Monday Brief


Apr. 12, 2010

The Foundation

“Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace.” –Thomas Jefferson

For the Record

“Nuclear doctrine consists of thinking the unthinkable. It involves making threats and promising retaliation that is cruel and destructive beyond imagining. But it has its purpose: to prevent war in the first place. During the Cold War, we let the Russians know that if they dared use their huge conventional military advantage and invaded Western Europe, they risked massive U.S. nuclear retaliation. Goodbye Moscow. Was this credible? Would we have done it? Who knows? No one’s ever been there. A nuclear posture is just that – a declaratory policy designed to make the other guy think twice. Our policies did. The result was called deterrence. For half a century, it held. The Soviets never invaded. We never used nukes. That’s why nuclear doctrine is important. The Obama administration has just issued a new one that ‘includes significant changes to the U.S. nuclear posture,’ said Defense Secretary Bob Gates. First among these involves the U.S. response to being attacked with biological or chemical weapons. Under the old doctrine, supported by every president of both parties for decades, any aggressor ran the risk of a cataclysmic U.S. nuclear response that would leave the attacking nation a cinder and a memory. Again: Credible? Doable? No one knows. But the threat was very effective. Under President Obama’s new policy, however, if the state that has just attacked us with biological or chemical weapons is ‘in compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),’ explained Gates, then ‘the U.S. pledges not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against it.’ … This is quite insane. It’s like saying that if a terrorist deliberately uses his car to mow down a hundred people waiting at a bus stop, the decision as to whether he gets (a) hanged or (b) 100 hours of community service hinges entirely on whether his car had passed emissions inspections. Apart from being morally bizarre, the Obama policy is strategically loopy. Does anyone believe that North Korea or Iran will be more persuaded to abjure nuclear weapons because they could then carry out a biological or chemical attack on the U.S. without fear of nuclear retaliation?” –columnist Charles Krauthammer

Opinion in Brief

“The prospect of universal destruction will deter only if it is convincing. If a potential aggressor is assured he will be spared nuclear retaliation should he employ ‘only’ biological or chemical weapons, then the incentive to use them will increase. The old concept of a balance of power, as Churchill pointed out in his Iron Curtain speech just after the dawn of the atomic age, is no longer sound. For the strategic objective must be to amass such an aggregation of power on the side of peace and stability, including nuclear power, that it will deter the forces of aggression. Peace through strength, in short. For that kind of deterrence to be convincing, strategic ambiguity must be preserved, not lessened. There is nothing wrong with talking about America’s nuclear forces – so long as nothing very specific is said about how they would or would not be employed. Let aggressors have to guess. There’s a reason for that old Irish toast, ‘Confusion to our enemies!’” –Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editor Paul Greenberg

Political Futures

“At a private event the other evening, it has been reported that one of the Obama Administration’s lead economic counselors, Paul Volcker, indicated the support for a Value-Added Tax (VAT) may be more achievable than in the past. … [I]n order to fund the record spending of the federal government, hard-working families and small businesses are going to be required to foot more of the bill … it is that simple. After passage of a nearly $1 trillion health care bill, the Obama administration cannot longer deny this. The only question in my mind has been how much will our taxes be raised – and when. A VAT is a tax that is added to a good at each stage of the production process. … Not surprisingly, VAT taxes are not borne wholly by the producers themselves. Rather those incremental taxes are passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices. Even [more] troubling, this tax comes with a complete lack of transparency. Unlike a sales tax, which the consumer sees as a line item on their sales receipt beyond the retail price, a VAT is simply a hidden tax. It is another way for the federal government to take our money and deliberately leave taxpayers in the dark about their share of footing the bloated federal budget. Now keep in mind, the addition of a VAT would be on top of our already overly burdensome federal tax system – meaning that you would continue to pay your federal income, payroll, capital gains, and estate taxes. … This was the first salvo in what many of us have feared – Democrats gearing up to increase our tax burden by creating a new form of federal taxation.” –columnist Michael Reagan


“The problem that our nation faces is very much like a marriage where one partner has broken, and has no intention of keeping, the marital vows. Of course, the marriage can remain intact and one party tries to impose his will on the other and engage in the deviousness of one-upsmanship. Rather than submission by one party or domestic violence, a more peaceable alternative is separation. I believe we are nearing a point where there are enough irreconcilable differences between those Americans who want to control other Americans and those Americans who want to be left alone that separation is the only peaceable alternative. Just as in a marriage, where vows are broken, our human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been grossly violated by a government instituted to protect them. The Democrat-controlled Washington is simply an escalation of a process that has been in full stride for at least two decades. There is no evidence that Americans who are responsible for and support constitutional abrogation have any intention of mending their ways. … Americans who wish to live free have several options. We can submit to those who have constitutional contempt and want to run our lives. We can resist, fight and risk bloodshed and death in an attempt to force America’s tyrants to respect our liberties and human rights. We can seek a peaceful resolution of our irreconcilable differences by separating. … The bottom-line question for all of us is: Should we part company or continue trying to forcibly impose our wills on one another? My preference is a restoration of the constitutional values of limited government that made us a great nation.” –economist Walter E. Williams

The Gipper

“And now today we find ourselves involved in another struggle, this time called a cold war. This cold war between great sovereign nations isn’t really a new struggle at all. It is the oldest struggle of human kind, as old as man himself. This is a simple struggle between those of us who believe that man has the dignity and sacred right and the ability to choose and shape his own destiny and those who do not so believe. This irreconcilable conflict is between those who believe in the sanctity of individual freedom and those who believe in the supremacy of the state.” –Ronald Reagan

Reader Comments

“Amen Mark, another excellent essay on what we need to do to restore this once great nation of freedom and liberty. You’ll be glad to know I’m in the process of distributing 100 Essential Liberty guides – a number of which will be distributed this Sunday as part of my Sunday School lesson, ‘Rediscovering God in America’ with credit to Newt Gingrich and his fantastic book which I highly recommend. I believe it’s going to take the next great spiritual awakening to achieve this restoration. Putting God back in the center where our founders intended is first and foremost…” –Matt

“On the issue of civil disobedience; what would happen if all conservatives, libertarians and anyone else who wanted to participate, increased their W4 dependents to say, 10? What if we were so unified that we defunded the tyrants in DC and at least temporarily prevented them from financing their leftist agenda? I’m sure they would simply borrow more money and even dream up some new social programs, but wouldn’t it give them a wake up call? Then, with all of the extra money in our paychecks, we could implement phase 2 of our unified plan. Buy guns and ammo.” –Rick

“I’m not surprised that doctors are inundated with calls from their patients about how to get all that new ‘free ObamaCare.’ That’s what BHO promised during his campaign, if you strip out all the obfuscating verbiage. That’s the ‘hope 'n’ change’ a lot of people voted for – free health care for all. When they find out what they REALLY got, the tea is gonna hit the fan (to mix metaphors).” –Wendy


“What makes the Obama census campaign different from other census programs? First, its naked, left-wing special interest pandering. The White House is championing a ‘Queer the Census’ movement by pro-gay marriage groups, for example, and the Commerce Department is working with open-borders leaders who want to use the census as leverage to stop all immigration raids. The electoral stakes are high. Some $400 billion in federal funding and, most importantly, the apportionment of congressional seats are up for grabs. Instead of straightforward enumeration of the American population, Obama and the left’s identity politics-mongers are turning the $1 billion, taxpayer-subsidized census public relations drive into a government preferences lobbying bonanza. More galling: the White House manipulation of census worker employment to goose the jobless rate. Last week, the government touted employment figures bolstered by the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. The Census Bureau anticipates it may add nearly 750,000 workers to its payroll by May. Liberal economist Heidi Shierholz exulted in The Hill: ‘This is the best-timed census you could ever dream of.’ And Team Obama plans to milk it for all it’s worth.” –columnist Michelle Malkin

The Last Word

“Ah, springtime has arrived in Washington, D.C. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is under way. The cherry trees, 3,700 of them given to America by the Japanese in 1912, are in full bloom. It reminds me why Americans are so wary of Washington. In the spring of 1999, you see, some culprits had been chopping down cherry trees. The National Park Service, in a state of high alert for days, finally identified the tree fellers: three beavers, who decided to construct a dam in the Tidal Basin. In a normal city, this situation would have been dealt with swiftly. The beavers would have been trapped, transported to another location and released. … But Washington is no normal city. … The hullabaloo went on for some time before the Park Service finally hired a professional trapper. The trapper caught the beavers and they were carted off. You’d think that would have been the end of it. But not in Washington. Activists, suspicious of what the Park Service really did with the beavers – were they relocated to Guantanamo Bay? – demanded their location be divulged. That prompted the Park Service to issue a statement. It said that, due to the publicity surrounding the case, the beavers were moved to a ‘safe house,’ which, apparently, is some kind of beaver witness protection program. The beaver incident illustrates how convoluted and confusing things can get in Washington – simple ideas and solutions that work everywhere else are twisted and contorted and made unrecognizable there. That’s why the fellows who founded this country had the right idea when they sought to keep most of the decision-making out of Washington – keep it among the people and within the states. But the birds running the government right now don’t see it that way. They have Washington butting into every aspect of our lives, health care being the most recent. Alas, springtime has arrived in Washington. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the cherry trees are in full bloom. And all I can do is worry about what that nutty town is going to meddle with next.” –columnist Tom Purcell