In a generation, voters have devolved more to pop culture enthusiasts than to a thoughtful electorate. As an electorate, we have become smitten by the person with the most clever soundbite or someone with whom we agree on a single issue. Too often, we are left with “the lesser of two evils.” We’ve lost perspective on what our leadership should be and, as a result, we get a government that is either pandering or incompetent or both. And so it is in the 2016 rodeo for President. Continue reading
We all knew it would happen. It was classic “not if, but when.”
We chuckled when he talked about how his wealth. We nodded when he said he would be a better negotiator than anyone in the Obama administration. We thought it made sense that he could “make America rich.”
Many of us – overtly or to ourselves – gave him a big ” hell yeah!” when he said things about immigration no one else would say.
But then, The Donald came up against The Donald, and the billionaire novelty Presidential candidate became as valuable as Enron stock.
Trump’s unfiltered approach to campaigning and his disdain for the politically correct has been refreshing, though establishment Republicans thought it unseemly and pedestrian. On one point, their’s was a legitimate complaint. Attacking fellow candidates is not only damaging to the party’s karma (particularly given a likely formidable opposition next year), but it provides too much potential fodder for Democrats. Of course, other GOP contenders have been given free rein to say what they please about Trump. Even so, it wasn’t Marco Rubio or Rick Perry or Jeb Bush or Scott Walker that have gotten the best of Donald Trump. It was Donald Trump.
When Trump said Arizona Senator John McCain was no hero because he had been a Vietnam POW (“I like people who weren’t captured,” he said), he crossed a line NO Republican is allowed or should be allowed to cross. No matter one’s opinion of McCain, his policies or philosophy, to demean his service as a Navy aviator because he was shot down, captured and tortured by the North Vietnamese is beyond unacceptable. Support for – reverence for – our troops and our veterans is a core tenant of Republican and, particulary, conservative beliefs. The Right makes little distinction between four-tour combat veterans and headquarters-based supply NCOs. Veterans are veterans and they are heroes for their willingness to put on the uniform. Nonetheless, anyone would recognize the special service of John McCain.
McCain is no Bowe Bergdahl or Bradley Manning. A Naval Academy graduate, John McCain served 25 years, including five and a half years as a POW, two of which were spent in solitary confinement. His 17 military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, and Navy Commendation Medal for actions before, during, and after his time as a POW. There is even more about McCain’s career that deserves our appreciation and respect, neither of which Donald Trump has recognized.
Consider that even though Trump’s comments were prompted by a question concerning John McCain, he did not limit them to McCain.
“I like people who weren’t captured,” he said.
I suppose, then, he doesn’t like the (at least) 1,350 other American POWS in Vietnam, 7,245 in the Korean War or the 120,000 held captive in World War II.
Republicans, the Republican Party and conservatives should turn their backs to Donald Trump for his demeaning and disrespectful thoughts about America’s POWs. He is done. For his comments about a veteran – not that veteran’s political ideology but his combat status – Trump is no longer a legitimate Republican, nor would he be an acceptable Commander-in-Chief.
The removal of the battle flag of the Army of Northern Virginia from the South Carolina State House grounds took a lot more energy and drew far more attention than necessary. The circumstances that prompted its furling was beyond horrible and the person responsible is the lowest form of human scum; that cannot be debated.
The ensuing and nauseating conversation not just about the flag, but of things Southern is far beyond reasonable. In the name of reason, good manners and national sanity, the two most vocal sides of the Great Confederacy Debate of 2015 both need to shut up. Continue reading
By Major General Paul Vallely, Ret.
Warrior leaders of General Patton’s or General LeMay’s stature are no longer wanted. The fundamental job of the military, “kill bad people and break their things,” has become seriously hampered critically now by “rules of engagement” who’s guiding logic is political, not successful, combat. If the US military is ever defeated, it will be because it is running the best Day Care centers in the world. We used to go to the Officers Club or NCO Club Stag Bar on Friday evenings to have a drink, smoke, and swap lies with our comrades.
The latest brilliant thought out of Washington is that the operators (“pilots?”) flying remote pilotless aircraft in combat areas from their plush desk at duty stations in Nevada or Arizona should draw the same combat pay as those real world pilots actually on board a plane in a hostile environment while being shot at. More politically correct logic? They say that remote vehicle operators are subject to the same stress levels as the combat pilot actually flying in combat. REALLY…you’re bull-shitting me!!!?
Where are the people like the dynamic leaders of the past, such as Robin Olds, Doolittle, Patton, Ike, Boyington, Nimitz, etc.? They are identified and forced out, that’s where they are.
This administration doesn’t want those kinds of leaders anymore. Division commanders don’t run Divisions and Corps commanders don’t run Corps. They are managed by selected high ranking admins with other esoteric goals in mind. Can you imagine someone today looking for a LEADER to execute that Doolittle Raid and suggesting that it be given to a daredevil boozer — his only attributes: he had the respect of his men, an awesome ability to fly, and the organizational skills to put it all together . If someone told me there was a chance in hell of selecting that man today to run that mission today, I would tell them they were either a liar or dumber than hell.
We have lost the war on rugged individualism and that, unfortunately, is what fighting forces want to follow; not because they have to but because they respect leaders of that ilk. We’ve all run across that leader that made us proud to follow him because you wanted to be like him and make a difference.
We better wake the hell up! We’re asking our young men and women to go to really crappy places; some with unbearable climates, never have a drink, and adhere to ridiculous regs that require you to tuck your shirt into your PT uniform on the way to the porta-potty at night, in a blinding dust storm, because it’s a uniform.
These current people we’re sending to combat are some of the brightest I’ve met but they are looking for a little sanity, which they will only find on the outside if we don’t get a friggin’ clue. You can’t continue asking people to live for months or years at a time acting like nuns and priests. Hell, even they get to have a beer.
Who are we afraid of offending? The people that already hate us enough to strap C-4 to their own bodies and walk into a crowd of us? Think about it. I’m extremely proud of our young men and women who continue to serve. I’m also very in tune with what they are considering for the future and I’ve got news for whoever sits in the White House, Congress, and our so-called top military leaders. Much talent has and will continue to hemorrhage from our services, because wanna-be warriors are tired of fighting on two fronts – – one with our enemies, another against the lack of sensible direction from this administration. Take it or leave it, that’s just the way it is, no ifs and’s or but’s.
Since Barack Obama has been in the White House, high ranking military officers have been removed from their positions at a rate that is absolutely unprecedented. Things have gotten so bad that a number of us retired generals are now publicly speaking out about the ‘purge’ of the U.S. military that they believe is taking place.
Dozens of highly decorated military leaders have been dismissed from their positions over the past few years. So why is this happening? What is going on right now is absolutely crazy especially during a time of peace. There is a deliberate attempt to reshape the military and remove those who don’t adhere to the proper ‘viewpoints’. Officers that question or won’t cooperate are identified, and gotten out of the way.
Throughout World History, whatever comes next after a military purge is never good. If this continues, what is the U.S. MILITARY going to look like in a few years? Perhaps you are reading this and you think that ‘purge’ is too strong a word for what is taking place. Well, just consider the following quotes from some very highly decorated retired officers
Retired Army Major General Patrick Brady: “There is no doubt Obama is intent on emasculating the military and will fire anyone who disagrees with him.”
Retired Army Lt. General William G. Jerry Boykin: “Over the past three years, it is unprecedented for the number of four-star generals to be relieved of duty, and not relieved for cause.”
A Pentagon official who asked to remain nameless because they were not authorized to speak on the matter said “even young officers, down through the ranks have been told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. They are purging everyone and if you want to keep your job just keep your mouth shut”. Now this trend appears to be accelerating.
The White House is intentionally weakening and gutting our military, and reducing us as a superpower, and anyone in the ranks who disagrees or speaks out is being purged. Coincidence? Every dictatorial regime on the planet has done this as soon as they gained power.
And keep in mind that Obama is now on his fourth Secretary of Defense.
You can see this in the civilian workforce as well. Anyone that has the nerve to expose something happening that they know is wrong gets removed from that specific project and given only the most menial tasks with absolutely no authority to make anything happen, or to stop anything from happening. They will never get ahead.
For those who understand, no explanation is needed. For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.
Paul E. Vallely is a retired US Army Major General and senior military analyst for Fox News. He served in the Vietnam War and retired in 1993 as Deputy Commanding General, Pacific Command. In 2004, together with retired Air Force Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney, Vallely co-authored the book Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror. Vallely currently serves as the Military Committee Chairman for the Center for Security Policy and has lent his support to the organization Veteran Defenders of America.
South Carolina welcomes you to Charleston for the funeral of Rev. Senator Clementa Pinckney. The occasion of your visit is painful to all South Carolinians and having the honor of the presence of the President of the United States is appreciated. Your recognition of the service and glorious faith of Rev/Sen Pinckney and the other victims of such an unspeakable act of evil is, no doubt, comforting to the families.
However, Mr. President, you have a reputation for using events, tragic ones, to forward political policy. With that as a consideration and with no disrespect intended, as a visitor to the Palmetto State, please be deferential to all South Carolinians by honoring a few very simple points of etiquette.
In your remarks, please do not feel compelled to give us lessons in civil rights. Despite a painful history in which our ancestors made unfortunate choices, understand that we get it. We are dealing with the issues and problems of race relations and have done remarkably well. South Carolina schools are rated number one in the nation for teaching the history of civil rights in the classroom. A minority woman is our Governor and Senator Tim Scott is one of only two African-American United States Senators and the only one from the South. Further, I doubt you are aware that the South Carolina state motto is “Dum Spiro Spero” – “While I breathe, I hope.” We have not stopped trying to improve our relationships. We have not stopped breathing, so we continue to hope for ever better times.
Please do not lecture us about the Confederate flag. Don’t stereotype us as your political cronies and Hollywood sycophants like to do. We may not be like your friends in the Hamptons or Beverly Hills, but we’re certainly not a population of tabacky chewin’, inbred rednecks either. Most of us who treasure our heritage do not invest it all in a simple flag. In fact, the majority don’t want the Stars and Bars on the State House grounds. In other words, it is not an issue. Don’t make it one.
It has been your practice, Mr. President, to use tragedies such as the murders at Emanuel AME to further a more strict set of gun control legislation. Just as we are not defined by the Confederate flag, nor are we identified by our recognition of the Second Amendment. Please do not take the podium at such a somber and painful event and speak of the need to restrict the rights given us by that amendment. Taking such liberties are beneath the office of the President and have no place at a funeral. If you want to expound on the issue when you return to Washington, that is appropriate, but in Charleston while mourning the loss of nine wonderful people, leave it alone.
Yes, Mr. President, we are those people you so derisively spoke of as “clinging to guns and religion,” and we are very proud of that. So, please do not preach to us. South Carolina has many, many great people of faith who can speak to our hearts and counsel our souls far better and, honestly, sir, with superior credentials. You see, Mr. President, when we – when the world – heard the soft and beautiful acts of forgiveness expressed by the victims’ families, the words may have come from men and women, but what we really heard was the voice of God. No one can improve on that.
Maybe, Mr. President, you have been surprised that South Carolinians of all colors and faiths have wrapped our arms around the black church community of Mother Emanuel. Those folks are our own and, though we could not save their kin, we will protect, pray for and love the suffering families and congregation of Mother Emanuel. We will cling to them. This, sir, is 21st Century South Carolina.
The nation will watch what you do and say. Please, sir, this is not your moment. It belongs to the victims and to their families. As the President of the United States, we expect – insist – you remember that.
May God bless you.
Fixing our South Carolina Roads
We have a historic opportunity to achieve three important priorities for the people of South Carolina in the closing weeks of this legislative year. My Republican colleagues and I have developed a landmark plan to fix our roads, reform the Department of Transportation, and pass one of the largest personal incomje tax cuts in state history. Most importantly, our comprehensive plan is revenue negative for South Carolinians.
That means that the overall tax burden on our citizens is substantially reduced!
As conservatives, we are always focused on controlling the growth of government and when our state’s revenue is on track to grow significantly we know it is essential to cut taxes. Our plan cuts income taxes for every South Carolina taxpayer. It returns over $700,000,000 to the citizens in the first five years. The average taxpayer will see their personal state income taxescut by 17%. This is one of the largest across-the-board tax cutsin our state’s history. It will help empower our people and control government spending for years to come.
With a solid plan to control the growth of government firmly established, we can confidently address the central issue before the General Assembly this year: fixing our roads and bridges. The roads of our state, especially the local roads our families travel daily, are in serious need of repair. We can no longer get by with “Band-Aid” patching. We need real and lasting action and lots of it. Our plan requires that all of the new money must be used where we really need it: road and bridge maintenance. No bike paths. No light rail. No new corps of state highway bureaucrats. When fully phased in, the plan will devoteapproximately $700,000,000 annually to roads and bridges across South Carolina. This will make our roads safer and improve our competiveness to keep our economy growing.
Our plan to pay for the road work is well-balanced drawing from several transportation based user fees and will be phased in over five years. The gas tax is the backbone of the funding plan. We chose that tax because approximately 35% of all gas taxes are paid by out of state motorists. That means we are reducing the burden on our citizens and spreading the costs of taking care of our roads to all drivers who travel across our state. Overall the gas tax will rise twelve cents over 5 years, but we also make sure that our taxes stay below Georgia and North Carolina. Our balanced approach shares the burden fairly and keeps our state competitive.
I also know that a modern road system needs an accountable government to operate it effectively and efficiently. Like our roads, the Department of Transportation is in need of serious attention. Our plan restructures the DOT Commission to improve performance and accountability. The selection of the Commission will be based on each congressional district having one seat, plus one at-large seat.
District commissioners will be rotated within the counties of a district so that small and large counties will have an opportunity to be represented. Each commissioner will serve one six year term. The governor will nominate each new commissioner.
All nominees must be screened by the Joint Transportation Review Committee using objective criteria. If a nominee is found qualified to be a commissioner, he must then be confirmed by the Senate. The Secretary of the DOT will be hired by the Commission. The Secretary will be screened by the Senate Transportation Committee and confirmed by the full Senate.In addition to establishing a better governing structure, our plan reforms the duties and responsibilities of the Commission so that the Commission is focused on long term planning and blocks commissioners from “cherry picking” projects and micromanaging the department. This new plan assures competent leadership and reduces political interference in the operation of the DOT.
I am proud to support this historic infrastructure improvement, tax reduction and Department of Transportation reform plan. It provides much needed long-term funding to fix our ailing road system, establishes permanent across-the-board income tax cuts,and restructures the DOT Commission to improve performance and accountability. Most importantly, it makes South Carolina more competitive, reduces the growth of government spending, and the people of South Carolina receive a net decrease in their taxes. I hope you will support our effort to pass this initiative this year.
Please contact my office at 803-212-6108 if you have any questions.
SC Senate Distrct 23