Operation Odyssey Dawn: Obama Green Lights Air Strikes

President Obama has issued orders to allow the United States military to strike Lybian integrated air-defense systems while the French launched their own air-strikes earlier in the day.  The Pentagon is briefing the media now.  We will update here at TheLobbyist accordingly… stay tuned…

-rj

The Pentagon says that the point of the strikes with both older Tomahawk Cruise missiles and the newer-generation Tomahawks which have the ability to “loiter” in a given area while commanders decide on a target via internal cameras, was to create an atmosphere to establish a no-fly zone over the city of Benghazi to support of the Lybian rebels under assault from Qhaddafi’s forces.

The American Tomahawks were launched after the French launched their air-strikes against Qhaddafi’s forces earlier Saturday morning.  The United States does NOT have troops on the ground guiding missiles, and the US does NOT have planes in the air enforcing a no-fly zone at this time.

Reperesentative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) announced via Twitter:

Jason Chaffetz
@jasoninthehouseJason Chaffetz   I disagree with the use of US force in Libya.
General from the Pentagon says, “we are in the first phase of a multi-phase operation.”
Jake Tapper
@jaketapper Jake Tapper  112 Tomahawks launched from mix of US subs and surface ships + 1 UK sub. Over 20 Libyan air defense targets.
The United States Navy is reporting:
US Navy
@USNavyUS Navy  110-112 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles launched by USNavy at Air Defense and Communication Nodes in Libya to set stage for No-Fly Zone

The Americans Are Leaving- Why Some Egyptians Want Them to Stay

As the state department of the United States urges its citizens to make emergency flights out of Egypt, the US embassy in Cairo is hard at work. The US Embassy has tasked itself with the safety of US citizens to ensure a safe and quick departure from Egypt. However, is this a bad thing for Egyptians? Egyptians are saying that this departure could be a threat to their safety. The current situation in Cairo is highly unsettled and other countries are urging their citizens to pull out of Egypt as well, including Britain and Japan.

As this is happening, reports are surfacing in Egypt that President Obama is speaking to President Mubarak. No one knows what these talks entail; however, the Egyptian people assume that President Obama is still supporting Mubarak’s regime. As I am told, “We do not need the United States’ help in our revolution. What we hope is that the United States will tell Mubarak that the United States will no longer support Mubarak’s regime.”

So, why would Americans leaving Cairo affect the Egyptian people? The Egyptian people feel that as American, British, and Japanese citizens are departing for their home countries, Egyptians are left without their “shield”. With the only people left being Egyptians, people believe that Mubarak will be more willing to order the military to start using force to deter protesters. In response to this, the Egyptian people have begun asking for a million citizens to congregate at Tahrir Square on Tuesday, February 1. Some do believe that this is going to be a “million-man march” but the sentiment in Egypt is that the calling of a million people is to deter Mubarak from using force against the people. As the old saying goes, there is strength in numbers.

As Mubarak’s days are numbered the reality that he would irrationally use military force on protesters in Tahrir Square which would cause a massacre is unlikely. However, it is this fear that has Egyptians concerned. They want this to be their fight and it is most certainly that now; the only individuals left are themselves, there are no foreign citizens to halt Mubarak from using direct force.

Egyptians have already seen scare tactics from Mubarak. The looters are believed to be sent from Mubarak’s regime. Public hospitals in Egypt were raided last night and the patients were stripped of any money they had. Public hospitals in Egypt care for the indigent. These are people who struggle to live day to day. Individuals who can afford more expensive, not always higher quality care, will be seen at private institutions. What does it mean that the looters choose to raid public hospitals? This would be Mubarak’s attempt to stifle the enthusiasm of the people who are, for every reason, willing to sacrifice all they have for a more equitable Egypt. These scare tactics have given most the belief that Mubarak is willing to use extreme measures until the people side with him.

What should President Obama do today? I do not wish to be the President of the United States this week, however, our President has been on the forefront in demanding human rights for the protesters. Whether the Egyptians are correct in believing that Mubarak will now start using force as foreigners have left, President Obama must take this threat seriously. A recommendation would be to again call President Mubarak to notify the leader that if peaceful protesters are met with violence then the United States will immediately and publically call for the immediate resignation of President Mubarak. The only hope is that a man whose back is against the proverbial wall will make the best decision for his fellow citizens and treat them as fellow humans, which is exactly what they are.

An article was brought to my attention that mentioned the Muslim Brotherhood seeking other opposition groups to join forces in an interim unity government. They will all be together in Tahrir Square tomorrow. What would this mean? The Muslim Brotherhood is seeking opportunities currently to be seen as a mild group that believes in the ideologies of the protesters, unalienable human rights and personal freedom. However, the Brotherhood does not support either ideal. The Brotherhood is currently locked out of the current government. If Egyptians allow the Muslim Brotherhood to play the slightest role in the reshaping of Egypt’s government, one can expect the stifling of personal freedoms and less equitable Egypt.

Egyptians, keep your eyes on end goal, put into power those individuals that will allow Egypt to flourish not suffer.  To the military, side with your fellow citizens, they wish for you to protect a better Egypt.

It’s Back RAHM!

Rahm Emanuel was placed back on the ballot by the Illinois Supreme Court, despite the fact that he was renting his house in Chicago out to someone else while he stayed in DC.  His lawyers argued that he was serving his country and always planned on returning to the Chicago area.  The Washington Post has a full report here.  So, we are pretty much looking at the future Mayor of Chicago… at least, according to the most recent polls:

Front-runner has 44%

Braun next with 21%

…..Thanks a lot, Nick.

-rj

What the President Should, But Won’t, Say in his State of the Union Address

When it comes down to it, there are really only five first-tier issues facing America:

1. We need jobs, and fast. The policies enacted by Presidents Bush and Obama have failed to stimulate the economy.

2. We need to eliminate the deficit in the next 2.5 years.

3. We have too many abortions committed every year.

4. We have two conflicts overseas being run ineffectively and inefficiently.

5. Corruption and transparency in government are at unacceptably high and low, respectively, levels. Additionally, Big Government and Big Business collusion is at a level that is entirely unethical.

President Obama should, but won’t, admit that the State of our Union is precarious, and should do the following:

1. He will push for a flat tax or a national sales tax, as well as the concurrent elimination of all other federal taxes in America on our citiWzens.

2. He will push to eliminate or lower the minimum wage.

3. The Federal Reserve will be audited annually, and will have less power.

4. He will follow through on his recent op-ed to eliminate some regulations.

5. He will repeal the Affordable Care Act, and push to institute tort reform and Dartmouth Atlas-style payment reform. He will also increase the size of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) so it can begin to cut down on the $100 billion, give or take, of fraud in Medicare and Medicaid.

6. He will convince his fellow Democrats to make the individual health insurance market less government-influenced.

7. He will try to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70 in the next two decades, and wall off Congress’ ability to take from the Social Security Administration (SSA) trust fund. Means-testing of Social Security will also take place.

8. He will eliminate or cut down the size of the Departments of Education and Agriculture, and eliminate all $90+ billion in private-sector subsidies to various energy, agriculture and other industries.

9. While the President should ban abortions, the fact is that he supports them. Given this reality, he should support H.R. 3, which bans all federal funding of abortions. He should also work to enact more welfare reforms and proper sexual education so that young people don’t think of abortion as a) necessary, and b) birth control.

10. He should get out of Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of this year, or at the latest by the end of 2012. We’ve spent more lives and dollars in those nations than ever expected, and there is no end in sight. Sending more troops to protect one’s political rear end does not count as a “strategy.”

11. He should push for term limits, and complete transparency for all Members of Congress. As an example: All donors to campaigns and Members will be recorded and posted on A Member’s wall and official website. The amount donated will be posted as well, and the issue(s) this person related their funding to. This will be done within 24 hours of the donations.)

12. Cap-and-trade should be off the table, and the lightbulb ban should be ditched.

13. Members should stop receiving pay the day they leave Congress. The idea of a lifetime pension is ridiculous for a public servant.

14. There should never be another TARP-style bailout ever again.

Obviously, I am a rather conservative individual, and President Obama is not. However, I think many of the above suggestions are not extreme, and in fact are things that could be supported on a bipartisan basis. Unfortunately, the event is more about political partisanship than actual results, which is symptomatic of why our nation is headed into deep, deep trouble in the next few years.

Update: Silly me- I forgot to mention in the “jobs” portion of this post that he should allow more opportunities for nuclear power, and in the budget section that he should push for reform of our defense contracting policies.

Obama Rating Spike Par For Course

At times the only thing that surprises me is the incoherent gullibility of many in the conservative and moderate movement.  Either that or some liberals that were polled have found some renewed faith in the promised one.

Consider though a couple of stats from the latest poll outside of the 53% approval rating:

  • Only 45% approve of his handling of the economy.  Some states hit 18% unemployment this week.
  • 56% believe the country is on the wrong track.
  • 71% believe that we will have to eventually give up on Afghanistan.

And here are two that are off the charts bizarre:

  • 40% polled believe Obama is a moderate.
  • 11% polled believe Obama is a conservative.

Seriously, who are these people being polled and what cave do they live in that still have telephone service in which to be selected for polling?  Bare in mind that 3 years ago 55% considered Obama a liberal and at current after selling out Europe’s missile defense to Russia, spending more money in 2 years than Bush did in 6, pushing through a health care bill, backing FCC regulatory control over the Internet, and attempting to push through a massive global warming based energy policy, only 45% consider him liberal.  Explain that one…

So why does Obama suddenly come of as a moderate and receive a bump in approval rating?  My personal guess is that he received a slight resurgence in faith from liberals by way of the missile treaty and allowing gays in the military to be more forthright in their *cough* preferences.  Additionally, he’s probably re-captured some moderates and confused conservatives via his opinion editorial in the Wall Street Journal that came across as pro-business to some.  And you’re welcome to disagree with me, but personally I felt that the Tucson memorial speech was simply another ra-ra campaign speech, which would certainly be seen as favorable by some.

In the end, Obama is a brilliant man, and he puts intelligent people around him.  Everything he is doing to appear to be having a change of heart and open arms toward conservatives and the Republican Party is fake.  And furthermore, it is strategically designed to appear that way.  The reasoning is simple:

  1. It makes him look generally more favorable and increases his poll percentages (which obviously is the reason this is being written).
  2. If he makes nice then it increases the chance of conservative members of Congress letting down their guard and voting in favor of Obama goals oriented legislation in the future which is a win for his administration.
  3. He wins (for the most part) in any case.  If Reps ignore his gestures of working together and finding middle ground, then he bashes the GOP in the next presidential election for working against him.  If Reps work with him, then he uses that to his advantage during the next election and says that the GOP was not really doing anything different.

This is simply par for the course with Obama.  Don’t let the rug get pulled out from under you.

We Won, Now Let’s Find Some Perspective

Today is a great day for Conservatives.  There is a weariness in our souls that has somewhat dissipated.  But something has been troubling me for some time now, and I think that it is important that we all take a minute to find some perspective.

I’ve repeatedly heard from television talking heads, my radio, and politicians that now the work will begin to reduce spending, provide tax breaks, repeal Obamacare, push nuclear energy, so on and so forth.  But folks, that’s just not going to happen.  I’d be willing to bet that none of that happens.

This election was not about actively reversing trends.  We just don’t have the power to do that.  Our side will not be able to push an agenda, and even if our side could do that, the likelihood of President Obama signing anything Conservatives sent to him is slim to none.  In military strategy you have the “rollback” and you have “containment”.  The rollback is the complete annihilation of the enemy.  And containment of course is a strategic blockade.

What this election was truly about was creating a two year containment or a blockade.  We all saw very clearly how much damage could be done in two years with a Progressive president and a Congress full of his sheep.  The results of this election simply keep President Obama in check, when he was clearly not in check the last two years.  2012 should be Conservatives goal for really seeing a reversal of trends.

Perspective is an important thing, and it will be increasingly important as we edge closer to 2012.  Why?  Mainly because Conservatives have made a stand, the Tea Party has made a stand, and that passion, involvement and trend needs to continue into the 2012 presidential election.  If we lose perspective though, and talking heads and politicians begin waxing poetic about how they are about to roll all of Obama’s policies back over the next two years, then the reality is that Conservatives could be in the same pot of boiling water in two years time that Liberals and Progressives are currently sitting in.

Now is not the time for politicians to be making promises that Congressional Conservatives do not have the power to act on, and talking heads and radio show hosts should be reminding viewers and listeners of this fact.  We would simply be setting ourselves up for failure.  Under-promising and over-delivering should be the slogan of every Conservative in office right now.  For the last two years we have been playing a football game without a defense or an offense.  We just got our defense in play to keep Obama from out right scoring.  But the reality is that we won’t have an opportunity to get an offense into the game until 2012.  If we all keep that in mind over the next short 24 months, and keep our passions and involvement high, then we can take back the Senate and potentially the presidency and start the Republican Rollback of the Progressive movement.

Obama Might Be Targeting Americans… and I’m OK With That

I am trying to work some things out in my mind, and I was hoping that I might solicit the help of a few of our thelobbyist comrades-in-arms (probably a poor idiom considering the topic at hand). Am I to assume, that police departments are not allowed (according to some) to ask for documentation pertaining to a person’s legal status in these United States; but it is imperative that our troops and commanders check the citizenship of people overseas in war-torn sections of the world before we take out a target?

The specific case I am talking about has to do with an American born- Anwar al-Awlaki. “Anwar al-Awlaki is an American citizen, born in New Mexico, and now residing in Yemen, where he repeatedly issues exhortations to murder his fellow Americans,” as reported by the Washington Independent. The Obama Administration has secret intelligence, as well as overt intelligence, tying the American to Al Qaeda operating in Yemen; he ministered to the 9/11 hijackers, was the possible inspiration for the Ft. Hood shooter, and purportedly had ties to the would-be Christmas bomber. Because of this, he has been placed on a counter-terrorism ‘hit-list.’ It is important to note, that the CIA reported that he was not placed on that list until they received intelligence that would lead them to believe that the operation al-Awlaki has been working on recently has gone from the planning stages to the operational stage.

Civil libertarians are upset over the fact that the Executive would use its power to summarily strip away an American’s citizenship and have that person, what they call, assassinated. I want to clear up, however, because killing someone who happens to be an American is not “assassination.” Every surreptitious murder of a fellow American would be assassination. It is the murder of a prominent political figure-head, generally for political purposes. Strategically killing someone who is fighting for the other side is not assassination, or does every time a Taliban or Al Qaeda soldier get killed without knowing whom killed him/her considered assassination? I think the fact that people are saying “Obama is assassinating Americans” only works to hype up the readership of periodicals (like they ever do that).

I understand the plight of the civil libertarians, I understand that they think that this action is a gross misuse of government power and that Americans cannot have their liberties stripped away.  Let us clear the record: yes, the government can take away your citizenship. There is a set of guidelines that shows what it takes for someone to loose their citizenship. Title 8, § 1481 details all of the reasons why someone might have their citizenship revoked:


A person who is a national of the United States whether by birth or naturalization, shall lose his nationality by voluntarily performing any of the following acts with the intention of relinquishing United States nationality—

People against the policy of killing American citizens during a time of war while those citizens are operating against the United States point to the ending clause of Subsection 8:

(8) committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States, violating or conspiring to violate any of the provisions of section 2383 of title 18, or willfully performing any act in violation of section 2385 of title 18, or violating section 2384 of title 18 by engaging in a conspiracy to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, if and when he is convicted thereof by a court martial or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

However, this final statement pertains to subsection 8 alone, because the previous seven subsections discuss other reasons why the government might revoke someone’s citizenship. Some talk about if the citizen goes to a consulate office and writes a formal letter, only then can their citizenship be officially withdrawn. Considering we are talking about people who are willing to use airplanes with civilians as missiles, and place plastic explosives in their shoes to kill Americans; I just can’t say that it is reasonable for people to expect terrorists (home-grown or not) to act reasonably. Besides, a person’s citizenship can be revoked the minute they join the ranks of a foreign army or try to usurp the United States government.

When the police are in a stand off with a suspect, an American citizen or not, they are forced to abide by the rule of law and their own standard operating procedures. In times of imminent peril and danger, either to themselves or to the hostages, they use sharp shooters to take out the suspect. No Mirandizing, no obtaining a warrant to search his persons, no trial and jury of his/her peers, the executive has the prerogative to take matters into their own hands in particular situations. I think that a war might be one of those situations. This is not the first time this question has been brought up, as Andy McCarthy writes:

The president is the commander-in-chief with primacy on questions regarding the conduct of war. Even if we were to accept for argument’s sake that at issue is a legal rather than a political judgment, Supreme Court precedent (the World War II era Quirin case and the 2004 Hamdi decision) hold that American citizens who fight for the enemy in wartime may be treated as enemy combatants, just like aliens.

The problem is that we have people who are trying to legislate war. Ironic. War is chaos, it is hell, it is the state of nature according to Hobbes. But then again, it is not the state of nature, because it isn’t all against all, it’s us against them: it’s political. Part of political justice is ensuring the safety of your own before that of those who are trying to harm you, and if it is someone who was once a part of the ‘us’ crowd, it is necessary and proper for the government to take the necessary steps to keep that person from harming the whole. We can try to contain the ravages of war with laws, but there are limits to doing this, as there are limits to everything else in life. But if we tie the hands of the president during a time of war, we tie the hands of the country and ultimately make it more possible for Americans here and abroad to perish. I support what the President is doing in this case, I think that going and throwing Hellfire missiles at every target does us no good; we loose actionable intelligence and sometimes cause collateral damage. But taking out someone that could be critical in the carrying out of terrorist operations is the duty of the President and myriad organizations that have been established to keep this country safe. When they are doing that, I will gladly thank them.

I just hope people keep this in mind when the DoJ and Attorney General Holder talk about “going after” the Bush Administration for their “detaining” and “enhanced interrogation” memos. The pro-National Security Bush crowd seems to be the only crowd (aside from the civil libertarians against both Administrations) that has a consistent policy. The real problem lies in the Obama Administration’s hypocrisy.

-rj

Interview With Peter Roff, Senior Fellow at Institute for Liberty

Dustin Siggins: The CBO says not doing the Obama tax increases would increase the deficit by over $3 trillion over ten years. Your response?

Peter Roff: Keeping tax rates where they are under current law is the right thing to do. Allowing them to go up, as Obama intends, will further depress an economy that’s already flat on its back. Taking more money out of the private sector- which already isn’t hiring, innovating or expanding- is a recipe for disaster.

DS: So should Republicans campaign on spending cuts to offset what CBO says?

PR: It’s a false argument for two reasons:

  • It’s current law- to pay for something that is current law is absurd. Under current law, you bring in X taxes. They believe that if tax rates go up, it will bring in an additional figure: Y. So when they talk about a $3.5 trillion dollar hole, what that really means is it’s X+Y-Y, Y being the hole. They are getting X now, even in a static analysis. If you leave current law where it is, they will get X next year. They expect to spend X+Y, so they want to tax at X+Y. If they spend at X+Y, and only tax at X, there will be the hole.

DS: What is reasonable spending reform unrelated to the tax rates?

PR: Cut off the stimulus. Repeal ObamaCare, and replace it with a patient-centered, market-oriented system. Cut the federal work force across the board, including non-military Defense Department positions (i.e. cutting civilian defense employees). The American public is concerned about federal spending in ways they have never been before. But the real issue is bringing growth back to the American economy. How do you do that? You put an end to economic uncertainty. People have to know what the cost of hiring will be and what their taxes and regulatory costs will be. And THAT’S what you have to stimulate the economy. Encourage the American people to engage in economically-productive activity, rather than punish them.

Interview With Seton Motley: President of “Less Government”

Dustin Siggins: If Republicans take back the House, how effective will they be in restraining/overturning Obama’s policies?

Seton Motley: They can’t overturn, but they can defund and defang what’s been passed.

DS: Do you think Republicans who target the community center/mosque are making a mistake?

SM: Any issue where it’s 70-30 on your side, it’s not a mistake to make that argument. An indicator of that is when the left says it’s a distraction…it’s damaging the left, and they want you to stop doing it.

DS: Mitt Romney has avoided the debate, and wrote in the Boston Globe about the economy…

SM: It’s not like the mosque is going to be talked about to the exclusion of the economy. That’s absurd. What’s going to happen is that it’s another in a long series of issues where the left is flying directly in the face of the American people. The political tone-deafness of President Obama to be silent for weeks, to the point where the lines are clearly demarcated for where the American people stand on it, and then he comes out on the opposite side of it. In that way, it’s no different than the myriad spending bills; health care; and the stimulus, where they know where Americans stand but they do the opposite.

The fact that Obama waited weeks, then came out against the American people, leads one to think that he might not pay any attention to what the American people say.

The American people have made it clear they support extending the Bush tax cuts, and Democrats aren’t going to do that. Peter Roff did write in U.S. News that the “October Surprise” may be Democrats extending some of the cuts to attempt to minimize the damage that will be done to the Democratic Party in November.

DS: How can Republicans show they are serious about spending right away, after November, especially since the deficit impact of extending the Bush tax cuts can be mitigated through simple spending cuts.

SM: Paul Ryan (Representative from Wisconsin) has come up with a plan. The cry of “Party of No” is a joke; when Republicans have so few votes in Congress, that is basically all they can do is say No. BUT, that claim about being the “Party of No” is inaccurate, since Republicans like Paul Ryan have detailed plans to address the spending problem in Washington.

BEFORE You Pass the Unemployment Extension!

Unemployment is the new-old hot button issue that is all over the news again since we finally corked the oil spill in the Gulf for the time being. This is also a topic that affects far more Americans directly, so naturally, it is back on the front burner before Congress takes their August recess.  Today it is looking like we are going to get the extension passed without any consideration for how it will be paid for, or what it will even accomplish.

There is one talking point I would like clarified by our friends on the left: has the stimulus been successful, or are we in a dire situation? We cannot have it both ways, and yet, President Obama and his cabinet would like you to believe that the stimulus was successful while at the same time lecturing the Republicans on the reasonableness of passing the unemployment extension because we are in a crisis (and God knows, this Administration won’t let any crisis go to waste!). You can’t have your cake and eat it too, although, we are supposed to eat ours.

So which is it? Those of us with a more Conservative (or rugged individualism) proclivity are likely to say, “a year for unemployment benefits is ample time! Suck it up and get a job!” Those of us who may be more mindful of taking care of our fellow man (or, at least forcing others to do so through government so we don’t have to do the dirty work ourselves) might argue, “there are no jobs, what are they supposed to do?”

Taking only one side of this issue leaves one without a complete understanding of our present crisis’ gestalt. There are certainly a number of situations where people have been using unemployment benefits to subsidize their sloth; while one cannot take away from the fact that some areas of a state simply have no infrastructure for job growth. You cannot deny that the job situation has gotten worse, the New York Times has an interactive map that shows the growing unemployment rates state by state and how they climbed over time. Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not show a particularly peachy picture of jobs to come, considering at the present moment there are five Americans competing for every one job.

I know it won’t happen, but there are two things I would like to see done if Congress and the President are to pass the Emergency Unemployment Benefits Extension:

First, I cannot imagine why we can’t find a way to pay for it. Emergency unemployment benefits are not paid by the employer during the worker’s tenure, it comes straight out of thin air thanks to the Federal government’s Nietzschean ability to posit something from nothing; in this case, create money and with it, value. The Federal government sets aside a block grant to the state, whose Department of Labor hands out the benefits accordingly. Our Federal deficit stands at a paltry $1.6 Trillion dollars this year, as projected by the administration. The Unemployment bill that is set to pass today will add yet another $36 Billion to our gluttonous budget, and all the Republicans and a few Blue-Dogs ask for is a means to pay for it… part of it? Half of it? Any of it? Somebody please go to YouCut and find one of those programs that Representative Cantor’s office has bulls-eyed and we could have this extension paid for.

Secondly, I’ve already hinted to it earlier in the piece, but the Wall Street Journal has an article about stimulating unemployment where a crazy correlation was made: “A 2006 NBER study by Raj Chetty of UC Berkeley on a related subject begins, ‘It is well known that unemployment benefits raise unemployment durations.’” Imagine that: incentivizing people to not get jobs, and then telling them “well instead of getting a job call your Congressman and ask him or her to extend unemployment benefits” would lead people to strive for nothing. That’s as stupid as setting time-tables in a war. Nevertheless, if we are going to do this last emergency extension, why the hell would we not get something out of it in return? Why not ask of people (and I say ask now, but rather, I’d be much more willing to demand it as part of the prerequisite for receiving such benefits) to help out their community? I would make it mandatory for people to volunteer at least 20 hours of their week towards their community, state or nation in exchange for their free benefits (because we must remember, that they did not pay into this unemployment pool). This would allow people to create at least some value from their benefits outside of paying for the bare necessities that had to be paid for already. Giving money away doesn’t add value; but giving money to people in exchange for something does.

When I mentioned this on my Twitter account (follow me, rcaster – we are not afraid of shameless self promotion here) I was accosted by some #P2 fellow, which means he is a “Progressive” in Twitter lexicon. He claimed my idea was unfair because “the unemployed are not criminals!” I would have re-posted the conversation for you, but BlackJedi”somethingorother” was embarrassed enough to just erase his entire end of the conversation, and my tweets went as well (I guess that means I was blocked).

Imagine that, doing something for your community is an activity that should be relegated to those people who are being punished. Perhaps this is the truth about the soul of our communities, and why liberal areas tend to lack it. Doing community service is a punishment? Well I would rather bestow benefits upon people willing to contribute to their community, than give it to those who do not. And besides, who can take away the fact that people will feel better once they get into a productive groove; perhaps they will put their rear-into-gear afterward and go look for that next job with some new skills; perhaps they won’t sit around and feel sorry for themselves, but feel a sense of accomplishment for having achieved something, and that may just be the push they need to go out the door and apply. I used to get into arguments with my high school history teacher, Mr. Lubenetski, about FDR’s New Deal and whether or not it ended the Great Depression. He would say to me, looking exactly like Teddy Roosevelt (he did, red hair, mustache, glasses and all) and explode with his booming voice, “it may not have brought people all the way up to their feet, but it kept them off their knees!” If we are going to pay people who lost work, I say we put them back to work, because you may not be able to measure the benefit of doing so, but a man’s pride can carry him further than his pouting ever will.

-rj

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