Hurricane Alley… by J. D. Longstreet

Taxes By The Mile in North Carolina?

Taxes By The Mile?

By J. D. Longstreet

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Here in North Carolina, something called the 21st Century Transportation Committee is recommending the state adopt a “taxes by the mile” plan.  As I understand the proposal, the state would carefully record the miles each Tar Heel Driver drives, over the preceding twelve months, and the vehicle owner would be charged the appropriate amount in taxes for each mile the driven. As North Carolinians take their cars in each year for the mandated annual state inspection (which by itself is a gigantic tax scheme!)  the mileage on the odometer is recorded. This will be the source of the mileage figures used to tax NC drivers. Transportation experts say that later the state could switch to GPS tracking of NC Drivers.

 

You can read the piece by Steve Harrison at the Charlotte Observer’s site by

clicking here.

 

So.  Why the taxes by the mile?  Well, you see, it’s like this:  Tar Heel drivers, being the frugal people that we are, understood, when gasoline prices went sky high, that if we reduced our driving, we would spend less on gasoline.  Makes sense, what?  Of course, it does.  But, you see, NC has one of the highest state taxes on gasoline in the United States and the state has been losing it’s proverbial behind ever since Tar Heel drivers parked their cars and trucks.

 

So what to do?  Hot dang! Raise taxes! But the state needed a new scheme to do it, because NC drivers learned, while those cars and trucks were parked, that they really didn’t NEED to drive as much. Now that gas prices are substantially lower, we still have the family jalopy parked.  My truck is driven a couple of times a week.  The family sedan now gets the yeoman’s job the truck used to perform because it gets better gas mileage.   And the sedan is not on the road nearly as much as before the rise in gas prices. Hey, just because we speak slowly in NC, doesn’t mean we think slowly.

 

Enter the proposed “Road Use Tax.”

 

Now, as if the Road Use Tax isn’t insult enough, the 21st Century Transportation Committee proposes charging NC drivers a quarter cent a mile for every mile driven each year… with the first 2000 miles a year free.  How generous, don’t you think? 

 

As I noted above NC has one of the highest motor fuel taxes in the nation at 29.9 cents per gallon. But, the state expects to lose 580 million dollars in tax revenue over three years because Tar Heel drivers are buying less gasoline. As a result the state of North Carolina is desperate for tax money.

 

Now, we are not blessed with a legislature noted for it’s deep thinking. We are not even noted for a state legislature noted for frugality.  Every time we get a surplus, they manage to spend the money.  Then they poormouth to the NC taxpayers about how the state is going broke and then they roll out the old threat to cut back on essential services because of the monetary short fall.  It happens time and time again.  So being short on money in the state treasury of North Carolina is nothing new.

 

Has it not occurred to the boys and girls in the NC General Assembly that maybe we ought to consider tightening our state belt, cut back on state spending, you know, get choosy about where and when and how they spend the state’s money?  If so, I haven’t heard about it.

 

North Carolina is a great state.  I’ve called it home for nigh on to 45 years now.  I have seen this sort of thing come and go many times over that near half century I have lived in this state and I’m sure it will continue as long as there is a Tar Heel state. But our state legislature has got to learn that just as their taxpayers parked their vehicles when the price of gasoline became just too darned high, the state is going to have to learn to park some of it’s money soaking programs until state coffers become much more robust.

 

As democrats control NC, I fully expect the state legislature to not only consider this proposal; I expect them to pass some form of it into law within the next two to three years. I am convinced they’d do it now, if they thought they could get away with it. But with the recession, and all, the gang with the pitchforks and torches would be running toward the state capital building by dawn!  Oh, yes, yours truly would be amongst them replete with a pitchfork and a torch!

 

J. D. Longstreet

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THIS is why Conservatives fear BIG GOVERNMENT

THIS is WHY Conservatives Fear BIG GOVERNMENT
By J. D. Longstreet

 

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Recently it was reported that the Pentagon plans by 2011 to station 20,000 active-duty troops within the United States to respond to large-scale catastrophes or terrorist attacks. These troops would be specially trained to handle chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attacks. Reports say this force has been in planning stages for several years. Read more on this at:
www.dcexaminer.com/opinion/Beware_of_using_the_military_for_law_enforcement_121408.html )
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

Now comes this:
“New rules published in the Federal Register would allow certain civilians to call American soldiers into action inside the U.S. to prevent environmental damage or respond to “special events” and “other domestic activities.”

In a speech he made in July in Colorado Springs, Colorado, presumed President-Elect Obama said:

 


The alarming warning is contained in proposed rules published last week for the Department of Defense’s “Defense Support of Civil Authorities” plan.

 


But the new rules go far beyond that, essentially establishing a plan to activate the U.S. military inside the country to deal with social issues under provisions that appear to be devoid of any connection to the Constitution…”

 

Read the entire story at:
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=83477


Worried yet?


What about the Posse Comitatus Act, you ask? Well, if these foks get their way Posse Comitatus is dead, and, frankly, so is our constitution!


Some of you may be wondering what the dickens the Posse Comitatus Act is. Ok, let’s take a look, shall we: “The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.


The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (the Army, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain”Law and Order” on non-federal property (states and their counties and municipal divisions) in the former Confederate States.


The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Act.” (From Wikipedia at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posse_Comitatus_Act )


In an article in the Washington Post dated December 1st and titled: “Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security” it is pointed out: “There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.” You can read the entire article at:
www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/30/AR2008113002217_2.html?hpid=topnews

Ok, so we have 20,000 US combat troops to be to do, uh, what… exactly, in the US… plus, Obama’s civilian national security force of, how many? Who knows! Now, I don’t know about you, but this is beginning to be worrisome. Are we about to become an armed camp? It certainly seems so.


I know it is not popular these days to speak of it, but the fact is… I am a product of the only part of the US to be invaded, conquered, and occupied by armed forces of the US. My section of the US underwent ten years of the worst form of occupation by armed troops. Even today stories handed down within families, from generation to generation, and a number of books have been written about the atrocities committed by those troops while here in the former Confederate States of America. If you care to read an excellent account of some of those war crimes, I recommend a book by Walter Brian Cisco titled: “ War Crimes Against Southern Civilians.” Some of the crimes he writes about in the book took place in my hometown.


It seems to me that what we have is a Federal Government out of control. That means the constitution is being trampled, shredded, and maybe, as some claim, it is already dead!


For decades we have warned that a federal government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you have… including your freedom. And now it is happening.


I repeat my question asked above: Are you worried yet?

 

J. D. Longstreet

 

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A One World Government is waiting in the Wings!

For today’s article on Global Governance please go to:

http://stormwarning.blogdrive.com/

Thanks!

JDL

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Power Tends To Corrupt, And Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.

For today’s commentary please visit:

STORM WARNING! at:

http://www.stormwarning.blogdrive.com/

Thanks!

JDL

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A Rip in the Fabric of the GOP Tent!

A we-mourn-the-death-of-conserevatism-in-the-republican-partyRip in the Fabric of the GOP Tent!

 

We Republicans have a growing divide in our party…the divide between Liberal Republicans and Conservative Republicans.  I don’t include Moderate Republicans because, frankly, I don’t believe there is such a thing.  Moderates, I believe, are simply Liberals afraid to take a stand.

 

Here’s the problem:  Liberals want to compromise.  They LOVE to compromise.  Conservatives do not want to compromise at all.  In fact we view compromise as losing. We conservatives had rather lose than compromise, period.

 

This trait has caused the Liberal Republicans to hate our guts and, believe me when I tell you, there is no love lost for Liberal Republicans in the Conservative Camp.

 

So, basically, what we have is… a big tent with two political parties underneath it.

 

This is not good for anyone… except the Democrats.

 

So, I propose the split of the Republican Party.  The Liberals may keep the name “Republican” if they choose and the new name for the Conservative Republican party would be: “The Conservative Party”.

 

I have said often, before, that I believe a Conservative Political party would draw conservatives from the Democrat party who feel they have no place to go now. I still believe that.

 

It is a fact that the electorate in America leans conservative… all the time.  So… why not have a Conservative Party, as such?  Makes all sorts of sense to me. 

 

I do not believe we would be a three party system long.  I am fairly certain the liberal Republicans would fold straight away, or join with the Liberal democrats, as they should, anyway.

 

Taking uncompromising stands is the hallmark of a conservative.  That’s what we do. It’s how we got to be conservatives in the first place.

 

The Libs in the GOP really want us to be gone… they think.  The problem, for them, you see, is… we win elections for the party.  The liberal GOP, left to it’s own devices, cannot swing a single election.  Soon there would be no liberal Republicans in the House or the Senate.  I can’t help but feel that would be a good thing for the Party and the country.

 

Conservatives know what they believe and they can articulate it well.  They aren’t good at nuance, or shading their beliefs, in any way.   You ask Conservatives a question and you will get a direct answer. No flip-flopping.  Unlike Liberals who are with you at the beginning of a war but flee at the sound of the first gunshots, Conservatives stay for the entire war… period!

 

We can be defeated… but not easily.   As things are today, the GOP is continually on the edge of defeat.  A Conservative Party would stay away from the edge.

 

I fully expect to see another party develop in the next few months. It will be a conservative party. 

 

The bottom line is this:  Conservatives are fed up with being used to win elections and immediately afterwards being dumped.  We don’t like it.  We feel if we had our own party, we could do even more than the GOP allows us to do today.  We feel we could eventually capture the seats held by Liberal Republicans in the Congress and in the White House. 

 

So, give us the party.  Give us a party named “The Conservative Party” and we will flock to the banner. I’m ready!  How about you?

 

J. D. Longstreet

Is Hillary Constitutionally Qualified?

Posted in America, Constitution, Democrat, Leadership, Liberal, Obama, Political, Progressive, Secretary of State, Weak Leadership by J. D. Longstreet on December 5, 2008

 

Is Hillary Constitutionally Qualified?
By J. D. Longstreet
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We often refer to the US Constitution as an inconvenient document. And it is… if you want to make an end run around the US system of laws. It can be VERY inconvenient for those who are used to sailing close to the wind, so to speak, or those who live their lives in the gray zone of legality. The thing is… the constitution has very few gray areas.

Even as I write, the presumed President-Elect of the US, Mr. B.H. Obama, is in a self-made protracted struggle to answer legal questions about his constitutional qualifications to even BE President of the US, the position to which he has just been elected. (Obama is, at best, PRESUMED to have been elected. Whether he has been elected, or not, cannot be certain until after the electoral votes are counted. Until then — he is actually, and in fact, the Presumed President-Elect.) Now, Obama’s appointee to be the US Secretary of State is having the eyes of legal scholars cast upon her qualifications as well. Needless to say, this is NOT an auspicious beginning for Mr. Obama’s presidential administration. I am very afraid this is the sort of thing we are going to be subjected to for a good portion of Mr. Obama’s stay in the Oval Office.

Let’s take a look at the Constitution and see what the problem is… in so far as it may affect Mrs. Bill Clinton. Article One; Section Six of the Constitution says the following:

(The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment, which says the following: No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.)

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

The paragraph above (in bold/Italic type) is the portion of the constitution, which has raised eyebrows concerning Hillary Clinton’s possible disqualification to hold the office of SecState.


The Constitution plainly says that no member of Congress, either the House of Representatives or the Senate, can hold an appointed office if that office received an increase in salary during the time the appointee served in the House or the Senate. The idea was to avoid having someone benefit from a salary increase for which he, or she, voted approval. Now, I dare say, most of us do not keep track of the salaries of cabinet members. So, after a little light research on the Internet, we learned that President Bush signed an executive order, which approved a salary increase for the Secretary of State, on January 4th, 2008. That order raised the SecState’s salary from US$186, 600 dollars a year to US$191, 300 dollars per year.

Another pesky Republican raising another annoying red flag in an atrempt to sabotage the process of a duly elected democrat president, you say? Nope. This is the work of another pesky democrat. Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia who just happens to be the senior member of the US Senate and, some say, a very fine scholar, indeed, on the US Constitution.

So, what to do? Well, this has happened before. Back in 1973, President Richard Nixon nominated Sen. William Saxbe, of Ohio, as Attorney General. Nixon did this right after he had fired the top officials at the Justice Department in the midst of the Watergate mess. See, he had fired the Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, in that “Saturday Night Massacre” as it was referred to in those days. Problem was… Saxbe was, in fact, a member of the Senate in 1969 when Congress voted to increase pay for cabinet secretaries.

How was this resolved? Well, Congress simply voted to reduce the salary of the Attorney General to what it is was before the offending raise in 1969 and the Senate went on to confirm Saxbe.

Senator Byrd objected to Saxbe’s confirmation on constitutional grounds at the time saying in a story, which appeared in the Washington Post, that the constitution was: “so clear that it can’t be waived. In my judgment, the bill itself shouldn’t be passed. We should not delude the American people into thinking a way can be found around the constitutional obstacle.” You can read that story at:

http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/pdf/saxbeandbyrd_112073.pdf

So, what will happen? Well, based strictly on what we have seen the “Honorables” do in the past… my best guess is that Hillary will be the next Secretary of State… even if the Senators have to make that “end run” around the oh, so inconvenient, Constitution as they did for the Nixon appointee.

Adhering to the Constitution would mean that Hillary would not be eligible to hold the office of Secretary of State until the year 2013… at the earliest. I mean… LEGALLY speaking, you understand. But, as we have pointed out and warned about on so many previous occasions, never, ever, bet on the Congress doing the right thing when it is easier for them to do the expedient thing.

There is an excellent article on this titled: “Byrd’s Office Explores Constitutionality of Sen. Clinton Serving as Secretary of State” at CNSNEWS.COM at:

http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=40241

Hillary Clinton WILL BE the next Secretary of State… if she really and truly wants the office. Expecting the Senate to follow the law of the land would be a lame expectation, indeed.

J. D. Longstreet

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Rethinking the Middle East … by Alan Caruba

Rethinking the Middle East

By Alan Caruba

 

After 9/11 much of my thinking reflected the general view that Al Qaeda had to be found and destroyed. I thought, too, that Saddam Hussein had to be removed as an obstacle to stability in the Middle East given his invasion of Kuwait and general belligerence.

 

Since those days I have had plenty of time to reassess my views of U.S. policies and to educate myself regarding the Middle East. A lot of my thinking had been based on the inescapable fact that the U.S. and the West needs access to Middle Eastern oil.

 

U.S. policy since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been support for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, providing protection of the sea lanes that transport oil and, in the case of Iraq, protecting the Saudi kingdom against attack. This was the reason for the original U.S. effort to remove Saddam’s Iraq from Kuwait and the subsequent invasion that was based on less than accurate intelligence reports of an Iraqi buildup of weapons of mass destruction.

 

For a long time, there has been a general consensus that a “clash of civilizations” between the West and Islam was inevitable, but it is more of a clash between civilization and nihilism. The global war on terror influenced U.S. actions as the rationale for the second invasion of Iraq was, in part, to introduce democracy to the Middle East.

 

There have been two factors that have complicated U.S. policy toward the Middle East. One was the establishment in 1948 of the state of Israel, a response to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust that combined with the Zionist movement that began in the late 1800s as a response to the anti-Semitism of Europe and Russia. It received support from the newly-established United Nations, but nations in the Middle East reacted unanimously against the return of Jews to their former, ancient homeland. No surprise here; the Koran demonizes both Jews and Christians.

 

The other factor was the Islamic Revolution that erupted in Iran in 1979, a defeat of the American influence in that nation’s affairs linked in no small measure to its oil. The later defeat of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led many in the Middle East to believe that Islam could defeat Western efforts to control the region. Western hegemony in the region had begun in earnest following World War I and the end of the Ottoman Empire.

 

The weapon of choice of the new Islamic Revolution was terror and, if invaded, a slow, grinding insurgency. This is why Iraq and future theatres of war will take a long time to play out.

 

What most policy makers in the U.S. and the West tend to ignore is the fact that the nations of the Middle East differed considerably in they way they are governed and, most importantly, in the near total lack of cohesion or cooperation among them.

 

In a recent commentary from the Middle East Forum, Michael Rubin noted that, “For more than a millennium, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo have competed for leadership of the Arab world.” The establishment of Israel “became a useful template around which they could posture and against whom they could act as each sought to outdo its rivals in a claim to Arab leadership.”

 

Following World War II, a number of Middle East nations adopted the worst of Western concepts of governance, namely fascism and socialism. Baathism rose in Syria and Iraq, but only served to increase their rivalry. As Rubin points out, “Unity is not an Arab virtue,” adding that Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus “will never coexist as partners.”

 

This is not unique to the region because anyone paying any attention knows that all nations act in what they perceive as their own best interests. Some that share common historical and cultural views are more prone toward cooperation while others such as Russia measure their success against U.S. and European strength or weakness. In the Middle East, however, its culture prevents any useful, long term cooperation.

 

In an excellent analysis published in the November edition of Energy Tribune, Leon Hadar, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, demolishes many of the “intellectual constructs that reflect the imaginations of their promoters, not necessarily reality,” adding that “reality tends to bite.” The neocons of the outgoing Bush administration and the Republican Party learned this to their regret.

 

“The time has come,” wrote Hadar, “to challenge the grand idea that the Muslim world (or the Middle East, or the Arab world—terms that seem interchangeable in the American media) has a unique and monolithic political and economic culture that makes it resistant to the West’s modernizing effects.”  The analysis can be read in full at

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=1009

 

If Middle Eastern Arabs decide to become “more like us”, it will be at a time of their own choosing. Iranians, being Persian, share Islam, but have their own agenda in the region, giving rise to Arab fears concerning their apparent intent to achieve hegemony there. If and when Iran gets nuclear weapons and starts throwing its weight around, a lot of Arabs are going to begin to think of America as their best friend in the whole world.

 

It should be obvious, too, that the deep schisms within Islam, Shiite and Sunni, will continue to divide the region between the majority Sunnis and what is widely perceived within Islam as a breakaway sect of Shiites who are a majority only in Iraq and Iran. Hadar correctly points out that the Middle East “is a mosaic of nation-states, ethnic groups, religious sects, and tribal groups, and a mishmash of political ideologies, economic systems, and cultural orientations.”

 

All of which suggests to me that the same policy of “containment” that worked for nearly forty-five years regarding the former Soviet communist regime would be a wiser approach to the Middle East than an endless number of military engagements that even our European allies are reluctant to pursue.

 

After World War II, the U.S. occupied the defeated nations of Germany and Japan for about seven years to ensure they would create their own democratic governments and economic systems. After that, the U.S. extended its military protection to them and everywhere else Soviet ambitions threatened.

 

The result was a stalemate in Korea that yielded a successful South Korean state, and a defeat in Vietnam that continues to influence American policy. We still do not recognize communist Cuba, but we have entered into an economic co-dependence with Red China. Go figure?

 

Just as the declining price of oil and gas brought down a Soviet government dependent on these exports, the Russian Federation will face the same contingency. Meanwhile, a decline in the price of a barrel of oil and the price of natural gas may, if long term, require Middle Eastern nations to review their policies as well.

 

The best thing America can do right now is to open up its own vast reserves of oil and natural gas that remain unexplored and untapped off of 85% of our continental shelf and to do the same in ANWR. We need to stop demonizing coal and we need to build more nuclear plants.

 

These actions would put the U.S. back in a position to improve our economy and protect us against pressures from the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere. I have serious doubts the Obama administration will do this.

 

Things change. U.S. policies will change. Not every policy, but gradually events, some of which we have set in motion in Iraq as part of the global war on terror, will bring about change if we are smart enough, strong enough, and patient enough to watch and wait.

 

Alan Caruba writes a daily blog at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. Every week, he posts a column on the website of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, December 2008

 

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