Thursday, July 30, 2009

Of Government and Men: An Introduction

On Sunday, I am going to introduce a new series here at Political Friends: Of Government and Men. This series is intended to explore my fundamental beliefs on government in general and our government here in the United States specifically. This is a series I have wanted to do for some time, and I am very excited to finally be putting this out. I plan on exploring some of these topics in detail so the size of these articles may tend to be a little longer. Here is my current list of topics I plan on exploring:

I. The Nature of Freedom

II. The Role of God in a Free Society

III.The U. S. Constitution

IV. The Tenth Amendment

V. Term Limits

VI. Government Spending and Taxes

VII. Personal Accountability

VIII. Industry + Profit = Good

I may expand out this list based on feedback I get from this post and from each of the posts in the series. I also want to allow space to continue to cover current events and other issues that might pop up. Because of that, I will be releasing one post from this series each week, most likely on Sunday. You will be able to easily identify them, and I am going to link them all together with hyperlinks. If you are really interested in this series, I would encourage you to sign up for my RSS feed, or become a fan on facebook. Both options are displayed in the upper right hand corner of this website.

I hope to accomplish a number of goals with this series. First, these posts, as with the rest of this site, are meant to encourage debate. I hope that as you read them, you will gain more insight into my thought process, you might find something you didn't know, and might look at something in a different light. Some of these topics should be reviewed by any voter from time to time to help them remember how our government works, and how it should work. How can we discuss healthcare, taxes, or energy without a proper frame for the responsibilities of our government, and our own responsibilities?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Most Effective Response to the Gates - Gate

Kudos to dadvocate51 at Alexandria for posting this clip.

I wouldn't normally post this clip after the most recent blog. However, my article here has generated 15 comments (so far) and my post at Alexandria is up to 7 comments. I think people want to talk about this issue, and it can be a part of a larger discussion. However, after watching Mrs. King on this clip, is there really any serious belief that Officer Crowley is a racist?

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I have been invited to post on the website Alexandria, Crossroads of Civilization. It's a pretty unique site, and I have added it to my links on the right side of this site. The post I published today, "The Real Problem With Obama's Stupid Answer" also appears at Alexandria as my first piece for that site. I would encourage you to check that site out. I plan on contributing a regular piece to their site. Sometimes it will be a duplicate of what I post here, sometimes it will be a unique piece only viewable from Alexandria. Either way, I will always let me readers here know when I have published something else, including at Alexandria. I have full control of the content and the comments for my posts at there. I will use the same rules there as I use here: If you think I am wrong, let me know. So long as you don't call other readers or authors names, I will post your comments there. I hope you enjoy their site. Political Friends is still my home, and the vast bulk of my work will still be here. Thank you, and enjoy!

The Real Problem with Obama's "Stupid" Answer

There has been a lot of reporting on the comment President Obama made last Wednesday regarding the arrest of "his friend", Professor Henry Louis "Skip" Gates, Jr. The President said Wednesday night, in a prime time news conference, that he felt the, "…Cambridge Police acted stupidly". He said this after twice stating he didn't know the facts of the arrest. Here is the question the President was asked:

Q: Thank, you, Mr. President. Recently Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you and what does it say about race relations in America?

The President: Well, I should say at the outset that "Skip" Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts…

The first two sentences in his response tell us everything we need to know about the President's opinion on this arrest. If you followed this story at all last week, you are familiar with the sentence where he calls the Cambridge Police stupid. The sentence before it is very important. Before he attacks the Police, President Obama says, "Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but…" Twice before he gets to the heart of his answer he says he doesn't know what happened.

By the next morning, Press Secretary Gibbs was trying to backtrack. He stated that the President did not call the officer stupid. In the President's defense, he did say, " …the Cambridge Police acted stupidly…," I will let you decide what he meant by acted stupidly.

By Friday, Officer Crowley, the arresting officer that the President said, "…acted stupidly…" was in front of the cameras with a group of multiracial officers calling on the President to apologize. We had also learned by then that Officer Crowley had taught a racial profiling class at the Police Academy for the last five years. We also know now that Professor Gates was less than 100% cooperative with Officer Crowley during the incident.

All of this lead the President to invite both Crowley and Gates to the White House to have a beer with him. The goal is to allow both parties to bury the hatchet, and for President Obama to show he thinks both sides are really good people.

There are two problems with this whole thing. Like President Obama, I wasn't there, and I don't know what happened. I don't know for sure who did and didn't do what. I am getting a clearer picture with each passing report on this, but I still don't know for sure what happened. However, my first problem is that the President answered the question mentioned above at all. This was a disorderly conduct arrest. There is no reason at all for the President to get involved. An appropriate response would have been: Well, I should say at the outset that "Skip" Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here. I don't know all the facts, and this is a local issue. As such, I am not going to make a comment one way or the other on this arrest or any larger meaning it may or may not have on race relations in America. This is not just a safe answer; it is the correct answer for the President of the United States. This is not an issue for him to deal with.

The second and more concerning question is this: Was this question planted for the President, and was his response scripted? We know that the President has used prescreened and scripted questions at town hall meetings or press conferences before. Was this comment one of them? This question dealt with a friend of his, and the President worked into his response a plug for Obama's history of work on racial issues in the Illinois Senate. Did the President know that Lynn Sweet was going to ask him a question about his friend and how his friends arrest affected larger race relations in America? I don't know the answer. However, because the President has used these prescreened questions before and tried to make them look spontaneous, we have to wonder if this question was one. If it was, then the President's stupid answer to the last question of the night was worse than stupid.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book keeping issues

I wrote a guest post on Nearly Dr Ferox 's blog. It has nothing to do with politics, President Obama, Republicans, or Democrats. However, I thought I would encourage you to go read it. The good Nearly Dr. was kind enough to let me use her blog to write it, please take a moment and stop by her blog.

I have also started accepting a few sponsored posts around here. My goal is to keep them from distracting from the site. If I recommend anything on here, it is only becuase I personally think it is neat or worth using.

Otherwise, have a great weekend. I hope to have a new post regarding our normal debate topics back up by tomorrow night.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

President Obama Saves the Economy?

I've rarely laughed as hard at politics as when I read this headline on The Drudge Report this morning:

"...we rescued the economy..."

Drudge displayed the headline with a picture of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. According to, President Obama intends to use his Prime Time news conference tonight, "...
to talk about 'how [the White House] rescued the economy from the worst recession' and the legislative agenda moving forward, including health care and energy legislation." Considering we currently have unemployment at 9.7% and rising, I am not sure how the President can make this claim. My employer has been furloughing employees, so I will let them know it's not needed anymore. Perhaps the President will also claim to have solved Global Warming, discovered how to give everyone in the world health insurance for less than the price of a cup of coffee a day, and invented the internet.

The President will use his address tonight to push for health care reform before the August recess. Yesterday, we learned the President hasn't read the health care bill, and isn't familiar with much of it. Asked in a conference call if section 102 of the House Bill will outlaw private insurance, the President said he wasn't "familiar with the provision." Luckily for the President, Investors Business Daily has read the bill, and asked the House Ways and Means committee if the bill outlaws private insurance. IBD was right, the bill does. Section 102 of the bill forbids insurance companies from writing new insurance policies after the first day of the year the bill goes into effect. Remember that the next time your told this bill won't kill private insurance. Investors Business Daily also had this to say:

The public option won't be an option for many, but rather a mandate for buying government care. A free people should be outraged at this advance of soft tyranny.

Washington does not have the constitutional or moral authority to outlaw private markets in which parties voluntarily participate. It shouldn't be killing business opportunities, or limiting choices, or legislating major changes in Americans' lives.

It took just 16 pages of reading to find this naked attempt by the political powers to increase their reach. It's scary to think how many more breaches of liberty we'll come across in the final 1,002.

Just 16 pages into the bill. I keep asking why the President demands we pass health care before August. I think we have found our answer. The President wants this bill passed before the public can read it and ask questions.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Why the Rush to Change Health Insurance

As Health Care reform became more in doubt today, President Obama stuck to his guns insisting that both the Senate and the House pass Health Care reform by the August recess. With our economy continuing on a downward slope and with unemployment at 9.7% and expected to go higher, why the rush to spend huge amounts of money we don't have on health care reform?

The House Energy and Commerce Committee postponed voting on its version of health care reform indefinitely. They may pick it back up at a later date. However, Blue Dog Democrats have a large presence on the committee and they are concerned with how to pay for the health care reform the President is asking for. In testimony last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office Director, Doug Elmendorf, stated that the various proposals from Congress would not reduce the cost of health care. Yet, President Obama has cited reducing health care costs as a primary reason for reforming health care. If the proposals now before Congress won't reduce our costs, why are we even considering them?

Various estimates have been done on the assorted health care plans and have predicted huge costs to the American taxpayer. Congress is debating a tax surcharge and taxes on health care insurance, both of which are equally noxious. There is some debate that neither of these proposals will pay for the changes Democrats are proposing. With this in mind, why are we rushing to implement these expensive change. We rushed the Stimulus plan through and it has been a failure. It has failed to stop unemployment, it has failed to spur growth in our economy, and it has failed to keep state and local governments from raising taxes. We were told we had to pass the Stimulus plan and we had to do it without debate.

I am not opposed to health care reform. I would like to see a system that includes tort reform, more options for individual insurance, insurance exchanges, and a tax incentive for individuals to buy their own insurance. I would like to see insurance companies allowed to sell insurance across state lines. I would like to see more interaction between individuals and their insurance companies and less face time between the insurance companies and government or employers. These issues need to be debated. On a large fundamental change to our life style like this, the American public needs a chance to read the bills in Congress before they are passed and they need time to weigh in with their representatives. If we rush health care reform through, I can guarantee it won't be right, it will cost much more than our economy can bare, and it still won't cover the people it needs to cover.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sotomayor on Abortion: A Big Blank

This week the Senate has asked Judge Sotomayor a number of questions regarding law, her thoughts on legal precedent, and her previous "wise latina" comments. Most of this week has been quiet. With Democrats holding 60 votes in the Senate, it would be almost impossible for Republicans to block her from the Supreme Court. Could liberal special interest groups block her? What if Judge Sonia Sotomayor was actually against abortion?

This discussion flows from a conversation my Dad and I had about the Judge. He asked me if I would like something interesting to write about Judge Sotomayor. I am always interested in finding unusual points of view on today's topics. My Dad's is unusual, but also compelling, so I thought I would share it.

Do a Google search for "Judge Sotomayor and abortion" and there are a number of articles about questions she has been asked and her lack of a clear answer. Some pro-choice groups are actually upset she hasn't come out clearly in favor of abortion. You can see in real time what the social media universe is saying about the Sotomayor confirmation hearings at Viral Heat. None of the articles I have read give a clear picture about her personal opinions on abortion. My Dad's line of thought goes like this:

  1. Judge Sotomayor is a Hispanic Catholic. Both of these groups tend to be more anti-abortion in poll after poll.

  2. She attended Cardinal Spellman High School. Here she would have been exposed to the official Catholic view in her late teens. Cardinal Spellman High School is a prestigious Catholic school.

  3. Judge Sotomayor has not spoken out about abortion during her career. This is unusual considering the number of social issues she has spoken out about over the decades of her career. She has spoken out about a number of other issues (such as race) that are coming up in her confirmation hearings. As of yet, I haven't heard anyone say that she discussed the moral implications of abortion during her career.

  4. Similarly, there are no papers or rulings. She hasn't written any articles on abortion nor has she ruled very significantly on abortion. These last two together show that she has actively dodged giving her opinion in public on abortion.

  5. She has been a leader in a number of liberal groups, but not an abortion rights group. Digging through her memberships, I have found no pro-choice group she has held membership too.

  6. Center for Reproductive Law and Policy v. Bush. In this case, Judge Sotomayor upheld the "Mexico City Policy." This policy said that the federal government would not contribute money to groups outside of the United States that fund abortions. Judge Sotomayor said the government was within its right to make this decision.

There are a number of other clues, but these seem to be the biggest ones to me. I make no claim to know the inner workings of Judge Sotomayor's brain. However, a number of previous nominees have turned out to have different leanings than the President that nominated them. I haven't seen any evidence to contradict my Dad's position, and the more I dig the more I think he may be right. My Dad stated he would give "60 -40 odds that she is pro-life." I think the chances she is pro-life are higher than that. What would the fallout be for the Obama administration if Judge Sotomayor turns out to be anti-abortion Supreme Court Justice?

This post sponsored by Viral Heat

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Who are the Uninsured?

Today the Democrats revealed more details on how they wanted to cover the almost "50 Million Americans who don't have health coverage". Most of the proposals include some pretty scary taxes. I thought this would be a great time to look at some of the numbers behind the "50 Million uninsured" that you and I may have to pay for.

There is a site I have started playing with called Spreety TV Online : Watch TV Shows Online Free. Spreety has links to a number of different political websites and has clips of many of the shows on those sites for free. There are links to Fox News, CNN, and an assortment of other news or current events shows. I used Spreety to find the Fact Check. org site. Fact Check has a very interesting summary of the people we could be taxed to buy health insurance for.

First, according to Fact Check, the number of uninsured is estimated at 45.7 million, not 50 million. That number is constantly moving because people are constantly getting, loosing, or changing their insurance. There is not a static block of 45.7 million people in the United States without insurance. According to Fact Check:

-- 26 % of the uninsured (roughly 11.8 Million) are eligible for insurance, but don't make use of it.

-- 21 % of the uninsured (roughly 9.6 Million) are uninsured immigrants. This includes both legal and illegal immigrants. It is difficult to estimate what percentage of the 9.6 Million are illegal.

--40% of the uninsured (roughly 18.3 Million) are young. The term young as used by Fact Check means between the ages of 18 and 34.

There are a number of new questions that open up with these numbers. For example, regardless of the percentage, should families in this economy be taxed to provide government health care for illegal immigrants? Should people between the ages of 18 to 34 who don't want insurance (whatever portion of the 18.3 Million that is) be forced to buy health insurance? These questions and others need to be examined in the debate on Government provided health care.

If we are going to treat this subject with the respect it deserves, it will take time to answer these questions. If Congress and the President rush to solve this, it won't be right, it will waste money, and it still won't cover all of the 45.7 Million uninsured.

This post sponsored by Spreety TV Online!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can Congress Read?

"If every member pledged to not vote for {the health care bill} if they hadn't read it in its entirety, I think we would have very few votes."

-- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

This was Mr. Hoyer's response when asked about a petition being circulated asking House members to read everything they vote on. Mr. Hoyer believed the thought of members reading what they vote on was worth a few chuckles on camera. Quite often members and their staff don't read the bills they vote on. Some of this is laziness and some of it is due to the size and speed Congress now passes legislation. For example, the Stimulus Bill was 1,100 pages long (at a price of $787 Trillion) and members were given 13 hours to review the full bill before it passed. The Cap and Trade bill was 1,200 pages and had a 300 page amendment added at 3 AM the day it was voted on. The final version of the Cap and Trade bill didn't exist in written form when it passed the House. A printed copy of the U. S. Constitution is only about 10 pages long.

To be fair, this is not a Democrat only issue. The 108th Congress, which was controlled by Republicans, passed 2,900 pages worth of legislation in a combined 48 hours (at the bargain price of slightly less than $1 Trillion). Both Republicans and Democrats have been embarrassed when provisions of these bills finally saw the light of day. Republicans were surprised to find their Ominbus spending bill included a provision to allow Republican leaders to review anyone's tax return they choose. Democrats outraged voters when it was discovered the Stimulus bill included provisions for AIG bonuses after the government bailed them out. After campaign finance reform passed in 2003, members had to hire experts to tell them exactly what was in the bill they just passed.

Most people would probably say this is a problem. President Obama campaigned on a 5 day period for bills to be posted on the internet and reviewed by the public. Conservative, liberal, and libertarian groups have all started petitions to get lawmakers to read what they vote on.

If bills are too long to read, they shouldn't be passed. If it can't be read in the time members get to debate it, they should take more time to review the bill. Our expectations of our representatives are so low, we wonder if we can make them read something that may tax us or our children. We give them a pass on legislation that may outlaw things we do, limit our freedoms, or may affect our children. In a reality, when they vote on something they haven't read, they abuse their power and insult their constituents. It isn't enough to read a summary a lobbyist puts in their hand. If they can't read the bill, why are they even there?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The 5 Stories You Missed While Watching Jackson

On June 25th, Michael Jackson died. We may never know the exact causes. Michael Jackson was at one point in his career a very impressive entertainer. He also had a number of very odd things going on in his private life. Over the last two weeks, the media has covered Michael Jackson's life, death, and funeral as he had been the head of a very powerful country. There were a few important news stories that I thought should be covered. Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Minnesota makes 60. Al Franken finally won his challenge in court and is now a U.S. Senator. As I covered in my last post, the Democrats now have control of the Presidency, a filibuster proof Senate, and the House. They now have the ability to pass any legislation without a single Republican vote. It will be interesting to see what legislation they will try to pass.

  2. Thomas v. Gibbs. A few reporters got upset with the White House for only allowing prescreened questions and prescreened individuals at the last town hall meeting. Press member Helen Thomas complained that this isn't what "openness and transparency" is all about. The Press appears to be a little testy that President Obama's town hall meetings are all staged.

  3. Stimulus Part Two. By any standard of measure the stimulus plan didn't work. As President Obama begins to argue for a new stimulus bill, we should keep in mind his words from the first one. We were warned that if we didn't pass the stimulus bill, and didn't pass it immediately, unemployment could go as high as 9%. With unemployment now at 9.5% and climbing, President Obama wants a new stimulus bill, maybe even one focused solely on bridges and roads. But I thought that was what we heard with the first one…

  4. Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Confirmation hearings for Judge Sotomayor are starting this week. While the world mourned MJ, the Supreme Court overturned Sotomayor's decision against the Connecticut firefighters. The U. S. Supreme Court found that discriminating on the base of race (even if the victims are white) is illegal. Judge Sotomayor may have to answer questions about this and her comments that a "…Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male…" this week. I have seen articles saying Sotomayor's supporters are going to try to attack the character of the firefighters. This might be a good story to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

  5. As Global Warming falls apart, the House acts. The evidence is really starting to look grim for global warming supporters. The tale-tale fingerprint of unusual upper atmosphere warming that the U.N. said would prove global warming hasn't materialized. The global temperature has been declining for the last 9 to 10 years. Things are getting bad enough that global warming supporters are now trying to get everyone to call it "catastrophic climate change". That way, it can explain highs AND lows. Into all this, the House of Representatives voted to enact cap and trade legislation just as New Zealand ditched their version of cap and trade. Cap and Trade will do two things. First, it will raise your energy prices. Everyone agrees on this, it's only the dollar figure that people dispute. Democrats claim your energy bill will only go up be a few measly hundred dollars each year. The Heritage Foundation and others have crunched the numbers and they believe it could be closer to $3,000 a year. Either way, you have a new energy tax coming your way. The second thing this did was violate a campaign promise of President Obama. This tax will be on everyone, not just those earning $250,000 a year or more.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Democrats don't need Republicans

I first saw this add at Red State and I really enjoyed it. It points out something that voters need to remember between now and November 2010: The Democrats control all of it. Any legislation the Democrats want to pass, they can pass without a single Republican vote. They have enough votes to pass anything in the House and they have enough votes to stop a filibuster in the Senate.

Any laws they write can go to the President. If he signs it, they get it. Want higher taxes, cap and trade, government run health care, they can do it all without a single Republican vote.

Remember this in the coming weeks when they say Republicans are trying to stop them or the Republican Party is the "party of no". The only way Republicans can stop any bill is to win the support of the public. Any legislation the Democrats want to pass, they can pass without any Republican support.

Remember this the next time you here Democrats say that the Republicans are preventing them from doing what they want. The only thing that will stop Democrats is the fear of being held accountable for the laws they pass.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The Unconventional Mrs. Palin

Governor Sarah Palin has announced she will step down effective at the end of this month. She leaves her office about a year and a half before she would have to run for re-election. She has to her resume currently: Member of Wasilla, Alaska City Council (4 years); Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska (6 years); Chair, Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (1 year); Governor of Alaska (2.5 years); Candidate, Vice President of the United States. If the story was written today, we would probably never hear or see Sarah Palin again.

As of this writing, Gov. Palin has not announced her plans for the future. Most political pundits seem comfortable that Mrs. Palin will be running for office of some sort again in the future. Most seem to believe she has driven a stake through any chance she had at being on the ticket, let alone elected, in the 2012 Presidential election. Fred Barnes, writing in The Weekly Standard boldly proclaims, "Forget about Sarah Palin as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and probably ever." There are many smart operatives on both sides of the aisle that would quickly agree with him. In Mr. Barnes own article, he details the experience Republicans have brought to the table since the end of World War II in both successful and unsuccessful presidential bids. And yet…

I am forced to ask if those covering Washington (or Alaskan) politics have already forgotten the lessons of the 2008 Presidential election. If you were writing a book, could you have come up with a more classical stereotype of a career politician? Senator John McCain served as a U.S. Representative or Senator from 1982 to present (26 years). Before that, he was a career Navy man (23 years) and POW (almost 6 years). Headlining the Democratic ticket was a junior Senator from Illinois (close to 4 years). Before that, then State Senator Obama served about 7 years in the State Senate that was unremarkable and included a failed bid for the U.S. House of Representatives. Ask almost anyone two years ago, and it wouldn't even be close. And yet, here we are, with a junior Senator as our 44th President of the United States.

During her short run as Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin was able to galvanize the base of the Republican Party in ways John McCain was unable to do for the entire election. During her political career in Alaska, she has shown a determination to prove conventional wisdom wrong at every chance she can. Will she run for President in 2012? Who knows? If she decides to, there are a number of political writers who may be forced to eat their words.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

A Special Independence Day Review

With this weekend being the anniversary of our country declaring our independence from England, my wife and I have been reading books to our daughter about America. Tonight we read America : A Patriotic Primer, which we all enjoyed. This kids book is written by Lynne Cheney and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Mrs. Cheney is the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Robin Preiss Glasser has illustrated a number of books that my daughter loves. She is especially fond of the Fancy Nancy series of books. Any parents may feel free to email me asking for more information and that series of books.

America: A Patriotic Primer goes through the entire alphabet describing great things about our nation. For example, J - K - L - and M go to famous Americas Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr, Abraham Lincoln, and James Madison. Some pages are about more traditional concepts kids might learn in school (such as P is for Patriotism that fills our heats with pride). Other pages have concepts for slightly older children (such as S is for Suffrage). Each page is beautifully illustrated. Some have one picture, a few have a number of pictures. One double page entry features a full map of the United States.

I also like that many of the pages have additional information around the edges or under some of the illustrations. One page has instructions for folding a flag written around the border. A few pages have quotes, such as one quote from John Adams to his wife Abigail regarding America's independence, "I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost us to maintain this declaration and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory."

The book is very inspirational, and really does celebrate our nation. It would be inappropriate for a book targeted for children to get into a Republican vs. Democrat mode. America: A Patriotic Primer should satisfy any parent in that it does stay away from that. The book is also well made, so I hope to read it on a number of July 4th's still to come. This is a great book to read to your children around any patriotic holiday. I would highly recommend it to any parents who would like to get a good book about America for their children.

Fourth of July Trivia

I was reading in The American Patriot's Almanac: Daily Readings on America today to my daughter. In the Almanac, each day has an "American History Parade" at the end of the entry. These are events that also occurred on this day. I found the entry for July 4th very interesting:

1776 The Continental Congress adopts the Declaration of Independence.

1802 The U.S. Military Academy opens at West Point, New York.

1826 John Adams, age ninety, and Thomas Jefferson, age eighty-three, die.

1831 James Monroe, the fifth U.S. president, dies at age seventy-three.

1872 Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth U.S. president, is born in Plymouth, Vermont.

1959 A forty-ninth star is added to the flag to represent the new state of Alaska

1960 A fiftieth star is added to the flag to represent the new state of Hawaii.

I just wanted to share these. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


The Heritage Foundation has the best summary of the "Coup" in Honduras:

On June 28, the Congress and Supreme Court of Honduras ,with the assistance of the Honduran Armed Forces, physically removed President Manuel Zelaya from his residence and expelled him from the country. The new Honduran government states President Zelaya’s removal from office was the result of legal orders issued by its supreme court. In a matter of hours, a new government was sworn in. It promises, unlike Zelaya, to abide by the Constitution, move ahead with national elections, and respect basic rights and liberties. Civilian, not military, leaders have taken charge.

From everything I have read, President Zelaya was trying to sidestep the law in Honduras in order to install himself as a dictator similar to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. The Honduran Supreme Court, Congress, the national prosecutor, major churches, businesses, and members of President Zelaya's party decided they were not going to allow this to happen. The government (not a fringe military general) seized Zelaya, placed him on an airplane, and sent him to Costa Rica. They then voted on, and installed an interim government until the next elections are held. The interim President, Roberto Micheletti, is from Zelaya's own political party. Coup's are typically power grabs by a party that is out of power. President Micheletti has agreed to serve until the elections in November and promises to step down after that.

As Glenn Garvin points out in the Miami Herald,"[t]he Honduran army clearly did not act on its own when it arrested Zelaya and sent him packing. The supreme court says the generals acted on its orders, and almost every Honduran politician of any note -- regardless of party -- has voiced approval." Outside of Honduras, the actions of the Honduran government have been met with swift criticism.

Chavez has threatened an armed invasion of Honduras if the country swears into office any President other than Manuel Zelaya. Secretary of State Clinton has said the action of Honduras' government should be condemned by all. President Obama has threatened to withhold military aid to Honduras unless they return Zelaya to power.

This appears to be an internal matter to me. It is not a military coup, but appears to be the Honduran government acting with it's power, and using the military to enforce the laws of the land. I think there are some parallels between the actions taken by their government and the actions we would take if we impeached a President here in the U.S. It is very hard to predict how this will play out. While President Obama decided not to meddle in Iran, he has quickly aligned himself with Chavez and the Castro brothers over Honduras. I do not understand why the President would pick Honduras to try and exert influence, and I don't know why he would decide to join the Chavez / Castro team. However, he has. And in so doing, he has placed the United States in a loose - loose situation. As the Heritage Foundation explains:

If Zelaya is returned, he will hail Chávez, Castro, etc. as the true saviors of his regime, with a grudging recognition to the U.S. Zelaya will be granted a six month opportunity to foster polarization, pillory the democratic opposition, and destroy as much of the independent institutions of his country as possible. If the new government resists the OAS resolution, Chávez and company will undoubtedly act, saying their interventions (whether diplomatic, economic, or even military) in Honduras are being done to uphold an OAS mandate and defend democracy. Actions the U.S. clearly supports.

Neither of these situations is good for the country. Red State is asking it's readers to contact their Representatives and ask they support President Roberto Micheletti. There is a chance some Representatives may want to redeem themselvs after Friday's vote. I would encourage you to follow the Red State link. If your representative or senator is on the foreign relations committee, give them a call and tell them to take a deep breath, then back off and let the government of Honduras sort these things out.