United States Representative Christopher Lee (R-N.Y.) has resigned from office after reports surfaced claiming that the 46-year-old Congressman sent a shirtless photo of himself to a woman on Craigslist.
Lee submitted a formal resignation letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Feb. 9, just hours after Gawker.com reported that Lee, who is married with one child, allegedly identified himself through emails as a divorced 39-year-old who was looking for a date. Among several messages he reportedly sent to a female Craigslist user was a picture of himself posing shirtless.
"It has been a tremendous honor to serve the people of Western New York," Lee said in a written statement, according to media reports. "I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents. I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all."
Politico.com reports that Boehner allegedly warned Lee and other GOP lawmakers to stop partying with female lobbyists last year. Lee is the second U.S. Representative to resign within the past year due to reports of extramarital conduct. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) stepped down last May after it was revealed that he had an affair with a staffer.
According to FOX News, Lee's last speech on the House floor was on Jan. 19, when he urged his colleagues to repeal President Barack Obama's healthcare law.
The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will have a significant Tea Party presence this weekend, even though Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has declined an invitation to attend the national event sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation.
According to ABC News, Representative Allen West (R-Fla.) — a Tea Party favorite and freshman Congressman — has been selected to provide the keynote speech on Feb. 12. The three-day conference commenced on Feb. 10 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.
West's appointment to talk at CPAC represents a new era in conservative politics. A member of the House Tea Party Caucus, West is an African-American Republican and a former Army officer. Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, two prominent media personalities, delivered the keynote speeches over the past two years.
Driven by the Tea Party movement, the GOP notched sweeping victories in last November's midterm elections, gaining control of the House and adding seats in the Senate. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), the chairwoman of the House Tea Party Caucus, was scheduled to deliver CPAC's opening day keynote speech.
Palin, a Tea Party favorite, will be the most notable absence. Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) recently criticized Palin for skipping CPAC, saying that she must have "business opportunities" that are keeping her from attending, according to Politico.com.
Santorum was referring to Palin's paid speaking engagements that have helped her accrue an annual income rumored to be as high as $30 million per year, the media outlet reported.
*The Packers saved us a bundle. I don’t know which team you were cheering for in the Super Bowl, but a friend of mine said there are 5 million reasons we all should have been cheering the Packers. That’s approximately how much money they saved us poor beleaguered taxpayers by beating the Bears. How’s that, you ask? Well, had the Bears won, President Obama announced that he and his entourage would fly to Dallas on Air Force One to attend the Big Game. How much would that have cost the taxpayers? Many, many millions. So thanks, Cheeseheads.
*Now here’s a caucus I can support. Last Thursday, the Senate Tea Party Caucus held its first-ever meeting. Among those present was Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Where were your Senators? The group pledged support for the very first piece of legislation Ron Paul’s son introduced in the Senate — a bill to cut $500 billion from Federal spending this year. Go for it, guys — we’re behind you all the way.
*Guess who said this? What famous politician lectured taxpayers two years ago about the benefits of earmarks? Why, it was none other than Barack Obama who said, “Done right, earmarks have given legislators the opportunity to direct Federal money to worthy projects that benefit people in their districts and that’s why I’ve opposed their outright elimination.” Now, of course, our Teleprompter-in-Chief says he’ll veto any bill that contains even a single earmark. Gotta admire someone whose principles don’t change just to please the crowd, don’t you?
*How’s this for a rainbow coalition? Thanks to the Alert Reader who sent me the following: A white Catholic male Republican judge was murdered when he went to greet his friend, a Democratic Jewish woman member of Congress. Her life was saved initially by a 20-year-old gay Mexican-American college student, and eventually by a Korean-American combat surgeon, all of whom were eulogized by our first African-American President. And it all took place in that bastion of conservative politics, Arizona. Is this a great country or what?
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) has announced that he will retire when his current term expires in 2012.
According to ABC News, Kyl formally revealed his retirement plans at a Feb. 10 press conference at the Phoenix Airport Marriott. With the announcement, the 68-year-old joins four other lawmakers who recently decided to step down: Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.).
The news provider reported that Kyl had only $619,000 in his campaign funds last month, which pales in comparison to the $16 million he had raised before his 2006 re-election. Kyl, who is currently the No. 2 Republican in the Senate behind Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), served four terms in the House of Representatives before his election to the Senate in 2000.
"He's leaving now at the top of his game, he has money in the bank, and he’s one of the few long-term incumbents who doesn’t face a Tea Party challenge," a senior Senate GOP aide told FOX News.
The news provider reported that officials from both political parties have already begun to speculate on potential candidates to fill Kyl's office, including Representative Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, a former Democratic governor of Arizona. In addition, some pundits have considered the candidacy of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who is rapidly recovering from a gunshot wound stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz.
We’ve spent a lot of time recently bashing “the worst President who ever lived.” (That’s the description of the current occupant of the White House by many of my readers.) Instead, this week let’s do something different. Let’s turn our attention to the President whose birthday we celebrate tomorrow… the Great Emancipator, who is generally acclaimed as the greatest American President of them all.
But was he, really?
I don’t know what they teach in United States history classes today, but back in the middle of the last century, when I was in elementary school, there was absolutely no question about how we were to regard Abraham Lincoln. We were taught to feel a reverence bordering on awe for Honest Abe, the eloquent martyr who saved the Union.
We were required to memorize the Gettysburg Address. And if we were lucky enough to join a field trip to our nation’s capital, one of the most significant events was our visit to the Lincoln Memorial. (A few of us rapscallions spoiled the solemnity of the moment by sliding down the sides of the monument.)
That was what we were taught in the grade schools of Cleveland. And I suspect it wasn’t any different in any other school in the North. Some of you sons and daughters of the South will have to tell me what your teachers and history books said.
It wasn’t until I became an adult and started reading history on my own that I began to doubt the version of events I was taught several decades earlier. For example, did you know that Lincoln suspended civil liberties in the North, including the writ of habeas corpus? That he filled the jails with more than 13,000 political prisoners, all incarcerated without due process? The Supreme Court protested Lincoln’s disregard for our Constitutional protections, but the President replied he had a war to fight. Since he commanded the army, Lincoln won that argument.
And speaking of the war, guess who uttered these words:
"Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. This is a most valuable — a most sacred right — a right, which we hope and believe, is to liberate the world. Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can, may revolutionize, and make their own, of so much of their territory as they inhabit."
I’ll admit this is a trick question. The speaker was Lincoln. But he was not talking about the Southern states that tried to secede from the Union. No, these remarks were made in 1847, when Lincoln was defending the right of Texans to demand their independence from Mexico. A dozen years later, when six Southern states tried to declare their independence, Lincoln’s response was to smash them to bits.
As a child, I never questioned the assertion that the South was wrong to secede. And that Lincoln was right to use as much force as necessary to preserve the Union. Later, as I grew to understand the strength and uniqueness of our Constitutional Republic, I began to question both assumptions.
The U.S. Constitution, I came to believe, was a contract — a contract between the various states and the Federal government they created. Note that the Constitution had to be approved by the states, not a majority of the citizens. There was no "majority rule" here, no popular vote taken.
But this raises the question, if it was necessary for the states to adopt the Constitution, why wouldn’t it be legal for some of those states to rescind that vote, especially if they felt the contract had been broken? More and more, I found myself thinking that the South was legally and morally right in declaring its independence. And the North, by invading those states and waging war on them, was wrong.
And what a terrible war it was. By the time it was over, nearly 625,000 soldiers (and another 75,000 or so women, children and elderly civilians) were dead — more American servicemen than were killed in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. Fully one-fourth of the draft-age white population of the South was dead.
The devastation in the former States of the Confederacy is hard to imagine. Sherman’s march from Atlanta to Savannah is notorious for its savagery. But he was far from the only Northern officer who ordered his troops to lay waste to Southern farms, fields and plantations. Union troops routinely destroyed crops, sacked homes and even stabled their horses in Southern churches.
As H.W. Crocker III puts it in The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Civil War (Regnery Publishing, 2008), "If abiding by the law of a free republic and fighting a defensive war solely against armed combatants be flaws, the South had them and the North did not. Lincoln ignored the law, the Constitution, and the Supreme Court when it suited him. His armies waged war on the farms, livelihoods and people of the South, not just against their armies."
Of all the big lies about the War Between the States, the biggest of all may be that it was necessary to end slavery. The truth is that many illustrious Southerners, including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, recognized that slavery had to come to an end. But it should not come by force of arms, they felt; not at the point of a gun, but rather through the free consent of the owners, with the proper preparation of the slaves. To get them ready for their own freedom, for example, Lee’s wife insisted the family’s slaves be taught to read and write, and the women how to sew.
Despite what most of us have been taught, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation did not free the slaves. It wasn’t a law, but an edict. It specifically exempted the Border States and any parts of the South that were already under the control of Federal forces. It applied only to areas that were still in rebellion. So the Proclamation, of and by itself, did not free a single slave.
What it did, however, was change the nature of the conflict. Now the war was no longer about restoring the Union or preventing Southern independence. Now it was about the morality, and the legality, of slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation did not make the war more popular in the North, but it did end the possibility of other countries, especially France and Britain, from coming to the aid of the South. They might have been willing to assist Southern independence; but support a war in favor of slavery? Never.
As Crocker notes, "In Southern eyes, the Emancipation Proclamation was the ultimate in Yankee perfidy — an attempt to incite slave uprisings against Confederate women and children."
Then he notes, "Happily, while the proclamation did encourage slaves to seek their freedom, there were no slave uprisings, no murders of women and children — which might say something good about Southerners too, both white and black."
Lincoln, more than any other President who came before him, changed the very nature of our government. There would never again be as many limitations on the powers of the Federal government. And just as tragic, the concept of States’ rights suffered a blow from which it has never recovered.
I’m told that more than 14,000 books have been written about Lincoln. Most, of course, are incredibly adulatory. The few that attempt to balance the scales are virtually ignored. While it may not be true that might makes right, it is definitely true that the winners write the history books.
If you’re open-minded enough to consider another point of view, let me recommend two books by Thomas J. DiLorenzo to you: The Real Lincoln and Lincoln Unmasked. In these two books he presents a vastly different view of Abraham Lincoln than you’ve heard before, I promise.
Both are available at Amazon.com. (What isn’t?) Also, do yourself a favor and go to the website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, where DiLorenzo serves as a senior fellow. You’ll find an extensive selection of articles, essays, and yes, books you can order that are way out of the academic mainstream.
So there you have this contrarian’s view of Abraham Lincoln. I’m eager to hear what some of you think — especially the sons and daughters of the South, whom I suspect, were raised with a somewhat different slant than I.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Former President George W. Bush has canceled a trip to Switzerland amid reports of protests and legal action linked to his administration's handling of foreign detainees.
According to The New York Times, two human rights groups issued a preliminary indictment against Bush on Feb. 7, alleging that he authorized the torture of terrorism suspects during his Presidency. The 42-page document was filed by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.
Katherine Gallagher, a senior attorney for CCR, told the media outlet that a formal legal complaint will be filed against Bush if he leaves the United States. The former commander-in-chief has faced scrutiny from human rights advocates following the release of his memoir Decision Points last year, in which he admitted to personally approving the torture technique called waterboarding that simulates drowning.
Bush was scheduled to deliver a speech at the United Israel Appeal fundraiser in Switzerland this week, but the organization canceled the event due to security concerns after international groups threatened to stage large-scale protests at the event.
Bush spokesman David Sherzer expressed regret about the cancellation, but declined to comment on the planned protests, ABC News reported.
As Starbucks prepares to release a new 31-ounce 'Trenta' size for its iced beverages in May, a health expert has stepped forward to warn the public about the health risks involved in excess sugar consumption.
Ellen Schuster, a state health specialist with the University of Missouri, said that a 'Trenta' lemonade, for example, could contain 21 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than most people should consume in a day, let alone in one drink.
Consumers would be doing themselves a favor by instead opting for the brand's 8-ounce short or 12-ounce tall sizes to limit their intake of sugar and calories.
Too much sugar often means too many calories, which can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. Additionally, a 31-ounce beverage may contain a massive amount of caffeine, which can cause sleep problems or heart arrhythmia.
On top of everything else, 31 ounces is equivalent to 916 milliliters (mL), while the average capacity of a human stomach is 940 mL, according to The Columbia Encyclopedia.
Aside from choosing a smaller size, individuals can keep calories down by making their beverages at home where they can control the amount of sugar and fat that goes into their drinks.
All right, this needs to stop before it gets completely out of hand. Even President Barack Obama is doing it these days: “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America…” And you’re hard at work changing it back; right, Mr. President?
I met Reagan once. I was a kid, barely old enough to reach the copies of National Review at the book store. It was 1980, and he stopped in my town to remind us how much worse off we all were than we had been four years ago. To the best of my recollection, dark-horse Presidential candidate John Anderson came through town the following week, but by then he might as well have been a zebra on the track at the Kentucky Derby. The real jackass in the race never visited my town.
His physical stature paled next to his ineffable presence. He filled the room, and when he spoke to you, even if you were a snot-nosed kid who was never going to be able to vote for him, he was speaking to you. I immediately liked him.
He reminded me of my father.
Ronald Reagan reminded everyone of their fathers. At least, he reminded them of the fathers they grew up watching on television. Reagan would have understood that there was NO WAY you were the one who sliced a three-wood off the back porch into the neighbors’ garage; and besides, the neighbors were jerks anyway — putting their house right there.
As evidenced by the stampede of Democrats who cast ballots in Reagan’s favor in 1984, he was nearly everything to everyone. Reagan was the proud patriot who eulogized the heroes of Pointe Du Hoc. He was the indestructible superhero who shrugged off an assassin’s bullet while being wheeled into surgery. He was the soft-shouldered father-figure who held us in his warm embrace as we mourned the Challenger crew. He was also the glowering Titan who warned off danger, punished those who threatened our safety and made the bad guys rethink their career paths.
He was, of course, far from perfect. But, given that the last perfect guy who trod these earthly climes ended up nailed to a tree, I suppose we can and should forgive him his humanity.
While Reagan made patriotism stylish again, evoking Heaven itself in his effusive homage to America; he made life a living hell for Democrats. Even as they made gains in Congress in both 1982 and 1986, the Democrats couldn’t conjure up a candidate who could believably stand in the shadow of the Great Communicator without disappearing entirely. In 1988, George H.W. Bush had merely to run on his record of standing next to Reagan on a couple of choice occasions and Michael Dukakis was cooked. However, eight years of life as Reagan’s boy Friday meant only four years for Bush the elder. In fact, it could be fairly said four years of reminding us that he was not Reagan cost Bush four more years in the White House.
Reagan left the White House 22 years ago and this mortal plane seven years ago. But his legacy still lingers. The mere fact that everyone who could spell “Gipper” took a moment to observe the passing of his 100th birthday last Sunday is testament to his lasting influence. No one put together a special for LBJ’s 100th. Even Obama has tried to stroll in Reagan’s oversized shoes of late.
Last weekend, ABC’s John Berman whined that the observance of Reagan’s 100th was sending politicians over the edge:
"There is Reagan Airport, the Reagan Building, the Reagan Library. Then there is the church of Reagan, where candidates worship."
Hey, they ALL get libraries, John. There’s even a Clinton library, but you have to be 18 to get in. And have fun reading back issues of Juggs by the light of a purple neon moon.
With the 2012 Presidential race already heating up as everyone with an eye on the Oval Office begins making “I’m just sightseeing” trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, allow me to offer some advice to the prospective candidate:
Stop comparing yourself to Ronald Reagan. Although the media’s goal is to diminish you by comparison — which is itself an acknowledgement of Reagan’s greatness — they have this one right. I met Ronald Reagan; you’re no Ronald Reagan.
In response to a discussion of a deflationary depression versus an inflationary depression, readers often ask me if a “soft landing” is possible. I guess the answer to that question depends on how you define soft landing.
If by soft landing, you mean we will somehow muddle through, things will calm down on their own and we will not experience a great deal of pain, the answer is no. But if your definition of soft landing is an economy that declines slowly, without violent revolution, I would say such a scenario is possible.
There are a number of complex factors at play here, but let’s begin with the most obvious one: Human nature. I believe it was Groucho Marx who told the joke about a man standing on a street corner, hitting himself over the head with a hammer. When asked why he would inflict such pain on himself, the guy answered, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”
Groucho’s joke reminds me of just how adaptable human beings are. After all, Americans have been hitting themselves over the head with a financial hammer for decades, but they’ve become so used to it that they are immune to the pain. Human beings seem to have an uncanny ability to adapt to discomfort.
Which is why, in the past, most producers continued to create wealth even when their taxes rose to draconian levels. During World War II, the top tax rate reached 94 percent, and it remained at 91 percent until 1964. With such astronomical tax rates in effect, it’s amazing that we managed to survive — but we did.
So, yes, I believe people could get used to the lower living standards that are on the horizon once resignation sets in — provided the drop isn’t too fast. But since President Barack Obama and his progressive pals took control of things in Washington, we’ve experienced a dramatic drop in living standards in a very short period of time, and that has gotten people’s attention.
Many are talking about postponing retirement, or not retiring at all; cutting back on — or completely eliminating — vacations has already started; dining out four nights a week is becoming a thing of the past; and soon people won’t be able to afford to buy those high-priced tickets to sporting events that fill sports stadiums and arenas from coast to coast.
In this respect, Obama’s fake move toward the center could be the best thing that ever happened to his spread-the-wealth agenda. To the extent government infringements on individual rights are spread over a longer period of time, Americans are more likely to adapt to a progressively lower standard of living. It’s not really muddling through; it’s muddling downward — in stages — one step at a time, and giving people a chance to adapt to the next lower standard.
If you’re thinking gradualism, you’re right. It has worked like magic for the U.S. government for at least a hundred years, and it could once again protect politicians against outright rebellion. By contrast, a quick and total deflationary collapse would not be peaceful because, unlike 1929, a huge percentage of today’s population has a deeply ingrained entitlement mindset.
But what about producers? Won’t they stop producing? Not at first. I believe that, at least for a while, producers will keep producing even as they have to share ever-larger pieces of their pie with non-producers.
At some point, however — and no one knows exactly when that point will be reached — producers will escape to Galt’s Gulch. It may not be a physical place, as in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, but, one by one, they will stop producing. And if things get too bad, many will simply expatriate.
Which brings me back to a soft landing. It may be hard to accept, but a gradual lowering of the living standards of most Americans would be more harmful over the long term than a rapid and complete collapse of the U.S. economy.
As an analogy, immediately after 9/11 a vast majority of Americans were fighting mad and the general tone of the public was patriotic. Today, the radical Islamic threat is far greater than it was right after 9/11, but because there have been no major attacks on U.S. soil, the “war on terror” is no longer a high priority in most people’s minds. Americans have gotten used to the idea that terrorists are spread throughout the U.S. pretending to be everyday citizens, so they have mentally adapted to the threat.
The point is that everything, no matter how damaging it may be to our well-being, becomes normal to us over a period of time. An abused woman comes to believe her situation is normal. A kid who is bullied in school comes to believe his situation is normal.
My concern is that if we keep hitting ourselves over the head with the hammer of a slow collapse of our economy, Americans will gradually get used to a step-by-step lower standard of living, the result being that they will come to think of each new level as normal. No rebellion — just a nice, soft landing.
Which is why, if it’s important to you that your children and grandchildren live better than you’re living today, you should pray for things to unravel quickly — followed by a successful counter-revolution in the form of educating the public about both the morality and practicality of freedom and free enterprise.
The truth no one wants to face up to is that we cannot start rebuilding America until we hit bottom and admit that we no longer have a republic, that our government is corrupt and out of control, that our Constitution has become irrelevant to our rulers and that our debt can never be repaid. As I have said so often, most people do not love truth; instead, they try to make true that which they love.
Speaking for myself, investing the time, energy and discomfort involved in fighting for freedom trumps a slow and peaceful slide into servitude any day of the week.
To learn more about what has transpired in our country and how we can return to a freer and more prosperous nation, I urge you to take advantage of this limited-time offer to receive my new book, Restoring the American Dream: The Defining Voice in the Movement for Liberty, for free. Just click here to learn how to get your autographed copy.
– Robert Ringer
Legal ethicists have raised concerns about the latest political move by Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, claiming that her role as "an ambassador to the Tea Party movement" could affect her husband's ability to remain objective.
According to Politico.com, Virginia Thomas recently founded a lobbying firm called Liberty Consulting. The group, which promotes limited government, free enterprise and other conservative causes, pledges to use "experience and connections" to help clients with their efforts and donation strategies. The news provider reported that Virginia Thomas has already met with nearly half of the 99 GOP freshmen in Congress.
Some legal experts believe that her new role creates a conflict of interest since her husband is expected to rule on hotly-debated issues such as healthcare and campaign finance regulation.
Justice Thomas "should not be sitting on a case or reviewing a statute that his wife has lobbied for," Monroe H. Freedman, a Hofstra Law School professor, told The New York Times. "If the judge’s impartiality might reasonably be questioned, that creates a perception problem."
Last week, the watchdog group ProtectOurElections.org called for a criminal investigation of Justice Thomas for failing to disclose his wife's income on past financial reports. The organization alleged that the judge omitted his spousal income from as far back as 1989 — including approximately $686,000 from conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation — which, if revealed, could have led to his disqualification from hearing certain cases that may have benefited his wife.
The uprising in Egypt, a United States puppet state run for 30 years by an America-approved dictator, demonstrates yet again the folly of a foreign policy of interventionism.
Despite billions of dollars in aid to Egypt, the Egyptian people don’t view America in a favorable light. According to a 2010 Zogby poll, fully 90 percent of Egyptians viewed the United States as a threat. Other polls show that eight out of 10 Egyptians view America unfavorably, and almost half view America very unfavorably.
Egyptians, tired of tyranny, are protesting in an effort to build a more democratic country. For his part, President Barack Obama continues to walk the fence between supporting long-time U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak and trying to get out front of whichever force on the ground establishes itself as the leader of the anti-Mubarak faction.
That leaves the U.S. in a precarious position. On the one hand, if Mubarak survives, the Egyptian people will see his survival as the result of America’s meddling in the affairs of their country, and they’ll hate us even more. If the anti-government forces prevail — particularly if the Islamist group Muslim Brotherhood achieves dominant status — the new government will not be as friendly to the U.S. or Israel.
To top it off, other U.S. puppet states like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain may fall next. That’s many more billions of U.S. fiat currency out the window.
In the name of foreign policy the U.S. has spread untold wealth on nations throughout the Middle East and Eastern and Western Europe. It has propped up tyrants, created jealousies and hard feelings and supplied Europeans with nanny state-style benefits.
The money wasted over there could have been better used over here building a strong economy and improving the lives of Americans. Instead, it’s created enemies of the people who have suffered under the tyranny of America-financed dictators.
The current Congress is debating ways to cut the budget. Money to dictatorial regimes for the purpose of improving their military might and clamping down hard on their people should be the first line item to get the ax. Next should be money that funds U.S. military bases around the world.
President George Washington, in his farewell address, warned against establishing permanent alliances. He said:
“Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people, under an efficient government, the period is not far off, when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality, we may at any time resolve upon, to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.
“Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humor, or caprice?
“It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world; so far, I mean, as we are now at liberty to do it; for let me not be understood as capable of patronizing infidelity to existing engagements. I hold the maxim no less applicable to public than to private affairs, that honesty is always the best policy. I repeat it, therefore, let those engagements be observed in their genuine sense. But, in my opinion, it is unnecessary and would be unwise to extend them.
“Taking care always to keep ourselves, by suitable establishments, on a respectable defensive posture, we may safely trust to temporary alliances for extraordinary emergencies.”
It’s way past time for us to heed his advice.
One week after Obamacare was ruled unConstitutional by a Federal judge in Florida, a total of 21 Republican governors have signed a letter to the United States government detailing how the healthcare overhaul might cripple their States' budgets.
According to media reports, the leaders sent the letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. They proposed six changes to the law, including provisions that would give States more flexibility in crafting insurance exchanges and waivers that would relieve States of the bill's "costly mandates."
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who is a rumored GOP candidate for the 2012 Presidential elections, was one of the officials who supported the letter. In an op-ed piece for The Wall Street Journal on Feb. 7, Daniels called Obamacare a "massive mistake" and claimed that it would cost Indiana taxpayers up to $3 billion over a decade.
Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Vinson of Florida declared the entire healthcare act unConstitutional. The Obama administration condemned the ruling, and said that it will continue to implement the law without interruption.
"Congress defied the will of American voters in passing the [Patient Protection and Affordable Care] Act," said Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, "and now the Administration will defy the Court, spending billions of dollars on implementing the Act while the courts proceed."
The campaign to select the Republican to challenge Barack Obama in the 2012 Presidential election is underway and it seems the Republican brain trust has selected its challenger: Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
The neoconservative rag National Review — the champion of liberal Republican RINOs like John McCain and Mike Castle and mouthpiece for the Republican establishment — is touting Jeb’s credentials in its cover story this week, and on Monday, Editor Rich Lowry posted on National Review Online eight reasons Jeb should run in 2012 rather than 2016. His reasons: The GOP field is wide open, 2016 will be too late (twice), brother George W.’s legacy is being rehabilitated, Jeb will always be a Bush, he’s not just another Bush, he can unite the party and waiting is a mistake (see Mario Cuomo).
I can think of as many reasons why another Bush would be bad for the country. But for the sake of brevity, I’ll mention just one: Perpetual war.
In January 1991, President George H.W. Bush launched a war in the Middle East that continues more than 20 years later. Started under the pretext of freeing Kuwait from a dictator — Iraq’s Saddam Hussein — the war was fought to ensure the free flow of oil to America from Bush the elder’s bosom buddies, Saudi King Fahd and his family.
While Kuwait is a free country compared to most in the Middle East, it is ruled by a king whose family has overseen the country since 1752. A monarchy is not a free country, so Bush traded one dictator for another he liked better.
After Hussein capitulated and retreated back into Iraq, American military bases established throughout the region remained. The American military presence in Saudi Arabia is one of the reasons cited by Osama bin Laden for launching the 9/11 attacks on America.
Throughout the remainder of Bush the elder’s term, and then all the way through Bill Clinton’s, America remained at war with Iraq. United States fighter jets patrolled the skies, the occasional Tomahawk missile was launched and American troops and materiel remained in place — ostensibly to keep Hussein in check.
Then came George W. Bush. After 9/11, Bush received carte blanche from Congress to make war where he pleased. And it pleased him to do what his father had not: Remove Hussein — a product of CIA meddling in the Middle East in the 1980s as a foil to Iran — from power.
Now Barack Obama continues the fight in the Middle East, and despite his tall talk that he believes all people should be free and should settle their own affairs, the fact remains that he continues to meddle in the internal affairs of the region and favored the Iranian regime over the Iranian people in their protests in 2009 and favors 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak over the Egyptian people now.
If we have another Bush at the helm, guided by the war-happy neoconservative wing of the GOP, you can be assured the perpetual war will continue. The country cannot afford another Bush.
Research that was recently conducted at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggests that eating vitamin-rich vegetables like leafy greens and beets could improve efficiency of muscle function due to inorganic nitrates found in the foods.
Scientists studied participants who consumed small doses of inorganic nitrate for three days and then rode on exercise bikes. They found that the subjects' muscles consumed oxygen more efficiently, and concluded that it was due to improved mitochondria function.
The news does not suggest that people immediately reach for nitrate supplements, however. The substance needs bacteria found in the mouth to produce nitric oxide, a byproduct that has been known to dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure. So researchers recommend getting daily doses of inorganic nitrate from fresh vegetables.
"We're talking about an amount of nitrate equivalent to what is found in two or three red beets or a plate of spinach," said Eddie Weitzberg, study co-author.
Further, the authors noted that powerful mouthwashes could kill certain beneficial bacteria in the mouth and hinder the effectiveness of the nitrates.
Weitzberg said he and his team plan to test the effects of inorganic nitrates on individuals with mitochondrial dysfunction, like those with diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Republicans celebrated the legacy of former President Ronald Reagan last weekend to mark what would have been his 100th birthday.
Reagan, who died in 2004, was honored at various events throughout the nation, including a gathering at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. on Feb. 5. According to The Washington Post, Reagan's widow, Nancy, placed a wreath on her husband's grave, and former Cabinet secretary James Baker III — a close friend of Reagan's — addressed a crowd of about 1,200 guests.
Baker said that Reagan's lessons about freedom, common sense and self-reliance remain "every bit as true today as they were then," according to the media outlet. The 40th President of the United States championed limited government, establishing a tax policy that is commonly referred to as Reaganomics. His reforms in the 1980s are widely praised by fiscal conservatives, who credit Reagan with lowering the country's unemployment rate, reducing inflation and creating an economic boom.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin delivered the keynote speech during a Reagan centennial event on Feb. 4. According to the New York Daily News, the Tea Party favorite said that Reagan would be "so proud of the conservative movement today," and he would have expressed his "outrage" about President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul.
At an event in Chicago on Feb. 5, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that America could also benefit from Reagan's hard line approach to foreign relations while addressing the unrest in Egypt. According to FOX News, Gingrich said that the Obama administration is "unwilling to tell the truth about the threat to the United States" if the Muslim Brotherhood assumes control of Egypt.
President Barack Obama has been on a pilgrimage of late, declaring that America will re-invent itself with green technology. He has even declared that the nation must move away from oil and invest in things that will vastly improve our fortunes; things like solar shingles and cars that run on sunlight and water.
The President has gone so far as to promise that in just four years America will be the first nation in the world to have a million electric cars.
It is the President’s version of Jack and the Beanstalk. In that story and in Obama’s imagination, immense wealth and a great transformation will occur overnight. All we need is a few magic beans (patent pending), water, sunshine and poof, we will have a green beltway to Eden which will be brimming with new jobs.
The President has been talking about jobs a lot lately. Last week he went to Penn State University to stump his green revolution. And late last month he announced that he has created at least one new job. But it is for someone who doesn’t even need it, General Electric Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who will focus on growing employment for the nation. The object of all this media, money and minutia all comes down to saving one job; Obama’s.
“We’re going back to [GE founder] Thomas Edison’s principles,” Obama said in Schenectady, N.Y. “We’re going to build stuff and invent stuff.”
Unsaid in his “Stuff Speech” is that the plant he was speaking from dates back to when Edison was helping invent the Industrial Revolution. After the President’s speech the media did not make much of the fact that GE has fewer than half its workforce in the United States and that more than 50 percent of its revenues come from foreign operations. Like the rest of the world, G.E. understands that its fortunes are not dependent upon the U.S.
Also unsaid is that the world will be happy to buy blue print proprietary technologies that Obama is willing to give away in an effort to be re-elected.
Let’s take away words like traitor and poser and ask ourselves a simple question: Can America sell enough high tech turbines to offset all those dog-toys from China and petroleum from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries? Probably not.
Nevertheless Obama recently proclaimed: “We can out-compete any other nation on Earth.”
Not so said The New York Times:
“Let’s not kid ourselves: Talking about ‘competitiveness’ as a goal is fundamentally misleading… [Instead] that talk of competitiveness helps Mr. Obama quiet claims that he’s anti-business. That’s fine, as long as he realizes that the interests of nominally “American” corporations and the interests of the nation, which were never the same, are now less aligned than ever before.”
Maybe I am jaded, but I believe that the only interest Obama has in his heart is self-interest. He also has many powerful disciples, including the mighty Oprah Winfrey. She was the first guest on the new CNN talk show hosted by Piers Morgan. English and a younger version of Larry King and with only a fraction of the wives, Morgan proclaimed Oprah to be, “the American Queen” and said she and President Barack Obama are arguably the two most powerful people in America.
When asked whether Obama’s performance in office had been disappointing, Winfrey angrily declared:
“I don’t think he (Obama) has been disappointing at all. I really do not. I really do not, because I believe that I understand the heart of him. And I understand that when he took this role on, he took it on to really bring a sense of betterment to the United States of America and the people of this country. And I know that in his heart, that is his ultimate and primary role.”
What Oprah seemed to be saying is that Americans do not yet understand or appreciate the President and the mission he has undertaken to save us. Obama remains to Oprah as she proclaimed him to be three years ago: “The chosen one”.
While Oprah didn’t specify on exactly why most Americans are either too ignorant or too stupid to “get it,” Obama is finally getting a grasp of things. Following two years of ramming Obamacare and gays in the military down America’s throat, the President realizes it might be a good time to work on that little problem he and his cabinet have been calling, “the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.”
Recently, the President revealed his Franklin Delano Roosevelt-like ambitions which he has spelled out in grand and green changes for the future. I don’t know about you, but I felt better just thinking Obama was just another crooked Chicago politician. The idea that the President has grandiose plans is downright disturbing.
Vice President Joe Biden recently wrote an email in which he thanked activists of the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America. In it, Biden asked them for their continued support: "We knew it would take time. We knew it would be hard. And we knew we would sometimes make mistakes."
Biden continued. "But we did not lose sight of what we came to do. Together, we took on difficult issues that had been put off for decades. And some say we have accomplished more in two years than any administration since Roosevelt’s."
Biden went on to say that the administration’s success is, "literally proof that the organizing you do on the ground — the conversations you have with your friends and neighbors — is working."
The Vice President’s email contained a list of legislative accomplishments, including healthcare reform, financial regulatory reform, the stimulus, the auto bailouts and the repeal of the military’s "Don’t ask, don’t tell" policy.
When you see a list like that it is hard to argue with Biden’s logic. The only thing missing is that FDR was president for 12 years while Obama is just two years into his presidency.
It is yet to be determined whether Obama’s green schemes will get him re-elected. I am optimistic they won’t. If anything, Obama is proving himself to be most like Jimmy Carter. Rising inflation, the crisis in the Middle East and an environmentalist President seem all too familiar. Hopefully, Obama won’t spend one more day in office than Carter did.
Yours in good times and bad,
Myers’ Energy and Gold Report
One of the leaders of the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform has accused Congressional lawmakers of playing politics instead of tackling the Federal deficit with substantial proposals.
Former United States Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) appeared on CNN's State of the Union on Feb. 6. He said that politicians need to start digging into the "big four" — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and defense — instead of targeting cuts that appeal to their voter base, such as earmarks, foreign aid or Congressional pensions.
"That's just sparrow belch in the midst of the typhoon," Simpson told the media outlet.
Last year, Simpson and Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, were appointed by President Barack Obama to craft a proposal that addressed America's debt. The duo introduced their ideas in December — which included $4 trillion in cuts over the next decade — but lawmakers have been cautious to support plans that cut defense spending, reform the tax code and revamp social security.
Simpson said that re-election aspirations prevent necessary reform because legislators are worried that endorsing controversial cuts could alienate voters.
In an op-ed for The New York Times on Feb. 6, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew revealed that Obama has conceded several spending cuts in his 2012 budget proposal. Lew wrote that Obama will slash his community service block grants, which are allocated by cities and towns to grassroots groups, by approximately $350 million. In addition, the President will propose a $125 million reduction in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which supports environmental cleanup.
President Barack Obama addressed several hot-button issues, including the protests in Egypt and his unpopular healthcare law, during an interview with FOX News host Bill O'Reilly on Feb. 6.
In a much-hyped live telecast from the White House that aired during FOX's Super Bowl XLV coverage, Obama said that the United States will not force Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak — a longtime American ally — out of office, but he expects an "orderly but meaningful transition to a new government."
Regarding his healthcare legislation, which was ruled unConstitutional by a Federal judge in Florida last week, Obama said that he is not interested in re-fighting battles from the first two years of his presidency. He also rejected notions that the healthcare law is on the far left of the political spectrum or socialist, which many critics have claimed.
"If you get sick, you have a responsibility to make sure you get coverage. There's nothing socialist about that," he said. "That's saying to Americans we're going to, each of us, be responsible for our own healthcare."
Obama also dismissed accusations that he has shifted to the political center in an attempt to appeal to more Americans heading into the 2012 presidential elections. When asked by O’Reilly if he minded being "hated' by some Americans, the President said that people "who hate you don't know you."
When asked to pick a winner for the Super Bowl, Obama, would not name the Pittsburgh Steelers or Green Bay Packers. Some pundits have speculated that he did not want to choose a team in fear of alienating their large fan bases and losing their political support for his re-election campaign.
One of America’s all-time favorite comic strips is celebrating a birthday this week. "Blondie," starring Dagwood Bumstead, made its debut on Feb. 17, 1933. The strip was started by Chic Young, who continued to produce it every day until his death in 1973. His son Dean took over and, with a team of writers and cartoonists, continues producing it every day.
Dagwood is famous for his weird haircut, fights with his boss at J.C. Dithers & Company, naps on the sofa, singing in the bathtub and concocting tall, multi-layered sandwiches. And here’s something you probably don’t know: Dagwood was originally the heir to the Bumstead Locomotive fortune, but was disowned by his family when he married a flapper over their strong opposition.
Even though the strip is more than 75 years old, none of the characters in it, including the children Alexander and Cookie and their dog Daisy, has aged a day. And unlike too many modern comics, "Blondie" still tries to make us laugh. Thanks, guys.
At the Rancho Las Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage, Calif., opulence permeates air which practically reeks of luxury — or at least that really expensive carpet freshener that you can’t get at Costco.
There’s 5-star dining, golf, a spa with all the… stuff a refined lady could hope for (I’m guessing a Brad Pitt doppelganger in track shorts) and something called Splashtopia. I don’t know what Splashtopia is. If I ever get to Rancho Las Palmas Resort, I’m going to find out; presuming security doesn’t find me first.
No wonder those burgeoning bugaboos of liberalism, the Koch Brothers, chose Rancho Las Palmas to host their recent gathering of the rich and Republican. And no wonder the liberal group Common Cause showed up outside the gates to vent their collective spleen at the Koch Brothers and their conservative-minded guests. It is a wonder that the commanders of this bellyaching brigade convinced their foot soldiers to leave their tinfoil hats at home.
Common Cause’s awkwardly-named “Uncloaking the Kochs” rally seemed standard for a large gathering of liberals. Some hair was uncombed. Some faces were unshaven, even for the boy liberals. Bathing certainly appeared optional. Everyone was livid. How dare these conservatives discuss conservative values! And how DARE Clarence Thomas be black AND conservative!
I know — you just pulled your intellectual handbrake. You’re wondering how that’s even germane to this narrative. Common Cause claims their mission is:
“to forge a democracy by and responsive to an engaged public, and committed to progress in the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice for all.”
All except conservative black jurists, evidently.
In post-Tucson America, we have to struggle as a nation with a great deal more than overused modifiers like “post-Tucson.” Democrat-leaning media outlets offer unyielding, albeit impotent, rage on a non-stop basis. Liberal commentators, unable to match their conservative counterparts on an academic level, instead hurl withering invective which is often unrelated to (ahem, Chris Matthews) not only the issue at hand, but to (ahem, Rachel Maddow) the truth.
And then, there’s Common Cause. Videographer Christian Hartsock ventured into their melee with a camera and captured the madness:
“He (Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas) is a dumbsh*t scumbag, put him back in the fields.”
“Cut off his toes, one by one.”
“String him up!” (Really?)
Where’s the civility? Where’s the tolerance? Where’s the bus to haul these clowns back to their big tent? Bit of a shame Justice Thomas lives in the 21st Century, or Common Cause would likely find common cause with those irascible characters from the Ku Klux Klan. And I’m sure Mrs. Thomas will be overjoyed to find out she’s made their hit list:
“Let’s get rid of Ginny (Thomas).”
All women are equal, but some are more equal than others. Common Cause didn’t seem to think Ruth Bader Ginsburg was noose-worthy. Actually, I’m in complete agreement with them on that point, although that could just be the laziness talking.
Justice Samuel Alito also ended up in the none-too-proverbial crosshairs:
“Alito should go back to Sicily!”
Um… Justice Alito is from Trenton, N.J.
They lobbed less clichéd and/or geographically misdirected threats at Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Antonin Scalia, Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Glenn Beck. Beck even earned an invitation for a Burr-Hamilton style duel from a woman who warned, “I pack Glock.”
Among the people who did NOT make the Common Cause hit list:
Oprah Winfrey and George Soros. Perhaps the Koch Brothers would make a less inviting target if they gave everyone free minivans; or joined Soros during his Nazi ride-alongs.
Democrats are fond of saddling the Tea Party in specific and conservatism in general as racist and violent. To date, they have yet to offer a single shred of evidence to back up those charges. Meanwhile, a well-funded liberal group dragged its carnival sideshow to California to call for the murder of — at last count — four Supreme Court justices (jealous, Justice Kennedy?), three media moguls, and a Supreme Court justice’s wife. I DID notice they didn’t mention Sarah Palin — probably because she’d plug them long before they got in range.
When the videos of Common Cause members making violent and racist threats began filtering out, the group released a statement disavowing their virtually shocking vitriol:
“We condemn bigotry and hate speech…”
Starting NOW, right?
Approximately the same time the Koch Brothers were hosting their gathering in California, billionaire Soros’s minions were attending a gathering of the rich and liberal — in Davos, Switzerland. Common Cause was nowhere to be found. I suppose planes don’t fly on biodiesel and hate.