Arab Falling Dominos – 2

Friends,

Boy! Where do I start? The news in the past few weeks has been going crazy with uprisings and revolution around the globe. Let’s review some of the big ones.

  • It all started with Tunisia. In January, the president of that country was ousted by a popular uprising. It is now being reported that he had a stroke two days ago and is in a hospital in Saudi Arabia in a coma.
  • Next on the Hit Parade is Egypt. Just 10 days ago, Hosni Mubarak, the 30 year president, was ousted by a popular uprising. The military now controls the country. The citizens of Egypt normally think very highly of their military but now there seems to be a change in attitude. The ruling military council has promised to hold a referendum on democratic elections within two months. The populous is dubious.
  • In Morocco, pro-reform protests have been scheduled via Facebook. The government has announced that it will be injecting over $1.5b in subsidies for basic goods in an effort to stave off a repeat of the actions of Tunisia and Egypt.
  • In Algeria, “student protests” have taken place and the government, in an effort to quell them, has promised to lift the 19 year old state of emergency.
  • Yemen has been boiling for a couple of weeks. Demonstrators have taken to the street in Aden and Al-Mansura demanding the resignation of the president. Police have used deadly force to break up the protests.
  • In one of the US’ most trusted allies in the Persian Gulf region, Bahrain, police have killed at least four demonstrators as of 17 Feb. I understand that most of the police are Pakistani and they do what the signer of the paycheck says. The royal family does not seem to be listening to its citizens. This seems to be a Shiite vs. Sunni clash. The Shia are claiming that they are second class citizens in the country. This unrest puts the docking agreement for the US 5th Fleet in question.
  • Most recently, Libya closely resembles Egypt of a couple of weeks ago. There is some question as to the whereabouts of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi. Yesterday, the government made a statement that he had NOT fled the country. This is normally an indication that the subject has left in a hasty fashion.  His son Seif al-Islam tried to place himself in a leadership role but has been rebuffed by the crowds. Libya will fall soon if not already.

These are just a few of the uprisings that have/are taking place across the Arab world. While the MSM is not reporting such, it is my belief that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has a strong hand in these events. As I discussed in my Discourse “Arab Falling Dominos,” the coalescing of Arab nations under the loose federation enabled by the MB can have disastrous consequences for our border enforcement. This is a segment of earth’s humanity that wants to destroy our way of life. If the Arabs develop a unified plan of action against “The Great Satan,” we could see increased terrorist infiltration across our southern border.

Just yesterday, 20 Feb, a Muslim cleric, Anjem Choudary, announced that he is calling for a protest outside of the White House in March in an effort to rally American Muslims to establish Sharia law in the United States. Conventional American wisdom would say that this protest will be sparsely attended and be shouted down by counter protests. However, we are seeing in the Arab world that the organization with which events have been orchestrated over the past two months has been extraordinary. There could be a lot more Muslim marchers than conventional American wisdom would expect.

There is a large and growing Muslim population in the US and they want to be counted. They may now think the time is right to push for acceptance of pockets of Sharia as they have in the UK. Also, don’t forget the over 30 Muslim terrorist training camps currently operating in the US. These camps are populated with a large number of recruits from Americas’ prisons. In short, these are bad people who feel no loyalty to the United States.

What is our government going to do about it? The short answer is, probably nothing. What would I do? The OWH is determined to hire thousands of new IRS agents to get into the lives of honest hard working Americans. OK, I would agree to hiring thousands of new government personnel, but not to spy on Americans, but to secure our borders. What is happening on our southern border is an invasion. It must be repulsed! Not just because of the illegal Mexican and other Latin Americans coming across to soak our national treasure, but because of the terrorists that are and potentially will come to do us harm.

I have asked the OWH before, “When are you going to execute your primary job? When are you going to undertake to protect the United States?” Of course, we know the answer to that question.

But who am I to criticize the OWH? I am just a patriotic American citizen who loves this country. Unfortunately, the OWH shares neither of those attributes.

As always, I welcome your comments and discussion.

Dan

Violence in Mexico

Friends,

Over the past several years there has been a drastic increase in violence across the border in Mexico. Just last year there were over 3000 murders in the vicinity of Juarez just across the Rio Grande River from El Paso. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has had agents working in Mexico with the blessing of the Mexican government for years. This is not a covert mission. It is well known by the Mexican citizens that they are there. The primary reason they are working in Mexico is to try to reduce the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants into the US.

It has been widely reported that on 15 Feb. two ICE agents were travelling north from Mexico City. STRATFOR reports that the two agents stopped for a bite to eat along the way and were surveilled by cartel members who arranged a “rolling roadblock” farther up the road. At this roadblock the two ICE agents were attacked. One was killed and the other was wounded. There are a couple of theories as to why the attack took place. One is that the cartels would value the fully armored Suburban in which the ICE agents were travelling. The other is that it was a targeted hit on the agents. No matter what the reason, the hit team knew it was a US vehicle by the diplomatic tags it was carrying.

That makes it a targeted attack on known American citizens. This is unacceptable! My question is where is the outrage from the OWH? Where is the demand of the OWH to Mexican President Calderon to bring these cowards to justice? Maybe I shouldn’t call them cowards; the proper term may be leeches, for they are slimy suckers who hide under the rocks of humanity. Why does the OWH tolerate the insults and lies put forward by Calderon? The Mexican president is blaming his problems on the US. Mexico is currently one of the most violent countries in the world and the government is unable to quell that violence.

The prime duty of the federal government is to protect our homeland. We hear daily of large amounts of drugs and illegal aliens being intercepted coming across the border or coming in by sea. Only those of a gullible nature would believe that the majority of the smuggled drugs and illegal immigrants are being intercepted. These leeches become more enterprising in their operations every day. They build tunnels under the border and they have even built a catapult to shoot drugs over the border (I don’t know if it was ever used). When will the OWH take his duty seriously to protect this country? What are his reasons for allowing us to be invaded in this fashion? Will he ever decide to execute his responsibility?

Of course I am only a US citizen and not worth the attention of the OWH but I will keep pressing him to do the job he was hired to do.

As always, I welcome your comments and discussion.

Dan

A Presidential Platform – 2; Social Security

Friends,

An astute reader of these pages, commenting on my last Discourse, brought up the issue of Social Security. I wasn’t going to write about it quite so soon, but this is always a topic of interest.

As we all should know, some 40 years ago, Congress got a look at the books of the Social Security Trust Fund and decided that it was just ripe for the picking. So, they did what all good Congresspersons do, they picked. They picked to the point of stealing every cent of the fund, which was solvent at the time and took it as their own and spent it. Now, they tell everyone that the younger generation’s contributions to Social Security will pay for the older generation’s Social Security payments. The main problem is that the way the fund is currently structured, it will be broke by 2017, and that is a conservative estimate. Well, let’s put the proper name on this scheme; it is called a Ponzi scheme. If I were to set up a fund in this manner, I would go to jail for 20+ years. But of course we are talking about Congresspersons, they can’t go to jail. OK, enough ranting. It is time for me to discuss how I would fix Social Security.

First, it would be painful because the good Congresspersons, who don’t have to worry about Social Security for their retirement, have made sure that there is no money in the Trust Fund. In my plan, everyone who is within 10 years of drawing Social Security would be “grandfathered” and remain in the plan as they are today. Their plan and benefits will not change.

Now comes the pain. The first thing that should happen is for the good Congresspersons to come up with the money they stole from us over the last 40 years and allocate all of the money to those over 10 years from drawing benefits who have paid into the program. Notice I said “who have paid into the program?” That’s right, if you did not pay into the program, you don’t get anything out. That is all inclusive. All of the money allocated to the wage earners would have to go into investment grade instruments, not Uncle Joe’s latest get-rich-quick scheme. All workers and employers would continue contributing as they have, but they would now be making payments into the investment grade instruments that each worker has designated. You might call this a “Super 401.” The stipulations for withdrawing these funds would remain the same as they currently are. However, that is only a point of departure for further investigation.

Let’s look at the goods and the others. First, let’s look at the “others.” (That’s Navy speak for bad stuff) The worst part of this plan is that the good Congresspersons will not have billions of our dollars to call their own. But, I’m not sure that is a bad thing. I would complain that the good Congresspersons are spending like drunken sailors, but as a former drunk sailor, I take exception to this. When I ran out of money, I quit spending. Another drawback of this plan is that the government bureaucrats will have less visibility into our personal lives. Oh, is that bad?

OK, let’s look at the goods of this plan. We will have much greater control over the future of our finances. If we decide to keep all of our money in a money market plan, we can do that. If we want to loan the government money in the form of savings bonds we could do that too. Or we could go into high quality mutual funds. The choice would be ours, not some bureaucrat sitting in Washington.

As I have stated in the past, I am not an economist but I understand a bit about how money works and can recognize theft when I see it. What Congress has been doing over the past 40 years is criminal. Bernie Madoff is in jail for doing exactly what Congress has been doing all these years. Why has the Justice Department given Congress a pass? Is it because they appropriate the money for the Justice Department?

Do I sound a bit exercised? You bet I am. I work hard for my money and so do you. Where is it written in the Constitution that Congress can just waltz in and appropriate our money for their pet projects? I have read that revered document many times and I have yet been able to find such authorization.

I had better stop ranting or I will never get to sleep tonight.

As always, I welcome your comments and discussion.

Dan

A Presidential Platform – 1

Friends,

I was going to do a Discourse on gun control and how it guarantees the government’s ability to take away our freedoms, but a co-worker who asked to remain unnamed, and I got to talking and we decided that there is no one Republican or Conservative with the ability or wherewithal to guarantee our return to the ideals of the Founders. The conversation was a bit different than that, but it was close. During the conversation I planted my tongue in my cheek and said “I should run for president.” He said that he would be all for it; so, now with my tongue still planted firmly in my cheek, I will declare my candidacy.

OK, now that the joke is over, let’s discuss what I think should be the way to return our country to that envisioned by the Founders. This will not be an exhaustive list for it would take too much space and I don’t want to scare you off by the size of this Discourse.

Economy – this is an extremely complex subject and I am not an economist. However, even when I was taking my undergraduate Economics 101 I thought the instructor was nuts when he kept touting the wisdom of Keynesian Economics. I will never forget him saying that it does not matter how much money the government owes, it is all our money anyway and we are just borrowing from ourselves. It didn’t make any sense then and it just sounds fruity now, especially since we are not borrowing from ourselves any more. As with any loan, it comes due sometime.

I can’t run my home on a deficit and neither should any government at any level. At some point, the bills come due. When our country’s bills come due, we will be in big trouble and now with a new Republican majority in the House, we are holding out hope for some fiscal responsibility. Last week it was looking like the new Republican majority was only going to cut $32 billion from appropriations instead of the $100 billion on which a lot of those folks campaigned. As of today (11 Feb) it looks like they may hit that $100 billion mark. I think that this is a good start but when balanced against our current deficit it isn’t enough.

Here’s my plan to dump the budget deficit. First, make some very hard choices and only work off a balanced budget in the first year. This will not be easy because we currently have a $1.4 trillion budget deficit; at least that is the latest figure I heard. Some very drastic cuts can be made which will bring us into line with the Constitution and balancing the budget. Eliminating all federal level departments that are not enumerated or implied in the Constitution would be first on the Hit Parade. That would leave us with the Department of Defense, the Treasury Department, the Commerce Department, State, and there could be a case for keeping the Department of the Interior.

Next would be to drastically cut entitlements. This will sound extremely heartless but what happened to folks in need before the welfare system kicked in? There are many charitable organizations that do incredible work with the poor and the most vulnerable of our society. Americans are the most generous people in the world. Allow us to be generous instead of forcing us to be so.

All funding of programs relating to the support of non citizens should be eliminated. An enormous amount of money goes to such things as teachers that are dedicated to teaching non citizens our language when they should be teaching math, science, English, etc. Teachers who are required to teach in some language other than English are only encouraging immigrants to not learn our language and customs.

Giving free medical care to non-citizens, legal or illegal, is bankrupting California. It will do the same in other areas of the country. When a hospital has to absorb the costs associated with their requirement to take care of all, no matter what their status, is crippling.

Immigration – control immigration!! The Border Patrol is tasked with halting illegal immigration. Give them the resources, including manpower, to do the job. The first function of the federal government is to protect the United States. One cannot look at what is happening along our southern border and fail to call it an invasion. Since this is an ongoing invasion, where are the Army and the Marines? Illegals come across and rob and murder American citizens and Congress continues to “mull things over.” I don’t understand what there is to mull over. Illegal immigrants cost the federal, state, and local governments billions of dollars each year just providing services. At the same time, many of these illegal immigrants are aiding the drug cartels, either willingly, or unwillingly. This is a situation that should be aggressively prosecuted.

In 1878, Congress passed and President Hayes signed the Posse Comitatus Act which placed restrictions on our military acting in a law enforcement capacity. That is why our Navy deploys with Coast Guard personnel on board when they are on counter drug operations. But I would submit that what is happening on our southern border is not a law enforcement situation but rather a national defense situation. There are significant amounts of drugs and illegal persons coming across our borders and causing serious financial and law enforcement difficulties for the entire nation but mostly in our border states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Americans living close to the border are often living in fear for their lives. Is that the way we should live in our own country? Is it right that we are fighting for the freedoms of nations half way around the world when our own citizens are afraid to leave their homes at night? One news crew went with the Border Patrol to an area in southern Arizona and saw a sniper’s nest on the US side of the border. This was not our sniper’s nest; it was being used by the cartels. Late last year there were reports of two incidents of rounds impacting inside El Paso after being fired from Juarez.  This sounds like a serious national security situation to me. Of one thing we can be sure; the Mexicans will not take care of their cartel problem and it is boiling over to our side of the border. It is high time that the United States government began providing protection to the citizens of this country.

I told you that this would not be a long list but rather just at start. There will be more in the weeks and months to come.

As always, I welcome your comments and discussion.

Dan

Arab Falling Dominos

Friends,

This is just a quick posting to give you some of my thoughts of the events of the past couple of weeks with respect to the shifting influences in the Arab world.

This series of events seemed to kick off in Tunisia a few days before the President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali left the country on 14 January. Using old west lingo, he was driven out of town on a rail. Unrest began to fester due to the corruption and repression of the regime. There did not seem to be a core leadership group behind the unrest, just a collective dislike of the regime and all of the ministers in it. As of today the only survivor from the old guard seems to be Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi who is trying to hold the government together. He has promised that he will step down as soon as elections take place in a few months. The current Tunisian caretaker government has issued an international arrest warrant for Ben Ali; apparently he and his family took off with millions in gold bullion.

Now let’s jump forward to last week in Egypt. A seemingly leaderless group of protestors has been hitting the streets in all of the large cities. The same theme as that in Tunisia is ringing out in Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez. They do not like the repressive regime of Hosni Mubarak, not to mention his succession plan of turning the government over to his son Gamal. For over a week there have been conflicting reports that Gamal has fled the country.

One player in Egypt that rises to the top of all analysts’ concern is the Muslim Brotherhood. Outwardly, they do not have strong leadership and are not terribly organized in this latest round of protests against the Mubarak government. For me, one surprising player coming on the scene is Mohamed ElBaradei the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. While not particularly popular with any group, he seems to be rising to the top of potential successors to Mubarak, at least until things settle down. He doesn’t seem to be siding up with the Muslim Brotherhood and that could be his downfall.

More and more of Egypt’s allies are letting it be known that they are not as supportive as once was thought. Many, such as Germany and the United States are urging the government to implement democratic reforms.

Additionally, Jordan’s King Abdullah II is coming under increased pressure by the rest of the Arab world to get his country’s demonstrations under control this has been going on for over two weeks. While the king has promised reforms, they likely won’t mollify his unhappy citizens who want to elect their officials as opposed to having them appointed. The Muslim Brotherhood has called for more demonstrations. Unlike many of the Arab countries, Jordan is not an oil rich country and must depend on foreign investment.

I haven’t discussed Lebanon which has had its own upheaval in the past several weeks. I think that it will be safe to predict that we can watch for a Hezbollah regime in the near future. This will be the same as turning the government over to Iran, one of the foremost terrorist sponsors in the world.

I discuss all of these recent events to point out a couple of similarities. All of these events bring to mind the stories of the two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first one was the White Russian Revolution. This was accomplished by democracy seeking Russians, but the revolution was taken over by the Bolsheviks. At what point do we see the Muslim Brotherhood come out and step up to the plate to coalesce the groups currently fomenting rebellion in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan? Will the radical Muslims become the modern Bolsheviks?

Of course we all know what the Bolsheviks did; they tried to spread their “religion” across the world by coercion as well as revolution. This brings me up to my other point.

With the radical Muslims being emboldened, how much more attractive will our porous borders become to them? With terrorist sponsorship of Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan added to Iran, how much greater vigilance will we here in the United States have to maintain in order to keep out the jihadists intent on disrupting our way of life?

We already have one of the most porous borders in the Americas. Our Secretary of Homeland Security has declared that our borders are more secure than they have ever been. Well, folks, I don’t know what she has been smoking, but I’ll bet it’s illegal. For many years we have been worried about illegal Mexicans and other Latin Americans coming across our borders; what about the increasing flow of illegal jihadists? At what point will the Secretary of Homeland Security and the OWH take our security seriously? Just two weeks ago, the Secretary announced that the virtual fence is going to be canceled due to lack of effectiveness. When will she start executing her job for which I assume she had to take the same oath of office that all of us military officers had to take. This oath requires us to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I don’t know about her oath, but mine did not come with an expiration date.

As always, I welcome your comments and discussion.

Dan