Friday, December 11, 2009

Apologizing For America Leads Not to Peace, But to War

Over a hundred years ago, President Theodore Roosevelt sent the United States Atlantic Fleet under Admiral George Dewey into the Caribbean. He feared that the presence of a debt collecting European fleet off the coast of Venezuela might destabilize the entire region and produce dire consequences for America. Now it is Venezuela that has emerged as the threat.

In the past several months, Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has been on a shopping spree. He bought over $2 billion worth of weapons from Russia. Certainly these arms are inferior to American materials, but his immediate target is not our country, but likely his neighbor Colombia. By building his military strength, Chavez intends to transform his country into a regional power that will challenge American political and ideological influence. Russia has been only too happy to extend Chavez almost unlimited credit to purchase these materials.

In the past few days, Chavez has massed tanks on the border of Colombia and almost promised war with our most solid ally in the region. He threatens to launch an invasion to back the faltering left wing guerilla/bandit movement known as FARC.

Where is the United States? This is an example of the evil reaped by Obama's Apology Tour. Tens of thousands will die if Venezuela invades Colombia. If this happens, the blame lies partially at the feet of the White House. Obama created a perception of weakness and Chavez intends to exploit it. He either wants Obama to broker a Munich type deal for "peace in our time" or will invade to show the world that America is impotent against him.

Obama needs to deploy the United States Navy to the shores of Venezuela immediately. We also need to publicly move strategic bombers to southern US bases. This actually in military terms makes no difference, but it does rattle the sabre. We need commit no ground troops, but we can demolish Venezuelan military assets from the air with little threat to our own personnel. This will do a great deal to restore our credibility in the world as a power that will use strength to enforce peace. It also mimics John F. Kennedy's successful moves in forcing missiles out of Cuba without an actual fight in the early 1960s. If we make Chavez understand that his behavior is intolerable, he will back down. Chavez is a classic bully. Man up and face him and he will back down.

If not, we are seeing the emergence of the next Hitler right here near our shores. Chavez can destabilize much of Latin America if we do not act to protect Colombia. American weakness will only encourage weak nations in the region to defect to his side for their own protection.
Theodore Roosevelt loved the African phrase "Speak softly and carry a big stick." The current president of African extraction has spoken loudly about how much he dislikes his country's stand for freedom. Now he must use the "big stick" or he will allow a very serious problem to emerge.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Come to Crazy Nancy's! She Has a Deal For You!

Nancy Pelosi said "we would do almost anything to pass healthcare" before Christmas.

What exactly does that mean? Well Crazy Nancy will throw in some perks for seniors, leave out the "Cadillac health plan tax" for union workers. She'll do almost anything because she WANTS TO MAKE A DEAL TODAY!

That is, except for meaningful tort reform, interstate portability, small business pools, or anything else that smacks of free market reform or avoiding an eventual government takeover.

Crazy Nancy Pelosi, other than offering something good for America, is willing to deal today!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Chilling Look At the Mindset of an Abortion Advocate

In yesterday's Charleston Gazette, WV Free director Margaret Chapman Pomponio leads her commentary with the following:
I work for a reproductive justice organization. That means that for almost 10 years, I’ve been advocating for West Virginia families to improve education on reproductive decisions, increase access to affordable birth control, and protect personal decision-making, including decisions about whether or when to have a child. This means that we at WV FREE support access to abortion care because it’s what women sometimes need as part of their basic health care.

This is part of a plea on behalf of including abortion services into any government run health care operation. Think of what she says for a second, though. She claims that abortion is part of "their basic health care!" (I added the ! of course.)

In what universe is the killing of a child, along with the harsh psychological consequnces suffered by many of the mothers, on a par with getting a broken bone set or getting antibiotics for an infection? That is what most people consider "basic health care."

They would love for us to look at abortion as routine, something between getting a splint for a broken thumb and removing an appendix. We need to continue to fight this attitude on every level and remind people of what abortion really is.

It's not a "fetus," but a living and breathing child of God.

It's not a "procedure," but the vacuuming away of a viable human life, piece by painful piece.

And women don't "need" it except in rare, life threatening cases. The vast majority of mothers made a conscious choice to engage in behavior that created the child. If they made the choice to take that action, then they have the responsibility to live with the consequences of those actions regardless of age or circumstances. That responsibility runs at the very least to bringing it to term and delivering it alive. The law says that after that, you can drop it off anonymously at certain prescribed spots and never deal with the child again. At least the child is alive and the mother is not traumatized by murdering her baby inside of her. Our law and society have created scenarios where all the mother has to do, if she is completely unfit or unable to take care of the baby, is let it live and we take care of the rest. That baby could cure cancer, create a unified field theory, or compose wonderful music. Unfortunately the law also gives her the option to murder as well so we might never get the benefits of those unknowable lives. I agree completely with providing birth control to the poor as well as education on how and when to use it. Killing a child when one does not have to goes way beyond the pale of acceptable behavior.
I saw my first child born at 19 and despite all the trouble and sacrifice, would never, ever wish away one second of her existence to make my life more convenient, or to extend my college "fun time."

At some point, we will all have to reckon in some way with the horror of what our law has allowed to happen for almost four decades now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Capito Reacts to Idling of Clay County Mine

Ambiguity from EPA, Courts Leaves Miners in the Lurch

WASHINGTON – In light of reports that as many as 300 employees may face layoffs at a Clay County coal mine, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., released the following statement:

“Today’s news is a sobering reminder that continued uncertainty surrounding mine permits poses a serious threat to jobs across our state. We’re talking about real families now forced to ponder the future of their jobs and their livelihood. These are not abstract consequences in some far away land; these are our friends and neighbors. These are hard-working West Virginians.

“This mine provides the vast majority of Clay County’s tax-base and is its largest employer, making the prospect of Fola shutting down troubling at best and economically devastating at worst.

“Though today’s sad news stems from action in our courts, we know that the practical differences between delays at the hand of the courts or at the hands of the EPA are few and far between. While some would have us believe that the EPA and government regulators are simply ‘doing their job,’ it is becoming quite clear that the combined impact of litigation and regulatory uncertainty poses a severe threat to the economic climate of our state.

“As the President proposes his new so-called ‘jobs bill’ and heads off to Copenhagen to tout the EPA’s new ruling on carbon, perhaps he should consider the economic impact his policies will reap in the hills of Appalachia.”

Capito on the Federal Response to the Mortgage Crisis

Congresswoman’s Opening Statement to Financial Services Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON – Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the ranking Republican on the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community and Opportunity, made the following opening statement at this morning’s full committee hearing to discuss the status of federal efforts to address the mortgage crisis:

“I would like to thank Chairman Frank for holding this hearing this morning. As the Chairman is well aware, we had a similar hearing in the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee in September of this year on the very issue of tracking progress with the Administration’s foreclosure mitigation programs. Introduced in early 2009, the Making Home Affordable program was rolled out with the promise of assisting 7 to 9 million troubled borrowers, yet the program has thus far assisted only a small fraction of this estimate.

“While the Administration’s plan has been somewhat more successful than the troubled Hope for Homeowners program, I have significant concerns with the over-estimation of the populations served by these programs. Although there are many Americans who are struggling to pay their mortgages, it has become clear that these programs simply may not be capable of handling the volume of borrowers, nor is it realistic to suggest that every struggling borrower will be able to benefit from a modification.

“Furthermore, there should not be a push to achieve these targets at the expense of ensuring that modifications are being processed in a manner that ensures the lender has as complete a picture of the borrower’s financial situation as possible. To this end, I was very troubled to learn that some modifications are being performed with minimal documentation. After all, it was this very practice of no or low documentation that helped create the housing crisis we face today. We should not be in the business of perpetuating this practice.

“According to the Treasury Department, 375,000 trial modifications are set to convert to a permanent modification by the end of the year. However, J.P. Morgan Chase recently disclosed that in November close to twenty five percent of their trial modifications failed to make the first payment, and nearly fifty percent of borrowers failed to make all three payments. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston cites that thirty to forty-five percent of borrowers who receive modifications end up in default within six months. This raises significant concerns about the ability of these programs to meet the long-term expectations outlined earlier this year.

“These challenges are greatly compounded by a shift in the root causes of foreclosures. With the downturn in the economy, we are now facing more traditional causes of foreclosure, namely the loss of a job. As these programs progress, we must have a realistic understanding of their capability and we have an obligation to taxpayers to focus our efforts first and foremost on families who truly need assistance the most.

“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses this morning and thank the Chairman for holding this important hearing.”

Obama Urged to Violate Constitution

The United Nations Climate Fraud Conference in Copenhagen has an understated theme that might cause havoc in the United States. It wants Barack Obama to use his executive powers to sidestep the Constitution and Congress and impose UN generated emissions regulations.

Senator Jim Webb (D) VA issued Obama a harsh rebuke yesterday, warning him to not circumvent the US Senate in imposing international standards on the United States. Only a treaty ratified by the Senate can do this according to the Constitution.

Webb's public warning exposes the fear and anger felt by Senators at this possible attack on their Constitutional powers. Obama already has ignored the Senate in his appointment of over fifty czars with regulatory powers. What is to stop him from doing the same to curry the love of Europe.

This issue is not about the climate. No raw scientific data backs up global warming theories. Europe adopted these harsh and costly rules that prevent their manufacturing from competing effectively with the US. They want us to voluntarily harm our own competitive abilities in the name of a disgraced theory. Meanwhile China, India, and Russia will not face the same restrictions. Obama himself said that climate regulation will make all of our electric bills "skyrocket."

This is a recipe for electoral disaster for the Democrats and long term economic disaster for the rest of us.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Borrowers Get Time for Proper Review of Documents in Bean-Capito Mortgage Rights Bill

Full mortgage documents would be available days in advance

WASHINGTON – Homebuyers would get three full days to review their complete mortgage documents before signing them at closing under a bipartisan proposal from Congresswomen Melissa Bean, D-Ill., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.

“Buying a home is one of the most important financial investments a family will ever make,” said Capito, the ranking Republican on the Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity. “And with a decision of this magnitude, consumers deserve the time necessary to fully review their closing documents. By offering consumers time for proper review, we’re providing the transparency and information necessary for making sound financial decisions. I’m proud to join Melissa Bean in offering this bill and I look forward to our work together to see this legislation enacted.”

Both Bean and Capito noted the importance of ensuring that consumers have an adequate opportunity to educate themselves about the terms and components of their mortgage documents prior to closing.

“The financial crisis was touched off by an explosion in sub-prime loans, many of which were confusing to borrowers who didn’t understand the terms and wound up in loans they couldn’t afford,” Bean said. “When making the biggest single investment of their life, homebuyers deserve the time to fully inspect the details of the loan and ask questions about just what they’re committing to. This measure is part of the broad reforms to Wall Street regulation that I’ve been advocating for all year.”

Under current law, borrowers often do not see the final terms of their home purchase until they reach the closing. At the closing table, borrowers are confronted with a myriad of complex forms that are not easily comprehensible, even to industry professionals. In addition, borrowers often feel rushed during the settlement process and are unable to intelligently ask questions about the meaning of certain disclosures and the costs that they are incurring in connection with the transaction.

While borrowers do have the right to request and review a draft HUD-1 Settlement Statement one business day in advance to closing, many borrowers are unaware of that right, and there is no legal requirement that the HUD-1 be complete.

To be introduced this week, the Borrowers Right to Inspect Closing Documents Act requires the lender and the settlement agent to provide closing documents three business days in advance to review. Borrowers would get a complete and finalized HUD-I Settlement Statement, promissory note, mortgage, and Final Truth-in-Lending Act disclosure.

USS West Virginia (BB-48) December 7th, 1941

On Sunday, 7 December 1941, West Virginia lay moored outboard of Tennessee at berth F-6 with 40 ft (12 m) of water beneath her keel. Shortly before 0800, Japanese planes, flying from a six-carrier task force, commenced a well-planned attack on Pearl Harbor. Several 18 in (460 mm) aerial torpedoes impacted the port side of West Virginia. One torpedo hit the steering gear and knocked off the rudder. At least three struck below the armor belt, and one or more struck the armor belt requiring replacement of seven armor plates. One or possibly two torpedoes entered the ship through holes made by the first torpedoes while the ship was listing and exploded on the armored second deck. Recent evidence indicates that at least one of the hits may have come from a midget submarine. Photographic analysis performed by the United States Naval Institute in 1999 may indicate that one Japanese midget submarine managed to enter the harbor and fired a torpedo into West Virginia. The final disposition of this submarine is unknown.

West Virginia was also hit by two bombs made from 16 in (410 mm) armor-piercing shells fitted with fins. The first bomb hit the foretop, penetrated the superstructure deck, and was found unexploded in the debris on the second deck. The second bomb hit further aft, wrecking one Vought OS2U Kingfisher floatplane atop the "high" catapult on Turret III and pitching the second one on her top on the main deck below. The projectile penetrated the 4 in (100 mm) turret roof, wrecking one gun in the turret itself. Although the bomb was another dud, burning gasoline from the damaged aircraft caused some damage. West Virginia was then seriously damaged by being engulfed in an oil fire started by Arizona and sustained for 30 hours by fuel leaking from both ships.

The torpedoes caused two large holes extending from Frames 43 to 52 and from Frames 62 to 97. Prompt action by Lieutenant Claude V. Ricketts (Claude V. Ricketts later had a ship named after him, the USS Claude V. Ricketts (DDG-5), formerly the USS Biddle), the assistant fire control officer who had some knowledge of damage control techniques, saved the ship from the fate that befell Oklahoma moored ahead. Oklahoma also took several torpedo hits that, in her case, flooded the ship and caused her to capsize.

Instances of heroic conduct onboard the heavily damaged battleship proliferated in the heat of battle. The ship's commanding officer, Captain Mervyn S. Bennion, arrived on his bridge early in the battle, only to be struck down by a bomb fragment hurled in his direction when a 16 in (410 mm) bomb hit the center gun in Tennessee's Turret II, spraying that ship's superstructure and West Virginia's with fragments. Bennion, hit in the abdomen, crumpled to the deck, mortally wounded, but clung tenaciously to life until just before the ship was abandoned, involved in the conduct of the ship's defense up to the last moment of his life. For his "conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage, and complete disregard of his own life", Captain Bennion was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. Doris Miller, a cook, helped carry Captain Bennion to a safer place and then manned an antiaircraft gun despite having no previous experience. He was the first African-American recipient of the Navy Cross.

West Virginia was abandoned, settling to the harbor bottom on an even keel, her fires fought from on board by a party that volunteered to return to the ship after the first abandonment. By the afternoon of the following day, 8 December, the flames had been extinguished. The garbage lighter YG-17 played an important role in assisting those efforts during the Pearl Harbor attack, remaining in position alongside despite the danger posed by exploding ammunition on board the battleship. With a patch over the damaged area of her hull, the battleship was pumped out and ultimately refloated on 17 May 1942 and docked in Drydock Number One on 9 June. This gave the opportunity for a more detailed damage assessment and it became clear that there had been not six, but seven torpedo hits.

During the ensuing repairs, workers located 66 bodies of West Virginia sailors who had been trapped below when the ship sank. Several bodies were found lying on top of steam pipes within the air bubble existing in flooded areas. Three bodies were found in a store room compartment where they had lived on emergency rations and fresh water from a battle station. A calendar found with them indicated they had lived through 23 December. The task confronting the nucleus crew and shipyard workers was a monumental one, so great was the damage on the battleship's port side. Ultimately, however, West Virginia departed Pearl Harbor for the west coast and a complete rebuilding at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at Bremerton, Washington.

A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

As we endeavor to push to a final conclusion our current war against an evil aggression which struck our nation, let us remember the defining milestone moment of the twentieth century for our country. Let us also remember the men who died on this day in 1941, as well as those that sacrificed to bring retribution home to the Empire of Japan. Below is President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's historic address:
Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives:
Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 -- a date which will live in infamy -- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American island of Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. I regret to tell you that very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
And this morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday and today speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph -- so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.