Monday, July 1, 2013

Our Founding Fathers

In this week leading up to the Fourth of July that I wanted to take a few moments and reflect on some of our Founding Fathers.  It is important to keep their memory alive.  These Founding Fathers took great risk to create a country that acknowledged God gives human beings unalienable rights including Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That governments are instituted among men to secure these rights.

We live in a day and age where people are fixated with their rights... be it political or economic rights...  People are quick to declare that they are owed something by someone...  It is almost as if we have become a land of teenagers who wrap themselves in selfishness and reckless abandon of our fellow countrymen.  It is with this understanding that we look back on several of our Founding Fathers who united  behind the common cause of U.S. Independence from Great Britain, and despotism from a monarch who would rather subjugate a people than encourage their development.

Ben Franklin invested a considerable amount of human capital in our struggle for Independence. A self-made man in practically every sense of the word, Franklin showed a continual desire to make the most of his time here on earth.  While every Founding Father brought a high degree of competence and character to Philadelphia that summer in 1776, it was Franklin who became a super-organizer of this event.

Franklin helped gather the best and the brightest minds together.  With each colony present, they forged a master-mind alliance with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. And with it they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

This year marks the 237th anniversary of that great moment in time. It is my hope that we all contribute to that experiment in self-government called America.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

McCarthy v.s. Skilling: Do They Both Deserve Death?

In Huntsville Texas Kimberly Lagayle McCarthy was executed.  She was convicted for the horrific murder of a 71 year old college professor in 1997. The murder was particularly brutal in that McCarth repeatedly stabbed the woman, then used the same butcher knife to cut a wedding ring off her victim's hand.  She was a cocaine addict at the time of the crime.  A re-trial produced the same guilty verdict. McCarthy was on death row for the past 16 years awaiting here rendezvous with destiny.  There is so place in our society for this type of behavior. Her execution was simply justice served.  It is unfortunate that McCarthy chose to live her life under the influence of drugs, and even more devastating that she saw a benefit in taking the life of another human being.  It is hard to make a case why anyone would be opposed to capital punishment in this case.

I would however like readers to look at another story that probably slipped below the radar of most Americans.  Jeffrey Skilling is seeking early release from prison.  This is one of the two scam artists who orchestrated the biggest financial scam in American History.  Enron destroyed billions of investor dollars. Wiped out pension plans of employees. Was responsible for raising energy rates in California to crippling levels. And cost various pension funds billions in irrecoverable funds.  Many pensions where workers now have to work more years, pay more in benefits, and receive less income in retirement. (See how two systems were effected.)  A case can be made that Skilling et. al. had a more devastating and harmful effect on this country than murder... and murder as we know is a death penalty offense!

Kenneth Lay, affectionately known to G.W. Bush as "Kenny Boy" escaped his prison term with an early death.  Many believe that Skilling should have received the same fate.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ron Paul on Afghanistan

What We Have Learned From Afghanistan

Last week the Taliban opened an office in Doha, Qatar with the US government’s blessing. They raised the Taliban flag at the opening ceremony and referred to Afghanistan as the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan"—the name they used when they were in charge before the US attack in 2001.
The US had meant for the Taliban office in Doha to be only a venue for a new round of talks on an end to the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban opening looked very much like a government in exile. The Karzai government was annoyed that the US and the Taliban had scheduled talks without even notifying Kabul. Karzai’s government felt as irrelevant to negotiations on post-war Afghanistan as they soon will be on the ground. It seemed strangely like Paris in 1968, where the US met with North Vietnamese representatives to negotiate a way out of that war, which claimed nearly 60,000 Americans and many times that number of Vietnamese lives.
For years many of us had argued the need to get out of Afghanistan. To end the fighting, the dying, the destruction, the nation-building. To end the foolish fantasy that we were building a Western-style democracy there. We cannot leave, we were told for all those years. If we leave Afghanistan now, the Taliban will come back! Well guess what, after 12 years, trillions of dollars, more than 2,200 Americans killed, and perhaps more than 50,000 dead Afghan civilians and fighters, the Taliban is coming back anyway!
The long US war in Afghanistan never made any sense in the first place. The Taliban did not attack the US on 9/11. The Authorization for the use of force that we passed after the attacks of 9/11 said nothing about a decade-long occupation of Afghanistan. But unfortunately two US presidents have taken it to mean that they could make war anywhere at any time they please. Congress, as usual, did nothing to rein in the president, although several Members tried to repeal the authorization.
Afghanistan brought the Soviet Union to its knees. We learned nothing from it.
We left Iraq after a decade of fighting and the country is in far worse shape than when we attacked in 2003. After trillions of dollars wasted and tens of thousands of lives lost, Iraq is a devastated, desperate, and violent place with a presence of al Qaeda. No one in his right mind speaks of a US victory in Iraq these days. We learned nothing from it.
We are leaving Afghanistan after 12 years with nothing to show for it but trillions of dollars wasted and thousands of lives lost. Afghanistan is a devastated country with a weak, puppet government—and now we negotiate with those very people we fought for those 12 years, who are preparing to return to power! Still we learn nothing.
Instead of learning from these disasters brought about by the interventionists and their failed foreign policy, the president is now telling us that we have to go into Syria!
US Army Col. Harry Summers told a story about a meeting he had with a North Vietnamese colonel named Tu while he visiting Hanoi in 1975. At the meeting, Col. Summers told Tu, "You know, you never defeated us on the battlefield." Tu paused for a moment, then replied, "That may be so. But it is also irrelevant."
Sadly, that is the story of our foreign policy. We have attacked at least five countries since 9/11. We have launched drones against many more. We have deposed several dictators and destroyed several foreign armies. But, looking around at what has been achieved, it is clear: it is all irrelevant.

Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.