The War over the Confederate Flag

This post was originally published on one of my other sites: http://northagainstsouth.com/.

Chamberlain at AppomattoxOnce again the forces of the left and other apologists for them have assailed the Confederate flag. With their philosophy of never let a crisis go to waste, they have used the deaths of nine Americans in church by a hate-filled individual to attack a symbol of Southern pride.

As a Yankee living in the Old Dominion I understand that white Southerners need to hold onto their symbol of four hard years of war. I also understand that flying the flag at state capital grounds and other official sites is offensive to black Southerners. This land belongs equally to both groups. And allow me to say that in my experience the Confederate flag is not used to stick it in the face of black Southerners.

There are vanity license plates with the Confederate flag throughout the South. Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia called for the removal of the Confederate flag from all state license plates. He also called for the reclaiming of those in circulation. It only requires the state’s Attorney General to petition the court that originally allowed it. The plate’s emblem is actually the logo of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who won a court case allowing it. A recent Supreme Court case ruling in a Texas case allows states to remove the emblem.

The issue is front-and-center in southern states right now. North Carolina’s governor said Tuesday he’ll ask the state legislature to remove the emblem from plates there, as did Tennessee’s. Georgia’s governor initially re-affirmed support for his state’s plates Tuesday, but said later in the day he’d support a redesign, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In addition, most Southern states have removed the Confederate flag on official grounds. They have placed them in museums and other non-official sites.

But some on the left have gone way too far. This is still the United States and the last time I looked the First Amendment was still in force. Forcing retailers to stop selling Confederate flag items it flat out ridiculous. When sites like Ebay and Amazon remove items that have the Confederate flag, well, that’s bridge too far for me. The height of this new prohibition is the cancellation of the Dukes of Hazzard reruns because their car, the General Lee, has the Confederate flag on the roof!

NASCAR has actually asked their fans to stop flying the Confederate flag. It’s a strange request from an organization that was founded in the South and whose membership is mostly from that region. Yet, with all of the shouting according to a recent CNN/ORC by a margin of 57% to 33% people saw the flag as a symbol of Southern pride rather than racism.

Among African-Americans, 72% see the Confederate flag as a symbol of racism, just 25% of whites agree. In the South, the racial divide is even broader. While 75% of Southern whites describe the flag as a symbol of pride and 18% call it a symbol of racism, those figures are almost exactly reversed among Southern African-Americans, with just 11% seeing it as a sign of pride and 75% viewing it as a symbol of racism.

A majority favors removing the Confederate flag from government property that isn’t part of a museum: 55% support that while 43% are opposed. And half support private companies choosing not to sell or manufacture items featuring the Confederate flag: 50% are in favor, 47% opposed.

But most oppose other efforts, including redesigning state flags that feature Confederate emblems or symbols to remove references to the Confederacy (57% oppose that), renaming streets and highways named after Confederate leaders (68% oppose that) and removing tributes to those who fought for the Confederacy from public places (71% oppose that).

Among African-Americans, however, most favor removing flags from government property (73%), private companies stopping the sale or manufacture of products featuring the flag (65%) and redesigning state flags that feature Confederate references to remove them (59%).

Let’s get serious now. The Confederate flag that we see today was actually the battle flag of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. Other units used different flags while the Confederacy had at least three different flags each with several variants during its brief four-year life. Some states used their state flags and added the ‘Stars and Bars’. Some of those state flags are still in use today.

In order to understand Southerners love of the Confederate flag allow me to quote Union General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain who was the officer designated by General Grant to accept the surrender of the infantry of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox on April 9, 1865. General Chamberlain was wounded six times in the service of the Union. The officer commanding the Confederate infantry, General John Brown Gordon of Georgia was wounded seven times in the service of the Confederacy. The text is from General Chamberlain’s book The Passing of the Armies. It is well-worth reading.

Our earnest eyes scan the busy groups on the opposite slopes, breaking camp for the last time, taking down their little shelter-tents and folding them carefully as precious things, then slowly forming ranks as for unwelcome duty. And now they move. The dusky swarms forge forward into gray columns of march. On they come, with the old swinging route step and swaying battle- flags. In the van, the proud Confederate ensign — the great field of white with canton of star-strewn cross of blue on a field of red, the regimental battle-flags with the same escutcheon following on, crowded so thick, by thinning out of men, that the whole column seemed crowned with red. At the right of our line our little group mounted beneath our flags, the red Maltese cross on a field of white, erewhile so bravely borne through many a field more crimson than itself, its mystic meaning now ruling all.

 

The momentous meaning of this occasion impressed me deeply. I resolved to mark it by some token of recognition, which could be no other than a salute of arms. Well aware of the responsibility assumed, and of the criticisms that would follow, as the sequel proved, nothing of that kind could move me in the least. The act could be defended, if needful, by the suggestion that such a salute was not to the cause for which the flag of the Confederacy stood, but to its going down before the flag of the Union. My main reason, however, was one for which I sought no authority nor asked forgiveness. Before us in proud humiliation stood the embodiment of manhood: men whom neither toils and sufferings, nor the fact of death, nor disaster, nor hopelessness could bend from their resolve; standing before us now, thin, worn, and famished, but erect, and with eyes looking level into ours, waking memories that bound us together as no other bond; — was not such manhood to be welcomed back into a Union so tested and assured?

 

Instructions had been given ; and when the head of each division column comes opposite our group, our bugle sounds the signal and instantly our whole line from right to left, regiment by regiment in succession, gives the soldier’s salutation, from the “order arms” to the old “carry” — the marching salute. Gordon at the head of the column, riding with heavy spirit and downcast face, catches the sound of shifting arms, looks up, and, taking the meaning, wheels superbly, making with himself and his horse one uplifted figure, with profound salutation as he drops the point of his sword to the boot toe; then facing to his own command, gives word for his successive brigades to pass us with the same position of the manual, — honor answering honor.

 

On our part not a sound of trumpet more, nor roll of drum ; not a cheer, nor word nor whisper of vain-glorying, nor motion of man standing again at the order, but an awed stillness rather, and breath-holding, as if it were the passing of the dead! As each successive division masks our own, it halts, the men face inward towards us across the road, twelve feet away; then carefully “dress” their line, each captain taking pains for the good appearance of his company, worn and half starved as they were. The field and staff take their positions in the intervals of regiments; generals in rear of their commands. They fix bayonets, stack arms; then, hesitatingly, remove cartridge-boxes and lay them down. Lastly, — reluctantly, with agony of expression, — they tenderly fold their flags, battle-worn and torn, blood-stained, heart -holding colors, and lay them down; some frenziedly rushing from the ranks, kneeling over them, clinging to them, pressing them to their lips with burning tears. And only the Flag of the Union greets the sky !

General Chamberlain had the opportunity to speak to several Confederate generals at the surrender:

There was opportunity for converse with several Confederate generals. Their bearing was, of course, serious, their spirits sad. What various misgivings mingled in their mood we could not but conjecture. Levying war against the United States was serious business. But one certain impression was received from them all; they were ready to accept for themselves and for the Confederacy any fate our Government should dictate. Lincoln’s magnanimity, as Grant’s thoughtfulness, had already impressed them much. They spoke like brave men who mean to stand upon their honor and accept the situation.

 

” General,” says one of them at the head of his corps, “this is deeply humiliating; but I console myself with the thought that the whole country will rejoice at this day’s business. ” “You astonish us, ” says another of equally high rank, “by your honorable and generous conduct. I fear we should not have done the same by you had the case been reversed. ” “I will go home, ‘ ‘ says a gallant officer from North Carolina, “and tell Joe Johnston we can’t fight such men as you. I will advise him to surrender.” “I went into that cause” says yet another of well-known name, “and I meant it. We had our choice of weapons and of ground, and we have lost. Now that is my flag (pointing to the flag of the Union), and I will prove myself as worthy as any of you. “

The War is over and has been for 150 years. What is taking place now will only ignite it again.

 

The Rise of The Donald

Donald Trump and the Mexican FlagDonald Trump has joined the Republican field with a bang. He lashed out at the Mexican government blaming Mexico for “sending people [to the US] that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs, and bringing crime, and their rapists.”

“We have drug dealers coming across, we have rapists, we have killers, we have murderers. I mean it’s common sense,” Trump told MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt. “Do you think they’re going to send us their best people, their finest people? The answer is no.”

Trump also called upon Mexico to build a “great wall” along the southern border to prevent the supposed influx of Mexican criminals to the US.

The Mexican government immediately responded. During an anti-discrimination event, an official in Mexico City blasted Trump’s rhetoric as “prejudiced and absurd.”

“[Trump] surely doesn’t know the contributions made by migrants from practically every nation in the world, who have supported the development of the United States,” said Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong.

Chong’s continued statement declared that Trump’s comments stemmed from a desire to create controversy and attention, rather than proposing a feasible plan.

On Monday Trump defended his stance. “Public reports routinely state great amounts of crime are being committed by illegal immigrants. This must be stopped and it must be stopped now,” Trump said after being dropped by NBC.

The dirty little secret is that Univision, NBC and Macy’s would have had to drop Trump because of U.S. election laws. If they didn’t the other candidate’s could have demanded equal time. So dropping him publicly was simply a petulant way of parting.

Meanwhile, Trump vaulted into the top-tier of Republican presidential candidates. With all of his money he can self-fund to $100 million according to The Donald. The other candidates should be a little afraid of the mega real estate developer.

However, isn’t Trump simply telling the truth even in an uncouth way. The Mexican government seems to all Central American illegals free passage through their country and into the United States. Mexican border guards aren’t allow the illegals to cross into the United States without slowing down the flow.

As Trump says, we don’t know who they are. We don’t know if they’re criminals or law-abiding people. And they’re not the best and the brightest of Mexico. By and large they’re peasants who Mexico is trying to get rid of.

The illegals from Mexico and Central America are a burden on the United States. They have no health care so they clog our emergency rooms. They add to our food stamp program enrollees and in general cost the American taxpayers billions a year.

The rest of the Republican should be wary of Mr. Trump. He’s new to campaigning and in the early stages he’s quite rough around the edges. He’s a bit of a bull in a China shop. But as the campaign progresses he learn. He’ll polish his stump speech and the facts in the speech.

Most of what Mr. Trump says is true. It’s just the delivery that freaks out the media and the Republican establishment. But I’m thinking that the grass roots might agree with him. And that could make for an interesting race.

Do We Really Know Who Hillary Clinton Is?

Hillary in sunglassesHillary Clinton is currently leading on the Democrat side of the Presidential nomination race. Of course, she doesn’t really have much in the way of competition.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described Socialist from Vermont, is leading a weak field. Former Governor Martin O’Malley is the best qualified of the Democrat candidates having been mayor of Baltimore and governor of Maryland.

Then we have former Senator and Governor of Rhode Island Lincoln Chaffee. He is the WTF candidate. One-term Senator Jim Webb of Virginia is a genuine American hero with the Navy Cross, the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and two Purple Hearts but he left no impression in the Senate.

The Democrat heavy hitters such as Vice President Joe Biden and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo so far have chosen to remain on the sidelines. If either one or both enter the race they could spell big problems for Mrs. Clinton.

The hyperbole surrounding Hillary Clinton’s qualifications is extraordinary. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said that she was the most qualified candidate to run for the Presidency. Others have echoed her sentiment.

All of this is based on nine years in the Senate, having been elected to a safe seat, and four years as Secretary of State. Most people who are queried about her achievements fail to name a single one.

Her time on the Watergate Committee ending with her firing by the head of the legal team Jeffrey Zeifman for being a “liar” and “unethical”. Some person or persons have done the best to scrub her bios of this fact.

But you shouldn’t be surprise. During her time in Arkansas there were several scandals including the Cattle-Futures Miracle, Whitewater plus the constant “Bimbo eruptions”.

Then who can forget a whole series of scandals that marred Bill Clinton’s tenure as President. We had Travelgate, the Vince Foster suicide (presumably), Filegate, the looting of the White House, Drug Dealer Donor Scandal (bet you forgot that one) and the Political Favor Scandal. Make no mistake both of the Clintons were involved in most of these.

Now we have a new generation of scandals including Benghazi and the whole slew of accusations stemming from Mrs. Clinton’s private email server. The server was a violation of her agreement with the White House.

Top White House aides emailed Hillary Clinton on at least one of several private email accounts during her first year in office, suggesting President Obama’s staff knew about the secretary’s controversial email arrangement as early as 2009.

Now, we find out that her confidant Sidney Blumenthal sent her emails about foreign policy issues contrary to the White House’s orders. Mr. Blumenthal was being paid a princely sum by the Clinton Family Foundation for his services.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton characterized Mr. Blumenthal as someone who was sending her unsolicited advice. This was patently a lie since he earned about $10,000 a month as a full-time employee of the Clinton Foundation while he was providing intelligence on Libya to Clinton, according to multiple sources familiar with the arrangement.

So how can Mrs. Clinton be characterized as the most qualified candidate in the field? Is it because the left and the media see her as someone who will extend the Obama administration into a third term? Do they see her and Bill as the keepers of the left’s flame?

With all of her baggage it seems that her ratings are suffering attrition. The latest Washington Times poll finds that 57% of the respondents thought that she was dishonest, according to a new CNN/ORC poll on the 2016 race. Exactly half agreed that she does not inspire confidence, also up 8 points.

But despite her loss of support even among Democrats (down 7 points to 73 percent). she holds a sizable lead over her party opponents; 60 percent of Democrats say they would still pick her, 14 percent would opt Vice President Joe Biden, and 10 percent  prefer Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Socialist. Just 1 percent would vote for Martin O’Malley.

Could Same-Sex Marriage Destroy the United States?

Same Sex MarriageAfter Friday’s Supreme Court 5-4 ruling on same sex marriage we are entering a brave new world. The government now has the means to destroy religion in America. Many on the left are secularists and this is a huge victory for them.

According to Justice Kennedy writing for the majority:

Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.

According to the Justice only religious organizations and religious persons would be allowed to dissent. But churches and other religious institutions will find it nearly impossible to refuse to participate in homosexual marriages.

And make no mistake the assault on the nation’s institutions and businesses will continue in an organized fashion. The various coalitions that represent the LGBT community will be motivated to push the limits of the ruling to its limits.

For those who are not speaking for a church who will continue to protest the ruling must beware of the government’s power of coercion. Those who are not employed by churches and are organizing to resist homosexual marriage will bring down the FBI upon them as surely as if you were organizing a KKK chapter or were a terrorist cell.

The calls from the left to take away tax-exempt status for churches and religious organizations have already begun. The pressure on the IRS to review the status of these organizations may be too much for them to resist.

Chief Justice John Roberts writing in his stinging dissent said:

Hard questions arise when people of faith exercise religion in ways that may be seen to conflict with the new right to same-sex marriage—when, for example, a religious college provides married student housing only to opposite-sex married couples, or a religious adoption agency declines to place children with same-sex married couples. Indeed, the Solicitor General candidly acknowledged that the tax exemptions of some religious institutions would be in question if they opposed same-sex marriage.  There is little doubt that these and similar questions will soon be before this Court. Unfortunately, people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.

According to  streiff writing on Red State:

This is the roadmap.                                                                                                                                                                                                            

The first attacks will be on small churches that don’t have the wherewithal to mount a legal defense against the IRS and against civil lawsuits. They will be confronted with a loss of their tax exempt status and the personal bankruptcy of their corporate officers if they do not allow homosexual weddings. The effect this will have on small congregations will be profound. Some will become “house churches”, much like what you see in Communist China.                                                                                                                                    Many, however, will fall in line. The larger Protestant denominations will toe the line. Some, like the Episcopalians, are only nominally Christian as is. The Lutherans (ELCA variety) have had actively homosexual clergy for some time as have the Methodists. The two big targets for the government will be the Southern Baptist Convention — which is a voluntary association of independent churches — and the Roman Catholic Church. The pressure will ratchet up on them until they are confronted with confiscation of property or “discovering” hidden meanings in Scripture that reveal homosexual marriage has always been allowed.                                                                                                                                                                                           

Churches won’t disappear but the churches that you will see on Main Street will be peddling a warmed over and watered down version of Christianity that is a combination soup kitchen and twelve step program sans belief in a higher power. Real Christian churches will go underground but it will be a rearguard action. Christianity that chooses to ignore the very Word of God is not a religion, it is a cultural artifact.

What will come next? Will an association of states or parts of states organize as a separate entity like the Confederacy? In many states in the South and the Midwest homosexual marriage is considered an anathema. The people living there take their religion seriously.

What would the central government do if half of the states refused to enforce the Supreme Court ruling? What if the Roman Catholic Church with almost 70 million members declared an interdict on the United States. No masses, no baptisms, no marriages. In fact, even no priests.

How about the massive Southern Baptist Convention with 50,000 affiliated churches and 16 million members? What if their pastors called for passive resistance? Other churches would join in if they felt threatened by the federal and state governments.

Fasten your seat belts it looks like we’ll have a rough ride.

The Totalitarian Left and the Confederate Flag

Battle Flag of the ConfederacyThe totalitarian left’s latest feeding frenzy is over the Confederate flag. They wish to eradicate all things Confederate despite the fact that eleven states and numerous supporters in two more states (Missouri and Kentucky) joined the breakaway Confederacy.

 

The readers know several facts from the start. Two of my ancestors served in the Union Army and even though I now live in Virginia I’m still a Yankee.

The flag that is shown is really the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by General Robert E. Lee, a Virginia. At Gettysburg (after the death of Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson at Chancellorsville) two of his three corps commanders were native Virginians.

The Confederacy had several different flags in it’s brief four year history. The so-called ‘Stars and Bars’ square flag was used by troops in the field. A white rectangular flag with a ‘Stars and Bars’ canton in the upper left corner was the flag that flew from government buildings and other official buildings.

The current controversy stems from the Charleston, South Carolina massacre of nine people in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

The perpetrator, Dylann Roof’s website hinted at why he chose “historic” Charleston to shoot nine people to death at the church. Along with a long, hate-filled screed, the 21-year-old included photos of himself burning an American flag, taking aim with a pistol and posing proudly at sites connected to the Confederacy.

Toward the end of his 2,000-word manifesto, under a section titled “An Explanation,” the writer hints at why Charleston was targeted.

I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.

The totalitarian left immediately went into full beast mode blaming the Southern heritage of the Confederacy for the actions of one madman. The people of Charleston got it right. Forgive the assassin, heal the community, stay calm. There were no riots in Charleston.

Political and community leaders  of South Carolina calmly called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the State Capital grounds to a private museum. The state legislature passed a bill that called for a full debate on the subject.

In Alabama the governor ordered the removal of the Confederate flag from a memorial at the Alabama State Capitol. Other states will surely follow these two states with the removal of Confederate flags from official grounds around their states.

More than likely it will be done without riots, violent demonstrations or the defacement of Confederate memorials and grave sites.

Governors in four different states said they want images of the Confederate flags off of state license plates. Last week’s shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina has spurred this push both around the country.

In Charlottesville there have been calls for the removal of Civil War monuments around the city, most notably the equestrian statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. However, Virginia law prohibits the removal or alteration of any and all Confederate monuments.

According to Erick Erickson:

While Bush was President, dissent was patriotic. Now, to criticize the President or the left is to be branded a racist, bigot, homophobe, and more. Dissent is no longer welcome in the town square.

 

The left celebrates the business that won’t bake a cake for a confederate, but demands bakers who won’t bake for gay weddings be fined by the state and driven from business. The pizza place get death threats if they have stars and bars pinned to the ceiling or publicly admit they don’t want a rainbow flag on the ceiling.

Meanwhile, the totalitarian left have been frustrated by the innate fairness exhibited by Southerners. By and large the majority of white Southerners understand that African-American Southerners are offended by the Confederate flag and have chosen to peacefully correct that issue.

Has the Vatican overstepped its bounds?

Pope FrancisMost of us think of religious institutions as organizations that strictly stay within the bounds of religion. After all that’s why they exist, to keep us on the correct path.

Before we go any further let me point out that I’m a cradle Catholic with 16 years of Catholic education from the Sisters of Charily, the Xaverian Brothers and the Christian Brothers. None of these religious orders can be mistaken for anything but middle of the road.

But we now have a pope who comes out of the Latin American tradition of leftist ideology. At first most Catholics and Christians in general saw Pope Francis as a uniter. But to our chagrin it appears that he is an Obama in religious garb.

His new encyclical,  “Laudato Si’,” or “Praise Be to You”, starts with these two sections:

1. “LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.[1]

 

2. This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life. This is why the earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor; she “groans in travail” (Rom 8:22). We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.

After this dramatic opening the Pope is off to the races on an ecological rant. The underlying problem with the encyclical is that it is based on a false premise: that an environmental crisis of global or regional proportions exists and that crisis is created by and curable by man.He comes down squarely on the side of the radical environmentalists:

I urgently appeal, then, for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all. The worldwide ecological movement has already made considerable progress and led to the establishment of numerous organizations committed to raising awareness of these challenges. Regrettably, many efforts to seek concrete solutions to the environmental crisis have proved ineffective, not only because of powerful opposition but also because of a more general lack of interest. Obstructionist attitudes, even on the part of believers, can range from denial of the problem to indifference, nonchalant resignation or blind confidence in technical solutions. We require a new and universal solidarity. As the bishops of Southern Africa have stated: “Everyone’s talents and involvement are needed to redress the damage caused by human abuse of God’s creation”. [22] All of us can cooperate as instruments of God for the care of creation, each according to his or her own culture, experience, involvements and talents.

Pope Francis invites dialog but only on his terms. You can enter the debate if you agree there is a crisis and if you rule out technology as a means of solving the problem. Otherwise you are part of the problem.

Parts of the encyclical seem to be out of the dystopic worldview that permeates science fiction books. Hunger Games or Divergent are two such series that predict the destruction of our society:

Each year hundreds of millions of tons of waste are generated, much of it non-biodegradable, highly toxic and radioactive, from homes and businesses, from construction and demolition sites, from clinical, electronic and industrial sources. The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. Industrial waste and chemical products utilized in cities and agricultural areas can lead to bioaccumulation in the organisms of the local population, even when levels of toxins in those places are low. Frequently no measures are taken until after people’s health has been irreversibly affected.

Most of the encyclical is laced throughout with a zero sum mentality. As an example: while the First World prospers the Third World languishes in environmental degradation.

He blames the First World for climate change while most of carbon generated is coming from India and China. The United States, for example, has reduced its carbon footprint by the use of natural gas that has been discovered due to fracking.

Another example of his zero sum mentality comes with the discussion of potable water in the Third World. Being frugal on water use here does not make life easier in Djibouti. Yet that seems to be what this document is saying.

The encyclical goes on to criticize most facets of our culture from our cities to consumerism.

An encyclical is supposed to be accepted as an article of faith for Catholics but this radical environmentalism will only split the Church between the radical environmentalists and those who see this dogma as invalid.

The Pope seems to be saying that we in the First World are bad people, we are part of the problem. This encyclical sends us back to the era when the Inquisition validated the work of scientists.

ObamaCare: Time to Think Outside the Box

ObamaCare and the CourtsI’m going to go out on a limb and say that based on Barack Obama’s harsh words about the Supreme Court and the current ObamaCare case the administration will lose. Their allies in the media have started to point fingers at the Republicans questing what they’ll do next.

Now, the Republicans didn’t write this bill. Jonathan Gruber admitted on a number of occasions that the wording was an attempt to intimidate Red State governors to set up exchanges in order for their citizens to receive subsidies. Gruber is not a Republican.

The Republicans didn’t go to extraordinary lengths to pass the bill. A Republican President didn’t propose the bill and sign it into law.

Yet, now the Democrats and the media think that the Republicans should fix this disaster that has cost many Americans their jobs, damaged the healthcare system and cost billions of tax dollars.

The problem that all of Washington has with ObamaCare is that everyone on both sides of the aisle is thinking inside the box. It’s long past time to correct the bill and move on with our lives.

Where do the Democrats come off blaming the Republicans for a bill that their President proposed, their Congressional majorities drafted and pushed through Congress on a purely partisan basis and their President signed into law.

Let’s look at what we currently have. The current law is a one-size-fits-all construct. There are no provisions for picking a plan that is tailored to the user.

As an example, I’m 66 and my wife is 62. I hardly think that we will need Ob/Gyn or birth services. We might need a good prescription drug benefit. Neither of us smokes or takes illegal drugs so we won’t need anything related to those issues.

What has been staring at us for so long is the example of the automobile insurance industry. When you insure your car you can pick the coverages that work for you.You get to pick collision coverage and liability.

ObamaCare doesn’t allow us to do that. Instead we’re in a straitjacket that forces us to pick what the government wants us to pick. If you’re 65 you still need to pay for coverages that you’ve outlived. Everyone still needs to pay for birth control and Viagra.

The left loves the one-size-fits-all approach because there are no decisions that need to be made provided the website works. The ObamaCare model is based on Social Security. The young pay for the old, but don’t tell them that. Those of us who are older have known that all along.

I think that it’s up to the Democrats to fix the law to the Republican’s satisfaction. It reminds me of Joliet Jake telling his brother Elwood, “You got us into this parking lot, pal. Now you get us out”. 

 

The Man without a Plan

Obama and ISISBarack Obama is trying to have it both ways. On the one hand he talks about defeating ISIS. One the other hand he has admitted that he doesn’t have a plan.

He needs to revise the second statement to ‘I don’t have a plan that I like’. Our risk-averse President is the very example of a nervous Nellie. It took him months to agree to a surge in Afghanistan. And even then he halved the number of troops that the military wanted.

The military anonymously have said that they have sent the White House a number of plans but they have all been rejected for one reason or another.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul said in a statement:

It is no surprise this administration does not have a ‘complete strategy’ for training Iraqis to fight ISIS. What is surprising is that the president admitted it.

 

A military official also took issue with Obama’s claim that he was waiting for options from the Pentagon.

What the f— was that? We have given him lots of options, he just hasn’t acted on them. 

The administration has got to understand that if we don’t defeat ISIS then no one else will. They will continue to rampage through Syria and Iraq killing and maiming citizens of both countries. Christians are being beheaded, crucified or burned alive.

Yet, the President would have us believe that he is gung-ho to defeat them. He has said the same thing for 21/2 years. Other then sending a small number of trainers he has done nothing.

He has reiterated time and again that we will not have boots on the ground. Instead, he thinks that we can defeat ISIS from the air. His reasoning: we did it in Kosovo.

Kosovo was a vastly different air campaign. We used a total of 344 aircraft. In a 78-day campaign they flew 10,484 strike sorties. That means we flew 134 strikes per day. And 54 of the days had poor weather-impeded bombing.

By comparison the air-campaign over Iraq is anemic. According to the Department of defense from August 2014 until January 2015, U.S. and coalition forces have carried out 1,689 strikes in Iraq and Syria. That translates to 11 per day with an average daily cost of $8.2 million.

Despite what the Air Force thinks air campaigns don’t win wars. Wars are won by soldiers on the ground who tell the enemy that this piece of land belongs to me and you can’t have it. Infantry is truly the Queen of Battle. It has been that way for thousands of years and it’s not going to change despite Obama’s hope that it will.

Obama is risk-averse as is his staff. They are like an echo chamber. He’s preaching to the choir. He wants no nay-sayers in his administration.

Those in the military who have disagreed with him have been forced to retire. It’s like the Stalinist purges without the bullet to the back of the head but it has the same affect. He has stripped the Armed Forces of many of its best and brightest.

If ISIS captures Baghdad and kills Americans at the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone then we might see some action. Or he may say ‘Oh well, too bad, so, sad’.

Obama’s Perceived Enemy

Hell in a HandbasketIn the words of the late Hughes Rudd the world is going to hell in a handbasket. The Middle East and North Africa is aflame with open warfare in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Libya.

In Central Africa Boko Haram, a jihadist group based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon, is terrorizing and kidnapping citizens of these countries.

The Russians are attempting to gobble up Ukraine after successfully assisting rebel forces to take the strategic Crimean Peninsula. They have increasingly had their air force push the envelope in Europe and North American air space. Sweden has suspected that Russian submarines have entered Swedish waters.

ISIS is running rampant in Syria and Iraq with beheadings and forced conversions. They have all but established a Caliphate in these two states.

Iran is pushing a hard line in nuclear negotiations. The United States led by the ineffectual John Kerry seems to be allowing Iran the latitude to build nuclear weapons despite rhetoric that suggests the opposite. Actions speak louder than words.

Instead of clear statements of action against these threats we get this type of rhetoric:

To succeed, we must draw upon the power of our example—that means viewing our commitment to our values and the rule of law as a strength, and not an inconvenience.

Got that!

Recently the President spoke at the United States Coast Guard’s graduation ceremony and laid out America’s strategy moving forward.

Climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security….

Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune.

Seriously Mr. President. If we don’t combat the real threats to our country climate change will no longer be an issue. Against human threats, no calls for mobilization, courage, or perseverance were heard. Rather, bureaucratic inanities like “dialoguing,” “resetting,” and “degrading” would take care of those problems.

However, against climate change, he has even said “we need to act—and we need to act now.” In fact, we are told, it would be “a dereliction of duty” to ignore it. The entire world must act and “make sacrifices for generations to come.”

Presidents like to fight abstract enemies. On the domestic front the perceived enemy is income inequality. Instead of discussing the national economy and Obamacare that has robbed those on the lower rung of our earners he would rather discuss an abstraction.

Abstractions don’t fight back. They have no armies or terrorists. Not everyone can fight ISIS—only the courageous. But everyone can struggle against income inequality and “combat” climate change. Since no genuine moral courage is necessary in fighting an abstraction, one will never face acting in harrowing circumstances.

There are obvious and clear dangers in neglecting immediate security threats. While you allow those threats to grow unchecked, not only do adversaries’ ambitions grow proportionately to their weapons caches, but this growth means any response will require more force and sacrifice later on.

Iran, Russia, and ISIS demonstrate this. Nonetheless, the real trouble with Obama’s rhetoric is that it encourages unseriousness in the American public when facing real threats. Fostering this habit of moral dishonesty in the public will likely be the president’s most lasting though least detectable legacy.

 

The Battle over Climate Skepticism

Global WarmingThe proponents of climate warming are starting to get desperate. With Obama’s time in office dwindling they are beginning to focus on climate skeptics and how to handle them.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) offered this curious suggestion to the administration:

In 2006, Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decided that the tobacco companies’ fraudulent campaign amounted to a racketeering enterprise. According to the court: “Defendants coordinated significant aspects of their public relations, scientific, legal, and marketing activity in furtherance of a shared objective — to . . . maximize industry profits by preserving and expanding the market for cigarettes through a scheme to deceive the public.

 

 

The parallels between what the tobacco industry did and what the fossil fuel industry is doing now are striking. … The coordinated tactics of the climate denial network, Brulle’s report states, “span a wide range of activities, including political lobbying, contributions to political candidates, and a large number of communication and media efforts that aim at undermining climate science.” Compare that again to the findings in the tobacco case.

The tobacco industry was proved to have conducted research that showed the direct opposite of what the industry stated publicly — namely, that tobacco use had serious health effects. Civil discovery would reveal whether and to what extent the fossil fuel industry has crossed this same line. We do know that it has funded research that — to its benefit — directly contradicts the vast majority of peer-reviewed climate science. One scientist who consistently published papers downplaying the role of carbon emissions in climate change, Willie Soon, reportedly received more than half of his funding from oil and electric utility interests: more than $1.2 million.

To be clear: I don’t know whether the fossil fuel industry and its allies engaged in the same kind of racketeering activity as the tobacco industry. We don’t have enough information to make that conclusion. Perhaps it’s all smoke and no fire. But there’s an awful lot of smoke.

Senator Whitehouse is suggesting that global warming skeptics be charged under the RICO statutes as conspirators. Of course, any pretense of the First Amendment Freedom of Speech goes out the window.

Top men like Sheldon Whitehouse can make sure we don’t hear anything that we don’t need to hear about scientific research and legally punish anyone who publicly disagrees.

Of course, this isn’t the first time someone has suggested prison for global warming deniers. Gawker’s Adam Weinstein did that last year, because “First Amendment rights have never been absolute. You still can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. You shouldn’t be able to yell ‘balderdash’ at 10,883 scientific journal articles a year, all saying the same thing: This is a problem, and we should take some preparations for when it becomes a bigger problem.” 

Those who blithely remind us that “free speech rights have never been absolute” always seem to have a suspiciously narrow understanding of how absolute free speech rights should be or why they need to be zealously guarded from tumbling down the slippery slope.

In February, Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., attempted a McCarthyite witch hunt against climate scientists he found disagreeable. And Sheldon Whitehouse is a sitting U.S. Senator. He’s now publicly encouraging legal persecution of people who conduct scientific research and/or those that have opinions about it he disagrees with.

He wrote this opinion in the Washington Post on Friday, and no one much noticed or batted an eye at the consequences of what he’s advocating here. Such calls for draconian restrictions on speech are becoming alarmingly regular.

And if more people don’t start speaking out against it, sooner or later we’re actually going to end up in a place where people are being hauled into court for having an opinion that differs from politicians such as Senator Whitehouse.

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