Is the GOP Leaderless?

On a recent episode of NBC’s Meet the Press President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe professed that the Republican Party today is actually led by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sarah Palin. In part, he’s right.

I have never spoken or heard anyone in person or through blogs speak of the current Republican Party in a positive light. Even those who believe in the GOP in principle agree that it needs some drastic changes to go in the right direction. No matter how rich, charismatic, intelligent, or talented you are you cannot lead people if they do not wish to follow and the Republicans have gotten wildly off track.

That being said, Limbaugh, Beck and Palin don’t really lead the GOP. They are leaders each in a slightly different way, but their relationship to the American people is direct and not filtered through a political party. Glenn Beck in particular is not about politics at all, rather about virtuous principles and good government. Republicans are extremely sluggish in responding to the current drift of American opinion and indeed seem to spend all their time chasing what they perceive to be the politically expedient rather than the principled path. The GOP appears without position and is, in any event, notoriously poor at explaining it or adhering to it for any length of time.

It is interesting to note that when Plouffe named Limbaugh, Beck and Palin as the Republican leadership he was making an effort to marginalize the party. That may not be the best tactic since all three are gaining in popularity almost every day. It’s hard to convincingly claim that a majority of Americans are on the fringes for a majority does agree with at least a significant part of the message being spread by the three.

While government is formed for the organization of society and the protection of life and property, politics is the effort of individuals and groups to use government for their own gain in power over others. The GOP is about politics as much as the Democratic Party is. Each wants power. Beck and Palin at least are dedicated to promoting proper government. Limbaugh walks the line between good principles and power, desiring a strong GOP that follows good principles. It is the principles of good government the people of America are responding to just now. The Democrats have been hemorrhaging supporters and losing leadership at an alarming rate as well, though the full extent of this problem won’t be evident until after the November elections for Congress. It is parties and leadership the Americans have become disillusioned with. For the moment, politics is disgusting to all and freedom becoming palatable again.

Building a Mosque in Election Time

The newest political hot spot in America is the mosque slated to be built near Ground Zero, the site of the Trade Towers bombing of 2001, in New York City. Politicians are lining up and taking sides in the countdown to elections this fall. Even President Barack Obama voiced his ambivalent and unclear opinion, noting that America’s commitment to religious freedom must be “unshakable.” That includes, according to the president, “the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan.” The next day though, he backpedaled and declared that while people have a right to build mosques in America if they want to, he isn’t quite sure about the wisdom of this particular location.

As always politicians are using the controversy first stirred up by conservative talk radio hosts to make election bids. Some are saying that they believe in freedom of religion; others that they believe in zoning laws and the sacredness of this particular site. And surprisingly, unlike most issues, this one is not split down party lines.

For one thing, mere months from November’s midterm elections for Congress, no one can afford to disenfranchise his or her electorate. According to a recent CNN poll 68 percent of Americans are opposed to the mosque being built at Ground Zero. Even politicians not up for election this cycle have to watch their step or risk losing votes for their party. Many lawmakers have decided that silence, at least on this issue, is golden. Whatever they say, they’re bound to insult either their political base or their political party. We are way past the days of actual integrity and principle, if ever those days have existed in Washington.

What are the principles behind the issue? America certainly is a place of freedom, including religious freedom. Yet there are lines. Your freedom to do what you like cannot infringe on another’s for example. And no matter your religious preferences they cannot suspend the laws of the land, thus polygamy, human and animal sacrifices and honor killings are all illegal notwithstanding your religion.

To say the mosque should be built because of religious freedom is an emotional response and not an analytical one. There are already many mosques in America and none have ever been controversial as this one is. It’s not the mosque; it’s the location. The truth is that the building of this mosque in this neighborhood in New York is a local issue and has nothing to do with the federal government or the nation as a whole at all, at least under normal circumstances. With this in mind President Obama’s initial refusal to comment was the appropriate one since this has nothing to with him nor his branch of government. But these are not normal circumstances.

In this particular case even though the planes blew up and destroyed buildings in New York the attack was made on the whole of the United States and its people. Muslims made the attack. Perhaps not these Muslims, but the mosque’s intended location is certainly politically provocative and intended to be so. So the people of the United States and at length their president, after due consideration, do have every right to weigh in on this debate. Whatever the outcome, the mosque controversy will certainly affect the November elections and perhaps even those of 2012.

Iran’s Nuclear Plant Grand Opening

Iran has finally announced the opening this Saturday of its first nuclear power plant, leaving many Western nations and Israel nervous about possible forays into nuclear weapons.

Iran considers the ability to build and operate a nuclear power plant its right. The project has been underway with much opposition since 1974. Russia has supported the endeavor with money and technology, while at the same time supporting UN sanctions over the years. As of right now Iran is purchasing fuel for the plant from foreign sources, but has plans to begin production of its own fuel. Herein lies the danger for Iran’s foes. The uranium enrichment sites can be used for producing weapons grade uranium as well as enriched uranium for power production.

The question is not whether Iran will gain nuclear capacity, but what role in this other nations play. No advance in civilization, particularly in war, can remain a secret indefinitely. And though Iran has been known for its aggressive behavior in the Middle East and its outspoken opposition to Israel and many Western nations and policies, it is still a sovereign nation. If there is individual freedom is there freedom for nations? Do foreign nations have any authority to oversee Iran at all, as the United Nations are doing right now? If so, from where does this authority originate?

The authority to oversee nuclear plants in certain nations is claimed by the UN and it is backed up by threat of force. The authority only exists so long as the UN can and will use the force it threatens. It is a right of might, not an inherent one. The inherent rights of man would suggest that a foreign nation has the absolute right to govern themselves as they see fit. If what nations choose is aggression, then they must expect to be met with aggression in return. But there is nothing immoral in simply having weapons and armies; it is the way in which they are used that raises moral questions.

The Nuclear Age however poses certain problems never before known. A nuclear missile might be launched from a distance and its destructive power dwarfs all previous human attempts at annihilation. Therefore prevention is much more desirable than retribution. Does the right of self-defense trump the right of self-determination in this case? Perhaps. Especially if the claim of right comes from a nation of unrepentant antagonists. For now, the UN will be inspecting and overseeing the nuclear projects of Iran.

Situation on US-Mexican Border Worsening

America’s southern border is on fire. We have the Mexican government now suing the State of Arizona over its immigration law, which merely upholds and enforces national law — which the federal government refuses to enforce. We have ever increasing kidnapping, murders, theft and violence of every kind along the entire frontier. National Guard troops in Texas seized large caches of weapons from a paramilitary group that was attempting to cross the border. The Mexican government is safely escorting drug runners across the border, into America. And the president can only talk of amnesty and is considering suing Arizona as well?

The border is literally being attacked, both by paramilitary and actual Mexican military forces. In a recent open letter to President Barack Obama, Jon Voight wrote: “You have brought to Arizona a civil war, once again defending the criminals and illegals, creating a meltdown for good, loyal, law abiding citizens.” Unfortunately, he is right. America is moving ever closer to civil war. Never have we been in danger of such an extremity since we battled over the question of slavery.

In the photos are weapons seized by American National Guard troops near the Texas border with Mexico. The symbols on the hats and bags are from an organization called Los Zetas, which, according to Wikipedia, is “a criminal organization in Mexico dedicated mostly to international illegal drug trade and other organized crime activitites.”

This drug cartel was founded by an elite force of assassins from Mexican Army deserters and is now integrated by corrupt ex-federal, state, and local police officers, as well as ex-Kaibiles from Guatemala.

This group of highly trained gunmen was first hired as a private mercenary army for Mexico’s Gulf Cartel. Since the arrest of the Gulf Cartel’s leader […] the two entities became a combined trafficking force, with the Zetas taking a more active leadership role in drug trafficking. Since February 2010 Los Zetas have gone independent and became enemies of its former employer/partner, the Gulf Cartel.

Realize as well that the problem is not merely Mexican and Central American drug cartels. A border this porous entices criminals of all types, including terrorists. The borders are a national-security issue, the most fundamental of government responsibilities.

Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and eventually even the Kool-Aid drinkers of California will have to defend their borders in defense of their lives.

Avoiding the Unthinkable

As evidence mounts that the South Korean warship sunk last March was indeed brought down by a North Korean torpedo, tensions in Korea are rising. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has pronounced economic sanctions on the North which has reportedly begun to ready troops.

The intentional sinking of a foreign naval vessel is certainly cause to go to war. In effect it is a declaration of war. However, we cannot be sure that the sinking was intentional or planned and more importantly, no one wants another war in East Asia.

The United States, already declaring that it will stand with South Korea, maintains strong ties with the country and would probably be dragged into any conflict followed possibly by China on the side of the North. A battle between two world superpowers is precisely what the international community has been avoiding since the end of World War II.

American secretary of state Hillary Clinton has been in Beijing trying to convince China to side with South Korea and support action in the UN Security Council. The word is still out on how successful she will be.

While no one wants a war, it is almost inevitable that North Korea will reach meltdown stage at some point in the near future. It has already lasted as long or longer than other communist countries that were forced to enact fundamental reforms in the face of unsustainable levels of misery and poverty on the part of their people.

The ray of hope in this situation is that it cannot be in the interest of North Korea to go to war again. As it is, the North is left free to abuse and destroy its own people. They cannot hope to take on the South with America funding and militarily supporting it; all the more so because South Korea has gone through an extended period of growth and advancement while the North stagnated. South Korea is much more fit at this stage for a confrontation. Nuclear weapons notwithstanding, North Korea is no match for its counterpart.

The best we can hope for in this situation is that North and South Korea will do nothing more than rattle their sabers across the cease fire line until North Korea implodes on its own. Economic sanctions and slaps on the hand from the UN Security Council will do nothing while the alternative, all out war, is unthinkable.

The Political Disaster of the BP Oil Spill

The BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, still spewing after more than a week and several failed mitigation attempts, is certainly an environmental disaster, the extent of which will likely not be known for many weeks to come. But it is also a political disaster.

First of all, though the initial accident was not the fault of government, the failure to respond to the disaster was. The American government had certain regulations in place since the Exxon Valdez disaster near Alaska in 1989. It was supposed to have disaster mitigation equipment, in particular fire booms that would help to contain the oil and prevent it from spreading. But they did not follow their own rules.

The real ones responsible for the containment and cleanup, not to mention prevention, should be BP themselves, of course. If you make the mess, you clean it up. But since the government did have regulations in place and did not follow them they are culpable as well. In fact to the extent that government takes on accountability and responsibility themselves they remove it from corporations like BP. We have turned government into the nursemaid of the nation.

But even that is not the real disaster here. The worst part of this is the response that will come from the progressive federal government in Washington because of the oil spill. Regulation on oil companies will increase. No new oil exploration or rigs will be built. Alaska will have a tougher fight than ever to build their pipeline. America, in the mid of plentiful domestic oil reserves, will become more and more dependent on oil from countries in the Middle East and South America, many of which despise her. America will indirectly be funding the terrorists that attack America and Europe.

Further it will be the catalyst for more crises, such as out of control energy prices, which affect every other sector of the economy. Food, lights, heat, durable goods, and jobs will become scarce, particularly if the OPEC countries decide to limit availability or raise prices. If the American government continues to restrict the use of domestic oil and other energies, we are very possibly looking at a future in this country of a period that will make the 1930s look like good times.

The oil spill in the Gulf, through mismanagement and fear in government is destined to become not only the catalyst for more environmental regulations, but also a serious threat to our national security and our economic future. This could not have happened at a worse time.

Challenge from the States

American midterm primary elections for November are coming up this month in most states. This election, though not a presidential one, will be pivotal in determining the future direction of the country, perhaps even more so than those of 2012.

The greatest political upset in many generations is about to take place because Americans are mad. It’s not just the jobs or the taxes or the government spending or even the economy as a whole, though that is certainly a part of it. The thing that has Americans most angry is the complete disregard for We the People. Our Constitution is no longer sacred to power hungry politicians and even less so to members of “Crime Inc.,” as Glenn Beck dubs the organized international effort to destroy the world economy and with it, freedom.

There is nothing so fundamentally important to America as the Constitution. It is the standard of freedom, not for a country or for a society or for a culture but for individuals. It declares that individuals deserve equal protection under the law; it reins in the power of government, declares certain rights inviolable and brings peace and prosperity to all who follow its precepts.

But with the federal government tromping all over the Constitution, what hope can there be now?

That is why these elections are so important.

First, in spite of the twisting of words, the American people know exactly who is responsible. People who are part of the problem in the House and Senate will be removed from office. And yes, that means Republicans as well as Democrats. We will still have a progressive Democratic president and most likely a conservative Republican Congress. This means that not much will done in the next two years and that is a very good thing. Government never makes law except when it takes away more freedom and expands the role of government while simultaneously increasing the national debt.

But here’s why having an ineffective federal government for two years will really benefit America. Not only federal seats will be turned over to Independents and Republicans, but so will state governments go from ineffective or progressive leaders to truly conservative constitutionally responsible leaders.

The threat to the federal government and the real change on the horizon will not come from within the system; it will come from the states. The various states, which have already begun to show their teeth to the Feds will gain more and more in power and confidence until their so far halting and disjointed efforts will reach a concerted change in the subservient relationship of the states to the federal government. The Constitution will be resurrected and as it is held up by the states, the federal government will be forced to return to its constitutional role, within the boundaries set by those states with enough guts to take it on.

37 states are having governor’s races this year. There are also state legislators and local officials in towns and counties running for reelection. As these races take place, more Americans are more aware of the fundamental issues at stake than ever before and what’s more, it is in the primaries that their greatest effect will be felt. The candidate with the most constitutionally conservative stance will win in many districts and in many states. States that are strongly Democratic will go Republican or Independent. Those already in the hands of Republicans will change to different, more conservative, Republicans. No candidate running from the left will have any chance in most districts.

The real challenge to the federal government will come from the states, but the federal government has no idea of what is coming. They are focused on national seats in the legislature. They think they have the states under their financial thumb.

IMF Gaining in Power

Given the current economic problems of both Europe and the United States — well, the whole world really — the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is becoming more and more involved and gaining in power almost daily. As Rahm Emmanuel says, never let a crisis go to waste.

It’s time we paid attention to organizations such as the IMF and didn’t just take it for granted that they have our best interest at heart. They do after all control huge sums of the world’s money, most of which is taken from tax payers in various nations for the IMF to redistribute across the globe as they see fit, with no oversight, beyond their own internal “watchdog” group.

Their official line on accountability: The IMF is held accountable by multiple stakeholders, including by its own internal watchdog, member governments, the media, civil society, and academia. But no one with any power to actually make them behave themselves, avoid corruption, or seek redress in case of wrongs. A country may advise or even recall its representative, but has no recourse in case of actual differences. Once money is given to the IMF, the “donor” country has no more control over it.

The IMF is essentially to countries what government social programs are to citizens. If a country finds itself in need of monetary assistance because of stupid fiscal policies the IMF will take money from solvent, or at least rich, countries in order to help the “low to middle income countries.” It’s essentially redistribution of wealth on a global scale.

By now we should understand that when government holds the purse strings it also holds the power, so what does that mean in terms of the IMF? Nearly every country in the world is either beholden to the IMF and dependent on its loans or is in some other way inextricably tied into the IMF redistribution program. The IMF holds the purse strings for the whole world.

The IMF’s fundamental mission is to help ensure stability in the international system. It does so in three ways: keeping track of the global economy and the economies of member countries; lending to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and giving practical help to members.

That sounds all well and good, but in order to ensure the economic stability of the entire world economy, you have to wield massive amounts of power and that power must be usurped from sovereign nations. The IMF also has a track record of aiding and abetting financially dictatorships that routinely violate basic human rights, like Sri Lanka in 2009. When the IMF loan application from Sri Lanka was challenged by a lawsuit in the district court of the District of Columbia based on human rights violations, Timothy Geithner and Meg Lundsager argued that the court had no jurisdiction and the plaintiff had no standing anyway. They’re worried about a technicality when they are being sued over supporting massive human rights violations.

What court would have jurisdiction then? The IMF seems to be beyond the reach of any one government. It did approve the loan to Sri Lanka with the Britain, France and the United States abstaining from voting.

Meg Lundsager is one of a board of 24 directors who oversee the activities of the IMF and, coming from countries all over the world and supposedly representing those countries or groups of countries. She previously worked at the Treasury Department and was appointed in 2007 by President George W. Bush and confirmed by the Senate to represent the United States as a member of the IMF board.

Usually these “spread the wealth” types are also all about human rights, but not in the case of Sri Lanka. They argue that to not approve the loan would mean hardship for the general populace of Sri Lanka; a weak argument since the aid would not be sent to the people of Sri Lanka, but to the government of Sri Lanka. If you want to aid the people of Sri Lanka, you’ll have to resort to voluntarily funded private charities. But the IMF is not interested in aiding people; they are only interested in manipulating markets.

But the IMF doesn’t limit itself to monetary transactions; they also want to control invisible gasses. If you thought the failed Copenhagen Conference on global warming was the end, you thought wrong. The IMF with its already massively funded programs has taken on global warming, setting up “Climate Funds.”

These funds, which currently consist of the Clean Technology Fund and the Strategic Climate Fund were launched at the G8 in July 2008. So far, $6 billion has been committed by the different nations involved.

Not paying attention to powerful organizations like the IMF could very well be fatal to the economy of the whole world, including the “poor and middle class” countries they claim to help.