Monthly Archives: March 2013

Getting Hammered Radio – Friday, March 29, 2013

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When: Friday, March 29 at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific

Where: Getting Hammered with Steve Hamilton and Stevie J West

Tonight: Join Stevie and Steve Friday Night at 10PM EDT with their guest Bruce Carroll (@BruceCarrollSC) as they discuss the various happenings this week including SCOTUS, the news from around the country, and of course, they’ll Mock the Week.

So grab a drink, the bar is open…it’s time to Get Hammered! :)

Obamacare Will Cost More. Surprised?

obamacare costsThis week the Society of Actuaries released a study that demonstrates costs for health care will rise for many under Obamacare. In a study of individual policies it was found that states offering low cost insurance the prices could rise significantly with increases as high as 80% in Ohio and Wisconsin, and 60% in California, Idaho, Maryland and Indiana. It is expected that much of the increases would then be passed on to customers through higher premiums.

Criticized by the Obama administration as being biased the SoA states they were commissioned to do the evaluation by UnitedHealth Group but denies they skewed the information. Read the report here.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stated: “These folks will be moving into a really fully insured product for the first time, and so there may be a higher cost associated with getting into that market. “But we feel pretty strongly that with subsidies available to a lot of that population, that they are really going to see much better benefit for the money that they’re spending.”

It is worth noting that individual insurance policies currently make up only 6% of health coverage. The study did not evaluate employer insurance costs. It is also worth noting that Secretary Sebelius and Team Obama continue to promote taxpayer sponsored subsidies to reduce expenses to many recipients.

This sudden admission of increased cost as now being reported by many Obamacare proponents may be a signal of realization that the promised reduction in health care will not be as promised.

 

If the video does not work you can watch it on YouTube: CNN Reports.

Pivot TV: A New Channel for Millennials

A new television channel geared to young adults in the 15-34 demographic will be unveiled this summer.

Touted as a new network desigpivotned to disrupt conventional wisdom, pivot will be available both through cable and on via internet subscription.  It will be the first channel to offer a stand-alone app for access. Pivot will offer a variety of programming, including shows geared to social issues and news, as well as, entertainment including some original series.

The brain child of Participant Media, pivot expects to reach 40 million homes when it debuts on August 1. Participant Media has been successful with many of its past endeavors including films like: “The Help,” “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Lincoln.”

From their press release: With 40+ million subscribers at launch, pivot’s programming slate is anchored by more than 300 hours of original programming in its first year.  The network’s first six greenlit series are: “TakePart Live,” a live talk show, five nights a week; “HitRECord on TV!,” a re-imagination of the variety show from director/creator/star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and executive producer Brian Graden; “Raising McCain,” a genre-bending docu-talk series starring and executive produced by the complex and accomplished Meghan McCain with Go Go Luckey Entertainment;“WILL,” a modern period drama from Craig Pearce, writer of “Moulin Rouge” and “The Great Gatsby”; “Jersey Strong,” a real reality series from Peabody Award-winners Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin.

The network will co-produce with Univision News and Latin World Entertainment ten, one-hour documentaries that will air on pivot in English and Univision in Spanish.

For more information and a preview of the programming visit the Participant Media website or watch their ad:

Kagan ’09: ‘There is No Federal Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage’

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane.  It’s 2009, and Elena Kagan is answering questions during her confirmation hearing for the position of Solicitor General within the Obama administration. According to William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection, who posted this piece on March 25, this is what she had to say about gay marriage:

1. As Solicitor General, you would be charged with defending the Defense of Marriage Act. That law, as you may know, was enacted by overwhelming majorities of both houses of Congress (85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House) in 1996 and signed into law by President Clinton.

 a. Given your rhetoric about the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy—you called it “a profound wrong—a moral injustice of the first order”—let me ask this basic question: Do you believe that there is a federal constitutional right to samesex marriage?

Answer: There is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

b. Have you ever expressed your opinion whether the federal Constitution should be read to confer a right to same-sex marriage? If so, please provide details.

Answer: I do not recall ever expressing an opinion on this question.

Since gay marriage has been thrusted into the political limelight again, Jacobson has resurrected his posts about Kagan from three years ago.  Now, when Jacobson posted about Kagan’s remarks, he was criticized by some conservatives, including Hot Air’s Allahpundit, over the semantics.  National Review’sMaggie Gallagher went a bit further, and called Jacobson’s post “shameful.”  Thankfully, Gallagher’s colleague at National Review, Ed Whelan, provided Jacobson with her letter to then-Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania) at the time to clarify the issue.

In a March 18, 2009 letter (embedded below, at pp. 11-12), which is not publicly available but which Whelan kindly provided to me, Kagan supplemented her written answers at the request of Arlen Specter. Here is the language in the letter seized upon by my critics to show that Kagan really didn’t mean what she said, and really just was opining as to the current state of the law:

Constitutional rights are a product of constitutional text as interpreted by courts and understood by the nation’s citizenry and its elected representatives. By this measure, which is the best measure I know for determining whether a constitutional right exists, there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

These sentences do make it seem as if Kagan walked away from her prior written statement that “[t]here is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”

But these sentences are not the full supplemental response. Immediately preceding these sentences was the following language:

I previously answered this question briefly, but (I had hoped) clearly, saying that “[t]here is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.” I meant for this statement to bear its natural meaning.

When the full supplemental statement by Kagan is read in context, there is nothing to suggest that Kagan was walking away from her written statement that there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.

Of additional interest is that when the Massachusetts Supreme Court found a state constitutional right to same-sex marriage, 18 Harvard Law School professors signed onto an amicus [i.e., friend of the court] brief supporting that ruling. But not Kagan.

Now, it’s Justice Kagan, and I wonder if she still thinks that “there is no federal constitutional right to same-sex marriage.”  Then again, she could just hop on the bandwagon like everyone else.   Sorry Politico, but this is the real ‘gotcha‘ story.

(H/T Legal Insurrection)

Elena Kagan March 18, 2009 Letter to Arlen Specter

I Think I Will Marry My Horse

It seems that the big topic is same sex marriage, with the economy still a disaster, our enemies threatening to attack us; Obama-Care turning out to be a disaster, the hot topic is same sex marriage.  With only 2% of Americans said to be homosexual but 15% true unemployment in this country, this is what we are concerned about?

Let me be upfront, I am pro traditional marriage, I think same sex marriage is un-natural, God or nature, which ever you prefer to believe in, made two different sexes for a reason. If people want to live that way, knock yourself out, but I resent it being shoved in my face all the time, why homosexuality is even being taught in some schools across our nation, what kind of country are we becoming, I am glad my kids are grown and out of school.

Marriage equality; has anyone considered the consequences if a law like that passes? Opening up marriage equality means not only two men or two women, but what about four men getting married or four women? A law like that will have to allow a man to have a harem, why if a man wants ten wives, he must be allowed to have them because that is marriage equality. How about group marriages, a group of twenty people want to get married and live under one roof, which would falls under marriage equality as well.

Don’t you think that there are wackos out there that would love to marry their pets? You wait and see, if this marriage equality thing comes to pass, it won’t be long before some people line up to get married to their dogs or horses, marriage equality right? What about mother and son or father and daughter, brother and sister, marriage equality means just that. Something like this can open up a whole can of worms, there are plenty of wackos at there.

Let’s face it, there are many, not all, but many who are just activists who don’t really care about the sanctity of marriage, but just want to eliminate marriage altogether. For instance,  Masha Gessen, a lesbian and a journalist, spoke frankly about this at a conference in Sydney, Australia, she wrote. “‘It’s a no-brainer that we should have the right to marry, she said. But I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. … “Marriage equality becomes marriage elasticity, with the ultimate goal of “marriage extinction.” There are many like her who don’t give a hoot about marriage of any kind, their only goal is to eliminate any form of tradition, religion or anything that bind us as a society.

A brief filed by 18 state attorneys general voiced similar concerns: “Once the natural limits that inhere in the relationship between a man and a woman can no longer sustain the definition of marriage, the conclusion that follows is that any grouping of adults would have an equal claim to marriage,” they wrote. The left’s fierce push for “gay marriage” has nothing to do with “marriage equality” and everything to do with “marriage extinction.” There has to be a definition of marriage, or anything has to be allowed.

Of course, the left is coming out and calling those that are against same sex marriage bigots and haters like they do for all arguments. If you disagree with anyone on the left you are automatically a bigot, racist, sexist, homophobes, hater, you know the story, they have been using that same tactic for years, that is their answer for all arguments.

We live in a country that has changed so much over the years, not for the better I might add. A society that dismisses God, but celebrates homosexuality is a society on the way down, there is no doubt about it.

My new book is now available “What Kind Of Society Are We Leaving Our Kids”  Click Here

hossie

                                                         Newly Weds

 

This is one man’s opinion.

New world order emerging from BRICS summit

Leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (the BRICS) met in Durham, South Africa this week to discuss a new world bank which will allow them to trade and fund their projects independent of the World Bank and the U.S. Dollar.

South African President Jacob Zuma saud that the group has “decided to enter formal negotiations to establish a BRICS-led new development Bank based on our own considerable infrastructure needs, which amount to around $4.5 trillion over the next five years.”

Today Brazil and China announced that they will do business using each other’s currencies instead of using the U.S. Dollar – the world’s predominate reserve currency.

As the BRICS development bank matures, the members hope it will allow some of the world’s largest emerging economies to ignore and later supplant the World Bank and IMF.

Others are skeptical. .

Chief executive of the Johannesburg-based Frontier Advisory Martyn Davies said “I think there was too much hype around it”. Davies continued saying that the BRICS”are still battling to create the economic institutions to back their geopolitical rhetoric … the rhetoric is not supported by the substance.”

Where the World Bank has been largely the puppet of the U.S. and the IMF under the hand of Europe, the BRICS development bank effort is being largely pushed by China.

Many of the nations involved are economic powerhouses in their own regions, but the group is not yet a functional alliance. Many experts believe that for the bank to emerge as a global economic power, it will need to pull in new members from other emerging nations.

Free Traders: “Blame America First!”

It appears that Ron Paul supporters are not the only ones who profess Blame America First views. It seems that free traders also advocate such views.

But while paulbots attack America’s entire foreign and defense policy, free traders “only” object to any criticism of America’s trade rivals and to any attempt to protect America’s industrial base from unfair competition (dumping).

A case in point is a recent post published on the pro-free-trade Heritage Foundation’s blog, the Foundry, where the author, Brian Riley, writes:

“A recent news report was headlined: “Lawmakers, business groups balk at trade deal with protectionist Japan.” A more accurate title would have been: “Protectionist U.S. lawmakers, special-interest groups balk at trade deal with Japan.””

Why did he say so? Because, horror of horrors,

“Over 40 Members of Congress recently wrote to President Obama to express concern about allowing Japan to join Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations.”

Oh-my-gosh! Not allowing Japan to join TPP negotiations? What a horrible crime!

Sen. Stabenow of Michigan says:

“Opening U.S. markets to more Japanese products while Japan keeps its market closed to American automakers simply does not make sense.”

Oh-my-gosh! What a heresy against the Free Trade Is Good For America Dogma!

The blogpost, titled Trade: Japan Protectionist?, ridiculously claims that the US is more protectionist than Nippon and that protectionism is bad for the country which practices it:

“There’s no doubt that Japan maintains too many self-destructive trade barriers. But Japan is not much different from the United States in this regard. In 2011, Japan’s imports were 16.1 percent as large as its economy, similar to the level of import penetration in the United States (17.8 percent). And things are getting better. The size of imports relative to Japan’s economy has increased by 60 percent during the past 10 years.”

Only an economically illiterate person would claim that. Protectionist trade barriers are, as we shall see below, good for the country that maintains them, not “self-destructive”. Secondly, America’s trade market, with the exception of a few types of goods, is completely open, free of charge, without any but the most miniscule tariffs, to foreign products. The US is, quite literally, allowing Japan and other countries to dump its market with their goods and to kill the US industry.

As for imports as a portion of GDP, Riley’s own statistics, quoted above, show that the US imports significantly more (as a share of its economy and in absolute numbers alike) than Japan: 17.8% vs Japan’s 16%.

And the US has been running huge trade deficits – the largest of any country in world history – continously since the early 1990s: $10 trillion since Daddy Bush’s times. America’s trade deficit last year alone was $745 bn per the CIA World Factbook. With Japan, the US has been running consecutive, large trade deficits for decades, and last year’s US trade deficit with Nippon was the largest ever between the two countries.

Moreover, to increase exports to America still further, Prime Minister Abe has recently convinced the Bank of Japan to devalue the yen by 20%.

Look for America’s trade deficit with Japan to increase.

Now, why are imports bad? Why are exports good? Why are trade deficits a problem and trade surpluses a good thing?

Because exports mean selling things to other people (abroad), which means people have to be hired to produce these things, which means jobs are created.

Imports, OTOH, mean that foreigners are hired to produce things that you buy, and thus, jobs are created abroad, not in the US. American companies actually lose jobs as a result of imports, because the things imported to the US would otherwise be made by American companies employing American workers.

As a historian, I can attest that no country has ever become an economic power by indulging in free trade policies.

Every country that ever became an economic power became one by protecting and nurturing its industry: England under the Acts of Navigation and into the 19th century, France under Colbert and Napoleon, Germany from the Customs Union to the end of WW1, the US from 1861 to the 1960s, postwar Japan, China today.

Protectionism (i.e. economic nationalism) is the policy of ascendant economic powers; free trade, the policy of descendant ones, which put consumption before savings,  finance over manufacturing, and today before tomorrow.

The US became the world’s preeminent economic power during the 18th and early 19th century because it followed Hamiltonian preceipts: Manufacturing, not finance, is the economic muscle of the nation. Exports are preferrable to imports. Trade surpluses are better than trade deficits. To grow the economy and provide well-paying jobs to the populace, America’s own industry must be protected and nurtured.

But in the late 20th century, American politicians of both parties, goaded by the business lobby and the greedy CEOs of America’s largest corporations, dumped Hamiltonian preceipts, stopped protecting the US industrial base, and opened the floodgates of America’s domestic market to foreign-made goods, free of charge.

The greedy CEOs of America’s largest corporations – the so-called outsourcers – always desiring to grow their salaries, closed factories in America, opened factories abroad, produced goods in foreign countries, and brought them to the US, free of charge. There were no longer any significant tariffs as a price to pay for the privilege of entering America’s domestic market.

Meanwhile, their paid pipers – pro-free-trade think-tanks like Heritage, CATO, and the Mercatus Center, and university professors living in their ivory towers – brainwashed the remaining politicians whom money couldn’t corrupt and many ordinary Americans into thinking that “free trade” – opening America’s domestic market free of charge to all foreign products – was good for America and was a free lunch.

But it was not, and is not, a free lunch. In fact, the Europeans, the Asians, the Mexicans, the Canadians, and others are eating Uncle Sam’s lunch.

Consider:

Such is the economic disaster that free trade has brought on America.

Free trade has also been a political disaster for Republicans, who have been full accomplices in, if not the chief perpetrators of, the free trade scam perpetrated against the American people.

From 1860 to 1924, the Republican Party, then known as “the Party of Protection”, put 12 presidents in the White House, versus only 2 for the Dems.

From 1860 to 1988, the GOP put 16 presidents in the White House, versus only 7 for the Dems.

But beginning in 1992, after free-traders permanently hijacked the GOP, the Party lost 4 of the 6 presidential elections held since that time, and has lost the popular vote in each one except that of 2004 (and even that one was won narrowly).

Might that have anything to do with the fact that America’s industrial base has been all but wiped out, the middle class has been gutted, and blue-collar workers have been betrayed by the GOP and driven straight into the arms of the Democrats?

America’s blue collar workers – the so-called “Reagan Democrats”, who delivered the White House to Ronald Reagan (and earlier, to Richard Nixon) twice, have returned to the party of their fathers. And they’re not coming back to the GOP.

So free trade has been a disaster for America economically and for the Republican Party politically.

There is NO reason to pursue a free trade policy. There is every reason to pursue a protectionist one.

Because, as Pat Buchanan rightly says, protectionism is the policy of ascendant economic powers, while free trade is the policy of descendant ones.

French parlamentarians must stop Hollande’s defense cuts

The Left, with the help of nominal ball-less “right-wing” politicians, has managed to destroy the defenses of many Western countries: Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Britain, and Australia, among other countries. It is now in the process of doing that in the United States, and has made considerable progress in that regard.

And now, the Left is beginning to do the same in France.

France is the last bastion of the Western civilization and its military power, given that all other Western countries, including the US, have now fallen to the Left and have been imbibed with the Left’s “we can make deep defense cuts safely” kool-aid. Now, the Left is determined to bring down this last bastion of Western civilization and Western military power by gutting France’s military.[1]

Already last year, facing a large budget deficit driven entirely by bloated social spending (including welfare rolls, pensions[2], and other social aid), the French budget minister demanded 5 bn EUR in annual spending cuts, a part of which is to come from the Defense Ministry. In parallel, French President Francois Hollande appointed a commission tasked with drafting a White Paper on National Defense for his approval. This document is supposed to be, and indeed used to be, an in-depth analysis of the threats to France’s security, the missions required to counter them, and thus the military structure, capability, training, and equipment needed to counter them.
These days, however, it is merely a political paper designed to justify defense cuts decisions already made – just like America’s Quadrennial Defense  Review (QDR). No one knows yet what the results will be, except that there will be some defense cuts – and the only question is, how deep they’ll be and what exactly will get cut.

The financial context

It’s important to note that defense spending is NOT to blame for France’s (or America’s) financial woes. Defense spending constitutes only ca. 14% of France’s entire annual state budget and just 1.56% of the country’s GDP – even smaller proportions than in the US. As former chief of the French defense staff, Gen. Jean-Louis Georgelin, has said, “The entire budget of the French state is 56% of GDP. Without defense spending, it’s 54.5% of GDP.”[3]

Thus, the idea that defense spending is bankrupting France is so ridiculous that virtually no one in France even dares to utter it – for fear of being laughed out of town – but President Hollande insists that defense spending be cut nevertheless, to make its contribution to deficit reduction (now, when did I hear that before?) – while ignoring the fact that defense already made a heavy contribution to that goal under the Sarkozy administration, when almost a hundred bases were closed, orders for many weapons were slashed, and 54,000 troops received pink slips.

President Hollande and the Socialist government are also ignoring the above-mentioned fact that France already spends little on its military and thus, no big savings can be found in its defense budget.

Yet, the Socialist government is determined to cut its defense budget, and the only thing it hasn’t decided yet is how deeply to cut it. Worse yet, it plans to do so on a percentage-of-GDP basis, i.e. the government will cut defense spending measured as a share of GDP, to a level they deem not too high. There have been discussions of cuts to as low as 1.1% of GDP, although the latest news coming from Paris is that a “compromise” figure of 1.2% of GDP is now under consideration. Big deal – that’s still a deep cut, down from 1.56% of GDP, and the government will make that cut based on percentages of GDP rather than France’s defense strategy, geopolitical ambitions, and defense needs.

(Although if it were to accept the latter basis, it would have to conclude, in any honest analysis, that no deep cuts can be made safely.)

No wonder, then, that French parliamentarians from both major parties, led by the Socialist chairman of the French Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Armed Forces Commission, have voiced strong opposition to further defense cuts. It should be noted that Socialist lawmakers – or at least Senators – have been as outspoken on this as right-wing politicians, and being members of the majority party, they have the power to stop these defense cuts, as they should. The President and the Government are supposed only to propose policies and bills – it is the French parliament that is supposed to actually decide what to pass and what not to pass. Some French Senators have also proposed selling the government’s shares in defense companies to offset defense cuts; this is a good idea, but no substitute for avoiding defense cuts.

French parliamentarians should therefore firmly block these defense cuts.

Where to make savings

If the French Defense Ministry has to make some budget cuts – as it likely will have to do nonetheless – but deep cuts are averted, where should it make savings?

Firstly, reduce the budget of the Gendarmerie Nationale, from 7.7 bn EUR per annum currently to 5.68 bn per annum. This would allow the procurement of 20 additional Rafale fighters every year.

Secondly, reduce the Horse Republican Guard by 75% (or even better, abolish it completely) and sell its horses. They serve no useful purpose, they only parade once a year, on July 14th.

Thirdly, sell the Defense Ministry’s seat, Hotel de Brienne, and buy a smaller, more modest office building somewhere in Paris.

Fourthly, abolish the military cabinets of the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister, which serve no useful functions as all important decisions are made by the President, advised by his own military staff, the Etat-Major Particulier du President de la Republique.

Fifth, abolish the majority of bureaucracies in and around the Defense Ministry, such as the Secretariat General pour la Administration (SGA) and the Delegation pour les Affairs Strategiques (DAS).

Sixth, and probably most importantly, the salary and retirement system needs to be significantly reformed and its costs reduced, as they are beginning to grow out of control, like in the US.

Seventh and finally, the Defense Ministry should reverse the brass creep that has happened in recent years, that is, the growth of the number of senior officers and sous-officiers (NCOs) as total force structure has been reduced and promotion has become much easier in the now much-smaller French military. As a result, there are too many generals, admirals, senor officers, and sous-officiers, commanding too few troops. Their ranks are too senior compared to the number of troops they command. Many, if not most, positions in the military should be downgraded by at least one rank if not two or more, and the number of generals and admirals should be significantly reduced.

Final notes

It should be remembered that the French military has already undergone several significant reductions in size, budget, weapon orders, base infrastructure, etc. It cannot afford to take on more cuts.

And let’s not forget that right-wing, “Gaullist” politicians have been as complicit in the weakening of the French military as the Socialists. Significant cuts occurred under the Juppe and Fillon governments, under Presidents Chirac and Sarkozy. Indeed, some French Internet commentators have rightly pointed out that Sarkozy is actually the real “dismantler” of the French military: he’s the one who gave 54,000 French troops pink slips, cut orders for such vital weapons as FREMM class frigates, cut the inventory of weapons such as tanks, cut the French nuclear arsenal, and insulted the French military in 2008 (so much so that the then-Chief of Staff of the Army resigned in protest).

Nonetheless, there is no excuse for cutting the French military and the defense budget any further. When you are in a bad situation, one good thing you can always do is not to make the situation worse than it already is.

Let’s hope that French parliamentarians stop these destructive defense cuts in the parliament.

(http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130325/DEFREG01/303250009/France-Discussing-GDP-based-Defense-Budget-Cut)

‘Hayseeds’ bring new vibe to patriotic music

Most songs have a message of some sort, though too often I hear the shallow musings of today’s pop stars and wonder if there’s even a market for artists of substance and intelligence.
Artists from Charlie Daniels to Kid Rock have released patriotic songs in recent years, but it can be tough for a musician to toe the line between entertainment and enlightenment. Too often, such acts are derided as gimmicky or preachy and can turn off audiences before they are even engaged.
One Alabama-based trio of seasoned musicians is seeking to change that perception with a mix of memorable melodies and driving guitar riffs that result in tapping toes before the lyrics’ impact fully sinks in.
I recently had the pleasure of hearing from one-third of Project Hayseed as I learned more about the unique venture from the group’s founder and drummer, Joey Bruno.
The idea for a band, described as “a blend of southern rock, blues and pop,” dedicated to espousing pro-American values was rooted in the frustration so many felt with America’s societal shift.
“The 2012 presidential campaign and other events in the news made it clear that Project Hayseed needed to happen,” Bruno explained.
Concerns about a move away from the Constitution and toward an all-powerful central government led Bruno to speak out and he solicited the help of two fellow musicians, Luke Baggett and Bruce Bentley.
With nearly a century of musical experience between them, the fledgling group certainly had the expertise to make a great band. The next step was crafting a soundtrack complete with catchy but thought-provoking lyrics.
Each of the three members contribute to the creative process – lyrically and musically.
Though the unusual name of the band originated as Bruno was cutting grass one summer, the term “hayseed” has since taken on a more affectionate meaning among band members and their fan base.
The term has historically been used disparagingly in reference to those considered to be unsophisticated or uneducated, he explained.
“As [‘hayseed’] is used by the band and their fans … the term implies a simpler, common sense, less complicated look at the world and one’s actions and place within it,” he added. “The total idea being that America would serve itself better by returning to its core values – shrink the size and reach of her government and let the people regain their authority as the true leaders.”
As with any worthwhile venture, Bruno noted band members have put considerable time and effort into the project thus far.
“Writing was a task because it’s just too easy to take the low road and write a dozen ‘I hate [blank]’ songs,” he said. “That’s not Project Hayseed. We like to make different styles of songs with little hidden meanings in them – challenge your thinking, so to speak.”
Furthermore, he said the recording process is an arduous and costly one.
“Not only do the songs have to be right musically and lyrically, they’ve got to be of a very high commercial grade and quality as far as production goes,” he said. “Maybe it’s a sticky point with us, but we must be on par with the other offerings that you find by the mainstream. We don’t want the ‘conservative voice’ band to be a weak product.”
Attention to detail has already begun to pay off, though. Bruno said the growing number of self-described Hayseeds is a testament to the popularity of their message and sound.
“I think our timing has been incredible,” he said. “People have called [and] sent fan mail from as far as Alaska and the prayers – oh my; just so touching.”
Project Hayseed is already getting numerous requests for live shows, though he said the majority of performances will take place after the album is complete.
“The show just works better in larger venues and crowds,” he said. “We’d like to seat 1,000-plus and that’s very doable. Getting the album finished is the key.”
Tentatively titled “WE Built This!”, the name of their first album is a well-placed jab at an infamous comment by Barack Obama.
“Yeah, it’s pretty much every joke you can spin on that genius quote,” Bruno said, calling Obama’s claim that business owners are not responsible for their success “beyond insulting.”
Those interested in learning more about the band or who would like to donate to the costs of producing “WE Built This!” can visit their website here.
Click here to get B. Christopher Agee’s latest book for less than $5! Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.

Gay Rights Debate Reaches the Supreme Court

by Jeremy Griffith

HRC symbol appearing on Facebook promoting gay marriage issue

HRC symbol appearing on Facebook promoting gay marriage issue

Have you noticed a strange symbol showing up on the Internet, especially Facebook? There is a red block with two pink horizontal and parallel bars showing up on FB to replace people’s profile pics. This symbol is an alteration of the more commonly seen emblem of the Human Rights Commission, an organization that supports gay rights, (normally seen as two gold parallel horizontal bars on a purple field). There is an article today in HuffPo that explains this very thing.

The reason for the promotion of this symbol is to show support for gay marriage nationwide as the controversial Proposition 8 is being discussed in the Nation’s Supreme Court. This California Law is the legally binding law, approved of by the voting public of California defining marriage as the relationship between one man and one woman, effectively banning the relationship of any other type.

Now, let’s get this straight, I am not in favor of gay marriage of any type, as I am a Christian and I believe in what the Bible has to say on this issue. I will never be in favor of gay rights per say. Whenever homosexuality or any sexual perversion is mentioned in the Bible, bad things happen, (regardless of straight or gay). But from a purely intellectual standpoint, I understand and respect what the gay lobby is trying to do.

Currently, no one is being treated substantially different under the current law of California. Gay people have the same rights as straight couples; they have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex. Of course, that’s not what they want. What they want is special treatment to marry someone of the same sex, which is a special status not currently allowed.

HRC's normal symbol often seen as a bumper sticker.

HRC’s normal symbol often seen as a bumper sticker.

Now from a strictly libertarian viewpoint, I don’t really care if gay people are allowed to get married or not. I don’t approve of that type of relationship, but who am I to judge my neighbor, as long as he is not picking my pocket or breaking my leg. I understand that the gay couple wants the same benefits from the government that I would get as a straight person, which include but are not limited to: a) passing on of employment benefits to a domestic partner, b) the privilege to adopt a child, c) the right to visit a sick domestic partner in the hospital without interference from other blood relatives.

These are admirable goals, which I think can be achieved outside of declaring sanction of gay marriage. Why shouldn’t gay couples have these benefits along with any straight couple? Clearly the states can enact specific laws regarding these very complex social issues.

Here is the slippery slop now. I work at the Mayo Clinic. Under current policy the Clinic accepts living wills or powers of attorney for patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses, and it tries to honor those. However, the Clinic will usurp that power of attorney or living will if a blood relative of the patient objects, negating the will of the patient. This is unacceptable whether we’re talking about straight or gay patients, this should not be. If I have gone through the effort to make my will known, why should anyone else, relative or not, be able to simply usurp my will while I lay helpless my deathbed? If you’re gay or straight, it doesn’t matter. Everyone should have their close friends by their side when dealing with a life-threatening or terminal disease. The right of the suffering patients should be considered above that of any other, period!

Obviously we should strengthen the force of powers of attorney and medical directives.

As for the adoption issue, I am fully in favor of letting gay couples adopt so long as social services is being involved. There is no evidence that I have seen that shows that a gay couple is any more or less prone to abuse a child than a straight family. I would rather see a child get a good home than remain wards of the state. Social service involvements can oversee parents, regardless of sexuality, to determine that the child is indeed being received by a safe and stable home.

Then there is the issue of employee and social services benefits. I am all in favor of employers extending benefits to same sex couples, but here again there is a slippery slope. Should the employer have to extend benefits to Muslim or Mormon families where there are multiple wives, multiplying the cost to the employer per the number of beneficiaries? Isn’t that discrimination? Is it fair to the employer?

I think that if we are going to recognize one type of relationship, then we are excluding the others. If we open up the definition of marriage, then we open a barrel of monkeys that will be hard to close. I believe that the employers should extend benefits to one spouse only, to the exclusion of relationships of multiple beneficiaries. But here is where the state can enact laws, with the consent of their citizens, to determine the details.

I have no objection to the individual states enacting laws that make sense to their voters. What I do object to is robed elites at the appellate and Supreme Court levels usurping the will of the voter. Let the people decide what’s best for them and let the courts mind their own business.

The only reason for the court involvement is that this loud and vocal minority cannot be satisfied and must usurp the will of the majority by going over their heads to the appellate and supreme courts. In my view, these courts have no authority to usurp these laws; their only jurisdiction is to determine whether the laws enacted are constitutional. I’ve read the constitution; I don’t think there is any reference there to marriage, gay or otherwise. The only logical decision the courts can do is kick back these lawsuits and let the legislatures do their jobs. But they won’t because there is a certain power and prestige that comes with the judge’s robe and they like to use it to their benefit. The minority concerns like the gay lobby make use of this fact. As long as judges are allowed to legislate from the bench, the will of the majority will be meaningless.

And why should the state be involved in endorsing marriage in the first place? Have we had enough of the nanny state as it is? Why should I as a single person be punished for remaining single while married people get tax breaks (or penalties in some states)? Isn’t this the federal government picking winners and losers? I have an idea, let’s treat everyone the same, with a flat income tax, starting at incomes of $20k or more that taxes everyone at the same rate. Wouldn’t that be fair? No winners or losers, everyone treated the same. Perhaps that’s an issue for another column.

All in all I believe this is a 10th Amendment issue. States have the right, with the consent of their citizens, to determine what laws to enact in their state, and as long as those laws don’t break the constitutional standard, they should remain issues of the state. Where the constitution is silent on an issue, so too should be the court.

Jimmy LaSilvia of GOProud.

Jimmy LaSilvia of GOProud.

I recognize there will be debate even among conservatives and libertarians in regard to this issue. I welcome polite interface with people of differing opinions. My friends at GOProud for instance might have a different take. I respect their opinion. It annoys me that my friend Jimmy LaSilvia and his organization were barred from attending CPAC. As a conservative, I think there is room for debate on these very controversial issues. What there isn’t room for in the Republican and Conservative circles is hatred and name calling. That is reserved for the lockstep Liberals and Progressives. It suits their narrow-mindedness and low tolerance.

It’s Open Season on the Second Amendment: Part II

gun arrested

 

 

In last week’s column I discussed the 2010 Supreme Court ruling (McDONALD ET AL, v. CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS) upholding the  Second Amendment. The ruling doesn’t matter to leftists, neither do statistics proving law-abiding citizens with guns deter crime.  The Left is determined to shoot the Second Amendment and let innocents become victims to those who will always be able to obtain guns illegally if guns are banned.

What about the right of the citizen to keep and bear arms? According the the Court, the Second Amendment stands as written: We have gun rights.

In 2010, Justice Thomas declared this: “[T]he Fourteenth Amendment makes the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms…recognized in District of Columbia v Heller …fully applicable to the states…” and “The Court is correct in describing the Second Amendment right as ‘fundamental’ to the American scheme of ordered liberty…and deeply rooted in this nation’s history and traditions…” going on to state the “due process” clause in the Fourteenth Amendment “only speaks of process”… “Rather, the right to keep and bear arms is enforceable is against the States because it is a privilege of American citizenship recognized by the Fourteenth Amendment which provides inter alia: “No State shall make or enforce which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

Thomas said Constitution Amendments are written in such a plainspoken way, all citizens can understand the law.  There is no argument, except by those who do not favor upholding the Constitution.

Justice Alito said of murder rates by violent criminals with guns versus victims without:

Chicago Police Department statistics, we are told, reveal that the City’s handgun murder rate has actually increased since the ban was enacted and that Chicago residents now face one of the highest murder rates in the country and rates or other violent crimes that exceed the average in comparable cities.

 

Justice Stevens dissented with typical mental leftism:

The decision to keep a loaded handgun in the house is often motivated by the desire to protect life, liberty, and property.  It is comparable…to decisions about…education and upbringing of one’s children.  For it is the kind of decision that may have profound consequences for every member of the family, and…the world beyond…that may result in death or serious injury…that claim borders on the frivolous.  Petitioners make no effort to demonstrate that the requirements are unreasonable or that they impose a severe burden on the underlying right they have asserted…

 

That belief falls in line with Bill Clinton’s anti-gun presidency and Attorney General Janet Reno making the idiotic declaration: “I think it should be at least as hard to get a license to possess a gun as it is to drive an automobile.”

Only progressives consider protecting one’s self and family from harm so frivolous and unreasonable, they place their jackboots in their own mouths by moronically comparing owning guns to something every American is allowed to do by age 21: Drive an automobile!

This so-called reasoning was discussed in 1993 by Time Magazine, which said Australia and Great Britain placed such tough standards on purchasing guns, violent gun crimes were only 22 in the UK and 10 in Australia compared to 10, 567 in the United States. Never mind that in Australia, only business owners and gun club members are allowed to own firearms.  Time claimed strict gun enforcement created low death-by-gun crime rates in both countries.

Time’s data was false.  UK firearms prevention of non-gun club members has not prevented violent crimes.

According to Dave Workman of the Examiner: in June of 2010, an active British gun club member went on a mass murdering shooting spree, killing “dozens” with “…a sporting shotgun and .22-caliber rifle.”  Police investigations reports the man “may have illegally owned those guns…” he used to murder. CCRKB Chairman Alan Gottlieb of Bellevue notes:

American gun prohibitionists have frequently held up the gun laws of Great Britain as their model.  They have created the impression that English-style gun laws would prevent outrages in this country.  Today’s shooting spree, which apparently left victims in 30 different locations, should forever put the lie to this argument.

 

English-style gun laws are the reason Americans enacted a Second Amendment:  English laws allow the right of self-defense to few, the rest must suffer their victimization. In a law-abiding manner of course!

And progressives never want citizens considering this: If gun restrictions and bans ware removed and all Americans easily own firearms, would criminals think twice before committing crimes against innocents?  If criminals knew victims might be armed and on an equal level to attackers, would criminals be willing to commit crimes knowing they might encounter equal resistance?

That question was answered in the 1998 book by Scholar John R. Lott titled More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control.  Lott told Chicago University School of Law:

Criminals are deterred by higher penalties.  Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself. There is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate—as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent. Concealed handgun laws reduce violent crime for two reasons. First, they reduce the number of attempted crimes because criminals are uncertain which potential victims can defend themselves. Second, victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves

 

Ah, victims in better positions to defend themselves. What an unreasonable and frivolous assumption! Why that would “impose a severe burden on the underlying” entitlement violent criminals assert against whining victims!

As to schools and gun violence, whenever American schools are held hostage by armed, crazed lunatics shooting classmates and teachers, more gun bans are demanded.  Yet students involved in violent gun crimes violate every gun restriction:

The Columbine Killers,” Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold illegally purchased 20 firearms.  The two teenagers did what all criminals do—purchase weapons without entering gun stores and applying for gun permits.  In fact, the two murdered fellow students with one illegally purchased TEC-9 handgun and two shotguns purchased by a girlfriend, with no prior criminal record, who was able to pass all background checks, proving austere gun laws do not preclude violent crimes.

 

Anti-gun advocates argue against this claim, insisting gun bans will end gun crimes.  Not true.

Cato Institute produced research data evidencing waiting periods have been useless—before and after the 1993 enactment of the Brady Bill. Murder and robbery rates have not declined due to wait-listing and background checks.  As demonstrated with the Columbine murders, anyone can illegally purchase firearms through any means if so desired.

Gun laws never prevent crimes. Anti-gun laws and severe purchasing restrictions lead to skyrocketing sales of illegal guns as well as aiding and abetting violent crime. The fact is crime is lower in countries where citizens are allowed to own firearms.

Gary Lampo of the Cato Institute notes that statistics asserting other nations have lower gun crime rates is false.  Switzerland and Israel offer guns and licenses to all citizens on demand without waiting periods and guns are “easily obtainable in both nations,” where carrying concealed weapons is permitted to all.  As a result, Cato reports violent crime is low in both nations where “home firearm ownership… [is]…at least as high as those in the United States.”

Preventing law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves against criminals escalates violence.

Violent crime and gun bans in the District of Columbia led to the high court ruling for Chicago that forced the Supreme Court to uphold the Second Amendment as the right of the citizens. Never mind, facts will not prevent progressives from assaulting the Second Amendment in order to ban American’s from our right to keep and bear arms.



Sun Tzu’s Art of War is being misread and lied about

The notoriety and readership of Sun Tzu’s ancient military treatise, The Art of War, is increasing in the United States. But as this happens, his treatise is now, alas, meeting the same fate as other great works, including the Bible and Clausewitz’s On War: some people quote some short passages out of context, misinterpret them, and use them to advance their own agenda. This is utterly unacceptable.

A classic example of such behavior is a recent screed by Tom Watkins, a board advisor of the University of Michigan’s Confucius Institute. Titled The “Art of War” in the 21st century, it quotes just two very short verses from the Art of War, totally misinterprets them, and uses them to advance an extremely liberal agenda. Watkins cites the following verses:

“To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.” (Actually, it says “To win 100 battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is.”) (Chapter III, verse 3)

“The victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.” (Chapter IV, verse 15)

Watkins uses these two short verses, taken totally out of context, to justify the following 4 utterly false claims:

“A Chinese wave of military expansion has the potential for a build-up that may ultimately swamp America, but perhaps not in the way some expect. According to Pentagon officials, China is not yet capable of competing militarily with the U.S. and is at least a generation or more behind the United States in military technology.

Perhaps the real threat is what former World War II hero, general and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower foresaw in his farewell presidential speech nearly 50 years ago. Eisenhower warned the nation to beware of the “Military Industrial Complex” — an “iron triangle” of intertwined relationships between government, the armed forces and the industrial sector that manufactures arms and profits from them.

Americans must be careful that we do not allow recent China saber rattling, evidenced by a testing of their first stealth jet and the construction of their first aircraft carrier as well as excursions into the South China Sea, to draw the US into an extended arms race that we can ill afford.” (…)

China has used its evolving economic strength to gain enormous strategic geopolitical advantage in a number of areas, spending the better part of its stellar economic rise to build its country: roads, bridges, air and seaports, bullet trains, schools, universities — not to mention its internal domestic security apparatus. All the while, the U.S. has disinvested in our people and domestic priorities, allowed our infrastructure to decay and building up our military only to police the world, spending trillions overseas. It shows, too, as we struggle economically — we are also crumbling, literally, from within.

Clearly, China is also spending militarily as well as on domestic needs. If we try to keep pace with an arms race with China could we, like the USSR, go broke? The Soviet Union spent its focus and economy on an arms race with the West (primarily the U.S.). Economically, communism was part of the problem but the spending on arms ultimately brought down the former USSR.

Can we afford our new “pivot to Asia” when we have a deficit in excess of $14 trillion, borrowing 40 cents for every dollar spent and owing China a trillion dollars? (…)

Will China drag the U.S. into greater military spending, borrowing money from China to do so, enabling them to stoke both their domestic and military spending thus accelerating the economic see-saw, with America occupying the declining position? Our national leaders need to watch this building storm, protect our interests, and be careful that our own preparation for the coming waves does not become our undoing.”

What utter garbage!

Firstly, the US is NOT overspending on defense, and military spending is NOT harming the US economy (actually, it helps it enormously) and is NOT the cause of America’s fiscal woes. It currently amounts to less than 4.2% of GDP, with the base defense budget, $469 bn (under sequestration), amounting to less than 3.5% of GDP. A 4% portion of the economy is hardly any threat to, or burden on, it! Moreover, since the early 1990s, the US has never spent more than 5% of GDP on the military; throughout most of the 1990s and early 2000s, it spent less than 4%. This is the lowest level of defense spending (as a share of GDP) since FY1948! How can the economy, or the nation’s finances, collapse under such a meagre level of military spending?

Military spending is NOT destroying or harming the US economy. By contrast, throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the Soviet Union spent 25% of its entire GDP on its military, like North Korea does today, and the USSR collapsed because of economic problems brought about by its socialist system, not because of the arms race, although the arms race clearly cost the Soviets additional monies and aggravated their situation.

Furthermore, the total military budget accounts for only 18% of total federal spending. This is, again, one of the lowest levels of military spending – and pathetically low considering that under the Constitution defense is to be the federal government’s #1 duty and is the only significant authorized expenditure.

(As Ann Coulter rightly says, numbers don’t lie; liberals do.)

Watkins falsely claims further that responding to China’s military buildup militarily will destroy the US economy and “drag the US into an arms race we can ill afford.” This is also utter garbage – like his entire screed.

This is both because of the currently low levels of US military spending (4% of GDP, 18% of the budget) and because countering China’s military buildup would only require the prioritization of current military spending – not any significant increase (other than cancelling sequestration). Indeed, China and North Korea are the two biggest threats to US security outside Russia, and it is countering THEM that the bulk of America’s military budget- no matter its size – must be devoted to.

At the same time, the US should downgrade other regions and begin terminating obsolete commitments, deployments, and alliances. For example, Europe should be forced to provide for its own conventional defense, without any US involvement. The world’s center of gravity is now in Asia, NOT in Europe.

The claim that the US borrows money from China to finance its military is a blatant lie. The US borrows money from China to finance its bloated, constantly growing entitlement and domestic discretionary programs (which only promote government dependency), NOT its military. As my analysis shows, only 25% of annual federal spending is constitutional. If the federal government were spending money ONLY on constitutional objects, it would’ve had a sizeable annual budget surplus.

The claim that there is a huge, nefarious “military-industrial complex” in the US is also a blatant lie. The defense industry today is much smaller than it was even in the 1990s, military spending amounts to a tiny 4% of the US economy, and the defense industry’s lobbying power and campaign contributions are small. (If there is an influential “military-industrial complex” in the US, why couldn’t it prevent even the sequester’s defense cuts, let alone previous defense cuts?)

When President Eisenhower spoke of the “complex”, military spending amounted to an absolute majority of the US federal budget and almost 10% of the economy – a stark contrast to today’s 4% of GDP and 18% of the federal budget.

Watkins’ claim that “the US has disinvested in our people and domestic priorities, allowed our infrastructure to decay and building up our military only to police the world, spending trillions overseas” is also a blatant lie, like the rest of his pathetic screed.

Entitlements (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), i.e. mandatory social spending – on social security and healthcare – are by far the largest part of the federal budget: 63%. No other part comes even close. Total US healthcare spending – public and private – amounts to over 16% of America’s GDP. The US spends more on healthcare than any country in the world BY FAR – in large part due to the bloated welfare state and the entitlement mindset of today’s Americans, but also in large part due to Americans’ unhealthy lifestyles (obesity, junk food, junk drinks, no exercise, watching too much TV, smoking and drinking a lot, etc.), which lead to all sorts of diseases which cost a fortune to treat.

The US also spends more on education than any country in the world by far – both in absolute numbers and per capita. Property owners are heavily taxed to pay for this. Yet, the US has little to show for it – because, as this example shows, throwing more money at a problem won’t solve it.

The US is also one of the world’s biggest spenders on infrastructure, with heavy federal and state spending. But in this case, there are good results: the US has the best infrastructure in the world – road, rail, airport, pipeline, wireless Internet, etc. For example, the US is one of the few countries in the world to have a complete highway network connecting ALL major US cities, and has had it since 1991, while significant gaps exist even in “developed” countries like Italy, Germany, and Britain. (And the US highway network is constantly improving.) Most major US cities (except Atlanta) have at least two airports, and some have three, while most other major cities around the world have only one. Wireless Internet is more accessible in the US than anywhere else in the world. Railroads carry more freight in the US than in almost any other country (40% of all freight).

What Watkins and other liberals really decry is the lack of “high-speed rail” in the US. But high-speed rail is not feasible at all in the US, with its vast space, very dispersed distribution of population, and high construction and maintenance costs. Furthermore, high-speed rail is a very inattractive, inefficient mode of transportation: it has utterly failed to stem the decline of rail transportation’s popularity in Europe and Japan. (This has been documented in great detail by Randal O’Toole of the CATO Institute.)

Even in China, high-speed rail has been a white elephant. Few people use it. For example, on the high-speed train connecting Shanghai to its Pudong Airport, rarely are more than 25% of all seats occupied.

Furthermore, as Chris Edwards has documented in the National Review, America’s infrastructure, including its roads and bridges, is nowhere nearly as decrepit as liberals claim, and it has been steadily improving since the 1980s.

Universities? The US has the best universities by far – as all university rankings in the world will tell you – and it is American universities, not Chinese ones, that students from all around the world – including and especially China – aspire to study at. The children of many highly-ranking Chinese politicians, including Paramount Leader Xi Jinping himself, are currently studying at US universities. The US also leads the world, by far, in Nobel Prizes won. How many scientific Nobel Prizes has China won? Zero. Where are the world’s most innovative companies located? In the US. And the degree of collaboration between America’s universities and industry is unmatched anywhere else in the world.

China may very well surpass the US in GDP and in military power in this decade, but even long after that, the US will still lead in terms of a knowledge-based economy.

Watkins’ claim that the US has “disinvested in its people and domestic priorities ” and is “crumbling from within” is a gigantic, monstrous, blatant lie, and it, by itself, utterly discredits him and the Confucious Institute. Furthermore, the infrastructure, education, healthcare, and so forth are issues reserved by the Constitution exclusively to the states, while defense is the highest constitutional obligation of the federal government.

The claim that “China is not yet capable of competing militarily with the U.S. and is at least a generation or more behind the United States in military technology” is also a blatant lie, gigantic, monstrous lie. It’s a vast understatement of the Chinese military threat.

China is very well capable of competing militarily with, and defeating, the US, and it is not “a generation or more behind the US in military technology” – it has actually caught up with the US in most weapons and other technology types and is working hard to close the few remaining gaps. As my detailed analysis of its military capabilities, done most recently here, as well as the works of many others, prove beyond any doubt. China’s military power and military technology iare VERY close to matching America’s.

Its J-20 and J-31 fighters are superior to every other fighter except the F-22. Its conventional submarines are the quietest in the world and very hard for the US Navy to detect. Its ICBMs are all far younger than America’s Minuteman ICBM fleet, the last missile of which was deployed in 1976. China’s air defense system can easily detect and shootdown all nonstealthy aircraft as well as the “economy-stealth” F-35. Its destroyers and frigates are more modern and more capable than those of the USN. And so forth and so on.

China could actually defeat the US military easily – with conventional weapons as well as unconventional, assymmetric weapons and tactics (A2/AD weapons).

For China’s PLA, the US military would be like a virgin during her prom night… Easy.

By dramatically understating the Chinese military threat, Watkins and DOD officials who understate that threat (and there are many of them; they’re deliberately understating the threat to appease China)  are doing America, its military, and the American public a great DISFAVOR by lulling them into a false sense of security – which can only result in a catastrophic military defeat. For, as Sun Tzu wrote in the Art of War:

“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory achieved you will also suffer a defeat.

If you know neither yourself nor the enemy, you will succumb in every battle.” (Chapter III, verse 18)

 

Laser-like focus on the economy?

In January, the Obama Administration announced a renewed laser-like focus on jobs and the economy. Where is it?

President Obama has been pushing gun control, talking about sequestration as if it were doomsday and has now pivoted to immigration reform while the economy struggles to recover under the weight of an overgrown government.

Recent Gallup polling shows that Americans top three concerns are the economy, federal spending and healthcare – all items upon which the White House is failing to lead.

68% of respondents said that the economy are most concerned about the economy, 61% felt that federal spending was a concern and 59% were very concerned about healthcare with gas prices and unemployement closely behind.

The Gallup Economic Confidence Index also took a dive from it’s January high of -8 to a current reading of -16.

Americans continue to assess current economic conditions more negatively than positively, with 18% saying they are excellent or good and 37% rating them as poor. This equates to a net current conditions score of -19, down from -17 the week prior. – Gallup

On the subject of jobs, a Gallup poll show a steady drop in American’s hope for finding quality jobs. At the beginning of Obama’s first term, 90% felt that they could find a job they wanted. As of March 20th, only 74% feel the same way.

A Rasmussen survey found that only 31% of Americans feel the economy is getting better.

With American’s perceptions of the economy faultering, where is the President’s laser-like focus on Jobs?

President Obama has taken some actions on jobs and the economy. The President has disbanded the jobs council he formed in his first term and had ignored every since. Obama also pushed for the tax increases that hit business owners, middle-income and low-income earners. The administration has also taken several actions to hinder the growth of the natural gas industry.

Obama pivots to spanish language television after failures on budget, guns, healthcare

President Obama failureThe President is scheduled for sit-down interviews with Spanish language television networks Telemundo and Univision in an attempt to refocus American’s attention from his failures on the budget and gun control and the growing negative view Americans have on Obamacare.

President Obama is likely to focus on immigration reform – something that is much more likely to yield bi-partisan support than most of the items he focused on during his two terms. The White House is confident that growing numbers of Hispanic voters, many who watch Spanish language television, will help to pressure Congress into passing an immigration reform bill.

Obama has publicly supported legislation that would seek a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the United States.

Obama had spent most of the first part of 2013 trying to paint sequestration as a doomsday device put in-play by Republicans despite press reports and noted journalist Bob Woodward’s expose demonstrating that the White House pushed for sequestration. Recently, the White House cancelled tours of “The People’s House” and threatened the East Lawn Easter Egg Hunt pointing to sequestration as the cause – all while Joe Biden had been taking weekend trips back home, the Obama’s continued to vacation like Hollywood elites, and the Vice President blew over a half-million on a hotel stay in Paris.

The Administration’s attempts to show that budget cuts are painful failed miserably. Sequestration didn’t actually cut the budget, it only reduced the size of recent increases in federal spending of tax payer dollars. With only minuscule cutbacks coming from sequestration, no real change to services or the economy are palpable. Obama’s credibility has taken a tremendous hit as his fiscal cliff turns into a non-event.

The President had also spent the last few months pushing for an outright Federal gun ban. Limitations on shotguns, pistols and incorrectly-labelled “assault weapons” were desired by the Commander-in-Chief – until now. With Harry Reid not wanting to lose his seat as Senate Majority Leader, he was forced to pull the gun ban from the gun bill – instead focusing on background checks and enforcement. Sen. Reid did not want to force Democrats from rural states to have to vote on a gun ban bill which would just about guarantee lost Democrat Senate seats and a Republican Majority Leader come 2014.

This month, even more negative impacts of Obamacare have been brought to the attention of Americans. More doctors are retiring early, fewer are seeking medical careers, the costs of the legislation are skyrocketing, healthcare claims costs will rise 32% on average and more than 80% in some states.

Obamacare, gun control and the budget – all important and highly-visible issues with voters. All issues the President would have liked to have define his Presidency. All of them not headed in directions in Obama’s favor. But not all of them the most important.

According to a March 26th Gallup poll, the economy, federal spending and healthcare are the top three issues with American voters. Obama is now pivoting away from federal spending, trying to pretend Obamacare isn’t really as bad as recent press says it is and has been failing on the economy overall since taking office.

Obama approval ratingServing in his second term, President Obama presides over a nation more divided than any time since the 1960’s.  Racial tensions, class warfare, and an economy taking much longer than expected to recover have left America with a melting pot in shambles. Hoping to prevent a two-term legacy of outright failure, Obama is seeking to use Spanish language television to get at least one thing accomplished that may be looked upon favorably in history’s eyes.