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Friday, June 25, 2010

No Action on the Jones Act

No Action on the Jones Act

Recently I read an editorial about the Jones Act in the Wall Street Journal, which explained that the Jones Act of 1920 (actually the Merchant Marine Act named after Washington State Senator, Wesley L. Jones), “…requires ships working in U.S. waters to be built, operated and owned by Americans.”  Apparently the original rationale for the Jones Act, put forward by Senator Jones and his cohorts, was bad working conditions onboard ships.  In reality, it was a protectionist law pushed by Harry Bridges’ far left International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union (ILWU)to artificially force up wages and indirectly the cost of consumer goods.

Bridges, a radical union leader who immigrated to the United States from Australia, split off from the anti-communist International Longshoremen's Association and formed the ILWU in 1937.  While still an alien he was arrested and a deportation hearing was held.  Joseph Ryan, East Coast International Longshoremen's Association’s leader, called Bridges and his lieutenant, Louis Goldblatt, “puppets of the international communist conspiracy.”  When he was accused of being a Communist, he replied, “I neither affirm nor deny that I am a Communist.”  Lending credibility to the charge that Bridges was a Communist was the fact that he did not hesitate to accept aid from the Communist Party.  Regardless, similar to many of the top union leaders today, he was from a definite Marxist bent.

Senator Jones, a liberal Republican, likely operated at the behest of the Longshoreman’s Union since Seattle was a major American port and Seattle was a hotbed of far left union activity in the early 1900s as it still is today.

Occasionally the Jones Act has been suspended by Presidential decree for extenuating circumstances.  In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Jones Act was waived by President George W. Bush for a two week period in 2005 allowing foreign vessels to provide oil and natural gas on an emergency basis.  On another occasion a waiver of the Jones Act was granted allowing the Chinese ship Tai An Kou to pull an oil rig to Alaska.

Officials in the Gulf Coast States have repeatedly asked President Obama to temporarily suspend the Jones Act so that vessels offered by foreign governments can assist in the BP oil spill clean-up.  Government officials in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana see the oil creeping ever closer to their shores and urgently need additional skimming ships.  Yet President Obama still declines to take this simple step that would dramatically reduce the risk of oil from the BP spill reaching and destroying beaches and the economy of these Gulf Coast states.

State-of-the-art skimming technology exists in Germany and the Netherlands which could alleviate millions, perhaps billions of dollars of damage to the Gulf states.  So why didn’t the President act immediately to do everything possible to avoid further destruction to the Gulf Coast states? 

Sadly the reason is politics.  The President and his party are totally dependent on the millions doled out by the unions to win elections and clearly the word has come down from the union bosses that if he suspends the Jones Act it will be at his political peril.  Apparently politics trump reason, compassion and common sense.  Never in my lifetime has there been a President, regardless of party, who was incapable of rising above politics to put his country first in an emergency.  Come on, Mr. President, it’s time to act on the Jones Act.  Put the interest and well being of the citizens of the Gulf Coast states above your political debt to the unions and be the President of all Americans.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Headed for the Bottom Rung

Headed for the Bottom Rung 

Watching the Obama Presidency in action is an uncomfortable thing.  There’s no doubt about the fact that Barack Obama is intelligent.  But being intelligent is not the same thing as being wise and competent.  I hate to say it, but Barack Obama is an embarrassment as President of the United States, and it’s so unnecessary.

I did not wish it, but I did predict that the Administration of Barack Obama would resemble Jimmy Carter, but on steroids.  I had hope that he would be more realistic and less ideological as President of the US.  I had hope that he would use common sense and be a President of all people, not just a tight coterie of leftwing radicals.  Sadly, he has made bad choices in advisors, and that has been deadly for a young man with such limited experience.

Being President of the United States is a big job for someone with common sense and big shoulders.  Being President is about the people of the United States, not about the man or woman in the job.  The President promised “hope and change,” but instead his inexperience and blind devotion to a hard left agenda has only brought on despair, division, and failure.  There is less hope and the change is not what the American people want.

Growing up in Chicago politics with close ties to Marxists like bomber Bill Ayers and nut cases like Jeremiah Wright, together with a devotion to the radical tactics of Saul Alinsky, are not a good resume for serving as President of the United States.  Our President has lots of smarts, but sadly little wisdom.

Clearly the President is a political captive of the big union bosses.  He genuflects to big labor on every issue.  When the UAW forced Chrysler and GM into bankruptcy, Obama forced the courts to violate and ignore the rights of the bond and stock holders, and then gave 50% of the ownership of the new GM Corporation to the Unions who had absolutely no right whatsoever to any equity position.  The Unions who caused the problem in the first place, got paid off for their political support with a gift paid for by the American people.

Our President is also captive of a Marxist redistributionist philosophy.  Obamacare is a tragedy, the scope of which will become quickly evident if and when it actually takes effect.  Anyone with common sense knows that socialism or its twin sister fascism are failed economic models.  Why would anyone think or believe that a top-down, government run (socialism) or government controlled (fascism) enterprise of any kind would be efficient, fair, or effective?  There are no examples of scientific advances under Marxist (socialism) or NAZI (National Socialist Party) run enterprises.  There are plenty of examples of limited human freedom, economic misery, and brutality under enlightened socialist/fascist utopias.
It is simply a failure to understand the fallen state of man that dooms all such utopian experiments to failure, to less individual freedom, and to human misery.  There is no segment of people of any kind—rich, successful, intelligent, white, black, yellow, or brown—that have any claim to being better, more benign, more altruistic, or kinder than the rest of the human race.  As our Founders understood clearly, we all live under the curse of sin.  Look at our Founders, they understood the essence of human nature and that if power was not limited the natural course of any government is a devolution into a dictatorship.  They themselves were very flawed.  After all, many were slaveholders.  Yet, in spite of their human failures, they created a government that was designed to limit the power of any group or single individual.  And in doing so, they laid the groundwork for the end of human slavery.  Their principles of limited government and maximum human freedom in a virtuous state are still as valid today as they were more than 200 years ago. 

Today’s liberals and all who seek power over others are guilty of the first sin of man.  The devil told Adam and Eve that if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would be like God.  It was a lie by the father of lies.  And you and I share the same DNA of Adam and Eve.  We too seek to have power over others.  Human nature has not changed and will never change and that is why human freedom depends on this understanding.  When we lose this understanding and we no longer rely on God as the source of all wisdom and truth, we have cut loose the anchor that is essential to maintaining a healthy and free society.  It’s not about intelligence, or smarts, or education, or hard work.  It’s about holding onto the anchor and limiting the power of any group of people or any single individual over our lives.  Freedom is precious and it is also rare in the annals of world history. 

If only President Obama understood this absolute truth!  If he did, he would not be promoting big government, or spending money we don’t have, or pushing massive, unprecedented tax increases.  He would be cutting taxes and putting more money in the hands of the people, not the government.  He would be slashing government spending, not creating record deficits.  He would stop setting white against black, rich against poor, the educated against the uneducated, and instead seek to unite our nation.  He would reject socialism and fascism as the failed economic models they are.  He wouldn’t go on world tours apologizing for the greatest, most blessed nation in the history of the world.  He would quit attacking our allies like Israel and quite cozying up to dictators like Hugo Chavez.  He would man up and quite blaming others for the problems he has created.  He would understand his own failings and limitations as a man and in humility seek God’s wisdom, and not rely on the rigid ideology of Karl Marx as his guiding light.

Barack Obama is a sad case.  He is a bright, intelligent, energetic, young man who is trapped in the maze of confused and hazy far left thinking.  Because of this blindness his Presidency is doomed to failure.  It is already failing.  Jimmy Carter move over, there’s someone else headed for the bottom rung on the scale of success for American Presidents. 
Barack Obama is a sad case.  He is a bright, intelligent, energetic, young man who is trapped in the maze of confused and hazy far left thinking.  Because of this blindness his Presidency is doomed to failure.  It is already failing.  Jimmy Carter move over, there’s someone else headed for the bottom rung on the scale of success for American Presidents.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Good Decision, Mr. President!

Good Decision, Mr. President!

Even if you are an infrequent reader of this blog, you know that I don’t often praise the policies of President Obama.  He looks to the government for solutions to America’s problems, while I believe that too often government is the problem and that the solutions lie in the creativity and ingenuity of individual Americans.
Perhaps you noticed there was a very special milestone in the utilization and exploration of space last week, but perhaps not.  I have always thrilled at the exploits of our astronauts and I know how much you and I rely on communications from space for communications, national defense, and even watching television. 
While I first watched early suborbital launches by NASA when I was in college, I got to see space technology and numerous launches first-hand while serving in the Army at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.  White Sands is where Dr. Robert Goddard and Charles Lindberg came in the 1930s to design and launch rockets after the Doctor wore out his welcome in more heavily populated Massachusetts.  White Sands is also where the US Government sent the German Rocket Scientists they captured at Peenemünde, Germany toward the close of World War II, among them, Dr. Wernher von Braun.  And it was at White Sands that I witnessed one of the first flights of the Sprint anti-missile missile as well as other air to ground, ground to air, and ground to ground missile firings.
Of course, all Americans were thrilled when President Kennedy proclaimed, “We will go to the Moon!” and we did.  Who can forget Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon in 1969!  It was amazing.  Less than 25 years after World War II ended, the United States had conquered travel to the Moon.  It’s still almost unbelievable to me.  Neil Armstrong walked on the Moon just 42 years after Charles Lindberg first flew across the Atlantic in the Spirit of Saint Louis.  In fact, our landing on the Moon took place just 66 years after the Wright brothers first flew at Kitty Hawk!
Today we tend to take launches of the soon to be retired Space Shuttle for granted, although we remember vividly the tragic Challenger disaster.  Our nation mourned and the lives lost reminded us just how risky it still is to travel into space.
But last week we began a grand, new chapter in space exploration as space entrepreneur, Elon Musk, made history as his Falcon 9 rocket carried a prototype crew capsule flawlessly into a 155 mile orbit.  Mr. Musk, a native of South Africa, made his fortune when he sold PayPal, an Internet company he created, to eBay, Inc.  He has put more than $100 million of his own money into the high risk opportunity to provide commercial launches to private and military users, as well as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a government agency that started out on the right foot, but soon went the way of all government bureaucracies—fat, bloated, and generally out of control.
The successful launch of the privately funded and constructed Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral signals great things for the future of space exploration and utilization if only the government will stay out of the way.  Yes, Mr. Musk’s SpaceX is counting on government contracts, both military and NASA, but his primary target is the commercial launch of communications satellites, and even private transportation into space.  Today you need to be a billionaire to afford what governments charge for flight into space, but with private enterprise in the picture there is real reason to hope that the cost of a trip into space will drop dramatically.  After all, what is there that government can do that private enterprise can’t do better, faster, more efficiently, and cheaper?
Discussions are already underway to use Falcon 9 to provide manned missions to the US Space Station.  I won’t be surprised when SpaceX or one of its private competitors develops the first SSTO—Single Stage to Orbit—rocket system that can deliver men and supplies with an efficient, less costly single stage rocket that can be launched by a small crew instead of a cast of thousands that is necessary to launch today’s out-of-date Space Shuttle.  Thanks to President Obama, private enterprise will take the lead in developing and providing space transportation of the future.  Great decision, Mr. President, well done!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

“If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun”

“If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun”

      That statement was made to a Philadelphia audience on June 13, 2008 in the heat of the Presidential campaign by candidate Barack Obama.  I can only imagine what the news media would have said if that comment was made by Sarah Palin or John McCain.  I guess you might call this Chicago thug wisdom – never bring a knife to a gun fight.

You could pass it off as overheated campaign rhetoric, but clearly the thugs who run the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) took that advice to heart.

Last August, at a town hall meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, hosted by Democratic Congressman Russ Carnahan, Kenneth Gladney was apparently selling “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and other paraphernalia.  SEIU thugs clearly did not like the fact that Mr. Gladney was an African-American favoring the Tea Party movement.  After calling Mr. Gladney the “N” word, they beat him up so badly that he had to be taken to the hospital.

Where was Jesse Jackson?  Where was Al Sharpton?  Where was the President?  Where was the national news media?  For that matter, why did it take the St. Louis County Police Department three months to file charges since the attack was witnessed by police officers?

The President held a beer summit, perhaps he could have convened a thug summit.  But there was no outrage.  The cat must have gotten the tongue of The Washington Post, the New York Times and “major” TV networks.  They had plenty to say about non-verifiable racial slurs supposedly made by the Tea Party folks at an anti-Obamacare rally on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.  They were outraged by the fact that they could not stir up trouble – just as they were outraged that the Times Square Bomber did not turn out to be a Tea Party activist. 

But the sands of time are running out for the liberals.  The real racists have been exposed.  Liberals know that average African-Americans have more in common with average conservatives, than they do with those on the left, like the President.  African-Americans want prayer in schools.  They embrace good schools brought to them via vouchers.  They want low taxes so that they can climb the ladder of success and not have it kicked out from under them by bankrupt socialist schemes.  They seek low crime and they endorse traditional moral values.  They don’t want any more unborn black babies to die from abortion.  African-Americans are natural allies of conservatives.

While the liberals and the Democratic Party see African-Americans only as a voting bloc to be manipulated, conservatives see African-Americans as individuals and as natural allies in building a colorblind nation with equal opportunity for all.

Radicals cannot let the truth get out that in terms of political philosophy there is just as much diversity of opinion among black Americans as there is among white Americans.  This is why liberals are terrified that they will lose control of the African American community and it’s why they hate black conservatives even more than white conservatives.  Black conservatives threaten liberals even more than white conservatives.  The liberals’ only hope is to use all forces they can muster to perpetuate the lie that conservatives, Tea Party members, and Republicans are racists. 

That big lie is all they have.  That’s the sole hope the Democrats have to maintain political hegemony among black Americans.  They are hanging by a thread.  They know that if and when the truth gets through the media fog to the black community, the party is over.  And so the lies become worse, the shrillness grows, and their panic intensifies. 

Double standard hypocrisy is the modus operandi of the liberal media and liberal politicians.  How much longer can they maintain the fiction that conservatives are racists?  How many more black Americans like Mr. Gladney have to be beaten up and called awful racist names?  How many more young black Americans have to be denied good schools?  How many more young black men have to die on the streets?  How many more black babies have to be aborted?  How many more lies have to be told?

The left has their marching orders, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”  Thug wisdom seems to be the order for the day.