Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Why I’ve Lost Trust in the U.S. Government

For the past six years, I have tried hard to give President Obama and the Administration every benefit of the doubt when I saw bad things happen. I realized that government is a complicated and difficult thing to administer; and often conflicting things tug at politicians, causing them to make decisions that will never please everyone—especially, me.

But, as time has gone on, I am giving up on trying to maintain a positive attitude toward our government. There are many reasons:

1)     It is insane to keep the Keystone pipeline sidelined when we need that facility to spark our business with oil exports and domestic oil use. The pipeline would create lots of jobs. There would be essentially no damaging environmental effect to the pipeline according to repeated examinations and evaluation of that question.

2)     The IRS scandal is real. Lois Lerner is red-handed guilty of consorting with Democrat activists against conservatives. If she were not guilty, why would she have claimed her rights under the Fifth Amendment? Yet, the government has effectively covered up her footsteps and the footsteps of other government bureaucrats in the IRS.

3)     The damage done at Benghazi was considerable; and the government is loath to admit their lack of effort to prevent such a debacle. Governmental nay-saying has obfuscated the whole situation. Somebody did not provide adequate Marine guards at the Benghazi consulate. The president is the Commander in Chief and it is his fault.

4)   Operation Fast and Furious was a stupid and bungling idea that should be examined and prosecuted.

5)   It is a travesty that conservative watch-dogs of the government have been unable to examine the above three problems because the administration has openly violated the Freedom Of Information Act in refusing to release information that is supposed to be open to the public.

6)     A U.S. Marine, Andrew Tahmooressi, is still in a Mexican jail because of a trumped-up charge by the Mexican government that he was trying to run guns into Mexico. President Obama has evidently made no effective effort to get him released. The President surely made a big effort get Bowe Bergdahl, a deserter from the U.S. Army in Afghanistan released from Taliban confinement, even though Bergdahl voluntarily left his post to conspire with the Taliban. It seems to me that Obama did this for the primary reason that he wanted to empty out the Guantanamo detention center. He traded five of the most dangerous al-Qaeda fighters in detention for Bergdahl. But he won’t lift a finger to free Tahmooressi.

7)     U.S. immigration policy is in bad shape and needs immediate attention of the President; yet, he stalls on this because he wants to be careful of his political legacy.

8)     ObamaCare was a very poor piece of legislation pushed through on a completely partisan basis. It won’t work; and it would have been much better to consider  its weak points by consulting with Republicans before turning it into law.

9)     “Foreign policy” is a joke under the Obama administration. The world needs U.S. leadership; and “leading from behind” is not the way to address the dangers abroad.

10)  Tax and spend, the Democrat way of life, has been a dismal failure in getting America out of the recession. The government’s way of dealing with the problem is an obvious refutation of Keynesian economic theory. Yet, liberals cling to its theories as though they depending on them for their very life.   

11)  All the time, while the President is needed in Washington tending to the business of government, he is out traveling around to one campaign and fund-raising event after another. This president needs to stay at home and tend the store.




Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Obama’s “Foreign Policy”—A Myth

President Obama does not know how to use the American military machinery. He does not realize that a strong American military goes a long way toward preventing war. A weak military causes America’s opponents to strike out in violence around the world.

President Obama’s policies have shrunk our country’s military to its pre-Pearl Harbor size and backed away from American leadership abroad. This is a historic retreat from our role in protecting world order since World War II. America should not cling to policies that undermine international strength.

Now, we have a weak and cringing president who is fearful of any action without the approval of the “international community.”

Restoring American military and moral strength in the world should be a relentless theme of our foreign policy. Apology and “leading from behind” will not accomplish anything but encourage chaos in the world.


Sunday, September 7, 2014

Something Else to Blame G.W. Bush for!

George W. Bush deserves a tip of the hat. Here's what the "prophet" Bush said in 2007 about the dangers of a premature withdrawal from Iraq:

"I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we're ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we'd be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we allowed the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous."

One of those people Bush referred to who was pushing for a quick withdrawal from Iraq was then-Senator Barack Obama.

Obama won the White House in 2008 promising to be the anti-Bush, vowing to get out of Iraq. Obama got what he wanted. And now the very things George Bush warned about -- mass killings on a horrific scale, a terrorist safe haven in Iraq and American troops returning to fight a more dangerous enemy -- are reality.

By the way, we're still waiting for Obama's strategy to take on ISIS, but fortunately we don't have to wait any longer for the Forest Service's strategy for making safe, low-calorie S'mores.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review of the book, “Bomb”

Nancy and I have recently read the book, “Bomb,” by Steve Sheinkin. This book is an account of the invention and manufacture of the 1st atomic bombs. It is a fascinating story; and it is not meant to be a tome on the dangers of the weapons race. However, one cannot read this book without realizing a strong feeling of apprehension about the possibility of world-wide disaster in the form of a nuclear war. Russia has already exploded a 50 megaton hydrogen bomb, which is absolutely unthinkable as a weapon of MASS destruction—the magnitude of this weapon is beyond description. Robert Oppenheimer was right that the job before mankind is to figure out how to keep civilizations from destroying themselves.

This book brings home the verse in 2 Peter 3:8, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.”


Monday, September 1, 2014

Let’s Smoke Out the Truth About Marijuana!

Colorado and Washington State both legalized recreational marijuana in 2013. Now, data is available from Colorado about how that is working out for that state. Let’s see!

The market demand for marijuana in Colorado is 130 metric tons per year. Colorado has licensed 739 sites for growing pot; and this is spread across more than 1,200 acres of land. The marijuana industry now leases more than one million square feet of space in the Denver area, for both indoor growing and warehousing.

There has been a sharp increase in pot-related calls to poison control centers; seizures have quadrupled; and two deaths so far are attributed to marijuana overdoses.

Police departments across the country report that 27% of seriously injured drivers nationwide test positive for pot. Long-term studies in the United States and New Zealand show regular marijuana smokers—like cigarette smokers—demonstrate much more symptomatology of chronic bronchitis and emphysema than non-smokers. That should be no surprise to any thinking person.

Marijuana is sold in Colorado in the form of cigarettes, candy, suckers, cookies, and pot sodas.

An interesting account of marijuana use was published by a New York Times columnist, Maureen Down when she visited Colorado to research pot use for a future column in May 2014. Here’s how she described her encounter with a pot cookie. She bought a pot cookie, which had no dosing instructions and nibbled on it. Noticing nothing, she nibbled more. And then she writes:

“I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have arrested for being unable to handle my candy.”

Levy Thaba, a 19 year-old college student on spring break, became delirious and agitated after eating a pot-laced cookie in March. He began shaking, screaming and throwing things before jumping off a four-story balcony to his death.

Marijuana use has been linked to depression, anxiety, and mental illness—especially schizophrenia and psychosis, according to systematic reviews of studies published in Lancet, Archives of General Psychiatry and the British Medical Journal.

There should be no surprise that there is big money being made on the marijuana sales business. State legislators estimated the first full-year sales estimate at $600 million, and industry watchers expect it to reach $1 billion annually in Colorado. The money being spent in Colorado to advertise and market marijuana is coming from two major investors. George Soros and Peter Lewis, both multimillionaires, are spending 67% of the money used to spread the use of the weed. Soros has spent $80 million and Lewis has spent $40 million on this industry. You can be sure they are not investing charitably in this business—they are making money!

Pot dispensaries, like liquor stores are located primarily in low-income and minority neighborhoods. Advertising is done through billboards, taxis, bus stops, sign twirlers, and newspapers. The push is on to get more and more people hooked on the drug.

Marijuana is an entry drug into harder drug use; and I do not believe that thinking people in America should every vote to legalize the drug. It is just not worth the cost in human suffering and disablement for constructive participation in society and especially in the workforce. Would you like to meet a marijuana-intoxicated driver on the highways?

(This blog post was excerpted from Citizen Magazine, published by Focus On The Family for September 2014.)


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Progressivism, What Is It? What Has It Done?

Progressivism is a broad political philosophy based on the Idea of Progress, which asserts that advances in science, technology, economic development, and social organization can improve the human condition. It emerged from the vast social changes brought about by industrialization in the Western world in the late 19th century, particularly out of the view that progress was being stifled by vast economic inequality between the rich and the poor, minimally regulated laissez-faire capitalism with out-of-control monopolistic corporations, intense and often violent conflict between workers and capitalists, and a need for measures to address these problems.

Progressivism has been the sweetheart dream of American Presidents, mostly Democrats, for more than 100 years, beginning with Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and culminating with the most progressive of all presidents, Barack Obama. Progressive presidents have cherished the idea that more and more government control over the culture, economy, and society is just the prescription our country needs to develop to the apex of its good accomplishments.

Progressivism entered the vocabulary of Barack Obama through the teachings of Saul Alinsky, in Obama’s younger years in Chicago, when he and wife Michelle worked in Alinsky’s organizations promoting what was called “community organization. “ Present day conservatives call this kind of governmental thinking and policy-making, socialism. Let’s see what Progressivism has done to America, these days.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats have implemented the most massive expansion of federal regulatory authority since the Great Depression, manifested mainly by the Dodd-Frank bill, which regulates financial institutions and the Affordable Care Act, which regulates 1/6 of the economy through the health care system. Every Senate Democrat voted for each of those bills. No Republicans in either house voted for the ACA.

As is well known, the Obama recovery from the 2008 recession is the weakest in postwar WW II history. If the Obama recovery had been as strong as the average of the previous 10 postwar recoveries, 13.9 million more Americans would be working today and the average real per capita income of every man, woman and child in America would be $6,308 higher.

Since the Senate Democratic Class of 2008 took control, the average real income of the poorest one-fifth of American families has declined every year, falling to $15,534 in 2012 from $16,962 in 2008 (the 2013 data will be released Sept. 16). The average real income of the lowest quintile of Americans is now below the level it was in 1968, the year when the War on Poverty began its spending surge under Lyndon Johnson.

The next-highest income quintile, often referred to as the working class, has also experienced a continuous decline in real income since January 2009. The average income of these Americans has fallen 6.5% and is now $1,182 lower than it was when President Reagan left office.

The third quintile—America's middle class—has seen its average income decline to $62,464 from $65,672. More than half of this decline has occurred since the recovery officially began in the second quarter of 2009.

In Alaska, household income in 2012 was 7.2% lower than it was at the end of 2008, falling back to its 1988 level. In Arkansas, household income has dropped 8.2%. Colorado households have 13.5% less income than they did before the Democratic Congress and President Obama transformed America. The same is true in Louisiana, where household income has fallen 7.9%. And in North Carolina, household income has declined 10.2%—falling to the lowest level in the 28 years the Census Bureau has provided state-by-state income data.

Census data also show the progressive program has failed women and minorities. Married women, unmarried women and women living alone all saw their incomes fall. Under the Obama administration, the median income of women has fallen more during the recovery than it did during the recession, an unprecedented economic failure in postwar America.

The real median income of African-American households has fallen by 9.5%, more than any other major census classification. Hispanic income has fallen, especially for middle-income Hispanic families, whose income has declined every year since 2008.

The Democratic Party's great political victory in 2008 led to the realization of a progressive agenda in the making for a century. That agenda has resulted in economic failure for working Americans. It failed as it has always failed: Progressive policies buy votes but destroy prosperity. The entire Obama program is now endangered because their program has hurt the very people it was supposed to benefit.

(Much of this blog post was redacted from the Wall Street Journal of 8/17/14, an op-ed by Phil Gramm and Michael Solon.)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Which Nation Belongs in the Land of Israel?

“That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot by any compact deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property….” Virginia Bill of Rights 1776

During World War I, the Arab states had fought alongside of the Western Allies against the Central Powers, i.e., Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and especially against the Ottoman Empire. In return for their help, the Allies had promised the Arabs independence. Instead, at the Paris peace conference after the war, the Allies carved up the Arab lands formerly controlled by the Ottomans and gave it over to the administration of the French and British. Present day Iraq, Trans-Jordan, and Palestine/Israel were given to the British. The areas of present day Syria and Lebanon were given to the French. This outraged the Arabs.

When the British took over Palestine, their Foreign Secretary, Arthur Balfour issued the famous Balfour Declaration which specified that Palestine should be set up to house Jews and thereby win political support of European Jews. The Declaration stated, “Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing not-Jewish communities in Palestine.” Those “non-Jewish communities” were Arabs. The Declaration aggravated conflict between Arabs and Jewish nationalists. 

Since Roman times, Jews had dreamed of returning to Palestine; and, indeed, a small Jewish population had stayed in the area for all those hundreds of years, even after World War I. As anti-Semitism spread in Germany and Eastern Europe after that war, increasing numbers of Jews immigrated into the land of Palestine, bringing with them money and technical expertise. They bought farmland and established businesses and industries. All of this activity offended the much poorer Arab residents, because the Arabs were pushed out of their homes and jobs.

In 1948, Britain and the United States agreed that the land of Israel should be established as a Jewish state; Israel was designated an independent nation. This action stimulated mass migration of Jews from Arab states, Europe, and the United States. It also escalated the conflict between the Israeli Jews and their Arab neighbors. Since then, Israel has been continuously mobilized for war; and it has actually been involved in defending itself against aggressive Arab neighbors in seven shooting wars.

Despite all the adversity facing the nation of Israel, the country has prospered. The Israeli culture has produced a vibrant literature, pace-setting arts and six of the world's leading universities. A huge program of reforestation has been accomplished and is still developing. The philosophy and religion of Zionism in Israel has reinstituted the ancient language of Hebrew. The family values that Zionism has fostered have produced the fastest natural population growth rate in the modernized world and history's largest Jewish community. The average secular couple in Israel has at least three children, each a reaffirmation of confidence in Zionism's future. The population is annually rated among the happiest, healthiest and most educated in the world. Life expectancy in Israel, reflecting its superb universal health-care system, significantly exceeds America's and that of most European countries. Unemployment is low, the economy robust. A global leader in innovation, Israel is home to research and development centers of some 300 high-tech companies, including Apple, Intel and Motorola. The beaches are teeming, the rock music is awesome, and the food is of excellent quality.

Jews and Christians recognize a centuries’ long principle of Jewish hegemony over the land of Israel. It is attested to in the 12th Chapter of Genesis and in subsequent chapters. Abraham, the father of the Jews was promised this land by God, himself. The nation is named after one of the Patriarchs (Jacob). Jews strongly identify with this 4,000-year-long bond between themselves and their historic homeland. They have sustained this belief throughout 20 centuries of exile.

We return to our previous question, i.e., to whom does this land belong? For my part, I think Israel belongs to the Jews. It has belonged to the Jews through many centuries of exile. They have returned and converted the land into a prospering democratic republic, honoring the rule of law, property rights, and the dignity of individuals. All this accomplishment in contrast to the outright poverty and squalor of the Palestinian culture across the Jordan River.

(Some of this blog post was gleaned from an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Michael B. Oren, a former ambassador to the United States, written 1 August 2014.)