Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Archive for the ‘Political Critique’ Category

Osama & Obama – They Don’t Just Rhyme

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on May 3, 2011 at 5:30 pm

They also think alike – at least in this regard.

You see, lots of people seem to be upset over the suspicion that the Pakistanis had knowledge of bin Laden’s residency in the neighborhood where our Navy Seals found him in his bedroom.  I think there is a much more important conclusion we might draw from that inference and the rational next one – that Osama knew that the Pakistanis were looking out for him and would warn him if he were ever in danger.

Furthermore, what might we deduce from Osama’s lack of security around his ‘compound’?  (BTW, didn’t the Kennedy’s have a compound?  Can we just call Obama’s abode his personal gated community?)

Start with this fact – Obama and his administration are on record time and time again with policy statements saying in effect that, until the State Department, The United Nations, The Council on Foreign Relations, George Soros, Chris Matthews and Vladimir Putin have signed off on a mission, the US military will not be deployed to protect American interests.

Theory – Osama believed him!  Therefore, he concluded that he had no need to maintain any expensive security force around his gated community.  He figured that, if the USA acted to come after him, he’d get plenty of warning from the intelligence community, particularly the Pakistani ISI or anyone else that Obama would have involved in his decision had he been true to his, er, multi-lateralist principles.

So the good news today is – President Obama can be counted on to do as he says exactly never.  It’s good news since, I suggest, that’s at least one of the, if not the primary reason we got Osama.

And, on a related note, Obama’s cheering squad are shouting over and over that this single act of ‘courage and bravery’ removes any concern that BHO is unreliable or indecisive in national security matters, and they are absolutely amazed that the President of the United States was capable of mingling among the press corps during their Saturday night prom – the annual WH Correspondents Dinner – without spilling the beans or being overly or noticeably concerned about the impending raid in Pakistan.  Unreal the logical knots they will tie themselves into when it comes to defending this man.

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A few words to GWB critics

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on May 2, 2011 at 10:38 pm

WHO ARE SUDDENLY ANTI-TERROR HAWKS NOW THAT PRESIDENT OBAMA TOOK ACTION AGAINST BIN LADEN

(You can fill in the blanks for the questions to which I reply.)

1. Do you believe that if Saddam were still in power in Iraq, there’d be no terrorist safe havens there?  Grow up.  All the terrorists are in Pakistan (or Yemen or  . . .) because that’s where we’re NOT.

2. Really – GWB (the dunce) tricked the entire national security apparatus into going to war in Iraq to avenge a threat against his father?  God, I wish he’d applied that same trickery to, oh say, reforming Social Security or making lower tax rates permanent.  Damn!

3. Saddam Hussein had goals and objectives that were congruent with al Qaeda’s.  It is naive to think they never did or would never collaborate to destroy their mutual enemy.

4. Every intelligence agency in the world believed Saddam had WMD.  GWB did not lie.  More importantly, would you have preferred that he err on the opposite side of the question?  “Oh, baloney Dick [Cheney].  Let’s pass.  I’m pretty sure all the intelligence is wrong.  And he probably threw away the recipe for the gases he used against other Iraqis and the Kuwaitis, right?”

5. GWB wasted time going after ‘Small fish.’  Really? – Saddam commanded an army and controlled billions of barrels of oil and access to major pipelines and sea lanes in Middle East.  Osama is a bigger fish?

6.  Barack Obama has now removed any doubts about his national security credentials?  I must have missed it.  He replaced the entire national security apparatus and recruited all new Navy Seals for the purpose of eliminating bin Laden, and he exercised unique presidential courage and bravery by sending those new men into Pakistan (unilaterally – Pakistan had no knowledge of our plans)?  Baloney.  This victory happening on April 30, 2011 instead of January 19, 2009 is pure coincidence.  Stop the indecent, partisan chest-pounding; after all, I thought that politicizing national security matters was untoward and overly partisan.

There’s more, but the point is made.

God Bless America.

Debt Ceiling – Did that alarm-thingy go off again?

In Economics, Financial, Opinion, Political Critique on April 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm

If you want to know how serious or knowledgable any of the politicians are about taxing and spending issues, just ask one of them “how large an increase in the debt ceiling do you recommend?”  If their answer is anything less than, say, $10 Trillion dollars (the amount the debt is expected to increase over the next 6-8 years) then that politician is merely pretending to be paying attention to the situation and actually has no sense of what is going on in the country they “govern” much less what are the consequences of his actions.

You’ll get an answer like “up to $17 Trillion” (up from $14.5T now) and you’ll know beyond doubt that they’re not serious, because that increase will last about a year, maybe two . . . and we’re right back where we started.

That’s really the point the Republicans are making (and not very well, by the way).  Unless we pair the increase to major reform in the budget process and serious spending cuts, we’re just kicking the can down the road and solving nothing – like pushing the snooze button on the alarm clock and rolling over for another few winks.

Wake up America – they’re toying with issues that can do irreparable harm to our country and the freedoms we seem to take for granted.  The politicians have no clue what they’re doing – seriously, they don’t – and the ‘media wing’ of the government is complicit, because they think the explosion might be good for ratings.

Budget Cuts – Congress plans to ban charitable deeds!

In Economics, Opinion, Political Critique on April 18, 2011 at 11:24 am

Why do some people equate what our government does with what our country does?

This nation is comprised of individuals, men and women, all of whom have the freedom to act on their own beliefs – they may help the poor, feed the hungry, abort the babies of the unfortunat­ely pregnant, or subsidize the purchase of windmills for T. Boone Pickens.  I will not object to Harry Reid’s efforts to raise a fund to pay for any and all of those things, so long as he keeps the power of Congress and the IRS out of the process.

The question is, why does he, and his ilk, think those things are only possible if plann ed and done by the federal government­.  And why are they deemed worthy only after the IRS has forceably taken money from men who, maybe, wanted to invest those dollars in a new farming process that might double the output of corn per acre of farmland, thus making food more affordable for millions of children?

Reducing government spending does not vaporize money or ban good deeds – it simply lets the men and women who OWN that money choose for themselves how it should be deployed.  Who, other than a member of Congress and lobbyists, believes that 535 men/women in Congress know better what to do with YOUR money than you do?

The Ryan Plan – A Deeply Flawed Compromise

In Economics, Political Critique on April 17, 2011 at 10:38 pm

The Wall Street Journal is correct about President Obama and the poison he’s poured into the dialogue.  (See editorial here)  However, the Ryan plan is part of the problem, too.

Ryan’s plan is akin to something that, say, Bill Clinton could have proposed in 1996.  It does not contain a single clear statement of principals that could distinguish it from any other partisan economic plan.  “Economic plan” – that phrase alone tells us all we need to know, doesn’t it?

Ryan’s plan is merely a collection of compromises and marginally different government solutions that MAY result in there being a smaller government – until another Nancy Pelosi Congress undoes it all again.  The Ryan Plan contains no rational for smaller government or any defense of lower taxes for the sake of making men more free – it suggests small government and lower taxes are mere policy preferences that will accomplish some preferred economic outcome or another.  That is NOT the way a free people ought to be governed.  It is not what our founding fathers envisioned for their posterity.  It is not the government men and women have died to preserve.

When we argue on such terms, government wins.  If instead we use individual liberty and freedom as the moral rational and basis for a small government with limited powers, lower taxes, etc., we have a winning argument.  When the GOP says “we have to tax the rich less because they create jobs,” they’re merely make another rebuttable statement, adding to the cacophony – whoever shouts last or loudest wins the public’s attention, and defending ‘the rich’ is drowned out by ‘help your fellow man.’

Defending freedom and individual liberty, a man’s right to dispose of his income and wealth as he sees fit, not based on some split-the-difference compromise between John Boehner and Barack Obama, will gain support of Americans.  Vowing to fight Barack Obama in order to take slightly less money from the rich and spend it differently is not an inspirational platform.

Glenn Beck is fanning the wrong flames

In Opinion, Political Critique on March 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm

First, I believe that Mr. Beck’s intentions are pure.  I fear, however, that the attacks on him have, understandably, triggered innate defense responses.  Consequently, he’s fighting and waging the wrong battle.  He’s fighting hate with fire; that will not end well.  I admit that understanding what we are facing is necessary, but it is not a complete, winning strategy.  Inflaming the left without making the contrary arguments calmly and repeatedly will result in a power struggle to the death of the Republic.

Support for freedom and individual rights thrives if, and only if, it is nurtured.  Beck’s TV shows (so too the opposition’s) are filled with telling his audience who to be against.  He cites polls showing this or that preference of some position by some majority.  Over and over he suggests that the supporters of the majority view, as revealed in that magic crystal ball called a poll, needs rise up and impose its will on the rest of the country.

He will never be more wrong.  We must not tolerate our politicians or TV pundits mimicking Joe Barton (See his Tea Party speech here) who wrongly thought he could pander to the Tea Party Patriots by identifying with the tank driver in Tiananmen Square, likening the Democrats to the little girl.  I don’t want to cajole anyone to agree with me, I want to be free, including free of Democrats or Republicans passing laws that tell me how to live and where my money should be “invested” by the federal government.  A government that is not neutral is tyrannical.

The sovereignty of the individual as set forth first in the Declaration of Independence, all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, is the most important and radical political statement in the history of mankind.  Never before was the individual recognized as the center of all things.  That uniquely American, foundational truth gets overlooked when the power struggle for a majority begins.  Candidates bob and weave to bundle together enough votes from disparate interest groups to form a majority.  Then, once in office, the newly-powerful elected official hides behind the “voice of the people,” the power of democracy, and a “mandate” to [unlawfully] infringe on the freedoms of the people who voted against him in favor of those who voted for him.

That cycle will accelerate the downfall of the Republic that Mr. Beck genuinely claims to be working to avert.  I pray he finds his bearings and stops preaching fire and brimstone, and instead instructs his opponents about salvation.  Even during violent battles, Abraham Lincoln saved the union by appealing to his enemies best nature, not by attacking their worst flaws. 

With malice toward none, with charity for all.

Please rediscover that spirit, America.  Please.

–  See Lincoln’s Sword by Douglas Wilson for a scholarly treatment (and inspirational read) of President Lincoln’s use of rhetoric to save the Union.

A Tank or a Little Girl? A Politician or a Leader?

In Opinion, Political Critique on February 28, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Representative Joe Barton (R-TX) appeared at the Tea Party Patriots’ National Policy Summit on February 26, 2011.

Without expressing any opinion about the rest of the weekend, the Tea Party in general, Sarah Palin’s fitness for office, or Barack Obama’s citizenship (I don’t really care where his mother gave birth) I will express an opinion about the modern political establishment, Democrats and Republicans, as exemplified by this portion of Mr. Barton’s remarks.  (Watch from 1:03 to 1:55)

[Rep. Barton compares majority and minority status with little girl and the tank in Tiananmen Square]

After a little nervous laughter, 800 people in the room went nearly silent, Rep. Barton paused, knowing his joke had fallen flat.  There was a fearful, sunken feeling deep in the gut of the group.  I’m not sure whether many of the crowd could have described the feeling, but it wasn’t admiration or respect.  I think it was shock.

Free men give our admiration, hearts and prayers to the little girl when we recall Tiananmen Square.  Americans don’t aspire to be driving the tank.  Emphatically we want no elected official to identify with the tank operator, even if he’s suggesting that the little girl symbolizes his or our political opponents.  We don’t think in those terms about ourselves, our neighbors, our opponents, our government . . . or anyone’s little girls.

Joe Barton prefaced this part of his speech by reminding the group that he is a 26-year veteran of the U.S. House of Representatives.  The portion of that long tenure that he chose to emphasize was the stark difference between his experiences serving in the majority versus in the minority status.  He grinned as he bragged about how fulfilling it is to be back in the majority, how important it is to have command of the tank again.

Of course he was speaking figuratively and was attempting humor, but the truth behind the bad joke is this: like every other member of our modern political establishment, Joe Barton relishes the power of his office and is seldom mindful of the individual liberty and unalienable rights of those he is privileged and paid to, uh, govern – One can’t call what they do “leading.”

We need a better brand of politicians.  We need men and women who don’t covet and are not seduced by power, who will not conclude that it is their mission to pass laws and regulations that dictate other people’s lives; men and women who don’t fantasize about driving a tank over their political opponents.

We will only find those men and women if we look beyond Washington and outside of the Republican and Democratic Parties.  We will find them if, and only if, we look for leaders who are proud to live by the creed that all men are created equal and abide by the law of nature that governments are not instituted to elevate or demote ANY man, or little girl.

Where is your heart?

Freedom, not ‘who wins?’ in the Middle East

In foreign policy, Opinion, Political Critique on February 23, 2011 at 9:55 am

The President (and most of the rest of the pundits and opinion leaders) continue to hedge on the question of who should lead Egypt or Libya or Saudi Arabia.  That’s been our mistake for 30 years.  We should not be on the side of any regime or faction or mob.  We may have to deal with facts, but we don’t have to support evil.

Choose Freedom every time, then we’re right even if we don’t win a given battle.  The WAR is about freedom, not the next election or change in power in Egypt or China or Korea.  Ronald Reagan could not be sure what type of government Lech Walesa would establish in Poland, but he made it clear that a government that fostered freedom and individual rights would get support from the USA.

WE CAN DO BETTER

Wisconsin: Upon reflection, it’s not the Unions’ fault, is it?

In Economics, Opinion, Political Critique on February 22, 2011 at 5:11 pm

We need a better brand of politicians.

Let’s look at Wisconsin and the battle royale Governor Walker is up against.  Let’s finally place the blame where it belongs – vote buying, career-enhancing, perpetual politicians

For years, the governor’s predecessors had a cozy little thing going with the unions – they bought political support with tax-payer money in the form of juicy compensation for union members.  But since those same elected officials had promised voters they would keep taxes low, they had sold their souls twice.  Then the lies started to cover it up.

First, they gave the union workers IOUs instead of cash:  exorbitant pension benefits, ‘free’ health care, excessive paid vacation, sick leave, birthdays off,  etc.  The union bosses collected their dues up front, of course, and the union members took home the promise of gold in the future.  The second lie compounded the problem; those same politicians knowingly under-funded the pension plans to hide the cost of the IOUs from the voters.  Then they fudged the calculations when testing whether the ‘lock-box’ into which they were supposed to be putting the money would earn enough investment returns to cover the promises.  (Ergo the term ‘unfunded pension obligations.’)

Now, the promises have piled up too high, and the calculations can’t be fudged enough to hide the lies that have accumulated over decades of irresponsible (fraudulent?) management of the government fisc.  The fiduciaries of the pension funds – elected and appointed officials – have been caught in their malfeasance.  And, those perpetrators, having moved on to lucrative lobbying jobs or other post-retirement positions, have left the likes of Governor Walker to tell the voters and union members the cold, hard truth.

UH, we’re broke!

And that’s just the bad news.  The worse news is that the same thing is going on with Social Security (and Medicare, unemployment insurance, and Medicaid, too, by the way).  There is not a single lock-box, Al Gore.  Teachers, and the other union pensioners who are exempt from Social Security (yes, that’s correct – they have a separate system) are experiencing exactly what the rest of the US population is going to realize as soon as someone tells the truth.  One wonders, which politician has the guts to do what Governor Walker is doing when, instead of a few thousand protestors, it’s a few million people who are told ‘we can’t keep the promises we made to you.’  How many people will fit on the Mall?  How many gun-toting retirees does the Dome Room hold?

If that truth isn’t told soon, it will end this nation.

It won’t be easy.  Hell, it will be hellish.  Someone has to tell the truth soon.  I know where Americans stand in matters of truth or lies.  Where does you favorite politician stand when it comes to telling the truth?

The President [also] Punts

In Opinion, Political Critique on February 17, 2011 at 8:41 am

Republicans and some of the political commentators tell us, as if we didn’t notice, that the Obama administration acted irresponsibly in not addressing entitlements in its recently submitted buget.

My recommendation:  Get over it.  Let the president abstain.  And, Congress, pass a budget that reforms the budget process, upends entitlements, eliminates unconstitutional programs and agencies, maintains proper levels of defense spending and balances the budget within, pick a number, 3 years.  Tell the president, “we’re sorry you’ve chosen to take a pass, but we’ve decided to govern without you.  OH, we’re going to need your signature in about a month, so stay close to DC.  Until then, hit ’em straight and long.”

Or resign and let us replace you – tomorrow.

There are only two reasons a given politician isn’t working obsessively to fix the budget process and reduce the national debt.  Mr. Congressman, Mr. Senator, show us which you are – either not intellectually qualified to figure out how to do this or not serious about wanting to do it.

Either way, we want someone else doing your job if you can’t or won’t.