Benghazi and the coming aftermath

Benghazi was the result of a tragically-failed foreign policy of meddling in foreign affairs, and this was done at the behest of HRC, no matter what lies the “progressive” Left tries to perpetuate. Clinton as SoS supported the undermining of the Ghadaffi government in Libya. Ghadaffi was not a threat to Western powers, nor was he likely to engage militarily with his neighbors. He was, in the words of the Democrats, “contained.” Now remember: the Democrats are big proponents of keeping rogue leaders “contained.” And it is not a bad policy, either.

So here is Ghadaffi, an anti-Western leader who nevertheless rescinded all claims to nuclear ambitions and even shipped nuclear hardware out of his country under the watchful eyes of the French. He did this as a result of pressure put upon him primarily by the US, and after he saw what happened to Iraq. He did this with the expectation that we would then “leave him alone,” mainly because that is what we led him to believe. And that was a good policy, too.

So along comes HRC. She looked at this leader who did what we wanted him to do, who willingly gave up him WMD as we wanted him to do, who ceased the large scale exportation of terrorism as we wanted him to do – and then she still supported the overthrow of his government.

So the next time we go to an anti-Western foreign leader – of which there are many – and tell them “hey, if you stop harassing Western interests and agree to WMD disarmament, we will not interfere with you,” do you really think they are going to believe us? Would you?

Paradigm Shift

Our Founders were intellectuals, a result of the Age of Reason and Age of Enlightenment. They believed in ideals such as virtue, natural rights, etc., and held that people were, by true and inherent nature, free. The question for them – as well as us today – was “why do free people need a government?” The answer to that question is of course rooted in human nature and the proven fact that free will does not always result in choosing a life of virtue: all too often the strong tend to restrict the rights of the weak. Still, the Founders (and all free-thinking individuals) believed that a life lived freely – despite its inherent dangers – was far preferable to that of a life lived as a subject of an all-powerful Government, regardless of how benevolent that government may be.

Today, the “progressive” Left has orchestrated a paradigm shift. The question now – at least to them – is not “why do free people need a government,” but rather “why does a Government need free people?” Whereas the first question leads to intellectual study spanning pretty much the entire recorded history of humans, and is the basis for the formation of our republic, the latter question is more or less rhetorical, sort of along the lines of “why does anybody NEED a gun??” It is no mistake that the “progressive” Left is obsessed with talking about “rights” as if they were “needs,” for while the Government MAY provide (at whim) for its citizen-subject’s “needs,” no government has the power to GRANT rights that are already ours by endowment. More importantly, no Government may take those rights from us. Those rights are ours by a matter of birth, and no government may justifiably strip us of such rights except by due process. Our government, in the form of a republic of the people, by the people, and for the people, exists to protect these rights from other people, other governments, and (especially lately) even our own government. Such concepts are an anathema to today’s members of the “progressive” Left. To them, the people exist for the State, and although they may call their ideas “liberal,” we all know them by a different name: Tyranny.

Obama’s Dreams are America’s Nightmare

Obama seems not only bent on destroying US interests abroad, but is also insidiously trying to destroy all US institutions domestically. For example, there is a push to allow illegal immigrants to join the US military and, according to at least one report, US citizens are being denied in order to make room for them. Obama is using the “Dreamers” to form a “Dream Army”. Why would he do this? Well, the US military has historically and traditionally been staunchly Republican in its voting tendencies. The Dreamers will vote Democrat, as will their children; this is a tactical move to influence a voting block, reminiscent of other actions such as the attempt to turn Texas into a blue state. Democrat Leftists simply cannot stand it when somebody thinks differently than them – ironic, since they claim to promote diversity.

Carry this thought further: who do you think will be the ones the government will use to control the citizens during a nationwide crisis (like Ebola, if we don’t quickly get a handle on that)? Martial law could be declared, and the military of course used to enforce it. Organizations such as the Oathkeepers have pledged not to follow such orders, but they are generally populated by people who consider themselves “Americans”, and they feel their duty is to the Constitution and American citizens. Do you think the “Dream Army” will have the same fidelity, or might they view US citizens as their opposition?

Look up “FEMA detention centers”, ostensibly to be used to keep people in a single, “safe” location during times of unrest. A lot of the commentary on them is pretty alarmist (at least I pray it is), but as is often the case, there is always an element of truth. And I have one question about the construction of these sites: why, at the top of the chain link fence surrounding the compound, is the barbed wire angled inwards? If you’re trying to keep people safe, shouldn’t it be angled outwards to keep potential dangers from gaining access over the top of the fence? It seems to me that if it is angled inwards, then its purpose it to keep the people that are inside from getting out, not to keep people on the outside from getting in.

An Impending Iceberg for the USS Obamacare?

A recent Gallup poll – confirmed by an Industry Health Exchanges report – of 20,000 people exposes some significant and troubling facts about the ACA.  (Note that the ACA was recently instated, so this poll shows possible initial trends rather than established behavior.  Still, it looks pretty grim.)

Of the ACA enrollees, less than 40% described themselves as being in good/excellent health, compared to the roughly 50% of the general population.  It can be reasonably expected that these people will contribute significantly to a net flow of funds out of the system. That is what healthcare is for, after all:  to treat illnesses and promote health.

A bit over 40% of ACA enrollees reported less than $24,000 yearly income.  These people will likely need tax credits in order to pay for their policies, and the high premiums of the ACA plans are certain to cause an economic burden on them.  This is a very important point:  these are not the droves of young, healthy individuals that are necessary te ensure the success of the ACA.

Also disturbing:  according to reports from Express Scripts and Prime Therapeutics, the ACA enrollees seem to be consuming a disproportionate amount of “specialty drugs” (which are typically very high cost) than the general populace, and have applied for about twice as many 90-day prescriptions as non-ACA members.  Now this is all new data on a new plan with new members:  a lot of this may be due to people simply taking advantage of a new opportunity.  Still, this is a lot of money flowing out, and not a lot flowing in – not a good sign for the long-term success of the ACA.

And from the Gallup poll:  only a relatively small percentage did not previously have coverage.  This supports an earlier RAND report that was criticized for having too small of a data set.  These findings are in line with the recently released CBO report, which in effect predicted that by the year 2024, there will be roughly the same number of uninsured Americans as there were before the inception of the ACA.  (This report was recently amended, and the numbers aren’t as bad as the initial findings, but they’re still really, really bad.  Sort of like, the ship is sinking, but not as fast as originally thought.)

Not reported by Gallup was the number of people who lost insurance due to the ACA.

So the ACA needs the enrollment of a large number of healthy individuals of some financial means, people whose premiums can fund those who need to use the services.  This doesn’t seem to be happening and, unless a new course is charted, is not likely to change.  Although this administration recently touted the success of 7.5 million enrollees (of the 30 million or so of uninsured citizens), it certainly doesn’t look like the ACA will be sustainable unless severe changes to the plan are implemented.  And all this after trillions (trillions???) of dollars have been spent.

Insuring the uninsured and needy is not a new concept.  Even Nixon said something to the effect of “Well, then let’s just buy them insurance!”  Easy said, but where’s the money going to come from?  The exorbitant sums consumed by the Obama administration for that purported end certainly hasn’t seemed to help much, and the long-term prospects look worse.  Nor is providing the insurance to the needy solely a project of “magnanimous Liberals”, no matter what the mainstream media would like you to believe.  Plenty of Republican-proposed bills have been proposed, of which HR 3121 is only one example.  Democrat have proposed other plans as well.  None are perfect, none have simple solutions, and not one of them will be cheap.  But they should all be reexamined in light of the recent findings regarding the ACA.  That ship is sinking:   simply convincing the orchestra to keep playing might make the out-of-touch, self-proclaimed “progressives” who have hijacked the Democratic party feel good, but it’s looking like it’s going to be a long, cold descent to an all-but-certain fate.  The problem is that it just might drag the rest of us down with it.

 

Conscience

True conscience is at the heart of the difference between those who value freedom and all the out-of-touch, self-proclaimed “progressives” making up the rank and file of those who have hijacked the Democratic Party.

The Founders of this country were not gods, nor demigods bereft of the failings of man, but they absolutely were people of conscience. Some found their conscience through religion, some through the exercise of Reason in the Age of Enlightenment, some as a result of their own struggles against their own and others’ moral failings; most as a combination of all of the above. The Left likes to dismiss them as “a bunch of farmers”, or “old men operating in secret behind closed doors.” This they were, but they were much more, and by refusing to dismiss them we can see what they envisioned us to become, both as individuals and a society as a whole. For they were Heroes in every sense of the word: heroes who had to face great adversity, not only in others but in themselves. And through all their struggles, it was their conscience that led the way.

You can see how the Left is lacking in true conscience in the book “The American Soul”, where Jacob Needleman describes the role of conscience: “We need to consider how many of the great ethical and spiritual reformers of the world found their conscience when caught by and within the very milieu which they themselves rose up to challenge. The force of true moral vision always arises from the depths of conscience – the real conscience, not the socially conditioned superego that reflects mainly the moralisms of the society and compels behavior largely through fear and guilt. . . . The search for truth, as well as the possibility of living in a society that provides the freedom and welfare necessary to live the life of ordinary men and women – this whole of human life, comprising both the material and the spiritual needs of man, requires the creation of a community of conscience; requires the order, the structure of a community from within which can be generated the ideals, the knowledge and, above all, the new men and women who can bring light to the whole of society.”

The Left wants a static society where the Government rules, where the people exist to serve; in return the Government will dole out the fruits of labor as it sees fit. Through “fear and guilt” the Government will ensure that everything is kept “fair”. The Founders envisioned something very different, a society where individuals could evolve and become better people, and raise society up as a result. That is why they envisioned a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”: a government whose role is not to control the people but rather to protect the endowed rights of the people, so that the people will continue to have the freedoms necessary to realize this evolution. This is the “community of conscience” that Needleman wrote of. Conscience and spirituality (and not just religious spirituality) are a hindrance to the Left’s goal, but they are absolutely imperative to the success of the Founders’ vision.

“But wait,” you may say, “aren’t progressives looking out for the little guy?  For example, they want to raise the minimum wage!”  Which they do, and I am all for raising the unfortunate out of poverty.  But less than 5% of the labor force in the US earns minimum wage, and half of them get a raise within a year.  Also, about half are part-time workers such as students, and not the principle wage earners of a household.  So while they may act like they are looking out for the little guy, it is really an empty gesture that will have little to no real benefit.  While such an act may ease their “conscience”, such an act does not make them people of conscience.

Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!”, a Trojan Horse in Obama’s City of Hope and Change

238 years ago Patrick Henry gave one of the most influential and moving speeches ever, the overriding sentiment being perfectly summed up in his final statement:  “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Reading through the short speech (which is actually a reconstruction, since nobody transcribed it when Patrick Henry spoke before the Second Virginia Convention on that day in March, 1775), I was stuck by how relevant it is today.  The possibility of armed conflict with our Dear Leader really isn’t the issue, but we still stand to lose as much as did those who forged the stage on which we stand today.  The Far Left Progressives, since they “know what is good for us,” are willing to deny us any and all of our endowed rights that empower us as free-thinking individuals.  To them, the Constitution is merely a pesky scrap of antiquated paper; those who forged it, simply old men operating in secret behind closed doors.

Today we are increasingly exposed to the lies and deceptions of the Obama administration:  Bengazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS and NSA scandals, and, of course, Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act.  In 2010 NBC published a news article that stated the Obamacare officials knew back then that somewhere between 44% and 66% of citizens would not be able to keep the healthcare plan in which they were currently enrolled.  So much for “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.  Period.”

Free people choose their destinies, or at least choose the destiny they wish to pursue, although they may not reach it.  Come what may, we must be allowed to pursue our lives, for that is the only way humanity will evolve as a society.   Liberty is at the heart of what we all hold dear; as Patrick Henry stated, it is more precious than life itself:  ” Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God!”

The following excerpt is especially poignant.  The “president” was the president of the Second Virginia Convention, but I was struck by how you can direct it to our Dear Leader as he sings the siren’s song of “hope and change” he hopes will enchant us to throw off the chains of liberty and make us good little obedient subjects:

“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?”

And later:

“There is no longer any room for hope.”

And this especially, one sentence only, but a sentence that we should all heed, as more and more of Obama’s promises of “hope and change” are found to be much more insidious than we once believed:

“I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.”

When in the entire course of all of human history has a government reigned justly over a defenseless and silenced populace, over one which the government “knows better”?  When has an all-powerful government never treated all its citizens as potential criminals and enemies of the state?  When the right to speak out has not been silenced, the right of self-defense not been prohibited, and the subjects not been subjugated to some sort of expansive Big Brother spying, and eventual search and seizure?  Without too much imagination, one can easily see how Obama’s scandals might be sending us down that path.  If we are not vigilant, we may find ourselves in a position in which:

“Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.”

Patrick Henry gave us a choice:

“Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?”

Or we can hold fast to our liberties, our Constitution and the representative government which it promises, and all the endowed rights and means by which our freedom and our children’s freedom protects liberty, for “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave”, and “. . . we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power.”

And again, probable the best ending ever:”

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

“You still have your health (and Obamacare is watching)”

The Founders envisioned the government of the United States to be run by “self-governing” individuals, people whose morals and conscience would enable them to consciously embrace certain principles and ideals, and whose intelligence and experience would allow them to apply their skills in new and varied situations.  They believed that morals and conscience allowed an individual to at least partially “know” natural law, or the divine order of the cosmos.  This was a popular theme during the Age of Enlightenment, and one that was the subject of many writers, including Thomas Paine who went all the way back to the ideas of Cicero when writing of this subject.  They believed that a person of conscience was compelled to follow the natural law, thus promoting the pursuit of all that is good and harmonious.

In other words, a person was ideally not to be commanded to do good by anyone – not another individual, certainly not a government, and really not even a divine being – but rather the impetus to do good would come from within, from their conscience.  (Anthony Burgess in A Clockwork Orange wrote: “Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness?”.)  An individual’s conscience, in turn, came from the use of reason when examining the needs of individuals and society, which promoted moral behavior, leading to a better society, which in turn would lead to an enhanced conscience, and so on and so forth.   A person of conscience would become a self-governing individual, and self-governing individuals would organize into a self-governing society.  As society tended to become more “perfect”, the need for government would lessen, as there would be increasingly fewer occasions for government to exercise civil and legal powers to protect individual rights.

“You still have your health” is often used when someone has lost financially, or some other misfortune has befallen them, the idea of course being that health is life, and life is precious, and a healthy, competent individual has a good chance to get back on his or her feet again.  In truth, our corporeal bodies might be the only physical thing we truly own.  Physical objects we may possess, and have a legal right to (at least, subject to the whims of our government), but we only truly own those things when they are in our control.  Cars can be stolen, bank accounts can be compromised, etc., but our bodies and our health are uniquely our own.  This might be at the root of the aversion many feel at the thought of Obamacare:  that an impersonal, overreaching governmental behemoth may suddenly have access to us at a very personal level.  A government that was envisioned to be formed of individuals of conscience, that was entrusted with the responsibility to protect the rights of its citizens, now assuming powers that it was never imagined to possess.  This is not on the road to the self-governing society that Paine envisioned.  Will we still have our health if the government becomes a controlling force in healthcare?  Or will the government “have” our health?  Will they be the ones truly in control of our physical selves?  Given the failures of the recent administrations when attempting to undertake tasks of much smaller scale, I feel there is plenty to be worried about.

Down south there is another term:  “You still have your religion.”  When you’ve lost everything, and your health is failing, that term is used.  If you still have faith and hope, you at least have faith and hope, if nothing else.  “Losing your religion” truly means to lose everything, including your faith.  I wonder how many of us will lose faith in our government within the next three years, as direct or indirect result of Obamacare.

Is this a story we will be telling our grandchildren?

It was actually quite easy:  by promising us freedoms in the form of “freedom from” – freedom from want, from crime, from social injustices and inequalities, all those human ills against which every free society struggles – the government was able to deny its citizens the traditional American values of “freedom to”.

They started small.  They could have started with any of the Ten Amendments, but they chose the Second because that seemed to make the most sense at the time.  After all, criminals use guns, so take away firearms and crime will stop.

After all, they told us, you don’t need firearms for self-defense.  We can watch with drones, we can collect and monitor phone records and other forms of electronic communication, we can use our bureaucratic tax structure and institutions to control those sections of government and society alike who don’t think like we do.  Crime will be an ill of other nations, and if a few of our diplomats get killed in those far-off lands, what difference does it make?  We are trying to make sure our society doesn’t end up like theirs.

Just like the Founders (those “old men operating in secret behind closed doors”) could not have imagined modern firearm technology (untrue), they also couldn’t possibly have envisioned the effects of modern communication and monitoring technology (if they had, the Bill of Rights would have been longer and more robust).  It’s obvious, they told us, that the Second Amendment is no longer needed.  It’s antiquated, obsolete, and the government can provide for your self-defense.  And if the government gets out of line, we have the First Amendment to redress any grievances.  They assured us that we would always have the First.

So when the increased government presence was found to be ineffective at relieving citizens of their burdens, that crime continued to increase and social injustices continued to prevail – as is inevitable when one addresses the symptoms and not the true causes –the response was a further increase of governmental power.  The Fourth Amendment, protecting us against a standing army within our borders, was suspended.  Temporarily, of course.  After all, the Fourth prohibited a standing army in a time of peace, and our society wasn’t sufficiently peaceful.

And so it came to be that there was formed a society of frightened, defenseless citizens at the mercy of armed criminals and the armed government forces put in place to protect us and “form a more perfect union.”

And when the inevitable happened, when it became clear that the government was ineffective at solving society’s ills, and that it had become a tremendous burden, that injustices were being carried out by those in power against their subjects – for subjects we had become – we used our First Amendment rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression to redress our grievances against.  We wrote letters to the media, or at least that part of the media that had yet to succumb to government oversight, and we gathered in public spaces in protest.  At times frustrated citizen-subjects turned violent, and government forces were called in to disperse the crowds (mobs, they called them).  Eventually all public assembly was prohibited – again, only temporarily until the officials could get a hold on things.  So we continued to use the remainder of the First to contact the media and our fellow citizen-subjects.  But that just continued to inflame our fellows and anger our government, and since the government had gotten so effective at monitoring our communications, they stopped that behavior, too.  So the citizen-subjects were stripped of the First Amendment, the Second was a distant memory, and the Fourth was suspended indefinitely as a strong armed presence was deemed necessary to keep order in society.

After all, they said, isn’t it the job of government to ensure a perfect, peaceful society?  The Government has to have these powers in order to be able to guarantee “freedom from” all of society’s ills.  Men and women of a society simply cannot be trusted to properly use “freedom to”

And that, children, is how the Government turned its citizens into just that:  children.

see: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/feb/14/knight-when-you-give-liberals-the-oval-office/

The government and the people: who’s in charge here?

Government is the protector of society, and to a large extent exerts its power and authority via punitive measures.  It often behaves in a reactionary fashion to perceived ills and threats.  Past history is full of examples, some unarguably good such as the laws passed to protect equal rights, others that perhaps may have been well-intentioned but have in fact turned out to be catastrophic failures, such as those involved in the current drug war.  An ultimate goal of government is the preservation of society.

In contrast, a free and interactive society is creative, a community in which ideas and issues can be freely discussed and disseminated in a communal process with the ultimate goal being the betterment of society.  It is a lofty, perhaps ultimately unattainable goal, and the path is beset by a variety of problems, some new but many recurring.  A society traveling along this path, however, cannot help but become better due to the journey.  In other words, it is the conscience of society that forms the rules by which society behaves and evolves.

An alternative to this communal process is to have the rules of society imposed by the government.  This latter idea is currently being postulated as the solution to our contemporary problems.  Today’s “progressives” have faith that the government will always be benevolent towards them.  They argue that, with enough rules and safeguards in place, society can keep the government from degenerating into a tyranny.  The problem with this way of thinking is that all governments likely started out this way; history is full of examples where this has failed.

Rules and regulations only reflect what is known.  They are rooted in the experiences of the past.  We cannot know the future, neither the events of the future nor the attitudes and ideals of the people involved.  We can’t predict the unpredictable, and can’t prevent the unpreventable.  Society needs to be dynamic so that it is able to react to unforeseeable circumstances.

A government established under restrictive rules is effective only so long as conditions exist as they have in the past, under which those rules were envisioned and established.  That is, provided events are progressing in a predictable fashion, preparations can be made to prepare for and circumvent bad times, and society will behave accordingly.  The problem is that the unforeseeable is inevitable.

Over time, such a government is in danger of becoming ineffective at providing for its society, as it will be unable to successfully address events and issues facing its people.  It will become irrelevant and, as its citizens increasingly lose faith and the government increasingly loses control, it will turn to tyranny, using the rules against the society who had established those rules.  A society in such a position will have no means of recourse.  It will simply have become a collective victim, as its government feeds off it in order to sustain its now-meaningless existence.

A case in point is Obama’s mounting scandals resulting from his escalating abuses of governmental power, especially those related to the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance activities.  The chief author of the Patriot Act, Wisconsin Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., has recently gone on record stating that the Obama administration is going far beyond what was envisioned when the law was written.  It was never intended to be used in the manner in which the current administration is using it.  It is in fact becoming a violation of civil rights.  The provisions of the Patriot Act, when originally written, had “time limits”, but the Act has been greatly expanded by the current administration.  The current government interpretation that every phone call is relevant to a future terrorist investigation is tantamount to the idea that every current action is relevant to a future crime.  One can’t help but see this as an attempt by the current government to increase its control over its citizens, and that it is doing this as a response to a perceived loss of power.  However, it seems to have somehow forgotten that, in the US, the government never had – or at least never should have had – that power in the first place.  That power resides in the people, in the form of their endowed rights as written in the Constitution.  The government’s role in all this is to protect the people and their rights so that the people do not lose that power.  It is not supposed to usurp that power from the people.