Monday, December 2, 2013

Restoring Freedom in the United States: Dismantle the Welfare-Warfare State and Reform the Patriot Act

"Well, the truth is, there are simple answers, they just are not easy ones." ~ Ronald Reagan

end-the-wars Despite trillions spent on defense, terrorists on September 11, 2001, murdered 2,977 men, women, and children on US soil. The US military was only able to put two jets in the air to protect the entire Eastern seaboard and the two planes did not have live ammunition. Popular Mechanics, in a report debunking 911 myths, reports that on that day "there were only 14 fighter jets on alert in the contiguous 48 states" in a year when the military had a US$400 billion dollar budget and hundreds of military bases in 130 countries around the world. Frederick the Great's observation that “He who defends everything defends nothing.” was once again proven true. Major Heather Penney, of the first District of Columbia Air National Guard, was one of the first two warriors to take to the air on September 11, 2001, to defend the United States from a terrorist attack. In a 2011 interview on C-Span, she reflected on September 11 a decade later, observing:
I often wonder if we have forsaken some of what it means to be Americans . . . to try to assure our citizens of security. There is no such thing as perfect security. . . . Have we been overzealous? Has the pendulum swung too far? Such that we are abdicating our value set . . . ?
What led this courageous pilot to such a dire reflection? A month after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed and George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act into law that expanded state power while undermining individual freedoms. Since then, the United States has been at a turning point, and the options are clear: continued arbitrary rule in a bankrupt police state or the restoration of accountability and limits. The first seems ominous, since history is littered with the wreckage of states, including democracies, that overextended themselves both domestically and internationally. If we are to address root problems in the policy realm and save the United States from "abdicating its value set", we will have to end the welfare-warfare state. Murray Rothbard, a US American economist, historian, and political theorist, noted back in 1973 that the emergence of the permanent welfare-warfare in the United States was first observable following World War II with the Cold War.

The underlying premise of the welfare-warfare state is that the radical expansion of the size and scope of the government and its intrusion on privacy can resolve challenges to security. This has been demonstrated to be flawed. Paul Cianca's shooting rampage at LAX airport and simultaneous terrorist bombings in totalitarian communist China in early November 2013 reveal once again that giving up freedoms does not translate into a guarantee of security. The welfare-warfare state did not protect American lives and property on 9/11 and a further expanding security and surveillance under the Patriot Act did not stop one lone gun man from successfully killing a TSA official and wounding at least one other or two young Muslim men on April 15, 2013 from bombing the Boston Marathon killing three and seriously wounding many more.

It did not have to be this way.

When the Cold War ended, Patrick Buchanan announced his candidacy for president in 1991, calling for a national discussion to, in effect, end the welfare-warfare state. Two decades later, and with the problem only ballooning, Buchanan summed up the policy he had wanted to see implemented at the time: "After the Cold War we should have downsized the empire dramatically and returned to become a more normal nation in a more normal time."

There are consequences to the path taken, and Buchanan has outlined the cost in treasure. At the same time the military footprint overseas while expensive and unsustainable also leads to more terrorists targeting the country. Buchanan offers an explanation of the terror attacks on the United States that the "mainstream" fails to make:
Evil though they may be, Islamic killers are over here because we are over there. They are not trying to kill us because they dislike our domestic politics, but because they detest our foreign policy. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia. . . . As Osama bin Laden said, they want us to stop propping up the Saudi regime they hate, and to get off the sacred Saudi soil on which sit the holiest shrines of Islam. They want our troops out of Saudi Arabia – and if we don’t get out, they are coming over here to kill us any way they can.
Reforming the Patriot Act and making defending the lives, liberty and property of American citizens the main priority of American foreign policy not advancing the narrow interests of what President Eisenhower described in his farewell address as the military-industrial complex. There is still time to turn things around both restoring freedom and increasing security by dismantling the welfare-warfare state.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why Beauty Matters: A documentary by Roger Scruton

The revolutionaries have trashed beauty in favor of the ugly and the perverse. Philosopher Roger Scruton in the documentary "Why Beauty Matters" does just that explain why the beautiful is important.

Please enjoy the video below and offer your comments.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Obamacare and the Ghosts of Future Past

The future of healthcare in the United States can already be seen in the United Kingdom, and it is a cautionary tale. The Stafford Hospital scandal is a glimpse of the future in America and the recent past in Great Britain. Officials have called for its dissolution but the record of shame cannot be hidden. As many as 1,200 patients died, who shouldn't have, but no hospital officials held responsible for conditions that were inhumane.

This is what an independent government review found when it examined conditions at the hospital and reported in The Daily Telegraph on February 24, 2010:
An independent report commissioned by the Government found that patients were abused and neglected by hostile staff and were left in humiliating and undignified conditions. The impact on them was “unimaginable”, the report said.
Patients, most of whom were treated at the trust’s main hospital in Stafford, were “robbed of their dignity”, left in soiled bedclothes, unwashed and in states of undress in full view of others, it found.
Families of patients had to clean lavatories and public areas themselves, while food and drinks were left out of reach and, it was alleged, patients drank out of vases.
Attitudes of staff were at times “uncaring”. Managers were “in denial” about the problems and were concentrating on cutting costs and hitting targets to achieve foundation trust status, the report said.
There was said to be a culture of fear and bullying with staff concerned they would lose their jobs if targets were not hit.
Despite the public exposure the deaths continue and The Daily Mail on October 9, 2013 reports on how taxpayers are left holding the bag while those responsible are not held accountable:
A scandal-plagued hospital trust has today admitted breaching health and safety law after a  a patient died when nurses failed to notice she was severely diabetic and needed insulin.
The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of Gillian Astbury, yet no staff will face the consequences in the courts.
The 66-year-old lapsed into a fatal diabetic coma while being treated at Stafford Hospital in April 2007, when staff failed to read her medical history during a 10-day stay.
After her death the NHS trust was prosecuted as an organisation, meaning that individual nurses, doctors and managers will not face jail for their failings.
Today it has pleaded guilty through its barrister to breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act by failing to properly manage and organise hospital services, including its systems for record-keeping, patient information and communication between staff members.
It now faces a huge fine, funded by the taxpayer, because magistrates sitting in Stafford committed the case to the town's Crown Court after ruling that their sentencing powers for the offence were insufficient.
This is the future that awaits all Americans beginning in 2014 as Obamacare is fully implemented, but has already been experienced by American veterans for some time who are receiving government healthcare through the Veterans Affairs Department. Thousands of veterans in the United States have been unnecessarily exposed to disease due to unclean practices in government hospitals.