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Archive for the ‘Issues’ Category

Here’s another look into the struggle between President Obama on one side and General Petreaus and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the other on whether or not to remove U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months. General Jack Keane said recently on NewsHour (see video below) that “no one wants to squander those gains [we have made in Iraq].” He is implying, of course, that anyone [named Obama] who precipitously withdraws the troops would be making a foolish mistake.

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter counters that argument by giving all of the credit for the stability in Iraq to Iran and making a wild claim that senior leadership in the U.S. military is engaging in a “false narrative” by claiming that they had anything to do with it. Of course, in using that kind of fantastic logic, it would follow that 1) Iraq’s stability would not be undermined by an early troop withdrawal, and 2) that Iran, not the U.S., are the good guys in Iraq.

Interestingly, Porter made the same argument to President Nixon 40 years ago by proposing that the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam would not cause a bloodbath. He was wrong then and he will be wrong again.

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said today that the U.S. economic downturn is much worse than political leaders admit and predicted the recovery will take three to five years.

The financial meltdown points to “a much more profound problem than people think” as American industries and education have lost ground to China and India, Gingrich said.

The former Georgia lawmaker told a reporters’ breakfast that the one upside to the crisis is that it might prod reform.

“This is frightening enough that you could have a genuine national conversation about fundamental change,” he said.

Source. If I’ve learned one thing following the GOP, it’s that we should answer any mention of “China,” “India,” “reform” or “national conversation” with one hand on our wallets and the other hand on the Constitution. It boggles the mind to imagine the sort of “fundamental change” Gingrich might be calling for. His comments were just vague enough to be frightening.

The article goes on to describe Gingrich’s evolving view of Sarah Palin, hence the category.

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Newt Gingrich did not, as the title of this article suggests, attack Obama for caring too much about civil liberties.  Here’s what Gingrich said:

“I think people have a good reason to be worried about the overall tenor of the way they’re trying to move back to ‘civil liberties matter more than protecting America.'”

What he means is that coddling America’s enemies by giving them the same rights that Americans are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights impedes our government’s efforts to protect its people. I understood that. The issue has been debated so often that he took the liberty of using some verbal shorthand. Perhaps if he had spelled it out for the presumptuous, that “protecting the civil liberties of our enemies matters more to the Obama administration than protecting Americans,” he might not have been characterized as a fascist.

Of course, that would have made no difference to the multitudes of Americans who paradoxically believe that America’s enemies deserve to be protected by our constitution, no matter that our government’s ability to protect its citizens would be (and perhaps now is) greatly diminished by doing so. We certainly live in strange times when people care more about protecting their enemies than protecting themselves.

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I’ve been anticipating this one. Has a civil war begun within the GOP?  The first skirmish is being fought over the issue of immigration. I anticipate more firefights to erupt in the coming months over other issues, too.

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Money quote:

There is a lot of stimulus and growth in this bill – that is, of government. Nothing in this bill stimulates the freedom and prosperity of the American people. Politician-directed spending is never as successful as market-driven investment. Instead of passing this bill, Congress should get out of the way by cutting taxes, cutting spending, and reining in the reckless monetary policy of the Federal Reserve.

Read it all here. I disregarded Ron Paul during his 2008 presidential bid, because for the first time in decades a libertarian had a microphone … and the American people were listening. Yet he squandered his time (“squandered,” or so I thought) talking about closing down the Federal Reserve. Closing down the Department of Education. Closing down the Department of Energy. If anyone does, a then 10-term Republican representative knows the value of principled baby steps.

But as it turns out, the Federal Reserve has arranged for our worst recession in decades.  Inverted interest rates have led us from one asset bubble to the next for nine years now.  No Child Left Behind is its own punch line.  Oh, and, by the way?  How is that Department of Energy treating you now?  Revolutionary monetary policy, far-reaching shift in government operations are starting to smell pretty good right now.

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As Fred points out in this post, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (a conservative Republican) is vying to supplant Kaleefornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (a less-conservative Republican) as the nation’s symbolic green governor. I don’t see it as triangulation. I see it as an essential component for both winning the Republican nomination and taking on Barry “Killing Babies Is Just As Important As Not Killing Trees” Obama in the 2012 General Election:

How To Run For President In 2012: Rule #1 – Reclaim what is rightfully ours. Conservatism and Conservation are from the same etymological family tree, so let us be conservative about the environment.

By the way: Arnold is grappling with figuring out how to convert 2786.6 Trillion BTU’s (8,359.8 ÷ 3) to renewable energy sources by 2020. Sarah has to convert 399.6 Trillion BTU’s (799.2 ÷ 3) to green energy sources by 2025. Sarah’s piece of the pie is 14% of Arnold’s share. If they both succeed, then Arnold, who has a much more monumental task than Sarah, should get the Green ribbon. Af course Rick Perry (a conservative Republican) might have a say in the matter. He needs to convert just 25% of Texas energy usage to environmentally-friendy sources in order to surpass Arnold’s goal (11,558.30 Trillion BTU’s ÷ 4 = 2889.575 Trillion BTU’s).

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Or is this satire? Mind you, this comes from the not-unconservative GOP governor of Alaska:

Last week, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin called a news conference to announce “a future where, ideally, 50% of Alaska’s electricity is generated from renewable resources by 2025.”

[…]

Palin’s 50% goal one-ups California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who touts himself as the nation’s green governor: Two months ago, he signed an executive order requiring 33% of Golden State electricity to be generated from renewable sources by 2020. President-elect Barack Obama, whose home state of Illinois is a major coal producer, has called for 25% renewable energy use nationwide by 2025.

Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age.

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