Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

“Not one penny more to these haters of America”…

Rand Paul
“A government inept at home will not be successful abroad.”

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said Friday that the United States must protect its interests while promoting stability abroad and called for an end of foreign aid to “haters of America.”

“We must protect ourselves from jihadists without losing who we are as a people in the process,” he said at the Conservative Political Action Conference just outside of Washington, D.C. “We must think before we act. We should promote stability — not chaos.”

As Mr. Paul does frequently, he knocked “Hillary’s War” in Libya, a reference to former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the move to arm rebels in Syria’s civil war. “Hillary’s war made us less safe. … As Hillary was declaring victory in Libya, Ambassador Stevens was begging for more security. … I believe that Hillary Clinton’s abdication of responsibility, her refusal to provide an adequate defense for Benghazi, her dereliction of duty, should forever preclude her from higher office. It’s time for Hillary Clinton to permanently retire.”

“At home, conservatives understand that government is the problem, not the solution,” he said. “As conservatives, we should not succumb to the notion that a government inept at home will somehow become successful abroad.”

The possible 2016 GOP presidential contender has tried to push back on being labeled an “isolationist” by some of his critics, making a pitch for what he calls conservative realism.

“I envision an America with a national defense unparalleled, undefeatable, and unencumbered by nation-building,” he said, earning enthusiastic applause.

But the country, he said, cannot project strength by borrowing money from China “to send it to Pakistan.”

“It angers me to see [mobs] burning our flag and chanting ‘Death to America’ in countries that receive our foreign aid,” he said. “I say not one penny more to these haters of America.”

Asked about criticism of his foreign policy views during a question-and-answer session, Mr. Paul says national defense is always a priority.

“When we get to foreign policy, though, we’re not all the same,” he said. “One one end, there are people who believe we should never be anywhere…on the other end, there are people who believe we should be everywhere all the time.”

“I think really, in the end, what we should do is obey the Constitution,” he continued. “The Constitution says that war, when we go to war, should be declared and should be initiated by Congress.”

[by David Sherfinski, writing for The Washington Times]
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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Obama says we’re doing better and better under his administration. Really?

FOREIGN POLICY

“It is quite possible that, by the time Obama leaves office, no other country on Earth will have gained quite so much as Iran,” writes David Rothkopf in Foreign Policy magazine. Rothkopf is CEO and Editor of the FP Group, which publishes Foreign Policy. Rothkopf notes that virtually everything America has done in the Middle East in Obama’s tenure has been to Iran’s benefit. The most obvious example is Obama’s ongoing effort to negotiate a diplomatic deal regarding Iran’s nuclear program. By helping Iran, Rothkopf says, Obama won’t just be helping a long-time enemy, but also potentially undermining every other alliance the U.S. has in the Middle East. [NORM ‘n’ AL emphasis]

 

DOMESTIC POLICY

If Obama’s been helping Americans to improve their lives, why is US home ownership declining so rapidly?

Did you know that the rate of home ownership in the United States has fallen to a 20 year low?  Did you know that it has been falling consistently for an entire decade?  For the past couple of years, the economic optimists have been telling us that the economy has been getting better.  Well, if the economy really has been getting better, why does the home ownership rate keep going down?  Yes, the ultra-wealthy have received a temporary financial windfall thanks to the reckless money printing the Federal Reserve has been doing, but for most Americans economic conditions have not been improving.  This is clearly demonstrated by the housing chart below.  If the economy really was healthy, more people would be getting good jobs and thus would be able to buy homes.  But instead, the home ownership rate has continued to plummet throughout the entire “Obama recovery”.

Homeownership Rate 2015

Of course this home ownership collapse began well before Barack Obama entered the White House.  Our economic problems are the result of decades of incredibly bad decisions.  But anyone who believes that things have “turned around” for the middle class under Barack Obama is just being delusional.

If the U.S. economy truly was in “good shape”, the percentage of Americans that own homes would not be at a 20 year low

The U.S. home ownership rate fell to the lowest in more than two decades in the fourth quarter as many would-be buyers stayed on the sidelines, giving the rental market a boost.

The share of Americans who own their homes was 64 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 64.4 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau said in a report. The rate was at the lowest since the second quarter of 1994, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Rising prices and a tight supply of lower-end listings have put homes out of reach for some entry-level buyers, who also face strict mortgage standards. The share of U.S. home buyers making their first purchase dropped in 2014 to the lowest level in almost three decades, the National Association of Realtors reported last week.

And it appears that this trend is actually accelerating.  During 2014, the rate of home ownership plummeted by a total of 1.2 percentage points for the year.  That was the largest one year decline that has ever been measured.

So why is this happening?

Well, in order to buy a home you have to have a good job, and good jobs are in very short supply these days.

Over the past decade, the quality of the jobs in our economy has steadily declined as good jobs have been replaced by low paying jobs.  In addition, government policies are absolutely murdering small business.  At this point, small business ownership in the U.S. is hovering near record lows.

This has resulted in millions of people falling out of the middle class, and it has contributed to the growing divide between the wealthy and the rest of the country.

If our economy was working the way it should, the middle class would be thriving.

But instead, it is being systematically destroyed.  If you doubt this, I have some statistics that I would like to share with you.  The following facts come from my previous article entitled “The Death Of The American Dream In 22 Numbers“…

#1 The Obama administration tells us that 8.69 million Americans are “officially unemployed” and that 92.90 million Americans are considered to be “not in the labor force”.  That means that more than 101 million U.S. adults do not have a job right now.

#2 One recent survey discovered that 55 percent of Americans believe that the American Dream either never existed or that it no longer exists.

#3 Considering the fact that Obama is in the White House, it is somewhat surprising that 55 percent of all Republicans still believe in the American Dream, but only 33 percent of all Democrats do.

#4 After adjusting for inflation, median household income has fallen by nearly $5,000 since 2007.

#5 After adjusting for inflation, “the median wealth figure for middle-income families” fell from $78,000 in 1983 to $63,800 in 2013.

#6 At this point, 59 percent of Americans believe that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve”.

You can read the rest of that article right here.

The group that has been hit the hardest by all of this has been young adults.

Back in 2005, the home ownership rate for households headed up by someone under the age of 35 was approximately 43 percent.

Today, it has declined to about 35 percent.

From a very early age, we push our young people to go to college, and today more of them are getting secondary education than ever before.

But when they leave school, the “good jobs” that we promised them are often not there, and most of them end up entering the “real world” already loaded down with massive amounts of debt.

According to the Pew Research Center, close to four out of every ten households led by someone under the age of 40 are currently paying off student loan debt.

It is hard to believe, but total student loan debt in this country is now actually higher than total credit card debt.  At this point, student loan debt has reached a grand total of 1.2 trillion dollars, and that number has grown by an astounding 84 percent just since 2008.

If you are already burdened with tens of thousands (or in some cases hundreds of thousands) of dollars of debt when you get out of school and you can’t find a decent job, there is no way that you are going to be able to afford to buy a house.

So we have millions upon millions of young people that should be buying homes and starting families that are living with their parents instead.

Back in 1968, well over 50 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 31-year-old age bracket were already married and living on their own. But today, that number is actually below 25 percent.  Instead, approximately 31 percent of all U.S. adults in the 18 to 34-year-old age bracket are currently living with their parents.

[from FreedomForce.com and The Economic Collapse Blog]

 

Our economy is broken, and our country is on the wrong path. Our future is looking more and more foreboding, not more promising. Why? One reason is that we have a president who was completely unprepared for the job he wanted and got elected to do. (He got elected because he lied repeatedly to the voters in order to get elected. Obama is now appeasing terrorists and releasing them from prison, where we see them re-entering the terrorist ranks on the battlefield. Does that sound like a well-thought-out foreign policy?) Another reason is that he really does not care about Americans. He cares about himself — in fact, he still thinks he’s doing a spectacular job. He probably cares about his own family. But he has proven beyond any doubt that he does not care about you and your family. How many times did he tell that infamous lie, “If you like your doctor/your health plan/your current health insurance, you can keep it,” knowing every time he said it that he was lying through his teeth? How many lavish vacations has he taken at taxpayer expense, all while doing his best to double US debt in his eight years in office? [NORM ‘n’ AL Note]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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Always be skeptical when the White House goes to war with a country that it misplaces on a map

The real threat...

Mr. Obama’s rollout of a military campaign in Syria against the Islamic State gets messier by the day.

Obama’s initial framing of the campaign, as a limited effort in partnership with allies, to degrade the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS, made sense, and it was encouraging that Obama dampened expectations and clearly understood how much could go wrong.

Then things went downhill. A “senior administration official,” in a briefing posted on the White House website, explained why Saudi Arabia would be a good partner in battling ISIS: “Saudi Arabia has an extensive border with Syria.”

Oh?

Actually, Saudi Arabia and Syria have no border at all. Always be skeptical when the White House goes to war with a country that it misplaces on a map.

Soon the administration, after initially avoiding the word “war,” dropped the euphemisms. It announced from multiple podiums that what we’re engaging in actually is a war after all.

text copyThe latest puzzle relates to ground troops. Obama seemed to rule them out last week, saying that American troops “will not have a combat mission.” Then on Tuesday, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that, if necessary, he might recommend “the use of U.S. military ground forces.”

Uh-oh.

Mr. President, you make it so hard for those of us who are basically sympathetic to your foreign policy. All this feels chaotic, poorly informed and uncoordinated — indeed, like a potential “slippery slope,” as a New York Times editorial warned.

Of course, it’s easy for us in the grandstands to criticize those walking the tightrope. I agree with Obama’s essential plan of authorizing airstrikes in Syria, if done cautiously and in conjunction with air forces of Sunni allies. But we can’t want to defeat ISIS more than the countries in its path, and right now we do.

American involvement must be predicated on an inclusive Iraqi government so that Sunni tribes confront ISIS. It must entail cooperation from Turkey to disrupt ISIS financing. It should incorporate a social media arm to counter ISIS propaganda, cyberwarfare to spy on ISIS and disrupt it, and additional intelligence gathering to monitor foreign fighters who may return home. And Obama is right that Congress should finance and arm some Free Syrian Army commanders, as a counterweight to ISIS. Some fighters have joined ISIS simply because it offers better pay.

The new strategy...

We should finance Syrian rebels in part because our past policy — staying aloof — failed and made the problem worse. Nearly 200,000 Syrians have died; Jordan and Lebanon have been destabilized; extremism has grown; and Iraq has now effectively been dismembered and atrocities committed against Yazidis, Christians and other minorities.

The trouble is that alarm and revulsion at ISIS beheadings is creating a rush to intervene, so that some want us to leap from the sidelines right into the fray — even with ground troops. That would backfire by aggravating nationalists.

While I cautiously favor airstrikes, we need to be up front about risks:

First, airstrikes almost inevitably will mean accidental civilian casualties. ISIS would release videos of injured children to argue that America is at war with Islam. That may bolster extremist groups from Africa to Asia.

Second, more fighting in Syria could increase the refugee flow to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. It would be tragic if we inadvertently degraded not ISIS but Jordan.

Third, it seems entirely possible that ISIS filmed and released the beheading videos precisely with the intention of luring America into a war. Its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa would be difficult to bomb without causing civilian casualties, and ISIS may have figured that it could parlay American attacks into new recruits, prestige and influence.

We also have enormous challenges at home and abroad that we may be able to do more about than Syria. A few months ago, we were on alert over a Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapping several hundred schoolgirls and threatening to sell them into slavery. Those girls are still missing, and Boko Haram has gained even more ground in northern Nigeria. Let’s not become so obsessed with ISIS that we become distracted from other threats.

I see military force as just one more tool. Sometimes it saves lives (Kosovo, Iraqi no-fly zones), and sometimes it costs lives (Iraq, Vietnam). Syria could be the right occasion to use it, but only if we act as if we’re facing a yellow traffic light, not a green one.

For now, we seem to be setting out on an uncertain mission with unclear objectives on an unknown timetable using ambiguous methods with unreliable allies. Some of that is inevitable, for foreign policy is usually conducted in a fog, but I’d be more reassured if the White House could at least locate its enemy on the map.

[by Nicholas D. Kristof, writing for The New York Times]

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  The author raises a very good and valid point: Why do we seem to want to defeat the Islamic State more than the countries in its path do?

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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USA was designed by geniuses, but….

Designed by geniuses, but...

The following list has been attributed to comedian Jeff Foxworthy. Snopes says Foxworthy is not the author. The original compiler is a man named Fritz Edmunds.

 

1. If you can get arrested for hunting or fishing without a license, but not for being in the country illegally, you live in a country run by idiots.

2. If you have to get your parents’ permission to go on a field trip or take an aspirin in school, but not to get an abortion, you live in a country run by idiots.

3. If you have to show identification to board an airplane, cash a check, buy liquor or check out a library book, but not to vote on who runs the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

4. If the government wants to ban stable, law-abiding citizens from owning gun magazines with more than ten rounds, but gives 20 F-16 fighter jets to the crazy leaders in Egypt, you live in a country run by idiots.

5. If, in the largest city, you can buy two 16-ounce sodas, but not a 24-ounce soda because 24-ounces of a sugary drink might make you fat, you live in a country run by idiots.

6. If an 80-year-old woman can be strip- searched by the TSA but a woman in a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched, you live in a country run by idiots.

7. If your government believes that the best way to eradicate trillions of dollars of debt is to spend trillions more, you live in a country run by idiots.
8. If a seven year old boy can be thrown out of grade school for saying his teacher’s “cute,” but hosting a sexual exploration or diversity class in grade school is perfectly acceptable, you live in a country run by idiots.

9. If hard work and success are met with higher taxes and more government intrusion, while not working is rewarded with EBT cards, WIC checks, Medicaid, subsidized housing and free cell phones, you live in a country run by idiots.

 

10. If the government’s plan for getting people back to work is to incentivize NOT working, with 99 weeks of unemployment checks and no requirement to prove they applied but can’t find work, you live in a country run by idiots.

11. If being stripped of the ability to defend yourself makes you more “safe” according to the government, you live in a country run by idiots.

If you are offended by this article,  you probably voted for the idiots who are running our country into the ground.
[from an article published by GODFATHER POLITICS]
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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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