Don't Criminalize Political Differences

August 17th, 2014

Recently I wrote  that talk of impeaching President Obama didn't make sense. Disputes over presidential power should be handeled in the courts. 

Now we see the same thing in Texas. A DA with a long history of indicting prominent Republicans has gone after Rick Perry. They got into a dispute when the DA wouldn't resign after a drunk driving. He withheld funds from the office. Now he is indicted.

Perry is not exactly my cup of tea. However, no American deserves to be treated like this.

Good Guys and Bad Guys

August 11th, 2014

 

The bad guys always wore black hats in old westerns. Even though things might not be so clear in the real world, I think it should be obvious with Israel vs. Hamas. However, a lot of people don’t see it that way.

 

On one is a democracy which looks out for the welfare of its citizens. It gave away land in the hopes of peace. Instead, they have seen thousands of rockets launched at them. On the other side is a terrorist group which captured the territory Israel gave away. It cares nothing for the people. Instead of relieving economic privation, it buys rockets and builds elaborate tunnels. Rockets are often launched from schools and hospitals so the people are human shields. However, when Israel attacked Gaza, much of the world has condemned Israel.

 

In essence, those people are saying Israel does not have a right to defend itself. If that is the case, they are saying it does not have the right to exist and its citizens do not have a right to live.

 

Maybe we should get the black hats out of storage.

 

Nixon, Obama and Impeachment

August 8th, 2014

 

President Nixon announced his resignation forty years ago today. Some on the Right are trying to make the case that what Nixon did pales in comparison to actions taken by President Obama. Recently a talk show host said that Nixon only dreamed of doing what Obama is doing. A columnist today said that the only reason Nixon got in trouble was because he was a Republican.

 

Let’s ignore this revisionist history and look at what really happened. Watergate was a series of scandals unparalleled in American history. Many Nixon appointees went to jail. The key action was the decision by members of his reelection committee to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee. After five men were arrested the scandal slowly began to grow. It heated up following the disclosure that Oval Office conversations were being taped. After a protracted battle, the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to release the tapes. It contained the so-called “smoking gun”. Six days after the break-in, Nixon told his Chief of Staff to have the CIA block the investigation, clearly an obstruction of justice. Republican congressional leaders met with Nixon and told him he would be impeached and convicted. He chose to resign.

 

Now let’s fast forward to today. Although presidents have some discretion, President Obama has repeatedly ignored the law or rewritten it. He even taunted Congress by talking about having a pen and a phone. Republicans are rightfully outraged at this abuse of power. I have often condemned it. However, I don’t believe that he has committed a high crime or misdemeanor. These disputes are best handled in the courts. None of the scandals facing the Administration have been traced to Obama so there are no grounds for impeachment. It is also politically stupid to bring it up since that only helps the Democrats.

Washington should focus on the issues and forget all this impeachment silliness.

A New Look at Fossil Fuels

August 2nd, 2014

 

Despite years of an intense effort to increase the use of “clean energy”, fossil fuels are still the source of over 80% of our energy while renewable energy adds only 10-12%. Most of that is from biofuels and hydroelectric.

 

The plain truth is that fossil fuels will provide the bulk of our energy for decades to come. Many believe that if the government subsidizes “good” energy and punish “bad” energy, utopia will soon arrive. That is a pipe dream.

 

One of the greatest economic and national security stories in recent years is the rapid increase in oil and gas production. We are getting closer to energy independence. This story has not received the attention it should. In a 2012 presidential debate, President Obama took credit for this even though he has really been doing all he can to stop it.

 

Let’s look at a couple of examples of the war on oil and gas. The Keystone pipeline has been held up for years. Even the Obama EPA cleared it. Meanwhile, oil is moving by rail. That is far more dangerous than using a pipeline. If you look at a US, pipeline map, you will be surprised to see how many already exist. The worst pipeline accident pales in comparison to supertanker disasters.

 

Another controversy is fracking. Many opposed to it don’t really know what it is. Water, sand and other materials are pumped down a well at high pressure to create small fractures in the rock. Critics say it will pollute ground water and cause earthquakes. This is done thousands of feet underground, well below groundwater. The ultimate fracking was Project Rulison. A 40 kiloton nuclear weapon was exploded underground in an attempt to find peaceful uses for nuclear weapons. It didn’t set off an earthquake so it seems unlikely a guy and a truck could do so.

 

As an avid birder and nature lover, I believe in protecting the environment. We should strive to become energy independent with minimal risk. Those opposed to oil and gas demand a standard of no risk which is, of course, impossible. Meanwhile they have no problem with windmills killing hundreds of thousands of birds each year.

 

Another Explanation?

July 29th, 2014

 

It’s hard to remember when the world faced so many crises at the same time. Russia is increasing its pressure on Ukraine. Israel is battling Palestinians. Almost every country in the Middle East is in trouble. Libya and other African countries are involved in armed conflicts. China is making its neighbors very nervous.

 

Meanwhile President Obama is doing very little. He seems more focused on political fundraisers. The last time he took a firm stand was when he declared a red line in Syria. We all know how that ended. The world knows that his threats are hollow.

 

Obama is not a stupid man. So, why is he so ineffective in foreign affairs? The most likely answer is his lack of experience. He certainly didn’t learn foreign policy while being a community organizer, lawyer and state legislator. He was a US Senator for only 2 years before he began his presidential campaign.

 

I have an alternate theory. Before giving it, let me present some background. For years he sat in a pew while Jeremiah Wright condemned the US. Shortly after her husband was inaugurated, Michelle Obama said she was “finally proud of America”. Meanwhile he was going around the world pointing out America’s flaws in what derisively was called an “apology tour”.

 

So what am I getting at? I think it is possible that this is a deliberate plan. Looking into his background, he may believe that America is a country that enslaved black people, decimated red people and goes around the world killing brown people. It is possible that he may view the lessening of American power to be a good thing.

 

Like any country, we have made our share of mistakes. However, no other major power has ever had a foreign policy based on self-interest and human rights. Let’s hope that the mighty American eagle doesn’t become a whimpering sparrow.