The State of the Union is Still a State of War

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 27) – A year ago, after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message I wrote an op-ed entitled “The State of the Union is a State of War.” Lamentably, a year later, after his 2012 address I am compelled to write that the State of the Union is still a state of war. And there’s no sign that the wars will come to an end anytime soon, particularly so long as Democrats, Republicans, and their corporate and special interest supporters keep using our tax dollars to fund these wars so that they can benefit and profit.

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The Myth of Defense Cuts

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 21) – Despite all the hysteria, wailing and gnashing of teeth from Washington warhawks, there are no spending cuts proposed in the defense budget nor is there any change at all in our defense policy. Typical of the frenzy was the comment by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) that the “massive cuts” and supposedly new strategy “ensures American decline.”

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The Fair Tax Isn’t Fair, It’s a Farce

“There cannot be a good tax nor a just one; every tax rests its case on compulsion.” – Frank Chodorov

BURNET, Texas (Jan. 7) – The so-called Fair Tax is not fair; on the contrary, it is a farce based on fallacies and falsehoods. Sadly, some libertarians have fallen for the bogus arguments uttered by proponents of this national sales tax and bought into the idea that this is the “best we can hope to get.” This is a justification very similar to the flawed reasoning that induces some people to vote for the “lesser of two evils.”

One of the core values of libertarianism is the right of people to keep all the fruits of their labor. No taxes are fair. All taxes are, at their root, immoral because they involve the use of force to take money from people, money that rightfully belongs to them, and give it to others. That is why libertarians would fund most government services with voluntary user fees.

The most dangerous claim used by advocates of the Fair Tax is that it’s “revenue neutral,” that it will allow the federal government to collect just as much money as the income tax. Fair Tax supporters say this as if it were a good thing. It is not. The greatest danger facing our nation isn’t terrorism, global warming or the energy crisis. It is out-of-control, unbridled government spending. It is our $15 trillion federal debt, which grows every day.

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People must want to be free

“Man loves liberty, even if he does not know that he loves it. He is driven by it and flees from where it does not exist.” – Jose Marti

BURNET, Texas (Dec. 10) – Politicians are very adept about making excuses for their failures. The greater the failure, the bigger, more absurd the excuse. Shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, while Americans were still reeling from shock, our political leaders very quickly conjured up a canard to cover up their failure to predict, deter, or avoid the attack. Rather than accept any responsibility at all for the tragedy, or even to acknowledge that American foreign policy was at least partly to blame, the ruling elites resorted to the mantra: “They hate us because of our freedom.”

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Presidential candidates should read the job description

BURNET, Texas (Nov. 5) – One of the first things you do when you’re applying for a job is to read the job description to find out the qualifications, duties and responsibilities of the office. After listening to years of presidential campaign speeches and debates, it seems to me that most candidates for the office simply haven’t read the job description for President of the United States. The Founding Fathers wrote it some 200 years ago, and despite some wear and tear, it is still perhaps one of the finest job descriptions ever written for the leader of a free republic.

The presidential job description was drafted, refined and honed during the months of the Constitutional Convention held in 1787. The duties of the President of the United States are outlined in Article II. The placement is deliberate. The first article of the Constitution establishes the Congress, the legislative branch, because the Founders believed the legislative was the most important function of government. As if to emphasize that point, the first mention of the President of the United States in the Constitution is in Article I, Section 7. This section says he must sign a bill passed by Congress before it becomes law. If he does not sign it, or he vetoes it, it can only become law if two-thirds of each House vote to approve it.

So what does the presidential job description say? First, there are three simple qualifications: you must be a natural-born citizen, 35 years old, and a United States resident for 14 years. I am all three. The “selection committee” for the job is technically the Electoral College, composed of people chosen by the states.” But in reality, it is the people of the United States who hire the president. The length of service is four years.

The first thing a new president does is to take an oath. It is a plain and simple oath, similar to the one I took many years ago when I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. The oath states: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” But in those few words lie some very powerful sentiments.

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The sun never sets on the U.S. military

“This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.”– Plato

R. Lee Wrights

BURNET, Texas (Oct. 22) – Once again, President Obama has ordered U.S. soldiers into harm’s way unnecessarily. Last week, he quietly told the U.S. Congress that he had sent 100 U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers into Uganda to help governments in central Africa fight a rebel army that’s been rampaging through the region for more than 20 years. This is the way the Vietnam War started, with U.S. special forces sent to “assist” a barely democratic government cope with a guerrilla war and a president promising they would not be going into combat. Ten years later, with more than 58,000 American lives and untold hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese lives lost, we had learned a brutal lesson — war is too easily escalated by those who do not have to fight or die.

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War breeds war. Peace breeds prosperity.

“Having seen the people of all other nations bowed down to the earth under the wars and prodigalities of their rulers, I have cherished their opposites, peace, economy, and riddance of public debt, believing that these were the high road to public as well as private prosperity and happiness.”– Thomas Jefferson

BURNET, Texas (Oct. 15) – War breeds war. That is all it can do. War does nothing but devour valuable resources and destroy precious lives for the sole purpose of perpetuating itself. As Randolph Bourne wrote, “War is the health of the State.” War is a mechanism used by the ruling elites of the State to coerce and control the people, so it becomes essential that whenever one war is complete, another is instigated elsewhere so that the mechanism keeps running.

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Republicans don’t support all the troops

BURNET, Texas (Oct. 7) – Despite all their patriotic proclamations of “support the troops,” the current crop of Republicans seeking their party’s presidential nomination really don’t support all of our troops, especially if the soldier doesn’t fit their moral configuration. During their last debate, a U.S. soldier serving in Iraq was booed, and not one of those on stage objected. Not one. They allowed the boos to go unanswered. Amazingly, not one even thanked the soldier for his service, a standard ploy for any politician at a public event.

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No Child Left Behind is leaving all children behind

Q. Where, in the Constitution, is there mention of education?
A. There is none; education is a matter reserved for the States.
(U.S. National Archives website)

BURNET, Texas (Sept. 24) – The federal education program No Child Left Behind is leaving behind the very children it was supposedly designed to help. The law dictates that all elementary and secondary school children in government-run public schools be “proficient” in reading and math by 2014, according to standards set by politicians and federal bureaucrats. According to President Obama’s secretary of education, most of the nation’s schools are on the brink of getting a failing grade. Nearly 80 percent of schools are in danger of losing their federal funding, leaving the children in their classrooms behind for “failing” to meet bureaucratic standards.

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Waste and fraud pervade wartime contracting

“Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few … No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” (James Madison)

BURNET, Texas (Sept. 17) – The final report of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, chartered by the U.S. Congress, has concluded that at least $31 billion, and possibly $60 billion, has been lost to contract waste and fraud. They also found that not only did contractors sometimes outnumber the military personnel they were supporting, often the contractors were doing things only federal employees could legally do and oversight of their work was frequently absent or ineffective. But these were not the most disturbing findings of the commission.

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