Saturday, July 02, 2011

Ron Paul: Obama Violated War Powers Resolution

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank."

Ron Paul

Friday, July 01, 2011

North Carolina Gets Serious About Redistricting

North Carolina's Republican-controlled legislature has went about redistricting the way Democrats have for years, ensuring political advantage for the Republicans.  I can only hope that my own  state's Republican majorities will do the same.  However, the little bit of information that is leaking out appears to show that they are just tinkering around the edges. 

Let's hope this is wrong and there will actually be an aggressive redistricting plan that puts the Democrats at a disadvantage statewide.  Our party needs to wake up to the fact that they are in a war of ideas for the very survival of our state.  The Democrats are well aware of this fact and they are fighting with a black-flag policy.  Scott Walker and the Fitzgerald brothers need to fight back before it is too late. 

Indoctrination Fridays: Teacher’s Lesson Compares Gov. Scott Walker to White Segregationist

Indoctrination Fridays: Teacher’s Lesson Compares Gov. Scott Walker to White Segregationist

Dick Morris TV; Lunch ALERT! Defending Michele Bachmann

Founding Fathers Quote

Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness.

James Wilson

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"1913 wasn't a very good year. 1913 gave us the income tax, the 16th amendment and the IRS."

Ron Paul

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bachmann or Paul For 2012?

For me the choice between the two is easy; Ron Paul.  I (SR) believe in the Constitution and all that is expressly written in it and I want a president who will adhere to its limitations and uphold the duties it lays out.  With that being said, with the current field of candidates, I would vote for Michele Bachmann if she won the nomination.  I just want to see government restrained as our founding fathers' intended; at a level where they have nothing to do with your daily life and where the laws and regulations are not stacked in such a way that you can be imprisoned, your family can be forcefully separated, and your property seized at the whim of an authority.

Gov. Walker Sides With Big Government Again

This is really getting disappointing.  Once again Gov. Scott Walker fails to stand up for limited government. The Gov.'s office released this statement from Walker on the smoking ban. “Although I did not support the original smoking ban, after listening to people across the state, it is clear to me that it works. Therefore I will not support a repeal.”

I am not a smoker, and to be honest I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke, but I don't believe the government should be telling private businesses or citizens where and when smoking is allowed. If a restaurant chooses to allow smoking, those of us who don't smoke can choose to go elsewhere.  We don't need big government interfering and dictating to us.

After all, once a precedence is set, how long before the government decides to involve itself in something we care about. I happen to like caffeine; I can't wait for the day that businesses are ordered not to serve caffeine, and I'm sure it will happen, because of the precedent set by the smoking ban. We have already seen Mike Huckabee and Michelle Obama try to dictate what we can eat and drink. How long until they just decide to order restaurants to only serve approved healthy foods; something New York city is already starting to do.

I don't know about you but I prefer my food with salt in it and there's no way the government should be messing with fried chicken. The government should be worrying about the few things they actually have a legitimate responsibility for, like taking care of our crumbling infrastructure.

I knew Gov. Walker would not be a states' rights man, but I at least hoped he would start reigning in the state government. It appears that our best bet at shrinking the size of the state government, and its involvement in our daily lives, is going to be through the state legislator and over the heads of the Fitzgerald brothers.

Rep. Michele Bachmann Answers Voters Questions In South Carolina

Skip to the 14 min. mark to hear Rep. Bachmann.

STRATFOR Dispatch: Greek Bailout and the Continuing Eurozone Crisis


Obama Throws Tantrum

In what can only be described as a fit or a tantrum, Obama clamored at Congress about their absences preventing his blank check from being signed.  This coming from the president who golfs and goes to Martha's Vineyard so often he is seen by the public as absent more than they see him as president.  Not to mention his wife's extravagant rambles around the world handing the taxpayers a pretty hefty bill. 

Obama is seeking roughly $400 billion in higher tax revenue over the next decade, and he has the nerve to claim that Republicans are responsible for tax hikes and putting elite ahead of children.  Really?  And, what exactly does he call $400 billion in added tax revenue?  Is he for real?  What well minded person accuses an opponent of tax hikes while asking for billions in higher tax revenue?

Obama says it is time for Congress to do their job and make tough choice.  News flash; by denying Obama's blank check in raising the debt ceiling they are doing their job and now he must make the tough choices when it comes to making the appropriate cuts.

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"Believe me, the next step is a currency crisis because there will be a rejection of the dollar, the rejection of the dollar is a big, big event, and then your personal liberties are going to be severely threatened."
Ron Paul

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch Discusses Job Creation In Wisconsin

Jay Weber had Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch on his show to discuss her successes in bringing jobs to the state of Wisconsin. I was so excited when Kleefisch got elected because she is a true conservative. We can only hope that Madison doesn't wear off on her and that someday she'll be our governor. In the meantime it's great to see that some well-deserved recognition is finally been sent her away.

Keep up the great job Lt. Gov.

Bachmann Ties For Highest Positive Intensity Score

This puts her in the same arena as Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney and ahead of a score of others.  Michele Bachmann, as a presidential candidate, generates a positive emotional response that has maintained all year while others have seen their Positive Intensity Score slide.  This is good for the Bachmann campaign and should be watched closely.

The Cover Up Of Rape And Abuse Of Minors In Wisconsin

For pregnancy testing and birth control prescriptions specifically, a minor must go to a federally funded family planning clinic such as Planned Parenthood. (Title X, 42 C.F.R §59.5) In these clinics, all sexual health issues are confidential (kept private) unless the doctor has concern for abuse, child safety or exploitation, and then they would have to report it. (WI statute 48.981) If you are interested in either pregnancy testing or birth control, speak with your individual doctor to see if they provide these two services.

The very fact that the minor is pregnant means they were abused.  Minors don't have the ability to ever give consent, that is why we have statutory rape laws.  The very act of a minor seeking birth control, pregnancy testing or an abortion, one is not a private matter because the law says they are not old enough to consent, and two should automatically be reported as abuse or an intention of abuse; unless the minor is seeking medical help with a parent for purely health related issues. 

There are no sexual health issues that would fall under the confidentiality law because the act of sex for a minor itself is illegal and abusive.  Our federal government has no right to use our tax dollars to fund organizations who hide the rape and abuse of our children and certainly not to rip our unborn grandchildren from the wombs of our daughters.  It is a sad revelation that the very people who supposedly advocate to stop the abuse of children are profiting from hiding and furthering that abuse. Whose the abuser?  I see a criminal and the bureaucracy both as the abuser.

This is unacceptable.  As a parent I am horrified.  This needs to be stopped and if these organizations refuse to uphold the abuse and statutory laws and protect the abused, instead of killing unborn children, hiding rape and abuse, and effectively killing the soul of the victims, then they themselves should be run out of Wisconsin.  Don't tell me it can't be done; ANYTHING can be done if WE THE PARENTS refuse to put up with it any more.  Stand against the exploitation of your children and the children of your community and put an end to the cover up of their rape and abuse by predatory organizations.


The Divided States of Europe

The Divided States of Europe is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By Marko Papic

Europe continues to be engulfed by economic crisis. The global focus returns to Athens on June 28 as Greek parliamentarians debate austerity measures imposed on them by eurozone partners. If the Greeks vote down these measures, Athens will not receive its second bailout, which could create an even worse crisis in Europe and the world.

It is important to understand that the crisis is not fundamentally about Greece or even about the indebtedness of the entire currency bloc. After all, Greece represents only 2.5 percent of the eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the bloc’s fiscal numbers are not that bad when looked at in the aggregate. Its overall deficit and debt figures are in a better shape than those of the United States — the U.S. budget deficit stood at 10.6 percent of GDP in 2010, compared to 6.4 percent for the European Union — yet the focus continues to be on Europe.

That is because the real crisis is the more fundamental question of how the European continent is to be ruled in the 21st century. Europe has emerged from its subservience during the Cold War, when it was the geopolitical chessboard for the Soviet Union and the United States. It won its independence by default as the superpowers retreated: Russia withdrawing to its Soviet sphere of influence and the United States switching its focus to the Middle East after 9/11. Since the 1990s, Europe has dabbled with institutional reform but has left the fundamental question of political integration off the table, even as it integrated economically. This is ultimately the source of the current sovereign debt crisis, the lack of political oversight over economic integration gone wrong.

The eurozone’s economic crisis brought this question of Europe’s political fate into focus, but it is a recurring issue. Roughly every 100 years, Europe confronts this dilemma. The Continent suffers from overpopulation — of nations, not people. Europe has the largest concentration of independent nation-states per square foot than any other continent. While Africa is larger and has more countries, no continent has as many rich and relatively powerful countries as Europe does. This is because, geographically, the Continent is riddled with features that prevent the formation of a single political entity. Mountain ranges, peninsulas and islands limit the ability of large powers to dominate or conquer the smaller ones. No single river forms a unifying river valley that can dominate the rest of the Continent. The Danube comes close, but it drains into the practically landlocked Black Sea, the only exit from which is another practically landlocked sea, the Mediterranean. This limits Europe’s ability to produce an independent entity capable of global power projection.

However, Europe does have plenty of rivers, convenient transportation routes and well-sheltered harbors. This allows for capital generation at a number of points on the Continent, such as Vienna, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Rotterdam, Milan, Turin and Hamburg. Thus, while large armies have trouble physically pushing through the Continent and subverting various nations under one rule, ideas, capital, goods and services do not. This makes Europe rich (the Continent has at least the equivalent GDP of the United States, and it could be larger depending how one calculates it).

What makes Europe rich, however, also makes it fragmented. The current political and security architectures of Europe — the EU and NATO — were encouraged by the United States in order to unify the Continent so that it could present a somewhat united front against the Soviet Union. They did not grow organically out of the Continent. This is a problem because Moscow is no longer a threat for all European countries, Germany and France see Russia as a business partner and European states are facing their first true challenge to Continental governance, with fragmentation and suspicion returning in full force. Closer unification and the creation of some sort of United States of Europe seems like the obvious solution to the problems posed by the eurozone sovereign debt crisis — although the eurozone’s problems are many and not easily solved just by integration, and Europe’s geography and history favor fragmentation.

Confederation of Europe

The European Union is a confederation of states that outsources day-to-day management of many policy spheres to a bureaucratic arm (the European Commission) and monetary policy to the European Central Bank. The important policy issues, such as defense, foreign policy and taxation, remain the sole prerogatives of the states. The states still meet in various formats to deal with these problems. Solutions to the Greek, Irish and Portuguese fiscal problems are agreed upon by all eurozone states on an ad hoc basis, as is participation in the Libyan military campaign within the context of the European Union. Every important decision requires that the states meet and reach a mutually acceptable solution, often producing non-optimal outcomes that are products of compromise.

The best analogy for the contemporary European Union is found not in European history but in American history. This is the period between the successful Revolutionary War in 1783 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. Within that five-year period, the United States was governed by a set of laws drawn up in the Articles of the Confederation. The country had no executive, no government, no real army and no foreign policy. States retained their own armies and many had minor coastal navies. They conducted foreign and trade policy independent of the wishes of the Continental Congress, a supranational body that had less power than even the European Parliament of today (this despite Article VI of the Articles of Confederation, which stipulated that states would not be able to conduct independent foreign policy without the consent of Congress). Congress was supposed to raise funds from the states to fund such things as a Continental Army, pay benefits to the veterans of the Revolutionary War and pay back loans that European powers gave Americans during the war against the British. States, however, refused to give Congress money, and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Congress was forced to print money, causing the Confederation’s currency to become worthless.

With such a loose confederation set-up, the costs of the Revolutionary War were ultimately unbearable for the fledgling nation. The reality of the international system, which pitted the new nation against aggressive European powers looking to subvert America’s independence, soon engulfed the ideals of states’ independence and limited government. Social, economic and security burdens proved too great for individual states to contain and a powerless Congress to address.

Nothing brought this reality home more than a rebellion in Western Massachusetts led by Daniel Shays in 1787. Shays’ Rebellion was, at its heart, an economic crisis. Burdened by European lenders calling for repayment of America’s war debt, the states’ economies collapsed and with them the livelihoods of many rural farmers, many of whom were veterans of the Revolutionary War who had been promised benefits. Austerity measures — often in the form of land confiscation — were imposed on the rural poor to pay off the European creditors. Shays’ Rebellion was put down without the help of the Continental Congress essentially by a local Massachusetts militia acting without any real federal oversight. The rebellion was defeated, but America’s impotence was apparent for all to see, both foreign and domestic.

An economic crisis, domestic insecurity and constant fear of a British counterattack — Britain had not demobilized forts it held on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes — impressed upon the independent-minded states that a “more perfect union” was necessary. Thus the United States of America, as we know it today, was formed. States gave up their rights to conduct foreign policy, to set trade policies independent of each other and to withhold funds from the federal government. The United States set up an executive branch with powers to wage war and conduct foreign policy, as well as a legislature that could no longer be ignored. In 1794, the government’s response to the so-called Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania showed the strength of the federal arrangement, in stark contrast to the Continental Congress’ handling of Shays’ Rebellion. Washington dispatched an army of more than 10,000 men to suppress a few hundred distillers refusing to pay a new whiskey tax to fund the national debt, thereby sending a clear message of the new government’s overwhelming fiscal, political and military power.

When examining the evolution of the American Confederation into the United States of America, one can find many parallels with the European Union, among others a weak center, independent states, economic crisis and over-indebtedness. The most substantial difference between the United States in the late 18th century and Europe in the 21st century is the level of external threat. In 1787, Shays’ Rebellion impressed upon many Americans — particularly George Washington, who was irked by the crisis — just how weak the country was. If a band of farmers could threaten one of the strongest states in the union, what would the British forces still garrisoned on American soil and in Quebec to the north be able to do? States could independently muddle through the economic crisis, but they could not prevent a British counterattack or protect their merchant fleet against Barbary pirates. America could not survive another such mishap and such a wanton display of military and political impotence.

To America’s advantage, the states all shared similar geography as well as similar culture and language. Although they had different economic policies and interests, all of them ultimately depended upon seaborne Atlantic trade. The threat that such trade would be choked off by a superior naval force — or even by North African pirates — was a clear and present danger. The threat of British counterattack from the north may not have been an existential threat to the southern states, but they realized that if New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were lost, the South might preserve some nominal independence but would quickly revert to de facto colonial status.

In Europe, there is no such clarity of what constitutes a threat. Even though there is a general sense — at least among the governing elites — that Europeans share economic interests, it is very clear that their security interests are not complementary. There is no agreed-upon perception of an external threat. For Central European states that only recently became European Union and NATO members, Russia still poses a threat. They have asked NATO (and even the European Union) to refocus on the European continent and for the alliance to reassure them of its commitment to their security. In return, they have seen France selling advanced helicopter carriers to Russia and Germany building an advanced military training center in Russia.

The Regionalization of Europe

The eurozone crisis — which is engulfing EU member states using the euro but is symbolically important for the entire European Union — is therefore a crisis of trust. Do the current political and security arrangements in Europe — the European Union and NATO — capture the right mix of nation-state interests? Do the member states of those organizations truly feel that they share the same fundamental fate? Are they willing, as the American colonies were at the end of the 18th century, to give up their independence in order to create a common front against political, economic and security concerns? And if the answer to these questions is no, then what are the alternative arrangements that do capture complementary nation-state interests?

On the security front, we already have our answer: the regionalization of European security organizations. NATO has ceased to effectively respond to the national security interests of European states. Germany and France have pursued an accommodationist attitude toward Russia, to the chagrin of the Baltic States and Central Europe. As a response, these Central European states have begun to arrange alternatives. The four Central European states that make up the regional Visegrad Group — Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — have used the forum as the mold in which to create a Central European battle group. Baltic States, threatened by Russia’s general resurgence, have looked to expand military and security cooperation with the Nordic countries, with Lithuania set to join the Nordic Battlegroup, of which Estonia is already a member. France and the United Kingdom have decided to enhance cooperation with an expansive military agreement at the end of 2010, and London has also expressed an interest in becoming close to the developing Baltic-Nordic cooperative military ventures.

Regionalization is currently most evident in security matters, but it is only a matter of time before it begins to manifest itself in political and economic matters as well. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been forthcoming about wanting Poland and the Czech Republic to speed up their efforts to enter the eurozone. Recently, both indicated that they had cooled on the idea of eurozone entry. The decision, of course, has a lot to do with the euro being in a state of crisis, but we cannot underestimate the underlying sense in Warsaw that Berlin is not committed to Poland’s security. Central Europeans may not currently be in the eurozone (save for Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia), but the future of the eurozone is intertwined in its appeal to the rest of Europe as both an economic and political bloc. All EU member states are contractually obligated to enter the eurozone (save for Denmark and the United Kingdom, which negotiated opt-outs). From Germany’s perspective, membership of the Czech Republic and Poland is more important than that of peripheral Europe. Germany’s trade with Poland and the Czech Republic alone is greater than its trade with Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.

The Divided States of Europe
(click here to enlarge image)

The security regionalization of Europe is not a good sign for the future of the eurozone. A monetary union cannot be grafted onto security disunion, especially if the solution to the eurozone crisis becomes more integration. Warsaw is not going to give Berlin veto power over its budget spending if the two are not in agreement over what constitutes a security threat. This argument may seem simple, and it is cogent precisely because it is. Taxation is one of the most basic forms of state sovereignty, and one does not share it with countries that do not share one’s political, economic and security fate.

This goes for any country, not just Poland. If the solution to the eurozone crisis is greater integration, then the interests of the integrating states have to be closely aligned on more than just economic matters. The U.S. example from the late 18th century is particularly instructive, as one could make a cogent argument that American states had more divergent economic interests than European states do today, and yet their security concerns brought them together. In fact, the moment the external threat diminished in the mid-19th century due to Europe’s exhaustion from the Napoleonic Wars, American unity was shaken by the Civil War. America’s economic and cultural bifurcation, which existed even during the Revolutionary War, erupted in conflagration the moment the external threat was removed.

The bottom line is that Europeans have to agree on more than just a 3 percent budget-deficit threshold as the foundation for closer integration. Control over budgets goes to the very heart of sovereignty, and European nations will not give up that control unless they know their security and political interests will be taken seriously by their neighbors.

Europe’s Spheres of Influence

We therefore see Europe evolving into a set of regionalized groupings. These organizations may have different ideas about security and economic matters, one country may even belong to more than one grouping, but for the most part membership will largely be based on location on the Continent. This will not happen overnight. Germany, France and other core economies have a vested interest in preserving the eurozone in its current form for the short-term — perhaps as long as another decade — since the economic contagion from Greece is an existential concern for the moment. In the long-term, however, regional organizations of like-minded blocs is the path that seems to be evolving in Europe, especially if Germany decides that its relationship with core eurozone countries and Central Europe is more important than its relationship with the periphery.

The Divided States of Europe
(click here to enlarge image)

We can separate the blocs into four main fledgling groupings, which are not mutually exclusive, as a sort of model to depict the evolving relationships among countries in Europe:
  1. The German sphere of influence (Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland): These core eurozone economies are not disadvantaged by Germany’s competitiveness, or they depend on German trade for economic benefit, and they are not inherently threatened by Germany’s evolving relationship with Russia. Due to its isolation from the rest of Europe and proximity to Russia, Finland is not thrilled about Russia’s resurgence, but occasionally it prefers Germany’s careful accommodative approach to the aggressive approach of neighboring Sweden or Poland. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the most concerned about the Russia-Germany relationship, but not to the extent that Poland and the Baltic states are, and they may decide to remain in the German sphere of influence for economic reasons.
  2. The Nordic regional bloc (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia): These mostly non-eurozone states generally see Russia’s resurgence in a negative light. The Baltic states are seen as part of the Nordic sphere of influence (especially Sweden’s), which leads toward problems with Russia. Germany is an important trade partner, but it is also seen as overbearing and as a competitor. Finland straddles this group and the German sphere of influence, depending on the issue.
  3. Visegrad-plus (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria). At the moment, the Visegrad Four belong to different spheres of influence. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary do not feel as exposed to Russia’s resurgence as Poland or Romania do. But they also are not completely satisfied with Germany’s attitude toward Russia. Poland is not strong enough to lead this group economically the way Sweden dominates the Nordic bloc. Other than security cooperation, the Visegrad countries have little to offer each other at the moment. Poland intends to change that by lobbying for more funding for new EU member states in the next six months of its EU presidency. That still does not constitute economic leadership.
  4. Mediterranean Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta): These are Europe’s peripheral states. Their security concerns are unique due to their exposure to illegal immigration via routes through Turkey and North Africa. Geographically, these countries are isolated from the main trade routes and lack the capital-generating centers of northern Europe, save for Italy’s Po River Valley (which in many ways does not belong to this group but could be thought of as a separate entity that could be seen as part of the German sphere of influence). These economies therefore face similar problems of over-indebtedness and lack of competitiveness. The question is, who would lead?
And then there are France and the United Kingdom. These countries do not really belong to any bloc. This is London’s traditional posture with regard to continental Europe, although it has recently begun to establish a relationship with the Nordic-Baltic group. France, meanwhile, could be considered part of the German sphere of influence. Paris is attempting to hold onto its leadership role in the eurozone and is revamping its labor-market rules and social benefits to sustain its connection to the German-dominated currency bloc, a painful process. However, France traditionally is also a Mediterranean country and has considered Central European alliances in order to surround Germany. It also recently entered into a new bilateral military relationship with the United Kingdom, in part as a hedge against its close relationship with Germany. If France decides to exit its partnership with Germany, it could quickly gain control of its normal sphere of influence in the Mediterranean, probably with enthusiastic backing from a host of other powers such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In fact, its discussion of a Mediterranean Union was a political hedge, an insurance policy, for exactly such a future.

The Price of Regional Hegemony

The alternative to the regionalization of Europe is clear German leadership that underwrites — economically and politically — greater European integration. If Berlin can overcome the anti-euro populism that is feeding on bailout fatigue in the eurozone core, it could continue to support the periphery and prove its commitment to the eurozone and the European Union. Germany is also trying to show Central Europe that its relationship with Russia is a net positive by using its negotiations with Moscow over Moldova as an example of German political clout.

Central Europeans, however, are already putting Germany’s leadership and commitment to the test. Poland assumes the EU presidency July 1 and has made the union’s commitment to increase funding for new EU member states, as well as EU defense cooperation, its main initiatives. Both policies are a test for Germany and an offer for it to reverse the ongoing security regionalization. If Berlin says no to new money for the newer EU member states — at stake is the union’s cohesion-policy funding, which in the 2007-2013 budget period totaled 177 billion euros — and no to EU-wide security/defense arrangements, then Warsaw, Prague and other Central European capitals have their answer. The question is whether Germany is serious about being a leader of Europe and paying the price to be the hegemon of a united Europe, which would not only mean funding bailouts but also standing up to Russia. If it places its relationship with Russia over its alliance with Central Europe, then it will be difficult for Central Europeans to follow Berlin. This will mean that the regionalization of Europe’s security architecture — via the Visegrad Group and Nordic-Baltic battle groups — makes sense. It will also mean that Central Europeans will have to find new ways to draw the United States into the region for security.

Common security perception is about states understanding that they share the same fate. American states understood this at the end of the 18th century, which is why they gave up their independence, setting the United States on the path toward superpower status. Europeans — at least at present — do not see their situation (or the world) in the same light. Bailouts are enacted not because Greeks share the same fate as Germans but because German bankers share the same fate as German taxpayers. This is a sign that integration has progressed to a point where economic fate is shared, but this is an inadequate baseline on which to build a common political union.

Bailing out Greece is seen as an affront to the German taxpayer, even though that same German taxpayer has benefited disproportionally from the eurozone’s creation. The German government understands the benefits of preserving the eurozone — which is why it continues bailing out the peripheral countries — but there has been no national debate in Germany to explain this logic to the populace. Germany is still waiting to have an open conversation with itself about its role and its future, and especially what price it is willing to pay for regional hegemony and remaining relevant in a world fast becoming dominated by powers capable of harnessing the resources of entire continents.

Without a coherent understanding in Europe that its states all share the same fate, the Greek crisis has little chance of being Europe’s Shays’ Rebellion, triggering deeper unification. Instead of a United States of Europe, its fate will be ongoing regionalization.

Read more: The Divided States of Europe | STRATFOR

Ron Paul's Presidential Websites New Look

Ron Paul's presidential website is now fully functional,very user-friendly, and packed full of information. While many mainstream Republicans and, of course, the establishment media continue to mock Paul's chances of winning, the candidate himself is running a serious campaign. His fundraising, website, and actions prove this. Here is one of the campaigns most recent moves.

Ron Paul Campaign Scoops Up Major GOP Pollster

Continues to build up for serious campaign

LAKE JACKSON, Texas – The campaign of 2012 Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul has scored a major coup with the hiring on of heavyweight GOP pollster Fritz Wenzel, and his polling firm Wenzel Strategies to run its polling operations.

“I am very proud and excited to be a part of the Ron Paul presidential team,” Wenzel said. “He has long stood strong for the core principles that have made our country great, and have made the Republican Party great when they heeded them.”

“What makes Ron Paul such a strong candidate is his willingness to stand on principle, which has attracted more people to his message, to the point that the other candidates are now taking up his issues. At a time when our country is in great peril, voters are looking for a candidate who will turn to and rely on the wisdom of the Constitution, and there is no better student of that document than Ron Paul,” Wenzel continued.

About Wenzel Strategies:

Wenzel Strategies is an Ohio-based firm headed by Fritz Wenzel. The firm has political, media, business, government, and non-profit clients nationwide. In the 2010 election cycle, it polled dozens of important races across the country, including for the successful Rand Paul campaign for U.S. Senate from Kentucky. It has also polled several races for Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund and various congressional races. In addition to polling, Wenzel Strategies provides clients with strategic communications consultation.

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers."
Ron Paul

Help Kim Simac And Restore Accountability In Wisconsin

Both my wife and I strongly support Kim Simac for State Senate. If you believe in constitutional liberty, accountability of government and a limited government then please support her.

Gun Control Terrorists

In a contradiction of its very name The Coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns is using "what if's" to terrorize Americans into letting their ability to legally purchase guns be stolen away from them.  These gun control terrorists have no issue with twisting the truth to accomplish their agenda; to disarm you, the law abiding citizen, the American with the Constitutional right to buy and own a gun without any government restriction, background check, or permit. 

Tell me this, does it make any sense at all to disarm the entire population and leave them open to grotesque and murderous attacks by criminals who will still have their firearms and weapons obtained on the black market?  The only reason to put any restriction on gun ownership at all is to make it easier to take the right away entirely.  Every one knows you destroy from within, slowly over time so no one notices until it is too late.  Are you going to wait until that night your home is broken into and your family murdered before you realize that you should have fought for your Constitutional right to protect your family?

If our government was truly afraid of terrorists planning attacks they would want their citizens armed and ready to protect this Republic's freedom, not disarmed and open to attack.  No, this has been their agenda for a long time and they will stop at nothing, even terrorizing you with threats of possibilities.  Me, I would rather maintain my right to protect myself than rely on a government hell bent on subjecting me and more than willing to label me collateral damage.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

STRATFOR Dispatch: Russia's Control of the Nagorno-Karabakh Issue


Texas House, Senate approve reworked bills over airport pat-downs | Texas Legislature | ...

Texas House, Senate approve reworked bills over airport pat-downs Texas Legislature ...

New state budget provides additional funds for tourism marketing - NewsoftheNorth.Net, Northwoods News

New state budget provides additional funds for tourism marketing - NewsoftheNorth.Net, Northwoods News

h/t: Wisconsin Upper Michigan News and Information

Wisdom From Ron Paul

"There is nothing wrong with describing Conservatism as protecting the Constitution, protecting all things that limit government. Government is the enemy of liberty. Government should be very restrained."

Ron Paul

Monday, June 27, 2011

Bachmann's Brand - John Wayne's America?

Freedom for all, not for some

The Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, cutting back the corporate tax rate, cutting back on spending first, voting on raising the debt ceiling, reigning in lobbyists and unions, what more could you ask of a presidential candidate?  If you cherish your freedom and equality for all then you must be very displeased with Obama's third-world mentality in his pathetic attempt to lead our Republic. 

We need real leadership that actually understands economics, promoting a business atmosphere, the true meaning of stimulating the economy, freedom of choice, equality for all, and how to avoid reflex conditioning entire races of minorities to degenerate.  We need a Michele Bachmann Brand of government, a John Wayne's America

We need to coalesce behind one strong, ethical candidate with true grit.  We need to do it early and never waver.  We need to stand against the establishment or bow before it in bondage of its will.  We need to send the insatiable elite that we don't want their standards rammed down our throats.  So choose to support Bachmann now and work like never before to captain her to the presidency.  The grassroots won't be DC's doormat anymore. 

Activists March to NRSC to Demand Hatch Ouster : Roll Call Politics

Activists March to NRSC to Demand Hatch Ouster : Roll Call Politics

Update from the House Republican Study Committee (RSC)

Monday, June 27, 2011

RSC Update: End the Debt Addiction – Cut, Cap, & Balance

From the Chairman

In finance, the term “underwater” means you owe more money on something than it’s actually worth. It’s a phrase that many Americans have sadly come to know all-too-well in the wake of the housing bubble, but they may soon hear it in another context. By the end of the year, our national debt will be bigger than our Gross Domestic Product.

The only way to permanently end this debt addiction is through a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Pair that with immediate cuts and caps strong enough to keep spending down until the states ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment, and you’ve got a solution that can actually fix the problem. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the only solution worth mentioning.

As I promised when taking the Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge, I will not consider letting Washington borrow another dime unless the House and Senate have passed a Balanced Budget Amendment. The House is scheduled to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment during the week of July 25, and Senator Mitch McConnell says he’ll attempt to force a Senate vote the week of July 18. Tinkering around the edges will not keep the U.S. out of bankruptcy. We need bold, historic changes, and we need them soon.

God Bless,

Congressman Jim Jordan

Chairman, Republican Study Committee

RSC Media Activity – RSC members work hard to ensure that the conservative viewpoint is well-represented in all corners of the media. Visit our Media Center for more.

· Rep. Phil Roe (TN-01): Give Patients Control of Health Care; Politico, June 20.

· Reps. Marsha Blackburn (TN-07) & Scott DesJarlais (TN-04): Cut, Cap and Balance to Bring Real Recovery; The Tennessean, June 26.

· Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS-01): America’s Spending on Trial; Conservative Home, June 27.

RSC Member Activity – RSC members make it a priority to introduce productive, conservative solutions for America’s future.

· Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) introduced legislation to stop the Obama Administration’s costly bailouts of Greece and other European nations, rescinding the IMF’s authority to spend up to $108 billion made available to fund these bailouts.

· Seeking to prevent another taxpayer bailout, Rep. Darrell Issa (CA-49) introduced the Postal Reform Act to implement sweeping, structural reforms of the United States Postal Service (USPS), which represents the most fundamental reform of the postal service that has been proposed since USPS was first created from the old Post Office Department.

House Floor Activity – The following key legislation came through the House of Representatives recently.

· On Wednesday, the House passed H.R. 2021, the Jobs and Energy Permitting Act of 2011, which would eliminate permitting delays for oil exploration in Alaska and encourages American oil production.

· On Thursday, the House approved H.R. 1249, the America Invents Act, which would reform current patent law.

· On Friday, the House passed H.R. 2279, the Airport and Airway Extension Act, which would extend for three weeks certain authorities of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set to expire June 30.

· Also on Friday, the House disapproved H.R. 2278 and H.J. Res 68, both regarding American military action in Libya.

Outlook – A quick look at what’s on the horizon.

· The House is not in session this week.

· On the week of July 25, the House is expected to consider a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

RSC Reports

· Each week the House is in session, the RSC Budget and Spending Taskforce compiles a weekly report on the latest budget and spending news. Additionally, the RSC Money Monitor tracks how bills passed by the House affect authorizations, mandatory spending, and federal government revenue.

House Republican Study Committee
Rep. Jim Jordan, Chairman

Paul Teller, Executive Director
Brad Watson, Policy Director
Bruce “Fez” Miller, Professional Policy Staff
Joe Murray, Professional Policy Staff
Curtis Rhyne, Professional Policy Staff
Ja’Ron Smith, Professional Policy Staff
Wesley Goodman, Director of Conservative Coalitions and State Outreach
Yong Choe, Director of Business Outreach and Member Services
Brian Straessle, Communications Director
Ben Miller, Deputy Communications Director
Cyrus Artz, Research Assistant
1524 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 226-9717

Founding Fathers Quote

But where says some is the King of America? I'll tell you Friend, he reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the Royal Brute of Britain...let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America THE LAW IS KING.

Thomas Paine

Keynesians Are both Wrong and Dangerous

Keynesians Are both Wrong and Dangerous

Way Up North: The Bill of Rights at 220

Way Up North: The Bill of Rights at 220: "On December 15, 1791, Virginia became the 11th state to ratify the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. On the 200th anniversary ..."

Ron Paul: How Should Government Treat Energy Producers?

As the economy continues in its downward spiral and talks in Congress about reducing spending have only amounted to political theater, the subject of how the tax code treats energy has become a topic of controversy. Specifically, should we subsidize, enforce mandates, or give tax credits and deductions to industries like ethanol and natural gas? Having a thriving energy market domestically is a good thing and something the government should not hinder. Not only would decreasing our dependence on foreign oil simplify our foreign policy, but it would greatly enhance our anemic economy at home.

Of course, the government should neither inhibit nor subsidize any particular type of energy. While many people agree with that statement, there is much confusion over the difference between government subsidies and tax credits or deductions. The difference is night and day, yet so many times they are all lumped together as evil government handouts. A subsidy IS a government handout. It amounts to the government taking money from the people and giving it to a favored interest. It is the worst sort of market manipulation and it is something I can never support. This kind of government mischief is anathema to the Constitution and the principles of freedom and the free market. [read more]

Rep. Michele Bachmann Makes It Official

Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen Releases 2011 Fireworks Advisory


For Immediate Release For more information:
June 27, 2011 Bill Cosh 608/266-1221


MADISON— In anticipation of the Fourth of July, the Wisconsin Department of Justice has compiled and explained the statutes and laws concerning fireworks and firework permits in the State of Wisconsin. The document explains the regulation of fireworks throughout the state and the process of obtaining a permit to legally possess and use fireworks. With this, the Wisconsin Department of Justice wishes the State of Wisconsin a safe, legal, and fun Independence Day.

The document can be found on the Department of Justice website at:

# # #

U.S. and Pakistan: Afghan Strategies

U.S. and Pakistan: Afghan Strategies is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

By George Friedman

U.S. President Barack Obama will give a speech on Afghanistan on June 22. Whatever he says, it is becoming apparent that the United States is exploring ways to accelerate the drawdown of its forces in the country. It is also clear that U.S. relations with Pakistan are deteriorating to a point where cooperation — whatever level there was — is breaking down. These are two intimately related issues. Any withdrawal from Afghanistan, particularly an accelerated one, will leave a power vacuum in Afghanistan that the Kabul government will not be able to fill. Afghanistan is Pakistan’s back door, and its evolution is a matter of fundamental interest to Pakistan. A U.S. withdrawal means an Afghanistan intertwined with and influenced by Pakistan. Therefore, the current dynamic with Pakistan challenges any withdrawal plan.

There may be some in the U.S. military who believe that the United States might prevail in Afghanistan, but they are few in number. The champion of this view, Gen. David Petraeus, has been relieved of his command of forces in Afghanistan and promoted (or kicked upstairs) to become director of the CIA. The conventional definition of victory has been the creation of a strong government in Kabul controlling an army and police force able to protect the regime and ultimately impose its will throughout Afghanistan. With President Hamid Karzai increasingly uncooperative with the United States, the likelihood of this outcome is evaporating. Karzai realizes his American protection will be withdrawn and understands that the Americans will blame him for any negative outcomes of the withdrawal because of his inability or unwillingness to control corruption.

Defining Success in Afghanistan

There is a prior definition of success that shaped the Bush administration’s approach to Afghanistan in its early phases. The goal here was the disruption of al Qaeda’s operations in Afghanistan and the prevention of further attacks on the United States from Afghanistan. This definition did not envisage the emergence of a stable and democratic Afghanistan free of corruption and able to control its territory. It was more modest and, in many ways, it was achieved in 2001-2002. Its defect, of course, was that the disruption of al Qaeda in Afghanistan, while useful, did not address the evolution of al Qaeda in other countries. In particular, it did not deal with the movement of al Qaeda operatives to Pakistan, nor did it address the Taliban, who were not defeated in 2001-2002 but simply declined combat on American terms, re-emerging as a viable insurgency when the United States became bogged down in Iraq.

The mission creep from denying Afghan bases to al Qaeda to the transformation of Afghan society had many roots and was well under way during the Bush administration, but the immediate origin of the current strategy was the attempt to transfer the lessons of Iraq to Afghanistan. The surge in Iraq, and the important political settlement with Sunni insurgents that brought them into the American fold, reduced the insurgency. It remains to be seen whether it will produce a stable Iraq not hostile to American interests. The ultimate Iraq strategy was a political settlement framed by an increase in forces, and its long-term success was never clear. The Obama administration was prepared to repeat the attempt in Afghanistan, at least by using Iraq as a template if not applying exactly the same tactics.

However, the United States found that the Taliban were less inclined to negotiate with the United States, and certainly not on the favorable terms of the Iraqi insurgents, simply because they believed they would win in the long run and did not face the dangers that the Sunni insurgents did. The military operations that framed the search for a political solution turned out to be a frame without a painting. In Iraq, it is not clear that the Petraeus strategy actually achieved a satisfactory political outcome, and its application to Afghanistan does not seem, as yet, to have drawn the Taliban into the political process in the way that incorporating the Sunnis made Iraq appear at least minimally successful.

As we pointed out after the death of Osama bin Laden, his demise, coupled with the transfer of Petraeus out of Afghanistan, offered two opportunities. The first was a return to the prior definition of success in Afghanistan, in which the goal was the disruption of al Qaeda. Second, the departure of Petraeus and his staff also removed the ideology of counterinsurgency, in which social transformation was seen as the means toward a practical and radical transformation of Afghanistan. These two events opened the door to the redefinition of the U.S. goal and the ability to claim mission accomplished for the earlier, more modest end, thereby building the basis for terminating the war.

The central battle was in the United States military, divided between conventional warfighters and counter-insurgents. Counterinsurgency draws its roots from theories of social development in emerging countries going back to the 1950s. It argues that victory in these sorts of wars depends on social and political mobilization and that the purpose of the military battle is to create a space to build a state and nation capable of defending itself.

The conventional understanding of war is that its purpose is to defeat the enemy military. It presents a more limited and focused view of military power. This faction, bitterly opposed to Petraeus’ view of what was happening in Afghanistan, saw the war in terms of defeating the Taliban as a military force. In the view of this faction, defeating the Taliban was impossible with the force available and unlikely even with a more substantial force. There were two reasons for this. First, the Taliban comprised a light infantry force with a superior intelligence capability and the ability to withdraw from untenable operations (such as the battle for Helmand province) and re-engage on more favorable terms elsewhere. Second, sanctuaries in Pakistan allowed the Taliban to withdraw to safety and reconstitute themselves, thereby making their defeat in detail impossible. The option of invading Pakistan remained, but the idea of invading a country of 180 million people with some fraction of the nearly 150,000 U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan was militarily unsupportable. Indeed, no force the United States could field would be in a position to compel Pakistan to conform to American wishes.

The alternative on the American side is a more conventional definition of war in which the primary purpose of the U.S. military in Afghanistan is to create a framework for special operations forces to disrupt al Qaeda in Afghanistan and potentially Pakistan, not to attempt to either defeat the Taliban strategically or transform Afghanistan politically and culturally. With the death of bin Laden, an argument can be made — at least for political purposes — that al Qaeda has been disrupted enough that the conventional military framework in Afghanistan is no longer needed. If al Qaeda revives in Afghanistan, then covert operations can be considered. The problem with al Qaeda is that it does not require any single country to regenerate. It is a global guerrilla force.

Asymmetry in U.S. and Pakistani Interests

The United States can choose to leave Afghanistan without suffering strategic disaster. Pakistan cannot leave Pakistan. It therefore cannot leave its border with Afghanistan nor can it evade the reality that Pakistani ethnic groups — particularly the Pashtun, who straddle the border and form the heart of the Taliban phenomenon — live on the Afghan side of the border as well. Therefore, while Afghanistan is a piece of American global strategy and not its whole, Afghanistan is central to Pakistan’s national strategy. This asymmetry in U.S. and Pakistani interests is now the central issue.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, Pakistan joined with the United States to defeat the Soviets. Saudi Arabia provided money and recruits, the Pakistanis provided training facilities and intelligence and the United States provided trainers and other support. For Pakistan, the Soviet invasion was a matter of fundamental national interest. Facing a hostile India supported by the Soviets and a Soviet presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan was threatened on two fronts. Therefore, deep involvement with the jihadists in Afghanistan was essential to Pakistan because the jihadists tied down the Soviets. This was also beneficial to the United States.

After the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the United States became indifferent to Afghanistan’s future. Pakistan could not be indifferent. It remained deeply involved with the Islamist forces that had defeated the Soviets and would govern Afghanistan, and it helped facilitate the emergence of the Taliban as the dominant force in the country. The United States was quite content with this in the 1990s and accepted the fact that Pakistani intelligence had become intertwined not only with the forces that fought the Soviets but also with the Taliban, who, with Pakistani support, won the civil war that followed the Soviet defeat.

Intelligence organizations are as influenced by their clients as their clients are controlled by them. Consider anti-Castro Cubans in the 1960s and 1970s and their beginning as CIA assets and their end as major influencers of U.S. policy toward Cuba. The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) became entwined with its clients. As the influence of the Taliban and Islamist elements increased in Afghanistan, the sentiment spread to Pakistan, where a massive Islamist movement developed with influence in the government and intelligence services.

Sept. 11, 2001, posed a profound threat to Pakistan. On one side, Pakistan faced a United States in a state of crisis, demanding Pakistani support against both al Qaeda and the Taliban. On the other side Pakistan had a massive Islamist movement hostile to the United States and intelligence services that had, for a generation, been intimately linked to Afghan Islamists, first with whole-hearted U.S. support, then with its benign indifference. The American demands involved shredding close relationships in Afghanistan, supporting an American occupation in Afghanistan and therefore facing internal resistance and threats in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Pakistani solution was the only one it could come up with to placate both the United States and the forces in Pakistan that did not want to cooperate with the United States. The Pakistanis lied. To be more precise and fair, they did as much as they could for the United States without completely destabilizing Pakistan while making it appear that they were being far more cooperative with the Americans and far less cooperative with their public. As in any such strategy, the ISI and Islamabad found themselves engaged in a massive balancing act.

U.S. and Pakistani national interests widely diverged. The United States wanted to disrupt al Qaeda regardless of the cost. The Pakistanis wanted to avoid the collapse of their regime at any cost. These were not compatible goals. At the same time, the United States and Pakistan needed each other. The United States could not possibly operate in Afghanistan without some Pakistani support, ranging from the use of Karachi and the Karachi-Khyber and Karachi-Chaman lines of supply to at least some collaboration on intelligence sharing, at least on al Qaeda. The Pakistanis badly needed American support against India. If the United States simply became pro-Indian, the Pakistani position would be in severe jeopardy.

The United States was always aware of the limits of Pakistani assistance. The United States accepted this publicly because it made Pakistan appear to be an ally at a time when the United States was under attack for unilateralism. It accepted it privately as well because it did not want to see Pakistan destabilize. The Pakistanis were aware of the limits of American tolerance, so a game was played out.

The Endgame in Afghanistan

That game is now breaking down, not because the United States raided Pakistan and killed bin Laden but because it is becoming apparent to Pakistan that the United States will, sooner or later, be dramatically drawing down its forces in Afghanistan. This drawdown creates three facts. First, Pakistan will be facing the future on its western border with Afghanistan without an American force to support it. Pakistan does not want to alienate the Taliban, and not just for ideological reasons. It also expects the Taliban to govern Afghanistan in due course. India aside, Pakistan needs to maintain its ties to the Taliban in order to maintain its influence in Afghanistan and guard its western flank. Being cooperative with the United States is less important. Second, Pakistan is aware that as the United States draws down, it will need Pakistan to cover its withdrawal strategically. Afghanistan is not Iraq, and as the U.S. force draws down, it will be in greater danger. The U.S. needs Pakistani influence. Finally, there will be a negotiation with the Taliban, and elements of Pakistan, particularly the ISI, will be the intermediary.

The Pakistanis are preparing for the American drawdown. Publicly, it is important for them to appear as independent and even hostile to the Americans as possible in order to maintain their domestic credibility. Up to now, they have appeared to various factions in Pakistan as American lackeys. If the United States is leaving, the Pakistanis can’t afford to appear that way anymore. There are genuine issues separating the two countries, but in the end, the show is as important as the issues. U.S. accusations that the government has not cooperated with the United States in fighting Islamists are exactly what the Pakistani establishment needs in order to move to the next phase. Publicly arresting CIA sources who aided the United States in capturing bin Laden also enhances this new image.

From the American point of view, the war in Afghanistan — and elsewhere — has not been a failure. There have been no more attacks on the United States on the order of 9/11, and that has not been for al Qaeda’s lack of trying. U.S. intelligence and security services, fumbling in the early days, achieved a remarkable success, and that was aided by the massive disruption of al Qaeda by U.S. military operations. The measure of military success is simple. If the enemy was unable to strike, the military effort was a success. Obviously, there is no guarantee that al Qaeda will not regenerate or that another group will not emerge, but a continued presence in Afghanistan at this point doesn’t affect that. This is particularly true as franchise operations like the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula begin to overtake the old apex leadership in terms of both operational innovation in transnational efforts and the ideological underpinnings of those attacks.

In the end, the United States will leave Afghanistan (with the possible exception of some residual special operations forces). Pakistan will draw Afghanistan back into its sphere of influence. Pakistan will need American support against India (since China does not have the force needed to support Pakistan over the Himalayas nor the navy to protect Pakistan’s coast). The United States will need Pakistan to do the basic work of preventing an intercontinental al Qaeda from forming again. Reflecting on the past 10 years, Pakistan will see that as being in its national interest. The United States will use Pakistan to balance India while retaining close ties to India.

A play will be acted out like the New Zealand Haka, with both sides making terrible sounds and frightening gestures at each other. But now that the counterinsurgency concept is being discarded, from all indications, and a fresh military analysis is under way, the script is being rewritten and we can begin to see the end shaping up. The United States is furious at Pakistan for its willingness to protect American enemies. Pakistan is furious at the United States for conducting attacks on its sovereign territory. In the end it doesn’t matter. They need each other. In the affairs of nations, like and dislike are not meaningful categories, and bullying and treachery are not blocks to cooperation. The two countries need each other more than they need to punish each other. Great friendships among nations are built on less.

Read more: U.S. and Pakistan: Afghan Strategies | STRATFOR