Memorial Day Reflections

There are many Americans who can routinely articulate, based on their own personal experiences, what the true implications of Memorial Day are. During the weekend just passed, any American patriot who was paying attention, had to realize that there are WW II, Korean War, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, and recent Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan war veterans in our neighborhoods. Only these heroes can explain on a first hand basis the true human risks involved in authentic battles for freedom. It has been reasonably suggested, that the best thing one can do if one has not performed military service for this nation, is to respect those who have actually contributed real life combat experience in defense of our freedoms. The vast majority of Americans live such sheltered lives. We are so unknowing. And we are mostly so totally unaware of our responsibilities to protect our military volunteers from the whims of politicians. Decisions to engage in reckless military incursions is a great temptation. Yet often doing the "right thing" missions are so ill-defined. It is such a delicate citizen assignment for all of us to know when we should approve of or disapprove of military actions. However unknowing, as participating citizens, the worst thing we can do is be hesitant in questioning what constitutes a battle for freedom, particularly when the said battle is most likely nothing more than a futile overseas incursion. Rational thinkers should rightfully argue for continuous debate. To blink on this topic, and always defer authority to those who might not understand the sacrifices, is to tacitly approve committing lives of others to the ultimate risks. As responsible citizens it is wise not to defer judgements or remain silent. As good citizens it is our duty to ask all relevant questions on these important questions. That is what Memorial Day means to me....since I never served. 


Wasserman-Schultz Puts DNC Tactics on Table

In the wake of President Obama's stunning defeat on his budget in the U.S. Senate last week (the vote was 97 - 0), DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz appeared on on Face the Nation yesterday. After hearing the chairwoman blast Paul Ryan's budget proposal guest host Harry Smith asked the DNC chair to explain what the Democrats are planning to propose. Given that Dems control a majority in the Senate it was a logical question. Despite the fact that the White House is veto-proof, Wasserman-Schultz engaged in a very curious exchange with Harry Smith when he quoted Medicare trustees with saying something has to be done. Below is the transcript of the question by Smith and the answer by Wasserman-Schultz:
Smith: "But the Trustees also said a couple of Fridays ago that this thing (Medicare) could be insolvent in the next decade. Doesn’t something really dramatic have to happen, and as the Congressman suggested, Republicans have a plan, do the Democrats have a plan?"
Wasserman - Schultz: Like I said [sic], the Republicans have a plan to end Medicare as we know it. What they would do is they would take the people who are younger than 55 years old today and tell them You know what? You’re on your own. Go and find private health insurance in the healthcare insurance market, we’re going to throw you to the wolves and allow insurance companies to deny you coverage and drop you for pre-existing conditions. We’re going to give you X amount of dollars and you figure it out.
Instead of pressing the DNC chair further to see if there was a proposal Smith gave up and changed the subject. Observers say voters may well have eighteen months to decide if they will allow Senate Democrats to not cast a single vote for President Obama's budget or offer a budget plan of their own. The exchange between Smith and Wasserman-Schultz was telling. It is increasingly obvious that the political strategy of Democrats, despite having control of the Senate and White House, is to criticize the Ryan budget proposal and make the GOP defend it until the election in 2012. Will this tactic work? It might.


Hispanic Cultural Center Fined for Illegal Lobbying

Dianna Duran
VeritasNM - Updated – Citing a “serious breach of the law,” New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran has fined the National Hispanic Cultural Center Foundation $5,000, the maximum allowed, for violations of the Lobbyist Regulation Act.Duran also demanded Foundation accounting records and expenditure reports for its lobbying efforts since 2006. Legislative appropriations secured by the Foundation are now at the center of a separate state investigation into alleged misappropriations and commingling of state funds with private money in the Foundation’s bank account.
Clara Apodaca
 “(I)t is clear from your own records that the Foundation engaged in lobbying for and obtaining appropriations without following the reporting requirements of the Lobbyist Regulation Act,” Duran wrote in a May 19 letter disclosed Saturday to Veritas NM. “This violation alone constitutes a serious breach of the law, and is exacerbated by the mutually contradictory reports you have filed. Therefore, I am imposing (a) fine on the Foundation in the amount of $5,000.” Read full story here: News New Mexico


Honor Our Troops by Bringing Them Home

John Nichols
The Nation - by John Nichols - It is unfortunate but true that on this Memorial Day -- when we pause to honor those Americans who have fought the good fights against British colonialism, the sin of slavery and the menace of fascism -- U.S. troops are currently bogged down in a quagmire of George Bush's creation in Afghanistan and an continuing mission of Bush's creation in Iraq. Appallingly, Barack Obama has maintained Bush's undeclared wars of occupation. And he has now steered the United States into another fight with Libya.
Aftermath of a Roadside Bomb in Afghanistan
Everything about these undeclared and open-ended conflicts is at odds with the vision of the founders of the American experiment -- who generally shared James Madison's view that "permanent war" posed the greatest threat to liberty -- and the serious intent of wars against kings, slaveholders and fascists. Soldiers fight wars because of a sense of duty. And the soldiers involved in America's current conflicts are good men and women. But these are not good fights. Nor are their necessary fights for the U.S. military. Read full column here: News New Mexico


And It Didn't Cost Me a Penny!

Jim Spence
From expensive motorized scooters to diabetic cookbooks and all products and services in between, advertisers run commercials every single day with senior actors and actresses declaring to everyone 65 and older, “And it didn’t cost me a penny!” Here's a basic economics news flash. Anytime the rules of society say something of value is “free,” you can expect the market place to provide virtually limitless supply and demand. The trouble is nothing is actually FREE. On July 30, 1965 the Medicare entitlement was created with a fatal flaw. Unlike virtually all other entitlement programs, Medicare benefits were given to EVERYONE over the age of 65. The qualification for the program is not based on NEED, it is based on AGE. Fast forward from the date of Medicare’s inception and you will find that even though taxes to fund Medicare have increased exponentially, it should come as absolutely no surprise the program is growing on the federal budget like a stage four cancer.
What should a fair minded society do? Is there any hope for reigning in entitlements? And is our society fair-minded? Perhaps there is a sliver of hope. The greatest forces of the 2010 elections were the so-called Tea Parties. Democrats were unceremoniously dumped by this movement in favor of supposedly more fiscally responsible replacements late last year. In 2011 the biggest question facing the so-called Tea Parties is also the biggest question facing the nation. So far most observers remain unconvinced that the Tea Parties really mean business. In observing Tea Parties all over the country in 2010, the age demographics were pretty unmistakable. Seniors make up a significant portion of Tea Parties.
The Tea Parties certainly got the attention of the Democrats in the wake of their congressional wipe out last November. However, it is one thing for a voting block to be angry and it is another thing to support real reforms when they might directly affect members of the angry group. Give the GOP some credit (but not much) for responding to what it believed was called for. At least the GOP is attempting, through Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” to re-direct senior health care expenditure decision-making back to the individuals. Republicans are also trying to establish sorely needed means testing of Medicare benefits into the federal budget equation. Yet already in Congressional District 26 in New York, there has been so-called "electoral push back." Suddenly the Tea Party influence got wobbly and actual reform met with stiff resistance. And accordingly, an unrepentant big government Democrat won an open congressional seat from a timid Republican. In the wake of the GOP defeat the media suggested Republicans do not know how to “defend” the idea of entitlement reform.
And so we have it. America comes face to face with the reality of unlimited promises of limitless benefits to all seniors, regardless of their individual means. With 51% of all American households not paying any federal income taxes, the tax revenue possibilities are extremely limited. And while those under the age of 65 who actually go off to work and pay taxes everyday, don’t seem to grasp the broad implications of not means testing a benefit, no doubt most Tea Party seniors have a pretty clear understanding of the inter-generational implications surrounding the fatal flaws of both Social Security and Medicare. So, what will Tea Party seniors do while the nation’s solvency hangs in the balance? It is a tough prediction to make because many who are 65 and up have deluded themselves into thinking their benefits have been paid for in full by what their generation collectively kicked into the pot years ago. While nothing could be farther from the truth, does the truth actually matter? Not in Greece. How about here?



Michael Barone
Townhall - "How many times in a row can something happen unexpectedly before the experts start to, you know, expect it? At some point, shouldn't they be required to state the foundation for their expectations?" One answer is that many in the mainstream media have been cheerleading for Barack Obama. They and he both naturally hope for a strong economic recovery. After all, Obama can't keep blaming the economic doldrums on George W. Bush forever. Unexpectedly! As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word "unexpectedly" or variants thereon keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy. "New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed," reported May 25. "Personal consumption fell," Business Insider reported the same day, "when it was expected to rise." "Durable goods declined 3.6 percent last month," Reuters reported May 25, "worse than economists' expectations." "Previously owned home sales unexpectedly fall," headlined Bloomberg News May 19. "U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April," wrote The Wall Street Journal May 18. Those examples are all from the last two weeks. Reynolds has been linking to similar items since October 2009. Read full story here: News New Mexico