Archive for the ‘Obama’s Heritage’ Category

Obama Orders 3,000 US Soldiers to Serve in Africa Next Year

By John Ryan – Staff writer
Posted : Friday Jun 8, 2012 11:50:43 EDT

A brigade will deploy to Africa next year in a pilot program that assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe, the Army announced in May.

Roughly 3,000 soldiers — and likely more — are expected to serve tours across the continent in 2013, training foreign militaries and aiding locals.

As part of a “regionally aligned force concept,” soldiers will live and work among Africans in safe communities approved by the U.S. government, said Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, head of U.S. Army Africa.

Tours could last a few weeks or months and include multiple missions at different locations, he said.

The Army has not announced which brigade would deploy or where the soldiers would come from.

As the Afghanistan war winds down, the new readiness model affords Army units more time to learn regional cultures and languages and train for specific threats and missions.

Africa, in particular, has emerged as a greater priority for the U.S. government because terrorist groups there have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security.

Though U.S. soldiers have operated in Africa for decades, including more than 1,200 soldiers currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the region in many ways remains the Army’s last frontier.

“As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory,” Hogg said from his headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.

But “I’m not there to win their wars or settle their differences,” he added.

Instead, with more soldiers, U.S. Army Africa will continue to strengthen ties with regional militaries and governments by teaching military tactics, medicine and logistics, as well as combating famine, disease and terrorism in secure environments. The Army currently allows conventional soldiers to enter only 46 of the 54 African states due to security risks.

The State Department and U.S. special operations commands handle activities in the other countries, including those amid conflict.

Active-duty soldiers, guardsmen and reservists have helped quell regional violence, assist sick and injured Africans and feed the famished in East Africa.

During a recent annual training exercise, U.S. soldiers taught Ugandan forces how to deliver supplies by air to comrades in the bush chasing rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia accused of atrocities in central Africa.

Through State Department initiatives, soldiers have also trained African troops headed for peacekeeping missions in Somalia on convoy security and countering improvised explosive devices.

On medical missions, Army doctors have replaced eye lenses of cataract patients in Malawi and Zanzibar, who danced and beamed after seeing, in some cases for the first time. Medical soldiers have also handed out mosquito nets to protect locals from malaria, the No. 1 killer in Africa, Hogg said.

Army chaplains teach Africans in classes about dealing with post-traumatic stress and running family readiness groups.

A brigade combat team has the capability to satisfy more than two-thirds of these missions in Africa. The rest will require skilled specialists — mechanics and logisticians — from the National Guard and Army Reserve, Hogg said.

Each week, U.S. Army Africa operations personally affect 300 to 400 locals, he said.

“I’ve seen some of these missions where the battalion commander down there could probably run for governor,” he said. “That’s how close of a relationship they have with some of their counterparts, both on the military side and with the local civilian community.

“It gets out the indirect approach [toward] some of these violent, extremist organizations that will talk bad about the Americans and the U.S,” he said. “It leaves behind a lasting effect over time.”

From African forces, U.S. soldiers have picked up real-world lessons about tropical diseases, international cultures and foreign military tactics.

In the future, U.S. soldiers might also attend military courses in Africa, such as the French desert survival school in Djibouti and African jungle schools in Ghana and Gabon.

Still, the Army has no plans to construct permanent bases across the continent, and the mission does have its limits, Hogg said.

“For all the challenges that happen and sprout up across Africa, it really comes down to, it has to be an African solution. We are here to enable, where wanted, the African forces to figure out and solve their own problems,” said Hogg, who has visited more than 20 countries.

“We are not trying to reproduce the United States Army in the 54 countries in Africa,” he said.

Health Care Reform Legislation Revisited

By Howard J. Warner
In 2009, as the health care reform legislation made its way through the Congress, many on both sides argued for their respective positions. (I wrote an article discussing some of the issues which appeared in the American Thinker in November 2009.) The legislation eventually was passed and signed by President Obama in March 2010. As of this writing, the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of this legislation. Again, both sides are arguing the eventual outcome. But what does this fight say about the American society and Constitution established over 200 years ago?
Proponents of the federal law feel that the health care system is broken because it does not guarantee equal care to all residents. They see this legislation as helping to ensure a more equitable distribution of health care, an extension of fairness in the greater society. This is the daily cry of the president and his supporters. Whether one agrees with this aim or not, it is commendable. The question for the Court is whether the legislation meets the requirements under the Constitution. Clearly, the opposition feel that it does not; they also oppose the remedy that emerged on philosophical grounds.
The media continues to point to the question of a mandate underlying the legislation. Some point to the mandate embedded within the health care reform passed in Massachusetts while Mitt Romney was governor. This issue underlies the argument about his worthiness to become the Republican nominee for president. The president promised the American people better-quality health care for more residents at a lower cost when he was a candidate in 2008. Unfortunately, the result has not materialized. Premiums are rising faster because of the cost to provide coverage for previously uninsured people. The Congressional Budget Office has recently announced that its estimates for the federal cost have doubled from over $900 billion over ten years to $1.7 trillion. Undoubtedly, the costs will continue to rise. But will we be able to maintain the level of care that our privately financed system has provided?
Clearly, it is important to understand the issues related to the Court case. However, there are other issues not mentioned publicly. Did the process used to pass the legislation violate the Constitution or congressional procedures? The Constitution requires bills of revenue to arise in the House before they can proceed. The procedure of reconciliation, which does not allow for filibusters in the Senate, is used to pass budget bills. This legislation may have had budget impact, but it was beyond this in scope. In the end, the Senate bill was used as the basis for the final bill without any conference compromise. Final approval required some slight corrections through the reconciliation process. This is troubling, as was the often repeated quotation by Speaker Pelosi that we would know what is in the bill after it was passed. So much for openness and transparency so often promised to the American people by the president.
The issue mentioned by opponents of Mitt Romney concerns another constitutional question. We may disagree on whether a mandate is acceptable. However, we should not confuse the federal government imposing this mandate with a state under the Tenth Amendment exercising this right. The so-called “RomneyCare,” which is only 70 pages long, should not be equated with the 2,500-page “ObamaCare,” which imposes many other requirements over the entire populace. Massachusetts as a liberal state desired this legislation. Clearly, the costs have soared, and one can question the value of the law, but the issues are not identical. At the time, the Heritage Foundation, a conservative organization, had supported an individual mandate as way to cover more uninsured people. They have since changed their position. At the time, liberals did not like this approach, favoring a single-federal-payer approach. Of course, now liberals have accepted this method; it may get the country to a single-payer eventually.
In 1936, the Court was given the issue of Social Security to rule on its constitutionality. They decided that it did not violate the Constitution, as the legislation was structured as a tax following the authority under the 16th Amendment. Although the public thought they were getting a pension plan, the Court did not rule in this manner. President Obama spoke of a penalty for not having insurance to avoid the impression that he was raising taxes during a severe recession in 2009 and 2010. However, it is hard to avoid the fact that the penalty occurs only if one has not purchased insurance — a fact which Justice Breyer tried to elucidate during Monday’s oral arguments. Finally on the issue of mandates, how does the commerce clause allow regulation of a product or service if it has not been purchased? Where is commerce without a purchase? Or to put it a different way, does the Constitution allow the Congress to force anyone to buy anything? (Will the government tell me which toothpaste to buy?) Would the Founders recognize this requirement or ever support it under limited government?
Health care throughout the world is subject to scarcity. In countries with socialized care, services may be limited by government panels, the cost of delivery, and availability of equipment and services, with age restrictions on certain procedures, and increasing use of private health insurance, as a solution to this scarcity. Health care in the USA is highly specialized, uses high technology, and is plentiful. This is expensive, results in shorter waiting times for services, and has resulted in higher costs than in other industrialized nations. Already, some are questioning whether former Vice President Cheney should have received a heart transplant since he is 71 years old. Scarcity in America is more often related to cost for the individual. Some argue that that it is not fair, but should all care be equal? Do persons living in smaller communities have fewer choices?
There is some concern about financing the health care system. In the reform legislation, changes are made to Medicare reimbursement rates to save money. As more cost pressure upon the system mounts, further cuts in services will be required. As the federal requirements increase through regulatory decree from the Health and Human Services secretary, as part of the bill, more private employers will choose to eliminate their plans and pay the penalty. This will put pressure on private insurance companies to increase rates, further eroding participant numbers. The recent decision to force religiously affiliated institution to offer contraceptive services is a clear example that threatens private-sector participation. This issue also threatens the privileges under the First Amendment.
The Court will also have to decide whether the mandate or the entire bill must be eliminated. In their zeal to pass the legislation when the Democrats had a filibuster-proof Senate, they did not bother to insert a severability clause. However, the death of Senator Kennedy resulted in the election of Senator Brown (R) in Massachusetts, who campaigned against the reform bill. This was the cause of the procedural gimmicks employed as previously mentioned. Severability clauses allow the remaining legislation to survive if any portion is found unconstitutional.
This case is quite unusual. The Court has allowed five and a half hours for oral arguments. They expedited the review process — a rare occurrence. They heard arguments concerning the standing of the case since the penalty (tax) has not kicked in yet (which is an issue due to previous legislation). In the end, this may be a seminal decision affecting the growth of governmental power or its restriction. Stay tuned for the results.

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Just A Little B.S.

The Man Who Would Be King

In 114 BC, Rome was a democratic Republic.  Representatives elected by popular vote filled the Senate, and the Senate ran Rome.  The Empire was conquered in the name of the Senate and the People of Rome, symbolized by the ever present SPQR seen on every Roman standard in every gladiator movie you have ever watched.

At the beginning of the first century BC sovereignty in Rome resided in the People, which may have inspired the most famous attribution of sovereignty in American History, “We the People” as the proclaimed authors of the Constitution.  The power in republicanRomeresided in the people.  In a revolution that was by then legendary, they had banished their kings and established themselves as a free republic where the people assembled together to elect the Senators, the magistrates, and made all major decisions such as whether or not to go to war.  And far beyond mere words much of what was earlyRomewas the target the Founding Fathers shot at when they established our later day republic.

And yet, by 14 AD, when Augustus died, popular elections were but a memory.  Power was no longer located in the people, or in their assemblies, or their representatives in the Senate, instead power was concentrated in anImperialPalace which was guarded, unapproachable, and foreboding.

How did this revolution occur? What led the freedom loving Romans to lay down their liberty and put on the yoke of oppression?  Later Romans who longed for the freedom their ancestors had discarded pointed to 133 BC when a rich young man named Tiberius Gracchus bought his way into the office of Tribune, an executive position one step below magistrate that was meant to protect the interests of the poor.  Gracchus used his office to curry personal power by giving bread and circuses to the people paid for by the public treasury.  Eventually he hit on a very popular plan.  He proposed to seize the lands of the rich and give them to the poor and he imposed this under his own authority, an authority he lacked under the Roman constitution.  Later when he put himself forward for a second term in opposition to custom and law he was assassinated by a group of Senators.

Several generations of corrupt politicians using the same formula sought to buy personal power and popular adoration by looting the public treasury to give the people ever increasing benefits.  Finally another rich young ruler arose by the name of Julius Caesar.  He rose through various public offices eventually gaining the office of Proconsul or Governor of Gaul (France).  He knew that to be a true Roman hero and paramount leader he needed to be a successful conqueror, so that is what he spent the next nine years doing.  He conquered not only all of Gaul but much of central Europe even leading the first Roman expedition to Britain.  While he accomplishing this he sent back well written dispatches toRome which were published and widely distributed recounting his bravery and skill as a general.

All of this was too much for his political rivals in Rome.  They gained enough votes to have him branded a traitor which meant little in Gaulwhere he had absolute power thanks to his well trained and veteran army.  His rivals promised his arrest and conviction if and when he returned to the capitol.  However Caesar was not to be denied so he compounded the accusations of his treason with a treasonable act leading his army across the Rubicon River toRome. 

With his troops behind him Caesar secured all power and after many adventures to suppress the forces loyal to the old order he had a compliant Senate elect him dictator for life.  As his grasp of power solidified it became clear his rule would be the end of the republic.  Breaking completely with tradition he began to wear purple, the color of royalty in public.   Finally when his chief Lieutenant, Anthony, publicly offered him a crown it was too much and just as with Gracchus one hundred years before, Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators.

Caesar was followed by Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome who was never called Emperor.  He was instead known by the republican sounding title of princeps, or first citizen.  Kings were hated in Rome.  The traditions of the Republic ran deep.  Both Gracchus and Caesar had been killed because people thought they would make themselves king.  The genius of Caesar’s nephew and successor was that Augustus made himself king in all but name while keeping the outward forms of the Republic.  The elections were rigged, the Senate only did what they were told, and the people were kept happy by giveaways from the public treasury and kept in line by a smothering blanket of laws and regulations.

Fast forward to the 20th century and two other would be kings include Mussolini who decreed that calendars in Italy should begin again with October 29, 1922 the date he assumed power as the first day of year one.  He proclaimed the Fascist Era was the dawn of a new age.  And Hitler who said his National Socialist Nazis would reign for a thousand years.

In Americatoday we have a leader who campaigned on a platform of cutting taxes and regulations.  A man who when the economy melted down said if he didn’t solve the problem in three years he wasn’t worthy of a second term.  In a classic example of bait and switch he walked over his promises to restore American greatness and suddenly announced five days before the election that he would instead transform America.

Presidents are elected to preserve, protect and defend the constitution.  Nowhere in the job description does it mention anything about transforming America.  He was elected to do one job and decided instead to do another.  TARP was passed to clear the toxic assets out of the banks and restart the system but instead was used to seize controlling interests in AIG, GM and Chrysler and in general assert government ownership over a significant portion of the American economy.  The stimulus was passed to re-energize the economy but instead it became a gift bag for the President’s supporters and a slush fund for his re-election. 

Mr. Obama, with the corporations once known as the major media clearing his way and covering his tracks, compares himself to Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan and God, ridicules those who cling to the old ways, and decrees that he can rule without Congress because he can’t wait.  His spending has impoverished future generations and will eventually sink the ship of state.  His foreign policy ignores our allies and empowers our enemies.  Instead of uniting our country to get out of the hole dug by generations of failed Progressive boondoggles and giveaways he incites class warfare while the welfare rolls expand daily.

Whether we are dealing with one man devoted to personal aggrandizement or merely a teleprompter reading front man for a well-oiled CABAL we are face to face with someone who has been positioned by the generosity of American voters to do irreparable damage to our nation.  We have one last chance to save the republic as we have known it.  The Republicans who operate as the other half of the party of power seek to nominate another big government operator who promises little more than driving us to the poor house a little slower with new wars along the way.

What we need is a man who will work as president to re-impose the limits of the constitution. We need a man who will educate Americans as to what a constitutional government is and what it should do and not do.  We need a leader who will reverse course and take us back to the days of individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic liberty. We need a leader who isn’t afraid to jettison the empire to save the republic.  Now is the time for such a leader. If only enough Americans will recognize the signs of the times and rally round the flag they will still call itAmerica. 

Just as the Rome of Caligula and Nero still called itself a republic so too in the coming era of Progressive centralization and control will our beloved country still be America.  The Constitution will remain on display in Washington.  However, in the world turned upside down liberty will be circumscribed by political correctness and freedom will be defined by government regulations.  Our schools and media will assure us that we are the most free and prosperous nation on earth while other countries that have gained their freedom pass us by.  History as it is taught in America today tries to tell us that socialism works.  It doesn’t.  It leads to a stunted, shabby future where everyone sinks to the level of the lowest common denominator.  What we need is a rebirth of republicanism with a small “r” and a big dream.

Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ © 2012 Robert R. Owens  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Abortion is not Health Care

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