did not intend for any small portion of America to control the rest. And a look at how Congressional Districts voted demonstrates that a few pockets of mostly urban areas are overruling the will of Americans.
There are two ways to resolve this: a divorce, or a return to the Constitution. See, the Constitution actually provides for both sides to get what they want, but it doesn't allow for the Federal government to do it. The Constitution allows for California, New York, and Taxachusetts to tax their rich to their hearts' content, and to coddle their lazy, while allowing Tennesseans, Texans, and Floridians to maintain their Freedom. The Founders foresaw that citydwellers of New York would have different demands of government than would the Farmers of Georgia. That's why they established the State Governments as the governments of domestic governance and the Federal Government as the presider of foreign policy, on behalf of those united States.
Under the Constitution, the State of Washington can tax its people at more than five times the rate of Tennesseans, while Texans have the Freedom to do what they want on their own land, and Taxachussets tells theirs what color trashcans to put on the street, so long as their republican forms of government are duly elected and pass those laws. But the city of Washington DC, and the politicians that make their money by being there can't take Nevada tax money to give to Chicago's slums.
Constitutionally, a Presidential Election should be 90% about Foreign Policy, and 10% about interstate commerce. Constitutionally, Gubernatorial Elections should be about the kinds of domestic policies we heard the Presidential candidates make this campaign about.
The problem is that the left coast and Northeast, having taxed their people to death, now want to spend the money earned by Alabamans and Alaskans. And the problem is that having taxed their corporations to death, they see that Manufacturers and Businesses prefer Mississippi and Missouri. And the problem is that killing the Southern Goose, won't give them any golden eggs.
If Americans had been paying attention to what has gone on in the world in the last 4 years, understood how and why the Founders designed the governments they did, and voted accordingly, we would not even have had these two candidates in the race, and if we had, we would not have had these results.
And if we don't defend Our Constitution at home, it won't matter how many terrorists we kill or capture overseas.
Recent conversations with various people have reminded and re-inforced to me just how out of touch so many have become with the Foundations of the American Liberty, and the very principles of democracy and governance. Publicly and privately, I have re-iterated that if those that love the Constitution cannot convince the American People of its value, with words, no degree of rebellion will do so.
These conversations have occurred with people of various ages from tweens to 90 year olds, from self-described Communists to Constitutionalists, from those who espouse an even greater expansion of government power and taxation, to those who believe the government has a conspiracy behind every event in the news. It will never cease to amaze me that some will believe that all corporations are evil, and "the people" would be better served with complete government control, a monopoly, of the same services, rather than the personal choice between various companies that must compete for their purchases.
Nor will my astonishment cease that so many can not see the cause and effect of American jobs being moved to China because they, individually, along with so many others like them continue to purchase cheap Chinese products, rather than buying the few things still Made in America. They justify their puchase of the cheap Chinese trinkets, with their claim that they can't afford and should not pay for quality products made by their neighbors. Then they turn around and complain that "corporations" are shipping jobs overseas. They want higher wages, but fail to recognize that they are unwilling to pay for the higher wages of their neighbors, preferring the cheap prices of goods made by asian kids and Chinese political prisoners.
Some have even suggested to me, that there is no "American culture," that it has been subsumed by consumerism, and that we as a people have become superficial. In some respects, I am forced to admit their point, even as I observe some of the culture of the South sapped by the same forces, while many old traditions of the South are claimed by its opponents for consumeristic or altruistic reasons, and very different ideologies.
As a kid, my father often took us to the Farmer's Market, where we bought bushels, literally, of fresh produce, from farmers he personally knew, at prices others paid for a few cans of processed food. My mother would slave over the stove for days, thereafter, with all of us helping, canning and freezing the food we'd eat for the next year. It was decades before I realized a pressure cooker could be used for "regular cooking." We had three, and a process for streamlining the process. Today, people go to the "Farmer's Market," because it's popular to buy "organic" foods, as if the stuff you buy in the supermarket is non-organic matter. They pay inflated prices.
We almost always had our own garden as well, which produced the fresh food we put on our table, as well as contributed to the canning process. It wasn't a trendy thing to do. It was the economical and smart thing to do. It was the Southern way. And after years in the military, I remember the surprise of the taste of a garden grown tomato, versus the mass produced stuff I had been eating in the mess hall for years.
Recycling meant re-using and repairing things that today would otherwise be thrown away. New cars were a rarity, and we fixed our own cars, not to mention changed our own oil.
America does have a distinct culture, even if has been washed over by a culture of consumerism and multiculturlism. America's culture is one of Freedom, of Liberty, of personal Independence & Responsibility. It is one of doing what's necessary, and all that one can for themselves, before asking for a handout. It is a culture of helping your neighbor when he needs help, but not one of being a subject to the whims and largesse of the government, even in a crisis.
My entire life I've heard of the "responsibility" to vote and I would counter that it is a "Right" to vote, but the responsibility is to educate yourself on what and who you are voting for, or against. I believe we've gotten into the mess we have because too many voters have no idea what the politicians they put in office are doing. Too many vote solely based on the letter behind the name. Some I have encountered are still voting based on which party did what to cause the Great Depression, and which they perceive presided over its recovery. Others vote based on propaganda over things that cannot be changed by the people they are voting for. There is ZERO chance Roe v. Wade will be overturned. ZERO. There is no way a Constitutional Amendment would be passed to ban abortions, and that is the ONLY way that it could be changed.
Our Founders created an alliance of States, formed for a Common Defense. They purposely and with reason made domestic governance a State responsibility and authority, banning the Federal Government from interfering in State and Local matters. They immediately passed the Bill of Rights, protecting the People from the Government, based on the inalienable Rights granted every Individual, by "the Creator" as they had previously stated in the Declaration of Independence.
Today, we have widespread support for the suppression of Free Speech, when it supports that with which we disagree. If it's labeled "hate speech," or argues against the messianic nature of the Politician in Chief, it "should be banned." We have widespread support for punishing corporations that build their products overseas, because Americans won't pay for the inflated union wages of stuff made here.
It is time for us, as a Nation, to revisit how the American Culture created the Foundation of Freedom, why the Founders created a system in which the greatest domestic governence was held to the lowest levels, and how the Right to Vote carries with it a Responsibility to know who and what you are voting for and against.
It is that Liberty and Freedom, which created not only the Greatest Country on Earth, but also the Economic and Military Superpower we became. It allowed penniless orphans to be become the richest men in the world, and allowed the richest heirs to become paupers.
Democracy just means you get a vote in something. It doesn't in and of itself guarantee you a single Right. One needs only look at 2009 Iran, or 2012 Russia to see that a vote can have as little positive effect as urinating into the wind. When the Rights of the People to speak against a government are suppressed, and the choices of politicians limited to those the powermongers at the top choose to allow you to pick, one is not a citizen, but rather a subject of that regime. Do you think they want to live under the oppressive yoke of their tyrants? NO, but they have no means (arms) to throw off their chains of bondage.
If the American People wish to maintain their Liberties, and their Rights, and the capability to choose, then they must educate themselves on the people and ideologies of those they put in office, and not just support a letter behind a name.
To say that the lack of focus on Foreign Policy, National Security, and National Defense in the current election campaign is disappointing to me, would be an understatement. I am very disappointed that the Romney-Ryan campaign has failed to define the differences between Romney and Obama. There ARE differences between them, and there are other points of perceived differences.
In my opinion, the Obama Administration is vulnerable on Foreign Policy and National Security, which it continues to claim is its strength. And it is not that I'm enamored with the Romney "me too" routine on Foreign Policy, but we have already seen that the Obama Administration has a record of making the wrong choices. The Romney campaign seems to rest this important part of its platform on others to define, and while that may be the smart political move, it doesn't sit well with me.
Still, the stated differences are there:
The Obama Administration has already pushed through cuts of 49,000 Active duty Soldiers and Hundreds of Billions of Dollars in budgetary cuts, as well as the current generation of weaponry, in favor of what amounts to using the previous generation of technology held together by baling wire. It is pushing for cuts of 100,000 Soldiers and Marines and $1 Trillion in budgetary cuts from the Department of Defense. DoD officials are now beginning to admit that these budget cuts are driving the "new strategy," that has us withdrawing from the Middle East, giving equipment to Europe who refuses to pay for their own defense, and unable to protect our diplomats when attacked.
The Romney platform calls for ADDING 100,000 Troops, rebuilding Our Navy, and adding to the DoD Budget. This is desperately needed. Including the War on Terror, current Military Spending is less, as a proportion of GDP, than it was during the peaceful years of the 1980's. We are well on our way to the type of Military that allowed WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam to occur. Morale inside the Military is dipping below the Clinton cuts years, towards the Carter years.
Despite Biden's claim that after 2014, without exception, there would be no US Troops in Afghanistan, Obama this year signed an agreement to keep Troops there through 2024. Though he forgot to predicate that with "combat" Troops, the fact will remain that those Troops will still be there and still be a target of the enemy which is regaining influence in the country. Either Biden just outright lied, on purpose, or he has failed to read the White House's own website, and been excluded from the discussion inside the White House. Regardless, the rush to retreat through 2014 is and has been, since 2009, a bad decision. It has emboldened the enemy, which has significantly increased attacks to the point that 75% of ALL violence in Afghanistan has occurred since Obama took office.
Romney has only differentiated the point of broadcasting to the enemy the timeline of withdrawal, as far as I can tell. When it comes to the 2014 date, he has said in debates, "Me too," while saying he disagreed with the publication of the timeline. I suspect there are other differences, but I haven't seen evidence of them. The Obama retort of "Liar, liar, pants on fire," to nearly every issue is childish, and lacks all value in a debate.
Libya, particularly the Benghazi attack, is a clear loser for Obama. Not only did the Administration deny requests for additional security by the Military Commander and the Ambassador on the ground, in the wake of attacks previous to 9/11/2012, but it then engaged in an attempt to misportray the attack as just a spontaneous mob, when it knew it was an enemy terrorist attack. The Obama Administration decided to not send re-inforcements, while it watched the attack via a drone feed. Now it cannot decide to claim that intelligence said it was a spontaneous mob (it didn't) or that it ignored the intelligence and claimed so anyways.
Egypt, particularly the Embassy attack, is another clear loser for Obama. The difference here is that since diplomats weren't killed in the attack, it has been able to get the event ignored in the wake. Despite the fact that the black flag of Al-Qaeda was raised over OUR Embassy, and the US Flag desecrated, this event is now swept under the rug as merely a spontaneous mob. It was NOT about a poorly made video, by an Egyptian Coptic Christian. Worse, the enemy was installed into government by the Obama Administration. He repeated the Carter mistakes of Iran, as if he were reading from the history books. "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
In Israel, there is a clear difference between the two. Romney has been clear in his support of Our Ally, and the most democratic and free Nation in the region. He has been clear in his support of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, and that is something we should have done decades ago. Obama has had 3 1/2 years to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital, and has not. He had to fight with his own party to falsely claim that he supported it, politically, despite that inaction. Obama has paid unconvincingly lip service to the alliance, while undermining Israel as a policy. He has demanded that Israel meet pre-conditions in order to negotiate away its borders to Hamas terrorists that have stated they will not quit killing Israeli civilians, until there is no more Israel.
Tied into the question of Our Ally, Israel, is our enemy, Iran, which has as a constitutional policy that it will export terrorism, is actively supporting the Assad atrocities on Syrian civilians, to include the use of Hezbollah, and Quds (Jerusalem) Forces inside of Syria, and continues to call for the eradication of Israel. While I do not support the President stating what would trigger the use of Military Force to prevent a Nuke Weaponized Iran, it is a necessity to say that it is a viable option that will become unpreventable at an unstated point of nuclearization.
The philosophy of the Islamist government of Iran is such that they don't necessarily need a missile, despite the fact they have them, to explode a nuclear device against the United States. The Ayatollah and Ahdiminijihadist have a philosophy of death. It has a stated belief that a final showdown with the United States will bring about Paradise. It celebrates suicide bombers as martyrs. It has missiles that can hit Israel, and airplanes that can hit New York. It has Hezbollah cells in several American cities, and bases of operation in Latin America.
Iran is another loser for Obama. When the Iranian people attempted to peaceably overthrow its tyrants, they needed only the moral support of the bastion of Freedom, America, to tell them it would back them up. Obama didn't even bother to vote present for it. His silence allowed the Iranian government to rape and murder its subjects, without pause. Romney has said he would have played it differently. Iran is ground zero of the Islamist explosion, and the central source of state-sponsored terrorism. It cannot be "contained," as were the Soviets, and sanctions alone will not work.
The War on Terrorism is another loser for Obama. He has barely uttered the words since it denied it was changing the terminology from "war" to "overseas contingency operations," and then did so anyway. It has refused to use the word "Victory," and has stricken the Taliban off the enemy's list, claiming they are just misunderstood. Obama rests his entire policy on the death of one man: bin Laden, while ignoring that he was replaced very quickly and was ineffective as an operational leader. His replacement, al-Zawahari, was the #2 from day one of the organization, and at least as effective, and more violent than bin Laden, but the Admin tries to downplay that.
The fact remains that the death of no single terrorist can end the war, nor can the war end just because we want to ignore that the enemy is attacking us. We have killed many al-Qaeda leaders. We have captured many. These events occurred before and after the last inauguration. But the enemy has re-built in the last 3 years, as they saw the weakness of the elected President. It has spread. It remains in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Iraq, in Iran, in Syria, but has expanded its influence there, while building its forces in Africa, in Yemen, in Mali, in Kenya, in Nigeria.
And rather than pursuing and destroying al-Qaeda in Africa, Obama diverted forces to track down an aging, has been rebel in Kony. Kony is reported to command less than 500 fighters in the jungles of Africa, and has no known Islamist ties, but rather than attack Boko Haram, or al-Shabab, Obama sent hundreds of US Troops to Africa to chase an ineffective ghost.
The clearest difference between Obama and Romney on Foreign Policy is Romney's "Peace through Strength" which defeated the Soviets and won the Cold War versus Obama's Apology Tour and relentless begging of the enemy to negotiate, despite the fact that they have no desire or need to give up anything in order to achieve everything they want, in 2014, or before.
Romney has said that Friend and Foe alike will know that we mean what we say, that'll we'll stand by Our Friends, and follow through with promises against Our Foes. That would be a distinct difference from the current policies of Obama, which have undermined our allies, and emboldened our enemies.
As some have begun to notice that the Army rate of suicides is increasing, I have been asked what I thought was the cause, and what could be done about it. I'm not a shrink, but I do have experience in the Army, as a Private, as a Sergeant, and as Senior NCO. I have sat through suicide prevention speeches & powerpoints. I have seen the reactions of senior leadership to the problem, and of the Troops to the announcements of the "training," as well as the speeches themselves. I can tell you that more speeches to the Troops is NOT the answer.
There is more than one reason that people choose the permanent solution of suicide to temporary problems, but one of the base reasons why a good number of them choose it is a feeling of worthlessness. There are others who commit suicide to escape physical pain they know cannot be escaped any other way, or those that have otherwise lost the ability to control their own destinies. Suicide is often triggered by a traumatic event, which can fester for years before culminating in a feeling of guilt that becomes insurmountable.
The rate of Army suicides climbed 25% after 2008, and is seeing an increase from that level this year.
It will not be fixed with more speeches. The answer is not even one suicide powerpoint. The answer is good leadership. The answer is not management. And that distinction, or rather the lack of it, is part of the problem. A leader is a member of the group he is leading. He's a part of the team. He knows his teammembers. They follow, because they know he's a part of that team. A manager tells subordinates what to do.
A true leader will know the strengths and weaknesses, the prides and fears of his teammembers. He has an interest in the lives of his teammates. He asks about their health issues, not so he can prepare an answer for his boss, but so he can ensure he doesn't aggrevate the problem, but more importantly because he cares about his Troops. True leadership can not be faked. Those who feign interest are easily seen through, most of the time. And true leadership has wained from my days as a Private. There are some that can fake it for a short period of time, but Troops will see through the fakers and flock to real leaders.
True leadership will prevent suicides, because a True Leader's Troops will know their role in the bigger picture. They will know they are important. And they'll know their part is recognized by their leader. True leadership will prevent suicides by nipping the small problems in the bud before they become big problems, before they become insurmountable.
And that focus on management in recent years, rather than leadership, in the Military is a part of the problem. And as Obama's cuts to Senior NCO's takes hold, the problem will get worse. NCO's that focus on their own careers, ahead of the health and welfare of their Troops are NOT good leaders. The Troops will see it and emulate it, but when those Senior NCO's are in fear of that chopping block, they will be forced, in many cases, to look out for themselves. And the first round of Obama cuts started this year.
The Suicide powerpoints are not true interest in the Troops. They're false interest, and the Troops see right through it, even those, particularly those that are suicidal. Worse, those briefs are a means of the leadership to shirk their own responsibilities of leadership. Yes, battlebuddies should know their fellow Soldier better than anyone, but a laminated card in a Soldier's pocket does not relieve the Sergeant from knowing his Troops, nor does it relieve the Staff Sergeant from knowing his Sergeants, or the Platoon Sergeant from knowing his Squad Leaders.
A Platoon Sergeant cannot know everything about every Soldier, but he should know each of them well enough to know when one is having a bad day, and when a series of bad days indicates its more than just a bad day. And when he asks the Squad Leader or Team Leader what's going on, those unit leaders should already know the answer. They should have already seen it, and talked to that Soldier.
The electronic age does not help this. True Leaders may use electronic communication, including FB, but they don't rely on it. Neither a facebook update, nor an email, replaces in person communication. Some things can ONLY be discussed face to face.
And if a Soldier does not trust his NCO's when the Soldier is having a hard go at it, that is a problem. It is a sign of bad leadership. Unfortunately, the current Military reaction to Suicide, as well as several other issues, places a barrier to that trust. Today's NCO's can place their own careers in jeopardy, if they do not overreact to small issues. How can a Soldier trust his NCO to not drag him to a shrink, with a minor problem, when he's carrying a card that instructs everyone to escort him to professional help if they have doubts.
To put this general concept into a more widely understandable context, think of how many times a day, you are asked how you are doing? In today's world, most of those times, the asker has no greater interest than saying I recognize your presence. But every now and then, you come across someone that means it. You can tell in their tone and voice. And you react to that genuine caring about your well-being. You may come across someone that fools you for a short while with false interest. Politicians work hard to perfect that. But when you realize it, your reaction is more negative than with the daily routine that you know is a lack of interest.
One of George W Bush's successes, despite his father's name, was his excellent memory. He was known for remembering the names of those he had briefly met, and their parents's names and kids' names. He was known to ask about things important to those he came across again.
This is not a new concept. Andrew Carnegie noted in his book "How to Win Friends and Influence People," written decades ago, that genuine interest in those around us creates a genuine bond and breeds success. He noted that it cannot be faked effectively. And he attributed that, with allowing him to put people smarter than himself around him, taking him to the top of an industry in which he was not an expert.
Despite the name of the book, he also points out that his book will not help you manipulate others to your will.
As Jonn at This Ain't Hell notes, Hillary has claimed all blame in turning down requests for more security ahead of the Benghazi attacks. As Jonn also points out, the world has recently learned that Obama can rarely be bothered with actually being briefed on National Security threats.
“I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Elise Labott. Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, Clinton said. “I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha,” she added, noting that it is close to the election.
Ignorance is not an excuse. It is particularly not an excuse when it is the willful ignorance of not taking the time to listen to the reports especially prepared for the guy that won the 2008 election, and NO ONE else. It's one thing that Jimmy Carter did not understand the monster that Iran would become in 1978 when he ordered the Shah to let the Ayatollah return from exile. It's completely different to ignore your daily intelligence briefings, and ignore the rise of Islamism in the Middle East, while we continue the Global War on Terrorism.
That's a far cry from his 2010 speech, when the panty bomber was "caught:"
Obama wants to claim that Foreign Policy and National Security are his strong suit. He wants to hide behind a claim to being a "war-time President." Yet, his decision to ignore the daily intelligence brief led to his claim that he didn't know there was any threat in Benghazi, or Cairo.
We learned in "No Easy Day" by "Mark Owen", that there was a lot of hemming and hawwing in the White House, before it "accepted the political risk" to kill OBL. In the Vice-Presidential debate, we heard Joe Biden outright lie to the American people in stating that categorically there would be "No Troops in Afghanistan after 2014," when Download 2012 Afghan Obama Agreement Obama signed an agreement keeping Troops (in a training status) in Afghanistan through at least 2024. In fact, he signed the letter of intent on his Victory lap over OBL's death. He signed it on May 1st, 2012, in a "surprise visit" to Kabul, and then signed the formal agreement later.
The chief politician wants to have it both ways. He wants to claim the hard fought Victories of Troops who put their lives in harm's way. And then he wants to disown the failures brought on by his own decisions. He has sent Hillary out to fall on her sword for him, because he claims ignorance of the threat. And since he isn't paying attention to the National Security briefings, he may well be ignorant of the emerging threats in the world, as well as the old ones.
But it was also his decisions that prevented a Marine FASTeam from responding when the Islamist terrorists breached the walls, when they opened fire with machine guns and RPG's on the Consulate in Benghazi. It may not be his fault that there was no fire department to respond to the flaming embassy, but he made the decision to position Marines in the vast Pacific, instead of in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. He could send Panetta out to fall on that sword, but it's not Panetta's decision to send Marines to save Diplomats from terrorists shooting RPG's and Mortars at the Consulate. Instead, Obama called a Transitional government (Libya) and asked them to send re-inforcements.
Marines have the FIRST Mission in protecting Our Embassies abroad. There are other security forces, including Diplomatic Security Forces, local security, and contractors, but the Marines have the primary mission. They are first on the list of response teams. There are others, including Special Forces and SeALs, but the Marines are FIRST on the list when the Sovereign grounds of a US Embassy are breached.
Those decisions rest in the Oval Office, and whether he or his supporters will publicly admit it or not, the blame lies on the guy behind the desk in it. Or using his golf clubs, as the case may be.
It's a horserace now. While there is only one poll that matters: November 6th, the Real Clear Politics aggregate of polls shows neither candidate having more than 50% of the vote in enough states to win the election, as of today. While their National polling aggregate shows Romney ahead by 1.4%, he still doesn't have more than 50% of the vote.
Some States are not even in contention, and won't ever be, unless something dramatic changes. The combined vote of CA, NY, IL, 7 others will always outweigh that of Middle America's farmers & factory workers. In fact, the 17 states the Democratic candidate can almost always count on in every election mean the party only needs to find another 69 electoral votes. That's why both campaigns are so focused on Ohio. It will likely decide the election. In all liklihood, the majority of States will likely vote for Romney, but the majority of those living in big cities, like New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles will vote for Obama. I doubt anyone has trusted the published results of Chicago since the mafia delivered the union vote for JFK in 1960. The cemetary vote is very powerful there. And the urban District of Columbia has a unrepresentatively powerful 3 electoral votes that will always go into the DNC category.
One of the great features of Real Clear Politics is that you can change the electoral vote, or at least how you think it'll shake out. Another reason, I look at it, is that it aggregates several polls, so it is probably more accurate. And we're getting close enough, that it actually could be predictive of the final results. It predicts a very tight race. In a no toss-up vote, it shows Obama winning, but when the margin of error is factored in, it can also predict a Romney win. At present, the difference hinges on margins as thin as 1.7% in Ohio and 0.4% in Virginia. Both States have a Margin of Error of greater than 3%, including some old polls, and neither State has polls showing an absolute majority in either candidates favor. In fact 11 States representing 146 electoral votes show majorities of less than 50%.
In the map to the right, the darkest shades represent those States that are solidly DNC or RNC, while the lightest shades could end up in either column. It shows a likely scenario in which Romney would win. All of the light blue and pink states have polls without a 50% majority for either candidate. Three of those States' have polls under 1% simple majorities, and 2 under 2%. To win, Obama only needs to change the electoral vote for one of those shown above to light blue. Currently, Ohio is polling at 1.7% for Obama, but that shows a significant momentum swing against him.
In the map to the left, the majority of America has still voted for Romney, but the extremes of America, the West Coast and the Northeast's electoral DNC loyalty, mean that Obama only needs to convince a few more people in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Toledo to vote for the incumbent.
There are other scenarios which would produce an Obama win, or a Romney win, but this is where both politicians are focusing their main efforts. It's not that a Republican has never won without Ohio. It's that since the reversal of poltical polls that occured in the elections of Reagan, no Republican has been able to overcome the guaranteed votes of NY and CA without Ohio.
The other point that could be made is that the blue States in the map are Union States, not as in the Civil War, but as in the Labor scenario. Though the Unions have weakened in membership in recent years, their political loyalties and campaigning have increased. The red States are more likely to have a "Right to Work" law, i.e. a law stating that an employee cannot be compelled to become a Union Member in order to gain employment. The corporate employment agencies, known as Unions, then siphon off considerable wages from those employees, and in turn send out what amounts to campaign literature for the DNC, and campaign funds to it. They organize rallies, regardless of voting district, or state, even paying non-Union members to hold signs and shout.
The question is not if Romney and Obama will spend enough money in Ohio to turn out the vote, but if the ads will turn the voters off to the point that Ohioians will decide not to vote. But Ohio seems to care more about the debates, than the ads. At present, the polls show Romney winning the popular vote while Obama wins the electoral vote, in a razor close election. There are even scenarios where the vote gets sent to the House of Representatives to make the final decision. For example, if Virginia, Nevada, and Iowa go to Romney and Ohio goes to Obama, then each could end up with 269 electoral votes, and the House of Representatives would be tasked to break the tie.
While a vote in Illinois or California may not have much weight this year, or any year, this election could quite easily rest on a recount and single vote in Ohio, and or Virginia, or a few other States.
Many have expressed concern that the current Presidential campaign has been devoid of National Security/Foreign Policy issues, myself included. I've said very little about Romney, because he has previously said very little about National Defense. I've picked up a few encouraging snippets in the last few weeks, but finally he has added some substance, on the topic Obama considers his strong suit.
"Hope is not a strategy." Romney is not the first I've heard say that. My old team Sergeant said it on a regular basis, when he felt complacency was setting in, when he thought someone wasn't planning or preparing properly, when someone forgot to plan. He was right "Hope is NOT a strategy." You can't just hope the right supplies and equipment will be available when you need it, where you need it, or that the other units involved are on the same sheet of music. You have to have a plan and you have to have thought out all the details of that plan, including what the enemy may do in response to your moves.
Romney is right. Hope is not a strategy. You have to have a plan for how to help your friends, and how to defeat your enemy.
Romney has pledged to roll back the Obama cuts to the Troops, to the restore the Navy from its current 1916 strengths. He has pledged to lead the Free World, not just hope others will do the right thing. He stated his recognition that a strong military prevents war, and that the world is more dangerous today than it was in 2008.
He noted that our Friends, our Allies, want American leadership, that the people of the Middle East, and the world want the Freedoms we have here. He pointed out that Libyans rejected the presence of the Islamist terrorists that had killed our diplomats, from remaining in their midst.
In the short 22 minutes of Romney's speech he points out many failures of the current Administration, such as Obama's silence when the Iranian people risked, and sacrificed their lives, in hopes that the world would help them overthrow their tyrannical regime, in 2009.
And when the civilian fatalities stood at half of the now 30,000, Obama sent Panetta & General Dempsey to Congress where his Secretary of Defense stated he would not get Congressional permission to go to war in Syria, but would wait on UN or NATO approval, despite the Constitution. And when the civilian fatalities stood at 1/3rd, the Administration said they didn't know who the rebels were, even after a year of combat. Now, al-Qaeda has made inroads, along with Hamas into the Syrian Civil War against Bashar Assad, his Russian and Communist Chinese allies, his Iranian allies, and their Hezbollah underlings. Lost in the crossfire are Syrians, who want Freedom, and democracy.
Though the Obama Administration denied the obvious for weeks, it has finally admitted that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi was the work of Al-Qaeda, or at least its Islamist allies, and not just an overreaction to a two bit video no one had heard of or would have heard of, if it hadn't of been for the attack on our Embassy in Cairo. In fact, the attack on the Embassy in Cairo was advertised and supported by the Islamist Nour Party there, an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood ruling party, and the attack on the Consulate in Benghazi appears to have been led by a terrorist released prematurely from GITMO, and directed to occur by Al-Qaeda's leader, al-Zawahari.
And the attack came days before Obama announced he was releasing a 1/3rd of the remaining terrorists left at GITMO, and turning over the terrorists at Bagram, along with the prison to Afghanistan.
The Romney speech comes on the heels of Lara Logan's speech to the Better Governance Association in Chicago, where she told them that Islamism, the Taliban, and Al-Qaeda have grown stronger in the last few years (of the Obama Administration). She knows. She's been there. She was in the middle of the events in Cairo, and has the lumps to prove it. She has interviewed General Allen, President Karzai, and members of the Taliban. She wore no scarf with Karzai or Allen, semi-covered her hair with Karzai's underlings, and had to scarf the camera as well with the Taliban.
We now know that there were many Islamists in that mob that day.
Obama has abandoned the Middle East, and Latin America, while ignoring Africa, while ordering the Military to focus instead on the vast ocean of the Pacific, with fewer Troops. His Administration pulled back on security forces in Libya, when his Ambassador there asked for more, and intelligence noted a pending attack. And the Marine response team that should have been on a moment's notice, was days away. His Ambassador, OUR Ambassador there was murdered as a result. Yes, it is the fault of the Islamist Terrorists that conducted the attacks, but it is the Administration which is to blame for ignoring the intelligence and the requests of the Ambassador on the ground.
Romney has struck a stark difference between his policies in Foreign Affairs and the current Administration's. Romney says he won't publish an enemy emboldening timeline of retreat, but will instead use the Diplomacy of Strength. He won't abandon allies, or back down from enemies, but instead ensure that allies and enemies alike will know we mean what we say, and have the means to back it up, and the will to do so.
Romney has said he won't allow America to be tossed about on the waves of world events, but will lead from the front, and shape those events.
I'm not necessarily excited about Romney but I am impressed with his speech. And I'm glad he has finally stated some positions on National Security and Foreign Policy. I will hold him to those words if he wins, just as I have pointed out that Obama's were empty when he said "Afghanistan would be his top priority," in the 2008 campaign.
It is time to turn the tide back in the favor of Freedom, and to push the rise of Islamism back on its heels.
SSgt Workman is featured in the Hall of Heroes and a book review on this from Marine Till Death that read it as it was written: http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/12/shadow-of-the-sword-by-jeremiah-workman-w-john-bruning.html
http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/12/ssgt-jeremiah-workman-navy-cross-usmc-iraq-marion-oh.html and links to prior articles.
http://waronterrornews.typepad.com/home/2008/12/ssgt-jeremiah-workman-navy-cross-usmc-iraq-marion-oh.html and links to prior articles.
Reads like an action novel, but gives insight into the way a Special Forces team operates. Go Along as an SF Medic turned Team Sergeant Trains and Fights in Afghanistan and the Invasion of Iraq.