There was in President Obama’s second inaugural address an assertion that I found surprising and close to shocking:
“America will be the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe.”
As I see it, Americans are entitled to conclude that Obama learned in Iraq and Afghanistan that America does not have the economic or military resources to play the role of peacekeeper “in every corner of the globe.”
Rather, Americans are entitled to think that this country and its presidents should have learned—from bitter experiences reaching back to Korea and Vietnam and more recently to Iraq and now Afghanistan—that we cannot anchor peacekeeping alliances around the world.
In Afghanistan, we are still learning the cost in the death or maiming of young Americans in a war that can’t be won.
To cast the United States in the role of a world-wide keeper of the peace is particularly unrealistic at a time when, as President Obama presumably knows, the United States must cut back on its defense establishment as part of a cut-spending and raise-taxes policy which may save the federal government from bankruptcy.
I’m not suggesting that the United States become some kind of international pussycat but rather fashion a considerably leaner military establishment and concentrate on fewer and more important and more potentially winnable international missions.
Another noteworthy assertion from President Obama as he starts his second term was these words at a press conference:
“We are not a deadbeat nation.”
Perhaps not, Mr. President. But what do you call a nation that goes on and on funding its federal government by issuing IOU’s in the form of government bonds? Would “nearly deadbeat” or “on our way to being a deadbeat bankrupt nation” be a possibly accurate description?
* * *
Heineman Says His Tax Plan ‘Bold, Courageous;’
Is Senator Brad Ashford Using It In Bid For Mayor?
Speaking of language used by political leaders, let me turn to an example here in Nebraska:
Governor Heineman has described as “bold and courageous” his proposal to eliminate state income taxes and replace the revenue with sales taxes on a wide new range of goods and services.
You might think that the governor would have left it to someone else to describe his proposal as “bold and courageous.” Perhaps to State Senator Brad Ashford, who is eager to become Omaha’s mayor and joined Heineman at a press conference announcing the income-tax-elimination proposal.
Ashford then became principal introducer of the income-tax-repeal legislation. Ashford (who in his political career has switched from Democrat to Republican to Independent) is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, not exactly the legislative position from which you expect the initiative for a tax reform bill.
As I see it, it’s reasonable to speculate that Ashford’s desire to lead the repeal-the- state-income-tax effort in the Legislature might have some relationship to the fact that he is running for Mayor of Omaha and the municipal elections come this spring.
Prediction (risky at this early state of the consideration of the Heineman-Ashford proposal since as new angles for consideration continue to come into focus in interesting World-Herald news stories):
Such a basic change in the state’s tax system will not pass this legislative session, if ever. The better chance for the proposal—not necessarily a strong chance—is that it gets some preliminary discussion in this year’s Legislature, then is assigned for intensive interim study between legislative sessions, with action in the 2014 session.
On the other hand, the controversial proposal raises so many fundamental questions—including the reality that it is generally acknowledged that sales taxes fall more heavily than income taxes on lower-income taxpayers—that it may meet the fate suggested by State Senator Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha: “Dead on arrival.”
* * *
Catholic Bishops’ Statements Impassioned, Powerful,
But They Differ From Legal And Sexual Realities
That was an impressive full-page message which the three Catholic bishops of Nebraska presented in an ad in The Sunday World-Herald.
The occasion was the 40th anniversary of the landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the case known as Roe v. Wade. The court held that abortion is protected from legal restraint in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Ever since, the Catholic church and the “right to life” movement have been trying to find legal ways to restrict or effectively nullify the right to abortion, even within the Roe v. Wade guidelines.
The three bishops—Most Rev. George J. Lucas, Archbishop of Omaha, Most Rev. James D. Conley, Bishop of Lincoln and Most Rev. William J. Dendinger, Bishop of Grand Island—charged that in 40 years of Roe v. Wade have resulted in 55 million unborn babies killed.
The Catholic church’s opposition is understandable, considering that the church holds that the only moral conception of a child occurs in sexual relations between a married man and woman with no contraception devices involved in that marriage relationship.
This position, so conscientiously held, is so far from the reality of the broad pattern of present-day sex relations in this country that it becomes an increasingly challenging rationale on which to oppose either the use of contraception or the Roe v. Wade decision.
# # #