Bachmann: “People are worried about… the rise of the Soviet Union”

Apparently Michelle Bachmann thinks it is currently 1947 or so, rather than 2011, as she outright said the quote in the title in an interview with the American Center for Law and Justice’s Jay Sekulow yesterday.

Here is the relevant 40 second or so clip from the 30 minute show, with Jay’s question and Bachmann’s response:

Michelle Bachmann: People are worried about… the rise of the Soviet Union

What I find interesting about this is that a) the Soviet Union died roughly 2 decades ago, before I was even out of elementary school. Bachmann was an adult by then and probably celebrated this event along with pretty much every other American of the era. In other words, it isn’t exactly unknown – nor should it be, for someone vying for the number 1 foreign policy job in the entire Nation.

But even more interesting is the absolute, utter SILENCE from “conservatives”. You know, the same people who gave one Barack Obama such hell about 4 years ago or so when he said that the US had 57 states.

Call me crazy, but I think knowing who our enemies are – or even could be – is a bit more important than ANY other issue. You cannot successfully defend our nation from “all enemies, foreign and domestic” if you have no clue that some of them only exists in your (clearly vivid) imagination these days.

‘Obama must go’

Particularly over night, with news of S&P downgrading the US debt, I’ve heard quite a few Republicans chanting “Obama must go”, including Georgia’s State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock).

This is a quick reply I just left on Senator Rogers’ FB wall:

Mr. Senator, Who would you replace him with? A Republican? Remember: It was Reagan and Bush I, and then again Bush II, who each DOUBLED the national debt. Obama has only raised it 50%. In the current debate, Democrats want to keep spending like there is no tomorrow – and so do Republicans, by not putting forth a plan with significant cuts to DEFENSE, Medicaid, and Medicare. As you are well aware, in Georgia, Education makes up ~ 56% of the budget and Transportation and Corrections combine for roughly 25% more. In Georgia, as you yourself saw in the last couple of years, you CANNOT make significant cuts without raising taxes unless you are willing to cut those three departments in some genuinely significant manner. At the Federal level, those three departments are Defense, Medicare, and Medicaid. Like in Georgia, Democrats AND Republicans at the Federal level have gotten us into this mess – and refuse to do the politically unpopular thing of getting us out of it. In Georgia, we propose eliminating the Department of Education altogether, and allowing genuine local control of education – thus returning several BILLION dollars to the locals and to the taxpayers, where it belongs. At the National level, we propose doing something that is gaining favor more and more even in Republican circles: Bring the troops HOME, and have a *genuine* Department of DEFENSE. As always, Senator, I thank you for your time and for at least acting like you’re listening to our points.

Indeed, take a gander at this report from CATO. Notice where the bulk of the increases happen? Hint: During the first red period (Reagan and Bush 1), the debt DOUBLED. ie, it increased by 100% or more. During the first prolonged blue period (Clinton) it was relatively stable, then during the second red period (Bush 2), the debt DOUBLED again. Bush 2 took 8 years to do what his dad and his dad’s boss had done in 12. Obama is simply following the lead of Reagan and the Bushes, and following GWB’s example of shaving a term off of the time needed to double the debt.

This is not at all to excuse Obama – he genuinely needs to go. But who to replace him with? Someone who history shows is JUST as likely, if not MORE likely, than he to FURTHER increase spending?

Or someone committed to slashing spending to where we can BEGIN to actually pay on the principal of this staggering $15T in debt?

Currently, there is ONE Presidential Candidate running on just such a platform: Gary Johnson.

A Short Post, and the Foundation of My Entire Philosophy

This just came from a discussion on Facebook, but is a very succinct statement of the entire way I look at both God and Government, as well as their interaction:

Question: What is God’s Greatest Gift to mankind?

Answer (from other participant in convo): “God gave us free will.”

Response: You said it PRECISELY: “God gave us free will.”. And just as importantly: He NEVER infringes on that free will. Indeed, it is not God who condemns us to Hell, but our exercise of that Greatest Gift. Now then, since God gave us this Greatest Gift, that DIRECTLY resulted in the necessity of the Ultimate Gift of Jesus Christ and his brutal execution in propitiation of our sins, HOW DARE Republicans and Democrats try to use the force of Government to infringe on this Greatest Gift and thus make a MOCKERY of the Ultimate Gift???”

My Response to Dustin Townsend re: Ron Paul vs Gary Johnson

Dustin Townsend is a guy I consider a friend. We’re both officers in the Libertarian Party of Georgia, and Dustin works just as hard as I do to promote our cause. That said, as another friend of mine, Jason Pye, knows all too well, I do disagree with my friends occasionally, and typically it results in a public conversation.

This one is no exception.

Dustin just put up a post on his blog titled “Rant: Fellow Libertarians Not Supporting Ron Paul?!“, which I encourage you to take a second to go read.

As pretty much everyone should know, I myself am a strong supporter of Gary Johnson. Honestly, outside of Johnson I will more than likely wind up voting for the LP candidate simply because they are not the Democrat or Republican, if for no other reason. (I’ll wait until the results of next year’s Nominating Convention in Las Vegas – which I hope to attend – before I commit to voting for the LP candidate because they are a good candidate.)

As many people also know, Ron Paul was one of my primary driving factors in becoming a Libertarian in 2008. I had already been disillusioned with the GOP, but I saw Ron Paul as a breath of (desperately needed) fresh air. When I saw how the GOP treated him, and when I saw my former Congressman Bob Barr get the LP nomination, I became an official member of the Libertarian Party within days of the 2008 election.

So I really like Ron Paul. I really, really do. If nothing else, I owe him a debt of gratitude for helping finally direct me to my political home.

With that said, there is a FAR superior liberty-oriented GOP candidate this year in former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson.

and thus, the segue into my response to Dustin, which originally appeared as a comment on his blog (so if you followed the link, you’ve already seen it):

The problem with Ron Paul is simple: he doesn’t walk his talk. YES, he is by FAR better than any Republican running OTHER than Gary Johnson. But when compared to Johnson, Paul fails MISERABLY.

Ron Paul TALKS about limiting Federal spending – and then ranks near the top of the pile in amount received via earmarks.

Ron Paul TALKS about free trade – and then wants to arbitrarily limit the movement of labor, which is the foundation of trade.

Ron Paul TALKS about being free to make our own medical decisions – and then says States have the right to limit them.

If he were the only liberty-oriented candidate running, as he was in 2008, I would be behind him under the “80% friend is not 100% enemy” rule. Unfortunately for him, he is NOT the only liberty-oriented candidate running for President this year, and the other one is VASTLY superior in terms of WALKING his TALK.

Governor Johnson TALKS about limited Government – and as Governor, VETOED more bills than *EVERY OTHER GOVERNOR OF HIS ERA COMBINED*.

Governor Johnson TALKS about free trade – and as a 2 term Governor of a Border State with a 55% Hispanic population, he has learned first hand the benefits of WALKING that talk.

Governor Johnson TALKS about being able to make our own decisions in life – and then WALKS that talk by being the only Presidential candidate to admit that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.

If this were 2008, Ron Paul would have my support. Unfortunately, it is 2012 and there is a FAR superior candidate – Gary Johnson.

Our Social Studies Teachers Have Failed Us

Social Studies teachers have failed America, and parents by and large have done nothing to stop this atrocity.

We all know these famous words:

IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The problem is that not so many of us are as familiar with the rest of that second paragraph beyond the first sentence, where the entire case for independence from Great Britain, rather than simple autonomy within the nation, is laid out. First, we have the philosophical reasons, which are the most remarkable – and revolutionary part of the document:

— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

But perhaps Social Studies teachers have failed us even moreso than simply not teaching our kids those extra few lines. Because as revolutionary as they are, as absolutely imperative as they are, they only lay out the “ivory tower” reasons for independence. They say “this is in general why the current system of government is wrong”.

The next part goes in to say in particular why the current government is wrong:

— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Note that of the 27 or so particular reasons that the government of King George was wrong, and so wrong that the valid philosophical reasons should be invoked in the real world at the cost of blood and fortune to the very men crafting this document and thousands of their friends, families, and countrymen, I can count at LEAST 12 *DIRECT* parallels to actions of the US Government in the course of my lifetime, and possibly as many as a dozen and a half.

But the document goes on, noting the numerous attempts made to resolve the conflict peacefully and without outright separation – something the Founding Fathers clearly saw as imperative before the “ivory tower” philosophical reasons to absolve government were invoked. Finally, it notes that since EVERYTHING ELSE has been tried, they have to admit reality: there is no other option but war, but as soon as the war is won, friendship should once again reign supreme:

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

And finally, the coup de grace, the statement that marks each of these men traitors to the country they have been a part of – and Founding Fathers and Patriots to the country they are now founding:

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

Outside of the New Testament, this is the single most radical, most revolutionary document in history.

Yet our Social Studies teachers have failed us in not teaching us every aspect of it, and forcing it to memory as much as the opening two sentences.

Maybe if they had not failed us, maybe if our parents had not failed us in doing the same, MAYBE we would not be at a point where more and more, the specific reasons for separating from King George were becoming specific reasons that men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine, John Adams, and the rest would also separate themselves from the current government of the very nation they founded.

Obama On Israel

Yesterday, “conservatives”, fanned by Faux News and Mr. RomneyCare himself (with several others) began pitching a fit that President Obama was “turning his back on Israel” (one of the gentler phrases I heard repeated quite a bit).

Here’s the problem: He didn’t. Yet again, conservatives LIE to push their own agenda, and in Faux News’ case, to increase their ratings.

Here, via the LA Times, is the section of BHO’s Mideast Speech yesterday that deals specifically with Israel and Palestine. Other than the fact that he repeatedly pledges American assistance – to BOTH groups – it is actually a reasonable approach, one centered on trying to at least get a truce in a 6,000 year old war that truly won’t be settled until Christ returns. (With various emphases added by me)

For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could be blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost to the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security and prosperity and empowerment to ordinary people.

For over two years, my administration has worked with the parties and the international community to end this conflict, building on decades of work by previous administrations. Yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now.

I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. That’s certainly true for the two parties involved.

For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.

As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it’s important that we tell the truth: The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.

The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people -– not just one or two leaders — must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.

Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them — not by the United States; not by anybody else. But endless delay won’t make the problem go away. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows — a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition and peace.

So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states. The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.

As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -– by itself -– against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.

These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees.

But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.

Now, let me say this: Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel:

How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.

I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. That father said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” We see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate. Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow.”

The GOP reaction of the past 24 hrs or so does NOT move us forward – it is hard to go backward in this case, and I do not believe the GOP reaction does that, it simply makes it that much harder to move FORWARD, and FORWARD in this particular case is towards a lasting peace that should be the goal of ALL nations.

To the rabidly “pro” Israel crowd, (I would actually say they are very much “anti” in their actual positions, based on their words and actions), I point out that Obama specifically left a MASSIVE concession to Israel in there: that a Palestinian State would not have a military to defend itself with. Were I a Palestinian, that would be one of the first things I would take OFF the table – but it would not preclude me from going to the table to begin with.

How would the US like it if someone told US we had to give up our entire ability to defend ourselves??

But as you can see above, what ACTUALLY happened and what the conservatives said happened was, as is FAR too often the case, EXTREMELY different from each other, and is yet another reason why conservatives should NEVER be trusted without triple checking them, and then triple checking them again.