An Idea To Help Our Energy, Employment, Security and Economic Problems (In One Easy Step)

With the crisis in Japan and the Middle East in turmoil, many Americans have been taking a look at our nation’s energy policy only to find that we don’t have one. That is but one of the major problems our nation faces today.

Congress should pass legislation that would allow for the exploration and retrieval of oil and natural gas on all Federal lands. We need alternatives to carbon fuels, but until we develop one that works well and is not cost prohibitive, we have to stay with what we’ve got.

We already know from previous exploration that there is a vast amount of oil and especially natural gas in the United States. I believe that if given the urgency that it deserves, our nation could be producing from those fields before this decade is over. With luck, that would be soon enough and with even more luck, it would happen earlier than that timeframe. Of course there would have to be serious legislation to keep the EPA from slowing the process, but that could be possible with enough public support.

With the instability of Middle Eastern nations, with Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez’s dislike for the United States government and with the turmoil in Mexico, our supply of oil is in constant jeopardy. We should have acted on this problem when Jimmy Carter stated there was a problem, but we did not. We can no longer wait to protect ourselves from the potential of oil being cut off by one or more of those sources.

Aside from the national security issue that would be solved with this process, there would be hundreds of thousands of jobs created. These jobs would come from not just the oil companies that would be doing the drilling, but at the refineries and laying the necessary pipelines that would be needed to move the oil and natural gas to the locations where it is needed for processing. Jobs would be created in industries that manufacture the equipment to lay the pipelines and the pipelines themselves. That all trickles down to the stores those workers would be shopping at with their new salaries.

If the leaders were to think a little outside the box when creating this legislation, why not (since it would be a new source of revenue) take every licensing fee collected from the oil/natural gas industry for the right to explore and/or drill on Federal lands and all of the royalties that the government would normally collect from the oil produced and apply it directly to the Social Security Trust Fund! I suspect that could solve the problem of Social Security’s financial problems without raising taxes or the retirement age.

I would further require of each oil company that is granted the right to drill that they be required to make serious efforts in the areas of affordable alternative energy.

This wouldn’t solve all of our nation’s problems, but it would make us more secure as a nation, provide a lot of jobs for Americans and go a long way toward solving the problem with Social Security.

Of course there would need to be legislation preventing Congress from stealing the money that would be dedicated to Social Security. If I were a Republican in Congress, I would make my first priority to introduce legislation that would end the “borrowing” from the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds. By doing so, I would not only show the people of America which party is serious about the issue. I know it would take a few years for our elected officials to wean themselves off that income, but it can and should be done.

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Spring Break

It’s Spring Break time again and many young Americans will be headed for Mexican resorts to rest, relax and have fun.

I thought you might want an idea of who your hosts will be during your stay. Brochures in your travel agent’s office may show a Mexico of sun, surf and R&R, but an escalating landscape of cartel violence would make any traveler stop and reconsider spring break plans.

In 2010, the cartel wars in Mexico have produced unprecedented levels of violence throughout the country. No longer concentrated in just a few states, the violence has spread all across the northern tier of border states and along much of both the east and west coasts of Mexico.

Last year’s drug-related homicides have surpassed 11,000, an increase of more than 4,400 deaths from 2009 and more than double the death toll in 2008.

I would be wrong to lead you to believe that the cartel violence has been directed a Americans in the resort areas. It has not. It would be just as wrong to not remind you that being in the wrong place at the wrong time might involve automatic weapons fire and explosive devices all aimed at someone else.

Mexico needs the tourism dollars, so you make the choice. I would rather see you take a safer trip and spend spring break on Florida beaches or some other American location. Frankly, Americans need the tourism dollars too.

Either way, have a good time, don’t forget the sun screen and be careful!

U.S. Should Say ‘No’ to a Libyan No-Fly Zone

Calls are growing for a no-fly zone over Libya, but a power or coalition of powers willing to enforce one remains elusive even as discussions are taking place within NATO.

The object of American foreign policy is to protect and advance American national interests. It is difficult to perceive the U.S. national interest in Libya. The interests of some European countries, such as Italy, are more substantial, but it is not clear that they are prepared to undertake the burden without the United States.

The justification for establishment of a no-fly zone over Libya seems to be that Libyan Dictator Moammar Qadhafi’s security forces are slaughtering demonstrators. While some of the estimates of deaths are probably inflated, it is clear that hundreds have indeed been killed. Mixed into the humanitarian justifications are frequent comments about the need to assert U.S. leadership, meaning to try to shape the outcome of the uprising and the political characteristics of a new, post-Qadhafi Libya.

Proponents of intervention seem troubled by the notion that yet another revolution in the Middle East might be a wholly domestic affair — without the benefit of guidance from U.S. political and policy elites.

The more important question is what exactly a no-fly zone would achieve. Certainly, it would ground Qadhafi’s air force, but it would not come close to ending the fighting nor erode Qadhafi’s other substantial advantages. His forces appear to be better organized and trained than his opponents, who are politically divided and far less organized. Not long ago, Qadhafi largely was written off, but he has more than held his own — and he has held his own through the employment of ground combat forces. What remains of his air force has been used for limited harassment, so the imposition of a no-fly zone would not change the military situation on the ground.

It has been pointed out that a no-fly zone is not an antiseptic act. In order to protect the aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone, one must begin by suppressing enemy air defenses. Dropping bombs and missiles on another nation is an act of war.

If we’ve learned anything in the past 20 years is should be that we cannot let U.S. foreign policy be driven by media coverage.

Proposals to intervene in Libya, especially to establish a U.S.-NATO no-fly zone, are misguided for multiple reasons.

First, as we saw in the Balkans and Iraq, no-fly zones tend to lead to deeper and more protracted involvement.

Second, there is considerable opposition throughout the Muslim world to Western meddling. At a recent Arab League meeting, there was a virtual consensus that outside — particularly U.S. — intervention in Libya would be a bad idea.

The foreign minister of Iraq, for example, firmly opposed such action, even though it was clear that his sympathies were with the Libyan insurgents.

The insurgents themselves are reportedly deeply divided about the desirability of aid. Some have called for it. But others emphatically reject it. Their numbers included a faction that displayed for television cameras a large banner proclaiming “No Intervention!”

A final, more subtle, reason that the Obama administration should resist these calls from both the left and the right is that, while such intervention might benefit the insurgents in the short term, it would undermine their legitimacy in the long run.

It would be difficult for factions that asked for and received U.S. military assistance to convince their fellow citizens that they’re not Washington’s puppets.

The main point of this posting is to emphasize that our foreign policy must always keep in mind, as its ultimate goal, the peace and security of the people of the United States. Force should not be called for against any nation because of any internal domestic policy. Like it or not, the turbulence taking place in Libya is an internal Libyan problem and not in the national interest of the United States.

The U.S. should not get involved in military action of any kind in the revolution in Libya. There should be no American participation in a no-fly zone in Libya. If there are already American Special Forces on the ground in Libya, they should be withdrawn immediately. Americans found involved would only serve to hurt our relations with the rest of the peoples of the Arab world.

If American military forces are called to fight in Libya, I will support their efforts just as I did in Afghanistan and Iraq. I hope I don’t have to.