Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beyond Either/Or - Again!

We live in a dangerous world and history is unkind to leaders who refuse to see the gathering storms.

Equivocation in the face of evil spells disaster. Conversely, ideological bigotry can prevent transformational solutions to real issues.

The American Presidents of the 1850s showed little courage to create an environment that would lead to the emancipation of slaves and preservation of the Union. Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan are in the Presidential Hall of Shame.

Warren Harding was undone by the corruption of his own advisers in the early 1920s.

Neville Chamberlain's capitulations to Hitler in 1938 are the embodiment of appeasement.

Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon lied to themselves and the American people about Vietnam, from our reasons for intervention all the way through the farcical "peace process" that led to the enslavement of Vietnam and Cambodia.

President Carter's inability to inspire a nation and act decisively when confronted by terrorism helped accelerate Islamofascist activity against Israel and the West.

Presidents Bush I and II both failed to live up to their domestic economic promises. They failed to act decisively in both Gulf conflicts, prolonging the agony of the local populations and increasing the body count of American soldiers.

President Obama continues and amplifies this legacy of wishful thinking. His combination of hubris and ignorance is appalling and dangerous. Flowery rhetoric and lofty hopes do not impress leaders bent on the destruction of the USA.

Getting rid of torture is admirable, but it will not end Iran's headlong rush to lob a nuclear bomb on Israel.

Calling on the world to pay attention to climate change (in spite of contradictory scientific reports) is noble, but it does not rid Africa of the warlords that keep Western aid from reaching the starving millions of that troubled continent.

Unless domestic governmental spending is controlled and new opportunities for entrepreneurs to flourish are created, the USA is rushing into economic and political oblivion within this generation.

As I pen these words, the dollar is in free fall and our enemies and erstwhile allies are looking for a new standard for international trade.

We are at a serious crossroads of history. The following thoughts are offered as ways to get beyond the campaign speeches of the current Administration and the histrionics of its opponents.

We can have economic growth and environmental sanity. Each helps the other. Left-wing control and right-wing greed need to yield to private-public stewardship. The USA should drill for oil AND develop new energy sources. We should learn from Europe's clean nuclear examples and work on alternatives. It does us no good to impoverish ourselves ("de-develop" is one Obama official's term)while the rest of their world improves its standards. There is enough for all on our abundant planet if we manage wisely.

We can fight terrorism without being a colonial/occupying power. We should have bases with troops and weapons capable of destroying terrorist dens while avoiding offending the sensibilities of those we aim to serve.

We can fight terrorism without granting civil rights to enemy combatants and without torture. We must not bring terrorists to US civil courts. We do not need to reduce ourselves to the terrorists immoral level in order to fight them successfully.

We can have civil rights for all and uphold traditional marriage. Marriage is a defining institution and no civilization in history has equalized heterosexual and homosexual unions. On the other hand, consenting adults are free to enter into domestic partnerships. Companies private and public can offer benefits as they choose.

We must avoid the either/or fallacy that plagues modern discourse.

We can have a strong Israel and a second (the first was Jordan) Palestinian State - if the Palestinian leadership will guarantee Israel's right to exist and not force the return of refugee descendants to locales within the agreed-upon boundaries of Israel.

We can be alert to climactic and environmental realities without capitulating to fear and losing necessary liberties. We DO have a profound impact on our world. When I was a child, no one could swim in the Great Lakes or San Francisco Bay. Today, they are destinations that are much cleaner and teeming with new life.

We can have good health care for all citizens and legal aliens without bankrupting our government and creating one more bloated, ineffective federal program. Remember City Hall and the State Capital? Let's rediscover local government and create new ways to act locally on universal concerns.

Political discourse is rough-and-tumble and to castigate opponents as "partisan" while refusing to work with them does no one any good. Labels such as "Communist" and "Nazi" need to be eschewed in favor of real debate on how to get things done.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Beyond Reaction

It is easy to criticize the foibles of philosophical and political opponents. The current Administration is so out of touch with the Constitution and the deepest values that have forged our nation.

It is also easy to list "talking points" about What Must Be Done, as long as the author has no real responsibility to do anything!

We must get beyond reaction to substantive action that will actually improve the lives of American citizens, and, indeed, people around the globe impacted by American policies.

I challenge Conservatives and Republican leaders to show wisdom as well as passion and forge partnerships and policies that have a chane of working. I challenge Progressives and Democrats to confront history and recognize that bigger, centralized agencies do not work well and end up oppressing rather than serving.

Here are some thoughts to move us forward:

* Health care is not a Constitutional Right. It is, however, the compassionate prerogative of a civilized society.

* The Federal and State governments should regulate the licensing and practices of health care providers, ensuring that they are fair, honest and qualified.

* The government - at all levels - should not be the direct administrator of health services.

* No citizen should be without medical coverage. I do favor some type of grant to help the unemployed and underemployed have access to decent care other than an emergency room. BUT, this is not the same as current "public options" which are a mask for the long-term Progressive goal of single-payer care.

* Illegal aliens need to be placed on a road to legitimacy or deported. Of course, emergency care needs to be - and is - available to all people. Citizenship and legal residency need to matter again.

* Any illegals incarcerated in our systems need to be deported.

* We need to have well-prepared Delta Force soldiers on bases withing striking distance of terrorist strongholds. We do not need to be an occupying force in any nation. Let's bring the troops home, but let's keep a presence that will be able to confront these fanatical nests of evil.

* We need to live within our means. With our huge budget, this means a 10-15% cut in all spending, with no increases. Impossible? Not at all! Every department, every salary, every expense budget is affected. Only then will reality come home to our "public servants" at all levels. The only areas uncut are the actual resources for the poor (food stamps and direct aid monies) and for front-line troops (blanket and bullets) in the field.

* We need to stop being a wholly-owned subsidiary of China and other financial barons. Lowering the deficit, insisting on fair trade and lowering taxes on new enterprises will help restore our economy.

* Urban blight is not solved by more money. Washington D.C. itself is worse than some developing nations. How can abject poverty exist just blocks from the Capitol? It is time to forge real partnerships with religious communities, charities, social service providers, businesses and educators. It is time to get past all the PC language and posturing and create hope, jobs, safe environments and a culture of civility and moral rectitude. This must not be a new federal program, but authentic partnerships among those who live and work in the neighborhoods themselves.

* I challenge all Conservative and Progressive Foundations to give an accounting for where all the money goes and an assessment of organizational effectiveness. The results will be startling.

* It is hypocritical to promote abortion-on-demand and then criticize some cultures who choose to abort certain babies. When will we choose to be advocates for all the vulnerable: the unborn, physically/mentally challenged, the poor and marginalized and the infirm and aged? Only when we have a fully pro-life ethic will our compassion be more than words.

* It is time to celebrate small business, private property and success. Karl Marx hated England's shopkeepers. Hitler and Stalin hated private industry, but made private deals with select industrialists anyway. Mao killed millions and did not "leap forward" well. We can have private enterprise without environmental rapaciousness. We can care for God's world and watch it produce new wealth.

* We must be vigilant for the First Amendment - even when it offends our sensibilities. Preaching morality in churches, mosques and synagogues is not "hate speech." Conversely, Atheists have a right to assemble and critique religion - as long as they can handle losing the public argument most of the time. Opposing government funding of some expressions is NOT censorship - artists and authors can find other ways to communicate besides my tax dollars. Direct threats to our security should be taken seriously and Islamofascism must not be allowed to grow.

We will continue this list of forward thinking soon. The questions for all of us are, "Am I willing to do something for the good of others locally? Will I get involved nationally and globally, securing the same opportunities for others that I enjoy for myself?"

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joe the Heckler

Last summer before the 2008 Presidential Election, Joe the Plumber made quite a splash with his criticisms of then-candidate Barack Hussein Obama. The attempts to destroy him have failed and Joe the Plumber remains an interesting voice in the public square.

Last night we were introduced to Joe the Heckler who rudely interrupted the President's speech on health care reform with two words, "You lie!"

A shocked political class and their media minions are aghast with such effrontery. Today's apology is not quelling their quest for blood - and a quick opportunity to pick up votes for a bill no one can define.

I do not endorse the rude behavior, though I am bemused by the historical amnesia of those in power regarding their responses to President Bush's speeches. In today's America, run by the current crop of elitists, it is OK

* To force conservative speakers off platforms at universities.

* To call all Republicans a variety of names.

* To boo President Bush during State of the Union speeches, but be shocked by last night's outburst.

* To laugh about the details of bills you are passing, suggesting that more lawyers are needed to understand them, but who has time for such work? (Thank you Mr. Conyers)

* To denigrate your opponents as "extremists" and "Nazis" while designating your own leftist leaders as "progressive."

* To watch Arab students on more than 600 campuses call for the destruction of Israel while commending the "peaceful" religion of Islam.

* To claim pro-choice credentials while bemoaning the abortion of girl babies in China and India (thank you Secretary Clinton).

* To excoriate anyone questioning Obama's eligibility for President while ignoring the sealed records of most of his background before becoming a state senator, questioning John McCain's eligibility, and spending hundreds of thousands in legal fees to keep the records sealed and marginalize dissent.

* To defend the regimes of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and neglect the tens of thousands imprisoned or killed by these thugs.

To criticise military torture (a valid point) while ignoring the trail of hundreds of destroyed people who tried to stop the Obama juggernaut.

To attack and marginalize Governor Palin while sidestepping every question of how the mounting deficits will be confronted.

Joe the Heckler was out of order. But Joe the Heckler was correct: our President is lying to us about the nature and scope of his plans for our nation's future in general and the breadth of health care reform in particular.

Right now, anyone who needs urgent care - with or without "documents" - can receive it in an emergency room. This is not a good long-term solution, but the idea that at least limited care is not available is wrong.

The current Administration is bent on destroying our traditional concept of citizenship. Technically, any health benefits will go to citizens, but in the name of "compassion" the "undocumented" will be eligible, especially if they are paying something into the government coffers.

The Obama Team is aided by agribusinesses that refuse to update their technology and therefore need a supply of cheap labor. Joined by "activists" and compassionate folks, these unlikely allies are eroding our financial and political stability. By the way, recent polling notes that many unemployed American citizens would be willing to work at the so-called "jobs no one wants." It is cheaper to break the law for business owners. Consider the following:

* California's overcrowded prisons could become a model of cleanliness and space if all illegals were deported forthwith.

* Much of the public debt of several states would be reduced if illegals were deported.

People from all nations except Mexico have to go through a gauntlet before being able to work and vote in the USA. When are we going to get over the misplaced guilt of 1848, reaffirm our borders and tell the Mexican government to use their vast oil wealth to take care of there own people, clean up their drug trade and stop killing the illegals on their southern border?

Joe the Heckler spoke for millions about the Democratic Leadership's real agenda: permanent power, socialism and the global elites controlling our destiny.

"Keep saying it is so, Joe!"