• Membership and Participation

    Presidents Message – Membership and Participation

    We hope your summers going well. The Midstate fair came into town again and we successfully help staff the GOP booth and register new voters.  Our voter registration efforts, coordinated with other affiliated groups, will make the difference in 2016.  We anticipate close elections but keeping our durable majority in SLO County.

    Membership in our club is growing and we are on pace to reach our goal of over 100 paid members by the end of 2015.  If you haven’t joined yet and have been planning on it, please stop what you’re doing right now, go to our website www.slolincolnclub.org and join the club.  It is the best way to make a difference in local politics.

    If you are a member, thanks for your support.  We continue to promote our values of lower taxes, government accountability, personal freedom, and opportunity for all.

    Onward to victory,

    Jordan Cunningham

  • Views from Fonzi’s Foxhole

    Scaring Ourselves to Death

    Thirty-five years ago I held a county job as an emergency services coordinator. At the time Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant was under construction and environmental groups grasped at any opportunity to block opening of the plant. One tactic was to block any emergency planning and to attack anyone involved in the emergency planning process for a hypothetical nuclear power plant accident.

    The plant has been operational now for several decades without any of the dire warnings of disaster materializing. Failing in one objective, radical environmentalists seek any target of opportunity to justify an otherwise banal existence. Their latest and favorite target is once again oil. Never a popular industry in California since the 1969 Santa Barbara offshore oil spill, oil is again in the spotlight of those who propose the most extreme solution as the first and only solution to any perceived and often imagined problem. The current “crisis” is also an extension of the propaganda war against fossil fuels, so scaring people by the use of extremist terminology is just another tool in the larger campaign to de-industrialize America.

    The threat this propaganda campaign poses to the economic well-being of average citizens is quite real: do not be deceived; these people do not care one iota about the welfare of you or your family. They care nothing for the impact that ever-more severe restrictions on the use of fossil fuels, especially oil, will have on your livelihood or quality of life. They also don’t know what they’re talking about.

    The proposed rail line extension to the existing refinery in Nipomo, an extension of about 1 mile of track for a rail-spur, will serve to keep the local refinery operating at a productive rate. That refinery has been safely operating around 30 years and provides about 200 head-of-household jobs, many of which employ members of the local Hispanic community in South County. The facility also provides millions of dollars of local revenue that supports local businesses, schools and other local government agencies. However, none of this seems to matter to the privileged few who immigrated north and purchased homes near an industrial facility and now demand its demise. Extreme rhetoric is the norm and generating fear is the game.

    For instance, a recent propaganda blast sent out to publicize an upcoming environmental protest against railroad transportation of oil through the county refers to the “growing threat of oil trains” and glibly asserts that “there is NO safe way to transport extreme tar sands and Bakken crude oil.” A letter in last week’s paper referred to trains carrying oil as “bomb trains” and a column a few days later asserted the county and cities are unprepared to deal with a rail disaster involving Bakken crude oil. Both are incorrect and reveal a serious lack of knowledge about what is already transiting our communities and what risks we live with daily.

    I spent years in training in the transit of hazardous materials and my lowest concern was unpressurized oil tank cars. Yes, they do derail, but derailments are down over the last ten years. Yes, they do spill and sometimes burn, but less than one in five derailments result in a serious spill let alone a fire. The spectacular fire in Lac-Megantic Canada in 2013, involving multiple tank cars in a runaway derailment down a mountain was an outlier in that every engineering safeguard was ignored or neutralized by human error and violation of laws. It was a tragedy that claimed 47 lives but far more lives are lost in domestic airline crashes every year, yet do we demand cessation of air travel? No, we demand that authorities fix the problem, which they do as far as humanly possible. In point of fact, pressurized tank cars carrying natural gas that heats your homes and provides cleaner fuel for electricity generation at power plants (resulting in a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 1990) is of far greater concern. Many other hazardous products used by industry transit the rails daily; but you don’t notice them as their passing is unremarkable, unless you’re stuck at a rail crossing as a slow freight train passes.

    The assertion was made that local fire chiefs believe their agencies unprepared for a derailment involving oil tank cars; I doubt that. Every First Responder has minimal levels of required federal and state hazardous materials emergency response training; most have considerably more. Furthermore, local response agencies heavily depend upon automatic mutual aid even for routine structure fires, wildfires and any incident requiring more than a minimal response. It’s built into the “DNA” of California emergency services which has the most well-developed mutual aid system in America. We prove it every year during fire season. As President Roosevelt once said, “we have only to fear, fear itself.”


    Liberty is a Fragile Flower

    America is an idea as much as it is a country. It was founded on the beliefs derived from a rich Judeo-Christian heritage present in the English Magna Carta which placed limits on the power of a Sovereign Monarch. For the first time in a western document, the “Divine Right of Kings” was circumscribed by written limits that emphatically stated that the laws of God trumped any temporal authority.

    For the next eight centuries Englishmen fought to retain their rights as free men even as future kings or civil authorities attempted to re-capture and expand civil authority that placed increasing limits on the liberties of English subjects, expanding the power of government.

    The English civil wars were largely about attempts by a sovereign to impose religious belief upon unwilling subjects who revolted to preserve their freedom of conscience and religious practices. The emigration of many religious dissenters formed the foundation of original immigration to America, first by the Puritans, whom we refer to as the Pilgrims and later by other groups seeking to establish a homeland and religious sanctuary in the “New World.” I won’t even try to suggest that within the separate colonies religious freedom of conscience applied to all as each colony jealously guarded their founding faith at the expense of anyone else. In some colonies, death sentences were handed out to adherents of other faiths who dared proselytize for other than approved beliefs.

    The American Declaration of Independence acknowledged God in the affairs of men and the subsequent Constitution approved by Congress in 1789 enshrined religious freedom as among our first freedoms, as important as freedom of (political) speech, of the press and our right to peaceably assemble to petition the government. The Second Amendment, the Right to Keep and Bear Arms was placed just below the First Amendment as the ultimate guarantor of the people’s First Amendment Rights.

    I won’t pretend that the ratification of the Constitution by the 13 independent states ended the conflict. Over the last 239 years those who seek ultimate power to themselves have repeatedly found the Constitution to be an impediment to whatever agenda they pursued. Attempts to limit the rights of citizens began immediately and ceaselessly which is one reason why Benjamin Franklin stated, when asked by a woman, “What type of government have you created?” Franklin stated, “A Republic madam, if you can keep it.” Other founders stated that a Republic, with its written constraints upon government and division of power between three, co-equal branches of government, was best served by a “moral and religious people.” The implication is that people who acknowledge a power outside of and greater than themselves to whom we are ultimately accountable are more likely to recognize and accept constitutional limits on the power of government.

    We have seen many abuses of those limits, from the suspension of civil liberties in the Civil War by Lincoln, to harsh sedition laws under President Wilson during and after WWI to present-day suborning of free political and religious speech in the public square. Say anything perceived to be offensive today and you’re likely to lose a job or be publicly pilloried. That isn’t what the First Amendment is all about. For speech to be free, it has to be unfettered by state sanction or institutional reprisal. Ultimately, it means that we have to be tolerant of “intolerant speech” with the antidote to obnoxious speech not being censorship or reprisal but more speech of an opposing view.

    Unfortunately, the “politically correct police” have adopted censorship and reprisal as their first weapons of choice to silence views to which they disagree. Books are written today about the intolerant political climate that exists on college campuses, within the military and the corporate world. We are also seeing a dramatic increase of persecution of religious belief and practice with a U.S. Senator declaring that religious belief is protected insofar as it is practiced in church, but not in public. That’s like saying you have free political speech as long as you don’t participate in politics. Constitutional rights limited to your home aren’t worth much.

    A few writers in the last week have denied that religious persecution of Christians in America is occurring; I disagree and voluminous examples exist. One such case is the $135,000 fine levied upon Christian owners of an Oregon bake shop who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. I don’t agree with their stance; they’re in business to bake cakes and should bake them for everybody or nobody, or just make donuts. The fine however, was 27 times higher for them as Christians than prior cases and designed to bankrupt them.

    Liberty in America is under siege as never before. Suppression of religious belief and speech is only the beginning.


    Delusional Leadership

    The President claimed that his administration’s policies have “restored the U.S. as the most respected country in the world” and also that he (as president)” is more like having a Jew in the White House than any other president.” At least he didn’t refer to being more like “those people” when he referred to the American Jewish community.

    I always wondered what happened to “Baghdad Bob” after the fall of Iraq in 2003 (the guy claiming there were no American troops in Baghdad as a TV camera panned the image of an American M1 Abrams tank driving down the boulevard behind him). It’s obvious he got a job as the Obama Administrations’ Press Officer for alternate reality.

    Anyone paying attention to the news in the last six months would be hard-pressed to find favorable coverage of America under Obama’s leadership, although criticism of his lack of leadership, initiative or commitment to allies is widespread.

    For the record, the Polish Defense Minister stated last week that Russian forces currently being deployed along the borders of the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia can conquer those former Soviet-bloc nations in little more than 48 hours. The same minister along with others openly questioned the commitment of the United States to defend the independence of those states, which are now part of NATO, given Obama’s vacillation in the face of naked aggression around the world.

    To review American foreign policy successes one needs to re-write the definition of success. The “Russian reset,” a Hillary Clinton initiative while she was Secretary of State, has resulted in a belligerent Russia under Putin who invaded without consequence the Crimea, conducts overt aggression with Spetsnaz forces in the Ukraine, engages in violent anti-American propaganda in Russian media and has embarked in a massive build-up of its strategic nuclear forces. Its conventional forces are also being re-equipped with asymmetric weaponry designed to counter most of the technological advantages of American technology and has conducted massive, no-notice military exercises along NATO country borders for the past 18 months. Other Clinton successes are Libya (now in chaos), Egypt (now boycotted by America after a coup tossed out its radical, Muslim dictatorship) and Yemen, touted as a success and reduced to civil war.

    China is building equally confrontational weaponry designed to neuter the U.S. in the Pacific while building island military bases far outside its borders in contested international waters, even in waters claimed by other States. This week it overtly challenged the right of American military reconnaissance aircraft to fly within international airspace China now claims to be its own.

    Obama’s Middle Eastern policy is a textbook case of appeasement as ISIS threatens to overrun Baghdad, not out of the realm of possibility due to Obama’s ineffective military response. Three-quarters of the aircraft assigned interdiction of ISIS targets return to base without dropping ordnance due to Obama’s overly restrictive rules of engagement, controlled directly from the White House. His obstinacy in refusing to consider effective use of ground forces is a prescription for defeat.

    The President claims to be the most friendly and supportive President of Israel in history, which probably explains why his popularity in Israel has dropped to about 15%. I think the Israelis know who is a true friend. Meanwhile the Obama State Department hints it will support a French resolution in the UN demanding Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible 1947 borders or face sanctions.

    As for Iran, Obama’s obsession with a nuclear treaty and diplomatic vacillation guarantees a nuclear-armed Iran within a decade. Virtually every credible analyst predicts Iran will acquire and deploy nuclear weapons within a fraction of that time and Obama’s policies will almost certainly lead to a regional and catastrophic war in the Middle East while paving the way for aggression in Europe and Asia. America respected? Not lately nor in the future if this “strategy of defeat” continues much longer.

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • All Politics Is Local

    It has been said, for good reason, that “all politics is local.”  And we sure are seeing that here in SLO County, as the reconfigured Board of Supervisors is already moving our county in the right direction.

    Do you want to make an impact on local politics?  If the answer is yes, the BEST POSSIBLE THING you can do is become a member of the Lincoln Club.

    We are the only political group in SLO County that devotes almost 100% of our money to local Republican campaigns.  Our board is all-volunteer.  Our operating costs are minimal.  We take the money collected from our membership dues, and we allocate it to candidates.  In 2014, we had tremendous success.  2016 will be tougher and we must build our coffers.

    Join our group now at www.slolincolnclub.org.  It takes just minutes.  Make a difference.


    Jordan Cunningham, SLO Lincoln Club President

    P.S.  Stay tuned for details on a social event, a “membership mixer” if you will, in the fall.

  • 2 Views from Fonzi’s Foxhole

    Will We Ever Learn? – View 1

    Memorial Day has passed for another year. This week we honored our fallen service members at the “Faces of Freedom” Veterans Memorial in Atascadero and the memories of loved ones. The family of Aviation Machinist Mate 2nd Class (AVM2) Don Henderson laid a wreath in his memory. He was a WWII veteran who served on the USS Helena, a light cruiser assigned to the Southwest Pacific in 1942-43. The Helena was sunk on July 6, 1943 by Japanese “Long-Lance torpedoes” fired from an enemy destroyer in the Battle of Kula Gulf, located in the central Solomon Islands.

    AVM2 Henderson was not on board at the time; he was on home leave and shocked to read in the papers of the loss of his ship and second family.

    The story of Helena’s loss actually began around 15 years before when the Washington Naval Treaty was signed, limiting the numbers of surface combatants permitted by the United States, Britain and Japan. Ostensibly hailed as a guarantor of peace by limiting naval armaments in the Pacific, the treaty instead ensured Japanese local superiority in capitol ships, such as aircraft carriers and battleships. The Japanese had 10 aircraft carriers to our 3 in the Pacific, the British none, as neither the British nor our government wanted to spend the money to build permitted ship numbers or quality. The Japanese Navy built to the maximum allowed and more. American adherence to the treaty became an end in itself to the detriment of American lives at the outbreak of war in 1941.

    A pinch-penny mindset enveloped the Navy and all services as they desperately strove to maintain an ever-smaller military structure under increasing assault by a Congress driven to strip the military to its bare bones. The Navy Bureau of Ordnance, responsible for the development and deployment of the Navy’s arsenal, was particularly miserly in its allowance for the development of weapon systems for its ships. The story of the American Mark-14 torpedo has become a classic case of weapons development malfeasance with dire consequences for the seaman depending upon them to work. In combat, they failed spectacularly, failing to detonate at a rate of 50% or more when fired at enemy ships. They wouldn’t detonate at all when fired at a 90 degree angle to a target ship and only 50% of the time when fired at a 45 degree angle, a much harder shot in combat. The result was disaster when U.S. submarines and motor torpedo boats attempted to challenge the Japanese landings in the Philippines with no enemy ships sunk. The Japanese landings occurred almost intact but for American and Filipino shore batteries. For the first 18 months of the Pacific War, we sent submariners to sea with torpedoes that wouldn’t explode half the time. Early in the war, often fighting outnumbered and outclassed, we lost more than a few sailors and ships as a result. The Bureau of Ordnance insisted the problem was with the men, not the material. Finally, they tested the torpedoes and found a serious defect in the magnetic exploders of the warhead.

    Why did it take so long to find out? It cost money to run live-fire tests in the 1920’s and 30’s, so the Bureau of Ordnance “assumed” the design would work and NEVER TESTED the MARK-14 Torpedo under live-fire conditions before they deployed it.

    The Japanese Navy worked under no such assumptions. When told Pearl Harbor was too shallow for aerial torpedoes, they conducted extensive experiments and tests until they solved the problem with devastating effect on our battle fleet at Pearl. They did the same with their surface torpedoes, the Type 93 “Long Lance” developed in 1935. Its range was 11 to 22 miles with an underwater speed of nearly 60mph. Its warhead of 1080 lbs was larger and more destructive than any of our own torpedoes. The Helena was struck by three of these weapons, the first of which tore off the Helena’s bow, two more hitting midsection. The Helena sank in about 20 minutes, carrying over 400 crewmembers to their death. Another 200 sailors were trapped on the upended bow and drifted for nearly 11 days before rescue.

    Naval surface combat in the Solomon Islands in 1942-43, including the famous sea-battles of Savo Island off Guadalcanal, was the most ferocious of WWII. In two battles off Guadalcanal in 1942, we were repeatedly bested by the Japanese Navy, suffering some of the worst losses of the war with 8000 casualties at sea, four times the number of Marines lost on Guadalcanal.

    Today, the armed forces are under increasing pressure to reduce costs and eliminate ships; again we are told treaties, such as the Iranian nuclear treaty will protect us even as our military capability steadily shrinks.

    Will we ever learn?


    Democrat Control In California – View 2 

    As you know, California is ruled by one political party, the Democrats. They control every state office and have a virtual lock on both houses of the legislature and the courts. Republicans fight an almost doomed fight every day and will continue to be in the minority as long as the “conservative base” spends more time condemning our own elected officials for failure to maintain ideological purity than they do the Democrats who are actually governing the state. There is very little local control remaining for local officials. If you fired half the county staff or any city staff, not much would change. You would just be remotely governed by the multiple state agencies, boards and commissions and their staffs, who are making the policies, writing the rules and enforcing compliance via heavy fines on businesses, individuals and communities. Jerry Brown advocated “regional government” during his first term as governor in the 1970’s; he has achieved a good part of his goals of elevating decision-making to regional governing agencies that are not elected and virtually unaccountable to voters. The plastic bag ban is a classic result; an unpopular decision made “for the greater good” by a board not directly accountable to voters in any one jurisdiction nor any county legislative body. Air pollution, water conservation and quality, building within “coastal boundaries” are the most egregious examples of state intrusion into local decisions. The State takes most of the gas taxes collected and redistributes them to urban areas leaving city and county governments without sufficient funds to repair roads. The State took the redevelopment money collected by local governments with the consent of local businesses to redevelop or improve blighted areas and re-directed it to urban areas where the Democrat Party voter base was concentrated. They impose mandates for compliance with whatever regulation is passed and demand that localities pay for it out of ever-shrinking revenues. This is the result of one party rule and it will continue as long as too many listeners to conservative information outlets refuse to recognize that the problem isn’t the people they elect, but themselves via their apathy and insistent demands for “perfect ideological conformity” on every issue. Thus, “self-styled Progressive-liberal democrats” win every election and laugh in derision as we tear each other apart like a pack of wild dogs fighting over a bone.

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • Views From Fonzi’s Foxhole

    Doubling Down on Denial

    It is a rare day that a member of the Democrat Party’s congressional delegation and I  agree, but in the case of Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D) Hawaii, she is spot on in her evaluation of what needs to be done to fix our broken Middle Eastern policy in Iraq.

    Gabbard is the first Samoan American, female member of Congress, with two prior tours of duty in Iraq with the Hawaii Army National Guard. She is quite critical of President Obama’s policy regarding ISIS, Iraq and “leading from behind.”

    On national news programs last week she laid out her analysis and recommendations of what should be done. She blamed the rise of ISIS and similar groups to the U.S.-backed overthrow of Quaddiffi in Libya with only a naïve hope in “Arab democracy” which actually consisted of radical Islamists ensuring there was one vote, one time. The same misguided policies inspired the disruption of the Asad regime in Syria with the follow-on civil war, extension of false hope to anti-Asad insurgents (no U.S. assistance was forthcoming) and the rise of ISIS in Syria.

    What occurred in Syria led to the rise of ISIS in Iraq with absolute inertia by the U.S. State Department and refusal by the Obama administration to take any meaningful action to check the advance of this murderous terrorist army into Iraq. Subsequently, we have witnessed the genocide of religious minorities in Iraq in areas captured by the ISIS army. War crimes have become the order of the day with each week presenting ever more heinous atrocities. The much-vaunted airstrikes against ISIS have been spectacularly ineffective according to most intelligence reports emerging from the area as ISIS knows when the strikes will occur and take shelter among the civilian population, knowing that Allied aircraft will not attack if civilians are present.

    Gabbard was harshly critical of Obama’s steadfast refusal to accurately identify the enemy or the nature of the threat from ISIS, which is Islamic to its core, the most radical version of 7th Century Islam as manifested in the Wahabi sect of Islam. This sect is practiced and exported from Saudi Arabia, which bans all other religions from its borders, sentences critics to 1000 lashes administered in doses of 50 per week and instead of ice cream flavors specializes in public beheadings of criminals. From the perspective of ISIS, the Saudis are too liberal.

    In the last week author Graeme Wood published a lengthy article in Atlantic Magazine titled “What ISIS Really Wants” and pulls no punches about its background and objectives. It cites distinguished Islamic scholars, including Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel who is considered among academics to be the leading scholar on the ISIS theology.

    Reading his article is chilling, as the objective of ISIS, according to Haykel, is to kill vast numbers of people, millions of people, starting with Jews and Christians, but especially those they consider to be apostates. An apostate is any Muslim not sufficiently adhering to the ISIS interpretation of the Koran. First on the list are Shia Muslims, all 200-plus million of them in the Middle East.  Terror is the strategy of choice; it results in quicker capitulation of religious communities that refuse to submit to Islamic domination. ISIS has been quite efficient in accomplishing its terrorist objectives to date and dominates an area approximating the size of the British Isles. In one year they have expanded their numbers from a few thousand to nearly 50,000 with hundreds more arriving from around the world weekly.

    The Obama response is to aggressively deny that ISIS is Islamic, an absurdity echoed by administration officials from virtually every government department, regardless of Egyptian President al-Sisi or King Abdullah of Jordan’s statements that ISIS is absolutely Islamic, representing a medieval interpretation of the Koran but armed with modern weapons. Last I heard both President al-Sisi and King Abdullah were lifelong Muslims; they should know.

    ISIS has a millenarian philosophy, an apocalyptic vision to bring about the end of the world and a global Islamic caliphate. Martyrdom is an objective, not a consequence for most of its members, making them extremely dangerous in combat. Many of their fighters wear explosive suicide vests to avoid being captured alive. Recognizing the immediate and long-term existential threat, being willing to call it what it is, an extremely dangerous Islamic sect, is the first step in developing a strategy to defeat ISIS. Prominent democrats such as Leon Panetta, Hillary Clinton, even Chris Matthews of MSNBC agree on this point.

    Gabbard called for a military response, including ground troops, accompanied by appropriate political, counterterrorist and information campaigns to destroy ISIS. I agree. A strong military ground campaign could end in months what otherwise will be drawn out for years with unpredictable and dangerous long-term consequences if we hesitate.


    Reporters and War

    I can’t remember his name but the Vietnamese Saigon Bureau Chief for Time Inc., which formed the information hub for major news outlets in the Vietnam War was a North Vietnamese intelligence officer with the rank of colonel. Time staffers were shocked to learn this as they prepared to evacuate Saigon in April, 1975 as North Vietnamese troops were entering the city; the colonel showed up in his office in the uniform of a Colonel in the Army of North Vietnam. For ten years he had used his position to shape the interpretation of events for dissemination to the world press. The Russians, who trained North Vietnam’s intelligence operatives, are very good at this and have a formal doctrine for disinformation operations which are incorporated into every major operational plan.

    As for other reporters, the press pool in Vietnam tended to hang close to Saigon or major bases in reasonably secure areas. For every Joe Galloway who went in harm’s way with the troops (he jumped on a helicopter and went into the Ia Drang Valley in the middle of the 7th Cavalry’s fight at LZ X-ray) there were 20 or 30 others who spent their time in bars and brothels, taking their stories from information provided by others.

    I also remember a discussion after the war about the role of the press in war. A prominent CBS reporter, I believe it was Dan Rather, insisted that even if they knew of information that would save the life of American troops, such as an ambush set up in a certain area, they would not share that information as it might compromise their role as journalists.

    In WWII the press were war correspondents and knew who the good guys were. After WWII, the press began to take on a different attitude and distanced themselves from their nationality and strove so hard to be viewed as “neutral” that they left their moral compass behind. I also believe that once the fight was an ideological fight between the East and West, their leftists sympathies with socialists and communists prevailed over their duty to report the truth. The public was no longer presented black and white pictures of conflict but muddled versions of news events. For instance, the 7th Cavalry fight at LZ X-ray, which was a tactical victory of U.S. forces over the North Vietnamese Army, (1800 enemy dead and disruption of a major NVA base area) the press emphasis was upon the 66 US fatalities and the 165 wounded and the human cost of that battle. The Army didn’t help much by emphasizing enemy dead over larger objectives and using MacNamara’s insistence on quantifying progress (enemy body counts) the Army threw away any strategic advantage gained by that fight.

    The first Gulf War in 1990-91 changed that equation somewhat as reporters embedded with units and became empathic with the soldiers they accompanied. Also, Saddam Hussein was easy to dislike and his handling of the media was extremely stupid, with exceptions like Peter Arnett who self-destructed by his over-the-top hostility towards the U.S. led coalition.

    The worst reporting I’ve seen since Vietnam was coverage of the war on terror, especially in Iraq as media hostility towards President Bush colored everything that was reported. It went a long way towards turning the American people against the war if not the troops, even as the military had begun to turn the war around with the surge.    Unfortunately, once the public turns against a war it manifests into political change that elects a political opportunist like Barack Obama. We will experience the adverse consequences of this for decades to come, even to the peril of the survival of the nation as the public has been immunized against involvement in foreign affairs even as new threats of strategic magnitude are emerging.

    Written by Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    Past President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • Happy New Year!

    Looking back on 2014, we have many successes to celebrate.  Candidates we supported won mayoral, council, district attorney and supervisor elections all across the county.  We helped elect candidates that will implement our shared philosophy of limited government and personal freedom.  We showed once again that our Club is a major force in SLO County.

    If you were able to join us at the 2014 Christmas Dinner, thank you!  It was a great time and the event was a big success.

    Looking forward to 2015, we have much work to do.  We are dubbing 2015 as the “Year of Growth” for our Club.  Our foremost goal will be recruiting new members and increasing our influence in anticipation of the 2016 election season.

    So we need your help.  I challenge each member to recruit one new member in 2015.  Ask a friend that shares our values.  Joining is easy, it can be done at our website (www.slolincolnclub.org), or you can email any of our Board members for more information.

    Also, stay tuned for information on upcoming events available to members only.  Exciting things are in the works!

    Onward to victory,

    Jordan Cunningham
    President, SLO County Lincoln Club

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    Christmas Dinner 2014

    We enjoyed our annual Christmas Dinner—here are some photos from the event.

    Be sure and join us next year—sign up to get the newsletter on our home page to be sure you’re notified of next year’s event.

  • Fear and Class Warfare

    Fear and Class Warfare[1] 

    by Christopher Arend[2]

     Class warfare is perhaps the most insidious tactic in the Democratic playbook because it combines an appeal to two basic emotions, fear and envy.  Class warfare has virtually universal appeal because everyone can relate to money.  Finally, class warfare involves economics, a field in which even experts cannot agree on even basic concepts.[3]  Class warfare is manna from heaven for propagandists because class warfare thrives on strong emotions about a subject that affects our daily lives where most voters, however, are ignorant.

    “Money makes the world go ’round”.  Money might not be the key to happiness, but personal well-being depends to a great extent on our economic situation, which is why the economy is usually the most important issue in politics (“It’s the economy, stupid!”).  We feel the effects of fluctuations in the economy immediately and personally.  It is also basic human natural to look around and see how others are doing.  These perfectly normal concerns about the personal financial situation and whether we are “keeping up with the Joneses” are fertile ground for politicians to exploit emotions of fear and especially envy.

    The specific topics in any election year may vary, but the Democrats cast virtually every economic issue as yet another battle in eternal class warfare.  Obamacare was sold as protection of the poor and middle class against money grubbing health insurance companies and “Big Pharma”.  The Democrats’ battle cry when promoting tax increases is that the rich must “pay their fair share”.  This year’s focus is the demand for an increase in the minimum wage under the banner, “Time to give America a raise!”[4]  Now who could possibly be against giving more money to the entire country?  Democratic economic policies and the accompanying propaganda appeal to collectivism and generally fail to recognize basic economic principles.


    The “Invisible Hand”, Adam Smith Revisited

    1776 was an exceptional year in the history of humanity.  Our country was born as the first nation to recognize the individual’s “unalienable rights”, and Adam Smith published his tome “The Wealth of Nations” which identified the “invisible hand” of supply and demand.[5]  A free market in which individuals make their own decisions about what to produce and what to buy maximizes “economic efficiency”, i.e. a “state in which every resource is optimally allocated to serve each person in the best way while minimizing waste and inefficiency.”[6]

    The concept of efficiency has a major subjective element because one person’s view of how to “efficiently” use the own personal resources (= work effort and money) often differs greatly from another person’s idea about what is best for them.  When each member in society is making what they believe to be the most efficient use of their own resources, the aggregate effect per definitionem is that society as a whole is then making the most efficient use of its resources.  Economic efficiency in society as a whole is predicated on individual liberty for each person to use their personal resources as they wish.

    Maximum economic efficiency is a theoretical state that can be approached but never achieved,[7] and history is full of examples that show how limiting personal economic freedom can drive an entire society into poverty.  The Soviet Union and the entire east block collapsed economically.  Near the end of East Germany, the only part of the economy that really functioned was the underground economy.  North Korea and Cuba are economic basket cases.  Corruption which forces individuals to give money to crooked officials has long been recognized as a main cause of poverty.[8]

    The correlation between individual liberty and economic efficiency does not mean that economic efficiency requires anarchy.  Individual liberty finds its limits in the rights of others: “My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins.”[9]  The rule of law and a functioning legal system are essential to a good economy.[10]  The players in an economy need rules that define where the other guy’s “nose begins”.  In a complex, technological society in an interconnected world, laws are necessarily intricate.  However, the law must always be focused on maximizing individual liberty, or the economy as a whole will necessarily suffer.  It is no accident that that the wealthiest countries in the world, including the United States of America, are also generally those countries with high levels of individual liberty and functioning legal systems.[11]

    Democratic Party economic policies focus on using the heavy hand of government to preempt individuals’ economic decisions.  The effects are necessarily harmful to the economy as a whole.


    Minimum Wage

    Democrats throughout the country are again pushing for increases in the minimum wage.  Seattle’s city council voted in June 2014 to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour.[12]  San Francisco will vote on a minimum wage increase to $15/hour this coming November.[13]  The obvious consequence of a great disparity in minimum wage between a city and surrounding communities is that job opportunities in the city will be lost because businesses which employ low wage workers then have to raise their prices in order to recover costs, and customers, businesses and jobs will migrate outside the city limits.[14]  The typical Democratic Party approach to alleviate that problem would be to raise the general minimum wage.

    The basic concept of a minimum wage that forces employers to pay an amount in excess of what they would otherwise have to pay is contrary to the fundamental principles of a free market economy in which supply and demand based on employers and employees freely negotiating their wages determines wages.  Of course, if a minimum wage law sets the minimum wage below or at the point determined by supply and demand, the law has no effect on jobs or wages.  If the law sets a minimum wage above that point and businesses cannot pass on the costs of the minimum wage increase and the profit margin cannot cover the increase, as is often the case, for example, in the fast food industry,[15] the unavoidable effect will be a loss of jobs.  The “non-partisan” Congressional Budget Office has estimated that roughly 500,000 jobs would be lost upon fully implementing a $10.10/hour minimum wage in 2016.[16]  Minimum wage laws, depending on how high the minimum wage is set, therefore, are at best smoke and mirrors used by politicians to garner votes and at worst harmful, especially to entry level workers such as teenagers and unskilled workers.


    Infrastructure Spending

    The Democrats argue in every election campaign that America’s schools, that roads and bridges are crumbling and that only the Democrats can save America from falling into a state of ruin.  We are hearing the same old song in 2014.[17]  Of course, the call for government spending on projects to stimulate the economy has lost much of its appeal since the 2009 Recovery Act with over $800 billion in spending and President Obama’s admission in June 2011 couched as a joke, “Shovel-ready was not as … uh .. shovel-ready as we expected.”[18]  That is why Democrats no longer talk about “stimulus” spending and instead refer to “infrastructure” spending.

    The United States has spent large amounts on necessary infrastructure and continues to do so without artificial stimulus measures.  Average infrastructure spending was 3.16 percent of GDP in the years 2001-2006 and 3.36 percent in the years 2006 – 2011 which is higher than the European Union (3.00% and 3.07% respectively).[19]  This indicates that deficiencies in infrastructure despite such spending levels might be a consequence of inefficiency and even possible corruption in various infrastructure projects.[20]

    Conservatives are not against spending on infrastructure, but they are against wasteful spending, i.e. investing in infrastructure projects which are not needed, at least at that time, in order to “stimulate” the economy, inefficient spending on projects in which costs have been bloated to pay off political supporters, etc.


    Subsidies and Bubbles

    President Obama has a tendency to show his true self in interviews and spontaneous remarks when he has to speak without a carefully crafted text and a teleprompter.  One of his most famous interview quotes just before the 2010 mid-term election: “We’re gonna punish our enemies, and we’re gonna reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us.”[21]  How can a politician reward friends?  Subsidies.

    Subsidies are economic benefits given by the government to businesses and individuals.  Subsidies can be in the form of direct payments such as in the $ 3 billion “cash for clunkers” program,[22] or government guarantees to secure financing such as in the Solyndra case.  Subsidies often take the form of favorable tax treatment.  The common factor in all subsidies is that the government provides economic support to one individual or group but not to others.  The inherent effect is to distort the functioning of a free market, and this necessarily leads to inefficiencies in the overall economy.[23]  Of course, politicians granting favors is fertile ground for corruption.  Is it a coincidence that over $16 billion of the so-called Department of Energy “green energy” loans went to Obama supporters?[24]

    “Bubbles” happen in free markets and reflect exuberance on the part of the players in the market which increases demand.  “Bubbles” burst when the participants realize that the exuberance is not justified by reality and demand suddenly falls.  The “dot-com” bubble of the 1990s was a perfect example.[25]  However, government interference in the economy can lead to economic “bubbles” with disastrous consequences because the government fuels the exuberance well beyond the point where the market players would otherwise sober up.  Politicians are loath to put an end to the party.

    The “housing bubble” of the 1990’s up to around 2007 had numerous causes, and a detailed analysis of the “housing bubble” would go far beyond the scope of this article.[26]  However, there were two general causes:

    First:  The U.S. government had numerous carrot and stick policies that encouraged banks to finance homes, especially for people who would normally not be able to buy a home.  For example, no sane banker would ever have offered adjustable rate mortgages with no down payment, 1% interest and no amortization for three years if they had to keep the risk on their own books.  The government sponsored entities “Freddie” and “Fannie” encouraged organizations such as Countrywide to bundle such sub-prime loans with other mortgages and pass on the risk in the capital market using securitization and other instruments.  If a bank were reluctant to participate in the party, the bank could face sanctions for violating fair housing laws.[27]

    Second:  The risks for the financial markets were recognized early, yet the political resistance to deflating the bubble was too great.  The government was fully aware of how the highly regulated banking industry worked and especially the role played by “Freddie” and “Fannie”.  The George Bush administration raised warning flags about these two government sponsored entities and the risks for the financial market throughout his term of office, starting in April 2001.[28]  However, the political resistance and especially the cover provide by such notable persons as Barney Frank kept the bubble growing.[29]  As is the case with all economic bubbles, the party eventually had to end, and the collapse came extremely close to destroying the worldwide financial system in September 2008.


    Tax policy: “The Rich Need to Pay Their Fair Share”

    Probably the most widespread use of class warfare involves tax policy.  The standard Democratic refrain is, “The rich need to pay their fair share.”[30]  The Democrats simply ignore the fact that people with higher incomes pay a disproportionate share of their income as taxes.  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal referencing a recent detailed analysis by the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation, people with annual income of $100,000 of more will represent 60% of all income and pay 95.2% of all federal income tax in 2014.  They will also pay 75.7% of overall federal taxes (income tax, payroll taxes and excise taxes).[31]

    Democrats often argue that people at the lower end of the income scale still pay excise taxes and payroll taxes.  In the same article, however: “People making up to $40,000, on average, will have negative income tax rates, meaning they get more money back from the income tax system than they pay in [due to the earned income tax credit]. (They still have to pay payroll and excise taxes, which are a relatively big item for them, and their overall tax rates range from -0.9% to 9.9%.)”[32]

    Despite these numbers, tax policy is still great terrain for class warfare.  Tax law is one of the most widely used tools for implementing social policies.  Someone’s ox is always getting gored, while other people get goodies.  An example almost all of us know personally in the United States is the support for the US housing industry by making mortgage interest deductible, a practice that is not common in other western economies.[33]  Tax law is especially used to favor certain players in the economy over others, using such tools as excise taxes, tax credits, deductions, reduced rates on certain types of income etc.  Tax legislation is an ideal environment for wheeling and dealing.  After all, it’s relatively easy to cut deals with other people’s, i.e. taxpayers’ money, especially when the lack of transparency in the tax system makes it so easy to hide deals.  That is quite possibly the main reason why US tax law is so complex.

    The main problem for the overall economy when some groups are benefited and others punished in tax law, i.e. when the government picks winners and losers, is that the functioning of free market forces is distorted by an “uneven playing field”.[34]  This necessarily leads to loss of efficiency in the economy as a whole.

    Mitt Romney had excellent suggestions for revising and simplifying the US federal tax system in the last campaign by lowering nominal tax rates while simultaneously reducing so-called “tax expenditures” (i.e. special treatment in the form of tax credits, deductions, etc.).[35]  Aside from simplifying tax law, the proposal would also have eliminated many of the distortions and resulting waste in the economy that result from favoring one group over another

    * * * * *

    This is the last article in this series on “Democrats – The Party of Fear” which is intended to give the readers useful information and arguments for discussions especially with liberal friends and family.  The Democratic Party and their allies in the mainstream media are extremely skilled in the use of emotional propaganda, especially because the Democrats play to fear and envy.  The only way to effectively counter the Democratic appeals to irrational fear and other base emotions is by using rational, fact based arguments to dispel the fears of our fellow citizens and show them how they are being played.  This requires knowledge and above all courage to confront the Democratic Party’s fallacious arguments.

    Finally, thank you for taking the time to read these articles.  I am always grateful for comments on these articles and suggestions for future topics.  You can contact me by email at chris@arendlaw.com .

    [1]      This is the fifth in a series of articles illustrating how the Democratic Party and the mainstream media use irrational fear to garner votes.  The previous articles “Democrats – The Party of Fear”, “Fear and the War on Women”, “Fear and Climate Change” and “Fear and Race” are available online at [insert generally accessible site].

    [2]      The author, born and raised in California, is a lawyer admitted in California (inactive status) and Germany who practiced international corporate and finance law in Germany before moving to the Central Coast at the end of 2004.  He is a director in the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County and also a member of the Central Committee of the Republican Party of San Luis Obispo County.

    [3]      The debate between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich von Hayek has continued for roughly three generations and is nowhere close to resolution (see e.g., http://www.econedlink.org/lessons/index.php?lid=593&type=student ).

    [4]      This is the lead in phrase on the Obama “Organizing for Action “webpage at http://www.barackobama.com/raise-the-wage-petition/

    [5]      A discussion of Adam Smith’s work would go far beyond the scope of this article.  For those who wish to read more, see, Eamonn Butler, “The Condensed Wealth of Nations” at http://www.adamsmith.org/sites/default/files/resources/condensed-WoN.pdf .

    [7]      Ibid.

    [8]      Chetwynd, Chetwynd, Spectore, “Corruption and Poverty: A Review of Recent Literature” (2003) at http://www.investopedia.com/terms/e/economic_efficiency.asp .

    [10]     “Order in the Jungle” in The Economist, 13 March 2008, at http://www.economist.com/node/10849115 .

    [11]     Just take a quick look at the lists of countries by gross domestic product per capita at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita ; there are a couple of exceptions for tiny countries such as Qatar and Brunei which swim on oil.

    [14]     Even the Democratic Party friendly Brookings Institution recognizes this, although finding that the risk would be much less when a minimum wage is set at the state or national level: “The risk of a big minimum-wage hike at the city level is that the city’s low-wage employers will be harmed in their competition with out-of-town businesses that sell the same products or services. The risk of this kind of harm is vastly smaller when the minimum wage is increased at the state or national level.” http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/up-front/posts/2014/06/09-seattle-15-minimum-wage-good-idea-burtless .

    [15]     James Sherk, “Higher Fast-Food Wages: Higher Fast-Food Prices”, 4 September 2014, The Heritage Foundation, at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2014/09/higher-fast-food-wages-higher-fast-food-prices .

    [16]     “The Effects of a Minimum-Wage Increase on Employment and Family Income”, Congressional Budget Office, 18 February 2014, at http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44995 .

    [17]     “Obama Calls On Congress To Back Spending On Crumbling Infrastructure” Huffpost Politics, 14 July 2014 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/14/obama-congress-infrastructure_n_5325900.html .

    [20]     See for a more in depth discussion, Paul Gregory “Infrastructure Gap? Look at the Facts. We Spend More Than Europe” in Forbes, 1 April 2013 at http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2013/04/01/infrastructure-gap-look-at-the-facts-we-spend-more-than-europe/ .

    [21]     Quote and an attempt explain the comment at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-explains-his-remark-about-punishing-enemies/ .  The use of the word “enemies” is further evidence of a class warfare mentality.

    [22]     Officially called the “Car Allowance Rebate System” (CARS), detailed information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Car_Allowance_Rebate_System .

    [23]     For a relatively simple discussion, see, Watkins (San Jose State University, Dept. of Economics, “The Impact of an Excise Tax or Subsidy on Price” at http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/taximpact.htm .  The distortion of market equilibrium leads to a “deadweight loss”, also known as “”excess burden” or “allocative inefficiency”: http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Deadweight_loss.html .

    [24]     Wynton Hall, “80% of ‘Green Energy” Loans went to Top Obama Supporters”, 16 November 2011 at http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2011/11/16/80–of-Green-Energy-Loans-Went-to-Top-Obama-Donors .

    [25]     A good description of the “dot-com” bubble can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dot-com_bubble .

    [26]     Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_United_States_housing_bubble has a good summary of the various causes.

    [27]     See the above cite under the heading “Mandated loans”.

    [29]     Doug Ross, “The Fannie Mae testimony that will make you scream in anger” 27 September 2008 at http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2008/09/testimony-that-will-have-you-pulling.html .

    [30]     See e.g., “Obama: We raised taxes, but the rich still aren’t paying their fair share”, Washington Examiner, 2 January 2013 at http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-we-raised-taxes-but-the-rich-still-arent-paying-their-fair-share/article/2517443 .

    [31]     “Who Will Pay More Tax for 2014” in The Wall Street Journal, 15 April 2014, at http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/04/15/who-will-pay-more-tax-for-2014/?mod=e2tw .

    [32]     Ibid.

    [33]     Wikipedia contains a summary of countries that allow mortgage interest to be deducted at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Home_mortgage_interest_deduction .

    [34]     See with regard to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the tax on certain insurance premiums, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, “Tax Policy Meets the Affordable Care Act: “The Case of the Premium Tax”, in American Action Forum, May 2012, “[The premium tax] creates an uneven playing field in which the government picks winners and losers in American’s health insurance through flawed tax policy.” (http://americanactionforum.org/sites/default/files/Premium_Tax_Fairness.pdf ).  For real aficionados who just can’t get read enough about tax, see the more esoteric example involving the competition between non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses discussed by Michael S. Knoll, “The UBIT: Leveling an Uneven Playing Field or Tilting a Level One?” in Fordham Law Review (2007) vol. 76, issue 2, Article 12 at http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4314&context=flr .

    [35]     I wrote an analysis in October 2012 which explains the concepts and also provides instruction about common terminology and basic tax concepts.  Mitt Romney’s concept makes just as much sense today as it did in 2012.  My 2012 paper can be obtained by contacting the Lincoln Club of San Luis Obispo County or the Central Committee of the Republican Party in San Luis Obispo, or you can contact me by email at chris@arendlaw.com .

  • When President Roosevelt “Led From Behind”

    Those of us who either remember WWII and the Presidency of Franklin Roosevelt or who have a fair knowledge of military history, can recall when President Roosevelt engaged in “leading from behind.” He wasn’t alone in adopting this policy of course as it was also followed by virtually every American President starting with our first, George Washington as he led the American Revolution from behind, just as Jack Kennedy led from behind during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Ronald Reagan led from behind when dealing with the Russians during the Cold War and George Bush led from behind when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990. Yes, leading from behind is an all-American tradition, which is why President Obama, following the precedence of virtually every American President is having such great success in dealing with the Russian invasion of Ukraine and convincing the psychopathic Islamic State of the Levant (ISIL) to respect international law, human rights and to murder children in a humane manner.

    Please forgive my sarcasm but what passes for foreign policy and strategy in the Obama administration brings out my dark side. Last week the President of the United States admitted before the entire world that he was essentially clueless, having no strategy to deal with ISIL, the Russians or any other international problem. Then he went back to playing golf, just as he did the week before when he issued a statement condemning the barbarity of ISIL after they savagely murdered journalist James Foley and recorded it for the Internet. He was back on the golf course in less than 10 minutes after making that statement, allowing himself to be photographed “yucking it up” with his golf pals even as major networks broadcast a tearful statement from Foley’s parents.

    As a comparison of what we used to have as Presidents, Franklin Roosevelt faced an enemy of cataclysmic capabilities. The Nazis and the Imperial Japanese were running amok in Europe and Asia. Hitler’s Germany swallowed Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Greece, Yugoslavia and were biting off large chunks of Russia between 1938 and 1941. Within the conquered nations the populations were reduced to slavery, minorities slaughtered along with political and military leaders and barbaric “medical experiments” instituted by medical psychopaths upon the politically dispossessed, including children. In Asia, the Imperial Japanese Army massacred tens of thousands in conquered lands, starting with China in 1937 and were engaged in mass rape, butchery and savagery not seen since the Mongols swept across Asia and Europe in the Middle Ages.

    During all of this time, the American public, in political polling, were adamant that such atrocities were none of our concern and demanded Congress vote accordingly. Roosevelt  recognized the threat, coaxed and cajoled both congress and the public, through “fireside chats,” leading the public discourse by explaining the need to build up our Navy to protect our shores, doubling the Navy and Army in 1940. He persuaded congress to allow “lend lease,” providing 50 aging destroyers to escort convoys across the Atlantic. He used the analogy of a neighbors’ house being on fire and lending him a hose to fight the fire; it made sense to Americans. By 1941, Roosevelt ordered the Navy to engage German Submarines to sink them on sight. This led to engagements in the North Atlantic between U.S. Navy Destroyers and Nazi submarines; several American warships were torpedoed and one sunk. Roosevelt didn’t falter; when Pearl Harbor was attacked in December, 1941, America was committed to the mobilization required to wage global war against barbarians. Roosevelt led from the front, never from behind.

    So too has every other great American President. Washington displayed battlefield courage continuously at great personal risk; he never quit despite the most desperate circumstances.

    Jack Kennedy faced down the Russians, preventing the deployment of nuclear missiles just 90 miles off our shores at tremendous risk, yet he didn’t falter, nor did he play golf during the crisis.

    President Reagan challenged the Soviets at every opportunity, often against the advice of the State Department “professionals;” Reagan armed Soviet opponents and stood with dissidents.

    In 1990, President George Bush stood up to Saddam Hussein, leading America to a military victory in just 100 hours over the 4th largest Army in the world. American leadership was unchallenged; when America spoke, the world listened.

    Today, President Obama abandons allies, including the unprecedented withholding of military re-supply to Israel during conflict; abandons Americans and allies in foreign prisons, like Marine Sergeant Tahmooressi in Mexico, USAID contractor Alan Gross in Cuba, Dr. Afridi, who gave us Bin Laden in Pakistan, imprisoned after Obama’s administration released his name. Last week, Egypt and Saudi Arabia bombed Libyan rebels; and the US was not informed and therefore didn’t know about it . How far our nation has fallen, as President Obama “leads from behind.”

    Al Fonzi
    5th District Chairman, Republican Party, SLO County
    President, SLO County Lincoln Club
  • SEAL Team VI Parents’ Opinion of Obama – Billy & Karen Vaughn

    After finally choosing to view the barbaric, on-camera beheading by ISIS of freelance war correspondent James Foley, I have been left with a level of rage known only to those of us who have sacrificed unspeakable offerings on the altar of world peace. My offering was my only son — Aaron Carson Vaughn. Aaron was a member of SEAL Team VI. He was killed in action when a CH47D Chinook, carrying thirty Americans and eight Afghans was shot down in the Tangi River Valley of Afghanistan on Aug. 6, 2011.

    Many times over the past three years, I have been asked what drove my son to choose his particular career. What made him want to be a Navy SEAL? My answer is simple. Aaron Vaughn was a man who possessed the courage to acknowledge evil. And evil, once truly acknowledged, demands response. Perhaps this is why so few are willing to look it in the eye. It is much simpler — much safer — to look the other way. That is, unless you are the leader of the Free World. As Commander-in-Chief, your actions — or lack thereof — Mr. President, cost lives. As you bumble about in your golf cart, slapping on a happy face and fist-pounding your buddies, your cowardly lack of leadership has left a gaping hole — not only in America’s security — but the security of the entire globe. Your message has come across loud and clear, sir: You are not up to this job. You know it. We know it. The world knows it.

    Please vacate the people’s house and allow a man or woman of courage and substance to seize the reigns of this out-of-control thug-fest and regain the balance we, America, have provided throughout our great history. Thanks to your “leadership” from whatever multi-million dollar vacation you happen to be on at any given moment, the world is in chaos. What’s been gained, you’ve lost. What’s been lost, you’ve decimated. You’ve demolished our ability to hold the trust of allies. You’ve made a mockery of the title “President.” And you’ve betrayed the nation for which my son and over 1.3 million others have sacrificed their very lives. But this should come as no surprise, since your wife uttered a vile statement on Feb. 18, 2008, during the primary campaign — one that speaks volumes of your true convictions. “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country,” she said. I am sure my deceased son thanks you for that, Mrs. Obama. Oh, and you’re welcome.

    Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such despair and such growing fear that the world’s last best hope, America, has finally been dismantled. Perhaps the better word is transformed — fundamentally transformed. Come to think of it, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to believe things haven’t gone exactly as you planned, Mr. President. Amazingly, in five short years, your administration has lurched from one disaster to another. You spearheaded the ambitious rush to end the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan — with no plan on how to do so effectively. Also, the release of “the Taliban five” in exchange for one American — without consulting Congress — is also on your shoulders. You have been at the helm during unprecedented national security leaks — including, but not limited to the outing of SEAL Team VI on the Bin laden raid, the outing of the Pakistani doctor who provided the intelligence for that raid, the outing of Afghanistan’s CIA station chief, and the outing of your personal “kill list” to make you look tough. In addition, 75 percent of American deaths in Afghanistan and 83 percent of Americans-wounded-in-action have occurred on your watch, according to icasualties.org. And now, we have this recent, heinous event: the beheading of an American citizen by a barbaric organization you foolishly referred to as “the JV team” in your statements to the New Yorker magazine in January. You, sir, are the JV team. It’s time for you to step down and allow a true leader to restore our honor and protect our sons and daughters.

    America has always been exceptional. And she will be again. You, Mr. President, are a bump in our road. 

    Billy & Karen Vaughn are Gold Star parents of Special Operations Chief (SEAL) Aaron Vaughn, KIA 6 Aug 2011. Billy is the author of Betrayed: The Shocking True Story of Extortion 17. Read more at http://www.forourson.us.