Thursday, April 28, 2011

Terrorist Attack in Marrakech, Morocco

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

April 28, 2011

The United States condemns in the strongest terms today’s terrorist attack that killed and injured innocent people at a café in Marrakech, Morocco. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of this cowardly attack and stand with the people of Morocco at this difficult time. Acts of terrorism must not be tolerated wherever and whenever they occur.

U.S. Embassy personnel continue to work with Moroccan authorities to obtain additional information and the United States offers our full assistance to the Moroccan Government as it works to investigate this attack and bring those accountable to justice.

20 issues trump birth certificate circus

WASHINGTON - In the wake of the much-discussed release of President Obama's long-form birth certificate, Libertarian Party Chair Mark Hinkle had this to say:

"Instead of wasting so much ink on this birther story, the press should be giving a lot more attention to the many real disasters of the Obama administration. The Libertarian Party recently released a list of '20 Obama problems, 20 Libertarian solutions.'

"Of course, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress are only part of the problem equation. The Republicans deserve an equal share of the blame, for their unwillingness to cut military spending or entitlements, their addiction to government programs like farm subsidies, and their big-spending compromise bills of December 2010 and April 2011.

"I wonder if Obama and the Republicans might just be conspiring to keep this birther stuff alive, to distract everyone from all the real problems they're causing. The president might have been worried that the birther talk was about to die down.

"When you consider that we're involved in three foreign wars, our entitlement state is crumbling, we have record-level spending and deficits, unemployment is high, and inflation is growing, the president's birth certificate seems less significant somehow.

"We need to be more focused on the fact that massive debt is driving our government toward bankruptcy -- something Republican birther Donald Trump would know a lot about.

"Nearly two years ago, one of our junior staffers mocked this very issue:
Socialized healthcare is on the horizon. The DHS, NSA, TSA police state is expanding, the Drug War is still being pursued by an arrogant, ignorant government and Obama is expanding the war in Afghanistan! Frankly we have got bigger problems to pursue than blogging endlessly about where the President was born.
"Hopefully Americans will worry less about long-form birth certificates, and more about thousand-page spending bills."

For more information, or to arrange an interview, call LP Executive Director Wes Benedict at 202-333-0008 ext. 222.

The LP is America's third-largest political party, founded in 1971. The Libertarian Party stands for free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can find more information on the Libertarian Party at our website.

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Allegory of the Cave and American Politics, part 5

By Zach Foster
Continued from Part 4

The remaining Republican hopeful is Ron Paul.  Congressman Paul is one of the select few members of Congress who can boast an untarnished record.  In his private life he has served the community and the country, and his entire career as a public servant has been dedicated to restoring Constitutional law and fighting against government corruption and the stripping away of the rights of the citizenry.

He received his medical degree from Duke University in 1961 and served as a U.S. Air Force flight surgeon from 1963 to 1965.  He continued to serve the country with his medical skills in the Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968.  He opened a private practice after his military service and, rather than bow down to the authoritative whims of insurance companies, he ran a much more philanthropic private practice by giving reduced-cost services or pro-bono services to the poor.  In chapter four of his book The Revolution, Ron Paul explains how this system was much better for the poor and uninsured than the jokes today known as PMOs and HMOs.

Having been a former airman, he knows how the military works better than the non-veterans who love to shout about their patriotism while campaigning.  Machiavelli disdainfully describes the downfall of the latter in The Prince (chapter 9).  As a long time successful doctor, Ron Paul also has a firm grasp on how the health insurance and health care market, unlike the incumbent President and most
(if not all) Republican nomination hopefuls.

Having been a leading member of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute for twenty-nine years, Ron Paul can easily call himself one of the leading economists in America—a title and personality cult currently being held by professional inflationists like Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.  For many decades, Congressman Paul has studied the economic theories of the leading thinkers in the Austrian School mof economics—Luwdig Von Mises, Frederick Hayek, Murray Rothbard, etc.—whose theories are based on monetary solidity, free trade, and the [proven] idea that individual freedom and economic prosperity go hand in hand.  To give a brief example of the accurate theories of the Austrian School, Ludwig Von Mises accurately predicted (to the detail) the fall of the Soviet Union in his book Socialism, written in 1919 (less than two years after the USSR was formed).  Ron Paul knows sound economics and, unlike most members of Congress, he offers concrete solutions to restoring the value of the dollar and restoring the economy in his books The Case For Gold (1982) and End the Fed (2009).

Under Ron Paul’s Presidency, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be drawn to a close, establishing peace with honor (without abandoning our allies) and this country would no longer be the “world police” (and certainly wouldn’t be involved in the Libyan Civil War, whose marginal-at-best U.S. involvement grows ever less popular).  The list of Ron Paul’s qualifications to be an excellent President goes on—the author doesn’t need to write them since they have already been written by other Ron Paul supporters who, rather than take a politician at his word, investigated his record and his writings and proposed solutions, and found overwhelming evidence testifying of his qualifications.

While Democrats blindly follow the shadows that cheer for Barack Obama and Republicans chain themselves down with Fox News propaganda, following Donald Trump’s shadow puppets on the cavern wall, there will be a minority of Americans who have awakened to the growing nightmare of their loss of more and more liberty, the Monopoly play money that is the U.S. dollar, a spiraling national debt, and the stretching thin of the American Empire.  They will not be fooled by shadows, for they have been freed and have grown accustomed to sunlight and fresh air; they know the truth and they seek to awaken their peers who still dwell in the cave.

And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he 's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.

He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?

Last of all he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is. And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?

Certainly, he would.


Chris Harman’s Vietnam

A rebuttal by Zach Foster

Part 1

The title of this piece, “Chris Harman’s Vietnam,” is an ironic one given that Harman, like many—if not most—of the Marxists and contemporary outspoken critics of the war, neither was in the war nor served in the military.  The title of this rebuttal refers to a 1968 book review Harman wrote in International Socialism magazine, in which he comments on Lucien Bodard’s The Quicksand War: Prelude to Vietnam, John Gerassi’s North Vietnam: A Documentary, Jean Lacouture’s Ho Chi Minh: A Political Biography, and Dennis J. Duncanson’s Government and Revolution in Vietnam.

Harman begins by stating that the first three books are by journalists, having “the advantage that they are readable and full of information, but leave much in the way of analysis to be desired.  The fourth is not even readable.”  His desire for analysis (Marxist political analysis) is unrealistic, since a journalist’s job is not to analyze, but simply to report what is happening.  He attacks Duncanson’s book right off the bat for being “a collection of often irrelevant (and often unfactual) facts on the history of the Vietnamese conflict to justify the author’s beliefs…”  Immediately this makes the reader wonder exactly how Harman knows Duncanson’s information is irrelevant or incorrect.  The fact that Harman even mentions Duncanson’s beliefs might lead the reader to conclude that Duncanson’s writing is being attacked simply because his beliefs disagree with Harman’s beliefs.

Harman leads the reader to believe that Ngo Dinh Diem was not the best leader the Vietnamese have had, and that the United States was not helping the Vietnamese.  When Harman implies that the U.S. wasn’t helping the Vietnamese, he probably means that the U.S. wasn’t helping the North Vietnamese.  The author of this rebuttal would like to remind Harman and his readers that the North Vietnamese were the military enemies of the U.S. and the South Vietnamese.  Any claims that the Viet Cong (for years believed to be truly representative of the South Vietnamese population) are proven false by the book Victory in Vietnam: the Official History of the People’s Army of Vietnam, which admits that throughout the war the VC were an arm of the North Vietnamese Army and were both raised up and led by Communists from North Vietnam.  Any ideas that the Viet Cong were a grass roots movement from the South are akin to saying that Ulysses Grant represented the Confederate army.

Harman’s implication that Ngo Din Diem was not the best leader South Vietnam ever had is grievously false.  Author Phillip Jennings—a Vietnam War veteran of the Marine Corps and Air America, and current scholar of the war—elaborates on Diem’s qualifications.  Diem was an active Vietnamese nationalist and anti-French activist (even once offered a government position by Uncle Ho himself), knew the game of politics well, and his actions that many critics called dictatorial were actually using traditional Vietnamese strong-man methods—firmly entrenched in the nation’s culture—to slowly bring the Vietnamese to Western democracy.  Diem’s suppression of rebellion and manipulation of election results (of an election which he actually did win) were not meant to prove his leadership skills to Western government idiots, but rather to prove to his own people that he indeed had the “Mandate From Heaven.”  It was under Diem’s leadership that Saigon and the other urban areas were cleared of insurgent armies—the private armies of the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao religious cults, the Binh Xuyen paramilitary crime organization (who later merged with the Viet Cong), as well as Viet Minh holdouts from 1954—and he politically outmaneuvered the French colonialist holdouts who thought they could make South Vietnam a puppet state.  The North Vietnamese propaganda book Victory in Vietnam details how painfully close Diem came to crushing the Viet Cong in the early years of the fabled “unwinnable war.”  Under Diem’s administration, South Vietnamese for the first time had the right to free speech and could protest against their government and form political parties, while under Ho Chi Minh’s rule, North Vietnamese political parties were dissolved, their leaders imprisoned and murdered, and bullets were required to pacify the population into trying to make Communism work.  Under Diem’s administration, rice production doubled, livestock populations tripled, and the number of rural schools increased tenfold.  Under Ho Chi Minh’s rule, land reform and central planning caused a famine that resulted in Ho and General Giap embarking on an apology tour throughout the countryside to save face.  These few facts alone shed an entirely new light on Diem.

Continued in part 2 of 2

20 Obama problems, 20 Libertaria​n solutions

April 25, 2011

Dear Friend of Liberty,

We're a little over halfway through President Obama's term, and I wanted to send a reminder of the "top ten disasters" from his first year, plus ten newer problems, and how Libertarians would avoid or solve these problems.

1. Cash for Clunkers
The government should not try to dictate what vehicles people drive, or what mileage they get. This program paid people to destroy their cars and buy new higher-mileage cars. It wasted both money and natural resources. Libertarians would never have done this.

2. War escalation in Afghanistan
We would withdraw American forces from Afghanistan. President Obama has escalated the war.

3. Giant government health care expansion bill
Libertarians would return health care to the private sector and the free market, instead of repeatedly increasing the amount of government interference.

4. Post office loses money hand over fist
Libertarians would end the post office's monopoly, and allow competition and the free market to provide the mail services people demand.

5. Stimulus package
The key to a robust economy is shrinking government, not growing it. Libertarians don't believe in stimulus packages.

6. Expansion of "state secrets" doctrine
The president is not a dictator. Libertarians would not allow presidential actions to avoid judicial scrutiny.

7. Big increase in unemployment
High unemployment is mostly caused by government interference. Libertarians would let the free market work.

8. "Bailout" Geithner as Treasury Secretary
Libertarians would appoint someone who understands economics and the importance of free markets.

9. Skyrocketing federal spending
Libertarians would make huge cuts, not increases, in government spending.

10. Huge federal deficits
Libertarians would cut government spending so much that deficits would disappear.

And here are ten new ones:

11. War in Libya
Libertarians want to end America's foreign wars, not start new ones.

12. Assassination doctrine
Libertarians would never claim that the president can assassinate American citizens just because he personally believes them to be terrorists.

13. Big-spending deals with Republicans
Last December, and again this month, President Obama and Republicans came together to keep federal spending huge this year. Massive defense spending, unemployment extensions, ethanol subsidies, etc. Libertarians would demand cuts in the current year, and we'd be happy to let the government shut down if our opponents refused.

14. Keeping Guantanamo open
Before he was elected, Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay. He hasn't done it. Libertarians would shut it down.

15. Fed massively inflates fiat currency
With the support of President Obama and Treasury Secretary Geithner, the Federal Reserve has continued its massive inflation of the money supply. Libertarians wouldn't allow it -- in fact, we would end the Fed.

16. War on Poker
Less than two weeks ago, Obama's Justice Department decided to trample on the rights of millions of Americans by shutting down several online poker websites and indicting their executives. Libertarians believe that Americans have the right to gamble.

17. Patriot Act extensions
Obama has signed bills to extend the life of the Patriot Act, which violates the civil rights of Americans. Libertarians would refuse to renew it.

18. Sustaining warrantless wiretaps
As a candidate, Obama said he would end these violations started during the Bush administration. But apparently he lied. Warrantless wiretaps are still being used today. Libertarian would end them immediately.

19. Sustaining War in Iraq
As a candidate, Obama promised the Iraq War would be over by now. But there are still upwards of 50,000 American troops in Iraq. Libertarians would end that war and withdraw all of the troops.

20. Medical Marijuana raids
In October 2009, we sent a press release commending the Obama administration's new policy to end raids on medical marijuana providers. Unfortunately, they were lying. The feds have continued to raid medical marijuana providers. Libertarians would completely end the tragic and destructive War on Drugs.


Wes Benedict
Executive Director
Libertarian National Committee

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party dedicated to free markets, civil liberties, and peace. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can make a contribution separate from membership.

The 25th Anniversary of Chornobyl

Rose Gottemoeller
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance
Ukrainian Embassy

Washington, DC
April 25, 2011

Remarks as prepared:

Thank you for asking me to join you here tonight. I would like to first take this opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of Chornobyl—the many men and women who lost their lives and their livelihoods to the tragic events that transpired 25 years ago today.

In particular, we honor the emergency workers who were the first to respond on that fateful April morning when an explosion in Unit 4 of the nuclear power station at Chornobyl triggered the most serious nuclear accident the world has ever known.

As clouds of radioactive smoke billowed across large portions of the Western Soviet Union and Europe, these men and women struggled valiantly around the clock to mitigate a humanitarian disaster. Their heroic sacrifice—and the abandoned town of Pripyat—together serve as a powerful reminder that the events of Chornobyl must never be forgotten.

In the 1990s, when I was Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nonproliferation and National Security, I visited Chornobyl and saw with my own eyes the ruins of Pripyat’, the 30 kilometer Exclusion Zone surrounding Chornobyl, and the reactor site itself. The sight was shocking. But I was glad to see the degree of international cooperation already at work to reverse the environmental impact of the disaster and to ensure that the other three reactors at the site would be safely shut down.

Twenty-five years later, this international cooperation continues. The United States—in concert with our G-8 partners and the international community—remains committed to helping Ukrainians bring the damaged Chornobyl nuclear facility to an environmentally safe and secure condition.

Since the late 1990s, the United States had given some $240 million to Chornobyl nuclear safety projects. Last week at the Chornobyl Pledging Conference, a delegation from the United States led by former National Security Adviser Brzezinski, pledged a further $123 million towards completing the construction of a new safe confinement shelter to cover the aging sarcophagus and a storage facility for spent fuel at the Chornobyl site.

In addition to this assistance, the U.S. has invested millions of dollars in nuclear safety, health, and non-proliferation programs in Ukraine. This partnership has helped Ukraine become a leader, both in nuclear safety, and in non-proliferation, as evinced by Ukraine’s historic decision to give up nuclear weapons back in 1994 and President Yanukovych’s decision just over one year ago to get rid of Ukraine’s stocks of highly enriched uranium.

Ukraine has shown its leadership on nuclear security and the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Not only has Ukraine chosen this leadership role on reducing the chances of nuclear terrorism, but Ukraine has chosen a path towards the peaceful use of nuclear technology. As part of the HEU agreement, the United States is building a neutron source facility that Ukraine will use to advance nuclear science, including nuclear medicine, that will bring practical benefits to the Ukrainian people and the whole world.

As we remember this anniversary, we, like people all across the world, are following the grave situation at Japan’s Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant. The events at Fukushima, just like the events at Chornobyl and Three Mile Island, remind us once again that nuclear safety recognizes no boundaries.

We can best pay tribute to the victims of these tragedies by learning from each event and using that knowledge to ensure the safety and security of nuclear energy now and in the future. Meanwhile, we proclaim our solidarity with the people of Japan as we help them rebuild.

It is my hope that the story of Chornobyl strengthens our collective resolve to ensure that nuclear safety remains at the forefront of our efforts as we continue to define the role nuclear power can best play in our energy future.

I am confident that Ukraine will continue to be a leader in these efforts.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Question for Socialists, part 2

By Zach Foster
Continued from Part 1

Capitalism already has remedies for such ailments:  1)  relief organizations will be prepared to assist, and the majority of their funding comes from the private sector and private individuals, NOT from the government.  2)  the federal, state, and city governments will hire builders from the private sector who will bring their own materials; 3) though the government will oversee the rebuilding process, it may be slow and cumbersome, so many private citizens will simply rebuild their damaged private property themselves, or hire someone to do it, thus furthering their self-sufficiency and independence from government.

Still, the rebuilding process is not beneficial to the economy because the resources being used to rebuild are not creating new things.  For more elaboration on that, see Frederic Bastiat’s parable of the broken window.  Capitalism makes the economy and infrastructure able to eventually bounce back from destruction, whereas socialism collapses because destruction ruins the best laid plans of mice and workers’ councils.  Regardless of the setbacks of wars and natural disasters, capitalism produces much more than socialism, and much faster, and in better quality.  Frank Chodorov elaborates in his book Out of Step:

Capitalism, without benefit of a theory, and operating solely on the mundane profit motive, has disproven Marx on every point. To be sure, the economists of the Austrian School had done in the labor theory of value — that the value of a thing is determined by the amount of labor put into producing it — by showing that value is entirely subjective and has no relation whatever to labor. But capitalists did it in their own way; when people wanted a thing and were willing to pay for it, the capitalists made it, and when there was no demand for a thing it simply was not made. That is to say, the consumer puts a value on what he wants.

Marxists love to argue that capitalism doesn’t get anything done, that it is entirely wasteful, and that there is enough food produced worldwide to feed everyone several times.  While that much food does exist, capitalism is the system that produces that high quantity of food while socialism can only dream of doing it (and all socialists CAN do is dream).  Free market economies produce much more than socialist and centrally planned economies (which explains why the Chinese economy has grown exponentially after Maoism was replaced by some free market trade).  Kevin D. Williamson writes in The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism (recommended for beginners in economics)—a very well researched book that cites economists like Hayek, Rothbard, and Von Mises—writes how socialists love to accuse the U.S. for consuming 40% of a given global food supply, but they ignore the fact that the U.S. produces MORE than 40% of that food supply.  Here are some statistics for the skeptic:

According to the Environmental Protection Agency:
-The U.S. produces 10 billion bushels of corn out of the global total 23 billion (43.47%).
-The U.S. produces over 50% of the world’s soybean supply.
-The U.S. supplies 25% of the world’s wheat exports.
-The U.S. produces 18% of the world rice supply (the U.S. is the second biggest rice producer).

According to
The U.S. exports 70% of its maize and cereal.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization:
-The U.S. is the fourth biggest supplier of potatoes in the world.

Clearly, the United States under a capitalist economy not only sustains itself with food but also exports much of the total food supply to other countries.  How many people have socialist economies been able to feed?  Not even those at home.  Famines have killed millions under socialist regimes, and massive food shortages are occurring even in countries where the economy is not socialistic but the socialists are in power.  One example of this is Venezuela, where inefficiencies in central planning cause such food shortages, meanwhile what food there is simply rots in store houses.  Not even the New Socialist Man, despite the best collective efforts, can change this brutally inconvenient reality.

What worries the author is the very collective nature of the utopia maintained by the New Man, who seems more like an ant than like a person.  Another question I have for Socialists is: other than the right to conform unquestioningly to dictated social requirements, does the New Socialist Man have any rights as an individual?

Continued in Part 3: Those who perish in the fires of Revolutionary Holocaust

Weekly Address: Stopping Oil Market Fraud, Beginning a Clean Energy Future

The President lays out his plans to address rising gas prices over the short and the long term, from a new task force to root out fraud and manipulation in the oil markets to investments in a clean energy economy.

Watch the video at

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Question for Socialists

By Zach Foster

For those who have studied Marxism, whether or not they subscribe to its flawed schools of thought, it is evident that the aim of international socialism (Marxism, Communism, a rose by any other name…) is to overthrow the bourgeoisie, establish the dictatorship of the proletariat, and create a utopia where all people are workers, all workers are equal, there is no state, no money, and the means of production are public property.  This utopia is to be created and maintained by the New Socialist Man—the worker who has mastered his instincts and base desires (basically conquered nature)—who is a super worker, completely selfless, respects all material things, and lives only for society.  Here is a question for Socialists: How would a utopian society made up of New Socialist Men and Women be possible?

In The German Ideology, Marx elaborates on a perfect man who will find happiness and fulfillment in different kinds of work—all for the benefit of society.  In this utopia, man would work in the factories in the morning, hunt or fish in the afternoon, and criticize literature or philosophy in the evening.  One should ask the socialist: is this even remotely realistic?  This is not to be a literalistic misinterpretation of what Marx was elaborating on, for obviously one could only hunt, fish, work in a factory, and criticize if all of the above workplaces and living spaces were located in the mountains or by a lake where fish and game were prevalent.  To be fair to Marx’s argument, his elaboration could be applied to someone living in South-Central Los Angeles.  A worker could wake up in the early morning, work on painting buildings or renovating identical housing projects which have endured the wear and tear of age, then take a bus to go work at a power plant on the LA River, take a bus back home, and in the evening write a response to whatever the latest philosophical book is.  However: this utopian vision begs the question: how will the people of this society be provided for?

Every attempt in history to centrally plan a large economy and carry it out socialistically has failed miserably (it is simply naïve to believe that humanity will produce nothing but super humans), and the charades were only prolonged because the socialistic policies of the central planners were enforced by bullets. Trotsky writes in Literature and Revolution:

“Man will make it his purpose to master his own feelings, to raise his instincts to the heights of consciousness, to make them transparent, to extend the wires of his will into hidden recesses, and thereby to raise himself to a new plane, to create a higher social biologic type, or, if you please, a superman.”

As pretty as the idea of the New Socialist Man may sound, human nature is something that can only be conquered by the strongest of people—the Henry Reardens and Dagny Taggarts and John Galts of the world—and even though lust, greed, gluttony, and a desire to exert one’s will on one’s neighbors can be put in check by conscious will power, baser human needs like food, water, and shelter can only be held off so long before they begin to supersede the superhero quality of this New Man.  What will the central planners do when a famine strikes?  What will the central planners do when the train tracks bust, or the busses break down, and the food cannot be shipped from the farm to the processing plants or from the processing plants to the consumers?  Desperate from hunger, the New Socialist Man will begin to regress into a feral beast and hunt for food at the expense of his neighbor’s food supply and safety—the world becomes a dog-eat-dog world.  Society is only a few missed meals away from total anarchy, and contrary to Trotsky’s promises, mankind can defend himself against nature’s power and even harness it, but mankind cannot conquer nature.  What will the central planners do when severe weather destroys entire cities?  If many factories are destroyed by a tornado or hurricane or large earthquakes or tsunamis, or even multiple natural disasters at once as the world recently saw in Japan, then the means of production will also be destroyed, and under a Socialist/Communist society, there will be no means of rebuilding the damage, unless extensive resources are borrowed from other towns or communes, thus greatly slowing the progress of mankind in creating, building, harvesting, and production overall.

In Part 2: Why Capitalism Serves Society Better

Weekly Update from Representa​tive Denham

Dear Friend,
It's great to be back home.  I have been all over the 19th district this week discussing rising gas prices, our country's debt, and the House Republican budget proposal. As your Representative, I have an obligation to ensure that we implement serious reforms to immediately reduce federal spending and eliminate the culture of spending in Washington. 
California families, small businesses and employers were more frustrated than ever on Tax Day this past Monday as we all felt the money fly out of your wallets and go into an unaccountable Washington spending machine. House Republicans are committed to reducing our debt and getting our fiscal house in order. As I have told many of you this week, the House Republican budget plan includes common sense tax reforms to make our code simpler, flatter, fairer and less burdensome for American families and small businesses. 
I spoke with American Government students at CSU Stanislaus on Monday about the budget and specific spending reforms being considered in Washington.  We had a great conversation about the House Republican budget plan and the implications it has on them as they enter the workforce. You can see photos here.
I also stopped to help at the Fresno County Community Food Bank in Mendota on Monday.  In my conversations with people I met, one common theme of all of the discussions was the need to bring water to the Valley and put people back to work.  Too many residents of the 19th Congressional district are unemployed due to bureaucratic processes impeding the delivery of water to the Valley. Take a look at the pictures I posted on my facebook page. 
On Tuesday I announced a bill, H.R. 1604, I recently introduced that would eliminate redundant bureaucratic red tape to speed the process for federally funded water projects within the Central Valley Project (CVP).  The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements currently in place are functionally equivalent to one another and implementing both environmental review processes has placed an undue burden on agencies and businesses that are working to make the CVP a success.  This duplication of processes is unnecessary and should be eliminated to save time and taxpayer dollars. In fact, transportation projects using federal money are allowed this same exemption, so the next time someone tells you it will destroy the environment, you can remind them it already occurs to now.
As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, and specifically the Health Subcommittee, I have been working hard in Washington to improve the quality of care our service men and women are receiving. Yesterday I toured the Department of Veteran Affairs Community Outpatient Clinic in Oakhurst and witnessed firsthand the value of VA outpatient clinics that make access to health care easier for Veterans of the Oakhurst and Mariposa communities. 
Over 2 million members of the United States Armed Forces have deployed to theaters of war since the commencement of Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. Many have been deployed for multiple tours of duty. 
You'll be happy to know I recently signed on as an original co-sponsor to a resolution in the House honoring the service and sacrifice of members of the United States Armed Forces who are deployed now or who have served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan or Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn in Iraq. An identical resolution was introduced in the Senate.  Our service members and Veterans protect our country with pride and dignity and deserve the respect and honor of our nation every day. 
I attended at the Oakhurst Chamber of Commerce's Economic Development Luncheon yesterday and had a great conversation with local residents and members of the Chamber about the $14 trillion debt facing our country. We all agreed that we must change the culture of spending in Washington in order to ensure a better future for our kids and grandkids. 
As we begin the weekend, I ask that we all remember and pay respects to the memory of the 1.5 million men, women and children whose lives were taken 96 years ago in the Armenian Genocide. We must acknowledge the Armenian Genocide so that we can not only remember those who lost their lives, but so we can work together to ensure that such a horrible tragedy will never happen again. Tomorrow I will be attending the Armenian Genocide Commemoration at Fresno City Hall, I hope to see you there. 
If I did not see you at one of the events around the district this week, please check my website for up to date information. Also, continue to tell your friends about my facebook and twitter pages where you can hear about my activities in the district and in Washington.
I wish you all a Happy Good Friday and an enjoyable Easter.


United States Representative

West Wing Week: "My Old Number, Twenty Three"

West Wing Week is your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, President Obama held town halls in northern Virginia, California, and Nevada, to speak directly to the American people about his vision for reducing our debt and bringing down our deficit based on the values of shared responsibility and shared prosperity.

Watch the video at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Statement on Labor Unions

By Zach Foster

Civil liberties were assaulted in Wisconsin with the union busting legislation that passed despite epic protests.  At this point the purpose of the bill, the organizations it targeted, and the motives for the assault are irrelevant.  The author will analyze them in writing later on.  The purpose of this statement is to decry the great tragedy which occurred and spawned other tragedies in quick succession. Why would the ultraconservatives want to break the unions?  Their political camp and its motives more and more resemble the totalitarianism of Communism.  Capitalism with minimal regulation is vital to a free economy, and labor unions are an essential mechanism in the labor world.  By no means should labor unions dominate industries, but they should merely influence them and be allowed to do so without the dead weight of government crushing civil liberties.

The late and great Senator Barry Goldwater wrote in his book The Conscience of a Conservative that labor unions and politics do not belong together at all and should not be combined.  He writes:

“I believe that unionism, kept within its proper and natural bounds, accomplishes a positive good for the country.  Unions can be an instrument for achieving economic justice for the working man.  Moreover, they are an alternative to, and thus discourage State Socialism.  Most important of all, they are an expression of freedom.  Trade unions properly conceived, is an expression of man’s inalienable right to associate with other men for the achievement of legitimate objectives.”

In that chapter, Goldwater denounces both big government intruding on the worker’s right to free association and the large unions with political power that begin to resemble a second government behemoth.  The only relationship labor unions should have with government is a quasi-symbiotic one in which the legislature sets the standards for what is illegal in the work place (via a law) while the unions decide what is unjust in the work place.  Government should not interfere with unions (unless a law is explicitly being broken) and unions should by no means get involved with politics.

Particular unions should be opposed when they begin to cripple the industry whose workers they represent.  It is fully acceptable to fight for workers to have a work day not unreasonably long, for livable wages, and certain benefits.  However, there is a certain point where the benefits need to end, such as wages that are too high, both for the skill level of the labor being paid for and the employer’s ability to pay.  While there are certainly big businesses and executives out there that truly are greedy and pay the absolute minimum they can get away with (such as the now bankrupt and lawsuit-plagued Hollywood Entertainment Corporation, host of Movie Gallery, Hollywood Video, and Game Crazy stores), most employers are reasonable employers and the wages they pay reflect both the skill level of the labor being hired and the amount that the employer is able to spend.  If a union pressures and strong arms a small business owner (or even a large corporation) to pay janitors and cashiers $15.00 an hour with full benefits, or for middle management secretaries to be paid $200,000 a year, then the business will be unreasonable burdened.  At this point an employer has three options: dramatically raise prices, hurting the clientele and customers; cut back many hours or even lay off workers; or simply go out of business because the cost of running a business are too high, thus hurting the economy, the employer, and the very workers the big union claims to represent, and by this time, the union is a second government and the union leaders are bureaucrats, businessmen, and politicians all in one.  Despite the behemoth nature of big unions, most unions are very productive organizations run by honorable people—workers themselves—that simply boost the quality of life for workers without harming industry or the economy.

It is a travesty that big government steps in and violates the rights of citizens to freely associate and do business.  It is normal for Democrats and even Socialists to advocate government as a remedy for every ill, but for Republicans—the party of less government—to advocate government interference in matters where it does not yet belong (after all, no laws have been broken) is a travesty.  Another tragedy spawned by government violating the rights of Americans is that those who feel violated by the Republican Party flee to the Democratic Party—the party of more government—for solace.  Worse yet, some of the disgruntled Americans tune into the flawed Socialist/Communist “consciousness” of oppressed labor, of class consciousness, and of class struggle (class warfare and open warfare).

Again, these remarks are theoretical, and the author will analyze the circumstances of the Wisconsin debacle later.

Let us as Americans take Barry Goldwater’s advice and not disrupt people’s political freedom, economic freedom, and freedom of association.  Government should only bother businesses when they break the law just like it should only bother unions when they break the law.  Also, just as “too-big-to-fail” businesses do in fact fail, large, saturated, and out-of-touch unions should be allowed to fail also—free of bureaucracy.

OCGOP Chairman Scott Baugh calls for resignation of member as a result of racist email

April 18, 2011

Citing the grossly insensitive and racist email forwarded by OCGOP Central Committee member Marilyn Davenport, Scott Baugh called on her to apologize and to step down from her elected Central Committee position. Baugh does not believe her half-hearted apology after the incident reflected the magnitude of the offense.

"It's just highly inappropriate, it's a despicable message, it drips with racism and I think she should step down from the committee," Baugh said. "It undermines everything we are doing to reach out to ethnic communities. Furthermore, it is simply wrong"

Statement of California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton on Racist and Offensive E-mail Distributed by Orange County Republican Central Committee Delegate and Tea Party Activist

The recent e-mail communication distributed by Orange County Republican Central Committee delegate Marilyn Davenport depicting President Obama as a chimpanzee is racist, it's offensive and it's flat out wrong. Orange County Republican leaders have forcefully condemned the communication and have called on Davenport to resign from her post.

However, as of this morning neither the website of the California Republican Party nor the Republican National Committee have posted a statement condemning this racist communication which has no place in decent society, not to mention in our political discourse. Republican members of the California Legislature have been strangely silent on the issue as well.

We urge the CAGOP and the RNC to loudly and forcefully condemn the actions of this Republican delegate. At a time when political passions are running high and the Republican Party and Tea Party seem to be morphing into one entity, it is absolutely critical to state in explicit terms what is and is not acceptable, and racism is never acceptable.

CRP Statement on President Obama's Latest California Campaign Swing

SACRAMENTO-- California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro today issued the following statement:

"It's obvious that the President prefers fundraising over providing the disciplined leadership America needs to get back on track. To pull off six fundraising events in 48 hours means you're really working at being greedy."

"The $4 million Obama is predicted to raise on his latest visit to our struggling state would pay to keep 60 teachers in the classroom for another year, pay off the mortgage on 24 homes in danger of foreclosure or provide job training for 800 unemployed Californians. If President Obama would spend as much time focusing on job growth and lowering our national debt, he wouldn't have to raise this much money to save his own job."

Open for Questions: Earth Day Chat on the South Lawn

In honor of Earth Day, Nancy Sutley, Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, and Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, hosted a special Open for Questions event live from the South Lawn of the White House today at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

If you’ve got questions about what the Obama Administration is doing to protect our air and water or how we’re building a clean energy future, be sure to tune in to to watch and participate.

President Barack Obama greets a young baby upon his arrival at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, Calif., April 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Allegory of the Cave and American Politics, part 4

By Zach Foster
Continued from Part 3

Let us examine the sights and sounds being experienced within the cave, both the prisoners chained to the cavern wall and by the escapee who has seen the light.  Americans are turning their focus to the 2012 Presidential elections which, as of April 2011, have four main candidates.  Barack Obama is running for reelection and has the support of the Democratic Party.  The three likely Republican candidates are Donald Trump, Herman Cain, and Ron Paul.

The author has already torn apart Trump’s charade as Republican Presidential material which, frankly, is an insult to the intelligence of every free-thinking American who is neither chained to the wall, looking at shadows, nor blissfully ignorant of being imprisoned in the web of media lies.  Arguments condemning Trump have been lightly touched upon here but in greater detail in the above-recommended article (“Why Barack Obama Will Be Reelected”).

The next most popular potential nominee is the author and businessman Herman Cain, whose biography and résumé truly command respect and admiration.  Cain’s life story speaks volumes in contradicting the dogmatic Marxist religion by proving that in the United States it is in fact possible for a poor boy to overcome both racial prejudice and poverty, and transcend class barriers to become wealthy through hard work and determination.  Some call it luck; others call it capitalism—the author prefers to call it the American Dream.  Cain has worked as a mathematician for the Department of the Navy, chaired large companies, and advised the President of the United States on economic matters.  Many Conservatives are in love with Cain both for his Conservative platform and personal accomplishments.  The author is also impressed with Cain, but slightly distraught that he has never once held a seat in public office. Seldom have junior politicians been successful without at least some experience in lower-level public office, and going straight from CEO to President of the United States may be a bit too much for a novice to handle.  Cain’s résumé does not qualify him for the Presidency.  However, given his vast experience in the private sector, he would make an outstanding Secretary of Commerce or Secretary of Labor.  It would be a great shame if the next President did not have Cain in the Cabinet.

The selection of Cain also could also lead one to make additional conclusions.  Though Cain has an impressive history and a solid Conservative platform of ideas, he is not the only Republican hopeful that boasts such attributes—not by a long shot.  One might remember that a large contributing factor to Obama’s 2008 election was his race.  Americans still felt the stigma of racism and its painful legacy and saw in Obama a perceived way to overcome it.  Such suspicions would be confirmed by the extensive media coverage (more of a jubilee) making a big deal that for the first time America had a black President.  While it was certainly impressive to many within America and around the world that the ball and chain of racial prejudice and discrimination, as well as interracial distrust, had largely disappeared, the author has believed for years that racism did not fade away during campus protests and sit-ins demonstrations, but rather in the mountains of Korea and the jungles of Vietnam as white, black, Asian, and Hispanic soldiers fought to save each other’s lives.

Still, Americans were glad that they had their ethnic minority President.  Now as 2012 approaches, it seems highly likely that the GOP is fumbling through the directory of honorable Republican politicians—each with virtually the same qualifications—and picking a token ethnic minority to run against the incumbent ethnic minority, who was the Democratic Party’s token minority whose job it was to wave a magic wand and erase the national guilt trip.  One might also believe that Cain is the last-minute replacement for former GOP National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, who may have been intended to be the GOP’s secret weapon for 2012.

The tragedy of this trend of Messianic politics, which has expanded from the realm of working miracles to also include the realm of race and ethnicity, is that it does a huge discredit to the individuals on the ballot who are being used.  This trend of propping up a candidate simply for the convenience of their race is perhaps the most racist action of all, and selecting a candidate simply because of gender is the most sexist thing of all.  The candidates themselves, who have worked hard all of their lives and who are intelligent people with perhaps some very good ideas are being used like commodities, or even worse, must endure a personality cult being placed on their shoulders and pressuring them to work miracles.  Honestly, how realistic was the rush of the Hope and Change high of 2008?  What made Obama different from Ken Salazar, John Lewis, or Sanford Bishop?  Today, what makes Cain different from Allen West, Marco Rubio, or Bobby Jindal?

Concluded in Part 5: Enter Ron Paul