A small Midwest hometown just buried one of its own, Sgt. Bradley Atwell. He was killed in Afghanistan by a group of Afgan insurgents who had dressed as U.S. soldiers and made their way into Camp Bastion, a U.S. military base there, where they attacked our soldiers. We, the people of the United States, have now lost over 2000 of our finest men and women in uniform in that God forsaken country. We have been fighting there for over 10 years. The Russians were there 10 years before us.
My reaction to the photos and stories of Sgt. Atwell and the heartache felt by his family, friends, and community has been one of sorrow and anger. Bradley Atwell is a hero. He and all who are in the military or who have ever been in the military deserve our highest respect and deepest thanks. It is our leaders who must be questioned. It is those who send our troops all over the globe who must answer. It has recently been reported that we now have troops in well over 130 countries around the world maintaining bases, doing humanitarian work, and fighting.
It is the ones in which we are fighting that must be the most questioned. We do not seem to learn. Viet Nam was a disaster. We left there having about 54,000 Americans killed and who knows how many maimed. We went to war in Iraq for what turned out to be nothing. There were no weapons of mass destruction, never were, and Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on the Twin Towers in New York. President Bush knew that. Iraq was never a threat to the United States of America. We went there because Bush and Cheney wanted us to. That war resulted in about 4500 deaths of our soldiers with over 30,000 wounded. What a waste.
The war in Afghanistan really became President Obama’s war. He announced a total withdrawal date. The real question is why wait. Why not just get out of there now. It does not matter whether we get out now or stay another 10 years; that country and its people are primitive and will stay that way. They have no oil which is really our only national interest in the Middle East; that and Israel. The Taliban will take that country back 100’s of years as soon as we leave. The only presence we really need there should be covert with Special Ops and/or CIA attacks when people who have the potential to hurt the United States are identified. Other than that, time to leave and come home.
We must face facts. The Afgans don’t like us. The Pakistani’s don’t like us much either. Then there is India. They are the ones who should be most concerned and the ones who, if military action is called for, should step up to the plate. Pakistan and India both have nuclear bombs. They need to work out their own destiny. The United States cannot and should not be the world’s policeman. Under President Obama, we have done much to create a Middle East with few friends of the USA.
Finally, we simply cannot afford to be at war. In case no one has looked recently, we are broke. Our national debt is sky high and climbing. We do not have the money to hand out to others around the world. We need to be taking care of our own first. If resources are left over at some point, then aid can be given to other countries. Our leaders are failing us. They have failed the thousands who have given their lives to protect us. Time to say, NO MORE.
We don’t think of it much, but honey bees are vital to our own survival. They do their thing each year without direction from human beings. They pollinate all sorts of plants that we depend upon like tomatoes, apple trees, watermelon, Kiwifruit, nuts, cucumbers, cherry trees, and many more. The problem is that honey bees have been dying off in droves. Billions of bees have disappeared in the United States with estimated losses as high as 30% and counting.
Honey bees are crucial to the cultivation of a full 1/3rd of our food here in the USA. This means that with the loss of honey bees the security of our own food supply is at risk. What is the problem? It is called in scientific terms, “Colony Collapse Disorder”. One of the highly suspected causes is the use of pesticides called neonicotinoids.
One such chemical is “Clothianidin” which is produced by Bayer CropScience, a German Corporation. It is used as a treatment on crop seeds, including corn and canola, which happen to be among honey bees’ favorite foods. This class of pesticides needs to be banned if bee colonies are to survive. The EPA is dragging its feet on this matter.
France, Italy, Slovenia, and Germany have already banned Clothianidin. The United States needs to follow their lead. The EPA wants to wait until 2018 to finish their review of the pesticide’s safety but our honey bees cannot wait 6 more years. Stop the threat. Do the ban.
I am having serious difficulty understanding why anyone of the Jewish faith would support President Barack Obama. His policies toward the Middle East have done nothing but put Israel at more risk. Now Iran and Egypt are both rattling sabers at the United Nations meeting in New York. Obama has been so wishy-washy on the whole Israel matter, they have no reluctance about flapping their gums in defiance. I wonder if it takes a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv or Jerusalem for the United States to get the message. We are approaching that point.
We just saw the death of our Ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. It turns out the attack was preplanned and had nothing to do with the movie trailer about the Prophet Mohammad. The attack came on September 11th…… daaaaaaaaaa!!!! It does not take a genius to see that may be important. Yet the Obama administration continued to insist the attack was in response to a movie as were all of the demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. Denial extraordinary.
The naked truth of the matter is that our only real interests in the Middle East are oil and Israel. Always have been. After those two, I really don’t think we give a damn, and maybe shouldn’t beyond being sure no one has the capability to attack the United States of America. That we must assure.
Let’s face it. The extreme radical Islamists cannot be reasoned with and do not respond to “diplomacy”. They do not live in the current age but rather live in a barbaric time that existed over 1000 or more years ago. The treat women like chattel. I heard just today that most universities in Iran have now banned women from studying engineering and science. Back to the burqas, you women. Stay in your place. The crazy men rule.
Finally, you Jewish folks…… think hard before pulling the lever for Barack Obama. He is not the person you want if you want to assure Israel survives.
The Kokomo (IN) Tribune’s Guest Columnist on September 24th, Judy Dugan, went a bit overboard with her criticism of Mitt Romney while detailing her dependency on federal and state entitlements. She said she and her husband are and have been “dependent on federal and state entitlements”. With the exception of Social Security benefits including Medicare which I fully agree she and her husband are entitled to since they funded them during their working period before retirement, I point out that any other entitlements she has received have been at the expense of someone else. Entitlements are not freebies. There is no free lunch. By the way, contrary to her claim Social Security income is not taxable, it is.
A federal mortgage deduction means someone else has to pay more to make up for that. Forgiving a student loan means someone else has to pick up the tab. Any federal or state credits for anything mean someone else has to foot the bill or we as a country just continue to deepen the government debt now over 16 trillion dollars.
And Ms. Dugan just does not get it about the capital gains tax and dividend taxes. Taking those taxes to lower levels or eliminating them altogether puts more dollars into the funding of business development and expansion which means more jobs for many more people. She complains about anything that puts more money into the hands of the “wealthy”.
Let me tell you a little story. The State of Florida increased significantly the tax on yachts several years ago thinking the “rich” should pay more. Sales of yachts went down significantly putting the workers who build those boats on the street. The same for those who sold the boats, serviced them, worked as crews on them, sold fuel and supplies for them, and for all who were employed at harbors that housed them. In short, the money spent by the “rich” put people to work. Raising taxes put people out of work. That is pretty basic economics. Florida quickly eliminated the tax increase.
Since Ms. Dugan is now among the retired, it would be wise if she enrolled in an economics course at Ivy Tech State College which is “free” of tuition for those over 60 (another entitlement which must be subsidized by taxpayers).
In an editorial on Tuesday, September 18th, the Kokomo (IN) Tribune took the position that requiring the children of illegal immigrants pay out-of-state tuition at state-supported colleges and universities is “unfair to immigrants”. They forgot an adjective. The headline should have read, “Law is unfair to illegal immigrants”.
The opinion piece went on to criticize Indiana Representative Mike Karickhoff who is from Kokomo and a co-sponsor of the bill passed by the Indiana General Assembly establishing this requirement. For one, I applaud his efforts.
One allegation in opposition to the measure is that “many undocumented students have been living in Indiana much of their lives and their parents actually have been paying taxes to support the state’s public institutions of higher learning”. I don’t know how this is possible without additional falsification of such as a Social Security number since that is required to file a tax return. Illegal immigrants don’t qualify for a Social Security number. If they have one, it would be yet another violation of law. Further, it is common street knowledge that a substantial portion of income received by illegal immigrants is in cash and never reported by either the recipient or the company that illegally operates this way.
Decisions do have consequences. The illegal actions of parents do not exempt their children from the consequences of violation of law by the parents. It should not be up to the taxpayers to subsidize non- Indiana citizen students which is what the Tribune is proposing. This is not offered to out of state students who are United States citizens. It makes no sense to offer reduced fees to students who are not citizens of Indiana or the United States.
Major Nidal Hasan. Remember that name.
Hasan is the shooter that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others at Fort Hood in November 2009. He was on a jihad mission to further his Islamic beliefs. He is entitled to a fair and open military trial, but there were so many witnesses of this attack that there is no doubt about his guilt.
Now Major Nidal Hasan has grown a beard to express his Muslim fraith. He does not want to shave it off for his trial. His defense attorneys have said, “he won’t shave it since he’s had a premonition that his death is imminent, and he doesn’t want to die without a beard because he believes not having one is a sin.” What a crock.
Hasan agreed to no beard when he signed up for the United States military. He was a member of that military when he shot fellow servicemen and wounded others. He will stand trial in a military court. It is all military. The rules did not change. Beards are not allowed in the military. There should be no debate about that. The beard must go.
The news says the trial is expected to last more than two months. I cannot imagine this. The case is open and shut. Major Hasan without beard needs to stand before the court and hear all that is presented against him. He then needs to spend the rest of his life in a small jail cell out of sight and out of mind with a shave scheduled at least weekly to remind him of what he has done.
In case you missed it, the State of Indiana recently submitted a $130.4 million bill to the United States Congress for services provided to illegal immigrants in Indiana. This billing was a requirement under Indiana’s illegal immigration law passed by the General Assembly. The bill was broken out to $110.6 million for K-12 education, $8 million for welfare, and $12.3 million for prison services (that would be for criminals). You can bet Congress will do nothing about this bill which means the taxpayers of Indiana foot the cost of illegal immigrants in our state.
On the other side of the coin, you hear that illegal immigrants contribute to the state economy. Frankly, I suspect most illegal immigrants working in Indiana are paid cash under the table. The companies that hire illegal immigrants and pay this way break the law themselves. This goes for contractors, landscapers, fast food businesses and others, alike. Cash means no tax and violation of wage laws by those doing the hiring. And, this says nothing about the jobs taken by illegal immigrants that otherwise would be available to Indiana citizens.
You can be assured the federal government will do nothing to remedy this situation. President Obama in his latest move is clearly pandering to the Hispanic vote. This should tell us mountains about Obama’s character and integrity. Enforcement of immigration law has not been a hallmark of the Obama administration. It is just the opposite.
Clearly, immigration reform is sorely needed. Newt Gingrich recognized this and proposed pragmatic solutions. Getting the border tightly secured is step one. Then the Congress must practically and compassionately deal with policy and law. We cannot and should not simply round up everyone in this country illegally and ship them back to Mexico or whatever country they came from, but neither should we ignore the cost of doing nothing. It is not up to the President to decide what laws to enforce or not. That would be the right of a king, emperor, or dictator; not a President. In the meanwhile, the law should be enforced.
Iowans have a chance to get it right on caucus Tuesday. The last time that state made a significant political choice was in the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They chose Obama. How is that working out for the country? If the Republicans there choose Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, or Rick Perry; they have chosen to make themselves irrelevant. None of these people are electable in the general election. Never again should any candidate spend time or huge amounts of money convincing the folks of Iowa about anything. They will have proven themselves too stupid for words.
The only real choice for a candidate that has a chance to beat President Barack Obama in the fall of 2012 is between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Obama has over a billion dollars to spend in attacking whatever opponent he may have. The Republican candidate had better be up to the task.
So, now the choice becomes real. On the one hand there is a candidate that really has never been confronted with hard questions or pressed on the issues. He has mostly gotten a pass from the electronic media. He has run for office multiple times with success in a couple. He was a one term governor although he wanted to be two. He has changed positions on several issues depending upon how the political winds were blowing. He has had significant success in private enterprise but not without blemish. Some claim he cost hundreds their jobs while creating jobs for others in the course of buying, closing, consolidating, and starting businesses. The Republican establishment wants this candidate on the ballot in fall 2012 and will do about anything to get him there. This candidate reminds me a little of a department store mannequin with not a hair out of place that changes clothes and positions on issues as needed. Mr. Nice Guy, Mitt Romney. One minus with him is that he does not seem to engender passion from Republicans. One plus — he does have a ton of money behind him.
On the other hand, there is Newt Gingrich. Here is a candidate that does have a serious track record. He has warts, scars, and bumps to prove it. He is real. His positions are clear and reasonably consistent. There is no doubt at all that he is up to the job of the presidency. Many may not like the way he did business in the past in Congress, but he was able to lead the charge to balance the budget multiple years and get welfare reform passed among other significant matters. Yes, some have griped about how he got it done — wasn’t mister nice guy all the time. He, too, is not without blemish. He has changed position on key issues over time. He has been through two wives and is now on the third. He has become a Roman Catholic and adopted the “no abortion” and anti-gay marriage positions which appear to be politically expedient positions for today’s Republicans. His coffers for future advertising and organization are lacking.
But, we don’t need a nice guy. We need a strong leader who knows what the hell is going on domestically, in the halls of federal government, and internationally. The social issues will need to wait. This country must get back on course financially and internationally. There is only one proven candidate on these two key issues — issues about survival of the United States of America — and he is Newt Gingrich. We will see if Iowans are smart enough to make this choice.
I just finished reading a column by Dick Polman, a columnists with the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. The headline for the column was, “Republican hopefuls risk alienating independent voters”. So true.
Polman quoted Mark McKinnon, an ex-George W. Bush strategist, as saying that Rick Perry and company “seem intent on putting an increasingly ideologically conservative and intolerant face on the party. They are pulling the primary contest so far right that the party will be far less attractive to the independent voters needed to win the election”. The independents are sure not enamored with the current crop of leading candidates.
It is the crazy talk that scares independents. I think this all has come from Perry: 1. Declaring that evolution is ‘just a theory that’s out there’. (I think Perry had a bit of a problem with school; guess he did not learn that part.) 2. Insisting that the scientific consensus on climate change is ‘all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight” (not much education showing here, either.) 3. Decreeing that revenue increases are unacceptable under any and all circumstances, and signing a pledge to that effect. (How about getting General Electric to at least pay some taxes?????). 4. Promising to fill all key Cabinet and executive jobs with foes of abortion, and signing a pledge to that effect. (There went a big chuck of Independents who have a brain.) 5. Asserting that “its time for us to just hand (America) over to God and say, ‘God, you’re going to have to fix this’.” 6. Announcing in a book that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and should be scrapped. (There went Florida for sure.) 7. Contending that gay Americans are “part of Satan”. (That should be enough to have Perry declared a wacko!!) 8. Dissing the Bush appointed Federal Reserve chairman as “treasonous”. (He may be even paranoid to some degree.) 9. Insinuating (yet again) that Obama is insufficiently American and insufficiently in love with America.
Even Jeb Bush is showing concern with comments about no one being willing to even talk about tax reform with some paying more; like GE who pays nothing.
Mark my words, if the Republicans nominate someone as far right as Perry, they can kiss a good chunk of the Independents good bye. Obama will win by default. There has to be a better choice than from the field of nut cases.
Ummmm…… Gingrich or Romney come to mind. I think they both have brains, relevant experience, and are not part of the kooky, dangerous right wing of the Republican Party. Hear me Rush and Glenn!!!
It is time for some trimming down of the Republican Presidential candidate crowd. It is long time for Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Gary Johnson to pack it up and head home. None of them can cut the mustard in the battle for the Presidency. That leaves Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich as potential viable candidates. The Republican old guard is pushing for Mitt Romney. Cain is a wildcard with virtually no government experience or a notion about foreign affairs. He has been a delight to hear and very good for the dialogue to this point, but, simply put, he is not ready for the top spot; maybe Vice President. That leaves Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Neither is a darling of the conservative religious right but both are better than all the rest if the social agenda takes a back seat over economics and foreign affairs. But, Mitt Romney has a ton of baggage that the media and liberals would have a hay day with if he became the Republican nominee for President.
So, for my money, give me Newt Gingrich. He has not made a lot of noise nor commanded the attention of the main stream media to this point. He has sawed wood. He has put together a 21st Century Contract for America that makes very good sense. No surprises about what he would do as President. He has been very clear about that. He has all the experience in the world with Congress and how things get done there. He knows the closets, the skeletons, the special interest groups, and the back halls. In brief, he is the most qualified potential candidate of them all. Newt is level headed and damned intelligent. Listen to what he has to say. Let’s face it, the next President must focus laser like on the next several years to get the economy moving, the budget balanced, and the size of government reduced while at the same time deal with any threats, terrorist or economic, from abroad. Newt Gingrich is the one who can best handle the tasks at hand.
For the conservative religious right, I say please concentrate your efforts on electing the Representatives and Senators that share your social goals. Congress is the only place that has the power to accomplish what you desire or not. One man or woman in the Presidency cannot do that.
It is time for the Republican Party to suck it up, quit fiddling around, and select the most qualified person to run the race against President Barack Obama. Only Newt Gingrich measures up.