American Elephants


The Era of Climate Alarmism is Ending. It’s Over. by The Elephant's Child

According the Climate Policy Initiative, the world “invested” $1 billion a day last year to “fight” global warming, which hasn’t been happening for over 16 years.

The World Economic Forum said that wasn’t enough, that we needed $700 billion to tackle climate change, but exactly what we should be doing to wage war on a climate that is no longer warming ? Stop all that carbon dioxide that is getting into the atmosphere? The CO² has been increasing even as the climate cools. It has now reached 400 ppm and is encouraging the greening of the world.

The age of climate alarmism is coming to an end. You many not have noticed that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a summary of its Fifth Assessment Report late last month — criticized and mocked by many leading climate scientists. The distinguished journal Science even editorialized  that this should be the last report issued by the UN body. Ouch.  The UN’s IPCC has been the guidebook for governments all over the world, yet few realize that the IPCC doesn’t do science. They even say so on their website.

Given five tries to convince the world that human activity is causing catastrophic warming of the planet, runaway sea-level rise and various weather disasters, the public still doesn’t buy it.

Country people, farmers, who have to be alert to changes in the weather and the climate in their daily lives are far less apt to buy it than city apartment dwellers who may encounter nature on occasional weekends. The IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report concedes for the first time that global temperatures have not risen since 1998, despite a 7 percent rise in carbon dioxide.

Nearly all the UN-approved climate computer models were wrong. The attempt to accurately model all of the variables of natural climate in a computer program simply didn’t work. We don’t know enough about climate. And much of what we thought we knew was wrong.  The IPCC admits that the “hockey stick” graph it featured in past reports wasn’t accurate. It looked like a hockey stick only because it ignored the Medieval Warm Period when temperatures were much warmer than today, and a period when Greenland was green and wine grapes grew in England.

Reported temperatures from weather stations across the country turned out to be way off, because of faulty placement of the temperature gauges next to air-conditioner outlets and concrete heat-retaining walls.

Despite Europe’s boom in solar and wind energy, CO² emissions haven’t been reduced by even a single gram, and it’s the EU’s own policies that are to blame. Australia had an election to get rid of the government and the hated carbon tax. Governments are beginning to back off. One billion a day should wake a few people up.

The true believers who have a quasi-religious belief in global warming are not going to give up easily. Their religious faith is more political than anything, and that faith is central to their identity. The European Union will pay £165 billion for its current climate policies each and every year for the next 87 years. Britain’s climate policies — subsidizing windmills, wood-burners, anaerobic digesters, electric vehicles and all the rest —is due to cost them £1.8 trillion over the course of this century. That will, they hope, lower the air temperature by about 0.005ºC — which will be undetectable by normal thermometers. The accepted consensus is that every £100 spent fighting climate change will bring £3 of benefits. Perhaps someone could tell Mr. Obama about this.

This winter is expected to be a cold one. We’ll see what the opinions are in the Spring.



Ozymandius by The Elephant's Child

lut-desert-dasht-e-lut-iran-text-615


hu–bris  —  Overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance

         I met a traveller from an antique land
         Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
         Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
         Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
         And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
         Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
         Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
         The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
         And on the pedestal these words appear:
         “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
         Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
         Nothing beside remains: round the decay
         Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
         The lone and level sands stretch far away.



President Obama to Congress: ” I Don’t Want to Hear About Spending Cuts.” by The Elephant's Child

obama-angry-8-560x350

Nancy Pelosi said “the cupboard is bare” — there’s no more that can be cut from the budget. Harry Reid, the disagreeable Majority Leader in the Senate wants to get rid of the sequester and restore the cuts that have already been made. There’s going to be no “Grand Bargain.”President Obama says he doesn’t want to hear about spending cuts.

“Don’t tell me we can afford to shut down the government, which costs our government billions of dollars, but we can’t afford to invest in our kids,” Obama said at a school in Brooklyn. “This obsession with cutting for the sake of cutting hasn’t helped our economy grow, it’s held us back,” Obama said.

“Cutting for the sake of cutting?” You will notice that the Democrats never speak of excess spending. They talk of investments, usually in “our kids.” Government waste? Never mentioned. I knew I had written about government waste several times, so I entered government waste in our own search bar, and I have apparently written about it at least 25 times, to go by the headlines.  From one of the most recent:

•Federal watchdogs have ideas for saving $67 billion a year, according to a report by a House committee. That’s without counting the sequester.

•So who are these “watchdogs”? They are the government’s Inspectors General who police the departments of the government for waste, fraud and abuse. They are the government’s auditors. They suggest ways to make government operation more efficient and to plug money leaks.

•Each year, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform surveys the Inspector Generals and reports how many of the recommended steps have not been taken and how much taxpayer money has been wasted as a result.

•The 2013 Inspector General’s report was released last week, and said that 16,900 of the IG’s recommendations are yet to be implemented. Using the most conservative estimates, they put the lost savings at $67 billion a year. That’s almost 80% of the sequester cuts that are supposedly causing layoffs, furloughs and general misery throughout the government. Eliminating waste, fraud and abuse as opposed to putting all those government employees on furlough? Such a choice.

•The inspectors general do a fine job of enumerating the waste — but getting it ended is something else again.

•There are 82 programs across 10 separate agencies endeavoring to improve teacher quality — something almost every local school district is trying to do as well. Are teachers improving?

•There are 47 job-training programs —45 of  which overlap. The federal government runs 80 programs for the “transportation disadvantaged.” No bus service?

•There’s an airport in Oklahoma that is kept open simply to collect federal funds. ($450,000) The airport receives one flight a month.

•The robot squirrel  project to see how they interact with rattlesnakes  ($325.000) has received considerable publicity.

•The government pays as much as $2 million annually in monthly service fees to maintain about 28,000 grant accounts that are empty and have expired. Because they have not officially been closed they still are charged service fees. Free money.

A post from 2011 had a list of 8 programs of blatant waste from Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) who noted that his findings would “make us all look like jackasses,” and contain enough actionable information to “keep Congress busy for a year.” That list is here. None of these wasteful programs has been eliminated. We’ve frequently had some brave soul in Congress who, perhaps having majored in math, or economics, or worked in the private sector, regularly comes up with ways to eliminate waste and government sprawl, but seldom does anyone think it important enough to actually get a bill passed eliminating them.

In February, I wrote about “Obama’s Big Government Vision for American Decline” in which I took Obama’s own words to demonstrate the problem. Plenty of material here to write your Congressman about. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi demonstrate the problem. Neither have ever done anything else but politics and government in long careers. Pelosi talks about how wonderful ObamaCare is going to be for the people. Harry Reid is stymied by the disastrous cuts of the sequester. They just want more money to spend. Politics is about winning, and winning is about buying votes, and politics is life.

And the people? They vote for whoever “cares about people like me.”



ObamaCare Operator Fired After Taking a Call From Hannity. by The Elephant's Child

When Obama spoke Monday about the catastrophic failure “glitch” in the rollout of the Healthcare.gov website, Obama said that there wasn’t only one way to sign up, you could call this toll-free number and somebody there would help you to sign up. As it turned out, the people at that toll-free number have to use the same program as the one at Healthcare.gov to sign you up, but they can answer questions.

Sean Hannity, on the air, thought he would try out that number to see if it worked. The ObamaCare operator was Earline Davis, who was nice as she could be. Hannity asked her how well it was going, and how well the law was being received by people who were applying, and she revealed that no one liked it. So they fired her from her job.

Hannity interviewed her again, after her dismissal, and that conversation is here.

HANNITY: And what was the specific reason? When they sat you down, did they give you a specific reason?

DAVIS: They said that no contact with the media. No type of media whatsoever. We’re not allowed to do that at that company.

HANNITY: Meaning, in other words, they didn’t tell you before you were hired, they didn’t tell you during your training, but then they told you after the fact that you aren’t allowed to be on the media if somebody called in. It’s not your fault I called.

Hannity is being responsible, and giving her a year’s salary and help to find her a new job. No one is suggesting that Obama himself was involved in the firing, but there is apparently a climate in which the president will not be mocked or criticized, and those who do will be punished.  I remember the rodeo clown who was not only fired for wearing an Obama mask, but told he could never work in the rodeo circuit again.



Would You Vote For This? by The Elephant's Child

2013-03-19T145502Z_01_WAS101_RTRIDSP_3_USA-CONGRESS-PAUL_image_982w

Rand Paul is pushing for a new Constitutional amendment stating:

Congress shall make no law applicable
to a citizen of the United States
that is not equally applicable to Congress
.

The amendment also contains two provisions that apply that same principle to the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch of the federal government, according to a press release put out by the office of the Kentucky senator on Monday.

I suspect the voters would go for this — big time. Getting it through Congress might be something else entirely. Congressmen Salmon and DeSantis proposed a similar idea in the House of Representatives last August.  One would assume that the Founders would be horrified to discover the extent to which our elected officials have exempted themselves from provisions they are happy to stick us with. Might make them think twice about some of the laws they devise.



Harry Reid: No Grand Bargain, No Negotiation, Just Raise Taxes On The Rich. by The Elephant's Child

Harry Reid, the disagreeable Majority Leader of the Senate, wasted no time in informing the public that there will be no cooperation nor attempt to get along in the formal House-Senate budget conference. Well, we should not be surprised, he refused to produce a budget, in defiance of the law, for four long years. And the government has been operating on “continuing resolutions” ever since.  He called the suggestion of a “grand bargain” including an overhaul of entitlement programs “happy talk.”

Well, it’s good to know before the conference even starts that there will be no attempt to negotiate or cooperate from the Democrats. The conference will start October 30. Reid added:

On sequestration, we’ve done one year of sequestration. It has been brutal. The only people who feel there shouldn’t be more coming in to the federal government from the rich people are the Republicans in the Congress. Everybody else, including the rich people, are willing to pay more. They want to pay more.

The Nevada Public Radio host asked what Republicans would have to concede to get Medicare and Social Security cuts on the table.

You keep talking about Medicare and Social Security. Get something else in your brain. Stop talking about that. That is not going to happen this time. There is not going to be a grand bargain. What we need to do is have Murray and her counterpart in the House, Ryan, work together to come up with something to get out of this senseless sequestration and start the budgeting process so that we can do normal appropriation bills.

They have their mind set on doing nothing, nothing more on revenue, and until they get off that kick, there’s not going to be a grand bargain on — there’s not going to be a small bargain,” Reid said. “We’re just going to have to do something to work our way through sequestration.

Apparently the disagreeable Mr. Reid has never heard that it is not advisable to raise taxes in the middle of a recession. You actually want to cut taxes, especially taxes on business— those rich people who file their business taxes as individuals, and who would like to expand their businesses if only there was some certainty out of the government.  And he seems to be unaware that Medicare and Social Security deeply need to be reformed since they are well in the way to going broke, so no one will have any benefits.

The Founders wanted our representatives to argue and fight over principle and ideas, and through the struggle come to an agreement of how to move forward, that doesn’t necessarily satisfy both sides., but that they can live with. It’s called negotiation. Democrats want more money to spend to buy votes and win elections. It would be more helpful if they were interested in doing the right thing for the economy.



“Not One Dime:” ObamaCare Projected to Add $6.2 Trillion to the Deficit by The Elephant's Child

This whole thing is remarkably strange. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that Obama was unaware of problems with the rollout of the Affordable Care Act — until it actually rolled out. Yet he has been out campaigning for the health care law saying “if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance,” and “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” both demonstrably false. And President Obama regularly said his health care law “wouldn’t add one dime to the federal deficit.”

That didn’t work out either. It’s clear that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will add 62 trillion dimes (and probably far more) over the next 75 years. The health care law is projected to add $6.2 trillion to the U.S. Deficit according to the GAO— the official auditor for the U.S. Congress. And such programs always cost more than the estimates, sometimes many times more.

The only federal program known to actually come in costing less than estimates was the much maligned Medicare Drug Program passed in the Bush administration.  It cost less specifically because it contained incentives for seniors to use generic medicines when they could. Democrats removed the incentive because they don’t understand incentives, and because they regard making people dependent on the government as a positive good.

It is all very confusing. On the one hand, we are told the president didn’t know anything about the problems with his healthcare plan until it opened and it didn’t work; on the other hand we are told that he has the tightest, most closely controlled administration where deviation from the party line is not allowed. It’s “the most transparent administration” in history, but Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) demands are met with denial, refusal, cover-ups and um. lies. We cannot believe the evidence of our eyes, we are told.

Well, nevermind, it’s not important. As his eponymous piece of legislation collapses into  catastrophe the president is doing what he likes most— campaigning and fundraising. He’s off to New York in search of 2014 campaign funds, leaving his deputies to deal with the — unpleasantness.

So far, health insurance cancellations have soared far above enrollment rates, if anything we hear about enrollment rates is even true. The cancellations are quite real: Florida Blue sent out 300,000 notices, Kaiser Permanente cancelled 160,000, Blue Shield of California cancelled 119,000 in September alone. 800,000 New Jersey residents’ plans will not exist in 2014. That’s only 3 states, but so it goes.  As the president said:

Again, [the Affordable Care Act] is for people who aren’t happy with their current plan. If you like what you’re getting, keep it. Nobody is forcing you to shift,



City of Seattle Abuses Eminent Domain to Create a Parking Lot….Out of a Parking Lot. by The Elephant's Child

I don’t know what it is about cities on the left coast, something in the water? “Seattle’s City Council voted unanimously on Monday to use eminent domain to take private property. They say they must seize the private property which is currently being used as a parking lot , in order to turn it into a ……….parking lot.” Here’s the ordinance.

There is no “public good” involved. The city council is competing with other city councils on the left coast for some kind of  dubious title. They have a ways to go to compete on an equal basis with San Francisco (remember the Happy Meals ban? Or the ban on selling goldfish?) and Berkeley, which is in a class by itself (waging war on a Marine recruiting station, or the Nuclear Free Zone, or the Cyclist anti-harassment law). The central planners want control. Fixing potholes is not exciting enough.

In addition to eminent domain abuse, the City of Seattle has recently been in the news for hiding public records, and sinking the farm boat. The common thread among all three of these stories is that, in Seattle, central planning takes priority over people. In this case, they decided it was critically important to seize a parking lot from its 103-year-old owner so that it can be a parking lot. At least this is their stated justification.

Seattle has “the viaduct,” an elderly elevated roadway along the waterfront, mostly with parking underneath. It is not attractive, but gets heavy use, and interferes with the view of those who live and work in buildings just uphill. The viaduct is being replaced with a tunnel, which will enhance property values of all those buildings. Seattle has plans for this lot once the viaduct is gone. The 103 year old owner appears to have a plan to donate the property to charity at the maximum value so that her desired charity will benefit. The city is impatient, although the viaduct has not yet been removed, and the property will be put up for sale at that time. So why are they spending the money to force a sale which will happen eventually? Trying to get it on the cheap?

Seattle Business Journal – “City of Seattle plays Darth Vader in property fight with elderly woman”- Oct 22, 2013)

Eminent domain abuse is a major problem. It is not meant as a solution for ambitious central planners, and needs reform — and not just in Seattle. Miss Woldson is said to be a feisty old lady, who is not shy about taking people to court. Could end up costing the city more than they expected.

 

 



Saudi Arabia Threatens to Sever Diplomatic Ties With U.S. by The Elephant's Child

And on the Foreign Policy front, all is not well either. So how is that vow to “repair America’s frayed alliances” supposedly frayed and battered by the Bush administration working out?

The Kingdom is not keeping secret any longer its disgust with the administration’s policy drift in the Middle East. Prince Turki al Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador in Washington explained his view of the deal Washington struck with Moscow over Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal,” the Prince told a London audience, “would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious, and designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down, but also to help Assad butcher his people.” It’s a rare occasion when a Saudi royal has the moral standing to lecture an American President, but this was one of them.

The Saudis asked the U.S. to beef up our naval presence in the Persian Gulf against a potential Iranian counter-strike, only to be told that we didn’t have the ships. Mr. Obama was nonchalant about our shrinking Navy. But there are consequences for our actions on the international scene.

If you look at foreign newspapers, it is surprising how much of their “news” is devoted to America and what we’re doing, whether it’s fads or politics or policy. Americans, on the other hand, probably because we live in a big country with major cities across the U.S., don’t really pay much attention to what is going on elsewhere. Part of that is simply language. Most other countries learn English as their second language, Most Americans take a language course in high school, but never learn to speak one.

Mr. Obama has been quite clear that he wants the U.S. to be just another nation among other nations, not a superpower. He opposed the Iraq War as a “dumb war” with no understanding of why we were there, and assumed that the only reason for being in Afghanistan was to “get” bin Laden, which he couldn’t quite bring himself to order when it came to it, until forced into it. We had won the Iraq war, but V.P. Biden could not arrange a status-of-forces agreement, and when al Qaeda in Iraq returned and started killing Iraqis, their foreign minister begged for us to return, but too late. The War in Afghanistan was to be conducted “nicely,” with our troops training Afghan recruits with unloaded weapons to show our niceness, which got a lot of our troops killed. I would be willing to bet that Mr. Obama has never seen a military movie, nor read either any military history, nor any of the great military novels. I may be wrong.

The troubles with Saudi Arabia have been developing for some time. David Ignatius wrote that “Saudi officials in Riyadh that they told him that they increasingly regarded the U.S. as unreliable and would look elsewhere for their security. in 2011.” They were dismayed when we deposed Mubarak and even more so when we backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi. They are afraid of the Iran/Syria nuclear adventurism, as are many other countries in the Middle East, with reason. The Syrian rebels have learned that there really aren’t any red lines, and any adversary can call our bluff. Obama is more eager to court enemies than reassure friends, as the Poles and Czechs have learned, when we withdrew ballistic-missile defense as a way to appease the Russians.

Fouad Ajami explains the problems of the Obama foreign policy cogently in a piece at the Wall Street Journal today, which may be behind a subscription barrier, but read it if you can.

We must not underestimate the tenacity of this regime and its will to rule. We should see through the rosy Twitter messages of President Hasan Rouhani, and the PowerPoint presentations of his foreign minister, Mohammed Jawad Zarif. These men carry out the writ of the supreme leader and can only go as far as the limit drawn by the Revolutionary Guard. …

The gullibility of Mr. Obama’s pursuit of an opening with Iran has unsettled America’s allies in the region. In Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates there is a powerful feeling of abandonment. In Israel, there is the bitter realization that America’s strongest ally in region is now made to look like the final holdout against a blissful era of compromise that will calm a turbulent region. A sound U.S. diplomatic course with Iran would never have run so far ahead of Israel’s interests and of the region’s moderate anti-Iranian Arab coalition.



Day 23: ObamaCare Roundup by The Elephant's Child

2013-10-18T190733Z_460474667_GM1E9AJ08KL01_RTRMADP_3_USA-SECURITY-HOMELAND

ObamaCare remains the prime subject of conversation as people finally really focus on the law, the rollout, the problems and the flashing red lights for the future. Here are some of the most informative:

From the Washington Examiner: “Obamacare launch spawn 700+cyber-squatters capitalizing on Healthcare.gov state exchanges.”

More than 700 websites have been created with names playing off of Obamacare or Healthcare.gov, making it likely that some Americans will mistakenly hand over private information to unknown third-parties. …  by visiting a website, you’re revealing your interest in a given product — or by identity thieves.

From the American Enterprise Institute: “Obamacare’s next shoe to drop: People buying coverage on the exchanges may owe more money that they’re being told.”

People will undoubtedly find that subsidies that they received were miscalculated, and that they owe more money than they were told.
The current IT problems are a sideshow to these looming harms. The next wave of troubles will be hard to fix. The president will need to seek relief from Congress.

From Ricochet: Peter Robinson recounts “A Brief Conversation About Obamacare”
With two economists — angry, shocked, appalled.

Item:  ObamaCare imposes a marriage penalty—the most severe marriage penalty, as one of them put it, “that exists anywhere in the entire American welfare state, Better to get divorced.
Item:  ObamaCare has nothing whatever to do with improving medical care or indeed with holding down medical costs. “It’s nothing but a massive redistribution program.”
Item: Although it imposes vast new costs on the federal government, there is nothing anywhere in the budget that even begins to address these new costs. As one of my friends put it, “Obamacare is completely and utterly unfunded.”

From the Gateway Pundit: “Former Xerox Engineer; Obamacare Website Won’t Be Fixed Anytime Soon:”

A retired 44-year veteran of Xerox Corp. tells FOX Business that the problems with the health exchanges “won’t be fixed anytime soon,” that it appears the Administration didn’t do “the most rudimentary Beta tests” to catch problems ahead of time, and that the software architecture clearly is “very outdated.”
A former computer engineer adds: I had a 54 year career in technology. Obamacare will never be implemented. This is an integrated system involving many players with different systems, hardware and programming language. … It appears that the potential users of the system have not been involved in addition every time a law is changed, they will have to open up the system and make program addition and/changes.

Also from the Gateway Pundit: “Team Obama Blew Enough Cash on O-Care Website to Pay Developer $200 an Hour for 5,000 Years

Computer engineers are shocked at the cost of the Obamacare website.

From The American, AEI’s magazine: “Obamacare’s Next Bout:  More Legal Challenges”

Four Legal Challenges to Health Care Exchanges: The cases are another reminder that much of Obamacare was constructed haphazardly out of political fables, budgetary gimmicks, legal contortions, and procedural shortcuts. Its troubled past keeps catching up with its unworkable future.



ObamaCare: The Timeline by The Elephant's Child

I have believed from the beginning that ObamaCare was an unworkable mess that would deeply damage the country, and events have only heightened my apprehension. With every leftist working to demonize the Tea Party as ignorant backwoods radicals who are to be feared, it’s worth mentioning that the Tea Party had it’s birth in opposition to the passage of ObamaCare.

I read just the other day that the real origin was a casual mention in an Obama campaign speech when he was first running, that didn’t mean anything, because most of what Obama said in campaign speeches didn’t mean anything — but Team Obama liked it, and thought it might be a good idea to pursue.  No documentation, don’t know if it’s true. But it’s interesting.

Megyn Kelly revisits the timeline of ObamaCare at the Kelly File on Fox News. I can’t embed the video, but follow the link and do watch it. Not long, but we forget ( or at least I forget) just how these things came about.  Valuable.



No Army Training In The Last Six Months. Preparedness Loses Out To Politics. by The Elephant's Child

General Ray Odierno, Army’s Chief of Staff told a Washington conference on Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending September 30.

He added that there are currently only two Army  brigades rated combat-ready. A brigade numbers somewhere around 3,500 to 5,000 troops, commanded by a Colonel. That adds up to around 7,000 to 10,000 troops and less than one-third of what the combat veteran regards as necessary for national security. Odierno said:

Right now, we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two.

Troops being deployed to Afghanistan now are prepared only to train and assist Afghan troops, not to conduct combat operations themselves, though there is no guarantee that they will not find themselves actually in combat, while accompanying Afghan soldiers.

Sequestration had its origins in the debt-ceiling battle of 2011. The President’s team, in an attempt to force Republicans into a compromise, devised the sequester as a sort of nuclear option. Sweeping cuts across all discretionary spending — including defense spending in a time of war, would be such a bitter pill to the Republicans, that they would fold and stop insisting on cuts in spending. Republicans took in the Obama team offer, and spat it out. The President remains furious.

Harmful automatic budget cuts — known as the sequester — threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cut vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.

These cuts will make it harder to grow our economy and create jobs by affecting our ability to invest in important priorities like education, research and innovation, public safety, and military readiness.

You have undoubtedly heard the president bragging about bringing the deficit down.  Depends on who he’s trying to impress. Because the sequester is automatic for nine more years, it can only be changed or undone if both houses vote to change it. It is a powerful tool for Republican negotiators in the budget conference committee, and gives them leverage to address the real driver of the debt — entitlement spending. Left unchanged, the combined unfunded entitlements of Social Security and Medicare threaten to bankrupt the country.

Republicans are trying to save the country. Democrats are trying to win. It’s politics all the way down.

Obama has made an effort to make the cuts forced by the sequester as painful as possible, just as he did with the government shutdown.

All this to obey Obama administration orders to drastically cut the Army and military spending and meet cuts under sequestration. Since the Obama Pentagon began the troop draw-down two years ago under the president’s orders, more than 33,000 active duty soldiers have been cut.

Current plans call for additional reductions of 42,000 soldiers in the next 23 months to a total of 490,000, down from 570,000. Those cuts have been accelerated by two years under Pentagon orders and will involve involuntary separations of thousands.

Military planners, under directives from Defense Secretary Hagel, now anticipate administration orders to sever another 70,000 active duty Army personnel at all levels. There is apparently a purge going on of some of the nation’s top veteran generals, allegedly for personal misconduct.

It is not a peaceful world. Al Qaeda is on the rise, Bashar Assad seems to have control of Syria after gassing dissidents, the Saudis are not friendly. Egypt is no longer under the control of the radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, and a more friendly Army-backed government has taken over— so we have discontinued aid. Having botched Syria, botched a status of forces agreement in Iraq, Iraq is in flames again with an upsurge of al Qaeda in Iraq. So we are in peaceful conversations with Iran, the sponsor of all Middle East terrorism. Good time as any to cut back on military readiness.

Whenever wars are over, America settles back into heedless slumber, and we are never, never prepared when trouble breaks out again, as it always will.




%d bloggers like this: