Archive for the ‘THE GOOD DUDES’ Category
If you haven’t read Utah Senator Mike Lee’s remarks [Bring Them In] at the Heritage Foundation’s Anti-Poverty Forum you really owe it to yourself to do so. It is probably the most succinct conservative critique of modern government anti-poverty programs in recent decades.
When President Lyndon Johnson declared an “unconditional war on poverty” in his 1964 State of the Union address it represented, arguably, the high water mark for the acceptance on liberal ideology in America. The essence of the speech was a singleminded devotion to the “the perfectability of man”: the notion that perfection can be achieved on Earth through the efforts of man, or in the case, the federal government. Never mind that some famous guy, his name escapes me at the moment, warned us all that the poor will always be with us.
As is so often the case, federal intervention becomes a self-licking ice cream cone where the resources earmarked for the eradication of poverty do little more than sustain the bureaucracy dedicated to eradicating poverty. And for good reason, if poverty ends so do the jobs associated with its eradication.
The outcomes have been dramatic and had they not been visited upon those at the margins of society would have resulted in long prison sentences for all involved. Instead of declaring a war on poverty, by Johnson’s actions he actually began the institutionalization of poverty and hopelessness as a lifestyle.
In his speech he contrasts how Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson addressed the problem of poverty:
In 1861, Abraham Lincoln told Congress that the “leading object” of American government was:
“to elevate the condition of men – to lift artificial weights from all shoulders, to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all, to afford all an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life.”
In a single sentence, Lincoln explains precisely what poverty is, and what government ought to do about it. As Lincoln knew first hand, true poverty was not for most people an absence of money, but an absence of opportunity – a lack of access to those social and economic networks where human opportunities are created. Then, as now, people were not isolated because they were poor – they were poor mostly because they were isolated.
And so, in America’s original war on poverty, government did not give the poor other people’s money. It gave them access to other people.
In Lincoln’s era – even during a cataclysmic war that was itself a struggle for human freedom and opportunity – that meant dredging rivers, building canals and cutting roads. It meant the Homestead Act and land-grant universities. These public goods weren’t designed to make poverty more tolerable – but to make it more temporary. They reduced the time it took to get products to market, increased access to banks and land, and increased the speed at which knowledge could be developed and shared.
Programs designed to provide cash subsistence and housing for the poor have created a series of perverse incentives that encourages poor mothers to not marry and to have children. The neighborhoods with high densities of subsidized housing are known by the technical term of “slum.”
Patients participating in Medicaid, the medical program for the poor, are 93% more likely to die of an ailment than patients with private insurance. Uninsured people are only 74% more likely to die.
Headstart is nothing more than a jobs program for mothers, mostly unwed, of the children participating. It has been studied for decades and is known to be, under a best case scenario, a null set. Any of the meager academic benefits of the program vanish within a year or two.
The casualty list goes on and on:
Today, many of those obstructions are themselves government policies. These policies unintentionally discourage almost every positive step underprivileged families can take toward social mobility and economic security.
Today’s government-centric system penalizes marriage, which a mountain of evidence now shows is the single most empowering social and economic opportunity there is. It also penalizes low-income workers for making more money by drastically reducing benefits at arbitrary points along the income-scale. Because of these poverty traps, single mothers near the poverty line, for instance, can face effective marginal tax rates of 80 or even 90 percent.
Thus, in poor communities, government dependence often atrophies community interdependence, fraying the bonds between moms and dads and neighbors and friends and pastors and teachers, old and young, native and immigrant.
Meanwhile, education policies leave low-income parents and children trapped in failing schools. Policies ranging from welfare to health care to criminal justice are only exacerbating the explosion of fatherlessness plaguing lower-income communities.
His critique of the direction the government has taken under Barack Obama is, if anything, understated:
Now, progressive ideologues reject all this. They do not trust individuals to join together voluntarily and organically to improve each other’s lives and meet common challenges. As President Obama said in his second inaugural:
“No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation and one people.”
But by “together,” of course, he meant only “government.”
This discredited mindset – which insists collective action can only mean state action – is itself a kind of poverty. It rejects social solidarity in favor of political coercion, and voluntary communities for professional community organizers. It distrusts and denies the bonds of cooperation and service that represent the highest expression of our dignity.
Look at any thriving marriage, friendship, church, charity, Little League, historical society, theater company, PTA, neighborhood or business. What makes America exceptional – and life worth living – is not simply individual freedom, but the heroic, empowering communities that free individuals form.
Free enterprise and civil society operate in the natural human space – between the isolated individual and the impersonal state – where we live, and love, and flourish… where everyone can earn a good living and build a good life… where the strong and the vulnerable alike can pursue their happiness, and find it… together.
There is a valid conservative critique to be made of social spending. It is demonstrated that it keeps the poor impoverished, it deters hard work, it encourages irresponsibility, and it passes poverty on from generation to generation. It is a condition that cannot be remedied by throwing ever increasing sums of money at a bureaucracy that relies upon poverty for its continued existence. It is not held to measurable and observable performance objectives because its chief product is making the liberal elite feel good about their beneficence… using your money.
We should not be afraid to address the shortcomings of the welfare state but we must acknowledge that those caught in this system aren’t the enemy, they are, as that famous guy said, the least of our brothers.
Sees trend of relieving hundreds of senior officers as orchestrated from Oval Office
Former Florida Congressman Allen West is calling for congressional oversight hearings into what he describes as an “alarming trend” of dismissals and firings of high-ranking military officers by the Obama administration, firings that in a number of cases appear to be political.
While he wouldn’t assign a particular reason for the high rate of dismissals – and he declined to label them a “purge” – West in an exclusive WND interview said oversight hearings need to be convened to determine why so many officers are being removed.
West, who as congressman served on the House Armed Services Committee, said he recently had been in contact with Committee Chairman Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon – calling for hearings “to determine exactly why” so many officers, especially senior officers, are being given the boot.
“McKeon needs to look at this problem,” West told WND. “There needs to be transparency. It is important to get the truth.”
There is also concern, he noted, that military officers still on active duty may be reluctant to testify against their commander-in-chief should the trail of trouble lead back to the Oval Office.
West said congressional hearings also need to determine whether a political cover-up was related to the dismissal of three high-ranking officers to deflect political criticism over the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens as well as Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, and Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, both ex-Navy SEALs.
Major concerns arose over whether Stevens and the other Americans could have been rescued by available U.S. forces.
As WND reported, three of the nine top-level firings of flag officers by Obama this year alone were linked to the controversy surrounding the Benghazi disaster.
In one case, U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, who commanded U.S. African Command when the consulate was attacked and the four Americans killed, was highly critical of the decision by the State Department not to send reinforcements.
Obama insisted there were no reinforcements available that night. But Ham contends reinforcements could have been sent in time, and said he never was given a stand-down order. Others contend he was given the order, but defied it, and he ultimately was relieved of his command and retired.
Now, new information in the Washington Times reveals Delta Force personnel were in Tripoli at the time of the attack and two members volunteered to be dispatched to Benghazi to assist in protecting the Benghazi compound, contrary to stand-down orders from the State Department.
Another flag officer involved in the Benghazi matter – which remains under congressional investigation – was Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette, who commanded the Carrier Strike Group.
After Gaouette contended aircraft could have been sent to Libya in time to help the Americans under fire, he was removed from his post for alleged profanity and making “racially insensitive comments.”
Army Major Gen. Ralph Baker was the commander of the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, Africa. Baker said attack helicopters could have reached the consulate in time on the night of the attack.
West acknowledges the rate of dismissals at the higher ranks is having an adverse impact on mid-level officers and enlisted personnel.
A retired Army Lt. Colonel, West said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “doesn’t have a good handle on this and that the trend of dismissals is being directed from the Oval Office.”
In a recent interview with WND, Retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely, who was the deputy commanding general of the Pacific Command, similarly accused Obama’s close adviser, Valerie Jarrett, of orchestrating the imposition of “political correctness” throughout the military, affecting everyone from top generals to the ranks of the enlisted.
West referred to recent reports of some 197 high-ranking officers who have been dismissed during the Obama administration. While acknowledging some had “zipper issues” leading to their being relieved of duty for personal misconduct, West says the most troubling and pervasive issue at play is the radical “social egalitarianism” being forced on the military – rather than the traditional focus on maximizing readiness – which, he says, is bringing the world’s greatest military to the point that “we can’t fight a war.”
He referred specifically to the dismissal of Senior Master Sgt. Philip Monk, who was relieved of his position for refusing to agree with the homosexual worldview of his commanding officer, a lesbian.
Monk had objected to the plans of his commander at Lackland Air Force Base to severely punish a supervised staff sergeant who had expressed his religious opinions regarding the issue of homosexuality.
During their conversation, the commander ordered Monk to reveal his personal views on homosexuality. Monk claims he then was relieved of his position because his views differed from that of the openly lesbian commander.
A similar case of social egalitarianism occurred in the dismissal of U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, a 1994 West Point graduate, who was relieved of duty as a military instructor after being publicly condemned by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The reason? Because Dooley allegedly portrayed Islam in a negative way in an approved course titled “Perspectives on Islam and Islamic Radicalism.”
Action was taken against him after 57 Muslim organizations in an Oct. 19 2011, letter to the Department of Defense demanded that all training materials they considered offensive to Islam be “purged” and the instructors “effectively disciplined.”
“There is a demoralization going on at the lower ranks, and they see what is happening at the higher ranks,” West said.
As an Army officer, West commanded the 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery, 4th Infantry Division and served in Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 and Operation Iraqi Freedom until 2004, when he retired.
During Operation Iraqi Freedom, West was involved in an incident in which he had received intelligence that his unit was about to be attacked. He interrogated an Iraqi police officer whom the intelligence suggested was involved in the plot.
Because of the imminence of the potential ambush, West fired his pistol near the ear of the potential terrorist to get names and information.
“At the time, I had to base my decision on the intelligence I received,” West said during the subsequent investigation. Although he ultimately was fined $5,000, West was widely supported by the public for his actions on behalf of his men. As West put it, “If it’s about the lives of my soldiers at stake, I’d go through hell with a gasoline can.”
West is the recipient of the Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.
WND has recently published a series of high-profile reports on the surge of firings, suspensions and dismissals of key military commanders under Obama, including earlier this week when the commander of the U.S. Army Garrison Japan was summarily relieved of his duties.
So far, at least nine generals and flag officers have been relieved of duty under Obama just this calendar year – widely viewed as an extraordinary number.
In pinning the blame on Jarrett, reportedly Obama’s closest and most influential adviser,Vallely suggested her far-left, politically correct influence is forcing senior officers to watch everything military personnel say and do.
“She seems to have her tentacles into every issue and every topic,” Chaffetz says. “Her name ultimately always comes up.”
The Washington Post has written about Jarrett as the president’s “mysterious” adviser.
And author Ed Klein, former editor-in-chief of the New York Times magazine, said in a Washington Times report that Jarrett was the secret “architect” of the Obama strategy to shut down the government and blame it on congressional Republicans.
“She convinced the president that a government shutdown and default offered a great opportunity to demonize the Republicans and help the Democrats win back a majority in the House of Representatives in 2014,” said Klein.
London’s Daily Mail newspaper notes that Jarrett’s insider nickname is “Night Stalker” because of her exclusive, late-night access to the presidential family’s private quarters.
According to Vallely, Obama is “intentionally weakening and gutting our military, Pentagon and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged.”
Vallely served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as deputy Commanding General, Pacific Command. Today, he is chairman of the Military Committee for the Center for Security Policy and is co-author of the book “Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.”
In addition to Vallely, a number of prominent retired generals – from Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, a founder of the Army’s elite Delta Force, to Medal of Honor recipient Maj. Gen. Patrick Henry Brady – have also gone on the record with WND on this issue.
They’ve described Obama’s actions as nothing less than an all-out attack on America’s armed forces.
Brady, recipient of the U.S. military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, said Obama’s agenda is decimating the morale of the U.S. ranks to the point members no longer feel prepared to fight or have the desire to win.
“There is no doubt he [Obama] is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him” over such issues as “homosexuals, women in foxholes, the Obama sequester,” Brady told WND.
“They are purging everyone, and if you want to keep your job, just keep your mouth shut,” another military source told WND.
Not only are military service members being demoralized and the ranks’ overall readiness being reduced by the Obama administration’s purge of key leaders, colonels – those lined up in rank to replace outgoing generals – are quietly taking their careers in other directions.
Boykin, who was a founding member of Delta Force and later deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under President George W. Bush, says it is worrying that four-star generals are being retired at the rate that has occurred under Obama.
“Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not necessarily relieved for cause,” Boykin said.
“I believe there is a purging of the military,” he said. “The problem is worse than we have ever seen.”
The future of the military is becoming more and more of concern, added Boykin, since colonels who would become generals are also being relieved of duty if they show that they’re not going to support Obama’s agenda, which critics have described as socialist.
“I talk to a lot of folks who don’t support where Obama is taking the military, but in the military they can’t say anything,” Boykin said.
As a consequence, he said, the lower grades have decided to leave, having been given the signal that there is no future in the military for them.
Brady, who was a legendary “Dust Off” air ambulance pilot in Vietnam and detailed his experiences in his book, “Dead Men Flying: Victory in Viet Nam,” told WND, “The problem is military people will seldom, while on duty, go on the record over such issues, and many will not ever, no matter how true. I hear from many off the record who are upset with the current military leadership and some are leaving and have left in the past.”
Brady referred to additional problems in today’s military including “girly-men leadership [and] medals for not shooting and operating a computer. This president will never fight if there is any reason to avoid it and with a helpless military he can just point to our weakness and shrug his shoulders.”
Likewise, retired Navy Capt. Joseph John tells WND that the “bigger picture” is that “the U.S. Armed Forces have been under relentless attack by the occupant of the Oval Office for five years.”
“I believe there are more than 137 officers who have been forced out or given bad evaluation reports so they will never make Flag (officer), because of their failure to comply to certain views,” said John.
“The truly sad story is that many of the brightest graduates of the three major service academies witnessing what the social experiment on diversity … is doing to the U.S. military, are leaving the service after five years,” he said. “We are being left with an officer corps that can be made to be more compliant, that is, exactly what Obama needs to effect his long range goals for the U.S. military.”
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/11/allen-west-congress-must-probe-military-firings/#06VTGwkryTz3sBD1.99
Appearing on Fox News’s On The Record, Palin referred to scandals like Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS’s targeting of conservatives, and the National Security Agency’s domestic spying.
She then asked, “Which one is a phony scandal?”
Palin asked if Benghazi, where “200-plus years of honorable military ethos was thrown out the window when we left our own to be slaughtered by Muslims,” was a phony scandal.
She said the government “spies and lies,” and once again asked if all of these scandals were phony.
“Americans are smarter than the lamestream media give them credit,” Palin said, noting regular Americans are figuring out the “hypocrisies” and “lies” coming from the Obama administration by doing their own homework.
She again emphasized how the mainstream media members who are supposed to be the “referees” and the “cornerstone” of democracy will not do their jobs in reporting on Obama. She said that was “dangerous” and “unfortunate” for the country, because it makes Obama believe he will not be held to account.
Palin said the American people are full of hope, knowledge, and good intent and are doing the job the media should be doing.
WASHINGTON — Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio says a new immigration bill he helped write needs stronger border security provisions or it will fail in the House and may even have trouble getting through the Senate.
Rubio, who is the chief emissary to conservatives on the contentious legislation, said in a radio interview and in an opinion piece being published in Friday’s Wall Street Journal that he’s been hearing concerns in recent days that more work is needed to boost the bill’s language on the border and he said he’s committed to trying to make those changes.
In his Wall Street Journal piece, Rubio cited “triggers” in the bill that aim to make new citizenship provisions contingent on border security accomplishments. Critics say those provisions are too weak, because in some cases the Homeland Security secretary is tasked with undertaking studies — but not with delivering results — before millions in the U.S. illegally can obtain legal status.
Rubio also mentioned revisiting “waivers” in the bill that give federal officials discretion in applying the law, another flashpoint for conservative critics; concerns about the bill’s cost; and the possibility of making legalization provisions for immigrants already here “tougher, yet still realistic.” He didn’t offer details.
“Clearly what we have in there now is not good enough for too many people and so we’ve got to make it better. And that’s what I’m asking for and that’s what we’re working on,” Rubio said separately this week in an interview with “The Sean Hannity Show” radio program.
“This bill will not pass the House and, quite frankly, I think, may struggle to pass the Senate if it doesn’t deal with that issue, so we’ve got some work to do on that front,” he said.
Rubio’s comments came during Congress’ one-week recess. Back home, lawmakers are hearing feedback about the 844-page bill. Rubio and seven Democratic and Republican senators — the so-called Gang of Eight — introduced the legislation April 17. The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to begin voting on it next week.
In addition to improving border security, the bill would create new visa programs to bring many more foreign workers into the U.S., require employers to check their workers’ legal status, and create a new pathway to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants living here illegally.
The bill faces a tough road in the Democratic-led Senate and an even tougher one in the GOP-controlled House, and some supporters say it will only be successful if Republicans believe it does enough on the border.
The bill allocates $5.5 billion for border measures aimed at achieving 100 percent surveillance of the entire border and blocking 90 percent of border crossers and would-be crossers in high-entrance areas.
The Homeland Security Department would have six months to create a new border security plan to achieve the 90 percent effectiveness rate. Also within six months, the department would have to create a plan to identify where new fencing is needed. Once that happens, people living here illegally could begin to apply for a provisional legal status.
If the 90 percent rate isn’t achieved within five years, a commission made of border state officials would make recommendations on how to do it.
After 10 years, people with provisional legal status could apply for permanent residency if the new security and fencing plans are operating, a new mandatory employment verification system is in place, and a new electronic exit system is tracking who leaves the country.
Critics say these triggers don’t do enough.
“The triggers aren’t triggers at all,” Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., said in a statement. “The day the bill passes, there will be an effective amnesty for the vast majority of illegal immigrants — abandoning the Gang of Eight’s public promise of enforcement first.”
But changes aimed at strengthening the border security provisions could cause heartburn among Democrats. Advocates and the Obama administration have been reluctant to see citizenship made contingent on border security. Immigrants here illegally already face a 13-year path to citizenship under the bill — which Rubio said actually could stretch to as many as 20 years for some, given how long it takes to undertake certain steps — and anything that could make it more onerous raises concerns with supporters on the left.
The border security agreement is “a very fragile and delicately worded part of the bill,” said Angela Kelley, vice president for immigration policy at the liberal Center for American Progress. “To me it really goes to the fundamental question of workability.”
Border security is just one issue that’s likely to provoke a fight. There’s also a brewing dispute over whether the bill should recognize gay unions so that gays could sponsor their partners to come to the U.S. Gay groups are pushing for an amendment in the Judiciary Committee to allow that, but Rubio and other Republicans have made clear it would cost their support.
White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about the gay immigration issue on Air Force One en route to Mexico City on Thursday. “We have said that we support that provision, but we also think it’s very important to recognize that the overall bill here accomplishes what the president believes needs to be accomplished,” Carney said.
Read more: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2013/may/05/us-immigration/#ixzz2SdEcl03I
Sarah Palin’s fiery NRA speech: ‘Don’t make me do it’
May 4, 2013 by Tom Tillison
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave a fiery speech Friday afternoon at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum in Houston, Texas.
In her typical manner, Palin takes on the media and President Obama. She spoke of Obama using the parents of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting to push his gun control agenda, saying he is “a president who writes the book on exploiting tragedies.”
At one point, Palin referenced New York Mayor Michael ‘Nanny’ Bloomberg and her use of a “Big Gulp” as a visual aid when she spoke at CPAC 2013.
In sharing with the gathering Bloomberg’s desire to ban the public display of tobacco products, she pulled out a can of “snuff” and started tapping on it like an experienced dipper, saying, “Don’t make me do it!”
The one-time Republican vice presidential nominee asked the convention attendees to “keep the faith” and “stand up and fight for our freedoms.”