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Benghazi and gunrunning – a connection?

May 16, 2013

I must confess this possibility never crossed my mind: that Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi, where there is not a consulate (with associated security measures) but a mission, was there to conduct business related to arming those opposing the government in Syria. IN a recent interview, Senator Rand Paul raises that point. He believes that guns were being supplied by the US government to certain groups in Libya, to be shipped through Turkey and into Syria.

It makes a lot more sense, really, that there was a motivation like this for Ambassador Stevens to be in Benghazi, where he could not be adequately protected. It also makes sense that the Administration did not want anyone else there, either while the attack was going on, or in the aftermath, to possibly find clues to such plans. The FBI was charged with the investigation, but was not allowed close to the site for three weeks after the attack – plenty of time for the site to be scrubbed of all incriminating evidence.

Nowadays “political thriller” novels hold less interest to me than they once did. The actual bizarre actions of our government officials, sanctioned or not, are the stuff of such novels – except in those, someone uncovers the plot and it is brought out into the light of day.

I’m afraid we as Americans have had enough of big-G Government, and would just like to have them leave us alone, and it is very difficult to get worked up over the next stupid move made by someone in Washington. This Administration has gone so far beyond anything I ever imagined that it is impossible for me to believe any of this can be blamed on lack of communication, or sheer incompetence. I think the culture of the Administration is such that they really do believe they can do these things without concern for repercussions. Even Bill Clinton remained in office, and some people seem to look upon his years in office as some kind of Golden Age.

I’m afraid the folks who think they can do whatever they want without fear of the wrath of the American public are probably right. What can we do? We are in a representative republic, so we are separated from direct influence. The amount of time it takes to change the makeup of the legislature is too great, and the speed with which they can do damage too fast, for a “regime change” at the ballot box to be useful. Of course, it may also be that even should that be attempted, they have been in place long enough to have actually make it possible to influence national elections – I hate to use the term “rigged,” but there it is. Computer analysis tells them the very few counties in few states that tip the balance for one candidate or another. They only really have to concentrate on those areas. They don’t have to rig every precinct in every county in the US.

But I digress. Obviously the thin excuses made by Secretary Clinton have not led to calls for any action to be taken against her. No one else is supposedly at fault, and no one will be held responsible for the deaths of Americans in Libya. The Administration will weather another bumpy few weeks, but then something else will come along, and we will be waiting to hear about the next crisis.

I know this sounds pretty negative, but I don’t have a very optimistic view of my country right now. I never thought it would come to this in so many areas and so quickly. And I have absolutely no ideas on how to change it short of direct action by large groups of people – and I shudder to think what the aftermath of that would be like.

Update March 1, 2013

February 28, 2013

If anyone has been following this little blog, I’ve not had time to comment lately because of some family members’ illnesses. I will probably not be back until May 1 at the earliest.

I hope our Republic still stands, and we are all free at that time. As fast as the ball is rolling down that hill in Washington, I am unwilling to place any bets.

I must comment, though, that the way the Executive Branch has decided to blackmail the American people to get the sequester halted is a new low. As a retired public school music teacher, I lived through probably a dozen school board threats that music and sports would be eliminated if the current tax levy was not passed. The voters haven’t called their elected representatives on the carpet nearly enough for that kind of nonsense. And that was just school boards – you know, as Mark Twain said: “God made an idiot for practice. Then he made school boards.”

Now we are threatened with illegal immigrants running wild, terrible lines at the TSA checkpoints and delayed flights due to lack of air traffic controllers…all sorts of things.

How ’bout this, y’all? Just get rid of the EPA. Eliminate it. Top to bottom. Saved some money there. Done. No sequester, no new taxes, companies might make a profit again.

But they will poison our water!! Sorry, I don’t buy it. Government agencies are all paramilitary organizations now, answerable to no one – especially not to the American people. It’s about power, not the health of the populace. It always was.

I fear for our Republic, friends. Keep the faith, stay strong, and remember that there are still free Americans in this beautiful country of ours.

Why do we allow our children to go unprotected?

December 27, 2012

I’ve been listening to this tempest in a teapot bit about statements made by Rep. Louie Gohmert and NRA President Wayne LaPierre advocating having armed security in our schools. It just doesn’t make sense to argue this point, at least to me.

I taught for 26 years at a high school that had unarmed security personnel, and an armed “police liaison officer” – an officer from the local police department – in the building every day. The building is locked down during the day with only one open entrance. (The fact that it is completely open before 8 AM and after 3 PM is another point for another day.) It’s kept kind of quiet, but all the kids know about the security people in the building.

However, there are lots and lots of schools all over the US without any kind of dedicated security force. No matter why the gunman in the Sandy Hook school was there, whether he was mentally unstable, or what ever, the fact remains that the children in that school were unprotected.

There are security guards, some armed and some unarmed, in shopping malls, banks, office buildings, hospitals, parking structures, and all sorts of other facilities all over the US. Why do we think that putting a sign up that a local school is a “gun free zone” matters to anyone? It’s like those cities that declared themselves “nuclear free zones” during the Cold War. I’m sure the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces looked at those targeting maps and said, “We had better not target that city! It’s in a nuclear free zone!”

Obviously, having one armed (and trained) employee in an elementary school isn’t a complete deterrent, but it gives them a fighting chance. It also is a deterrent at least to some degree – if I was a crazed gunman I would probably go to a school known to have lighter security if I really wanted to do something horrible. (This of course disregards those deranged individuals looking to commit suicide by cop.)

But the folks mentioned above were mocked by the left when they said they though more armed security would be good for schools. I know one of their thin arguments is that when there is a gun available, someone could potentially get hurt. But I still say it gives our kids a fighting chance, and I would feel better knowing that my granddaughters attended a school with a security guard, or more than one. (I don’t know if their school has one or not.)

I don’t own a gun. However, I grew up next door to Camp Perry, where the National Rifle and Pistol Matches have been held for over a century. I learned how to shoot there one summer, and later in the Boy Scouts. Most of what we learned was safety, not marksmanship. I may not own a gun, but I have a good idea how to handle one safely even after all these years, and I have a healthy respect for what they can do – just as a do for a chain saw, or any other potentially dangerous tool. Many thousands of people who don’t own a gun aren’t afraid of them, or of those who own them. Yet talk about putting an armed person in a school to protect our kids and people go nuts. I don’t understand it.

The reason for the second amendment to the US Constitution is simple: at the time of the Revolution, the British Government wanted to keep regular folks in the American colonies from being able to rise up in revolution. The best way to do that was to take away their guns. If your security force has guns, and no one else does, it’s pretty simple who is going to be controlling whom. Back in the 18th century a gun was not just for protection – probably very few ever fired a gun in defense or in anger – but it was essential for protection against animals and was an important way to put food on the table. The Framers knew that a “well regulated”  – as in well-organized, not as heavily-restricted – militia was important to the defense of the cities and towns in the US. The US Army didn’t really exist, not as a security force, and local militias had been instrumental in tipping the US Revolution in the colonists’ favor. Private ownership of firearms and organization at the local level of those gun owners were thought to be important deterrents against outside aggression.

Remember, the Spanish, British and French still had colonies in North America, and the security of the new USA couldn’t be achieved with “border control” with the wide-open frontiers to the west, north, and south. Towns were responsible for their own protection. They needed the ability to protect themselves – no US Army to roll in with tanks and aircraft for protection. Read some history of the War of 1812. The defense of the US was very, very difficult in those days. Every able-bodied man was part of the defense force for his home and country.

This is why the ownership of guns in Switzerland is so important. That country, throughout its history, could be overrun by any of its larger neighbors. The only way the country could defend itself was (and is) at the local level. The topography of the country and a trained, armed populace make it a difficult place to take by any aggressor.

We have a lot of people here in the US who were carefully trained in gun safety and use by the US military. We call them veterans. Many are out of work. Putting some of them to work in our schools – people who know what a real threat is and how to deal with it – sounds like a good idea to me.

But it’s not about that. You see, if we can take guns away from the general population, the government is the only group with guns. (Okay, and the gangs.) Should the government decide to push things, we have no recourse. We are unprotected. More and more Federal agencies have paramilitary arms and many are not afraid to break into a business or a home because of some violation or another. Really, did the Fish and Wildlife Service need to break into Gibson Guitars to seize what they believed were “illegal woods” used in guitar manufacture? Where was the clear and present danger?

I would prefer to have our last line of defense against a Federal government gone wild not be the 12th Street Players or the Vice Lords. I would like to think the government wouldn’t go so far as to imprison those who disagree with them, but what ever happened to that guy in California who did the video that supposedly touched off the demonstrations in the Middle East that led to the killings in Benghazi?

“But our well-regulated militia is the National Guard. They can have guns, but people shouldn’t have them in their homes.” Not so, grasshopper. That wasn’t how militias were set up, and the members kept their firearms in their homes. And we still should be able to. That’s crux of the problem, and those who whine that we are putting our kids in danger if we allow an armed security guard in their schools are just useful idiots for those with much darker motives.

I’m gonna explain it again…

December 9, 2012

i-explained-itSo imagine that you are attending a play. The play is billed as being like one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, where decisions you make in the book lead you to a certain outcome, and if you decided differently, the outcome would be different.

OK, so you see the first half of the play. You’re not sure who is the hero or the villain. You have suspicions, but it’s pretty murky. At the intermission the audience is given ballots to vote on the outcome of the play. You get two choices. Everybody votes, and thinks this is pretty cool. We just decided what the actors would do next!

So the play continues, and one person (not the one you picked) is revealed as the villain. Well, you didn’t like it, and the plot at that point seemed kind of thin, but OK…obviously the majority ruled, right?

Then you find out, later, two things:

First, the votes were collected and thrown away. No one even looked at them. The playwright intended only one ending, and that’s the one you saw.

Second, the playwright did write another ending, and the actors even rehearsed it. But in all the performances of the play it was never used. The same guy was always the villain, it was always somewhat unsatisfying, and the audience left feeling kind of cheated.

The actor who was played the villain was never told what everybody else in the cast and crew knew…he was always going to be the villain. He would never get to be the hero. Even if the audience voted overwhelmingly for somebody else to be the bad guy, it was going to be ignored.  The audience didn’t know, and the actor didn’t know. Everybody else involved with the play knew, and kind of laughed at the guy behind his back. Even the publicity people know it. They are pretty cynical about it, but they go along because they think it’s cool to be doing publicity for the play.

Yeah. That’s the US Congress. John Boehner doesn’t get that he is never going to be the hero. He just keeps playing the same part, and the same thing happens every time, and everybody else knows it except him – and of course, the American people.

Got it now?

Yeah..I was right the other day…and Buckley would agree, I think.

December 6, 2012

The former Republican National Committee Research Director, David Welch, had a piece in the New York Times recently, crying about how Tea Party members and other right-wing crazies were giving poor John Boehner so much trouble. In part:

Fast forward half a century. The modern-day Birchers are the Tea Party. By loudly espousing extreme rhetoric, yet holding untenable beliefs, they have run virtually unchallenged by the Republican leadership, aided by irresponsible radio talk-show hosts and right-wing pundits. While the Tea Party grew, respected moderate voices in the party were further pushed toward extinction. Republicans need a Buckley to bring us back.

(Quoted from the RightScoop article that quotes the NYT article; I couldn’t bring myself to go to the NYT site.)

Except that I cannot believe William Buckley would be happy with collapse of the Washington Republicans. I’ve read some of Buckley’s writings, and I subscribed to National Review for many years when he was still running it – and while he could sit there slouching, sounding so patrician in that lockjawed way of speaking he had, he would prove to be much more aligned with the Tea Party than the country club Republicans we have running things today. (I think his speech patterns came from his a collision of Northeastern upbringing and his father’s Texas roots.)

Welch tries to make a comparison between the Tea Party and the John Birch Society, which Buckley publicly disavowed. The Birchers were finding Communists under every bush, but actually, history has borne out that there were a lot of Communists in our government in the 1950s…and there continue to be, today. Just remember, they now call themselves “environmentalists.” Welcome to the Environmental Protection Agency.

But Buckley famously defined a conservative as someone standing athwart history, yelling “Stop!” I believe that is EXACTLY what John Boehner needs to do right now, and he obviously is not going to do so. Instead, he removed vocal conservatives from important Congressional committees without telling them why as punishment for they vocal opposition to his beliefs and plans, and he has already publicly disavowed the Tea Party in particular. He caved the day after the election. He tries to talk tough, but there is no heat in it. At the end of the day, he will throw his conservative colleagues under the bus to look like he was the guy who “got things done.”

He will get things done. We will all suffer for it. If this is the New Republican Party, I want no part of it.

Well, it’s about time to throw in the towel

December 5, 2012

No, the blog isn’t going away, although I know it is sporadic. Since the election I’ve been looking, as others have, for a different way. We need to save our country, and I really don’t know how. I know that pandering to the other side, to be come “liberals lite,” is NOT the way.

I’m not an advocate of secession, although I don’t see why a state or states can’t do it. We are the United States of America, and very few countries have been established by tying together a group of smaller governmental entities. We were the model for such a government, at least until 1860.

One of these days I need to get my head around the Civil War. More and more I’m of a mind that it wasn’t a good idea, and was actually illegal; L. Neil Smith wrote a piece years ago on Lincoln and the changes created in American government as a result of the Civil War. I invite you to read it with an open mind, and really consider what he says. He says it forcefully, and depending upon how much American History you got in school it could be mind-bending, but he makes a good case.

As readers of this blog know, I’ve read the Anti-Federalist Papers, which were written to inform people of the dangers of a stronger central government at the time when the Constitution was ratified. I would first and foremost like to see our Constitution followed with a very narrow interpretation of its meaning, but if you read these documents you will see that the writers predicted exactly what has happened as government has grown out of control.

But I digress. I’m listening to the radio right now, where Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan and are backpedaling, and John Boehner is caving to the Democrats in Congress and to Obama. I can’t say that the Republican Party of today represents me or my beliefs. I think it only did for a short while, when it was the party of Ronald Reagan, but he himself was an outsider. Recall that he was maneuvered out of the Presidential candidacy in 1976 in favor of big-government country club Republican Gerald Ford. I think the party of Nelson Rockefeller is really what it has been  for the last half-century, and, for the foreseeable future, what it will be.

Of course, there are conservative Republicans out there, but they are overwhelmed by the squishy ones. The squishy ones aren’t RINOs, they are Today’s True Republicansconservatives are the true RINOs today, because we do not agree with the big-government beliefs of the party.

I can’t support the Republican Party anymore. I don’t know that I’m ready to jump to the American Conservative Party, or the Libertarian Party. just yet, though.  I guess for a while I’m one of those “Independents,” but not because I have no beliefs, but because mine are at odds with both parties.

I don’t know how a smaller party can really influence government, and I’m sure I will still vote for Republicans for office far more than I will Democrats, but I cannot in good conscience say I’m a Republican any longer. That saddens me.

What can we do to reverse the downward spiral?

November 14, 2012

The “tax the rich” mania in France is now bad enough that the world’s 5th richest man, Bernard Arnault, is applying for Belgian citizenship. He is a self-made multi-billionaire, not one who inherited his money, and he’s apparently had it with the confiscatory tax laws in his native country.

Now Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, is applying for Australian citizenship. He says it’s out of a love of the country, but maybe his accountants are telling him what’s coming up for him. (Ok, I can’t stand it…the Woz is going to Oz. There, I had to let that out!)

George Lucas sold LucasFilm to Disney before the end of this year for over $ 4 billion. you can’t tell me his accountants didn’t warn him what was coming up next year.

Companies all over the US are laying off people now, and some are brave enough to say publicly that they are reducing staff or cutting hours because of the impending impact of Obamacare.

There is no evidence the estimated $ 2 trillion in cash US companies are sitting on will be invested any time soon. They held onto it all through the last four years to keep it from being misspent by the Obama Administration. That will make job growth all the more difficult. This is not an environment in which companies want to take risk!

Meanwhile, we still practice the politics of distraction. It worked so well pre-election, why stop now? The General Petraeus affair is much more important than the administration’s mess of Benghazi, isn’t it? And the media cheerfully report it. We love the lurid details, but now we have had so many such affair revelations, how new and scandalous is it, really?

I think the media folks are really kind of pissed when they have to deal with Benghazi. Isn’t that old news? And it’s not like it was Watergate, or something big like that. (Even though no Americans died as a result of Watergate…)  John McCain’s response to a reporter today was pretty good, and very honest. Bless him.

I don’t really know what the fuss is all about, after all. We’ve already seen over the last four years that the Obama Administration can shred the Constitution, that Supreme Court justices can pull the most ridiculous reasoning out of thin air to justify a decision, and that lies made by government officials are routinely reported as truth. And the President’s Press Secretary just says, “Well, he didn’t know about that.”

Through all of this, Democrats were still re-elected, or were elected over Republicans in a number of Congressional races, and the President was re-elected. Apparently nothing that is done by this government that is unlawful or immoral really matters.

What are we to do, anyway? We can’t affect Washington. Voting for candidates is always about finding the lesser of the evils, right? It will never be better…might as well watch TV, lose ourselves in video games, and let the politicians take care of us. Thank God Apple has given us such wonderful toys with which to distract ourselves.

Even if we would rise up, they own the military. They will always be able to compel our obedience at the point of a gun. Tar and pitchforks lose out to tanks. I remember the so-called student uprising in China a couple of decades ago. It looked like there was hope…then there was none.

Do I think it could come to this? Perhaps. I fear not enough Americans care enough to give “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor” should that be what is necessary to preserve our Republic.

Good Lord, I hope it does not come to this. But I find no alternative right now. In Europe, the downward spiral has been going on for some time. But they have had us to help bail them out. What happens when we need the bailout? Will China do it?

I think that is unlikely. I hate to sound so depressing, but I have only seen evidence since the election that our leaders  either caving in or making only a feeble attempt to slow the slide somewhat.

How do we stop this?

Yeah, won it fair and square, he did…

November 12, 2012

I wouldn’t have noticed this if it wasn’t Allen West’s district, and that his US Representative seat wasn’t still undecided as of today.

St. Lucie County, Florida, has 175,554 registered voters. Last Tuesday, there were 247,713 votes cast.

WTF?

link to the data

If I am misinterpreting this, I would like someone to set me straight. I would also like to know how parts of Cuyahoga County in Ohio and the Philadelphia area voted 99% for Obama, which is, I don’t know, kind of unbelievable.

I am very afraid what might happen if it is uncovered that there was sufficient voter fraud to tip the election. I understand it would be difficult, but remember, it only would only have taken 333,000 vote changes in four states to reverse the decision.

However, I am more afraid what will happen to our Republic if it is not investigated.

But it will not be, of course; our media is rejoicing. They will continue to do so until they are considered a danger by the administration. Then they will find out what the boot is really like.

 

Bill Kristol, taxes, and the “Obama mandate”

November 12, 2012

You are invited to read my piece on Bill Kristol caving on taxes, and how we must resist the non-existent  “Obama mandate.”

Telling election numbers

November 8, 2012

OK, I promised I wouldn’t have anything else to say, but I hadn’t seen this data since I pretty much ignored everything election-related until today at noon.

13 million fewer voters turned out nationally for this election than in 2008 – 3 million Republicans, and 10 million Democrats.

Do not consider this a mandate for Democrat policies, friends.