Tuesday, March 29, 2011

President Obama on Libyan Action

It has been 32 days since the rebel uprising in Libya began and 10 days since the United Nations coalition military action began. Last night, 3-28-11, President Obama finally addressed the Nation on America’s involvement on the action. Over the last 9 days there has been a lot of talk about the constitutionality of the action that was taken by the President in this action, did he have the authority to act or not. Hopes were that the speech last night would at least explain to the American public where he believed he obtained the authority to commit our military and our tax dollars to this action. Unfortunately, at least for me, he did not justify his position, at least not in the sense of following the Constitution or in acting in the best interest of the American People.

There were several things that jumped out at me initially that contradicted reports that have been made on the news channels. According to the news, we were led to believe that France was actually the Nation that was leading the way on this military action. At the beginning of the address President Obama actually stated that it was an “international effort WE led”. Unless I am badly mistaken, WE are the United States and not France, so does this mean the news media has it wrong or is our President an egomaniac that just has to take all the credit? The President stated that we would go after al-Qaeda all across the globe; this was an effort to justify interfering in Libya. What wasn’t mentioned in the address is that according to interviews with Libyan rebels just in the last day or so, they are the same people claiming to be members of al-Qaeda that we were fighting in Afghanistan. In fact; one of those interviewed even talked about being captured by American troops in Afghanistan. So which side should we be supporting? Another issue that the President brought up was that the USA is an advocate for human freedom. Has anyone looked at Detroit lately? Has anyone asked just exactly how that advocacy for freedom relates to taxation to cover health care, cap and trade and more military actions? All of these just add up to glorified indentured service. We just dress it up as freedom, humanitarian actions and save the planet rhetoric to con the masses into going to work tomorrow.

The President stated that we (he) had a responsibility to act. Here’s where I’m going to lose many that read this because they will think that I am either heartless or just cruel, I’m neither, I’m being realistic. Watching what is going on in other countries that has no effect on the United States is like watching wildlife, while you may not like watching the Lion eating the defenseless Gazelle, or the baby Giraffe dying because it got stuck in the mud, you can but should not do anything, it’s a cycle, the cycle of life. The Middle East has been warring among themselves for centuries now; we are not going to change that. There have been brutal dictators in that region for as long as written history has been kept. Our President stating that Quadaffi should step down is not only arrogant but it’s also none of his business. Then there are the reports of journalists being attacked and even sexually assaulted over there, there’s a civil war on, people are not exactly thinking in gentlemanly ways. Doesn’t make it right, but then again, what did you expect?

The President alluded to the authority he believes he had to send our military into action. First was the statement “I ordered warships into the Mediterranean” and then the statement “at my direction” referring to actually engaging in military actions. The ordering of ships into the Med was at the beginning of rebel actions in Libya, did the President foresee the need for our involvement or was he hoping for it? When he stated “at my direction” he was referring to actual military engagements; it should be noted that it was not at the direction of, or the authority of Congress. At one point he does state that he consulted Congress or at least some members of Congress. To date the media has been reporting the dissatisfaction of Congress on not being consulted and not declaring war on Libya; to be honest I’m not sure what the truth here is. The President did go on to state “I authorized military action”, not Congress but the President himself. If you read the Constitution you will find that the President does not have that authority, only in a case of direct attack on the USA or imminent attack on the USA does the President have that authority by the War Powers Act of 1973. The media has also reported that France led the way on this but to listen to President Obama tonight the USA led the way and France and Britain followed, once again, what is true?

The President stated that the US would be pulling back and NATO would be taking over actions in Libya. The US military would only play a supporting role which would significantly reduce the risk to our military. Towards the end of the address he even stated that as the “bulk of our military efforts ratchets down”, ratchets down to what? There are a couple of things that need to be looked at here, just what is meant by a supporting role, the President didn’t offer any definition on this point. Another is that the NATO military command is headed by the US military, so are we out of it or are our politicians out of it? One way or the other our military is going to be involved directly or indirectly in a military action that is not authorized by Congress and is going to cost the US taxpayers untold amounts of money, not to mention the possible lose of life for our military personnel; all the while our Politicians will be able to shrug off the responsibility for it. Our tax dollars, sons, daughters, wives and husbands will not be able to shrug it off, we will still carry the burden for an undefined period of time that will last well past the end of the conflict.

The President stated that the US has done what they said they would do, well, that is true if you define the President as the United States. Congress is claiming they have not been consulted and they are the representatives of the States and the People so just who does the President believe the US is? He also mentioned that since Quadaffi had been in power for over 40 years Libya would still be a dangerous place even after Quadaffi was removed from power and that the direction forward from that point was undefined. There are 2 things to think about with this, as Quadaffi has demonstrated in the past, he is brutal and holds a grudge. If he is left alive and on the lose he will enact some sort of revenge on those that had anything to do with his loss of power. The other is that if the direction forward is undefined that is code for prepare to spend tax money on helping to bring democracy to Libya, otherwise called Nation building and colonization. The President also stated that our interests were measured against a need for action. Was this an admission that we had no National interest in Libya? This is a bit curious since earlier in the address he stated that it was not in our National interest to allow this to continue. So which is it? There is also the question about what a need for action means; do we go back to the wildlife example above?

The President made a point of stating that the Arab League supported this action, while it is true that the Arab League pushed for some sort of action to be taken against Quadaffi it should also be noted that they pulled all support as soon as they discovered that civilians died during the coalition’s initial missile and bomb attacks. Was it not clear to the Arab League on what actions would have to be taken or were less surgical attacks used then the Arab League was led to believe?

The President also made a point of stating that he did not want to broaden military intervention and that regime change was not the goal of the coalition. Once again Quadaffi’s history needs to be taken into account, that and the Presidents own words about Libya being dangerous even after Quadaffi is out of office. Either both the coalition and the US commit to finishing the job or we prepare ourselves for the atrocities that will be committed in the short term by al-Qaeda trying to gain control over Libya and in the long term by Quadaffi exacting revenge. We, or should I say the President, has gotten us into a situation that is a damned if we do, damned if we don’t situation.

Towards the end of the address the President came out and stated that he would never hesitate the use military force; this is just a little off from the candidate that wanted to sit down with leaders of terrorist nations without pre-conditions to try and come to diplomatic solutions. He also stated that “for generations we have done the hard work”, this was in reference to sending our military into harms way for other Nations problems, whether they affected us or not. We should not and should never have become the World Police, we have enough problems here and we just cannot afford it, both monetarily and in the cost of human lives, ours. This brings up a point that is being missed here. Is our President acting like a President or is he acting like a dictator? According to dictionary.com the definition of a dictator is; a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession. President Obama fits this definition, as do all Presidents for the last century or more. Is that were we are now? Are we under a dictatorship? Personally I think we are and have been, President Obama just happens to be the one that has brought it to light.

Steve Avery

Monday, March 28, 2011

"America, Love It Or Leave It" What Does It Really Mean?

The saying “America, Love it or Leave it” has been the battle cry of supposed American Patriots for as long as I can remember, probably longer then I have been alive. It sounds good, it sounds patriotic and it sounds tough. It conjures up images of the war veteran wearing all his medals during a Veterans Day parade. It conjures up images of a rural American town street lined with working families and their children waving flags during a parade. It conjures up cookouts and fireworks on the 4th of July. What does it really mean though? Does it mean a chest full of medals earned from fighting in a foreign land? Does it mean little flags being waved during a parade? Does it refer to the actual land that is called America and how the people that live here feel about that land? Or is there a more important meaning to the saying, America, Love it or Leave it?

There has always been a land mass that was most likely named after an Italian referred to as the Americas; but there have not always been Americans. So does the saying refer to the land mass or does it refer to the people that are living on that land mass? There have been many people from many different ethnic backgrounds that have visited or occupied this piece of land. Granted this has to be one of the most unique pieces of property on the planet Earth, but that is not what has made it so special, nor is that what inspired the saying America, Love it or Leave it. In 1607 Capt John Smith founded Jamestown for the London Company in hopes of finding and exporting gold. The severe winter of 1609 that was referred to as the “starving time” nearly wiped out the colony. On June 10th Thomas West De La Warr, the newly appointed Governor of Virginia arrived with supplies and convinced the colonist to stay and to find local resources to ensure the survival of the colony. In 1612 John Rolfe cultivated the first crop of tobacco finding a successful source of livelihood for the colony. The perseverance and resourcefulness that eventually saved Jamestown was the cornerstone of future colonist.

The colonization of this brave new world continued throughout the 17th century with the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower and her sister ships. Resourcefulness, ingenuity, independence, and personal responsibility were essential to the survival of each new colony established. This same resourcefulness, ingenuity, independence and personal responsibility were evidenced in the gaining independence from England and the settlement of the west in the 1800’s. That is what made America; that is what is meant by “America, love it or leave it”. America was the land people came to hack out a living on their own, a place they came to be the best they could be. The American dream was not one where everything is given to you, it was the opportunity to succeed or fail on your own merits. Sometime in the late 1800’s early 1900’s Americans lost those traits. Americans, as a whole, started relying on the Government.

Somewhere along the way terms like social justice became popular. People wanted everything to be equalized. In 1888 Edward Bellamy authored a book titled “Looking Backward”, a socialist utopian novel. The novel became the catalyst for “Nationalism Clubs” all across America. Edward’s cousin Francis Bellamy was a Baptist minister who lost his position in the ministry because he used it as a pulpit for his “Christian Socialism” theology. After losing his position in the ministry Francis used the Government and Government schools to promote his ideas. Francis took a position at the “Youth Companion Magazine”, it was here that he penned the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was published on September 8, 1892 as part of the Columbus Day celebration. The original Pledge was intended to unite the schools under Government control in a militaristic fashion for indoctrination of our youth. Many laws were passed requiring the Pledge to be recited in schools all across the Nation, at the same time the same movement was going on in Germany led by the National Socialist German Workers Party, later called the NAZI Party. The initial salute to the flag was a military style salute during the phrase “I pledge allegiance” followed by a straight arm salute towards the flag with palm down. This salute was soon dropped in favor of the hand over the heart salute due to the similarity to the NAZI Party salute and the images that conjured.

I came across this several months ago when stories were going viral about town hall meetings where the attendees were spontaneously reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, much to the chagrin of the organizers. I decided I wanted to know the story behind the Pledge, I already knew that the phrase “Under God” had been added because of lobbying by the Christian organization the Knights of Columbus, but I didn’t know the origins of the Pledge. I realized as I read about it that it was a Pledge for exactly what the Constitution did not want, a centralized Government; remember the 10th Amendment in the Bill of Rights? There is a lot of good in the Pledge, each State, by becoming a member of the Union of States is pledging it’s allegiance to the Union as whole, but, it is not indivisible, each State is a sovereign entity. Would it not be more constitutionally appropriate if our pledge went something like this; “I pledge allegiance to the Sovereign States of the United States and the Union they form for as long as my State is a member of that Union. A Union born from the respect for the laws of nature; and for the liberty and freedom for all citizens”. Instead we adopted a Pledge that was a tool of the Socialist movement in the late 1800’s to promote Government control and indoctrination of our children by means of Government controlled schools and by playing on the Peoples patriotism; we bought into it, hook, line and sinker.

Socialism continued to creep into American society after the turn of the century. Starting in 1900 the newly formed Socialist Party put up their first Presidential candidate and continued to do so until 1912. The movement lost steam with the onset of WWI. In the 1930’s with faith in capitalism dwindling due to the depression socialism again started taking a foothold, this time in the Democratic Party. In the 1950’s Joseph McCarthy all but disintegrated the Socialist Party. In the late 1950’s early 1960’s the socialist hitched their wagon to the Civil Rights Movement, this was also the time of the birth of the Students for a Democratic Society, the new left. All of these events led to the decline of the traits that Americans had when they came to this country and survived the “Starving Time” of 1609. The traits of the pilgrims when they colonized the Eastern Seaboard and declared independence from Britain. The traits of the pioneers when they packed all their belongings into wagons and headed west into a wild unknown and untamed land. These traits were traded in for arrogance, an arrogance that believed everyone should share in the fruits of one mans labor whether they contributed or not. An arrogance that believed everyman should be equal in all aspects. Men are not equal, we are all born opportunities; but it’s what we chose to do with those opportunities that determine our outcome in life. Are not the fruits on ones own labor sweeter then the fruits of another?

So does the phrase “America, love it or leave it” refer to the country, the actual land? Or does it refer to strength, independence and ingenuity that our fore fathers showed when they came to this land?

Steve Avery

Monday, March 21, 2011


We are 8 months into the fiscal year and still there is no Federal Budget. Forget which party is in power, the simple truth is that the 110th Congress passed the buck to the 111th Congress and they still can’t get a budget approved. There is dickering between the Republicans wanting to cut tens of billions off the budget and the Democrats who only want to cut a couple of billion off the budget, all the while the true tea partiers are saying that both of them are not cutting enough. They are right, even cutting 50 or 60 billion off the budget does not even cover the interest we owe on the National Debt for the year. The budget purposed by the President is over 3 trillion which means a budget deficit of 1.6 trillion; the cuts purposed don’t even put a dent in the deficit. As long as we stay on this path we are not going to ever get out of debt, and we are not even going to be able to pay the interest on the debt. It seems most in this country believe this to be normal, this is the path we should stay on. The few true tea party members of Congress have shown their spines by opposing both parties budget recommendations, but they have yet to come out with a plan of their own. Have they held back because they are afraid to do what’s hard or have they held back because they aren’t sure of what to do? Only they know they answer to that. What ever the case I have a proposal for the budget.

What I am about to propose will be scoffed at by everyone but the very few that are willing to take a chance. This is an idea that the politicians would not want because they would lose power, lots of power. This is an idea that activists don’t want because they would lose the ability to force their opinions on the entire Nation. This is a plan that the People don’t want because they are afraid of the responsibility, the responsibility they have handed off to the Federal Government for the last 100 years, the responsibility that has been squandered to the point of bankruptcy for the United States. Something has to be done soon, something that will be painful at first but will be rewarding for future generations and necessary for the survival of the United States of America and all the Sovereign States that make up the USA. If something isn’t done soon we are going to be a colony of China.

Step 1 There is an old saying that goes keep your friends close and your enemies closer. In the case of what I’m about to propose the enemy are the ones that keep putting their hands in the pockets of the American People. It is my opinion that Government and all that that means should start at the lowest level, including taxation. The smallest level of Government are towns and cities, next are counties, then State, then Federal. Taxes should start at the town or city level, if you don’t live inside the city limits then they should start at the county level. That’s also where they should end. The Federal Government should submit their budget to the States, the States will then approve or disapprove the Federal Budget and incorporate the appropriate apportionment of the Federal Budget into the State Budget and submit that to the Counties and Cities throughout the State. The taxes for all approved budgets will be collected at the lowest level. The Federal Government would no longer have unchecked control over the taxation of this Nation. Good Politicians, otherwise known as bad Statesmen, have been able to get upwards of 180% return of Federal dollars for their States. What that means is that the People of other States are paying for improvements, entitlements, and Government programs in a State they may never even visit, at the same time this means that either their State loses out or the Federal Government borrows money which some generation will have to eventually pay back or pay the piper. By putting the taxation at the lowest level it puts more responsibility on the citizens. That’s one reason this plan would not work, the American People do not want responsibility, they want to be taken care of.

Step 2 of the plan involves Congress, part of this is a broken record I’ve played before, repeal the 17th Amendment. Put the States interest foremost in the eyes of the Senators. Another part of this would be to take all members of Congress off the Federal payroll. Why should I pay the salary of a Congressperson from another State, let me pay for the Senators and Representatives that my State elected and the People of my State elected. To go along with that, I would push for my State to set the salary of State elected officials at the median level of income for the State. Putting the pay at the median level of income for the State would promote Statesmanship instead of career Politicians. The Senators should be able to be recalled by the State legislature at any time they are not representing the States interest. The Representatives should no longer be elected by districts determined by gerrymandering, they should be districts set up based on County lines and populations of the counties, you play the hand you are dealt.

Step 3 of the plan would be to abolish all Federal Departments. Education should be at the local level. Energy should be done privately. Transportation should be done locally. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and any other welfare programs that are desired should be done at the State level and voted on by the People of the State. The limits of the Constitution would limit the Federal Government to maintaining the Military, Postal Service (which is failing), trade negotiations with foreign countries and possibly a Federal Law Enforcement Agency. Speaking of Law Enforcement, why do we have so many different Law Enforcement Agencies within the Federal Government? They should all be lumped into one, all of them, including the Secret Service, just like there is no sense having a Department of Homeland Security, isn’t that what the Military is suppose to do?

Speaking of the Military Step 4 would be to reduce defense spending. There is no reason for our Military to have somewhere in the order of 150 plus bases in foreign countries. Some say that we need them there to be able to protect our allies and to be able to have prompt response when needed. Just this weekend the United Nations Security Council decided to establish a no fly zone over Libya. America supported this no fly zone by sending bombers from an Air Base in Missouri to drop smart bombs on targets in Libya. Now my Geography isn’t the greatest but I do know that we have an Air Base in Germany and I’m sure we have Air Bases in many other European countries closer then Missouri, sure maybe it’s where the assets are, but the point is we attacked from our soil to almost half way around the world in a very short period of time. To go along with this, we should not be the Policeman of the world, who gave us that power? Where did we get the arrogance to believe we should be telling everyone else how to do their business? Think of the money that would be saved by just butting out of other peoples business.

Step 5 of the plan would be to stop all foreign aid. Foreign aid is the equivalent of an enabler giving money to an alcoholic to buy more liquor. It’s not fixing the problem in other countries, it’s making them dependent on our money or, and this is more common, it’s lining the pockets of dictators that we later try to dispose. Recently an e-mail started going around about foreign aid money being used to rebuild mosques in Muslims countries. Truth of the matter is this is part of a program started by President Clinton in late 2000 with the first grants being announced by President Bush in 2001. The money was going for the preservation of cultural sites around the globe, of all religions. (source: http://www.factcheck.org/2011/03/funding-mosques-overseas). It’s not the issue of rebuilding mosques or churches or synagogues that bothers me, it’s that we are rebuilding structures in other countries while Detroit crumbles to the ground. If we put the control of the money at the lowest possible level do you really believe that a farmer from North Carolina or a fisherman from Louisiana is going to approve rebuilding of some religious site in a country he may have never even heard of?

Step 6 of the plan is one that has been in the news recently and will really strike a sour chord in many people. Federal employees, those that are left at the Federal level after my plan went into effect, would not be able to be in any union. They would be paid on a pay scale equivalent to the Military with benefits to match the Military. Of course you would have to take into account years of experience in the private sector and education just like the Military does for the officer grades. To go along with this, Federal employees would not file tax returns, Military members included. Since Federal employees and Military personnel are paid from taxes collected it makes no sense to have them file a return and then get more tax money returned to them. Their actual pay check should be one that is based on the post tax average at the pay scale they are in. Serving your Government should not be something you are able to hold over the heads of the Government and the People that are paying your salary; it should be a privilege, a duty, an honor. I’m not saying Government employees are to give up their lives, wear sack clothes and live in squalor just to serve their country, we should take care of public servants whether they work in an office or man a tank on the battlefield, just not to the detriment of the rest of the country.

Step 7 would be to do away with all tax deductions. Instead of having tax deductions and a tax code that is a nightmare to decipher just do away with the deductions and lower taxes all the way around. For one thing this makes Step 6 more logical. Under current tax codes families with children are allowed to take deductions for each child, this in turn means that those that have no children or their children have grown and left home are the ones that are paying for the schooling of children. People that have been fortunate enough to save enough and buy homes are able to deduct the interest on the mortgage, while this is a good thing currently that means those that have not been able to buy their own home are funding programs like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which they aren’t using. Under the current tax codes charitable contributions can be deducted which means those that make plenty of money are able to use this as a loophole to reduce their taxable income, why not just lower the taxes all together and truly be charitable? The tax codes should also changed to remove taxation of capital gains, this is taxing income twice and it’s penalizing people that are smart with their money.

A plan of this nature would put control of taxes back at the local levels. Each City, County and State would be responsible for their fair share of taxes and at the same time they could determine how those taxes would be collected. Some may prefer an income tax while some a sales tax. It would encourage local Governments to do the right things to bring businesses into their area, whether it’s manufacturing, corporate, or even agriculture in rural areas. This type of plan would discourage local Governments from supporting long term welfare type programs while encouraging programs that would help to reeducate if necessary. I’ve always believed that those that are able to work but are not but they are collecting some form of welfare should be employees of the Government. They can do many of the things that are not being done such as cleaning our parks and our road ways for half the day and looking for work or going to school the rest of it. Do things that will better your lot in life, not things that will keep you a ward of the State. I’m not saying all that are collecting from welfare type programs don’t deserve it, I’m all for taking care of those that have worked all their lives and are now too old or in too bad of health to work, they should be honored for their work and supported. Handicapped individuals should be evaluated on a case by case basis, I have seen too many of them working as greeters or performing tasks that match their handicap to make a wholesale statement that all should be taken care of, many would prefer to work, would prefer to contribute to their own lot in life, maybe we should learn from them.

Smarter people then I will tell you this is a crazy plan, and it is, it is just the basis for what I believe should be done. I know there are plenty of areas that I have missed here but it’s just a start, just a seed being planted in the minds of Americans. Our country and every other country around the globe is fast headed for bankruptcy because they want to give entitlements, they want the biggest military, or they want the biggest buildings with the brightest lights, it’s crazy and it’s heading all of us for a life of slavery while our politicians live like kings. I have no idea what really happens if a country goes bankrupt but I don’t think it’s anything I really want to see happen. If someone that really understands these things was to take this plan and tweak it, it could make the President of the United States the easiest job on the planet, he could preside over the US instead of dictate over it. A plan like this would never be accepted because the People are afraid of the responsibility of controlling their own destinies; they don’t want the possibility of losing their entitlements. The Politicians do not want a plan like this because they would lose power, they would lose power over the People that elected them, and instead they would be servants of the People that elected them, just as it should be. Oh well, just the ranting of a rambling mind.

Steve Avery