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Monday, September 9, 2013

Switching Domains

This will be my final post on this domain.  Effective today I will be blogging at my new domain - http://www.charlesmphipps.net.

Please update your RSS readers to continue receiving my posts and thank you for reading my blog.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

U.S. Troops In Syria: Pentagon Says 75,000 Needed

It is now coming out that the U.S. Central Command has a plan to secure the VX and sarin in Syria and that plan will require 75,000 American troops in Syria.  The plan was devised more than eighteen months ago, long before Bashar al-Assad allegedly used chemical weapons against the rebels.  A Department of Defense official told the U.K.'s MailOnline that, "The report exists, and it was prepared at the request of the National Security Advisor's staff."  You can read the MailOnline's complete article here.

At the same time this plan is seeing the light of day, Secretary of State John Kerry has been appearing before Congressional committees repeatedly asserting that there will be "no boots on the ground."  This is less than a day after Kerry said that securing the chemical weapons could require more than just air strikes.

Which is it?  No boots on the ground or 75,000 troops on the ground?  It appears to me the Obama administration is trying to reassure Congress and the American people that the military action Obama wants to take will not put American military personnel in jeopardy.  While at the same time, plans have been devised that would do exactly that.  If the goal here is to secure the chemical weapons, someone needs to ask Kerry and company how that will happen with just limited air strikes.  It seems clear that troops on the ground will be needed to achieve the alleged objective of securing the chemical weapons.

According to an article in the Epoch Times, a declassified French intelligence report released Sept. 3, Syria has over 1,000 tons of chemical agents, making it one of the world’s largest weapons stockpiles. The chemicals include sulfur mustard, sarin, and VX, the last of which is considered the most toxic among known warfare agents.

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee produced a draft of a resolution authorizing Obama to use force in Syria, but prohibiting the use of ground troops "for the purpose of combat operations."  Section 2 of the resolution gives him the authority to use the military "as he determines necessary and appropriate" for limited purposes which include "to protect our allies and partners against the use of" weapons of mass destruction.

Does anyone really believe that U.S. troops can be sent to Syria, secure 1,000 tons of chemical agents and then leave without experiencing combat operations?  And once they do, that would be free license to send in all kinds of combat support and give Obama the ground war with American troops that I believe is his goal. 

Every poll I have seen has well over 90% of Americans opposing U.S. military action in Syria and most of Congress also opposes it. In spite of this and the fact that we have no national security interest in Syria, Obama seems determined to get us into a war we don't want and can't afford.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Christian Business Owners Bullied Into Closing

Over the Labor Day weekend the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a bakery in Oregon, decided to close the shop as a result of all the threats, vicious emails and phone calls they have received after refusing to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.  Aaron and Melissa Klein said their business has suffered after the media firestorm earlier this year when they declined to provide a cake for a lesbian ceremony because it would have violated their Christian beliefs.  Emails and phone calls were received by the Kleins saying Aaron should be shot, that he should be raped, and that the couple's five children should become sick.

"You stupid bible thumping, hypocritical b****.  I hope your kids get really, really sick and you go out of business," said one email.  "Here's hoping you go out of business, you bigot.  Enjoy hell," said another.

In addition to the harassment the Kleins have received, their wedding vendors were badgered and harassed into not doing business with the Kleins, resulting in orders this past summer being down dramatically from the past.  Their attorney called it "economic terrorism."  The Kleins have closed the shop but said they will still take orders and operate from their home.

This being barely a blip on the news radar I cannot help but wonder how the media response would have been different if this was a homosexual baker refusing to make a cake for an event at a church.  This is the first instance I'm aware of when a Christian business owner had to close up shop due to bullying over sticking to Christian values.  It is apparently the direction our country is headed - forcing Christian business owners to either implicitly endorse homosexuality by providing services in support of their abomination, or close up shop and not do business at all. 

The left is very practiced at bullying and harassing those who disagree with them, while at the same time claiming to be the more 'tolerant' side. The right is supposed to be tolerant of those with whom we disagree and make allowances for their choices and lifestyles, even to the point of violating our own religious beliefs.  But does the left make room for our views and religious beliefs?  Of course not.  Because they are not the least bit tolerant.

Friday, August 30, 2013

U.S. Military In Syria: We Can't Afford It

Most of the discussions I've seen about whether or not to strike Syria have focused on the lack of any national security interest to the United States, the fact that we would be helping Al-Qaeda, potentially further destabilizing the region and that Obama has not received authorization from Congress as he is Constitutionally obligated to do.  But there is another facet to the issue that hasn't received enough attention and that is the state of our military.  Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe has posted a statement to his Facebook page in which he very succinctly outlines why we cannot afford for our military to become involved with Syria.

He said, "Last night the Administration informed us that they have a ‘broad range of options’ for Syria but failed to lay out a single option. They also did not provide a timeline, a strategy for Syria and the Middle East, or a plan for the funds to execute such an option. Several members agreed with me that whatever is decided upon, it’s going to take military resources that are at decreased readiness levels due to a lack of funding. As Sec. Hagel, Adm. Winnefeld, and I have discussed before, we have a financial crisis in our military. We have a starving military. Even Gen. Dempsey has said we are putting our military on a path where the ‘force is so degraded and so unready’ that it would be ‘immoral to use the force.’ The Administration owes it to Congress and to the American people to lay out how they will fund their military action. Is it going to be more furloughs? We have already had 14,000 furloughed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma alone. As I have said before, no red line should have even been drawn without first preparing a strategic plan and assessing our resources."

With no stated options, no timeline, no strategy, no funding plan, no national security interest, no ally needing support and a military already suffering a financial crisis, could there be any legitimate reason for the United States to fire so much as a single bullet into Syria?  No.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Trashing of Dr. King's Dream

Today being the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'I Have A Dream' speech it's appropriate to revisit part of that speech and see how his dream has progressed.  The full transcript of his speech can be read here.  I am going to focus on one tiny part.

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Have we as a society reached the point where we do not judge people based on the color of their skin?  One need look no further than at all the affirmative action programs in the last fifty years to see the answer is clearly no.  Racial preferences are nothing more than judging people based on the color of their skin.  But, there are different opinions about the need for and effectiveness of affirmative action.  Here are just a few pros and cons that I have found on affirmative action programs:

Eliminate It
  1. Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination.
  2. Affirmative action lowers standards of accountability.
  3. Students admitted based on affirmative action programs are often ill-equipped to handle the schools to which they've been admitted.
  4. It is condescending to minorities to say they need affirmative action to succeed.
  5. It demeans true minority achievement.  Success is labeled a result of affirmative action instead of hard work and true ability.
Keep It
  1. Diversity is desirable and won't occur if left to chance.
  2. Students and workers starting at a disadvantage need a boost.
  3. Special preferences needs to be given to minorities to make up for years of discrimination.
  4. Affirmative action is needed to break stereotypes.
My own opinion is that affirmative action programs should not exist.  Giving someone advantage based on skin color means you are giving disadvantage to someone who might have greater abilities or achievement.  Decisions on admission, employment, promotion, etc. should be based solely on ability and achievement. 

There are, of course, many who believe affirmative action programs are needed and should stay in place.  To those people I would say, you are trashing Dr. King's dream.  If you truly believe in the ideals he espoused in his speech then you cannot support affirmative action.  His dream and affirmative action are inconsistent.  If you favor affirmative action then you are one of the people to whom Dr. King was speaking.  Fifty years later, you are still keeping his dream from becoming reality.