Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Let the Day After Memorial Day Be the Beginning of the Summer of Recovery

Once again, Memorial Day, a day that has been set aside to pay homage to those who have fallen in service to our country and have given us the freedoms and liberties we enjoy with the sacrifice of their lives is upon us. Some communities may still hold parades; most all will hold some sort of ceremony to honor our fallen.

Like the last couple Memorial Days, this one will be held under the shadow of not only an ongoing war, but a deeply depressed economy and divided nation. Politicians, many of whom have gotten us into this mess, will undoubtedly step forward and make their speeches and no doubt, some will take advantage of the day to score a few political points.

But, who will actually take the bull by the horns and do what is needed to correct this elongated Great Recession we remain in?

As well as being a day to honor our fallen heroes, Memorial Day is also considered the official kick-off to the summer, where people across the country will go on vacation, visit relatives and friends far distances from them and get out and enjoy the countryside as much as they may.

With gas breaking $4.00 a gallon, unemployment still riding high, taxes going up all over, business still failing and the dark mood of the nation because of it, many less trips will be taken than was just a few years ago. Ultimately, that will result in making the situation worse as even less tax revenues from summer purchases will be made.

No need to buy summer clothes for traveling. And not realized by many, whether you travel by car, bus, rail or fly in an airplane, taxes are collected off of the fuel used and off of the fares paid for travel. The current situation is very much a vicious circle with elected officials not seeing the forest for the trees as they still block most of the access to our own fuel sources.

API (American Petroleum Institute) has produced a short video providing some solutions to this quagmire we remain in.

Currently, politicians are demonizing the oil companies and using them as a ‘boogieman’ in the partisan power struggles in Washington D.C. You and I are stuck in the middle of this political tug of war, doing without, staying home, unable to afford vacations or travel or purchase very much that we might wish to.

At the same time, we have our Troops fighting in lands against terrorists, lands that we also obtain a significant portion of our foreign oil from and countries that don’t think too kindly towards us.

As we saw after liberating Iraq from the clutches of Saddam Hussein, we don’t even receive preferential purchases of Iraqi oil, most of it going to China and Russia, who played no role in Iraq’s liberation.

I have long maintained that the oil industry remains prepared to create hundreds of thousands of well paying jobs. Exploring, drilling, refining and delivering oil products as well as a multitude of secondary jobs in supportive roles to the industry, jobs are sitting there waiting to be created.

Along with those jobs will come increased revenues to the treasury from more and more people working, buying products again that also send revenues to the treasury. As more people are working and wanting to make more purchases, companies expand creating more jobs for the goods to be manufactured to meet the needs and wants of middle class Americans currently struggling just to get by.

Wood McKenzie Energy Consulting, at the request of the API recently conducted another study into opening areas currently barred for accessing our own domestic energy sources. The areas are the Eastern Gulf of Mexico, portions of the Rocky Mountains, ANWR, and the Atlantic and Pacific Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the latter with pending legislation co-sponsored by both of our Democrat Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell to place a permanent ban on any access to those sources. Joining them is both of the Senators from Oregon as well as those from California.

As indicated in the chart below, we could increase our jobs by over 500,000 and increase revenues to the treasury by $194 Billion with undoubtedly more coming in from those supportive industries and recovery of our manufacturing sectors supplying what the newly hired people will begin buying again.

As long as these areas remain ‘off limits’ to us none of that will happen. As long as we remain silent and a fall for the ‘boogieman’ scenario created for political gain, our gas prices will steadily increase, job creation will languish and we will find ourselves increasingly dependent upon government, a government that cannot even meet our current needs necessitating borrowing more and more monies from other countries and raising our already astronomical $14 Trillion debt.

If that number seems unimaginable to you, consider that “a cube of one trillion pennies stacked together would be 273 feet tall.” That’s just one trillion! To stagger your imagination more, it would take a little under Two Trillion pennies to completely fill the Empire State Building in New York City. Compare nearly 7 Empire State Buildings as equivalent to our debt and it is rising steadily as I write just from interest on the loans.

That some claim past President Reagan saying “the debt doesn’t matter” is meaningless with as out of control as it has gotten. It does matter and past claims make it no different.

Nothing or anyone is going to get us out of this predicament we are in overnight. It is going to take years of hard work and sacrifices and those won’t come without jobs beginning a recovery somewhere.

That somewhere remains to be those oil companies the left currently demonizes so much. Yes, they’ll make profits, lots of profits I hope. Out of those profits we will see expanded job opportunities, increased revenues to the treasury and a restoration of our freedoms to move about as we see fit, in our cars or on other modes of transportation.

Let’s spend our time Monday paying homage to those who have fallen in all of our wars and who died so we could enjoy those very freedoms we currently cannot afford. They and their loved ones have paid a high price for us to enjoy the freedoms our founding fathers also fought for us to have, freedoms and liberties never before seen in this world.

Come Tuesday, after the flags are folded back up, after the politicians end their speeches and the parades cease, let’s get down to business and demand our elected political Representatives and Senators honor those sacrifices when they return to Washington D.C. by stopping their nonsense and allow us to get back to work.

Let’s make the day after this Memorial Day the start of the Summer of Recovery.

Free Speech for All. Except Conservatives

The Columbian: Bankruptcy, Restructure, Tax Breaks and Still Late

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to see our local newspaper of record once again reporting news after others do. It seems to be the pattern down there for some time now.

Be it the news of death threats against former congressman Brian Baird being found not credible before his August 18, 2009 town hall, uncovered by blogger Kelly Hinton weeks before the Columbian reported it or ongoing problems at the Hazel Dell Value Motel, reported on and uncovered by Marcus Griffith of the Vancouver Voice, not to leave out the numerous times KPAM, KATU, KPTV, KUPL or KGW news teams scoop them on local Clark County news, the Columbian continually comes up short when it comes to getting news out in a timely fashion.

Editor Lou Brancaccio has said they will not run with rumors or publish speculation, which was highly noticeable in the case of former 49th legislative district representative Jim Jacks abruptly quitting the seat, mid-session and just weeks after being sworn in for another term.

Others weren’t so fortunate to have the local paper of record in their pocket that spared little ink in speculating or questioning the truthfulness of their claims.

In the case of Marcus Griffith of the Vancouver Voice, someone I have had my differences with, he did make the effort to confirm what nearly all of us in town knew, that there were serious infractions and shady dealings going on at the Motel. I believe he could have accomplished that without spending the night there, but have to credit him with actually going in there and doing his own investigation and then reporting on it, once again, before the Columbian reported about it.

And now once again, almost as regular as clockwork, Griffith beats them to the punch on the Motel asking for additional time to clean up the mess they have allowed to fester there.

May 23, 2011 the Vancouver Voice ran Filthy hotel may get 30 more days to clean up where we read,
“The owners of The Value Motel have requested a 30-day extension to the May 25 deadline to correct the myriad of deficiencies discovered by health inspectors earlier this year.”

“Rodent infestation, soiled bedding, blood stains and “organic smears” were only a few of the wide spread unsanitary conditions the inspectors discovered after the hotel’s conditions were featured in a Vancouver Voice article.”

“A decision to grant, or deny, the 30-day extension may be reached by the end of this week, according to Department of Health Program Manager, Shannon Walker. Walker also indicated that no decision has been made regarding what type of sanctions the hotel will face if it doesn’t meet the deadline.”

May 24, 2011 the Columbian runs Value Motel owners ask for more time to clean up where we read,
“The state gave the Value Motel ownership until Wednesday to correct the identified deficiencies or face sanctions, including civil fines or revocation of the operating license.”

“Last Thursday, the state health department received the request for a 30-day extension, said Sharon Moysiuk, a spokeswoman for the department. State officials have not yet decided whether to approve or reject the extension, she said.”

“The safety survey included the inspection of the main laundry room, pool, hot tub, electrical panels, common areas, stairwells, hallways, water heaters, the exterior of the building and 23 unoccupied rooms.”

“Officials reported finding grimy, oily and unsanitary bedspreads; mattresses and bedsheets stained with urine, feces and blood; and walls discolored by grimy smears, food splash and ‘other organic debris’.”

Not much difference, but a day later than a local blog/free newspaper.

It’s been a couple years now that the Columbian filed for bankruptcy, having gotten into financial difficulty, not the least of which was the eagerness for a bright and shiny new office building amid a time of declining subscriptions. They emerged from bankruptcy with editor Brancaccio boastfully proclaiming in a February 6, 2010 editorial,
“because we’ll be around for a long time: To those who challenge us on what we do and why we do it — well, you’ll have a place to voice all of that. Here at The Columbian.”

A year before they emerged from bankruptcy we read, Newspaper publishers seek tax cut with publisher Scott Campbell saying,
“As leaders of our companies, we have had to really buckle down and figure out how to weave through this economic time.”

They received their tax cut, went through the bankruptcy and emerged successfully. But, that “figure out how to weave through this economic time” seems to elude them still.

Perhaps, getting on top of news in Clark County, stop lagging behind out of state media and bloggers, being fair across the board when it comes to reporting on scandalous activities of elected officials and actually having reporters take on tough assignments, not just appear at fluff council meetings would have Clark County citizens seek them out before they do blogs and free newspapers like the Vancouver Voice and tuning into Portland, Oregon media for the latest in Clark County, Washington.

Until then, people will turn to where they get the news first and all too often, it isn’t the Columbian.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

GOP Congresswoman: Clueless or Pandering?

It’s no secret that I did not support Jaime Herrera Beutler for the seat she sits in currently. The above video is a prime reason why, beyond the nonsense thrown at me by her staff and the Clark County Republican Party because I had the audacity to actually support a Conservative Republican in last year’s election.

At her May 16, 2011 Town Hall, Jaime faced a crowd of angry Democrats fearing she will vote like a Republican. The above comment was the normal run of the mill leftwing tripe on ending tax breaks and subsidies for corporations, the job creators. Hearing this particular part of her reply, I can only ask, “Jaime, are you clueless or pandering to Democrats again?”

She specifically mentions ExxonMobil and GE as corporations not paying taxes. Leftists, Moveon.org and several others have been making that claim, based in large part to admitted Socialist Democrat Bernie Sanders from Vermont releasing his list of Top Ten Tax Avoiders, where it is claimed the companies posted large profit increases, and pay no taxes in the U.S.

Like a true socialist, Sanders despises when others earn profits, but enjoys making his own profit by selling a book, taking $174,000 a year in salary plus generous benefits and retirement, at taxpayer expense incidentally.

But, this isn’t to point out Sanders hypocrisy, but is questioning how it is that our freshman congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler makes such a ludicrous comment like “ExxonMobil and GE should pay their fair share,” adopting the leftist cry heard throughout the country in efforts to demonize the wealthy and further class divisions in America.

CNN Money tells on ExxonMobil,
“Exxon paid the most taxes last year of any U.S. company, by far -- but not a cent went to the IRS for income taxes. That’s because the oil giant does business in some of the mostly highly taxed countries in the world. Want to extract petroleum in Nigeria? Be prepared to fork over up to 85% of your profit in tax payments.”

“Exxon doled out more than $15 billion in income tax payments to foreign countries last year. U.S. tax codes allow companies to take massive deductions in light of those international charges, which knocked Exxon’s federal income-tax bill down into negative territory.”

“That said, Uncle Sam gets his money in other ways. Including sales taxes and duties, Exxon recorded $7.7 billion in U.S. tax costs last year, and paid even more overseas.”

“Its grand total in global taxes for the year? A whopping $78.6 billion. The company’s effective income tax rate was a hefty 47%, its highest in three years.”

On ExxonMobil’s Perspectives website we read,
“Here’s a number you won’t hear in Washington: During the first quarter, on those U.S. earnings of $2.6 billion, we incurred tax expenses in the United States of $3.1 billion. That’s right – our U.S. tax bill was higher than our U.S. earnings.”

“That includes income taxes, sales-based taxes and others such as property taxes. But it doesn’t include royalties or lease payments we pay to the government to produce oil and gas on government-controlled lands, which would make the government’s take from our operations even bigger.”

An effective tax rate of 47%, much higher than other large corporations in the country and people like Herrera Beutler, Bernie Sanders and so many more are crying they need to “pay their fair share?” It would appear to me that if they were to “pay their fair share,” their taxes would be lowered, not increased.

But, what about GE? She mentioned them too. Again, referring to CNN Money we read,
“General Electric didn't have to pay the IRS a dime of income tax in 2009. That's because the company's financial services division lost a boatload of money, giving GE a tax break it used to offset income from its other business lines.”

“‘This is the first time in at least decades that GE has reported negative U.S. pretax income, and it reflects the worst economy since the Great Depression,’ said Anne Eisele, GE’s director of financial communications.”

Looking into Sanders claims of the corporate giants not “paying their fair share,” Politifact ruled FALSE Sanders claim.

And here we see our alleged conservative Republican congresswoman standing before a Town Hall crowd of largely left-wing Democrats joining in with their divisive bleating of “pay their fair share.”

In 2007, Jaime declared herself a “friend of organized labor” as she was seeking the seat in the 18th legislative district she occupied for a little over 2 years before hoodwinking her way into congress, thanks to some underhanded tricks by establishment GOP party members in at least 4 counties.

While in Olympia, she twice voted for and co-sponsored pro-SEIU legislation that would have forced childcare centers into Public Unions, a point her then Campaign Manager and now Chief of Staff, Casey Bowman labeled me as a liar for documenting.

Incidentally, to this point on forced unionization of childcare centers, later in this same town hall, Jaime boasts of how proud she was to have supported that legislation that did not pass.

Getting back to the point though. Even she is serious about “paying their fair share,” will she work towards tax subsidies for the unions?

Unions around our state, and I have to imagine across the nation as well, have been granted many of the same tax breaks falsely labeled as “subsidies” by the left and what do they produce? Nothing! They organize and manipulate union’s members to take, not to give. That ends up giving us either higher taxes or his consumer prices.

If she’s serious about ending those “tax breaks,” let’s see her begin with the Union’s.

I won’t be holding my breath, though. I’ll sit back and keep wondering, is she clueless about taxes in America or was she pandering to the Democrats that evening?

Just Because the World Did Not End, It’s Not the End of the World

No doubt, a few people woke up feeling dejected and dismayed, realizing that predictions of gloom and doom and the world coming to an end made by 89 year-old preacher, Harold Camping did not happen. Why anybody took it serious escapes me as anybody with an even rudimentary knowledge of the Bible and Christianity knows that it says no one knows when that will happen, not even Jesus, only God.

Throughout the years there have been literally hundreds, if not more, end time predictions made and if you are reading this, none of them came true. To me, it shows that there are some, declaring themselves devout Christians, who end up, unwittingly, placing more faith in the words of a fellow man and not God’s word.

But, my intent here is not to point out shortcomings in people’s faith or the Church. Someone’s religious beliefs are very personal and even if they are what I would describe as “fringe,” they are their beliefs. What does bear pointing out is the reaction of some non-believers, atheists on the left, human secularists or whatever you wish to call them. Knowing full well that the majority of believers did not fall for Camping’s nonsense, this is ignored so they can take a slap at all Christians.

As I suspected was going to happen, John Laird of the Columbian, even toned down from his more usual ‘I hate any and everything Republican’ rhetoric, made his Sunday column about the latest end of the world failure with his column, How did Judgment Day go for you?

Taking some rightful slaps towards Camping, John can’t resist telling us, “Camping is not the first preacher with whom I’ve disagreed. Having warbled unappreciated in choir lofts of three denominations over four decades, I’ve heard plenty of eyebrow-raising prognoses emanating from pulpits…”

Of course, he doesn’t consider heard plenty of eyebrow-raising prognoses emanating from the editorial pages of the Columbian under his name, or the years of fearmongering and class divisions emanating from the Democratic Party either. Or, all of the dire results so far of that “hopey changey thing” from those he embraces and places his faith in, left-wing politicians sitting on their asses back in Washington D.C. and Olympia, Washington.

After whining about preachers ignoring “solid science,” where many secularists place faith today, also ignoring how often that “solid science” is updated, he shows a glint of the old John we all have come to expect when he writes, “Oh, I know, there had been some scientific evidence that geotectonic vibrations had intensified in recent weeks, but I dispatched my investigative aides to look into this, and they discovered the truth. It was just the seismic impact of Kirstie Alley on ‘Dancing With the Stars’.”

Now, what is the need to take a derogatory slap towards film actress, Kirstie Alley? Or, is he substituting his hatred towards Republican with slaps towards those he feels weigh too much? Why didn’t he make that slap towards to rather robust posterior of Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle? Oh, sorry, that’s right, I forgot. “Thou shalt not ridicule Democrats or especially, Barack or Michelle Obama.” That’s “racist!”

Also ignored in this “end of the world” scenario is how many times over the past decades have we heard similar tales of doom and gloom if we don’t give up our lifestyles and do as the leftists and global warming kooks tell us we must?

The left demands we conform to their beliefs, stop driving, roast in the summer, freeze in the winter, stay in the dark or buy $50 light bulbs that they say are better and if we don’t, do they not cry how we are bringing the world to an end?

From false predictions of global cooling in the 1970’s to the cries of destroying the planet from manmade warming causing hundreds of catastrophic hurricanes, that never happened, increased tornadoes or what have you, has not the secularists and leftists amongst us depended on what they label as “solid science” to force us to change our lifestyle to their liking?

The Bible tells believers, “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

What does that “solid science” the secularists place their faith in offer?

Enslavement and higher and higher taxes is all I can see as well as a lowering of the lifestyle our forefathers fought for us to have.

No doubt the succeeding days will see more and more condemnation of Christians by the likes of the John Lairds of the country who promote their leftism as “solid science” all MUST follow and believe in.

It will die down and they can return to their normal hate everybody, miserable selves with nothing to lean on but false cries of doom and gloom if people exercise freedom and choice on their own accord.

They’ll create a mountain out of a molehill of so few people actually believing in Camping’s prediction for the time being.

The world not ending is not the end of the world for them, though. They’ll always have some finger-pointing and blaming of others for their own shortcomings to give.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Former Prairie Principal Lets His Left Wing Bias Show

For some time now, we conservatives have been scoffed at whenever we mention that there are too many involved in education that place leftist ideals above actually educating our children. Unwittingly, Bruce Matheny, principal at Prairie High School from 1995 to 1999 provided support for our claims as he confronted a former student, Jaime Herrera Beutler at her recent town hall, May 16, 2011.

It was previously reported that the town hall was contentious, Ms Beutler being confronted by angry leftwing Democrats calling her a liar and just being obnoxious, undoubtedly some recruited by Don’tEndMedicare.com, set up and funded by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, complete with downloadable protest signs, bogus talking points and preformed letters to the editor.

What didn’t make the initial reports is that one of those confronting Herrera Beutler was none other than her former High School Principal, Bruce Matheny who said to her, “I’m proud of what you’ve done with your career, but I’m really disappointed with your politics. I think you mean well, but you’re drinking that Republican Kool-Aid.”

Anyone who knows me also knows that I am no fan of Jaime Herrera Beutler and do not see her as a conservative. Establishment Republican who goes to the left at times, yes. But a conservative? No way. So, her being confronted by angry constituents does not really disturb me. She wanted in the big leagues and she made it, by dirty politics, but she made it.

But, for a High School Principal, who for years had charge of educating children and supposedly not imposing his political views to stand, identify himself as her former Principal and launch into a tirade of her “having drank the kool-aid” goes a bit too far.

Is that how he spoke to children under his charge and with conservative parents?

Is he disappointed that someone might think differently than he does and walk a different path?

Did he confront her at any time as she supported and voted for legislation that would have forced child care centers into public unions, charging that she must be drinking that SEIU Kool-Aid?

Did he ever step and charge her with drinking that Democrat Kool-Aid when she joined forces with Democrats in Olympia in stripping the last $229,000,000 from the rainy day fund?

Did he object when she declared herself “a friend to organized labor” when seeking the appointment to replace Richard Curtis in 2007?

Something tells me no, he had no objections then and was probably quite pleased with the flavor of her Kool-Aid then.

But, to hear an educator stand up in public and charge a former student with “drinking that Republican Kool-Aid” because she doesn’t follow his politics lock-step is irresponsible and disrespectful.

I can only imagine how he spoke to students inside a classroom or the principals’ office.

But, I do thank Bruce for providing support for the many times we conservatives have spoken about the conduct and actions of leftwing educators.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Can you hear me now?

An Iowa voter has a few words for Newt Gingrich.

Would someone please pass the message along to Ron Paul.

C-Tran Board, “We Always Get Our Tax Increase”

As TV and Movies have claimed for many years as the Canadian Mounties motto, “we always get our man,” the C-Tran Board has the same tenacity when it comes to always getting whatever tax increase they want, regardless of what taxpayers vote.

This was seen in 2004 when C-Tran spread the fear and dread of needing a .03% sales tax increase to expand and keep operating, still blaming citizens who voted for I-695 in 1999 when we rolled back the outrageous excise we paid every year to re-license our cars.

They put together Proposition 1 for the 2004 General Election and in spite of appearing at advocacy groups to tout the need for more of our money, threatening drastic cutbacks in service and lay-offs, the proposition failed by a vote of 54% against, 46% for.

The bus drivers union voted no confidence in Lynne Griffith, the agency's executive director then. The Columbian editorialized on the loss and began making suggestions, joined by riders of C-Tran and legislators of holding off on cut-backs and to try again.

The County-wide vote showed 85,684 against to 73,959 for. Take note that I mentioned “COUNTY-WIDE vote.” That’s important because as is seen below, the C-Tran Board came right back with Board Resolution BR-05-001, “A RESOLUTION of the C-TRAN Board of Directors conferring upon itself the status of a public transportation conference for the purpose of convening a Public Transportation Improvement Conference to redefine the PTBA boundaries.”

In simple terms, seeing that a County-wide vote will fail to give them the votes they wanted, an elections map identified where they would stand the best chance to get the tax increase they wanted, just redraw the lines of the boundary and get the sales tax vote passed, eliminating those areas of the county that would most likely vote against it.

Ingenious, if not devious at the same time in reality. Knowing that those voters in the outlying regions have to come to town to shop, they will still have to pay the increased tax, but are denied a vote on that increased tax.

The vote was put back on the ballot for the primary election in 2005, an election that not only eliminated quite a bit of the county that would pay the tax, but since primaries are noted for lower voter turnout, even less of a chance at a second defeat.

The tax increase passed in such a gerrymandered voting district by 68% for, 32% against. What should paid attention to is in the 2005 primary, 45,322 voted for, 21,545 against. That is total voter turn-out of 66,867 for the 2005 Primary compared to a total turn-out of 159, 643 just months before in the 2004 General.

This is the new “democratic process” we see in Vancouver and Clark County as the mayor of Portland’s Vancouver, Tim ‘no show’ Leavitt continues to pull any stunt he can to block the county-wide vote for a sales tax increase to fund Light Rail maintenance, split off from the C-Tran sales tax increase proposed just last year for yet more of whatever it is C-Tran claims they need now.

Leavitt isn’t alone in this as others sitting on the C-Tran Board go along with the plan. Voters and taxpayers mean nothing to these people we have elected, only satisfying Identity Clark County and lining the pockets of their members and whoever else is behind forcing Light Rail on the community, even though voters have turned it down every time it has come up for a vote.

Just as the Columbian said when they bemoaned the failure of the 2004 tax increase in their November 7, 2004 editorial, “This mandate for curtailed C-Tran services was issued by public decree, via the voters of Clark County. Even if you disagree with the decree, as we do, it should be respected and implemented.”

Did any elected official listen to that? No.

Are any of today’s elected officials up for re-election showing the attitude of listening to voters?

If you cannot answer yes, you need to vote them out; no matter how much you might personally respect them.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baseball Team or Another White Elephant? If We Don’t Ask, We Don’t Know

For several years many Vancouverites have longed for a pro-baseball team to be located in Vancouver and it looks now as if their cries might be answered. Mayor of Portland’s Vancouver, Tim ‘no show’ Leavitt has announced the likelihood of the Yakima Bears relocating to our community after several years in Yakima.

Many are elated and ready to jump headlong into the project while strongly objecting to others who raise questions about the move, especially where a portion of the project will require the use of tax dollars. We hear comments like “I am not quite sure why every aspect of this project needs to be so thoroughly parsed and vetted” from many of the same people who strongly object if a company like Wal-Mart announces plans to build a store with all private funds.

The Yakima Bears is a Class ‘A’ team affiliated with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has been playing out of Yakima for 21 years. Financially, they have been losing money for at least the last 9 years, a loss the team owners claim is due to an undersized stadium resulting in “to low in-stadium spending” according to Team Owners.

While game attendance is said to have been increasing, the Yakima Herald reports that game attendance averages less that 1,800 per game, about half of that of other Class ‘A’ Teams.

The Portland Beavers left due to their attendance averaging less than 1,900 per game.

For over a year, both Yakima and Union Gap have struggled to find a way to finance a new stadium for the Team, estimated to cost about the same as what they would want in Vancouver, $23 Million. Financing would have come from multiple sources as is proposed in relocating to Vancouver. A study conducted in Yakima and also reported in the Yakima Herald states, “Other public sports facilities in Washington, the study said, received about 32 percent funding from the private sector and the rest from other sources, such as state, county and city grants, loans or taxes.”

They report that the Team has been reluctant to ask voters for a tax increase. The Columbian tells us, “Financing of the $23 million project would come from the team through investments and guarantees and corporate partners through naming rights and luxury boxes.”
“The one public financing component? Clark County commissioners will be asked to approve an entertainment admissions fee, which would add 5 percent to the cost of tickets to local entertainment events, including movies and the baseball games.”

The percentage of that “one public financing component” has not been determined as of yet.

Proposed Vancouver Site
Proposed Yakima Site
Of some concern too is the location of the planned stadium which will be 600 seats more than was proposed in Yakima and looks like on a smaller parcel of land. Land now owned by Clark College and bordering the Vancouver Veterans Hospital to the immediate north. Parking apparently will be an issue as promoters have asked for the public to park in Clark College Parking when games would be held.

A question submitted just last evening to Ron Arp about any consideration of adverse effects to the VA Hospital was sent too late for this posting, but I anticipate an answer after the weekend.

I assume too that the stadium considered for Vancouver would be similar or the same as what was being considered for Yakima, seen below.

Illustration courtesy of the Yakima Herald

Illustration Courtesy of the Yakima Herald
Very nice looking stadium I’d say. Part of the sell on this project is that it would be multi-use, meaning community events would be held there to include concerts, High School Games and what have you. But, wasn’t that the same sell we were given when it came to the Sleep Country Amphitheater and the Convention Center at the Hilton downtown? Neither project has delivered as of yet and remain funded in part by taxpayers that are still struggling in the economic nightmare we see ourselves in.

I do not object to a professional ball team being in Vancouver nor do I object to a stadium being built to house them. I am concerned, however, that taxpayers could once again be stuck with a white elephant if estimates do not play out.

We should not jump headlong into this before “every aspect of this project is thoroughly parsed and vetted.” There needs to be some assurances made that this will not end up costing taxpayers more than they benefit.

I see no reason the Team Owners would be unwilling to cooperate with the community by answering all concerns and giving those assurances. A Question & Answer sheet provided by the team seems scant on some of the concerns of citizens, being comprised of questions Team Owners supply and answers. I would prefer seeing the Q&A of actual citizen and elected officials concerns.

Whether or not Portland citizens would flock to Vancouver for the games will not be known until after the stadium is constructed and games begin. I have no reason to believe they won’t, but see nothing indicating they will either. I have not seen any marketing surveys for the region as to whether or not they will come, should we build it.

The project is worthy of serious consideration and could be a boon for the community. It also could be another white elephant sucking more tax dollars than we like.

With the desire of construction of the stadium beginning in less than 2 months, we aren’t being given much time to weight the benefits of this move. That makes it even more urgent that we ask these questions, voice our concerns and then communicate to city and county officials our views, not that they have a history of listening when they see a chance to stick taxpayers with the bill if a pet project of theirs.

For those with their blinders on who inevitably will come in telling me I’m a naysayer, always blocking progress, live in the past or what have you, think again. I am not condemning the project; just trying to raise legitimate concerns that need looked at and must be considered, given the rapid pace of the planned project and the unknown elements of it.

Let’s be cautious this time before we end up once again left holding the bag.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Obama's Energy Plan - Hot Air

From the NRSC

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dump the Vancouver City Cartel

With the latest stunt of Vancouver, Washington mayor Tim Leavitt and the city council, which more resemble a cartel than an elected body of representatives, it has come time to vote out any up for reelection.

Last September Mayor Leavitt, now known for his blatant lies to be elected as the Mayor in opposing tolling the new bridge that will eventually be constructed across the Columbia River, engineered a little sleight of hand trick, combining a citizen vote on extending Portland, Oregon’s financially failing Light Rail in with a vote for a sales tax increase to “preserve and expand existing C-Tran bus service” in Clark County.

One lone council member, Jeanne Stewart, gauging strong public sentiment against light rail from Portland, cast the deciding vote to split the ballot measures, correctly seeing that the public wasn’t going to fall for Leavitt’s trick and that C-Tran would most lose a significant portion of their funding.

Leavitt and the rest of the city cartel ungraciously voted to oust her from the C-Tran board, replacing her with Larry Smith.

Since announcement last September of Fate of light rail will go before voters and Leavitt’s claim of, “Our city council will certainly evaluate our options. Personally, I will look at what progress has been made and whether or not it’s productive for the city council to take an opposing position,” he has continued to do what he can to stop the voices of citizens who oppose forcing this $4.6 Billion boondoggle down the throats of a struggling community.

Vancouver might veto countywide light-rail vote

In a very short period of time, we have seen Tim Leavitt campaigning for Mayor with numerous well documented promises of fighting and opposing tolls to strongly supporting them as well as numerous cries at city cartel meetings that they have no say in the matter to threatening strong arm tactics if the project doesn’t go as Leavitt deems it should.

All but one in the cartel follows his lead and support him, citizens and taxpayers of Vancouver and Clark County be damned. Long ago calls of government “of the people, by the people and for the people” lost in a haze of dictatorial machinations of Leavitt and the Vancouver City Cartel.

From the now famous “gavel down” incident of Jeanne Harris to Tim Leavitt bringing in a “friend” to claim intimidation, Leavitt has worked to silence, ignore and marginalize citizens who see dangers for the future of the community in this over-sold project. Mayor Leavitt ready to cut open mic at city council meetings

Although the cartel reached a compromise on the above that did not completely silence citizens, clearly Leavitt thinks election to Mayor grants him carte blanche to dictate to citizens of Vancouver and Clark County, hiding his disdain for taxpayers under a facade of reason and caring, who in the cartel stood up and told him that was not the way? Who in the cartel stood up to Jeanne Harris’ abusive conduct towards citizens? Who in the cartel has taken the time to gauge citizens concerns and respond to the citizens?

Sadly, not one of the 3 up for reelection this year. Not Pat Campbell. Not Bart Hansen. Not Larry Smith.

Bart is the youngest and still green behind the ears who needs to work on perfecting his sarcasm to fully fit into Levitt’s cartel.

Pat Campbell seems to be least outspoken of the 3 up for reelection and on who I have enjoyed sparring with and having serious discussions as well. Still, even though he advocated a vote on the CRC recently, he votes along with Leavitt in blocking that vote.

Larry Smith, a retired Army Officer who has worked tirelessly advocating for Veterans and was instrumental in supporting the “Our Community Salutes” recognition of graduating High School Seniors enlisting in the U.S. Army, is one I probably respect the most.

But, in spite of the deep respect I have gained for Larry, he seems to have forgotten why we served and swore an oath of “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...”

He stood for citizens last year when a proposed “Parks Ordinance” came along that placed limitations of “expressive gatherings,” free speech assemblies, protests or spur of the moment gatherings by citizens in support of against government policies.

Yet, he too supports Leavitt’s efforts to get the CRC project into the community and put off a vote of citizens and taxpayers.

Even the Columbian, who favors the CRC Project including Light Rail, says through editor Lou Brancaccio, Let the community be heard who summarizes his editorial as, “Clark County leaders should hear from Clark County residents. Not everything should rise to the level of holding a vote to hear voices. But huge things should. And this is a huge thing.” I couldn’t agree more.

So far I have only heard of two, Larry Smith and Bart Hansen announcing the intent to run for reelection. If Pat Campbell has, my apologies, I must have missed it.

I also have only heard of one challenger announcing to date, Bill Turlay who will be challenging Campbell.

I’m hearing of some considering running against the other two, but will not say more until they decide to announce.

As it stands right now, I cannot support any of the 3 sitting on the cartel currently. Fortunately for them, I do not reside within the city limits of Vancouver, so I will not get to vote.

But, I urge all of you who will get to vote, don’t accept any at face value. Look deep into their records, where they have stood on important issues and what they have supported in over-spending and costly projects that wastes our hard-earned tax dollars.

Only you within the city limits can affect the change that will replace the Vancouver City Cartel and create the Vancouver City Council that will be responsive to citizen concerns.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Oil Companies. Tax Cheats or Boogieman?

In this troubling economic times, the government, instead of admitting their own malfeasance and years of mismanagement by both parties, and continuing their assault on business, businesses that create millions of decent wage jobs, have began calling for an end to Oil Company Subsidies.

Right away, with the crafty and misleading use of the word “subsidy,” that conjures visions of cash payments from the government to the oil companies, a false impression is created. The oil companies receive no payment from the government, but like other companies, receive some tax breaks to recoup some expenses and in turn, create or maintain more jobs.

Replying to Obama’s calls to “eliminate unwarranted tax breaks for the oil and gas industry and use the dollars to invest in clean energy,” Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner said that cutting the subsidies to oil companies is “certainly something we should be looking at,” adding, “We are in a time when the federal government’s short on revenues. We need to control spending, but we need to have revenues to get the government moving. They ought to be paying their fair share.”

“Paying their fair share?”

Oil giant ExxonMobil is often the target of government with claims of they paid no taxes in 2009, a claim even Politifact declares FALSE!

CNN Money clarifies the claim by telling us,
“Exxon doled out more than $15 billion in income tax payments to foreign countries last year. U.S. tax codes allow companies to take massive deductions in light of those international charges, which knocked Exxon's federal income-tax bill down into negative territory.”

“That said, Uncle Sam gets his money in other ways. Including sales taxes and duties, Exxon recorded $7.7 billion in U.S. tax costs last year, and paid even more overseas.”

“Its grand total in global taxes for the year? A whopping $78.6 billion. The company's effective income tax rate was a hefty 47%, its highest in three years.”

ExxonMobil clarifies it further with,
“During the first quarter of this year, our U.S. operating earnings were $2.6 billion. The rest of our earnings – more than $8 billion – came from operations in more than 100 countries worldwide.”

“Here’s a number you won’t hear in Washington: During the first quarter, on those U.S. earnings of $2.6 billion, we incurred tax expenses in the United States of $3.1 billion. That’s right – our U.S. tax bill was higher than our U.S. earnings.”

“That includes income taxes, sales-based taxes and others such as property taxes. But it doesn’t include royalties or lease payments we pay to the government to produce oil and gas on government-controlled lands, which would make the government’s take from our operations even bigger.”

“Another number you won’t hear in Washington, which also puts our earnings into context, is our earnings relative to our sales. During the quarter, we made about 9 cents for every dollar of sales, which is about average for U.S. industries. We earned $10.7 billion in worldwide earnings on worldwide sales of $114 billion. That’s about half (or less) of what companies in pharmaceuticals or computers make, just to name a few. But strangely, there’s not much talk about reducing their tax deductions.”

As can be seen, there is no “tax cheating” going on. They actually pay more than their “fair share” in taxes while enjoying the same tax breaks given to other multi-Billion Dollar companies like Boeing and Microsoft.

We also should not forget that the oil companies hold leases to federal lands for exploration and drilling and pay Millions of Dollars for those leases when at the same time, permits from the government to actually use those lands are scant.

The favorite boogieman claim now is to blame the oil companies for the high gas prices we see at the pumps, insinuating price gouging. Several times such claims have been made and investigations held to make the oil companies seem at fault. Politicians have staked their careers on such boogieman claims. The New York Times, in a May 2007 article even asked, Oil Price ‘Gouging’: A Phantom Menace?

As the canard of government subsidies to oil companies if costing the country to lose Billions of dollars in revenue is continued, ignored is that petroleum remains our most effective, efficient and economical source of energy.

Looking back to Obama’s call of, “use the dollars to invest in clean energy,” another New York Times article from December 2010, Federal Money for Alternative Energy Is Drying Up informs us,
“The renewable energy sectors — including companies that make technologies for wind, biofuels and solar energy — depend on government subsidies. The solar industry, for instance, relies almost entirely on government dollars. The Cape Wind project, which appears close to becoming the first offshore wind farm in the United States, will rely on government loans to make up at least some of the $2 billion it needs to get started.”

Additionally, the article continues,
“the dependence on government has become more apparent as venture capitalists and private equity firms reduce the number of companies they are willing to back.”

That tells me that not only are these alternative sources unreliable, they are a bad investment that investors see will not give them adequate return on their investment.

And, Obama desires to send more of our tax dollars to them and cut the tax breaks to oil companies that do supply millions of jobs as well as dividends to our pensions, 401Ks, mutual funds and stock holders?

We cannot forget that recently, Barack Obama travelled to the country of Brazil, after they were given $2.5 Billion of our tax dollars to subsidize the exploration and drilling of their oil finds, and telling them that America desires to become one of their biggest customers for that oil.

About the same time he spoke to Brazil, he returns to America where he announces “the goal is to cut the 11 million barrels of oil the United States imports each day by one-third in the next decade or so

Every president since Richard Nixon, when we experienced the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 has spoke of ending our dependence on foreign oil. At the same time, politicians have made it more difficult for the oil companies to supply us with our own natural resources.

Promises of “green jobs” from “green energy” remains a pure fallacy as alternative fuels remain overly expensive and unreliable.

Ending the tax breaks oil companies and many others receive will not only drive up the cost of gas and drive unemployment higher, it will leave us more and more dependent upon foreign oil.

That would send profitable oil companies into a spiral downward, much as we saw with the auto manufacturers. And then, government can step in just as they did with 2 auto giants and nationalize the oil companies, placing them under government control, which I believe just might be the real reason they need to portray the oil companies as the boogieman.

Of what benefit to America would that be?

Absolutely none!

Plucking the Eagle or Plucking the Reader? A Book Review

Some time ago I was offered a book to read and review. The book, Plucking the Eagle, Bringing Socialism to the United States by C. Francis James, or James F. Conroy depending on where you read of it, arrived in short order and due to reasons that kept me busy doing other things, wasn’t read right away.

For the last few years I have held an interest in learning more about the Federal Reserve and the pros and cons of keeping it or doing away with it. The book was said to contain a whole chapter addressing the Fed, which is where my main focus was reading it. I was quite disappointed with the chapter as it does not address the actions of the Fed itself, but rather focus on what I refer to as “Ron Paulian conspiracy theories” in how the Fed came to be.

While I see problems in the Federal Reserve and the need for multiple changes, not the least of which is more transparency, I also see grave dangers should it be ended and the Treasury be handed back control of our economy. Elected politicians and appointed cabinet members could easily benefit major contributors to their campaigns to be elected by “tweaks” to our monetary policy in their favor.

Worse yet to me, without actually mentioning them, the conspiracies seem laid at the feet of “the Jooz” with the authors’ use of certain names. We read of the “Bilderberg Group” long a favorite of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists. We read of Jacob Schiff of Kuhn Loeb & Co. and more and how these select groups actually engineered the attack and sinking of the Lusitania to draw America into World War One by “JP Morgan using his considerable influence to squash a German ad warning of sailing on the Lusitania” and how “Winston Churchill, then as First Lord of the Admiralty ordered a recall of the destroyer escort accompanying the Lusitania” when she sailed on May 1, 1915 to her fate. The ad actually ran in 50 American newspapers.

1,119 people lost their lives in that sinking, including about 128 Americans. It did outrage the American people, but it should also be noted that the ship was sunk on May 7, 1915 and America did not enter World War One until April 6, 1917 2 years later and after the sinking of seven U.S. merchant ships and the publishing of Germany’s offer of a Mexican-German alliance should America enter the war in what was labeled the Zimmerman Telegram.

The author rightfully notes that socialism has been creeping into American culture and is a grave danger to freedom loving people. However, multiple conspiracy theories easily shown to be of questionable nature hinders the reader from absorbing the dangers of a wholly socialistic society.

I came away with the impression that the author had his conclusion and then selectively sought out support for that conclusion, ignoring any historical fact to the contrary.

Also of concern to me, as I have seen in several other conspiracy theorists works, solutions to the problems they mention are either non-existent or scant. “Plucking the Eagle” follows that formula.

After the “Conclusions” segment of the book, there is a “Final Thoughts” that lays out some ideas, although few. The author begins by calling attention to how expensive our prison system is, which is true. He offers the solution of “reinstating a form of Penal Colony system” like Devil’s Island where those criminals he labels as “Hard Core,” sentenced to 10 years to live, would be sent to live in tents, Quonset huts or other minimal housing. He then goes on to state they could be monitored with GPS bracelets, camera surveillance and Navy or Coast Guard ships. We would supply them with food.

For those sentenced to less that life imprisonment, once their sentence is served, they would be retrieved to reenter society.

I could agree to such an arrangement for those sentenced to life, notwithstanding the expenses of monitoring by GPS, camera surveillance and Navy or Coast Guard ships. But, after 20 or 30 years living in such a Penal Colony, do you believe that criminal would return rehabilitated and remorseful?

He mentions prisoner work crews which I also agree with, to a point. Brutal chain gangs seen in the South in past years have no place, but low-risk prisoners doing physical labor by cleaning up roadways, trimming landscaping or even growing their own food would benefit all.

Then again, many of these conspiracy theorists also advocate decriminalizing drugs that if done would also reduce the numbers of low-risk prisoners available to perform such public works.

Then too are all of the bleeding hearts that brought us to this point who would mount a strong offense against such measures.

The author rightfully brings up the out of control expense of Illegal Aliens in the country. He also mentions the need to return to the constitution as our Founders intended it. The problem there is that they wrote nothing into the constitution to address Illegal Immigration. That was declared to be the intent by judicial decree, the very thing constitutionalists today condemn in other decrees.

The call of returning to an earlier time when America thrived and 100 years ago when we had the highest standard of living in the world might be appealing to some, but history shows that era, widely referred to by many as the “Robber Baron era,” was one in which our life expectancy was much shorter, few homes had electricity or running water, work hours were much longer and dangers of death on the job much greater. Children were forced to labor long hours under squalid conditions as was brought to the public’s attention by The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Trial in 1911 where 146 mostly young ladies lost their lives.

Throughout the book the author brings up legitimate concerns worthy of addressing, but clouds them with conspiracy theory and at best simplistic views on solutions. It is a well-known fact today that socialistic labor unions have used the very incidents listed above to take more credit than they deserve in bringing about change that did give Americans a higher standard of living. They ignore how Industrialists like Henry Ford instituted many changes for the worker realizing he could increase his profits by doing so.

We conservatives must admit how limited socialistic policies did improve the plight of the lower income worker; increase the safety of our food and medicine supply and decrease debilitating disease epidemics. What seems to escape both the author and me is how we get those policies back in check.

Fomenting wild conspiracy theories will not accomplish that.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

From Cowboy Politics to a Rodeo Clown?

Since the horrific attacks on our nation September 11, 2001 and the decision of then President George W. Bush to finally fight back against the growing threat of radical Islamist terror, the pejorative “Cowboy Politics” entered our daily speak to express disapproval of President Bush.

From “you are either with us or against us” to “bring it on,” President Bush was accused of being a “cowboy” in the world political stage and taking a stand against terror. Regardless of what he did, someone vocalized opposition often to include some reference to his being from the state of Texas.

American media especially seemed to make the term “cowboy” derogatory whenever used in connection with George W. Bush and his policies in fighting terrorists.

Fast forward to 2011, May 1 exactly. With the war still going on and the mastermind of those attacks long ago still eluding justice, Barack Obama went before the world to state not that he had been captured, but a risky secret operation had succeeded in killing Al Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

Even bore his short speech ended, crowds gathered outside of the White House chanting “USA, USA, USA,” and “four more years” and no doubt some in attendance expressed relief from that they called “cowboy politics” when George W. Bush was in power.

Barack Obama, who campaigned for the presidency by opposing those “cowboy politics” Bush was labeled with seemed to have embraced them, at least momentarily, to get the world’s most wanted terrorist, even though he had to authorize an operation across the borders of a sovereign nation without any notice given to their government or military.

Obama proclaimed in part of his announcement,

“So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.”

For a brief moment, he stood tall, looked and acted presidential and spoke decisively about terror, just as George W. Bush did throughout his presidency.

Due to multiple changes in the official version of how the operation went down and succeeded, understandably accounted as the “fog of war,” many in America and abroad began doubting that bin Laden was in fact dead. Calls for proof began ringing out all over.

News leaked out that a gruesome photo of the dead Osama bin Laden existed and many demand it be released to show “proof” that we had in fact killed the world’s most wanted terrorist.

In his refusal to authorize release of the photo Obama said,
“It is important to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence or as a propaganda tool. We don’t trot out this stuff as trophies.”

Did he forget how the left was outraged during the Bush years that they were barred from taking or publishing photos of not only returning coffins of American Soldiers killed in the war, but dead and maimed American Soldiers too?

Bush Regime Censoring Images of Dead American Soldiers

Images of war dead a sensitive subject

Iraq's unseen violence

NYT Complaint: Not Enough Photos Of Mutilated American Soldiers in This War

Huffington Post exploits AP’s dying Marine photo

Were those calls of “trophies to be trotted out?”

And, “inciting additional violence?” Did the country worry about that during World War Two when Japanese Admiral Yamamoto was targeted and killed? Or Italy’s Benito Mussolini was killed and hung upside down? Did the Jihadists refrain from issuing photos and video of beheadings of Westerners they captured, dragging dead American soldiers through the streets of Mogadishu in Somalia or hanging dead, burnt and mutilated bodies of four American civilian contractors in Iraq.

Even without the release of the photo, Muslim Protests are seen worldwide as radicals vow revenge and retaliation based solely upon the announcement of bin Laden’s death, even though he engineered or approved of the slaughter of far more Muslims than Americans.

Lou Brancaccio, editor of our local newspaper, wrote for his Saturday column, What about that photo of bin Laden? where he says, in writing that they would use the photo,
“It’s true that 99 percent of the time, we wouldn’t run photos of dead people. But there are exceptions to every rule. If we believe the photo is not simply gratuitous but has some value — that it serves a purpose — then it should be considered. And publishing a photo of a dead bin Laden would, indeed, serve a purpose.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Why do we continue to cower from those we are fighting in this war?

One commenter states,
“just maybe Obama is not trying to appease the radical idiots. He is trying to keep the moderate Muslims to stay moderate.”

Why do we allow radical Jihadists to hold the world hostage as governments continue to submit to their will, claiming fear of enraging moderate Muslims?

Fear of enraging Christians or Jews is scoffed at and cries of "Separation of Church and State" emerge. But, the world must walk on egg shells with Muslims?

More of them must join in this fight and if they are protesting across the globe as we see above, the photo will not make any difference and just maybe, they aren't as moderate as we think.

For a brief moment, Obama stood up looking like a leader, a president. He spoke just as decisively as did President Bush when he was accused of “cowboy politics.” Now, he is looking more like a rodeo clown (my apologies to rodeo clowns).

Friday, May 06, 2011

Death of bin Laden Shines a Spotlight on Leftist Hypocrisy

If nothing else has ever shown the glaring hypocrisy of many leftists in America, the killing of Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011 shines that light on them. From the moment the Astroturf revelers began assembling outside the White House during Barack Obama’s delayed announcement to suddenly embrace all that they protested and condemned during the Bush administration, many on the left have shown themselves once again as hypocrites.

From the time the world witnessed the horrific attacks of September 11, 2001, factions of the anti-war left have protested every step taken to counter terror, including outright denial that terror groups like Al Qaeda even exist, much less took part in the attacks. To them and their very vocal supporters, it was an “inside job” designed only to allow America to go to war.

President Bush was labeled a “murderer,” “warmonger,” and calls for his impeachment rang loud. Even after leaving office, that call changed to one of “indictment” for his “war crimes” that continue to this day. We see letters to the editor such as the one National abusers go unpunished that asks, “Osama bin Laden is dead and, as President Obama says, ‘Justice has been done.’ Will we now turn our attention to these offenders: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld?”

Members of the Bush administration are “offenders” for going after mastermind bin Laden, but Obama is justified for killing bin Laden? Does that make any sense?

Within days of that fateful September morning and as President Bush was calling on Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders to surrender Osama bin Laden, we began seeing calls such as “Bush’s war plans likely to violate international law” even as thousands of anti-war protesters assembled outside of the White House to protest going after bin Laden and take on terrorists, after over 2 decades of terrorist attacks against our countries interests abroad and at home.

Now, in spite of calls of “Violation against International Law” from credible sources as Germany’s Der Spiegel and less credible sources like An imam from the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, we see jubilation from the left, not the condemnation they assigned to President Bush.

In June 2010 Newsweek was asking “Does Killing Terrorists Actually Prevent Terrorism?” Less than a year ago, September 2010, Newsweek was telling us, “It’s clear we overreacted to 9/11.” and today, Newsweek tells us Obama’s bin Laden strike brought the nation together.

For years we were told of the Bush administration’s use of torture tactics not gleaning anything useful and the expected “Impeach Bush” over their use. Bombastic left-wing orator Keith Olbermann pounced at the chance to take comments made by former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld out of context to boast even Rumsfeld says they were not successful. Olbermann ignores that even Democrat CIA Chief, Leon Panetta admits, “Waterboarding aided bin Laden raid” as well as Rumsfeld’s clarification of the ‘water boarding’ wasn’t used in Guantanamo, but in the “secret prison’s” the left scorned years before.

When Al Qaeda leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi was killed, it was Greeted by Media Scowls by all too many in the lamestream media. Bin Laden’s death is met with praise for Obama, ABC’s the View hosts Barbara Walters saying, “I would hate now to be a Republican candidate thinking of running” in the 2012 election while co-host Joy Behar crowed, “they should just skip the next election.”

Even more telling, how often we saw condemnations of the Troops in the past, deceased Representative John Murtha having once accused US Marines of “cold-blooded murder” in Haditha while Sen. Dick Durbin compared them to Nazi’s. We even saw outrage towards the Navy SEALS as just a couple years ago, we saw where Navy SEALs May Go to Prison for Giving a Fat Lip to Islamic Terrorist when Bush was president.

Today we see calls for a ticker tape parade for Navy SEALs who killed bin Laden when Obama is president.

Reports that bin Laden was unarmed and in custody when he was killed are written off with a ‘who cares’ attitude. A few years ago, Capt. Rogelio Maynulet ouster from the Army for the shooting death of a wounded Iraqi terrorist was largely applauded by some.

Don’t get me wrong, I fully agree that killing bin Laden was necessary, but I didn’t see the need to condemn every move President Bush made during his administration either, as did many of those shouting loud approval today for what that they condemned before.

And still, the one thing that continues to not make a lick of sense to me, is Obama and the lefts call for continuation of national unity when we are not even close to be unified due in large part to their condemnation of the very acts they embrace today while President Bush was in office.

The road leading to killing Osama bin Laden was paved years ago. The left condemned it then but applaud it now.

Today, they wrap themselves in the American Flag and chant “USA, USA, USA” when during the Bush years, we conservatives were accused of “extremism” for doing just that while they burned the flag and defecated on it.

Threats of increased terrorist activity are scoffed at now, but were used to oppose the War on Terror when Bush was in office.

Barney Frank lambastes the right for “politicizing” the killing of bin Laden, but the day after the news was released Democrats were seen outlining plans to seize the opportunity to portray President Barack Obama as a decisive leader even though he waited 16 hours before giving his approval for the raid.

Compare that to the twisting of the 7 minutes where Bush was accused of inaction when sitting before a class of children on 9/11.

While I could go on and on giving pages of examples, it is clear how many on the left are complete hypocrites when it comes to our Troops, defending America and standing up to terrorism.

No, not all, but enough to keep this country permanently divided.

As I have said before, if the only standards you have are double standards, you have no standards at all.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Yom Ha-Shoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)

The World Must Never Forget, lest it be repeated.

Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Ha-Shoah)

Videos and photos are graphic and disturbing, but necessary in order the world never forgets. Should they forget, it will happen again.

While stationed in Germany in the early 1970's, I took the time to visit Dachau and walk through it. Cleaned up, all but 2 barracks torn down and those 2 newly constructed, memorials hosted by every group who met their fate there and massive graves of unknown people still leave an impression on a person.

In comparison, Dachau wasn't near as gruesome as was other camps like Auschwitz, Treblinka and others.

Eisenhower was right to command it be documented as we all know, many today try to claim it never happened.

American Legion National Commander Asks, “Where is the death certificate, Mr. President?”

Guest Editorial May 5, 2011

By Jimmie L. Foster

Osama bin Laden is dead. Of that, I have no doubt. To question this statement one would have to question the skill and bravery of the Navy SEALS and believe that the master terrorist who occasionally appeared in propaganda videos and audio recordings was capable of perpetually eluding all human and technological intelligence.

The unparalleled success of Sunday’s mission makes President Obama’s decision to not release the bin Laden “death photographs” especially confounding. When an event organizer cut off the sound to candidate Ronald Reagan during a debate with George H.W. Bush, Reagan famously said, “I paid for this microphone!”

Well, Mr. President, the American people paid for those photographs. More than a trillion dollars, in fact, if you include the cost of the Department of Homeland Security, two wars, and the care for more than 40,000 veterans who have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq.

President Obama said that “given the graphic nature of these photos it would create a national security risk.” I respectfully disagree.

Radical Islam creates the national security risk. There were no photographs that prompted the attacks on 9/11, the [attack] on the USS Cole or the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Lebanon. Does anyone seriously believe that the terrorists will hate us less than they already do if the photos are not released? Will the “death to America” chants that have existed since the Iranian hostage crisis suddenly morph into love sonnets?

The American people are tired of walking on eggshells to placate a violent ideology that respects neither innocent civilians nor the amazing humanitarian work performed by our soldiers every day. The problem is not blasphemous cartoons or even misguided pastors burning Korans. It’s the people who react with barbarous acts of violence usually inflicted on innocents who had nothing to do with the original “offense.” Where does the First Amendment include exception clauses for cases that might incite radical Islamists? Mr. President, they hate us anyway.

The American Legion does not rejoice at any death. But let us remember what bin Laden has wrought. He is the reason more than 6,000 U.S. military families have buried loved ones lost in combat since 9/11. He is the reason our children are now groped in airports by security officials. He is the reason for the high level of mistrust between the overwhelming majority of peaceful Muslims and those of other faiths.

It is not about gathering trophies or “spiking the football,” as the president mischaracterized it. It’s about showing a replay to season ticket holders who were barred from entering the stadium.

The photos are no doubt bloody and graphic. But do you know what else is painful to see? The burns on the faces of patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Or the eyes of Michael Nordmeyer, the father of 21-year-old Zach Nordmeyer, a soldier and member of The American Legion who was killed in Iraq two years ago. It still pains most of us to look at images of firefighters running into the World Trade Center for the very last time.

There will be some who doubt the official version of bin Laden’s death whether the photographs are released or not. But not releasing this evidence would surely be adding steroids to these nonsensical conspiracy theories.

Some say the photographs will bring closure. Others see it as a need to satisfy a thirst for vengeance. I prefer to think of them as symbols of justice.

The raid on bin Laden’s hide-out is a truly great moment in American history.

Mr. President, release the photographs. We paid an enormous price for them.

Jimmie L. Foster of Anchorage, Alaska, is national commander of The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans organization with 2.4 million members.

Joe March or John Raughter
American Legion National Headquarters

Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Inaugural “Our Community Salutes”

I recall the day I enlisted in the U.S. Army, February 6, 1969. It was a sunshiny day in South Florida, like most are. I had my sister and her soon to be husband drop me off at the AFEES (Armed Forces Entrance and Examining Station) in Coral Gables, Florida. There we went through our final physical, processing all day long and late in the day, rode over to Miami International Airport to board a plane to fly us up to Columbia, South Caroline for Basic Training at Ft. Jackson.

Nothing special, no crowds either from anti-war people or supporters, just a business as usual day from most everybody, except that plane load of young men entering the Army.

Fast forward to April 30, 2011.

It was a pure pleasure to attend the first annual “Our Community Salutes” event held at the 40 et 8 Chateau on 78th Street in Vancouver, Washington. There, the community, dignitaries, family members and loved ones came to give recognition to a small but vital group of graduating high school seniors. Those enlisting in the U.S. Army.

25 High Schools from the Portland/Vancouver Metropolitan area and one home schooled had graduating seniors enlisting. That’s 55 young men and women from our area volunteering to enter the Armed Forces while we remain at war.

Not to leave out the other branches of the Military, but this first event was set up by the Lt. Col. Thomas Crowson Commander of the Portland Recruiting Battalion along with Command Sergeant Major Kenneth Crow. Plans are that the next event will give recognition to all of the other branches of the Military as well.

With the assistance and planning of Larry Smith, an Army veteran and Vancouver city councilor; and Dan Tarbell, a Navy veteran and member of the local veterans’ organization 40 et 8, the 40 et 8 Chateau was transformed into a Hall of Honor to give those teens who could attend the recognition they rightfully deserve.

Our Community Salutes Future Soldiers event April 30, 2011

After words by Larry Smith and Battle Ground Mayor Michael Ciraulo, the keynote address was given by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Anderson. A short address followed by Sgt. Agosto led into special recognition being given to several who also received a “Youth Certificate Award and a Military coin given by the U.S. Army Recruiting Battalion Portland Commander Lt. Col. Thomas Crowson and Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Crow.”

After retiring of the colors, everyone met outside for an ice cream social, many of us older Vets kidding the young recruits with enjoy it now, you won’t have any for a while.

I spoke with a few, seeking out those who, like me, would be going into aviation to crew and repair Army Helicopters.

Yesterday, I met a fine group of American youth from all backgrounds. These are young people, who for whatever reason, have decided to walk the difficult and dangerous road to protect our nation and our freedoms.

They are joining a unique group, a group that has stood the test and kept our nation free since its inception.

They are today’s soldiers and tomorrows veterans.

They are the men and women of today’s United States Army.