Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Get it over with and Kill Qaddafi (Gadhafi, Kaddafi, whatever)

I love watching the news that NATO dropped a couple of bombs into Kaddafi’s compound and then they swore that they weren’t trying to kill Kaddafi.  Why the hell not? 

Kaddafi has maintained his rank, wears a uniform, and is the leader of his military.  Makes you wonder why he doesn’t promote himself – but I digress.  We can kill him without remorse and without breaking any rules. 

Remember Admiral Yamamoto in World War II?  The architect of Japanese Naval strategy to include the attack on Pearl Harbor was intentionally targeted by American aircraft and killed while being flown to an advanced base.  Righteous kill. 

During the First Gulf War it was determined by Pentagon lawyers that Saddam Hussein was a legitimate target (wore a uniform, leader of his country’s military, and carried a weapon).  In retrospect – don’t you wish we would have killed him in 1991?  We still may have had to enter Iraq later, but sending Saddam Hussein to hell 15 years earlier would have been a good thing. 

It’s okay NATO – take him out.  The world will be a better place without him.  

The American Way of War: A History of United States Military Strategy and Policy 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Oh my God - I think he’s really running

Through a number of news programs and articles recently I think that Donald Trump is actually running for president of the United States.  What started out as a harmless prank is now becoming frightening reality.  I’m not laughing Donald – it ain’t funny anymore.  

Thursday I heard Trump say that we should just take Iraqi oil.  Now I’ve said that after 5 or 6 drinks, but I wouldn’t say it to a news reporter on National television.  While it may be attractive to imagine that we are in the 18th Century and we can simply overwhelm a country or portion of the world and extract the wealth without regard to the indigenous population – what message does that send about America in the Twenty-first century?  His statements are useless bravado and nothing more. 

Trump says he will slap a 25% tariff on Chinese goods.  Who exactly does Trump think will pay that tariff?  The Chinese?  Businessman Trump doesn’t seem to understand the basics of business.  The Smoot-Hawley Act that raised tariffs on 20,000 different imported goods in 1930 and was largely blamed for accelerating the economic downturn of 1929 that became a Depression.  People pay those tariffs and other taxes – not countries and not corporations.  Trump should know better – apparently he isn’t an historian either.

I guess I should be grateful.  When compared to Donald Trump, Tim Pawlenty looks absolutely brilliant. 

Courage to Stand: An American Story 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Your Tax Money at Work

I flew into small-town America last week – a city with an airport and that airport had a single gate.  The first thing I learned was that United didn’t staff the airport with enough people to keep the front desk open while they were unloading the plane.  When I left, they closed down the counter to go load the plane.  Not so with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  It made clear the difference between how the government and a business differ in operation.  

After I arrived and failed to locate my suitcase I returned to the counter.  It wasn’t open.  All the United people were out getting the plane turned around.  However all the TSA people were there – four of them to screen the dozen or so people who got on the plane that I had arrived on.  I asked the TSA quartette “Did you guys out- number the passengers?”  I don’t think they thought it was funny.  I regretted that immediately as I had to run the same TSA gauntlet in a couple of days. 

When I returned to the airport the following morning there were two United employees who returned my errant suitcase.  There were four TSA employees. 

When I returned a few days later to leave – same scenario – two United workers and four TSA screeners for twelve passengers. They had all of the tools that you have at a multi-gate airport in the USA except that there was only one screening line.   How exactly does this make sense?  Now I know that once they cleared me I was cleared to go anywhere in the USA, but it does seem that if all those feeder airports around the country have the same set-up we are bleeding cash to sustain that level of security effort. 

As an aside, I saw my first enhanced pat-down at that airport.  It was embarrassing.  I was the fifth person screened and filed into the small waiting area.  All the seats were arranged in an “L” shape around the screening area.  Nearly all the seats (including mine) faced the screening area.  For no apparent reason a young woman in tight shorts and a floppy shirt was held up for enhanced pat-down.   I can tell you that it was obvious to me that she didn’t have anything in the pockets of those shorts but the TSA gal stroked her hands over her butt anyway.  I didn’t think that a blue-gloved finger thrust into the tight waistband of those shorts was going to find anything either – and I was right.  However it was cupping her breasts that utterly surprised me.  It wasn’t like getting to second base or anything, but hey – cupping a breast is cupping a breast.  I can’t imagine allowing that to be done to my mother, daughter, or wife.  I was shocked.   Hadn’t they heard of the Fourth Amendment?

I think that this security level has gone too far.  The plane that flies back and forth to an airport with one gate is too small to take down a building.  We need to back off and only screen at larger facilities.  Further we have to stop the degradation of our wives, mothers, and daughters by TSA screeners.  It is beyond absurd.  
Leather Bound United States Constitution (Black) 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Art of the Possible

I went to an event for a local political leader recently.  Virginia is riding high on the heels of our 2009 election which put a Republican in the governor’s mansion.  He is ably assisted by a Republican Lieutenant Governor, our Obamacare-slaying Attorney General, and a friendly House of Delegates.  Our only problem is in the Virginia Senate where a Democrat majority either stopped or watered down any number of worthy efforts this session.  Now we have an opportunity to fix that in November 2011 when we go to the polls again. 

One Freshman Delegate in recounting his very successful session mentioned that he had learned about the “art of the possible.”  What does that mean exactly?  The reference was made to a bill requiring the use of “E-verify” by Virginia’s businesses.  While it provided an important milestone, some of the teeth of the bill had to be removed in order to ram it through a hostile Democrat Senate.  Is Virginia better off?  Decidedly yes.  Did we get everything we wanted?  Decidedly no.  That is not dissimilar to the problems that Speaker John Boehner faces on the National stage. 

The comment about the “art of the possible” stuck in my memory.  It turns out that Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck is generally attributed with saying that “Politics is the art of the possible.”  That means more to me today than it ever might have before.  With a radical leftist in the White House and a Senate still controlled by the left – it is important to understand what the “art of the possible” is exactly.  The House under Speaker Boehner passed the repeal of Obamacare and that was an important gesture even though it had no chance of being passed through the Senate and signed into law.  But the repeal of Obamacare is not possible right now. 

The brinksmanship that Republicans and Democrats are engaged in right now needs to be put into the context of the “art of the possible.”  When the Republicans battle for weeks to save a measly $38 Billion the party and particularly the TEA movement shouldn’t be railing against Boehner and Cantor – they should be redoubling their efforts to get rid of Pelosi and Frank.  I would concede that Republicans make mistakes from time-to-time, but Democrats are downright evil and they will never give us the kind of country that we want and need.  These intramural fire fights between Conservatives and railing about RINOs are a useless waste of energy.  We need to focus all our energy on the prize – retaking the White House and the Senate.  With that said – Republicans need to play the game and support efforts like Representative Paul Ryan’s budget.  It will be a battle royal and we shouldn’t give an inch without exposing the smarmy Democrats who are fighting every single effort at fiscal sanity.  But it is unlikely that Republican’s won’t have to give some ground in order to win concessions.  When the inevitable criticism comes from the political neophytes in the TEA movement – we have to focus them on the real enemy – Democrats.  Fiscal sanity just isn’t possible with Democrats controlling 2/3rds of the government.  That’s what we have to fix – and soon. 

We open up a completely new world of possibilities if Obama becomes our worst ex-President and Harry Reid becomes our sourest ex-Majority Leader.  Then we can do some real open field running.  

Leather Bound United States Constitution (Black)      The United States Constitution. High Quality Replica of Historical document. Genuine Parchment & Quill. Framed and Matted

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Military Tribunals vs. Federal Court System

After entirely too long, the Attorney General of the Unites States made the decision that should have been made years ago.  Terrorist mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) will be tried in Guantanamo Bay rather than New York City.  Now our military will no doubt suffer in relative silence the absurd categorizations that will be made by the left about the fairness of a military tribunal. 

How does a military tribunal stack up against a Federal Court?  I can tell you that having been part of and subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice system for nearly 40% of my life; I prefer it to the civilian justice system.  The military system is faster and has built in reviews to ensure fairness.  Most importantly all the positions in the military justice system from Judge, to jury are populated by people of honor and integrity.  That is unless a defendant introduces a civilian lawyer into the fray. 

The military doesn’t necessarily believe that everyone has the right to be found innocent.  We reserve that right for people who actually are innocent.  O.J. Simpson wouldn’t have walked free after murdering two people had he been subjected to military justice for example.  The jury for KSM will be made up of brave military officers of maturity and intelligence who will fairly and impartially try the accused.   

Military officers believe that if you are accused of murder you deserve a first class trial.  We also believe that if you are guilty of murder you deserve a first class hanging.   

Constitution and National Security, The        Pocket Constitution (Text from the U.S. Bicentennial Commission Edition)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Lincoln and Obama; a brief comparison

Our 16th President wasn’t a big personal hero in my family.  The only branch of the family tree growing in the United States in 1861 produced my Great, Great Grandfather and his five brothers who all fought for the Confederacy.  However President Lincoln does provide an interesting study in how a man grows into the most important job in America.  Though I haven’t read Eric Foner’s book “The Fiery Trial; Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery” a review by Gordon Berg in “Civil War Times” lists Foner’s rationale for why Lincoln was a great President.  Foner lists three core concepts that made Lincoln successful.  It is instructive to view President Obama through those three core concepts:

1.  Lincoln had a sharp legal mind and had a firm grasp of the Constitution.  Mr. Obama might have a sharp legal mind, no one really knows as we haven’t read any legal briefs or opinions that he has written.  His legal experience seems to have been confined to supporting the decidedly Anti-American group ACORN.  Though some refer to Mr. Obama as a “Constitutional Lawyer” he really is an “Anti-Constitutionalist” in that he bridles at the limits on Federal authority that is the central purpose of that splendid document.  He neither respects it nor does he understand the centrality of that document in the success of the American story. 

2.  Lincoln was a master of the political possibility and was sensitive to the ebb and flow of public opinion.  Mr. Obama certainly proved to be a superb opportunist in virtually all of his campaigns up to and including his run for the Presidency.  His path to the Presidency is littered with foes of both parties who were destroyed using a variety of tricks and maneuvers.  He also benefitted from a field of Republican candidates for President that was winnowed down to the least capable candidate of the bunch – lucky.  However Mr. Obama seems incapable of understanding that the country has turned decidedly against him, his policies, and his party.  Nearly every contest since his inauguration has proven that American opinion has flipped once candidate Obama became President Obama.  By completely ignoring the number one problem in the country (Jobs) while expending his popularity on a budget-busting and anti-freedom agenda (Obamacare) he has proven that he has little regard for American opinion. 

3.  Lincoln possessed an innate ability to learn and grow.   While I never had any allusions that Mr. Obama would be good for America, I did think that once in office he would be confronted by certain political realities that would mold him into a more pragmatic leader.  Pundits most often point to Bill Clinton as the example of a President who could pivot and support a good program even though he might have been ideologically opposed to such a program before.  We have seen no evidence that President Obama is able to pivot off an absurdly left-wing agenda.  Indeed his actions are so contrary to the reality of the situation and common sense that it has lead many pundits on the right to conclude that he is actively attempting to destroy the country. 

I am reminded of the political analyst who pointed out that it is entirely possible to love America while being a very bad American.  Mr. Obama appears to validate that point.    

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Revolution isn’t particularly easy or pretty

It is interesting how Americans continue to view revolution and potential revolution in the rest of the world.  Our revolution resulted in a government and a land that was about as perfect as man could make it from 1787 through about 1910.  There are no nations that have come even close and for that reason alone America is exceptional whether President Obama thinks so or not. 

As English-speaking Christian people who believed in laws, commerce and freedom, early Americans had the very best chance of success that one could have.  There are no Islamic Republics and there never will be.  We have imposed democracies of sorts in Afghanistan and Iraq but neither country will ever experience the flowering of freedom and the explosion of productivity that America has experienced. 

Since America turned out so well there is a tendency to believe in the inevitability of the American Republic.  In reality it was a very near thing.  In 1763 Britain had just concluded the Seven Year’s War which was one of the most lopsided victories in history beating the French severely.  Americans had enthusiastically participated in that war both as militia and in the regular British army.  One-third of that population rose up a mere 13 years later and threw off the bonds of Mother England.  Americans fought on both sides while many sat the conflict out.  Fortunately the French King did not listen to detractors who wanted him to stay out of what was essentially a civil war. 

The Battle Yorktown in 1781 made victory inevitable and Americans immediately put together a government.  However the Continental Congress who had governed free America had done such a bad job of supporting the Continental Army that it took the person of George Washington himself to prevent the army from marching on Philadelphia and deposing the government.  They probably don’t teach this in the public school system anymore, but Washington discovered a secret plot.  Days later he stood in front of the mutinous army officers and uttered “Gentlemen you will permit me to put on my spectacles, for I have not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of my country.”  In that instant on 15 March 1783 Washington prevented the overthrow of our fledgling democracy.   

It took until 1787 in a meeting held in strictest secrecy that had been called for a different purpose that the Constitution was crafted.  Even with the “greatest collection of intellectual candlepower” in American history the resulting Constitution was again a very near thing.  The story is fascinating from how they dealt with power sharing to how they planted the poison pill that would end slavery.  But most fascinating of all - it isn’t taught in our public school system. 

Of course the greatest test developed a mere 73 years later and our bounds were tested in a great civil war.  It doesn’t take much imagination to change just a few details at Chancellorsville, Antietam or Gettysburg that might have sentenced us to having two different republics in the place of one. 

So I watch Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans, Egyptians, Yemenis, Mexicans, Venezuelans, Syrians, and people in the Ivory Coast struggle with what freedom and democracy means.  I wish them luck but hold out little hope that they will succeed.  It will be particularly hard for them to succeed with “Hope and Change” guiding our foreign policy.  

The War That Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War        Miracle At Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May - September 1787