Where Are They Going To Get The Money?

Reportedly, the national debt owed by this country increases at $3 million/minute. Two- thirds of all federal spending goes to entitlement programs…

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, unemployment, 1890 Institution Capacity Building Grants, 1890 Land Grant Institutions Rural Entreprenurial Outreach Program, 1994 Institutions Research Program, 8(a) Business Development, 97.063 Pre-Disaster Mitigation Disaster Resistant Universities, Abandoned Infants, Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program, Abstinence Education, Academic Research Enhancement Award, Acquired Immunodeficiency Activity, Adjustable Rate Mortgages, Administrative Cost Grants for Indian Schools, Adolescent Family Life Research Grants, Adolescent Family Life Demonstration Projects, Adoption Assistance, Adoption Incentives Payments, Adoption Opportunities, Adult, Education National Leadership Activities, Adult Education State Grant Program, Advanced Nursing Grant Program, Advanced Education Nursing Traineeships, Advanced Placement Program, Advanced Placement  Program, Advanced Technology Program, Aerospace Education Services Program, African Elephant Conservation, Food stamps, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, National School Lunch Program, Head Start, State Children’s Insurance Program, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, Foster care, Child Care Mandatory & Matching Funds, School Breakfast Program, Identifying local areas eligible for grants to implement job training and other employment programs under the Job Training Partnership Act, Pinpointing state and local areas with a labor force surplus for programs that promote business opportunities under the Labor Surplus Areas Program, Monitoring and enforcing employment discrimination laws under the Civil Rights Act, Planning job training programs for seniors under the Older Americans Act,,  the Workplace Investment Act to help adults, dislocated workers, and youth find employment that leads to self-sufficiency through various services available at local support centers, the Employment Service focuses on providing a variety of employment related labor exchange services, including, but not limited to, job search assistance, job referral, and placement assistance for job seekers, re-employment services to unemployment insurance claimants, and recruitment services to employers with job openings, the Senior Community Service Employment Program, Native American Employment and Training, Prisoner Reentry programs seek to reduce recidivism by helping former inmates find work when they return to their communities largely through faith-based and community organizations, Work Opportunity Tax Credit Program and Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit, local governments in particular require data at the neighborhood level for school planning, transportation, and economic development, fund child care to enable low-income and working families to work, train for a job, or obtain an education, fund health care for infants and children, fund policing agencies and community-based entities to work together to reduce crime, fund local agencies for food, health care, and legal services for senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, develop and strengthen the criminal justice system’s response to violence against women, safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities State Grants that provide support to state education agencies for a variety of drug and violence prevention activities focused primarily on school-age youth, special Education Preschool Grants for children ages 3 through 5 under the Indian Education Grants to Local Educational Agencies program, Title I Program for Neglected and Delinquent Children that provides grants to states to help provide education continuity for youth in correctional facilities so they can make successful transitions to school or employment once they are released from state institutions, helping educational policymakers address specific needs and challenges students might face in their communities, ensuring enforcement of language assistance rules and creating legislative districts under the Voting Rights Act, identifying population segments that need medical services under the Public Health Service Act, monitoring and enforcing equal employment opportunities under the Civil Rights Act; and, funding programs at historically black colleges and universities to foster equal opportunity through post-secondary education for African Americans, allocate funds to public and private nonprofit organizations to provide employment resources aimed at making the foreign-born economically self-sufficient, assist states and local agencies with developing health care and other services tailored to the language and cultural diversity of immigrants, evaluate voting practices of government subdivisions, such as states, counties, and school districts, under the Voting Rights Act, evaluate the effectiveness of equal opportunity employment programs and policies under the Civil Rights Act, allocate grants to school districts for children with limited English language proficiency, develop health care and other services tailored to the language and cultural diversity of the elderly under the Older Americans Act….

This list does not include all the federal assistance programs for people with disabilities, senior citizens, rural areas and business opportunities. It also doesn’t take into account the costs of the military, funding to other countries throughout the world and service on the national debt.

Where is this money going to come from to pay the guaranteed funding for higher education that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders promise if either is elected President?*

*http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/25/budget-deficit-smallest-obamas-tenure-cbo/

Pushing for a National Police Force

We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”                         Candidate for President Barak Obama                          July 17, 2008

The Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) was a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Justice. It administered federal funding and attempted to dictate some requirements to local law enforcement agencies. It also funded educational programs and crime initiatives on a local level. A citizen sponsored movement to ‘support your local police and keep them independent’ provided the impetus for public concern and thus, the agency was abolished in 1982.

The United States Marshall Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Drug Administration, Transportation Safety Administration, Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security, Border Patrol, U.S. Customs Service, Fish and Wildlife, Park Ranger service, National Guard, Secret Service, Coast Guard and the Federal Bureau of Investigation all, in one way or another, have the authority to maintain security within the borders of this country. Now President, Obama doesn’t feel these agencies, coupled with local the local police, the sheriffs and their deputies, the state police and, in Texas, the Texas Rangers are enough. He has advocated for enlarging the U.S. Marshall Service into a ‘stability police’:

Stability Police Units (SPUs) are specialized police that train and deploy together in groups of approximately 140 personnel. They help fill the “security gap” between military troops and civilian police in a peace operation. SPUs are an important capability that can provide policing support in post-conflict peace operation mission areas characterized by the absence of law and order. They combine the capabilities of military troops and traditional civilian police. These proficiencies include riot control, VIP security, border security, election security, prison security, operations against organized crime, and high-risk patrolling.    U.S. Department of State

President Obama is not alone. President Bush 43 explored the idea of a national police force, and President Clinton took the idea a step further. Attempting to curtail forceful government control over its citizenry, the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act created a federal law prohibiting the federal government from using its military weapons against American citizens. President Clinton violated that law by using M-1 Abrams tanks and other heavy military equipment against the Branch Dravidians in the FBI’s siege at Waco in 1993. Jack Caskill, a writer with the American Thinker, remembers when “the FBI took over from the local law enforcement in an attempt to end siege on the Branch Davidian religious compound in Waco in 1993. The FBI’s assault ended tragically with a devastating fire that left seventy-four Davidians dead, twenty of them children.” This outcome might have occurred, even if the FBI had not stepped in. But these were, theoretically, the elite in civilian law enforcement and they were unable to bring it to a successful conclusion. Since there was no great public outrage against the use of these military weapons, President Clinton began giving greater military power to the many of the federal agencies.

The U.S. Justice Department has intervened in local and state police jurisdiction cases over two dozen times in the last 20 years. The most recent was in the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. As a result of the Justice Department’s investigations, 21 police departments have signed consent agreements with the federal agency to improve their procedures and policies— essentially turning over their enforcement authority to the Justice Department.

Following the recent riots in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, a call for a national police force has surfaced again. This time by Al Sharpton, who had already visited the White House 61 times by December 14, 2015, during Obama’s tenure. In early April, at New York City at his annual National Action Network convention, Sharpton is quoted as saying, “there must be national policy and national law on policing…We cannot have a justice system that hopes we have a mayor in the right city or a police chief. We have to have one policy that is national.”

The reason, raised by those who advocate for a national police force, is the need for centralized and more standardized control measures when local agencies are unable to protect the safety and the property in the areas where problems arise. Additionally, they argue that it would simplify jurisdictional concerns that vary with the manpower availability and effectiveness of the local enforcement. History has clearly proven that the majority of the populous want the opposite— the authority to stay local, except in times of a national disaster.

The Cutting Edge news organization put out the warning in their newsletter titled National Police Force Coming Together: Another Parallel to Adolf Hitler. Their subtitle reads: Borrowing another page from Hitler’s actions to prepare Germany to go into his His New World Order, our Federal government is both arming its agencies militarily into SWAT teams, plus ‘federalizing’ state and local law enforcement agencies. Hitler did the same thing between 1933-39, until he had firm control of all law enforcement!

We should learn for history that once power is relinquished to a higher authority, it almost never is given back. The other unspoken concern is that maybe those, who are now advocating for taking more local control away, have a hidden agenda.*

A clue might be found with the recent wave of protests, not only in Ferguson and Baltimore but also New York City and Los Angeles under the banner of ‘black lives matter’, ‘no justice no peace’ and ‘disarm the NYPD’— directly stirring up unrest in the black community against local police authority. It is important to note that some of the same ‘players’ show up at these different events, and there is proof that some of them are being paid to travel around the country to participate.

One group that appears to be assisting the President in his effort for a federal expansion of police powers is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). It began as a civil rights organization that fought against racism, such as the KKK. In recent decades, it has become much more radical, labeling as ‘bigots’ many groups and individuals who refuse to go along with their left-wing agenda.  Of interest, is that some of the grant money to run SPLC is funded by the progressive advocate, George Soros, who has also been linked to funding the prolonged protests in Ferguson.

Trying to make sense of the push to expand federal policing authority, despite all the agencies that are responsible for law enforcement, one has to ask, is there a real void in the present system. If there is, it appears to be in the situation where there are large and divergent areas of social unrest. So far, the demonstrations have been scattered and, except in Baltimore, the damage and injuries have been minimal. But with a long, hot summer ahead, the policies of the current administration until January 2017 and George Soros footing some of the bill, who knows?**

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*The apparent expansion of the scope of authority of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is alarming. Consolidation of this new cabinet department came after passage of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, during the George W. Bush Administration. The original premise was to ‘prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability of the U.S. to terrorism and minimize the damage from attacks that do occur.’

**Worrisome are: The 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition that the DHS has reportedly already stockpiled. The March 3, 2013 report of the 2,717 mine resistant, armor protected vehicles (MRAP) that have been retrofitted for the streets here in this country. The 704 million more rounds of ammunition (a significant number which are .40 caliber hollow-points) that the DHS has contracted to purchase over next four years. The 300 acre ‘fake city’ that the U.S. Army has constructed at a cost of $96 million in Virginia which was ostensibly built to prepare U.S. troops for occupation of cities abroad.                                            Complacency, Acceptance, Then Dependency— A Master Plan @ http://robtenerymd.com, April, 2014

The Only Solution to Illegal Immigration

A country that won’t or can’t control its borders is not a country anymore.”  President Ronald Reagan

Looking back at President Reagan’s quote, one wonders if this was his own observation, when he signed into law the Immigration Reform and Control Act in 1986, or was it his prediction for the future of this country.

Whether individuals have illegally just come into this country, not renewed their visas or been here twenty years with families, they are all here illegally. In just being here, they are committing a crime.

The ‘do-gooders’ talk about empathy for those who are impoverished and threatened that find their way into this country illegally. It pulls at the ‘heartstrings’ of our humanitarian side. But we can only share so much of this country’s resources before we start taking away from our own population, who are here legally, pay their taxes and, in many cases, fought to insure the opportunities that make this country what it is today.

‘”From 1990 to 2004, the number of Hispanics with incomes below the government’s poverty line rose 52 percent; that represents almost 92 percent of the increase in poor people… Among children, disparities are greater. Over the same period, Hispanic children in poverty rose 44 percent; meanwhile, the numbers of black and non-Hispanic white children in poverty declined 16.9 percent and 18.5 percent respectively.”  Heather MacDonald Scholar at the Manhattan Institute

What keeps meaningful measures from being enacted?— Politics on both sides of the aisle in Washington. The Democrats clearly have reasons to not upset the status quo, since it has been reported that from 1970 on, immigrants (legal and illegal) vote 4 to 1 Democratic. Republicans are reluctant to get out front on many of these solutions for fear that they will turn off that segment of the voting community. And, as the Hispanic population continues to grow, that concern becomes more of a reality— a catch-22 for the Republicans.

No matter what they propose individually, the collective body of our legislators in Washington gives only lukewarm support for meaningful immigration reform. Thus, the gradual transformation of the United States into a totalitarian, entitlement state is on the verge of becoming a reality. Only the most uninformed don’t appreciate the effects of illegal immigrants on our education system, the criminal justice system, employment opportunities and the entitlement programs.

40% of all workers in Los Angeles County are working for cash and not paying taxes. This is because they are predominately illegal immigrants working without a green card.    Reported in the L.A. Times.* 

The 20% drop in American teen employment from the 1980s, in part is because more and more immigrants have flooded the market to displace native-born kids from jobs in percentages far higher than on adults.   Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects. 2014 report from the Federal Reserve

The only real chance of stopping this gradual move into an entitlement form of socialism, appears to be in two ways: Either by electing a Conservative Republican President, along with maintaining a Republican controlled Congress or the individual States taking over more of their own governance. The Democratic Party of Presidents Johnson and Clinton has moved even further to the left under President Obama.

The solution can be broken down into five components— each essential to saving this country from going over the brink. Controlling the borders, requiring photo identification cards, putting an end to birthright citizenship, more stringent penalties for repeat felons that return to this country illegally and removing any pathway to voting rights for those who have entered this country illegally, even if they are granted amnesty.

There are those who claim that this country does not need to construct a fence along our southern border with Mexico. They argue that better virtual monitoring, more agents and moving them closer to the actual border, are sufficient. So far, even when or if these recommendations are fully implemented, they will probably not solve all the problems of our porous border to Mexico. Although not impenetrable, a physical wall acts as an impediment both physically and mentally. Just look at the successes of the Berlin Wall and Israel’s wall to the Gaza settlements. A wall between the two countries may also make it more difficult for the gangs to bring their ‘drugs’ across and possible terrorists to come in. On the more humane side, many families are sending their children off for the very dangerous trip to the United States. Unfortunately, many end up in detention camps in Mexico or worse. The knowledge of a more permanent wall could act as a further deterrent before their journey even begins.

In 2014, tens of thousands of women and children, many unaccompanied by their parents, came to the United States from Central America. Most simply crossed the Rio Grande and turned themselves into to the Border Patrol, relying on the belief, that United States law made special provision for illegal immigrants who were children… The 290,000 illegals are exploiting legal loopholes that allow them to get temporary permits to stay in the United States.      Neil Munro White House correspondent.

Reportedly 47% of illegals are receiving at least some benefits from this country’s entitlement programs and accusations that as many as 3% of illegals participate in the electoral process. A photo ID would go a long way toward addressing issues in these areas. Opponents, such as the ACLU, feel this would be an invasion of privacy, while minority advocacy groups have alleged that the cards would frighten minorities from going to the polls. Unfortunately, the Democrats, since they benefit from the status quo with respect to elections, have continued to stonewall this concept. Given their similar history of troubled elections, Mexico, through their Federal Electoral Institute, now require and provide free photo IDs. They make no exceptions for those who lack the proper documents.

“The enormous flow of legal immigrants in to this country— 29.5 million from 1980 to 2012— has made and continues to remake the nation’s electorate in favor of the Democratic Party.”   University of Maryland professor James Gimpel  2014

Birthright Citizenship is a federal law granting automatic citizenship to children born in the United States. As background, birthright citizenship first arose after the Civil War as a constitutional provision clause of the 14th Amendment in 1868. It was a way to undo the Dred Scott ruling and ensure citizenship for former slaves born on U.S. soil. Automatic citizenship is granted according to federal statute, not the 14th Amendment, so critics of the policy argue that changing or repealing the statute outright could reform this. The United States and Canada are the only developed nations that grant automatic citizenship so expansively to children born within their borders. It is estimated that since The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, at an average of 170,000 ‘anchor babies’/year over those 24 years, adjusting for inflation, have generated costs of $165,000/child. Expanded to the whole population, babies born to non-documented parents have generated costs to the United States of over two-thirds of a trillion dollars in the last 24 years and at a current rate of 58 billion dollars/year for just their birth and education.**

Recently, the senseless murder of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco awaked the nation to the very large of number felonies committed by illegal emigrants. This is not new and occurs across the nation. A recently released report, obtained by PJ Media, was put together by the Texas Department of Public Safety and found that foreign aliens committed 611,234 unique crimes in Texas from 2008 to 2014. That number included almost 3,000 homicides and 7,695 sexual assaults.

Excerpts from the L.A. Times: 95% of warrants issued for murder in Los Angeles are to illegal aliens… 75% of people on the most wanted list in Los Angeles are illegal aliens… Nearly 35% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals that are here illegally… FBI reports that half of all gang members in Los Angeles are most likely illegal aliens from south of the border.*

In looking at the big picture of illegal immigration, those who are already in this country, or planning to come, the most compassionate approach is deterrence: Discourage non-citizens from coming here illegally by erecting a real rather than a virtual wall. By doing away with birthright citizenship. By severely punishing the repeat offenders of violent crimes who return to this country. By adopting personal identification methodology similar to Mexico. Finally, by allowing only those who enter this country legally to participate in the electoral process.

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely the Democratic Party will ever support these recommendations, even though they address the concerns on amnesty and future illegal migration. When this country crosses over to a socialist state, they can take all the credit. The Republicans, on the other hand, if they don’t try to avert this move toward socialism will get all the blame.

Where do we go from here? To the ballot box in 2016, since it could be the last election that your vote could make a difference!

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*  The data used in this article, attributed to the L. A. Times, has subsequently been denied by the organization, but other related data supports similar conclusions.

** Tenery, R.M., Border Boondoggle, Echos for The Future, @ http://robtenery.com,  5/13/14.

What’s So Great About Bernie Sanders?

Since Senator Bernie Sanders first announced his candidacy for the Presidency, his meteoric increase in popularity raises several serious concerns that must be examined closely. First is his popularity about him and his message? Or, is it more a backlash to the candidacy of Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Clinton, for all her years on the national stage, as wife of the sitting President, Senator from New York and Secretary-of-Sate of the current President, has very little to show for her efforts. Even her strongest proponents have trouble piecing together an impressive dossier of her accomplishments. Her questionable past from Whitewater, the Rose Law firm, the deleted emails, lack of the proper response during the Benghazi attack when she was the Secretary-of-State, appearing to hide in a choreographed campaign and the questionable dealings of the Clinton Foundation, make her a flawed candidate.  Currently, she is upside down on the issue of trust by the American public. The Democrats are worried, if she is their best candidate in the upcoming Presidential election.

If Sanders’ popularity was just about the concerns over Hillary Clinton’s viability as the Democratic candidate, then Martin O’Malley should be doing better in the polls. The 52-year-old (versus Saunders at almost 75) O’Malley was a popular governor from Maryland who championed issues such as same-sex marriage and college tuition for undocumented immigrants. The former chairman of the Democratic Governors Association from 2001-2013, O’Malley should be the logical alternative to the front-running Clinton, but, so far, he is not. The other nominees, Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and possibly Vice-President Biden haven’t caught on either.

Sanders’, a self-described democratic socialist, message seems to be resonating, at least, in the Democratic Party. The senator from Vermont, although he caucuses with Democrats, calls himself an independent, and, currently, is the ranking minority party member on the Senate Budget Committee. He aligns himself with the social democratic leaning countries in Europe, particularly Scandinavia. His past involvement as a member of the Young People’s Socialist League and a youth affiliate of the Socialist Party of America, have propelled him to the level of the leading progressive voice.

Excerpted from a recent speech: Sanders said, “the billionaire cliques, the Koch brothers, the lobbyists, the corporate interests, are so powerful that nothing will get done unless millions of people stand up and loudly proclaim— this country belongs to all of us and not a handful of billionaires… Income inequality is the great moral issue of our time…There is something profoundly wrong with the top one-tenth of one per cent owning almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 per cent. … And together we will end it!”

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Social democracy is a political ideology that officially has as its goal the establishment of democratic socialism through evolutionary methods….Social democracy advocates the promotion of democratic decision-making beyond political democracy to include economic democracy to guarantee employees and other economic stakeholders sufficient rights of co-determination‪ and support for a mixed economy that opposes the excesses of capitalism such as inequality, poverty, and oppression of underprivileged groups, while rejecting a fully free economy or a fully planned economy. Social democratic policy favors universally accessible public services such as education, health care, workers’ compensation, child care and care for the elderly.‪ Social democracy is strongly connected with the trade union labor movement and supports collective bargaining rights for workers.‪                          Wikipedia July, 2015

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“Medicare for all will become a single-payer program that would declare medical care a human right in the United States. A minimum wage increase to an unspecified ‘living wage’… A massive government jobs program to rebuild crumbling U.S. bridges, highways, dams and ports…Let’s rebuild our infrastructure!” Sanders continued, then pledged two things: He would nominate only Supreme Court justices who agreed to strike down a ruling that opened the floodgates of money into American politics. And he promised that he “would make certain that every public college and university in America is tuition-free.”

Two of the most respected leaders of the free world would disagree with Senator Sanders’ philosophy on socialism. Margret Thatcher, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979-1990, probably described it best when she said “socialism is a great system until you run out of other peoples’ money.” Former President Ronald Reagan is quoted as saying, “a socialist is someone who has read Lenin and Marx. An anti-socialist is someone who understands Lenin and Marx.”

Disputing the concept that big government can do a better job are testimonies from three successful individuals from the business community:

Andy Puzder, CEO of Carl’s and Hardee’s restaurants states, “when the government steps in and try’s to control things, you lose jobs…The only way you can reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity is economic growth…There’s one system in the history of the world that produces enough economic growth to meaningfully increase opportunity and that’s free market capitalism.”

Star Parker, who runs the Center for Urban Renewal and Education is quoted as claiming, “early on, I bought the narrative of the left. Freedom lovers understand American exceptionalism. They understand the American dream. They understand what we were founded on. The principles of traditional living, of free markets, of limited roles of government… When you buy the lie that the government will take care of you, then you’re not moving to self-sufficiency and then you get trapped… When the government begins to reward you for ill behavior, you are really stuck.”

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods puts it succinctly. “Capitalism is so dynamic and so competitive that you can get temporary advantages. But people come along and imitate that. They innovate and leapfrog beyond you… You don’t need the government to protect you from monopolies, the (free) market protects people from monopolies… All businesses are guilty of some kind of anti-collusion practices… That’s how the government wants it.”

Under capitalism, economic inequality is essential to encourage innovation and economic development. Whereas under socialism, the purpose is redistribution of resources from the rich to the poor. This insures equal opportunities, but also equal outcomes. The argument for individual ownership versus the state, argues for more efficiency and better products. The argument for socialism is unemployment is no longer based on market forces, but government control. Under capitalism, market forces determine price and availability, while socialist systems frequently fall prey to shortages and surpluses.

Senator Sanders’ rise in popularity mirrors the attitudes of a growing segment of the population that is becoming more dependent on the government entitlement teat. As a democratic socialist, his vision replaces opportunity with equality that is run by big government and not by the free market. Each has its advantages. Capitalism built this country into the greatest superpower of the twentieth century and democratic socialism into Europe.

Hopefully, there will still be enough of us to keep America’s dream of opportunity alive!

Trying to Save the Middle East from Itself

As it turns out, George W. Bush may have been wrong for invading Iraq, but not for the reason that he is being blamed. He was not alone. Most of the Congress, as well as both Clintons, supported him because of the intelligence information they were given.

We may never know if the weapons of mass destruction were secretly moved out of Iraq just prior to the United States’ invasion. What has been learned is that many of the countries that make up the Middle East are pluralistic that means the different members of the populations maintain their independent cultural traditions. Simply put, it appears the differing Muslim cultures don’t seem to be able to coexist in democratically governed systems— the examples being Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen.

“We decapitated Iraq to a disastrous effect. We decapitate Libya also to a disastrous effect. The Syrian people decapitated their own government to a disastrous effect. And the Yemeni people decapitated their government to a disastrous effect. This is a pluralistic region that lacks pluralism; that’s been governed by top down authority. I think that the problem for the next President is going to be the fact that we are in a post imperial era. We are in a post-colonial era and no one wants to control it. Recently, we are in a post authoritarian era, and unless these people can learn how to govern themselves horizontally, by forging social contracts about how to live together, this is going to be a human development disaster area for the next President (American).” Tom Freidman, New York Times editor on Meet the Press May 16, 2015

Look what happened when Saddam Hussein was forced out of office in Iraq. The Iraqi Shiites were barely able to hold onto power as the United States military withdrew their forces. The Sunni led ISIS forces have taken over large swaths of Iraq, and are almost within firing range of Bagdad. Then there are the Kurds that are mostly Sunni Muslims in northern Iraq.

The NATO supported rebel army that was made up of hundreds of Libyan militants who were willing to come together to oust Muammar Gaddafi. After Tripoli fell, the individual militants of the different tribes refused to give up their control in the towns and neighborhoods they occupied when the war ended. Maintaining security among the differing tribes has made it difficult to transition from war to peace. Thus, the difficulty of developing a functioning government that will rebuild trust and economic growth is delayed as or if the power structure stabilizes.

Yemen may never emerge as a united country from their civil war, where the rebel Shiite Houthis from the north took control and ousted the Sunni President in January. They have appointed their own governing council. Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was former president stepped aside after mass protests in 2011, is backing the Houthis. Yemen is also home to one of Al-Qaeda’s most active movements, and the presence of ISIS is also on the rise.

Then there is Syrian Civil War that started in the spring of 2011. What began as protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s oppressive government, grew into an armed rebellion. The opposition began with the Free Syrian Army, which was joined by Hezbollah— the Shi’a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon. Then from the east, arose ISIL which originated in Iraq, but quickly took control of a third of Syria and much of its oil and gas production.

The New York Times editor, Tom Freidman is right! Religious and cultural beliefs are so ingrained in certain populations, such as those of the differing Muslim nations in the Middle East, that governance outside of totalitarian rule is probably impossible.

The United States has long supported democracies throughout the world because our governance structure worked for us. But, the recent events in the Middle East seem to point to a different paradigm, depending on the individual country’s social makeup.

There has never been a question when it comes to protecting this country’s allies, our own citizens and economic interests. But the view of spreading democracy throughout the world may not apply universally.

The dilemma the United States, and many other countries throughout the world now face is how or if to protect the innocent citizens of other countries who get caught in the middle of their own turmoil— for example the Christians who are being slaughtered by the ISIS rebels. There seems to be universal consensus that we can no longer be the policeman for the free world. We don’t have the funding, probably the manpower under this administration, or the support of the voting majority.

Is George W. Bush responsible for the rise of ISIS, as some have claimed?  Indirectly only! The terrorist army ISIS arose out of the pluralism that is indigenous in the Muslim faith in the Middle East and the void the United States left when they pulled their support forces out of Iraq.

What we have learned from President Bush’s Iraqi invasion is that the United States is not able save a country from itself!

“What Difference, at This Point, Does It Make?”

The fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night, who decided they would go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make?”  Secretary of state Hillary Clinton, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations’ Committee on January 23, 2013.

The attack on the U.S. consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, that left the American ambassador and three other Americans dead, began at 9:40 p.m.

Were the President and the State department aware of the impending attacks and, if so, did they take measures to increase the security at the compound? As early as February 2012, the White House received a request for additional security from Ambassador Chris Stevens for the American consulate in Benghazi. Again, on August 2, Stevens sent a cable requesting an additional 11 bodyguards, but his request was denied. Reported by the Wall Street Journal, as the anniversary of 9/11 approached, the Administration removed a 16 member, security detail from Libya to be replaced by Libyan personnel, even though Ambassador Stevens felt they weren’t reliable.

Did the administration and the State Department have enough warning that they could have sent reinforcements that would have changed the outcome? Just an hour flight time away, military assistance from the large naval air station in Sigonella, Italy, the NATO airbase at Aviano, Italy and the Naval support base at Souda Bay on the island of Crete could have mustered their forces of fighters and AC 130 helicopter gunships to breakup the siege at the American compound.

When was it first apparent that this was an orchestrated attack instead of a response to the anti-Muslim video? A chronology of the facts seems to differ from the Administration and the Secretary of State’s position. After an American surveillance drone arrives in Benghazi, at shortly after 11 p.m., Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey met with the President. At 12:07 a.m. of September 12, the State department sends an email to the White House, as well as the Pentagon and the FBI, indicating that the Islamist terror group Ansar al-Shari had already claimed credit for the attack. By 1:15 a.m., a rescue team from Tripoli arrives in Benghazi. About 30 Americans were rescued from the consulate building and holed up with Ambassador Stevens at the CIA annex. At 4 a.m., an email confirmed the assault on the annex was a military style attack, where two Navy SEALS were ultimately killed. By 10 a.m., the bodies of Ambassador Stevens and three other dead Americans were put on a transport plane out of Benghazi.

Initially, the attack was reported to the media by the representatives of the current administration in the White house as a spontaneous protest triggered by an anti-Muslim video, Innocence of Muslims.

At 10:08 p.m. of September 11, Secretary of State Clinton reported: “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”

Susan Rice, the National Security Advisor for President Obama, appeared on several Sunday morning talk shows, on September 16, stating, “Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is, as of the present is, in fact, what began, spontaneously in Bengasi, as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video … We do not have information, at present, that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”

In President Obama’s address to the United Nations on September 24, he stated, “In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening.  In every culture, those who have freedom for themselves must ask themselves how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others. That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks is a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear the United States government had nothing to and video.  And I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity….”

Secretary Clinton’s initial statement at 10:08 p.m., on the night of the attack about the video, is plausible— due to the lack of facts and the regional unrest about any comments that were anti-Muslim. But Susan Rice’s appearances and explanation on the Sunday talk shows, four days later, blaming the video just isn’t backed up by the facts that were widely known at the time. Then President Obama’s presentation, 13 days later, at the United Nations, still implying that the video was the cause, clearly demonstrates his denial of the ‘real’ world.  He can’t admit or realize that his foreign policy of amelioration is a failure. That not only makes him wrong, but dangerous!

When Hillary Clinton blurted out, before the Senate Foreign Relation’s Committee, “What Difference, at this point, does it make?” Sixteen months later, for the four dead Americans, she is probably correct. We can’t go back. What does matter is the veracity of this Administration and the questionable ability of Hillary Clinton if she is elected as this country’s next President!

Maybe We Can Learn from the Lessons of ISIS

When the former State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, said “we need to go after ISIS’s root causes, like the lack of job opportunities”, she may have gotten the principle right, but the population wrong. It may arguably be true that if the ISIS recruits were gainfully employed, many would not join in the Islamic revolution. However, ISIS soldiers are not from just the unemployed ranks, but from all strata of society. A better description of the ISIS recruits is that most are either religious zealots or social ‘misfits’. Finding no place in their normal society, they look for acceptance where they can find it. Unfortunately, their choice will cost many lives and probably their own lives at well.

The population Ms. Harf should have been referencing are black males, who are predominantly from single-parent homes. Black families, with children under 18 headed by a single mother, have the highest rate of poverty at 47.5% compared to only 8.4% of black married couple families. Children raised in these single parent homes are 3X more likely to end up in prison and 50% more likely to be poor as adults, according to the Heritage Foundation. “Young black males commit homicides at a rate 10x greater than white or Hispanics combined,” stated Bill O’Riley.

With limited job opportunities available in the ghetto communities, crime offers more than the limited wage. But to be eligible for opportunities that will raise them out of the ghetto, dramatic changes need to be made in our education system— more targeted to preparing them for the work force that matches their talents and teaching how to succeed through honest means. Basic elementary education to prepare them to enter society at the level they are best suited for, but with opportunity to go onto levels of higher education.

The rise in single parent families is not just seen in the black community, but is more prevalent. The reasons fall into three categories— social, religious and economic. Past religious traditions of marriage and the commitments that come with it are becoming more aberrations than the norm.

In 1963, only 6% of all American babies were born out of wedlock. That number has now risen to 41% of all populations and 72% of the black population. The stigma of being born out of wedlock is gone, just as the institution of marriage as a prerequisite before moving in together. Without the formal commitment of marriage, many, if not most, of these relationships fail. Far too often one parent is left with all the responsibilities and the financial burdens that come with raising children.

The social entitlement programs of Medicaid, CHIP, food stamps, and Chapter 8 housing, are all intended to help those in poverty. But they lack the needed incentives to lift those who come to rely on them out of their impoverished existence. In 2005, the poverty rate in this country was 12.6% and it has increased to 14.5% today, even though over $4.5 trillion has been spent on these anti-poverty programs during that time.

It’s not just where individuals come from but their opportunities when they are employable. William A. Darity Jr. of Duke University claims, “that blacks are the last to be hired in a good economy, and when there’s a downturn, they’re the first to be released.” A 2010 Currant Population Survey agreed that blacks in the work force were the first fired in a weakened business cycle. But early in the business cycle, if they unemployed versus nonparticipants in the labor force, the irony is they are frequently hired first.

There are answers to these growing problems that are turning many of our major cities into poverty riddled ghettos, where federal entitlement programs are the only hope and crime is the best means survival. It must come in three areas— education, morality and opportunity. At the early ages, students must be set on realistic pathways— trade schools and on-the-job mentoring versus gearing everyone toward a traditional college education. Instilling the moral concept of doing good for others, even is there is no direct benefit— that it’s not always just about me.  Finally, realistic opportunities to move out of their impoverished communities.

In early 1973, it was announced by Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird that no further draft orders would be issued. It could possibly be time to bring it back. On first look, conscription (another form of the draft that pertains also to peacetime programs) is an idea that could deal with the multiple problems that State Department spokesman, Marie Harf, was referencing when she used the term opportunities. According to the latest numbers in 2011, 64 countries still had some form of conscription, which predominately targets young males. Conscription increases opportunities because it teaches certain skill sets that are not all military oriented.  It also teaches respect for authority, discipline and personal responsibility— disciplines that are missing in many single parent homes today. Israel and Switzerland are two countries that exemplify that there should be a price to pay to grow up in the United States and not just wait for the next welfare check and food stamps.

Optimistically, becoming part of something that is bigger than their next ‘hit’, instills loyalty and raises hope that the life they go back to after their service is over, can be made better than the one they left.

It’s Time to Put the Confederate Flag to Rest

One of this country’s basic tenants is freedom of expression. The recent debate over flying the Confederate flag over the state house in South Carolina, put the possible limits of freedom of expression to the test. When the Confederate States surrendered to the Union Army, they gave up control and, once again, our country joined together as one.

That did not mean the Confederate states had to give up all their southern traditions and act only as ‘Yankees’. It did, however, mean the end of slavery. Now, 150 years later, under a black President, this country is dealing with racial unrest in the black community over discrimination with law enforcement and job opportunity. The causes of the plight in the black population are not a point of this posting, but their concern over being offended by continuing to fly the Confederate flag is.

To many, if not most of the blacks, the flag is a symbol of their oppression. Although it was a century and a half ago, their memory of that pain still lingers. As a possible comparison, the oppression of the Jews under Hitler’s Nazi, Germany was a holocaust of even greater proportion, than slavery in the United States. But both injustices left scars that may never be totally washed away by time. Continuing to fly the Nazi flag after Hitler’s army fell was never a question. So, it seems we need to put flying the Confederate flag to rest over the public institutions, not just because the North won the war, but out of respect to the members of our black community.

The Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, called for the American flag to be banned due to its link with racism. Media analyst, Mark Dice, asked random people to sign a petition that would eliminate our current flag and substitute it for another. Although many turned him down, many did not— demonstrating either their lack of concern for our country or ignorance. I’m not sure which is worse.

Our forefathers, black, white and in-between fought for the freedom to raise ‘Old Glory’ as a symbol of our united country. And nothing should stand in our way.

Nothing!

The President Has Already Decided on Global Warming for Us

The debate over global warming rages on. The questions raised are two: Is global warming really happening? If the answer to this first question is yes, then are the variances related to normal cyclical climatic changes, as seen down through the ages, or are they anthropogenic (manmade)?

There seems to be a consensus against pollution. But when the subject is linked to global climate changes, arguments heat up on both sides. The controversy seems to center on the ‘greenhouse effect’, where warming occurs when heat from the earth is trapped in the atmosphere by the greenhouse gases— water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide.  When their levels increase, the ocean temperatures rise, leading to a cascade of erratic weather patterns.

Chinese scientists warn that their country’s air pollution resembles a ‘nuclear winter’ by slowing plant photosynthesis that can severely damage their country’s food supply, as well as raising respiratory health concerns. The Chinese air pollution has already created problems in their economy by, at times, grounding flights, closing highways and discouraging tourism.

Historically, India is an agricultural nation that has created major water pollution issues. Discharge of untreated sewage is the single most important cause for pollution of surface and ground water in India. Additionally, their air pollution is worse than China’s.

The oppressive smog in Mexico City, due to its high population density and unique geographic boundaries is legendary. Although not as severe as in many other countries, examples abound here in the United States. The pollution of heavy algae growth of the Great Lakes, caused by chemical runoff into surface water by commercial farming in the Midwestern and Northeastern states around the lakes, is still an ongoing problem.

“The entire climate change situation has become politicized. Those on the right, and those on the left, hanging out in “echo chambers”, listening to those with similar world views refusing to believe anything else could be true.The debate involves the anthropogenic impact.

Many professional meteorologists feel like we are fighting a losing battle when it comes to national media and social media hype and disinformation. They will be sure to let you know that weather events they are reporting on are ‘unprecedented’, there are ‘millions and millions in the path’, it is caused by a ‘monster storm’, and ‘the worst is yet to come’ since these events are becoming more ‘frequent’.

You will never hear about the low tornado count in recent years, the lack of major hurricane landfalls on U.S. coasts over the past 10 years, or the low number of wildfires this year. It doesn’t fit their story. But, never let facts get in the way of a good story…. there will ALWAYS be a heat wave, flood, wildfire, tornado, typhoon, cold wave, and snow storm somewhere.”

James Spann AMS                                    Host of Weather Blog

The supporters of anthropogenic climate changes fall into two categories: local changes only and the cumulative effects worldwide. Those addressing the local or regional effects of pollution should fall under local or state ordinances, but in progressively more situations, the Environmental Protection Agency has taken over. Recently, President Obama issued another Executive Order to create more government control on properties that are covered by water.

As his tenure in the White House draws to a close, President Obama has moved this subject to his top priority, claiming that enforcing climate change regulations will indeed be part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership— the Obamatrade pact that he is currently negotiating with Malaysia and 10 other countries.  He is quoted as saying, “If we want to solve something like climate change, then I’ve got to be able to get into places like Malaysia, and say to them, this is in your best interest. What leverage do I have to get them to stop deforestation? Well part of the leverage is if I’m in a trade relationship with them that allows me to raise standards.”

The President is also framing the challenges of climate change as a matter of national security that threatens to aggravate poverty and political instability around the globe, and jeopardizes the readiness of U.S. forces. In an address to the U.S. Coastguard graduates, he tells them, “Make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. So we need to act and we need to act now… Climate change is not just a problem for countries on the coast or for certain regions of the world. Climate change impacts every country on the planet.”

According to Howard Richman of the American Thinker, the daily online magazine that deals with American politics, President Obama would not need to get Congress to approve the unfair climate change treaty terms that he negotiates.  Instead, he could get the Commission set up by the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement to add those terms to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. In December, Obama will negotiate a multi-country climate agreement in Paris that will commit the United States to a huge reduction in carbon emissions of 26%-28% from 2005 levels, but he will let China, already a much larger carbon emitter, continue to expand its carbon emissions until 2030.

As the world’s population density grows, bringing with it more commercial transportation, industrialization and large-scale agriculture, pollution becomes an increasing threat to the environment. The scientific community is still in heated debate over whether this growth affects only the local environment or cumulative changes to our planet.

It seems President Obama, single-handedly, has already made up our minds for us!

This Century’s Berlin Wall

Ronald Reagan’s speech has reverberated throughout history as the start of the collapse of the Soviet Union. On June 12, 1987 he commanded, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” Reagan’s words professed his strong belief that ‘freedom would eventually triumph over totalitarianism.’

For many years before being elected President, Reagan studied Communism and how its expansion in the decade before he became President had brought 10 new nations under the control of the Soviet Union.  When Reagan became President, he ushered in the largest peacetime military buildup in history. The leadership of the Soviet Union was either forced into accepting the United States’ growing military dominance, or take a chance on bankrupting their own unstable economy, by trying to match it. At the same time, Reagan made it clear that the present coexistence with the totalitarian bloc of Eastern European countries was not only undesirable, but unacceptable.

Although it took three years, following Reagan’s second visit to the Berlin wall in 1987, his exhortation ‘to take down the wall’, served notice to the rest of the world that America stood for freedom.  By accompanying his remarks with the largest peacetime military build up in history, the leadership in the Soviet Union knew he was serious.

President Reagan surely deserves much credit for the fall of the Berlin wall, but it was the actions of Michael Gorbachev, the current leader of the Soviet Union at the time, who had the most prominent role. Previous policy, called the Brezhnev Doctrine, asserted that problems within any of the Warsaw Pact nations were a “concern of all socialist countries,” and that Moscow would intervene to “keep them in line.” More tolerant, Gorbachev pushed for reforms in openness (glasnost) and restructuring (perestroika), beginning in 1985. By abandoning the Brezhnev Doctrine, the possibility of revolution, such as in East Germany, became much more likely. In 1989, the Hungarian Prime Minister pushed an effort to remove the border fence between his country and Austria. In large numbers, East Germans fled to Hungary through Czechoslovakia.  Erich Honecker, who led East Germany, relented to the rising pressure by allowing the refugees, trapped in Czechoslovakia, safe passage through East Germany on ‘freedom trains,’ bound for the West.

One month before the Berlin Wall fell, 100,000 East Germans in the town of Leipzig peacefully protested against their continued isolation from the West. Other protests spread across East Germany and a demonstration in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz public-square estimated at 500,000 strong, culminated in the announcement of relaxation of visa restrictions at the East/West German border on November 9, 1989. The demolition of the wall officially began on June 13, 1990, and was completed in 1992

Former working actor, Governor of California and President, Ronald Reagan had the foresight, far before taking over the nation’s highest office, to study communism and formulate a plan to stop its spread throughout the European continent and abroad. Along with his unwavering optimism, he had the courage to build up the United States’ military capabilities. Even in the face of increasing criticism by many in this country, he believed in avoiding confrontation out of strength and not weakness.

He also backed up his belief that being stronger was better. In response to learning that Libyan President Muammar Kaddafi was behind the terrorist bombing of La Belle Discotheque in Berlin, Germany in 1986, that killed two American soldiers and injured 150 more, Reagan authorized what became known as Operation El Dorado Canyon. United States air and naval forces launched a series of strikes against the headquarters, terrorist facilities and military assets that supported Kaddafi. Dozens were reported killed, including Kaddafi’s daughter.

Facing the difficulties of effectively closing the borders and coming to grips with this country’s unrealistic entitlement commitments must be priorities for whoever follows President Obama. However, dealing with the rapidly, increasing threat of terrorism in the Middle East and here in our own home towns, must be the next President’s top priority. It could be this century’s Berlin Wall.

Let’s pray that this next election will produce, not just another President, but a visionary with the courage of Reagan in the 1980’s and Sir Winston Churchill during the 1940’s. The future of the free world may depend on it!