Trying to be neutral, but given the current administration’s record, I find myself a little cynical.
I will note, there was sensitivity this weekend in face of impending Hurricane Sandy this week – of course there was money to be given away and potential votes to be bought.
Political Arena Editor Chuck Norton
Each consulate has a virtual panic button called the “Imminent Danger Notification System” that is hit whenever an ambassador is put in peril. This has been in place since after the Iranian Hostage Crisis.
This works as a virtual instant message that goes to the Intelligence agencies such as the CIA Director and the DNI, the Sec of State, the Defense Secretary, local
military assets are notified and it also goes to the White House situation room and
protocol says that this flash traffic MUST be acknowledged and someone in the situation room MUST go and physically contact the President. Again, this happens instantly.
In the absence of orders the standing order is for local assets to preserve American life. So someone had to STOP that AC130 gunship from firing and someone had to STOP local assets from responding as they were responding as they would…
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“My brother is killing me,” the conversation began.
Cheryl has worked hard over the years to build a successful business career. “Don’t get me wrong, I love him, but he feels a constant need to run me down, especially at family gatherings, and attack my success in life.” Hey, I bet many of us have heard this story before right? Just to get you started in the right frame of mind, let me get a little background on the table.
• Cheryl went to college and worked part time jobs to help pay her bills and cobble together money for a graduate degree.
• “Bob” went to college as well. While he didn’t go for that whole “uptight business” thing, he did secure a job.
• Based on her grades and recommendation, Cheryl got into a great MBA program and earned a dual degree while still working part time to pay bills.
• Since that time, Bob has moved between a couple places on both coasts living what he would describe as “Bohemian” lifestyle. Bob explained he didn’t want to be tied down and that there is too much to see out there. He has some great stories and photos of parties and travel. Eventually, he landed a public sector job. Not the highest paying in the world, but with good benefits, and in general, enjoyed life.
Cheryl worked long hours, and moved to several different cities across the country. She has turned around departments and divisions more than once. She has sacrificed family time to build her career, and while she took a bit of a beating in one of the housing downturns when she had to move for her job, by all accounts, she has done very well financially.
The issues come in, as Cheryl explains, when her brother starts with the discussions regarding taxes, tax loopholes and income disparity. Not sure what card he could possibly play with his sister on income disparity, I had to ask for further explanation. “With Bob it isn’t about gender or race when it comes to income disparity, at least not when I am around,” Cheryl explained, “it is all about how those that are already wealthy aren’t doing their share.” So what exactly is the issue, I wondered aloud?
Cheryl explains it like this – while Bob was out at late night parties and living this mobile lifestyle, sometimes even just leaving a job or an area without notice and never coming back, Cheryl was buckling down and doing what she thought she needed to do to make her dreams come to fruition. A family, maybe a nice house and car, money to put kids through school, money to go on nice vacations or even better, what if one day she could be one of those folks with a ‘vacation home’ somewhere. That was what success looked like to her. And she asked everyone who would stop and give her a minute of their time what she would have to do to make something like that come true. “You know, honestly there were times I was a little bit jealous of Bob. Times when it was stressful or tough; when I thought that it would be nice to just go a blow off some steam and party in the Keys, Cancun, or go to Tahiti and the consequences be damned,” she exclaimed.
So here’s the thing, Cheryl explains to me. Bob made choices in life, and he chose the life he wanted to lead. He finally bought a house, but it is in a depressed neighborhood and his car is barely operable. Not one of Bob’s life choices would be one that would point you to a higher income or financially independent lifestyle. But he begrudges everyone else that did. Those are decisions we made – I don’t begrudge him the late night parties and living in what I would consider vacation locales. That was what he wanted. But I don’t think it is fair that after I took the risks and I did things differently to ask that I gave some to him because he made another decision. Frankly, it sounds a little like the parable of the grasshopper and the ants.
“Bob’s actions make me feel like I should in some way be embarrassed that I have been able to achieve many of my dreams, and yes, I have a nice house and a nice car – and I can assure you no one handed them to me. I worked for them. And I shouldn’t have to feel that way – no one should have to feel that they should apologize for their success, and as an American I can’t imagine for the life of me why we would want a President or a Presidential Candidate to apologize for a successful private sector career, or building a successful business. In fact, I would think they would have to explain or apologize a little if they did not!”
Have you ever had this conversation around the Thanksgiving table or the picnic table? What do you think and how did it “resolve” itself?
When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic. Sell not liberty to purchase power.
– Benjamin Franklin
Today, there is a $1 trillion gulf between spending on major entitlement programs and the money we devote to public investments.
To be clear, this means we spend more on entitlements than public investments. Does that concern you?
Democrats Must Cut Entitlements
Indeed, federal welfare spending actually totals more than $14,848 for every poor man, woman and child in this country. For a typical poor family of three, that amounts to more than $44,500. Combined with state and local spending, government spends $20,610 for every poor person in America — or $61,830 per poor family of three.
By that measure we should have already eliminated poverty, yet…
More than 10.5 million people — about 5.3 percent of the population aged 25 and 64 — received disability checks in January from the federal government, the Post wrote, an 18 percent jump from before the recession.
…and the government is considering changing the definitions of disability so that even more people can file…
Additionally, the USDA reported this past summer Food Stamps usage hit a record high, and is up ~51% since 2008 – an expense of over $71 Billion dollars.
Total number of U.S. States where welfare pays more than an $8/hour job – 40. Want to see some more startling statistics on the Welfare state? Click here
Where does the money come from? If you are wondering about the much ballyhooed 47%, take a look at the percentage of each income group that does NOT pay taxes.
If Benjamin Franklin’s quote wasn’t enough for you, I will close with a quote from a famous Democrat.
“Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country”
– President John F. Kennedy
This question has come up more frequently with this President than any other President that I can recall. Why? Well, for starters, remember this is a President who talked extensively about “transparency”. But, on an even more basic level, the real reason may be because we have rarely, if ever, had a President so divisive and polarizing. I also doubt we have ever seen a president more willing to utilize the government’s assets and his position for his own gain. Wait! Why do I say this? This President has been accused of:
In addition, the President is using United States assets, your tax dollars, to buy votes through a variety of entitlement programs
Questions abound regarding the President’s view of the U.S. Constitution and the application of United States Law to President Obama. Do the laws of the United States apply to President Obama? Can he unilaterally decide to rewrite federal law?
Now we have the current administration encouraging employers to ignore the WARN Act. In case you are not intimate with the WARN Act, here is a quick overview. The WARN act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act) requires employers to give notice to employees and others within 60 days of a foreseeable mass layoff. The government’s position is that the roughly $500 billion cuts in defense spending that will kick in due to the automatic budget cuts if congress is unable to come to agreement on a new Budget is not a “given”. Meaning any job cuts can’t be “foreseeable”. Given that the President has not been able to pass a budget or work collaboratively with anyone, in or out of his own party, why would we think that suddenly we will be able to constructively avoid these cuts? The only way I can see a bi-partisan, functional budget being enacted is if there is a new President in the White House.
But this gets even better. The administration not only asked companies to violate federal law, it also offered to use federal funds, your tax dollars, to cover the legal fees to defend against subsequent legal challenges? So we are going to use federal funds to help defend people who violated the federal law?
Do you think that maybe the administration doesn’t want the public to understand the frightening impact of Sequestration Transparency Act? How far is President Obama willing to bend, or break, the laws to ensure he is re-elected? How far are you willing to let him go?
“Speak when you are angry – and you will make the best speech you ever regret”
– Lawrence J Peter
If these links don’t make you angry, nothing will:
I am very angry, but I hope this isn’t a post I will regret. Paul Sperry, posting for the New York Post writes that Pentagon officials are blaming our troops. While Mr. Sperry only goes on to quote Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey as saying “There’s a percentage [of attacks] which are cultural affronts”, he does not provide any real substantiation of his claim that the Pentagon is blaming our troops. He does state that the Pentagon has “stepped up Islamic sensitivity training” for our troops. And that is what really gets my goat. I am not certain that this or even Chairman Dempsey’s quote means the Pentagon is really blaming our troops. What I do know is that the so-called sensitivity training is indicative of this current administration’s approach to foreign policy and the Middle East and is wrong beyond comprehension.
I need someone to help me understand why we are tiptoeing around on eggshells. The last I checked we are in Afghanistan because they hosted, aided and abetted a terrorist group that pulled off the most horrific attack to occur on our soil. I think that gives us a free pass to not have to submit to their customs, especially if these beliefs are a direct affront to our own beliefs and freedoms. Again, I will point out that the United States has a presence in Afghanistan because their country hosted the attack I noted above. I don’t have an issue with being respectful of others. I am fortunate to work in a multi-national organization. I have friends and co-workers from Germany, Italy, India, Indonesia, Belgium, Spain, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and other locales spread across the globe. We all get along with each other. We all respect each other and many of us are friends outside of the workplace. We don’t demand that others give complete deference to whatever our own personal beliefs may be. Complete deference to others beliefs is obedience, not respect. We certainly don’t kill each other or advocate murder as an appropriate response to perceived affronts.
Instead of forcing our troops to submit to the religious customs of the country that hosted our attack, perhaps we should be spending time teaching the Afghans tolerance. Instead of making our troops put aside their own beliefs and forcing them to treat with deference customs that include oppression and humiliation of women, violence, classification of our troops and citizens as infidels to be slain, we should be demanding that they respect the customs of our men and women. Instead of promoting a society and beliefs that entail looking for a multitude of reasons to find and react to any affront, perhaps we should help them to understand how respect the views of others. Is that too much to ask?
Paul Sperry quoted General Sher Mohammad Karimi, the Afghan National Army chief of staff earlier this month as stating “both sides need to do more to teach foreign troops Islamic traditions and values to reduce the chance of violent reactions to cultural slights. It is our duty to teach this to them. Our indifference causes the incident.” Maybe someone should teach the Afghans that “violent reactions to cultural slights” are unacceptable behavior that will not be tolerated.
It is an absolute travesty that we are forcing our own men and women who put their lives on the line to submit to the teachings of Islam, and forcing them to give up their own freedoms. What happened to what we stand for – freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equality for all? While our troops can’t be seen with a bible or wearing a cross, they have to handle the Koran with surgical gloves? Does the soldier doing repairs on a piece of equipment have to worry that while kneeling down to do repairs someone might see the bottoms of their shoes and thereby have grounds to kill them? The Muslims choose to fast, so I must fast as well or I am offending them? Our troops ought to be able to eat a full course meal whenever they want. Is it so farfetched to think that we are over there for no other reason than we were attacked without provocation and you know what, it offends us when you engage in practices representative of the bloodthirsty killers that came to the United States and slaughtered thousands of civilians? We can be considerate, but we should not put their beliefs in any way ahead of the freedoms and beliefs that we and our troops hold dear. Anything less is cowardice at best.
This type of wrongheaded, apologist thinking is rife in our current administration and puts people’s lives and loyalties in jeopardy, and is the kind of approach to diplomacy that has spread ever more intolerance in the Middle East and brought the entire area to the brink of a monumental war. We can not afford four more years of this blundering, inept attempt at diplomacy through capitulation. The only apology that should be required here is one from the President of United States to our troops and our people.
Over a dozen embassies across the world are under siege or attack from protestors. Four United States citizens including a U.S. Ambassador are dead in Libya as the result of a coordinated attack, arguably slaughtered in an act of war. Most news agencies as well as our government act surprised that this could have happened and are seemingly blaming these actions on a stupid, junior hack job “movie” that has been out for months. The President denounced the act only under duress, and in the mildest terms possible, naming the attack an act of “senseless violence” – elevating this attack to roughly the same level of international importance as a gang shooting.
Why are we acting surprised? We all knew what was happening when the “Arab Spring” was underway, replacing one set of oppressive dictators for possibly even more oppressive leaders. Even more interesting, the United States had advance warning that something was happening and our people across the Middle East were possibly at risk. Other than campaigning, what the heck was the President doing? Perhaps this was one of the security briefings that he allegedly misses on a regular basis?
Why are we even giving credence to the possibility that these incidents are as a result of the “Innocence of Muslims” movie? This isn’t about a movie – most of these protestors probably haven’t even seen it. And why the double standard? Muslims can post videos of decapitating a man with a penknife and we are supposed to be ok with it? This has nothing to do with the film – the film is a convenient excuse to disguise an open attack on the United States.
We must make a clear statement – we stand for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Get over it. It is a movie. Regardless of whether you think it is offensive or not, it is a movie. Don’t watch it…you have that option. We will continue allow people to make statements and movies, even though we may not like them. We will continue to allow people to criticize our government and other governments around the world. In the United States, you can practice the religion you wish, or speak out against any religion you wish. That is what happens in a free democracy. Are some of these groups and their statements rude? Maybe. So here is the deal – we aren’t about to apologize for Michael Moore, Spike Lee, Mel Gibson or anyone else who might be off center or ruffle feathers. And you need to get over it. Sodomizing and killing a peaceful Ambassador and dragging his body through the streets is not an acceptable response. Ever. You want to kill your own people? We wish you wouldn’t, but that’s ok. Mess with a U.S. Embassy or the United States – there should be consequences. Period. A clear message backed up by serious and uncompromising consequences is what is required. Not apologies.
Our inaction and appeasement have only encouraged countries in the Middle East and radical Islamists by appearing to show weakness. Lets be clear – this attack is an act of war. Peaceful protest outside any embassy should be tolerated as free speech. However, acts of destruction or violence against the embassy or any of the occupants should be considered an attack.
We must reestablish appropriate diplomatic guidelines for the treatment of embassies. First of all, as a host country we consider you responsible for the safety of our people. Aggression against our embassy will result in consequences beginning with the immediate loss of U.S. aid up to and including massive counterattack on the area and the country’s capital. No government or terrorist agency takes us seriously right now, and will not until we clearly communicate what our expectations are and demonstrate that they are not simply empty words and that we will not tolerate this type of activity. Once this happens once or twice, I can assure you, people will lose interest in that game. Speak softly and carry a big stick. Please do not debase the memory of all those people who have died defending our freedoms by apologizing for those freedoms.
I know there will be some people out there who still argue for appeasement. You can actually see some of them on television now. They will argue that we cannot hold the people accountable because they don’t have the weapons to stand up to the terrorist. In the meantime, these same people “stand up” to the police, take pictures and videos, and then go boast in the Hookah lounges afterward, but they cower in their houses when the terrorist are around. That leaves us two conclusions: they are either terrorist sympathizers, making them legitimate military targets, or they are actually afraid that the terrorists will actually do something to them and their family. Clearly communicate your expectations and your consequences. Whether you agree or disagree with the message or consequences, it is obviously well understood.
Another argument for appeasement is that Israel has used a tit for tat strategy for years, but it does not appear to have any real impact, thereby demonstrating that this strategy is ineffective. Why doesn’t this work in Israel? Mainly because the responses are too restrained. On an international level, the expectation is that the response is to be measured and not excessive, effectively equalizing the antagonists in the Israeli conflict. Most peace loving countries build an arsenal in order to discourage any aggression against their country’s interests. You hope to never use them, but understand you may have to do so. If you merely stockpile weapons but never use them, or only use them to match the level of your aggressor, there isn’t much point in the stockpile, is there? In fact they aren’t even a deterrent any longer.
Some will argue that these are the actions of a small minority – I don’t think so. But if it is, then this will be easy – the host country can easily take care of the issue with the majority of the people supporting them. I am sure the alleged vast majority world wide will lend their vocal support to the host governments.
Finally, we have the argument that then “they” will hate us and want us dead! Really? Hello! They already hate us and want us dead!
And what about Iran – do you think they will be emboldened? Don’t you think they will see the wide level of protests and believe the U.S. will make no response to anything they might want to do. Do you think they might want to use that nuclear weapon?
The policies of our country must change to protect our people, our country and our freedoms. That includes the art of diplomacy, clear communication and the will to act when we must. Diplomacy is more than the act of agreeing and apologizing. This administration has failed miserably in the both the finesse of diplomacy as well as the actions required to protect the freedom we stand for.