Saturday, August 31, 2013

Syria: Obama wants War, defers to Constitution.

The United States Constitution is clear that Congress is the only body that has the power to enact war. Then in 1973, Congress passed and was signed into law legislation commonly known as the War Powers Act which gave the President limited powers to engaged American Armed Forces into conflict without prior Congressional approval.

The caveat to this lies in Sec 2 subset C:

The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

Today, President Obama came out to announce that after seeing the evidence - yesterday presented by
Secretary of State John Kerry - that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had crossed the line in using chemical weapons against his own people. The United Nations earlier today held a press conference that discussed the time table of the assessing the samples taken from Syria in regards to the use of chemical weapons. Now, the UN Inspector did state that the results will in no manner determine who used chemical weapons; rather it will simply confirm the use of the chemical weapons.

In his address today, President Obama made it clear he is prepared to go to war despite the fact that he wouldn't put "boots on the ground" or it wouldn't be "an open time table." Trouble is Mr. President that you don't have the power to engage Syria on your own. The War Powers Act, see above, is very clear that an imminent danger or a national emergency exists that will result in an attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions or armed forces.

That said, Syria is not a colony of the United States nor do we have armed forces on the ground there either. While the use of chemical weapons appears conclusive the deliverer of those weapons is still open for debate. I know some will point to the evidence that Secretary of State Kerry spoke about the other day but we must look at the Arab League source with a grain of salt.

I applaud President Obama for finally recalling his Constitutional law classes  when he said, "under the Constitution, the responsibility to declare war lies with Congress." I also agree with President Obama that the use of chemical weapons on ones own people is an "assault on human dignity." But I don't agree with, "It also presents a serious danger to our national security. It risks making a mockery of the global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons." Why is that many in the East, namely the Middle East, hate the West and namely the United States? Because we use our imperial might to right wrongs that WE feel exist.

No one will deny the use of chemical weapons is bad. The trouble is that Syria is mired in a Civil War and with war comes a natural "assault on human dignity". As Gen. Patton famously coined, "War is Hell!" Now, the United States should do everything diplomatically that we can to help bring an end to the Civil War; diplomatically not military.

Reactions on MSNBC after the speech today had a number of people surprised that President Obama would defer to Congress. It is President Obama's Constitutional duty to defer to Congress. Now the question is: What will President Obama do if Congress doesn't give him authority to engage in war?

**** I had to revise my original post to replace Vice President Biden with Secretary of State Kerry - I was watching the reply when typing with VP Biden in the background. I apologize for the oversight. ***

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Race Relations: Better or Worse under Obama?

Tomorrow President Obama will be giving a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on race. Since Sen. Obama became President Obama race has been a hot topic for many in the media and even those on social media as well. Originally, many viewed the election of Sen. Obama to the Presidency of the United States as a positive step toward improved race relations in the United States. Star Parker wrote, Racial Divide Worse Under Obama, initially, "There was exhilaration that the nightmare was over- finally. That wrongs have been righted, that we can get on with America's business without the ongoing issue of race looming, and that we can stop looking at blacks politically as a special class of Americans."

Star Parker was on to something here. America had elected its first black President four years prior to were piece. The trouble is the election didn't bring forth the calming aspect Parker, and others, wished for; rather it armed the media with a new talking point - race. From the time that Sen. Obama was elected President, those that oppose President Obama's ideals for America have been labeled racist. Granted there are parts of America that still harbor deep seated racist thoughts and that is not something that will completely go away.

At the same time, as Star Parker had hoped that "we can stop looking at blacks politically as a special class of Americans" the media did just that. Anytime a black politician or candidate for office voiced an opposing view of President Obama's agenda - the media and more specifically social media - labeled them as an Uncle Tom. How does that promote race relations?

In a recent town hall in New York President Obama answered a professor's question by saying, "Fifty years after the March on Washington and the 'I Have a Dream' speech, obviously we have made enormous strides. I'm a testament to it, you're a testament to it, the diversity of this room and the students who here are a testament to it. And that impulse toward making sure everybody gets a fair shot is one that found expression in the civil rights movement and then spread to include Latinos and immigrants and gays and lesbians." Now, on social media when one invokes the "I Have a Dream" speech and the famous lines where Martin Luther King implores America to view people not based on the color of their skin rather on the merit of their character by any white person that person is persecuted by many in the black community.

Why is it so wrong for people of all color to invoke those sacred words of MLK? Is it not better for America, better for race relations that we all have a common theme, a common thread from which to weave the future? MLK nailed it. Unfortunately we have failed. We can point fingers to the past all we want.

Governor Bobby Jindal recently wrote an Op-Ed for Politico, The End of Race, where he points out that, "Racism is one of the more tragic features of the human condition. Like greed, envy and other sins, it has been around for thousands of years, on every continent." Gov. Jindal continues, "Here's what I've found in Louisiana: The voters want to know what you believe, what you stand for, and what your plan to do, not what shade your skin is." Gov. Jindal parents came here from India around the time of MLK's assassination.

Louisiana, the Deep South, voted in Bobby Jindal as Governor of the state. A colored man, a child of immigrants - why? Because of his ideals, his beliefs, his plan - not the color of his skin. Louisiana is the same state that David Duke hails from too.

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman (CBC), Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio stated in response to a question on the trajectory of race relations in Niall Stanage piece Black Lawmakers Lament Flaring of Racial Tensions under Obama, "Right after the election of the president, I would have thought it was going in a positive direction, but I am not so sure anymore."

In the same article, CBC member Rep. Barbara Lee of California said,"The country, for whatever reason, has not confronted race in the way that it should. With stop-and-frisk, and all the issues around income inequality, you really have to wonder [how much things have improved.] But I think a lot of it is to do with the idea that race has been an issue that we can talk about."

Niall Stanage does hit the nail on the head later in the piece when stating, "Put those economic factors together with the high-voltage legal cases on the killing of Trayvon Martin and the curtailment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and it is easy to see why black politicians, and liberals in general, are ambivalent over where things stand." Stanage is guilty of what many in the media and on social media equate - black politician to liberals. Not every black politician is a liberal but as I stated earlier for some reason those black politician's that speak non-liberal talking points are labeled Uncle Toms.

The melting of race today in America is taking place. The Ruling Class understands that if America completes the melting of race into a society of merit of character they have lost control and are in danger of office. It is time for America to embrace MLK and view less on skin tone and more on character. Race relations are in a similar boat that ethnic relations were in Boston, New York and other major cities in the 1800's. It took time for the "Natural Born" citizens to accept the Irish, the Germans, the Swedes, etc...

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hamburg City Council Agenda - August 13, 2013

Hamburg City Council Agenda
August 13, 2013

  1. Call City Council Meeting to Order
    1.  Pledge of Allegiance  
  2.  Public Comment (Individuals may address the City Council about any non-agenda item(s) of concern. Speakers must state their name, address, and limit their remarks to three minutes. The City Council may not take official action on these items and may refer the matter to staff for a future report or direct that the matter be scheduled for a future meeting agenda.)  
  3. Agenda Review (Added Items) and Adoption
  4.  Consent Agenda (NOTICE TO PUBLIC: All those items listed as part of the Consent Agenda will be approved by a single motion, unless a request to discuss one of those items is made prior to that time. Anyone present at the meeting may request an item to be removed from the consent agenda. Please inform the Council when they approve the agenda for this meeting.) 

  • MNSPECT Minute for August 2013 
  • Mediacom Channel Lineup Changes 
  • 2014 Local Government Aid Notice 
  • Wireless Service Letter (Councilmember Odoms) 
  • Relay for Life (September 21, 2013) 
  • Carver County Fair (August 7-11, 2013) 
  • Cash Flow Statement for May/June 2013 
  • Delinquent Utility Bills Report   
  • Nuisance Complaint List 
  • Building Permit Activity Report 
  • Water Wells Usage/Water Consumption Report  
 Fire Department Report

  •  Certificate of Recognition for Firefighter Scott Karels 
  •  Fire Chiefs Convention 
  •  Training Reimbursement  
  • National Night Out  
  •  Bike Helmets  
  • HFDRA 2012 Reporting Year Forms (Notice from State Auditor) 
Diana Kroells – Hamburg Lions Club

  • A Little Library        
 John Rodeberg – City Engineer (S.E.H.)

  •  City Street Improvements/Maintenance for 2013 
    •  Robert Avenue Improvements (Change Order)  
Old City Business (Memo)

  • Revised NIMS Training Program (Requirements) 
  • Tax Forfeited Lot on Brad Street o Assessments on Parcel 45.2000010 
  • City Assessment Policy 
  • Free Health Screening for Employees  
Public Works & Utilities Department Report

  • Pavers for Community Center Door 
  • Community Center Repairs 
  • Cleaning/Televising of Sanitary Sewer Lines  
  • LMCIT Loss Control Recommendation Letter o Sanitary Sewer System Assessment 
 City Clerk/Treasurer Report

  • County Road 50 Detour for Closure of TH 25 in Sibley County  2014 Budget Workshop Meetings o August 26 th , 27 th or 28 th , 2013 @ 7:00 PM o September 3 rd , 4 th or 5 th @ 7:00 PM  
 Approve Payment of Added July 2013 Claims ($96,690.05)

  •  City Clean Up Day Billing (May 4, 2013) Approve Payment of August 2013 Claims  
 City Council Reports

  • Councilmember Odoms Report (Streets)
  • Councilmember Bob Gregonis (Water/Sewer) 
  • Councilmember Lund Report (Parks) 
  • Councilmember Trebesch Report (Buildings) 
  • Mayor Malz Report  
 Adjourn City Council Meeting                                                        

Friday, August 2, 2013

Drug Use: When to Wage War and When to Regulate

In a recent story done by the AP, New Zealand is looking to regulate the market on designer drugs with the goal to make them safer for those using them. See the article here: Now, the new law doesn't legalize marijuana or cocaine; rather the intent is to force designer drug makers - which was illegal prior to the law - to adhere to the same regulatory body that pharmaceutical companies do.

Let's face it, the "War on Drugs" has been a global failure. At the same time the drug trade has illustrated to perfection the lucrative money one can make in a free market; granted this free market is the Black Market. The violence witnessed in Mexico and along the US/Mexico border is over the illegal trafficking of drugs. Fields of poppy litter the landscape of the Middle East all in an effort to raise funds for the warlords in the region.

While I am not a drug user nor do I promote the use of abortion as a method of birth control, I recognize the limitations and markets government makes when waging war or making something illegal. Early in the 20th Century America saw the rise of the Mafia mainly due to the prohibiting of alcohol. Some have argued that the side effects and social ills of alcohol differ little to illicit drugs. Not to mention that prescription drugs are a hot commodity and have the same harmful impact if misused as illicit drugs.

The sky will not fall, drug use will not rise dramatically and chaos will not reign in the streets if countries adopt a more regulated approach to illicit drugs. Now, I am typically a proponent to government intervention into the Free Market or our private lives. When the drug trade fills to coffers of those that deem us harm and if regulation can bring about a safer product  then I am open to the notion of government intervention. Often times people confuse the concept of limited government as no government and that is simply not a honest assessment of the thought process.

New Zealand is onto something here and I hope our government will take notice. We have already seen a few states legalize recreational use of marijuana with little public disruption. Perhaps it is time to take a deeper look into all drug use.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Democrats Mire Clinton's Chances for White House

Prior to the 2008 Presidential election, Sen. Hillary Clinton was poised to take the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. Then an freshman Senator with very little political resume juggernauts to the head of the class and takes the nomination away from Sen. Clinton. President Obama put Sen. Clinton into his cabinet to keep her politically viable. The former Secretary has new issues now as she attempts to mount another run at garnering the Democratic nomination for President in 2016.

Yes, I know it is only 2013 and perhaps that is why we are seeing this story brew now and not later as many of us realize that voters have short term memories. Brewing story is the comparison of Secretary Clinton to Anthony Weiner's wife Huma. In case you haven't been up on current events Mr. Weiner is running for office in New York; yet he continues to have been sending out lewd texts and tweets to females under the guise of Carlos Danger. Huma, who was an aide to Secretary Clinton and a close friend, has been sticking by her husband.

The media has been not kind to Huma though in regards to her husbands actions; yet the same media gave then First Lady Clinton a pass as a litany of women were touted of having extramarital affairs with President Clinton. Some in the media are speculating that why women like Huma or Secretary Clinton put up with their husband's immorality is it suffices their own political pursuits. That being said, I find it interesting that the media is starting to turn up the heat in the comparison to Huma and Hillary.

Could it be that the Democratic Party is just providing lip service to feminists by flirting with the notion of nominating a female to the top of the ticket? Then to give the DNC cover as to why not Clinton, or a female with similar credentials, stories portraying women as enablers instead of an innocent bystander are leaked. What is the Democratic Party afraid of? What is America afraid of?