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February 23, 2015
Senator Sasse and Senator Fischer YouTube Videos
Iran, Middle East, War and Constitution
Failure of GOP on Border Security (Bottom of the Page with Video)
We Need Your Support at the Capitol on Thursday at 3pm for Independent Voting Rights!!!
This weekend’s blog (posted on Monday for readership) is on war and the progress of our two Senators from Nebraska. I wanted to post Senator Sasse’s video on this topic with Iran. Senator Sasse put together a very eloquent piece that summarizes why we should care about what the President is doing with Iran (spoiler alert on President’s actions—it is horrible).
Senator Sasse (R-NE) puts it best, “This is getting your lunch money taken in the alley” (referring to Obama’s negotiation skills with Iran). “I don’t even think Jimmy Carter would make a deal this bad.” Well put….
This stance is not really a minority position (not that the Senator is saying it is) as many people would like to believe. I think many conservatives think ‘they’ are only on the side of supporting Israel. This “Us Against Them” mentality can take on a life of its own, but the ‘them’ element is a minority position across the political spectrum in America. The reality is a strong majority of this country is behind Israel with a rogue President pushing a foreign policy agenda that does not speak for the will of the people or even concur with national stated policy positions. The United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs has a stated jurisdictional goal that should be followed: “Export control, including nonproliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear hardware.” Any agreement with Iran should be dead on arrival to Congress. Allowing nuclear advancement should not be debated by the President with Iran in the first place.
The Arab news, the Israelis, many Democrats (Domina stands in support of Israel), the GOP and myself stand against this foreign policy by our President. We need to stand strongly with Senator Sasse, Senator Fischer or anyone else properly aligned on this issue to send the message loud and clear to the world that our President does not represent our collective will (the majority) in his foreign policy decisions and actions.
Worse yet in the category of diplomatic failure is the President refusing to make time with our largest ally in the Middle East (Israel) during the Prime Minister’s visit to the US. However, he remains in correspondence with secret letters to the Iranians on a deal.
This is more than appalling! However, these actions are not surprising considering who he promotes, his language and tone that varies based on the religious followers he is addressing (see Offensive National Day of Prayer Speech), and his private correspondence with the leader of the largest country of State Sponsored Terror!!!
It is time the Senate step up and OWN the foreign policy the Senate will approve. We cannot trust our President to lead in this area. Ben is out front on this topic and I commend him for his leadership on Iran because so many of these other leaders play the old game of “React” to the President. Its time Americans open their eyes to what is going on in Iran. It is time for outside groups to lead the affirmative dialogue with Israel again until we have a new President that understands the proper relationship the majority of Americans do and do not want to have with Iran and Israel. This video helps promote that awakening and stance.
Senator Fischer will actually have far more influence on the Middle East then Senator Sasse in the short term based on her committee assignment. Thank you KETV for focusing on the more pertinent Senator on this issue (due to committee assignment) during your weekend morning show (by far the best journalistic institution in Omaha).
Senator Fischer wants a large debate for the public. God bless her. That is exactly what we need. Jim Jenkins (the other Independent in the race in 2014) and I have been calling for more debates and they are starting to happen this year. Our Independent brethren across the country leading these 2014 debates worked at pushing these parties to action. For the sake of America, I hope it works. We are off to a better start (low bar) but the parties have a long way to go to function properly for America. The American people deserve an honest, respectable, and vigorous debate on this conflict. This conflict has the ability to make or break this country. This decision needs significant ‘buy in or buy out’ from the American people.
The action I’m not happy with by Senator Fischer is the continued tone of reacting to the President. She is clear she wants to see the President’s strategy. I definitely respect that position with regards to waging the war (as opposed to how to fund it). Waging the war is his job and we need her to evaluate the strategy of those plans. However, we need the Senate to lead the discussion if America should engage this war. ‘How many Countries’, ‘Boots on the Ground’, ‘How Long’, and ‘How Much is America Willing to Spend on This War’, ‘How Much is America Willing to Add to the Debt Load and the Next Generation to Pay For Another War’ are questions the Senate should be debating.
I would like the Senate to push to lead the foreign policy and war (conflict) decision process.
The Congress controls the purse. Instead of waiting for the strategy from the President, the Senate should debate how much they are willing to fund for the war campaign. Congress will dictate how much can be appropriated and they can send a clear signal of “How Much” they will back this war. I understand we don’t want to fund a bad strategy but the roles of each branch need some guidance from the other side. The President needs to understand the appropriations of the purse he will have to work with (is a balanced budget still a goal in war GOP?–please debate) and receive the will for war by the people through approval through Congress. Both branches need to communicate. Both sides should be leading. Waiting on the President to take the first step is getting old. Congress needs to lead in their constitutionally assigned roles.
Second, I’m a proponent of Founding Father Constitutional thinking. As a Constitutionalist, I need to remind the Republicans what the original Constitution called for in war (the area they often overlook because the Democrats don’t address this area). Our original Constitution stated, “The Congress shall have power to…raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer term of two years.” Our Founding Fathers desired a short review of any given conflict and understood the dangers to the economy in prolonged fighting.
Republicans want to give the President (and all future Presidents) “flexibility” and are debating an unlisted or a 3 year time table. The Republicans need to stop fighting for an undefined duration. Observe the Constitution and advocate for a limited 2 year authorization if they want an engagement. Congress can always reauthorize the war as you approach a 2 year landmark. A progress report and a reauthorization of funds should be a welcome part of the process. Merely citing this Constitutional philosophy will yet again reinforce the Original Constitution as our guiding framework that this country needs. There is wisdom in the founder’s guidance.
Furthermore, the Constitution gives the authority to grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal to the Senate. What this essentially means is that if we are going to support and provide Non-Americans or Nations with guns to fight on behalf of America’s interest– this needs approval by Congress (see the Hastings debate where this was debated by the Democrat and 2 Independents). With ISIS now spanning so many countries (some with rebel control of a signficant portion of land in a country), the time is now to debate who you want to grant letters of marque and financial aid to fight. There are a lot of groups that will take our arms but the debates on which groups to support need to be robust (North Africa just added fuel to the fire of potential groups that need debate).
(Briefly—my heart goes out to my Egyptian Christian brothers and their families for being martyred for their beliefs. My stomach turned and Americans better wake up to the ultimate world mission the jihadists are on, how they are funded (oil–still a free trade proponent?–56% of our largest import comes from the Middle East and funds groups like ISIS), how they organize, and their strategy based on current population levels. I’m thankful for a secular Egyptian government that retaliated against these barbarians against their own people.)
The Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States Senate has a very clear history of what can be done in the Senate on the situation. I have tremendous confidence in Senator Corker (R-TN) and Senator Menendez (D-NJ) to lead this Committee as both are calling out the President and know our stated policy goals. Both have a strong record in working across party lines to find consensus.
Many conservatives will question whether you can support a Democrat (member/not President) on Foreign Policy. Let me give you this quote of the Ranking Democrat of that Committee that should reestablish your faith in at least one member.
Senator Menendez (D-NJ), “I have to be honest with you, the more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran. And it feeds to the Iranian narrative of victimization when they are the ones with original sin.”
I have confidence in both men to get the job done.
The history of the Senate’s leading role is not just in our Constitution but is woven into our actual history.
The Senate amended President Wilsons Treaty of Versailles to protect our national sovereignty. The Chairman of the 20’s kept us out of International organizations the President wanted us to join. In the 30’s, the Committee drafted isolationist language to keep us out of European conflict. In the 40’s, the Committee withdrew isolationist language after Pearl Harbor and enabled us to engage in war. In 1973, the Congress passed the War Powers Resolution to end commitment of more than 60 day engagements without their approval. Our history is filled with Senate leading foreign policy and dictating what the President can and cannot do. Let’s set the tone in the Halls and quit looking to the President to always take the first step.
Finally, if the Republicans want to stop Obama and his continuous overreach and really lead– follow the historical actions of Vice President Biden (Then a Senator on the Foreign Relations Committee). He led the charge to shut down the United States Information Agency, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency and merged their functions into the Department of State. In addition, he led the charge to bring the United States Agency for International Development under the direct control of the Secretary of State. That is changing the power structure. The Senate has options. The Senate should lead.
There are 19 core jobs called for in the Foreign Relations Senate Committee. The key functions in this debate:
#4 Foreign Military Assistance
#7 International aspects of nuclear energy (Iran anyone?)
#11 Intervention abroad and declarations of war (notice the word Intervention)
#16 Relations of the United States with foreign nationals generally
There are many opportunities for the Senate to lead. However, the Senate’s most powerful tool remains the purse. Debate it, use it, and allocate it. You can easily control how much war you want by how much you will allocate. That is a statement the Congress needs to own.
My Independent colleague Jim Jenkins advocated an idea of a “War Tax” (see Kearney Debate on the campus of UNK between Jim and I not covered by the Media on my You Tube channel) if we wanted to declare war in the future as a form of fiscal responsibility. America had a natural check on war spending before the XVII amendment (a topic for another day), but in today’s world we have taken out the safeguards of fiscal discipline by how we structure the Federal Reserve to create money and by changing the checks once provided by the States over the purse before Constitutional amendments took their power.
I’m against a “War Tax” on a “Defensive” basis but I believe the topic has merit on an “Offensive” war. A War Tax is a worthy debate as war and welfare are the causes of this out of control national debt situation these national parties built. Republicans rarely showing restraint for war and Democrats rarely showing restraint in welfare being primary culprits.
We have a nation that engages conflict but no longer thinks of how to pay for the battles. Responsibility for our behavior must be rebuilt. A tax directly to support a conflict would really create buy in or buy out. I’m in favor of eliminating our enemies that preach and conduct death to our people. I also know we have a large risk with these debt levels. The competing interests of fighting global terror (abroad) and fiscal responsibility is a debate worthy of the floor.
If you want a tough subject to take on Senator Sasse or Senator Fischer—try a war tax, or immigration quotas taking place in the EU and are they right for America, or take a defined position on boots on the ground. That is sticking your neck out there to create real discussion. Supporting Israel and speaking out against Iran is more of a slam dunk.
We have to quit thinking “What We Want” all the time and think discipline in all areas for the future. With that said, we may need to take this conflict on now for the sake of our future. This is a very real threat to many generations to come who want freedom. These are very tough choices and I will not be critical of a candidate that preaches from the heart on their opinion. I will remain critical of those with no position and no debate. Cowards who will not take thorough positions on the war for political popularity are not leaders. This topic needs a thorough, rigorous, and respectful debate. We need leaders and not popularity politicians in Washington for decisions like these.
Let’s also not forget God’s guidance. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” Our own American history tells us that big weapons and big spending does not always guarantee victory. I believe looking to God is a lost art in national guidance. When you have an administration at war with those who observe God in our military, you bring risk to these camps by suppressing their religious conscious that is so vital to face battles that require bravery and courage.
Religious liberty and their right to free exercise (someone please fight for this in Washington) are supposed to be constitutionally protected. Our military should not be forced to turn their back on their spiritual heritage or spiritual exercise. Our soliders who profess God need their open expression so their souls are full and they can “Be All They Can Be” before the fight.
There are a lot of Republicans and Democrats that just look to the size of purse and guns to win in the modern world. That is good and necessary preparation, but we can be in a weak spiritual position for battle when we force out spiritual behavior before the fight. We ask them to defend the Constituion but we tell them they do not have rights to free exercise? Hypocrisy.
The Jews defeated the greatest army in the world at that time with no arms (at least minimal) during the Egyptian empire. Money and the latest and greatest equipment mean nothing if God is against you. We are too prideful to think we do not need God in our camps.
I know many of you remain uncomfortable with my religious tones in civil discussion. Let’s at least agree to celebrate and conduct a robust debate on the topic of war for America’s sake.
To close, Israel is our ally and Iran is not. Corresponding with the Supreme Leader in Iran and refusing to meet with the Prime Minister of Israel could not be a poorer choice. It is time for debate on war to occur and our historical allies to be reaffirmed.
A Great Generalist Video By Ben Sasse
I’ve complemented Sasse and made my differences known based on merit. I wanted to make sure I complimented him on Iran. I also wanted to praise this speech in this video above. A few points I’d like to highlight.
One. “We will disagree but don’t need to be disagreeable. Focus on building relationships.” See my speech in the last debate in North Platte where Sasse and I were together and I made the exact same comments to the state on PBS. This was the message I pushed hard in 2014. This was not the tone from their camp to ours or the other competitors by refusing to debate in 2014 for the final 6 plus debates. I fully support this change of tone and I hope it is genuine. Creating cordial relationships and being willing to allow all sides to debate and speak will work.
Two. I really liked his point on “Generational Threats” – Amen. We have to get this topic right. I give Ben my 100% support in attacking Generational Threats. We don’t always have the same details on how to address the large problem. However, I’m ok in losing a battle and winning a war. We need something significant in unfunded liabilities to move the country forward. I will hold Fischer and Sasse accountable if they do not fight and propose unfunded liability reform they were committed to in their campaigns. Reform is a must and a proposal is the first step to discover who will blockade financial solvency proposals. It will be the citizens’ job to vote out those that blockade reform to ensure financial solvency for the next generation of freedom seekers.
Three. Great comments on correcting the reporter on “Who” creates jobs. We have to reframe the discussion for America. Ben does a brilliant job of that to the media. We have to keep correcting the national dialogue on who creates jobs (private sector) and who does not (government).
Four. You may not like all his words Republicans. In this speech he adopted more of my line on taxes. During the campaign he was adamant we needed no new tax revenue. I took a position of no higher rates and lower spending to pay off debt. Ben is still advocating for lower taxes to be clear.
However, I believed we need to close the loopholes and create an equal and fair tax base (closing loopholes would create more tax revenue). I believe in a simpler code that forces entities to pay their fair share of taxes regardless of political donation level.
He cites in his comments on tax reform, “Stop trying to pick winners and losers among the politically connected.” I believe that is more of the tune we had in our campaign. We called it “Closing Loopholes”. That thread has some promise. However, I’m highly doubtful he can execute being supported by banks and oil companies who are some of the worst offenders in an unequal tax code (I know–they used to be my clients at KPMG). We need a system that is fair but we don’t need higher rates (with the exception of offensive wars that have the propensity to break the bank). We both agree in cutting spending.
Finally, I applaud his desire to make change happen sooner rather than later. I understand he is trying to be respectful as a freshman. However, we have had a full generation of DC “Lifers” fail to make a tough choice for the long term well-being of the Republic and future generations. I don’t know if they have the guts that are worthy to be followed (why I left the party). They have spent 3 generations of money for the “needs” of their generation. They lecture the young to work harder despite spending their kids and their grandkids future financial resources (debt) into the system for the benefit of today (much of it for themselves). They continue to create a system where capital is superior to labor and runs in direct contrast the words of wisdom by the GOP founder Abraham Lincoln who emphasized that labor is the superior to capital.
Civic, religious, and family neglect have occurred in the last generation for the sake of “me”. Much of this neglect is due to chasing the Federal Reserve Note and a lifestyle they feel entitled to while ingoring the civic, religious, and family time needed to strengthen the fabric of this country (of course our spiritual and family leaders often ignore the government as well). I don’t look for the DC “Lifers” to make hard sacrificial choices for the sake of their love of the Federal Reserve Note and the dependence on the lifestyle they desire. They have not had the guts to make a tough call. I would not worry about “fitting in” Senator Sasse. Be Bold!
“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” I Timothy 4:12. Don’t let them look down on you because you are a young freshman Ben. We need change.
Ok. Now that it looks like I’m kissing up to the Republicans let me put the video out that warrants some complaints on Ben.
I agree with Ben’s points against Obama on the funding of newly arrived illegal immigrants. However, this political complaining of the same tag lines gets old. The GOP needs to face the facts they can’t even agree to secure the border in their own party! Does any GOP member watching the Republican channel (Fox News) realize their party is the hold up right now? They campaigned on securing the border as the only and singular place to start on immigration. Now the Republicans can’t pass the bill. This is identical to the 20 week abortion bill you thought was a slam dunk with Republicans at election time. Surprise electorate! Action is not happening because they cannot agree on these stances as a party come voting time.
They need to get consensus in party to secure the border in whole and get past some of the minor details holding up the bigger problem. Their squabbles are like two sailors in the middle of the ocean arguing about what process to use to repair the hole in the boat.
Moving on….A “Bipartisan Border Learning Tour?” Really??? Newsflash Summary of the Learning Tour: The border is broken. Hopping on Fox News (who gladly tees up questions to the GOP) to highlight a bad border is old and redundant.
Does anyone really doubt the border is not secured? How many times do we need to blow wind on the broken border flame? We don’t need any more research, fact finding tours, or “Bi-Partisan Border Learning Tours” to know the border is broken.
It is time to debate “How to Fix the Border”. We need problem solvers in the room.
How about a complete plan on paper from the GOP? What are we doing with “Visas”? How many agents? Are we using drones? How much fence? Are we going to use fewer fences and more technology? What do we do with law enforcement rights within our own border? The election is over. Taglines can stop. Securing the border was a winning stance. It is time to deliver on the promise and stop the tag lines.
We established this border broke 30 years ago. Let’s move the debate to “How” from “Problem Identification” that frankly started with Reagan and not Obama. These types of interviews just promote tired old divisive political points that move us nowhere except keep the older GOP base tuned in to the Republican channel and riled up with Obama over a problem that is three decades old, well known, and established. What the continued airing of tired news stories do is allow Fox News to turn their loyal watchers onto the latest pharmaceutical drugs during commercial breaks to keep funding profits that support the GOP party and coughers of Fox News. Bottom-line: We know the border is broken—solve it!
If I was Ben I would not contribute to the tired GOP sound bites of Obama failure on securing the border. I’d show leadership in solving the problem with concrete proposals that Republicans cannot agree on. Bring a proposal forward to the main stream press. We want to hear a plan. Our Senators should have the ability to move this debate to problem solving from problem identification. That is what America needs.
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I’m working on a more in-depth piece on oil during my spare weekend time to open more eyes to political reality. ‘Markets and Oil’ is a 1930’s archaic way to approach and view a resource at the center of power around the world. Stay Tuned!
Please Attend the Committee Hearing at 3pm on Thursday For Independent Rights at the Polls at the Nebraska State Capitol. Apathy is breeding the loss of rights! The Independent Taxpayer should not be forced to pay taxes to fund a primary election that observes party wishes and allows discrimination of Independents choice. Elections paid for by ALL taxpayers should have equal access to ALL citizens. This is 2015 and our election code should represent equal voting rights.
February 1, 2015
Todd’s Weekend Journal…Random musings from scanning the papers after a busy work week and being snowed in.
The Failed Political Tactics of the Pro Life Movement
Saturday was the annual big day in Lincoln where the state celebrates the Pro-Life movement of which I’m a life-long believer in. This blog is not going to take on the merits of the Pro-Life argument today. My blog is going to take on the failure of the movement in how they play politics. My critical comments are meant to challenge and improve the progress of the cause.
The 20 week abortion ban bill failed this week in Washington after being as close to a guarantee by the Republicans after the November election. The Pro Life camp bet heavy on Republicans in 2014. Of course this makes logical sense when you only deem two options exist and only 5 out of 236 Democrats are deemed Pro-Life (see stat below) by a Democratic loyal group. Did anyone ask how we got to this polarizing point in the Democratic Party where little dissent exists?
In 2009, Representative Stupak (D-MI), a Pro-Lifer, led an amendment to take out taxpayer funding from the Patient Protection Act. 100% of Republicans voted for it. It would not have passed on GOP votes alone. However, 25% of the Democrats voted for the provision and the amendment passed. This 25% of Democrats supporting Pro-Life was key to victory. It is gone today. The party have pushed them out and the Pro-Life groups have politically turned their back on Non “R” Pro-Lifers. Only 3 Democrats voted for the latest bill due to the change in party make up and abandonment by the ideological groups in support. Any platform should be able to appeal to more that 2% of a group and highlights the lack of diversity that exists in the polarizing opinions of two parties. Any person with a solid voting record should be supported.
The Pro-Life movement worked hard to push out formal support of any Pro-Life candidates without an “R” (including me in 2014) and back a pure “R” ticket. It did not work. They did not have the votes within the party needed to win. They needed the Democrats to win the vote. It does not help when you look at the other aisle and have no allies you can count on. The “Gulp” moment should be the realization that the movement took actions to alienate people who can make decisive swing votes to win.
People no longer being judged/supported by the content of their actions/character but by the letter behind their name is Mistake One by these Pro-Life groups. They need outside “R” help to win a vote.
The party loyalist action is understandable but mistaken. The “D’s” have pushed out any Pro-Life individuals from their party and become a Pro-Choice party. When people are pushed out of a group—it is a great time to seek out and meet those individuals—not pull away. Pro-Life “D’s” stand in isolation and have little to no support from party or Pro-Life ideological groups. Pro-Life D’s should be Independents based on how the party treat their own with these values. Pro-Life organizations should embrace Pro-Life D’s because they don’t have the votes with Republicans alone. They should embrace these individuals out of ideological principle until actions/statements prove to the contrary.
In a very rare procedure, the R’s pulled the 20 week abortion bill that was up for a vote. When a bill is scheduled to vote — it takes place. Cancellation of a scheduled vote is extremely rare. It is an extraordinary sign that something is very wrong when the vote is pulled by the Party.
Pro-Lifers who think the “R” party stands for Pro-Life is Mistake #2. This reality is not new with proof existing over a decade. During the Contract with America era, the Pro-Life platform was not put on the agenda because they could not garner the percentage of Republicans necessary per Contract with America guidelines to make this a platform issue. Many thought the party changed the last decade. As I warned you before the election—it has not. Proof was in the pudding this week.
Yes, Republicans are clearly a better Pro Life party then Democrats (that is a low bar in 2015). However, Republicans campaign on the topic to secure the pro-life votes for power, but fail (usually at the beginning of a term so they can rebuild image/support for the next election) in pushing the agenda at vote time.
The R’s backed down to a watered down bill that eliminated the tax funding of abortions. A win, but not the victory the Pro-Life movement was counting on. In fact, this win was the concept advocated and started with the 25% of Democrats I mentioned in 2009. The Republicans did not achieve much more. The GOP delegation for Nebraska would have come through to be fair, but their party failed in delivering the goods they promised their base of voters.
A few quotes from GOP/Pro-Life loyalists –
Jill Stanek (GOP/Long Time Visible Pro-Life advocate) ”…it was beyond the scope of my imagination to think GOP House leadership could be so traitorous, weak, and stupid as to pull a publicly supported landmark pro-life bill they’d publicly promised to sign the following day…”
Beyond your imagination Jill? Hopefully Jill is awake now on who the national party really is and is not. She had multiple examples in history to prevent her from making this failed judgment. Jill’s failure is the same failure many other Pro-Life followers make. They listen to speeches, look for party labels, and don’t research historical votes. Republicans have members who are strong Pro-Life. However, the Party is far from being a Party of Pro-Life. If you need more evidence just watch Romney preach Pro-Life to garner the Republican bid for President and fool the country who did not know his record. He was well on the record (watch debate online) to defend choice when running for Governor in Mass. Ignore the speech and focus on voting record. However, this awareness is not achieved when followers of a movement observe letters in front of names over actions/character of individuals on the record.
RedState (GOP loyalist site), Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson declared Pro-Lifers, “Whores of the Republican party. They return predictably to the GOP for more abuse and disappointment.” His strong words—not mine.
Again, we tried to warn people to not put their faith in the GOP party for Pro-Life values. The GOP consolidates Tea Partiers, Pro-Lifers, etc. for votes at election time but turn their back on their key voting groups when key votes present themselves. The establishment runs the show. It amazes me how long it is going to take for people to realize the truth. These fractional groups are just as ignorant by giving their power to a larger group who will not pull their main interests in the halls of Congress but will preach the line before the election.
What will make the difference towards a winning vote for Pro-Life?
One. Pro Life groups around the country should stop alienating sympathetic Democrats and Independents. 29% of voting Democrats still claim a “Pro-Life” stance. 29% of Democratic votes in the halls of Congress would make all the difference in pushing bills like the 20 week abortion ban forward. Embrace and build a Democratic/Independent flank in the movement. Can a minority movement really afford to alienate friendly supporters? They thought so. I don’t. This week’s vote proved my point.
Two. Understand putting 100% faith in the GOP fails. Ironically, the movement was treated like a minority group by the GOP in a similar fashion of how the movement treated fellow minority party supporters of the ideology like myself. “What goes around comes around” – Mama Watson. She is right. It is time to rethink strategy of embracing all Pro-Life followers based on the merits of their votes or on the record pledges/statements.
Three. Citizens must change their votes. Wake up and realize what national party stands with you and what national parties do not (both). It’s time to support people and not parties. Do not consolidate your power to a group who will not vote your values. Accept responsibility and change your behavior.
GOP Scraps Bill on Border Security
The abortion bill was the only key “GOP” legislation that was scraped….right? Wrong. A bill was pulled off the floor to deal with border security because the Republicans could not agree on terms.
GOP representative Michael McCaul said on the pulled bill, “For God’s sakes, if we can’t unite around border security what can we unite around?”
GOP representative Mo Brooks from Alabama said, “And as such, it is an effort to convince the American people that we are doing something substantive to secure the border when in fact nothing substantive is being done.”
In our Senate race and others, no complete plan would be presented by a GOP candidate. The only stance a GOP candidate would take in concrete is “Nothing can be done until the border is secured.” Today, the Republicans cannot agree on their only solid plank in the immigration debate — securing the border. Your party–not mine. Actions speak louder than words.
I supported Securing the Border but many thought the GOP was the answer on the issue. I don’t think our representatives from Nebraska are the problem in this scenario but their party is now the latest road block in the next step to border security. As I cited in the debates the GOP and journalists did not attend at Nebraska Wesleyan, “When nothing happens, something happens”. That is the predicament this country voted for.
Giving the GOP Some ‘Love’ They Deserve
Time to balance out the negative with the positive. The GOP in the Senate has allowed debate and a number of amendments in January that already surpassed the number of amendments the Democrats allowed from the GOP in 2014. This is a big reversal of a dangerous trend. Like a loyal dog that desires their praise, they need to be scratched behind the ear and told “Good Job” for their efforts.
This is a good step for our Democracy. Allowing a minority group to speak, propose amendments, and debate is healthy for our country. You don’t have to agree or even support their view. However, let the argument offered in good faith (not meant for endless filibuster) be heard. Hopefully, the Democrats do not forget this gesture the next time around. Silencing elected officials from being part of the legislative process is not American.
Independents like myself, Jim Jenkins, and most all the other Independents around the US made ‘Debate’ a central point in 2014. Independents had a big part in challenging the culture to get these main parties to talk, debate, and legislate as a body again. Not every Republican believes in open debate, but it looks like the powers at be are changing and got the message. Please learn Democrats. Silencing a group from speaking is a horrendous action. Amen GOP for being the bigger group to change the course instead of retaliate.
Water – Our Most Precious Resource—The Good News
If we do not want the government to control our lives, we must make sure we take responsibility for ourselves and the resources given to us (including our votes). We cannot allow good arguments to be given to those who want to usurp powers of the people to the government. Buried in small print on the back pages of our paper was a story that demonstrates Nebraskans are managing our natural resources well.
From the Journal Star on January 24, 2015 –
“The average water-level change in Nebraska’s portion of the aquifer from the 1950s to 2013 was minus 0.3 feet.
By comparison, the average water-level declines in the other five states that overlie a significant portion of the Ogallala were: minus 41.2 feet in Texas; minus 25.5 feet in Kansas; minus 16.5 feet in New Mexico; minus 14.3 feet in Colorado; and minus 12.3 feet in Oklahoma.
The USGS report said that in 2013, there were about 2.92 billion acre-feet of water in the aquifer. That’s enough to cover the U.S. with more than 15 inches of water.”
Contrary to the propaganda and belief or several voters—the vast majority of Nebraskans care about the water. It is the lifeblood of our existence, our economy, and our way of life. We owe a big thank you to the important efforts of our NRD boards and officials to sustain these consistent water levels reported by the USGS.
Let’s take a moment to give those involved in our water situation a thank you for their efforts. 63 years of stewardship gives the next generation the same opportunity. That is stewardship at its best. The same can be said on our state budget. Well done.
Let’s also realize that the water concerns in other states are warranted. They are not taking care of their resources themselves to provide long term sustainability to the next producers/people. I understand environmentalists screaming when all the water is gone. At the same time, I get tired of hearing environmentalists yelling when the stewardship is going well at a local level. Give credit where credit is due.
One of the single reasons our beef industry passed Texas was our management of water. The loss of cattle in Texas due to the last drought really put a large dent in their industry. Wells were dry and pastures dried up. We used more water during dry times but cut back irrigation 30% when the precipitation returned. That water made the difference for many farmers not on dry land to seize the opportunities presented in the markets at the start of the decade. Cutting way back to refill the levels used during wetter seasons just makes sense. Water management is one solid reason we are #1 in beef and lead in agriculture! Let’s not lose that edge and be educated when we use and when we replenish.
We still have work to do. Nebraskans in the South, Central, and Northern part of the state experience and view water very differently (on the whole—some share same views). It would be helpful to unify those views into a workable long term plan. Maybe a long term water plan can be an issue that moves up the priority list over poker and mountain lions from each party? Furthermore as a state, it would be helpful to deal with the 1 or 2 out of a 100 that spoil the reputation of the whole. There are bad apples in every bunch, but one bad apple does not warrant ceding control to the Feds.
We can police ourselves. If we don’t manage our situation—the Feds likely will. The last thing we want is the government to manage non navigable resources that Nebraskans can manage. I know our representatives are fighting against current over-arching rules. Let’s back up their fight by being proactive in getting ahead of the game and have plans for the long term that give our children the same water resources/opportunities for their future.
Nebraskans need credible information to make the appropriate plans to manage. We should be sharing knowledge with other states so they can improve their own situation. These states are giving the government good reason to think they can’t manage the water for themselves. I’d be upset too if my livestock all died from no access to water caused by overuse of previous generations who knew better. I’d be upset if I was a young Ag businessman and knew the previous generation depleted the water source for my products. Some of the stats out of Texas and California are appalling with regard to water. Thank you NRD members for your valuable contributions to water sustainability in Nebraska. Job well done!
The Crisis in North Omaha
Speaking of taking care of ourselves…the continued gang shootings in Omaha is very troubling. It was great to see community organizers come out against this problem. Domestic Tranquility is the last resort job of Federal government. However, they often overkill the situation with the continued militarization of a government force to deal with domestic situations (don’t get me started on this disturbing trend). The citizens of North Omaha and local authorities need to work expeditiously to rat out the problem people in this situation. Omaha needs to get the few bad apples under control so domestic tranquility reigns for peaceful North Omaha residents again.
My prayers are with the forces across Nebraska. May they attack the situation with courage and God given security. May the citizens who live peacefully with their neighbor and care about their community take back their neighborhood. My hope is Nebraskans spend some time in prayer, moral support, and involvement to make North Omaha a non-violent place again. Gangs have no place in Nebraska life. Thank you volunteers who invest in the lives of young men in North Omaha to keep kids out of gangs and moving forward. I’m very encouraged at the programs Metro is putting together to get local citizens inexpensive training to obtain local well-paying jobs that are readily available and remain unfilled. My day on campus in October was incredible. Well done officers, volunteers, coaches, and teachers making a difference in the situation! My prayers are with you.
Congrats to UNO Hockey and Coach Brown
It was great to see the UNO Hockey team with a monumental win against the #1 team in NCAA hockey. The town was rocking. The fan support was amazing. What a great scene! It is exciting to see another dominant team arise in this state. Great job Mavericks!
Finally, thanks Ron Brown for all you did and do for Nebraska. I loved and admired what Coach Brown did for the State of Nebraska. On a personal level, he was a local inspiring figure who gave me confidence to be bolder in my faith views. So many don’t have the guts to say “God” outside the walls of their church or home. The “Silent” ones are as much at fault then those pushing an alternative agenda in the change of this country. Silence is speech as Bonhoeffer, Dr. King, and Abe Lincoln identified.
Secularists should not criticize Ron as his ministry work did not hurt his paid for work. Doing both jobs well is very Biblical (Paul) and American. His pupils are going pro with the help of great teaching by Ron. It is impossible to argue against the merits of his for profit work by observing the prospects of his pupils. Success story after success story in their craft is Ron’s working legacy! Even Ameer (Great Sr. Bowl!), who Brown dissenters were hoping would speak out against Ron due to different belief sets, liked Ron. Ron treated people well regardless of belief sets and that makes him a testament to the faith. Never compromising principles but always caring for people was what I viewed from Ron.
As a criticism of a few Christians, many turned their back on Pelini after his comments. Who wants to associate with someone who conducts themselves like that (we all heard it)? You know who will associate and work with people “Like That”—Ron. We are all imperfect and Ron gives that grace and genuine love to others that many will not give based on public perception. God bless him for it.
Granted Pelini’s comments were not flattering or honorable but Ron (in my opinion) does not run from people who are not like himself. He runs to them. Ron is working for and with Pelini. Ohio is so very lucky to have Coach Brown. Ron has patience with people. We can all learn from Ron’s patience, boldness, and love.
The UNL administration did not only turn their back on Pelini (there were some nuggets of truth in the tirade) but they turned their back on Ron as well. I’m not here to give an up or down vote on Pelini. Furthermore, I’m not up or down on Riley. I understand he needs “His Guys” to do what he was hired to do.
However, it was well understood that UNL did not like Ron’s speech on issues of conviction and faith. Free speech is a dying value and virtue held by those on top of the pyramid. I too was silenced by many “On Top” in this societal game based on my outspokenness and views. Many institutions try to make people of faith one dimensional or appear as Neanderthals to discredit their being/views and push their agenda forward.
A lack of coverage, non invites by groups, etc. is very real. Thankfully, those trying to control speech are still a minority (but unfortunately growing). Unfortunately, the minorities who try and control speech have large influence and control of the Public Square and view it as a tactic when they should be more worried about fighting the rights given to us by God.
Ron helped advocate more than good football and ministry. He was a strong example of free speech (whether that was his intention or not). We need to continue to fight for the free exercise of religion and speech.
His legacy is well established and will live on in Nebraska. FCA is pioneering a dramatic change in helping coaches assist young athletes. Ron was strongly behind this movement. I think the best fruit the FCA program will yield in individuals and Nebraska Football is just beginning.
Thanks Ron! You will always be a Nebraskan and a person of admirable boldness to me.
I Will Be Speaking in Lincoln on Tuesday
I will be speaking at Valentino’s on 70th for breakfast (Yes – Breakfast is served at Vals) on Tuesday morning from 6:30 to 8 in Lincoln. I will be talking faith, business, and a little politics. I’ll be sharing my story of the idols that held me back, God’s humbling of “Me”, my background in business, and my ongoing faith journey. Get up early and join us!