Tax-Deductible Invasions

by Walter Brasch

           Millions of Americans gave George W. Bush unquestioned support when he diverted personnel and resources from the war against al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden to invade Iraq.

           Several million fewer opposed the invasion, stating that the primary mission was to destroy the enemy hiding in Afghanistan that destroyed a part of America and not to expand the war. At first, President Bush claimed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, capable of destroying Israel and, if placed aboard cargo vessels, could be launched at the east coast of the U.S. When that explanation fizzled, Bush said the invasion was to remove a dictator. Soon, “Regime Change” was the buzz phrase of the month.

           Flash forward eight years. Different president. Different country. Same kind of dictatorship. This time, the conservatives have loudly cried that Barack Obama should not have launched missiles at Libya. And many liberals, while protesting expansion of war, were now facing other liberals who supported President Obama’s mini-war of helping oppressed people. The Iraq war has now cost American taxpayers more than $ 780 billion. The two-week (so far) war against Libya has now cost almost $750 million, most of it for Tomahawk missiles.

           What’s a president to do? The president’s party spends millions of dollars on polls, none of which are reliable. The president is then forced to put his finger into the wind to see what the voters want-and then does what he wants to do anyway.

           Whatever he does will be met by hostility on one side and near-blind support on the other. However, there is a solution. Tax checkoff.

           No, that’s not like a distant cousin of the Russian short story writer. It’s a way for the President and the taxpayers to get the biggest bang for their buck.

           Let’s say that a president decides he wants to invade some hostile foreign country-Canada, for example. Instead of going into the War Room with his military leadership and plotting how best to meet the strategic, tactical, and political goals of an invasion, he stops for two weeks.

           During the first week, all Americans would be sent an email, asking them if they support the invasion of the country that sends Arctic Clippers to the U.S. during Spring. At the end of that week, voting stops. Now, let’s say that 40 percent of Americans think invading Canada is important and the prudent thing to do, but 43 percent oppose it. (The other 17 percent would still be trying to find out why their computers crashed.)

           Normally, the president would say that most Americans don’t want to invade Canada and might listen to them. But, the 40 percent are vigorous in their beliefs. No problem.

           On the next paycheck will be a question. “Do you support committing American troops to invade Canada, and stopping Arctic Clippers?” Those who answer “yes” will then be assessed a proportion for the costs of that invasion, putting their wallets and purses where their mouths are. If 60 million Americans want war, and the cost is a mere $300 million a week, then each supporter would have about $5 per week deducted from his or her paycheck. It’d hardly be noticeable. Of course, there might be a $5 surcharge for the cost of burying the dead, treating the wounded, and long-term physical and mental rehabilitation. But, hey, even at $10 a week, war is rather cheap. And, most important, all of it is tax-deductible.

           Those who don’t support the war wouldn’t have the money deducted. They could decide to support another war later, or pay a “fair share” for more vigorous environmental regulation and enforcement, or even a few dollars a month to allow members of Congress to have junkets. Whatever is raised for junkets would be the total pool available, and would have to be split equally among the 535 members and several thousand critical staffers who, we all know, are the ones who do the work anyhow.

           The Tax Checkoff System has one final advantage. With Americans deciding what to support and committing their personal fortunes or anemic savings accounts to the cause, we could wipe out the national debt and war at the same time.

           [Walter Brasch probably won’t be deciding to have deductions for war taken from his pay check. His latest book is Before the First Snow, a journalistic novel that looks at the integration of war, peace, oil, and nuclear energy, all within the context of social justice. The book is available, on pre-order, from amazon.com.]

           

Cantor on Social Security: Truth or Misspeaking?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is under fire today for telling NPR his vision of America doesn’t include Social Security and Medicare.  The Republican from Virginia has 100,000 constituents on the program so he is now claiming he misspoke.  The quote:

I mean, just from the very notion that it said that 50 percent of beneficiaries under the Social Security program use those moneys as their sole source of income.  So we’ve got to protect today’s seniors.  But for the rest of us? For – you know, listen. We’re going to have to come to grips with the fact that these programs cannot exist if we want America to be what we want America to be.

Was it the truth, a Freudian slip or did he screw up and forgot to say what he meant?  It’s tough to figure someone as accomplished as the House Majority Leader would make a statement like this and claim he didn’t mean it.  Which part didn’t he mean?  Let’s take a look at what we’re seeing the Republicans revealing about the “America we want to be.”

President George W. Bush tried privatizing Social Security in 2005.  Then Sen. Rick Santorum went on a tour around Pennsylvania shortly thereafter promoting the plan which would send billions of dollars in investment fees to Wall Street bankers so they could gamble away our retirements.  We caught this video when he entered his town hall at Drexel University back then:

Now and then Republicans screw up and allow their real agenda to appear.  Cantor’s vision of America is obviously one where the elderly are impoverished and dependent upon the largess of their children for survival.   Disabled persons should simply crawl away and perish rather than receive medical care and a stipend to help them survive.  It is an America without child labor laws, unions, teachers and public schools, workplace safety, limits on banker’s salaries, a middle class, regulations for the robber barons of Wall Street, medical care, abortion services, equal pay for women, taxes for the richest Americans, restrictions on oil and gas companies, regulation of greenhouse gases, no renewable energy, no teaching of science in schools, no restrictions on guns and ammunition, no restrictions on fraudulent banking practices and securities, and the suppression of the vote for demographics who vote Democratic.

We are seeing Cantor’s vision for America playing out in Congress and statehouses all across the nation but we’re supposed to believe his statement about Social Security and Medicare were in error?  That he simply misspoke?  I report, you decide.

Corbett to DEP: Stop Gas Regulation

DEP has now been completely defanged by Tom Corbett.  The Governor’s DEP issued orders saying only the top people at the environmental agency can issue permits and allow regulation of gas drillers within Pennsylvania.  Michael Krancer, a former statewide candidate for the appellate judiciary, will oversee all lack of enforcement and regulation of the industry.  Even prior violations will be rescinded under the new policy.

This means there is no longer even a semblance of oversight as gas drillers pepper the state with new gas wells.  Each well requires millions of gallons of water for fracking and much of the toxic fluids are being illegally dumped and more is being shipped to waste water treatment systems unprepared to remove radioactivity and heavy metals.  The poisons are then being dumped directly into our rivers.  Gas well explosions are happening and residents are discovering they can light their tap water on fire.  The contamination of water supplies is making properties worthless.  Welcome to Tom Corbett’s Pennsylvania.  1,500,000 acres of state forest has now been leased for drilling, so much for “clean natural gas.”

Corbett to Ban All Smoking

In light of two recent house explosions due to natural gas seepage Gov. Tom Corbett has decided he will ban all smoking in Pennsylvania.  The extreme measure will result in a substantial revenue loss but he thinks cutting medical reimbursements to hospitals for lung cancer treatments will offset the loss.  A man was standing in his driveway in McKean County when his house blew up.  Gas seeping up from hydraulic fracking in the area exploded within the house (another home also blew up in the area) and gas workers confirmed the natural gas lines to the home were intact and not leaking.

As a result Corbett feels it is becoming too dangerous for residents of the Commonwealth to smoke.  Anywhere.  Gas is now leaking into water supplies, pastures and homes.  Therefore smoking and the lighting of anything flammable is becoming too dangerous.  His first solution is to eliminate cigarette and cigar smoking.  Cooking, fireplaces and furnaces may be next in his fight to protect the industry from interference and regulation.  

The Governor will go to any length to protect an industry which contributed almost a million dollars to his campaign.  With this action today he will officially get into bed with the drillers.  I’d ask whether he’s a top or bottom but I figure if you’re in bed with drillers you’re taking it up the ass.  Anyone who thought Corbett, with his blue eyes and handsome face would stop short of prostituting himself to become Governor is an April Fool.

Corbett Lied to Voters

Gov. Tom Corbett rode to victory last year by telling voters he’d change how things were done in Harrisburg.  He vowed to begin sweeping reforms on his first day in office and promised openness and transparency.  From what little transparency he has offered what we see is quite different.  Tom Corbett is as corrupt a politician as any.  Instead of taking the initiative on his first day and proposing serious, real campaign finance, lobbying and legislative reforms he spent his first week without any plan for reform.  He then tried hiring his former campaign manager as his Chief of Staff and when that didn’t work he hired his father for a patronage job.

His reform plan took a week and I have yet to see any serious efforts.  Campaign finance reform remains the biggest single problem and Corbett is shredding his own vows to change how things are done by rewarding his at the expense of the rest of us.  His outright refusal to impose a gas extraction tax is example #1 but his cuts to education also benefit some of his biggest campaign donors.  Between his massive cuts to public education and his bill for privatizing public schools (vouchers) he is rewarding those charter school minions who gave him $334,000.  This is in direct violation of his promises to voters to change how things are done.  This is the same old Harrisburg corruption.

Add to that his refusal to hold regular press briefings and to close those to credentialed press only.  I can’t get press credentials, for example, because the Capitol application insists on my “boss” authorizing the form.  As a blogger I don’t have a boss.  Isn’t it time Harrisburg woke up and realized traditional media are disappearing and there’s something called new media?  What’s more Corbett is blocking regular Pennsylvanians from THEIR house by restricting attendance at his public events in a public building, something I believe is illegal.

Tom Corbett ran on a much different platform, issues and tone than we’re seeing from him as Governor.  He isn’t answering questions and Pennsylvanians have many questions of him.

KU: Tom Corbett is the Enemy

Students, faculty and organized labor met this morning on the Kutztown University campus to rally against Tom Corbett’s budget cuts.  Unfortunately it appears Republicans in Harrisburg are determined to ram this budget through in record time.   Hearings have been underway for a couple weeks and are set to wrap up in early April.  The House and Senate are looking to pass it by Memorial Day.

Cuts to higher education amount to 50%.  Schools like KU look to lose $24 million.  PSHE (Pennsylvania System of Higher Education) is seeing fewer cuts than the four state related universities (Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln) but these young people are looking at 33% tuition hikes, programs cut and faculty and staff losses.  

I wondered how many of the students there today failed to vote last fall.  The campus is just ten minutes away so I visit that polling place every election day to gauge how many students are voting.  Last fall (and in 2009) there were very few compared with 2008.  Unfortunately elections have consequences and failing to vote means seeing your dreams disappear.  Not voting means silencing your voice when it matters most.  Speaking out now is fine but speaking up every November is far more important.  

More pictures and video of today’s rally are below the fold…

Dr. Michael Gambone:

President Obama Addresses Libyan Situation

Ten days after initiating military action against Libya the President finally addressed the American people as to why he launched air attacks against the regime of Moammar Ghaddaffi.  I swore that if I’d closed my eyes and inserted a few references to 9/11 it could’ve been George W. Bush reciting the words.  I heard no clear mission and no exit strategy.  There was no explanation about the threat posed to our economy by the spike in oil prices or the fact that the cutoff of Libyan oil was a factor in his decision.

Yes, the atrocities against the people of Libya by their leader are horrible but so are the austerity cutbacks here at home.  With millions more Americans falling into poverty each year, millions being forced out of their homes and one in four going hungry the threat at home is also dire.   Americans must come before foreigners no matter how horrible their plight.  The war on middle and lower class Americans is as horrible as that waged by Ghaddaffi.  The banking sector centered on wall Street is as ruthless as any in the world in the misery it is inflicting on us and it, too, must be addressed.  I don’t see Barack Obama instigating any of his vaunted Change in that regard.  Too much of our own repressive foreign policies have been continued and even escalated under this so called agent of change.  Too much hasn’t changed in America yet here we go on another ill fated war costing billions.

The text of the President’s speech:

The President’s Address to the Nation on Libya – As Prepared for Delivery

National Defense University

Washington, DC

March 28, 2011

As Prepared for Delivery-

Good evening. Tonight, I’d like to update the American people on the international effort that we have led in Libya – what we have done, what we plan to do, and why this matters to us.

I want to begin by paying tribute to our men and women in uniform who, once again, have acted with courage, professionalism and patriotism. They have moved with incredible speed and strength. Because of them and our dedicated diplomats, a coalition has been forged and countless lives have been saved. Meanwhile, as we speak, our troops are supporting our ally Japan, leaving Iraq to its people, stopping the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and going after al Qaeda around the globe. As Commander-in-Chief, I am grateful to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families, as are all Americans.

For generations, the United States of America has played a unique role as an anchor of global security and advocate for human freedom. Mindful of the risks and costs of military action, we are naturally reluctant to use force to solve the world’s many challenges. But when our interests and values are at stake, we have a responsibility to act. That is what happened in Libya over the course of these last six weeks.

Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt – two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant – Moammar Gaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world – including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents.

Last month, Gaddafi’s grip of fear appeared to give way to the promise of freedom. In cities and towns across the country, Libyans took to the streets to claim their basic human rights. As one Libyan said, “For the first time we finally have hope that our nightmare of 40 years will soon be over.”

Faced with this opposition, Gaddafi began attacking his people.  As President, my immediate concern was the safety of our citizens, so we evacuated our Embassy and all Americans who sought our assistance. We then took a series of swift steps in a matter of days to answer Gaddafi’s aggression.  We froze more than $33 billion of the Gaddafi regime’s assets. Joining with other nations at the United Nations Security Council, we broadened our sanctions, imposed an arms embargo, and enabled Gaddafi and those around him to be held accountable for their crimes. I made it clear that Gaddafi had lost the confidence of his people and the legitimacy to lead, and I said that he needed to step down from power.

continued after the break…

In the face of the world’s condemnation, Gaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. The water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misratah was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assault from the air.

Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition, and the Arab League, appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. At my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass an historic Resolution that authorized a No Fly Zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

Ten days ago, having tried to end the violence without using force, the international community offered Gaddafi a final chance to stop his campaign of killing, or face the consequences. Rather than stand down, his forces continued their advance, bearing down on the city of Benghazi, home to nearly 700,000 men, women and children who sought their freedom from fear.

At this point, the United States and the world faced a choice. Gaddafi declared that he would show “no mercy” to his own people. He compared them to rats, and threatened to go door to door to inflict punishment. In the past, we had seen him hang civilians in the streets, and kill over a thousand people in a single day. Now, we saw regime forces on the outskirts of the city. We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi – a city nearly the size of Charlotte – could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.

It was not in our national interest to let that happen. I refused to let that happen. And so nine days ago, after consulting the bipartisan leadership of Congress, I authorized military action to stop the killing and enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1973. We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it. We hit Gaddafi’s troops in neighboring Ajdabiya, allowing the opposition to drive them out. We hit his air defenses, which paved the way for a No Fly Zone. We targeted tanks and military assets that had been choking off towns and cities and we cut off much of their source of supply. And tonight, I can report that we have stopped Gaddafi’s deadly advance.

In this effort, the United States has not acted alone. Instead, we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. This includes our closest allies – nations like the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Spain, Greece, and Turkey – all of whom have fought by our side for decades. And it includes Arab partners like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, who have chosen to meet their responsibility to defend the Libyan people.

To summarize, then: in just one month, the United States has worked with our international partners to mobilize a broad coalition, secure an international mandate to protect civilians, stop an advancing army, prevent a massacre, and establish a No Fly Zone with our allies and partners. To lend some perspective on how rapidly this military and diplomatic response came together, when people were being brutalized in Bosnia in the 1990s, it took the international community more than a year to intervene with air power to protect civilians.

Moreover, we have accomplished these objectives consistent with the pledge that I made to the American people at the outset of our military operations. I said that America’s role would be limited; that we would not put ground troops into Libya; that we would focus our unique capabilities on the front end of the operation, and that we would transfer responsibility to our allies and partners. Tonight, we are fulfilling that pledge.

Our most effective alliance, NATO, has taken command of the enforcement of the arms embargo and No Fly Zone. Last night, NATO decided to take on the additional responsibility of protecting Libyan civilians. This transfer from the United States to NATO will take place on Wednesday. Going forward, the lead in enforcing the No Fly Zone and protecting civilians on the ground will transition to our allies and partners, and I am fully confident that our coalition will keep the pressure on Gaddafi’s remaining forces. In that effort, the United States will play a supporting role – including intelligence, logistical support, search and rescue assistance, and capabilities to jam regime communications. Because of this transition to a broader, NATO-based coalition, the risk and cost of this operation – to our military, and to American taxpayers – will be reduced significantly.

So for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear: the United States of America has done what we said we would do.

That is not to say that our work is complete. In addition to our NATO responsibilities, we will work with the international community to provide assistance to the people of Libya, who need food for the hungry and medical care for the wounded. We will safeguard the more than $33 billion that was frozen from the Gaddafi regime so that it is available to rebuild Libya. After all, this money does not belong to Gaddafi or to us – it belongs to the Libyan people, and we will make sure they receive it.

Tomorrow, Secretary Clinton will go to London, where she will meet with the Libyan opposition and consult with more than thirty nations. These discussions will focus on what kind of political effort is necessary to pressure Gaddafi, while also supporting a transition to the future that the Libyan people deserve. Because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people.

Despite the success of our efforts over the past week, I know that some Americans continue to have questions about our efforts in Libya. Gaddafi has not yet stepped down from power, and until he does, Libya will remain dangerous. Moreover, even after Gaddafi does leave power, forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task. And while the United States will do our part to help, it will be a task for the international community, and – more importantly – a task for the Libyan people themselves.

In fact, much of the debate in Washington has put forward a false choice when it comes to Libya. On the one hand, some question why America should intervene at all – even in limited ways – in this distant land. They argue that there are many places in the world where innocent civilians face brutal violence at the hands of their government, and America should not be expected to police the world, particularly when we have so many pressing concerns here at home.

It is true that America cannot use our military wherever repression occurs. And given the costs and risks of intervention, we must always measure our interests against the need for action. But that cannot be an argument for never acting on behalf of what’s right. In this particular country – Libya; at this particular moment, we were faced with the prospect of violence on a horrific scale. We had a unique ability to stop that violence: an international mandate for action, a broad coalition prepared to join us, the support of Arab countries, and a plea for help from the Libyan people themselves. We also had the ability to stop Gaddafi’s forces in their tracks without putting American troops on the ground.

To brush aside America’s responsibility as a leader and – more profoundly – our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are. Some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. The United States of America is different. And as President, I refused to wait for the images of slaughter and mass graves before taking action.

Moreover, America has an important strategic interest in preventing Gaddafi from overrunning those who oppose him. A massacre would have driven thousands of additional refugees across Libya’s borders, putting enormous strains on the peaceful – yet fragile – transitions in Egypt and Tunisia. The democratic impulses that are dawning across the region would be eclipsed by the darkest form of dictatorship, as repressive leaders concluded that violence is the best strategy to cling to power. The writ of the UN Security Council would have been shown to be little more than empty words, crippling its future credibility to uphold global peace and security. So while I will never minimize the costs involved in military action, I am convinced that a failure to act in Libya would have carried a far greater price for America.

Now, just as there are those who have argued against intervention in Libya, there are others who have suggested that we broaden our military mission beyond the task of protecting the Libyan people, and do whatever it takes to bring down Gaddafi and usher in a new government.

Of course, there is no question that Libya – and the world – will be better off with Gaddafi out of power. I, along with many other world leaders, have embraced that goal, and will actively pursue it through non-military means. But broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.

The task that I assigned our forces – to protect the Libyan people from immediate danger, and to establish a No Fly Zone – carries with it a UN mandate and international support. It is also what the Libyan opposition asked us to do.  If we tried to overthrow Gaddafi by force, our coalition would splinter. We would likely have to put U.S. troops on the ground, or risk killing many civilians from the air. The dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. So would the costs, and our share of the responsibility for what comes next.

To be blunt, we went down that road in Iraq. Thanks to the extraordinary sacrifices of our troops and the determination of our diplomats, we are hopeful about Iraq’s future. But regime change there took eight years, thousands of American and Iraqi lives, and nearly a trillion dollars. That is not something we can afford to repeat in Libya.

As the bulk of our military effort ratchets down, what we can do – and will do – is support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We have intervened to stop a massacre, and we will work with our allies and partners as they’re in the lead to maintain the safety of civilians. We will deny the regime arms, cut off its supply of cash, assist the opposition, and work with other nations to hasten the day when Gaddafi leaves power. It may not happen overnight, as a badly weakened Gaddafi tries desperately to hang on to power. But it should be clear to those around Gadaffi, and to every Libyan, that history is not on his side. With the time and space that we have provided for the Libyan people, they will be able to determine their own destiny, and that is how it should be.

Let me close by addressing what this action says about the use of America’s military power, and America’s broader leadership in the world, under my presidency.

As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than keeping this country safe. And no decision weighs on me more than when to deploy our men and women in uniform. I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests. That is why we are going after al Qaeda wherever they seek a foothold. That is why we continue to fight in Afghanistan, even as we have ended our combat mission in Iraq and removed more than 100,000 troops from that country.

There will be times, though, when our safety is not directly threatened, but our interests and values are. Sometimes, the course of history poses challenges that threaten our common humanity and common security – responding to natural disasters, for example; or preventing genocide and keeping the peace; ensuring regional security, and maintaining the flow of commerce. These may not be America’s problems alone, but they are important to us, and they are problems worth solving. And in these circumstances, we know that the United States, as the world’s most powerful nation, will often be called upon to help.

In such cases, we should not be afraid to act – but the burden of action should not be America’s alone. As we have in Libya, our task is instead to mobilize the international community for collective action. Because contrary to the claims of some, American leadership is not simply a matter of going it alone and bearing all of the burden ourselves. Real leadership creates the conditions and coalitions for others to step up as well; to work with allies and partners so that they bear their share of the burden and pay their share of the costs; and to see that the principles of justice and human dignity are upheld by all.

That’s the kind of leadership we have shown in Libya. Of course, even when we act as part of a coalition, the risks of any military action will be high. Those risks were realized when one of our planes malfunctioned over Libya. Yet when one of our airmen parachuted to the ground, in a country whose leader has so often demonized the United States – in a region that has such a difficult history with our country – this American did not find enemies. Instead, he was met by people who embraced him. One young Libyan who came to his aid said, “We are your friends. We are so grateful to these men who are protecting the skies.”

This voice is just one of many in a region where a new generation is refusing to be denied their rights and opportunities any longer. Yes, this change will make the world more complicated for a time. Progress will be uneven, and change will come differently in different countries. There are places, like Egypt, where this change will inspire us and raise our hopes. And there will be places, like Iran, where change is fiercely suppressed. The dark forces of civil conflict and sectarian war will have to be averted, and difficult political and economic concerns addressed.

The United States will not be able to dictate the pace and scope of this change. Only the people of the region can do that. But we can make a difference. I believe that this movement of change cannot be turned back, and that we must stand alongside those who believe in the same core principles that have guided us through many storms: our opposition to violence directed against one’s own citizens; our support for a set of universal rights, including the freedom for people to express themselves and choose their leaders; our support for governments that are ultimately responsive to the aspirations of the people.

Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States. Ultimately, it is that faith – those ideals – that are the true measure of American leadership.

My fellow Americans, I know that at a time of upheaval overseas – when the news is filled with conflict and change – it can be tempting to turn away from the world. And as I have said before, our strength abroad is anchored in our strength at home. That must always be our North Star – the ability of our people to reach their potential, to make wise choices with our resources, to enlarge the prosperity that serves as a wellspring of our power, and to live the values that we hold so dear.

But let us also remember that for generations, we have done the hard work of protecting our own people, as well as millions around the globe. We have done so because we know that our own future is safer and brighter if more of mankind can live with the bright light of freedom and dignity. Tonight, let us give thanks for the Americans who are serving through these trying times, and the coalition that is carrying our effort forward; and let us look to the future with confidence and hope not only for our own country, but for all those yearning for freedom around the world. Thank you, God Bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

 

Fukushima Update

There is continuing news coming from Japan regarding the situation at the nuclear power plant damaged by the massive earthquake and tsunami.  Plutonium has now been found outside the reactor in the soil.  Reports of radiation 10 million times normal were erroneous and caused by translation problems.  It is merely 100,000 times normal.  17 workers at the plant have been identified as having been exposed to radiation and it does appear that one reactor core has been breached.  The radiation in sea water near the plant is disturbingly serious.  

Radiation in rain falling here in Pennsylvania has been detected but is infinitesimal, no danger exists.  It does show how these accidents can spread around the globe through weather patterns however so power plants anywhere have the potential to effect everyone.

This accident is causing people to rethink nuclear power.  President Obama embraced nuclear as an option to wean us off fossil fuels and now he’s a harsh political position going into 2012.  Should he continue this position it could hurt him with his base, what’s left of it at least.  Interest in renewable energy sources is gathering momentum and that’s good.  The potential for converting geothermal, solar, wind, waves and other possibilities is endless but it may never match what we currently consume in gas, coal and oil.  However when we increase renewables and increase conservation we can drastically reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and possibly save the planet in the process.  This isn’t a matter of how we do it, we HAVE to do it.

Stock Tip

DISCLOSURE: I AM NOT A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL ADVISOR OR STOCK BROKER.

That said, I do my own investing by doing in-depth research. If I had to give a tip it would be to look at wind and solar especially wind. Not because they’re “green” but because the nuclear incident in Japan will drive people, companies and governments to think twice about nuclear as an option but they want clean and they want to remove their dependence on foreign oil and Wind, Solar and Wave tech is the way to go.

If you are interested, do some digging on Vestas Wind in Denmark (there’s a pink sheet ADR you can buy – VWDRY) SunTech (STP), Trina Solar (TSL), China Wind (CWS) a parts supplier to the Wind Power industry, and Ocean Power Tech (OPTT).

Investing involves significant risk of loss. Do your own research and make your own decisions.

My tip is intended as a starting point for research not as an indication of what I’m buying or what you should buy.

DO NOT TRY TO SUE ME LATER WE HAVE A NICE LAWYER WHO READS THE BLOG AND I’LL PAY HIM TO DEFEND ME. :)

From John:  remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance with any investment.

HuffPo and Breitbart

Andrew Breitbart is now writing for The Huffington Post.  This shocking news that a vanguard of the Left has hired a yellow journalist who specializes in publishing fraudulent videos which destroy people’s lives and ruin progressive organizations serving the poor is a disgrace.  Is this a decision which came from HuffPo’s new owners at AOL?  Whatever and whoever this is bad.  I have stopped reading HuffPo and I will no longer write for a publication which has lowered its standards to the gutter.