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Saturday, February 18, 2012

About that Keystone XL pipeline....

I know that I usually fill up my allotted space with the mocking of liberals, and I usually try to keep things rather light-hearted. However, this time I'm going to study something that happened a little while ago but is still finding itself in the news. The issue is the Keystone XL pipeline, and the resultant furor that has come from it.

On February 15th, my state-wide daily newspaper ran an opinion piece by one Kathy Purnell that asked many questions about the Keystone XL pipeline that she thought were rather important. As always, I will run the column as it was originally printed, with nothing cut out. The author's original letter runs in socialist red, and my remarks will run in cool blue.

Guest writer:
Not our problem
No sense in cleaning Canada oil
By KATHI PURNELL
SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE
Monday, February 13, 2012
LITTLE ROCK — The more I think about the Keystone XL pipeline, the more questions I have. Here are some of them:

According to U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts, the oil that would flow down the pipeline is the dirtiest oil on the planet.

Irrelevant. Would it matter more if it was the cleanest oil on the planet? I don't think so. So why does it matter how dirty the oil is?

Furthermore, as dirty as the oil may be, it is still much cleaner than coal to use. If the author thinks that this dirty oil shouldn't be used, should we also use coal and other dirty sources of energy? Why or why not?

Does it make economic sense for us in the U.S. to be the ones to clean up that Canadian oil? Can’t that oil be refined in Canada where it is produced, at no potential harm to the U.S.? Are we perhaps playing the role of sucker again in international affairs by being willing to let another country export its problems onto our soil? Isn’t it a legitimate function of the State Department to see to it that other countries don’t just dump their problems on us to solve?

Wrong assumptions all around. The oil doesn't belong to the country of Canada. The oil will be pumped by one company, TransCanada. The government of Canada has absolutely nothing to do with this pipeline other than to approve the use of it.

The second question is a rather good one, in that why should TransCanada want us to refine oil? I don't know the definitive answer to that, but my guess is that we are the best at refining oil. And doesn't the notion that "somebody else should do it" sound childish to you?

As for the international affairs, here is a great take-down of that little meme.

And aren't we supposed to be friends with everybody now that Bush is no longer in office?

And finally, whether we approve the pipeline or not, the oil will still be refined.

Even if we do want to be Canada’s rescuer in finding a market for its dirty oil, couldn’t we at least refine it someplace closer to Canada to avoid having to transport it across such a large expanse of our country? Every mile of pipeline is another mile susceptible to leaks. And every mile costs more money to build, use and maintain. Does it even make economic sense to transport it all the way?

Sure hope you don't drive around in your car, Ms. Purnell. Otherwise, you might be susceptible to accidents.
Hope you don't cross any streets on foot, Ms. Purnell. Otherwise, you might be run over by an automobile or truck or bus.
Hope you don't stay at home, Ms. Purnell. A substantial number of deaths occur at home.

I’m no tree-hugger,

Whenever a sentence starts off with this kind of claim, you can lay money down that the opposite is true.

but I do think it’s our responsibility to protect the natural resources that we have left in this nation. I have read that Sen. Mark Pryor thinks technology will protect the environment if this pipeline is built. Haven’t we yet learned that technology can’t solve all our problems? There is always the human factor in putting that technology to work. It was technological mistakes and human error that caused the Gulf oil spill.

I can't disagree with anything here.

Do we really want to take a chance on something catastrophic like that happening to the drinking-water supply for millions of our own citizens?

But no fear-mongering goes on around here.

There is already one major oil pipeline from Canada reaching down into the heartland of our country. How is it doing? Any leaks?

Well, here's a problem, isn't it? Ms. Purnell knows that there is a major oil pipeline already running from Canada to here, so she must know the answer to her question. So why doesn't Ms. Purnell answer her own question if the answer isn't in the negative? Since the answer obviously isn't in the affirmative (because the she would be pushing that answer in our faces if it was), that kind of shoots down her argument that she posited earlier in this paragraph.

Oops.


Why not just expand that one if we want to take the oil to the Gulf instead of constructing a whole new one?

And how long will that take? Weeks? Months? Years? What will the environmental impact be in doing that instead of taking it here?

And why choose two cities on the Gulf in Texas as the refiners in the first place? Who are those refiners? To me, this smacks of Big Oil lobbying Congress to get lucrative contracts for the refining job. Perhaps payback for some “favors” from the past?

So who do you suggest?

And what do they plan to do with the oil after they refine it? According to Rep. Markey, they plan to export it to other countries. Little if any will go toward reducing our own country’s dependence on foreign oil for our domestic uses.

I wasn't aware there was a pipeline running from Houston to Beijing.

I also want to comment on Welspun’s statement that it might have to lay off some Arkansans if the pipeline isn’t built.
I appreciate our congressional delegation looking out for the interests of Arkansans. However, Welspun’s choice to go ahead and build pipe before it had a firm contract was its own business decision. Not all business decisions work out as planned.
Isn’t this outcry against the possibility of losing 60 Arkansas jobs just another result of lobbying by big companies and industries and their unions to protect their special interests? And Welspun isn’t even a U.S. company. Why are we willing to make its problem our problem?

So protecting special interests are bad? I guess the author is also against unions, then, right?

Many have questioned President Barack Obama’s choosing to not make a final decision on this matter until 2013, after the presidential election. Actually, delaying that decision sounds like a good idea to me: Get the election-year politics out of it, and get into the facts of the matter instead. Get beyond the hysteria of people shouting “Jobs! Jobs at any cost! Jobs!” and get into taking some constructive steps in resolving the matter.

Yeah, let's not worry about jobs. We've got too many now as it is. We don't need any more!

This project was first proposed back in 2008.

Kind of. (Clarification: The original pipeline was proposed in 2005, the XL extension in 2008. So Ms. Purnell is right about the extension. But since the original pipeline ends at the Canadian-American border with no refinery there, it's kind of hard to imagine any other way for that to end.)

I have to wonder why it is becoming an issue just now. I wonder who is behind its resurgence; I can only guess at it, and none of my guesses are pretty.
Canada is still willing to proceed on pursuing the pipeline now after all these years. It’ll likely still be willing in 2013. I don’t think we have to worry about it giving its business to the Chinese instead of us if we decide we want it.

Well, aren't we supposed to be on good terms with the world now that Bush is gone from office? Shouldn't we not treat them in such a high-handed and arrogant manner? Aren't we taking their good will for granted if we take such a position? I think so.

It has been stated emphatically by several sources that there is no tax money involved in this project, that it is all to be done with private money. I have a hard time believing that. Have you ever known of a project of this magnitude that didn’t end up involving taxpayer dollars? Do we really want to spend more of our tax money on attempts to advance the use of oil?

Well, as has been pointed out, it's one company doing the whole thing by itself. So, outside of any new regulation, there shouldn't be any taxpayer dollars being used at all.

The world is running out of oil. That is a well-known fact now. So why are we whipping a dead horse in trying to squeeze the very last drop of it out of the Earth, when we could be using our money and brains to develop sustainable sources of energy instead?

And how has that worked out so far?

We need a reality check here, to take a good look at what we are doing and decide that it is time to change course in our quest to provide for the energy needs of our people. No single industry lasts forever. The oil industry is no exception. It’s a dying industry. So let it go and move on.
I encourage readers to consider their stance on this important matter very carefully.
———◊-

Yeah, let's throw away our oil-powered cars and go right to those wind-powered vehicles. Which I'll park right in my geothermal-powered house and start writing columns on my solar-powered computer.

Oh right! None of that exists yet! I knew there was a small flaw in that plan.


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Israel Building Border Fence/Iron Barrier With Sinai Peninsula

During the collapse of Hosni Mubarak's regime last year, he ordered soldiers to the Sinai Peninsula to guard against Islamic terrorists using the internal crisis to smuggle men, money and weapons into the Gaza Strip. Sadly, the military government that succeeded Mubarak did not keep up with security and Israel was attacked in August, 2011, in a cross-border raid.

With more than one year passed from Egypt's revolution, which sees the state slipping further into the hands of islamists, Israel has had enough with the unsecured Sinai border and they are currently in the process of constructing a 140 mile long iron barrier stretching from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea.

The barrier is six-teen feet high and gleaming in the middle of the old desert, which is almost entirely unpopulated, except for a few Egyptian soldiers at border crossings and random guard crossings. It is hoped that the barrier will both add an additional layer of security from the lawlessness of Sinai, and prevent thousands of African refugees from continuing to flood Israel on a yearly basis.

I applaud the Israeli government for taking the necessary steps to secure their borders with an uneasy neighbor who seems unwilling, or unable to guard its own lawless lands and prevent terrorism against innocents. Perhaps the United States should take notice and consider Israel's example when dealing with our own hostile southern border.

What say you?

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Man Who Would Be King

In 114 BC, Rome was a democratic Republic.  Representatives elected by popular vote filled the Senate, and the Senate ran Rome.  The Empire was conquered in the name of the Senate and the People of Rome, symbolized by the ever present SPQR seen on every Roman standard in every gladiator movie you have ever watched.
At the beginning of the first century BC sovereignty in Rome resided in the People, which may have inspired the most famous attribution of sovereignty in American History, “We the People” as the proclaimed authors of the Constitution.  The power in republican Rome resided in the people.  In a revolution that was by then legendary, they had banished their kings and established themselves as a free republic where the people assembled together to elect the Senators, the magistrates, and made all major decisions such as whether or not to go to war.  And far beyond mere words much of what was early Rome was the target the Founding Fathers shot at when they established our later day republic.
And yet, by 14 AD, when Augustus died, popular elections were but a memory.  Power was no longer located in the people, or in their assemblies, or their representatives in the Senate, instead power was concentrated in an Imperial Palace which was guarded, unapproachable, and foreboding.
How did this revolution occur? What led the freedom loving Romans to lay down their liberty and put on the yoke of oppression?  Later Romans who longed for the freedom their ancestors had discarded pointed to 133 BC when a rich young man named Tiberius Gracchus bought his way into the office of Tribune, an executive position one step below magistrate that was meant to protect the interests of the poor.  Gracchus used his office to curry personal power by giving bread and circuses to the people paid for by the public treasury.  Eventually he hit on a very popular plan.  He proposed to seize the lands of the rich and give them to the poor and he imposed this under his own authority, an authority he lacked under the Roman constitution.  Later when he put himself forward for a second term in opposition to custom and law he was assassinated by a group of Senators.
Several generations of corrupt politicians using the same formula sought to buy personal power and popular adoration by looting the public treasury to give the people ever increasing benefits.  Finally another rich young ruler arose by the name of Julius Caesar.  He rose through various public offices eventually gaining the office of Proconsul or Governor of Gaul (France).  He knew that to be a true Roman hero and paramount leader he needed to be a successful conqueror, so that is what he spent the next nine years doing.  He conquered not only all of Gaul but much of central Europe even leading the first Roman expedition to Britain.  While he accomplishing this he sent back well written dispatches to Rome which were published and widely distributed recounting his bravery and skill as a general.
All of this was too much for his political rivals in Rome.  They gained enough votes to have him branded a traitor which meant little in Gaul where he had absolute power thanks to his well trained and veteran army.  His rivals promised his arrest and conviction if and when he returned to the capitol.  However Caesar was not to be denied so he compounded the accusations of his treason with a treasonable act leading his army across the Rubicon River to Rome. 
With his troops behind him Caesar secured all power and after many adventures to suppress the forces loyal to the old order he had a compliant Senate elect him dictator for life.  As his grasp of power solidified it became clear his rule would be the end of the republic.  Breaking completely with tradition he began to wear purple, the color of royalty in public.   Finally when his chief Lieutenant, Anthony, publicly offered him a crown it was too much and just as with Gracchus one hundred years before, Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators.
Caesar was followed by Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome who was never called Emperor.  He was instead known by the republican sounding title of princeps, or first citizen.  Kings were hated in Rome.  The traditions of the Republic ran deep.  Both Gracchus and Caesar had been killed because people thought they would make themselves king.  The genius of Caesar’s nephew and successor was that Augustus made himself king in all but name while keeping the outward forms of the Republic.  The elections were rigged, the Senate only did what they were told, and the people were kept happy by giveaways from the public treasury and kept in line by a smothering blanket of laws and regulations.
Fast forward to the 20th century and two other would be kings include Mussolini who decreed that calendars in Italy should begin again with October 29, 1922 the date he assumed power as the first day of year one.  He proclaimed the Fascist Era was the dawn of a new age.  And Hitler who said his National Socialist Nazis would reign for a thousand years.
In America today we have a leader who campaigned on a platform of cutting taxes and regulations.  A man who when the economy melted down said if he didn’t solve the problem in three years he wasn’t worthy of a second term.  In a classic example of bait and switch he walked over his promises to restore American greatness and suddenly announced five days before the election that he would instead transform America.
Presidents are elected to preserve, protect and defend the constitution.  Nowhere in the job description does it mention anything about transforming America.  He was elected to do one job and decided instead to do another.  TARP was passed to clear the toxic assets out of the banks and restart the system but instead was used to seize controlling interests in AIG, GM and Chrysler and in general assert government ownership over a significant portion of the American economy.  The stimulus was passed to re-energize the economy but instead it became a gift bag for the President’s supporters and a slush fund for his re-election. 
Mr. Obama, with the corporations once known as the major media clearing his way and covering his tracks, compares himself to Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan and God, ridicules those who cling to the old ways, and decrees that he can rule without Congress because he can’t wait.  His spending has impoverished future generations and will eventually sink the ship of state.  His foreign policy ignores our allies and empowers our enemies.  Instead of uniting our country to get out of the hole dug by generations of failed Progressive boondoggles and giveaways he incites class warfare while the welfare rolls expand daily.
Whether we are dealing with one man devoted to personal aggrandizement or merely a teleprompter reading front man for a well-oiled CABAL we are face to face with someone who has been positioned by the generosity of American voters to do irreparable damage to our nation.  We have one last chance to save the republic as we have known it.  The Republicans who operate as the other half of the party of power seek to nominate another big government operator who promises little more than driving us to the poor house a little slower with new wars along the way.
What we need is a man who will work as president to re-impose the limits of the constitution. We need a man who will educate Americans as to what a constitutional government is and what it should do and not do.  We need a leader who will reverse course and take us back to the days of individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic liberty. We need a leader who isn’t afraid to jettison the empire to save the republic.  Now is the time for such a leader. If only enough Americans will recognize the signs of the times and rally round the flag they will still call it America. 
Just as the Rome of Caligula and Nero still called itself a republic so too in the coming era of Progressive centralization and control will our beloved country still be America.  The Constitution will remain on display in Washington.  However, in the world turned upside down liberty will be circumscribed by political correctness and freedom will be defined by government regulations.  Our schools and media will assure us that we are the most free and prosperous nation on earth while other countries that have gained their freedom pass us by.  History as it is taught in America today tries to tell us that socialism works.  It doesn’t.  It leads to a stunted, shabby future where everyone sinks to the level of the lowest common denominator.  What we need is a rebirth of republicanism with a small “r” and a big dream.
Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com/ © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Amine El Khalifi Identified as Moroccan Terrorist

From Fox News:
Authorities have arrested a Virginia man allegedly on his way to the U.S. Capitol for what he thought would be a suicide attack on one of the nation's most symbolic landmarks, Fox News has learned.

The man, a Moroccan citizen who has lived in the United States for a dozen years, was identified as Amine El Khalifi, 29, according to a congressional source. He was nabbed following a lengthy investigation by the FBI, initiated after he expressed interest in conducting an attack. He came onto the radar screen in early December after he told an undercover agent about an earlier plan to bomb a northern Virginia building.

The suspect allegedly weighed hitting various targets ranging from a military installation to synagogues to a Washington restaurant before settling on the Capitol.

The man thought undercover FBI agents assisting him in his plot were associates of Al Qaeda. He purchased bomb materials including jackets, nails and glue in preparation for an attack. He even conducted a test explosives demonstration in a quarry.

When he was arrested Friday in Washington, he was carrying with him a vest supposedly packed with explosives, but the material inside was not actually dangerous, Fox News was told.
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New, Compelling Evidence Shows Hitler Had Son with French Woman in 1917

From the Telegraph:
Jean-Marie Loret, who died in 1985 aged 67, never met his father, but went on to fight Nazi forces during the Second World War.

His extraordinary story has now been backed up by a range of compelling evidence, both in France and in Germany, which is published in the latest edition of Paris's Le Point magazine.


Hitler is said to have had an affair with Mr Loret's mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, 16, as he took a break from the trenches in June 1917.

Although he was fighting the French near Seboncourt, in the northern Picardy region, Hitler made his way to Fournes-in-Weppe, a small town west of Lille, for regular leave.

There he met Miss Lobjoie, who later told their son: "One day I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street.

"He had a sketch pad and seemed to be drawing. All the women found this interesting, and were curious to know what he was drawing.

"I was designated to approach him."
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Man Arrested in Washington Terror Plot

An Islamic extremist has been arrested attempting launch an attack on Washington DC, says the FBI.
A short time earlier, he had been praying at a mosque in the Washington area. His destination was Capitol Hill.

The public was never in danger, as he had been under constant surveillance for some time, officials said. The FBI provided the suspect with a disabled gun during their ongoing operation, Fox News has learned.

In a statement that did not get into the details of the alleged plot, the U.S. Capitol Police said the suspect was "closely and carefully monitored." Capitol Police confirmed the suspect was arrested on Friday.

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Video: Ryan Takes on Geithner

About time. Geithner lands the stupid of the century with "We don't have a definitive solution... We just don't like yours."



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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Video: Marking One Year Since Libya Uprising



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Worst Idea Ever: Seth MacFarlane to Reboot... The Flintstones

In what may be later described as a crime against humanity, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane is going to be launching a new series-- the Flintstones.

But it's okay, because MacFarlane says so.

"The very first cartoon character I drew at age two was Fred Flintstone," said MacFarlane. "So it's appropriate that events have come full circle, allowing me to produce the newest incarnation of this great franchise. Plus, I think America is finally ready for an animated sitcom about a fat, stupid guy with a wife who's too good for him."

It might be something like this:



In other words... horrible.

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The Next Red Line: How Iran Will Get Nuclear Weapons

While Iran has not accepted these offers, we have made our bottom line clear: For the safety of our people and the peace of the world, America will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

--George W. Bush, December 5, 2008

Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow -- endangering the global non-proliferation regime, denying its own people access to the opportunity they deserve, and threatening the stability and security of the region and the world.

-- Barack Obama with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, September 25, 2009

According to who you ask, Iran is not far from nuclear weapons capability. Israeli officials are stating that Iran is near or past the 'point of no return' while others put the program just six months from enough uranium to construct a weapon. Even opponents of military action or apologists for the Islamic Republic will admit that Iran is not far from a nuclear breakout activity.

With all of the pressure that the international community is heaping on Iran, it should seem unlikely that that same world would allow the country to acquire nuclear weapons. However, to many, the diplomatic and military options to stop such a program are at a higher risk factor than doing simply nothing.



Over the last decade, Iran has benefited from various missteps or lack of action from the Western powers and even Israel. For years, the Western powers would warn Iran was nearing a nuclear device and put in place various sanctions to try and slow their progress. Many of these sanctions were either superfluous or cosmetic while the intelligence agencies in the West were deathly afraid of political blame that backlashed after the 2003 Iraq War. The 2007 NIE report that claimed Iran had suspended its nuclear program was an intelligence fiasco, bolstering Iran's position while showing the skittishness of the American intelligence agencies.

It was a well-known "fact" that the Bush Administration would not leave office while Iran was moving closer to the bomb. It was widely believed that the White House would bomb Iran before leaving office in January 2009. No such bombing occurred. True, there was Stuxnet, but even with the relative success of the malware, it did not stop the program.

The Obama Administration has often times carbon-copied the Bush Administration's approach to the Islamic Republic's nuclear program. The sanctions and diplomatic pressure have been ramped up, now with Europe finally agreeing to stop purchasing Iranian oil. Meanwhile, sanctions on Iran's Bank Melli (Central Bank) could hobble the country's financial system. Or maybe not.



The Obama Administration is in a quandary. Nine months before the election, any military operation within Iran will have unexpected consequences, even if Iran's nuclear program is set back significantly. With Hezbollah and Hamas prepared to act on Iran's behalf, Obama's re-election team could see any military action as possible electoral defeat.

Obama's stricter line on sanctions and imports is welcome, but could show that the Administration is betting that these actions will work-- or will be the last non-military options. China and Russia would not condone an attack, and the instability in oil prices and supply could crush the American and European economies during this fragile period.

If Obama will act on Iran (unless directly provoked), he will likely wait until after the election.

But what about Israel, you ask?

Israel's capability to launch a successful attack on Iran's nuclear facilities is likely lower than advertised. The Iranians learned from Saddam Hussein's nuclear program to have the facilities spread out, hidden, and buried. A multi-pronged Israeli attack is unlikely to do the damage necessary. Killing Iranian scientists and sabotaging facilities has worked somewhat well, but has not stopped the program.

Put simply: even the Mossad and the IDF would have great difficulty stopping Iran's nuclear program in an attack or even series of attacks. Sure, tactical nukes would work, but would be diplomatic suicide.

What may very well happen over the next year is that the focus on Iran's nuclear program will shift. Rather than trying to stop Iran's nuclear-weapons capability, the West and Israel may shift to trying to stop only the final stage: the actual deployment of these warheads. Any early Iranian device would likely not be miniaturized and ready to put on a missile. The new refrain could become "It's okay, they may have the bomb (or get it soon) but it will be years before they can actually use it."

This new red line will effectively reset the game. The moment that the United States shifts to this focus, it (almost) neuters Israel's ability to act unilaterally. It will also act as a sigh of relief for many of the European powers, Russia, and China, who can then just start importing more Iranian oil.

This kicks the can down the road five more years, for the next President to deal with. The fear of losing re-election or putting the economy into a tailspin may be just what is needed to give Iran what it's been coveting.


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The Man Who Would Be King

In 114 BC, Rome was a democratic Republic.  Representatives elected by popular vote filled the Senate, and the Senate ran Rome.  The Empire was conquered in the name of the Senate and the People of Rome, symbolized by the ever present SPQR seen on every Roman standard in every gladiator movie you have ever watched.
At the beginning of the first century BC sovereignty in Rome resided in the People, which may have inspired the most famous attribution of sovereignty in American History, “We the People” as the proclaimed authors of the Constitution.  The power in republican Rome resided in the people.  In a revolution that was by then legendary, they had banished their kings and established themselves as a free republic where the people assembled together to elect the Senators, the magistrates, and made all major decisions such as whether or not to go to war.  And far beyond mere words much of what was early Rome was the target the Founding Fathers shot at when they established our later day republic.
And yet, by 14 AD, when Augustus died, popular elections were but a memory.  Power was no longer located in the people, or in their assemblies, or their representatives in the Senate, instead power was concentrated in an Imperial Palace which was guarded, unapproachable, and foreboding.
How did this revolution occur? What led the freedom loving Romans to lay down their liberty and put on the yoke of oppression?  Later Romans who longed for the freedom their ancestors had discarded pointed to 133 BC when a rich young man named Tiberius Gracchus bought his way into the office of Tribune, an executive position one step below magistrate that was meant to protect the interests of the poor.  Gracchus used his office to curry personal power by giving bread and circuses to the people paid for by the public treasury.  Eventually he hit on a very popular plan.  He proposed to seize the lands of the rich and give them to the poor and he imposed this under his own authority, an authority he lacked under the Roman constitution.  Later when he put himself forward for a second term in opposition to custom and law he was assassinated by a group of Senators.
Several generations of corrupt politicians using the same formula sought to buy personal power and popular adoration by looting the public treasury to give the people ever increasing benefits.  Finally another rich young ruler arose by the name of Julius Caesar.  He rose through various public offices eventually gaining the office of Proconsul or Governor of Gaul (France).  He knew that to be a true Roman hero and paramount leader he needed to be a successful conqueror, so that is what he spent the next nine years doing.  He conquered not only all of Gaul but much of central Europe even leading the first Roman expedition to Britain.  While he accomplishing this he sent back well written dispatches to Rome which were published and widely distributed recounting his bravery and skill as a general.
All of this was too much for his political rivals in Rome.  They gained enough votes to have him branded a traitor which meant little in Gaul where he had absolute power thanks to his well trained and veteran army.  His rivals promised his arrest and conviction if and when he returned to the capitol.  However Caesar was not to be denied so he compounded the accusations of his treason with a treasonable act leading his army across the Rubicon River to Rome. 
With his troops behind him Caesar secured all power and after many adventures to suppress the forces loyal to the old order he had a compliant Senate elect him dictator for life.  As his grasp of power solidified it became clear his rule would be the end of the republic.  Breaking completely with tradition he began to wear purple, the color of royalty in public.   Finally when his chief Lieutenant, Anthony, publicly offered him a crown it was too much and just as with Gracchus one hundred years before, Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators.
Caesar was followed by Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome who was never called Emperor.  He was instead known by the republican sounding title of princeps, or first citizen.  Kings were hated in Rome.  The traditions of the Republic ran deep.  Both Gracchus and Caesar had been killed because people thought they would make themselves king.  The genius of Caesar’s nephew and successor was that Augustus made himself king in all but name while keeping the outward forms of the Republic.  The elections were rigged, the Senate only did what they were told, and the people were kept happy by giveaways from the public treasury and kept in line by a smothering blanket of laws and regulations.
Fast forward to the 20th century and two other would be kings include Mussolini who decreed that calendars in Italy should begin again with October 29, 1922 the date he assumed power as the first day of year one.  He proclaimed the Fascist Era was the dawn of a new age.  And Hitler who said his National Socialist Nazis would reign for a thousand years.
In America today we have a leader who campaigned on a platform of cutting taxes and regulations.  A man who when the economy melted down said if he didn’t solve the problem in three years he wasn’t worthy of a second term.  In a classic example of bait and switch he walked over his promises to restore American greatness and suddenly announced five days before the election that he would instead transform America.
Presidents are elected to preserve, protect and defend the constitution.  Nowhere in the job description does it mention anything about transforming America.  He was elected to do one job and decided instead to do another.  TARP was passed to clear the toxic assets out of the banks and restart the system but instead was used to seize controlling interests in AIG, GM and Chrysler and in general assert government ownership over a significant portion of the American economy.  The stimulus was passed to re-energize the economy but instead it became a gift bag for the President’s supporters and a slush fund for his re-election. 
Mr. Obama, with the corporations once known as the major media clearing his way and covering his tracks, compares himself to Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Reagan and God, ridicules those who cling to the old ways, and decrees that he can rule without Congress because he can’t wait.  His spending has impoverished future generations and will eventually sink the ship of state.  His foreign policy ignores our allies and empowers our enemies.  Instead of uniting our country to get out of the hole dug by generations of failed Progressive boondoggles and giveaways he incites class warfare while the welfare rolls expand daily.
Whether we are dealing with one man devoted to personal aggrandizement or merely a teleprompter reading front man for a well-oiled CABAL we are face to face with someone who has been positioned by the generosity of American voters to do irreparable damage to our nation.  We have one last chance to save the republic as we have known it.  The Republicans who operate as the other half of the party of power seek to nominate another big government operator who promises little more than driving us to the poor house a little slower with new wars along the way.
What we need is a man who will work as president to re-impose the limits of the constitution. We need a man who will educate Americans as to what a constitutional government is and what it should do and not do.  We need a leader who will reverse course and take us back to the days of individual liberty, personal freedom, and economic liberty. We need a leader who isn’t afraid to jettison the empire to save the republic.  Now is the time for such a leader. If only enough Americans will recognize the signs of the times and rally round the flag they will still call it America. 
Just as the Rome of Caligula and Nero still called itself a republic so too in the coming era of Progressive centralization and control will our beloved country still be America.  The Constitution will remain on display in Washington.  However, in the world turned upside down liberty will be circumscribed by political correctness and freedom will be defined by government regulations.  Our schools and media will assure us that we are the most free and prosperous nation on earth while other countries that have gained their freedom pass us by.  History as it is taught in America today tries to tell us that socialism works.  It doesn’t.  It leads to a stunted, shabby future where everyone sinks to the level of the lowest common denominator.  What we need is a rebirth of republicanism with a small “r” and a big dream.
Keep the faith.  Keep the peace.  We shall overcome.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion for Southside Virginia Community College.  He is the Historian of the Future and the author of the History of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com/ © 2012 Robert R. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens

Gary Carter Dead at 57

Very sad news. From the New York Times:
Gary Carter, the slugging catcher known as Kid for the sheer joy he took in playing baseball, who entered the Hall of Fame as a Montreal Expo but who most famously helped propel the Mets to their dramatic 1986 World Series championship, died Thursday. He was 57.

The cause was brain cancer, which had been diagnosed last May. Carter had been treated with chemotherapy and radiation, but his daughter Kimmy Bloemers said in mid-January that new tumors had been discovered. She announced his death on her family journal at CaringBridge.org.

Carter played with intensity and flair, hitting 324 home runs and punctuating many of the ones he hit at Shea Stadium with arm-flailing curtain calls emblematic of the Mets’ swagger in the middle and late 1980s. In his 19 seasons in the major leagues, all but two of them with the Expos or the Mets, he was an 11-time All-Star and was twice named the most valuable player in the All-Star Game.

Carter’s exuberance complemented his prowess at the plate. Curly-haired and with a ready smile, he was loved by the fans, first in Montreal, then in New York.

“I am certainly happy that I don’t have to run for election against Gary Carter,” Pierre Elliott Trudeau, then prime minister of Canada, once remarked.
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The Hollywood Captivity of the Church

The following is a guest piece from John Brentlinger.

In this year of our Lord, 2012, it might be wise to consider how far the church in America has fallen from its lofty perch as the originator of the American belief in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That belief in our way of life for the last three hundred and eighty years did not come lightly, or derive from the heathen, pleasure prone culture which now permeates our society.

This country had one hundred fifty years of history, before the revolution of 1776. That history was rooted in ethics, morality and Christianity. Not that anyone was perfect, as the New England Primer taught, "In Adam's fall, we sinned all." But in fact, the law, government, church and society functioned as a unit, with the written Word of God as the foundation.

Matter of fact, while our superficial history books are still teaching that George Washington is the "father of our country," the truth is, John Calvin holds that esteemed position. Loraine Boettner, in his "Reformed Doctrine of Predestination," states:

Calvinism came to American in the Mayflower. pp382

Thus we see that about two thirds of the colonial population had been trained in the school of Calvin.
Never in the world's history had a nation been founded by such a people as these. Furthermore,
these people came to America not primarily for commercial gain or advantage, but because of deep
religious convictions. pp383

The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Hugenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster. So intense, universal and aggressive were the Presbyterians in their zeal for liberty that the war was spoken of in England as, the Presbyterian Rebellion. pp383


History is eleoquent in declaring that American democracy was born of Christianity, and that that Christianity was Calvinism. The great Revolutionary conflict which resulted in the formation of the American nation, was carried out mainly by Calvinists, many of whom had been trained in the rigidly Presbyterian College at Princeton, and this nation is their gift to all liberty loving people. pp 384-385
When the Divine Son of God spoke in the synagog two thousand years ago the statement, "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free," he was not speaking some prosperity gospel or some self help mantra. To the religious leaders of the day he went on in the next breath to say, "If the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."

The plain fact is that our form of government, our very freedom, the liberty which we enjoy as much as life and breath, comes directly the Divine son of the Divine God, and is written in our confessions of faith, and whether it is the Reformed Baptist Confession of 1689, or the Presbyterian Westminster Confession, clearly, God is the author of our American freedom among the nations of the world, as well as the author and finisher of our faith.

With that as a theological foundation for an enduring system of belief, it is clear through personal experience and through an clear view of history, that the rights of man, equality and freedom derive solely and completely from the God who created the earth and everything in it. It is a God-centered theology which perpetrates the truth that man can exist in a free country, can have a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

That government of, by and for though is fast disappearing from the earth, and Abraham - - - Martin and John notwithstanding, would spin in his grave could he witness the act.

If this country was founded on a God-centered theology, and if that God-centered theology was taught as the law of the land, and if that belief caused people to lay down their lives, fortunes and sacred honor so that we could enjoy freedom, then it also may be argued that a departure from a God-centered theology would also doom the personal and corporate freedom of every person in America.

Enter the Hollywood captivity of the church. As a baby boomer, it has been in my lifetime that the local churches in America have left the clear teaching of the Word of God, long since have ceased to teach a God centered theology, and we are left today with a smarmy, corrupt, false sounding nonsense called "Christian entertainment." Hollywood has taken over our churches, our children, our youth, and most embarassingly, our "adults."

Consider this list of bona fide requests this week for work in the ministry. This is not a made up list, the following are what local churches are seeking in a pastoral role:

Worship and Arts Pastor Saturday Night Worship Leader Small Groups Pastor Media Associate
Production Director (for a quality worship experience) Praise and Worship Leader Worship Gathering Director
Creative Arts Pastor Contemporary Worship Leader Audio/visual Team Member Worship Band Leader
Next Generation Worship Pastor Media Director Contemporary Music Leader Artisan Pastor

Were John Calvin, Martin Luther, Zwingli, and Charles Spurgeon alive, they would most likely take a flame thrower to these night clubs masquerading as local churches.

Where is the need for preachers? Where are the requests for Bible teachers? Where are those people who even know what biblical exposition is, let alone have the guts to ask for it in a preacher of the gospel? Have the adults in the pew been so dumbed down, that all they are able to do is sit in the fold and go baa, baa, baa?

In most local churches heretofore thought of as "fundamental," instead of preaching, we get "worship teams." Instead of bible teaching, we get some wet behind the ears, late twenty-something prancing around the stage with a lip mike, reciting some silly mantra Wayne Dyer or Depak Chropra would be proud of, with a brief bible reference somewhere in the middle.
Preaching and bible teaching is virtually non-existent.

No real mention of sin, of duty, of Christian responsibility; absolutely no mention of the biblical duties of government, nothing but David and Goliath, David and Jonathan, Easter lilies and Christmastime goodies. Where are the Elijahs, John the Baptists, Peter and the apostles, whose mantra was: "We ought to obey God rather than man?"

How can a country that was founded on Biblical principles, continue to survive when those demanding, austere principles, based solidly on Biblical Theology - - - are not even being taught in our churches? Great God, what have we let our churches dwindle down to? We don't expect government, or schools or colleges or businesses to teach us theology. But is it asking too much for our churches to do it?

Churches in our mainline denominations are focusing on everything except the preaching and teaching of the gospel. There is everything to entertain, to soft soap, to mesmerize; everything to make churchgoers comfortable, and so we end up with a Sunday Super Bowl Party every week. The final result is that local churches now are nothing but a quick moving, exciting sexy, good looking television production.

It is the plain preaching of the gospel which is the cure for what ails this country today. Politics is not the answer, it is the problem. Republican, Democrat, Independents, or Two for Tea, politics has been getting worse since the first convention in the city of brotherly
love.

About the only solution I know, apart from the hand of the Almighty, is an electrical blackout across the country. No electric guitars, no songs plastered on the front wall, no lip mikes, no audio/visuals -- all these places will have left is a few girls in tight clothes with some tambourines, parading on stage as a worship team. All we need now is a golden calf.

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Interview with the Simo Project

Pundit Press is proud to present interview number 52 in our ongoing series. Today, we're interviewing Mike from the Simo Project. Check out the Simo Project-- a site we're happy to have on our blogroll.

1. When and why did you start the Simo Project?

I started the site in June of 2011. It was something I'd wanted to do for some time, but with a regular day job and life's other obligations, it was always just something on the back burner. Then, in May of 2011, I was laid off, downsized, after 20 years with the same small company. Looking for a job in a jobless market takes time, and now, with plenty of time on my hands, I decided to try to combine a frustrated writer hobby with a news and opinion junkie attitude.

2. What is the best part of running your site?

The sheer joy of writing. It's work, and a lot of reading and researching, but with a curious nature, it's also a lot of fun, and even aggravating, but that's all part of the process.

3. Do you see President Obama being re-elected in November?

I'm praying the answer is "No!" I'm fearing too many will fall for his same flowery prose that helped him win his first term. And with no strong Republican opposition, I see odds on re-election at about 50/50.


4. What has been the best and worst moments of the present administration?


The best: bin Laden is dead. The worst: everything else.

5. Who would be your ideal conservative candidate for President?

Unfortunately, my top two picks dropped out. That would be Bachmann and Cain. Ron Paul would be the most Constitutionally minded. It's sad that he's derided by so many for his belief in our Founding Documents.

6. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thank you for the interview, the addition of thesimoproject on the blogroll, and all the good work and good reading on Pundit Press.

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Video: The Hammer Says a Romney Loss in Michigan 'Resets' the Race



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Video: Santorum Calls Obama Admin 'Snobs'



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Video: Putin on Trial Видео: Путин на пробу



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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Santorum Ad: Rombo



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Obama's Nonsensical Foreign Policy

I fired up the lap top this morning planning to write about Obama's idiotic plans to reduce our nuclear stockpile by 80% when rogue nations like Iran and North Korea continue to expand their ambitions in such weaponry. Then I saw an article on Obama's continued British betrayal of the Falklands and then saw a friend of mine was getting married.

Besides the engagement (goodluck Brianna and Tyson), nothing is making sense in the world today.

The leader of the free world is considering an 80% reduction in our nuclear arsenal for no realistic, or strategic reason, especially when you consider Russia would never do likewise and our arsenal is the world's best assurance not to mess with us, not to mention our enemies will correctly diagnose such a move as continued weakness on our part.

On top of that he is pushing our military down the road towards weakness with a smaller force and he is cutting our continued training of Afghan forces, which is vital in keeping the nation secure once we abandon them for his reelection hopes. And then I read about his continued pandering to Argentina on the Falkland Islands, which in every sense of the word belong to Britain.

Is it just me, or has the United States government under Obama gone batshit crazy, because his ideas of leading the free world look more like not giving a damn about the free world and in fact giving up on our responsibility to do such. All he needs to do is fire Petraeus, and I'll completely lose it, and be forced into a mental asylum.

What say you?

P.S. - I just remembered Syria, but I shall refrain before busting my heart valves wide open....

What Would You Ask the 2012 Candidates?

Ever wish that you had the access of an award-winning journalist or a close confidant of one of the candidates running for President? If you did, what would you want to know-- what would be the questions that the American people really want to know.

Thanks to the artificial intelligence company Zabaware, we now have the best example of doing so without having to go to Washington. Based on an award-winning artificial intelligence program called UltraHal we are able question the contenders at Ask The Candidates.

With the site's layout, it's easy to select a candidate to then ask a specific question. The artificial intelligence will process the request and get an answer back for you. The candidates own words, in quotes will let you know what their position or opinion is on the issue you posited.

I was able to ask the candidates a question about a position-- and it was right there! So check out Ask the Candidates 2012 today!


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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A World without Catholic Charties

I think it will come as no surprise to anyone that I have strong opinions about a myriad of topics. The Catholic Church among them. I am strongly anti-Catholic church, but not Catholic people. I have no issue with someone who chooses to follow the faith, it just isn't for me. One of the reasons that I feel so strongly about it is the hypocrisy of allowing people like Nanny Pelosi to meet with the pope and to receive communion, especially in his presence. My church wouldn't allow someone like the strongly pro-abortion politician to receive communion. You want to espouse those ideas so publicly and pass the laws that undermine church teaching you shouldn't be allowed to partake in receiving the holy sacraments.

But my opinion doesn't cloud my judgement when it comes to the autonomy that they should receive when it comes to the right to worship. Catholic Charities does works around the entire world for the betterment of society. They help the forgotten children get into the homes of the childless among many other things. I know several people who adopted through Catholic Charities.

More than 90% of the homeless shelters and soup kitchens in this country alone are run by faith-based groups. They never ask what faith, if any, you are. They will give you shelter and food. They will give one time loans to the people who may be on the verge of homelessness. They help people with young children keep the electricity and heat on in their homes. They clothe the needy.
In the aftermath of Katrina the faith-based groups worked tirelessly to help the victims get back on their feet. They are still there in some cases. The same is true of Haiti. Our world is a better place because of faith-based charities.

Over the weekend at CPAC I was having dinner with a friend who ran into a friend who is a liberal and she joined us for dinner. She told me that she didn't see it as an attack on the church. She reminded me that many catholic women use birth control. Ok, I suppose that is true. But it doesn't matter if many Catholic women use birth control or not. The church doesn't run by polls. It runs by a doctrine based upon the belief system set out in the bible. Just because many of the "faithful" choose not to follow the doctrine doesn't mean that the doctrine doesn't exist. It doesn't mean that the doctrine should be changed. It doesn't mean that the doctrine is misguided. Nor does it mean that the church should have to pay for it. All human beings fall short of the will of God. Every last one of us. Sadly, far too many Christians fall into the cafeteria style religion that has become all to common in modern-day society. We pick and choose what we take from the faith and leave the things that we find hard or go against what modern-day society tells us is acceptable in the world. This being the case makes it even more imperative that the church stands its ground. The moral guidance that faith gives our society should not be watered down.

The exemption for faith-based groups exist. They are so stringent that they hard to achieve, but not impossible. I once worked for a charity called the prison fellowship ministries. I only worked there on a contract basis, but the full-time employees have to sign something saying that they accept Jesus Christ as their savior. If you are unwilling to sign it, you can't be an employee there. It is that simple. But most faith-based charities don't require that. You can be of any faith to work there and they will help anyone of any faith, or lack thereof.

I asked this woman if she would be alright if Catholic charities and other faith-based groups stopped helping people of different faiths. She told me she would fine with that. Really? You are willing to forgo the good these organizations do just to prove a point about birth control? I was stunned to say the least. I would like to think she doesn't have a firm idea of what faith-based groups do around the world.

But I got to thinking, maybe that is the point. Maybe this is the whole reason that they are pushing this. Stay with me now. Say that many faith-based groups do decide to change the way they run their organizations. They will only administer help to people within their own faith in order to stay in compliance with the exemption. What happens to all the others who will no longer be getting the help that they give? They have to turn to the state. Especially if they are not people of faith.

It would be virtually impossible for the faith-based groups to know if the people they are helping are truly people of that faith. I wouldn't put it past atheist activists to try to get services from a faith-based group and then publicize the fact that they were not truly just administering to the "faithful". Many good people would lose jobs at Catholic University's and hospitals. Many people in need of service would be turned away.

Many government grants go to Catholic charity groups all over the country. They are much better at administering to the needs of the poor and underprivileged. This will all have to stop. The programs again would fall back to the pervue of the federal and state governments. The entire reason that they were given to the faith-based groups in the first place was that they helped more people for less money. They understand the needs of an individual community much better because they live there. They dont' fall into the one size fits all mentality that is the norm with government based programs.
So the next time that President Obama talks about helping the poor we need to remind ourselves of the damage he will cause by pushing this mandate to its logical conclusion. The poor will become even more underserved, unless of course they happen to be of the same faith of the organization down the street that could and would help.

I don't think this was the hope and change that people voted for.

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Video: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Trailer



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Report: Russia Almost Nuked Itself in 2011

Or as Reuters puts it, "Russia faced major nuclear disaster in 2011:"
MOSCOW, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Russia came close to nuclear disaster in late December when a blaze engulfed a nuclear-powered submarine carrying atomic weapons, a leading Russian magazine reported, contradicting official assurances that it was not armed.

Russian officials said at the time that all nuclear weapons aboard the Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine had been unloaded well before a fire engulfed the 167-metre (550 feet) vessel and there had been no risk of a radiation leak.

But the respected Vlast weekly magazine quoted several sources in the Russian navy as saying that throughout the fire on Dec. 29 the submarine was carrying 16 R-29 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each armed with four nuclear warheads.

"Russia, for a day, was on the brink of the biggest catastrophe since the time of Chernobyl," Vlast reported. The 1986 disaster in modern-day Ukraine is regarded as the world's worst nuclear accident.

Neither the Russian Defence Ministry nor the office of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who has responsibility for military matters, would immediately comment on the report. A spokesman for the navy could not be contacted.
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U.S. Constitution: Bad Model?

So, have you heard the news? Apparently, the United States Constitution is a bad model and modern nations should not use it when drafting their own forms of government.

That was the main sticking point of Noah Feldman's article in Bloomberg earlier this week, agreeing with Associate Justice Ginsburg that our constitutional model is out of date and that nations like Egypt would be better off copying South Africa's model.

I haven't read such baloney in a long, long time concerning the law of the land, and quite frankly it sickens me, so here's a few minor points to counter Feldman's arguments:

1. Originalism - Feldman argues that the fights over originalism are old and tiresome, and new forms should attempt to avoid any supposed murkiness in the founders intent. The truth is, if liberals would stop trying to rewrite the constitution to suit their ideology and actually followed the letter of the law, there wouldn't be constant battles over originalism. Such as the debate over the 'welfare clause' in the preamble, which shouldn't even be considered because preambles are non-binding and only state what a document means or why it was written.

2. Subjective history - Feldman argues that the originalists on the court today have a subjective view of the constitution that always lines up with conservative ideology. There's a reason for that: conserve means to preserve something, to keep it the way it was. Conservatism is based around preserving law, culture and government as intended by our founders. So, yeah. When your ideology is based on living up to the founders original intent, which was small government, and checks and balances, your going to line up most of the time.

3. Judicial review - Feldman claims judicial review isn't mentioned in the Constitution and that the system naturally evolved to accomidate the necessary change. I call bull. Considering the judiciary was and is charged with upholding the constitutionality of laws and actions from its creation, legal review is required. But, okay, the constitution doesn't say the words judicial review, but thats what their tasked with doing, such as Chief Justice Marshall correctly pointed out in 1803.

What say you?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Video: Top al Qaeda Leader Free in Britain

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


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Camp Whitney V. Camp Bobby

I am so over all the coverage on the death of Whitney Houston. Yes, of course it is tragic. She was too young to die. But the wall to wall coverage, especially when you consider they don't really know anything, is over the top. But that is the nature of the beast in our celebrity driven culture today.

What we do know is that she drowned in a bathtub, the coroners have confirmed water was found in her lungs. What we also know is that in normal circumstances if you fall asleep in the tub and fall into the water you will wake yourself up in time to keep yourself from drowning. It isn't a stretch to believe that Whitney had some sort of drugs in her system that rendered her unable to wake herself up in time. Her addiction issues are well-known and her most recent stay in rehab came less than a year ago in April or May. There are witnesses that said they saw her out drinking several nights before her death and TMZ reports that prescription drugs were found in her hotel room. Anyone that is less than one year out of rehab should not be drinking, let alone taking prescription drugs. All that is doing is changing one addiction for another.

I have watched and read many of things being said about her death. There are many that are putting the blame on her ex-husband Bobby Brown for the downward spiral that became her life shortly after marrying him. While it is true that most of her fame came before and immediately after her marriage, she was a big girl.

Many young women go through the I am addicted to a bad boy phase during the teen and early adult years. I went through that myself. I stayed with a man who had substance abuse problems for far too long. The closer my wedding got to him the more I realized that I couldn't go through with it. Mainly because the realization of how bad of father he would be hit me and I didn't want to put my children through that. While it was painful, I walked away. I also spent years after that examining the reasons that I stayed with him for as long as I did. The conclusion that I came to was my own low self-esteem. He treated me the way he did because I allowed it. I was smart enough to never became the substance abuser that he was. While I did partake in things that I shouldn't have, I always understood my limitations.

To blame Bobby Brown for the downward spiral of Whitney's life is to take every bit of responsibility that she had for her own life. Life doesn't work that way. It would be nice if it did, but the truth is, it just doesn't. While no one can argue with the facts that if you come from a family of substance abuse you are far more likely to be an abuser yourself. That is also true of child abuse, many child abusers were abused themselves. But it is not a forgone conclusion that you will become an abuser simply based on your childhood.

People do survive whatever issues they face in their childhoods and grow to be happy, well-adjusted adults. There are people who have no substance abuse in their childhoods and grow up to become abusers. We make choices in life. One of the reasons that I don't drink very much is because I have addictive personality so I avoid things that cause those type of problems. I won't take much in the way of pain medication unless it is absolutely necessary and I just can't get through the day without it. I try not to take aspirin if I can at all help it.

The truth is that substance abuse is one of the most selfish acts you can do as a human being. Once it has wormed its way into your life it completely takes over. The addiction is first and foremost in your life. It comes before your spouse, your job, your child, and anything else that you love. For you to reach that point your self-esteem is very low. Somewhere within yourself you feel you are not good enough. You need to be drinking and partying for others to like you. It helps you be "one of the crowd". You put everything else in your life on the back-burner. Nothing else really matters as much as the next high. I have seen people walk away from their children, I have seen people ruin their marriages, and I have seen people die at far too early of an age just for the next high. The man I loved died at the ripe old age of 35, leaving two small children who will not even remember him. He did that to himself. No one else was to blame for his problems. He knew he had a problem, but he refused to do anything about it. He didn't love himself enough to change the direction of his life.

The same is true of Whitney Houston. She didn't love herself enough. She didn't realize that her daughter, while a young adult, still needs her mommy. Her family wasn't ready to say goodbye to her. But she didn't care enough to deal with the real reasons that she was addicted. After being in rehab, she was no longer physically addicted to the substances that landed her there in the first place. It became what was between her ears and what was in heart, not what was in her bloodstream. That problem had been licked.

While Bobby Brown is not a man I would want in my life, I certainly can't blame him for someone else's actions. They only things that caused Whitney to use drugs and drink too much were her own two hands. One of her big hits was about the greatest love of all, the love of yourself. Too bad for her family and for the world that loved her talent that they were no more than lyrics to her.
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