sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thoughts on Moral Courage

I am not a military critic or apologist, but I am a pragmatic conservative who doesn't like to see taxpayer dollars wasted. As any of you who served in the military can attest, there are STUPID things done every day that wastes untold million. This is another of those Boondogles -- LINK TO AIR FORCE NEWS.

The US Air Force wants to go paperless, and I applaud their decision - and they want to put manuals on (at least) 28,000 laptop computers that cost roughly $4,000 each. Keeping the technical library up to date for air operations is a huge, yet absolutely critical, task. Haven't they heard of a Kindle? $130 each.

A defense contractor rep called me (through his attorney) yesterday and tried to hire me to influence a sale of seventeen C-130 Hercules aircraft that had been disapproved. Based on what he said, the US State Department (under the aegis of the Merida Initiative) initially supported the gift/"sale" of those aircraft to Mexico. 

Because I deal with some bilateral issues with Mexico, they thought that I was the guy to make it happen. I suspect I was their last gasp, but my response was that the Mexican government had absolutely no use for seventeen C-130's and I applauded the decision of somebody in the Office of Bilateral Implementation (in Mexico City) who spiked the deal. So I declined the offer of employment.

There is a real problem in the military and the defense establishment when it comes to intellectual courage. Some of that is reflected in the two items above that came across my desk in the last two days. In one case, senior leadership is thrilled, and proud to spend $112 million on computers where they could spend on the order of $3 million for a product that worked as well or better. In another, a smart and nameless public servant saw waste and called it for what it was. 

Washington greed and pork is well reflected in a 2,000 page healthcare bill or an $800 billion stimulus bill that legislators are told to vote for without reading -- because they wouldn't understand it anyway. Washington leadership does not want courage - they want fear - they want silence. And that sense is profound within the US Military - and worse the higher you go. 

We as a nation will never dig ourselves out of the moral and fiscal morass that we find ourselves in without people who are willing to stand up, THINK, and act out of an appreciation of the best interests of the nation and its people. Sometimes it means that a computer contractor won't make $112 million - for example.  And maybe a computer contractor might suggest an alternative that cost 3% of what the military thinks best...

The White House Caves

As I sat down to write a bit on Obama's proposed concession on ObamaCare, I looked through the blogs and came across this one (LINK) by Andrew Price. Since He wrote what I proposed to write, I can't help but throw a H/T his way and recommend that you read what he wrote as well.

As the House of Representatives move forward today to de-fund and de-fang ObamaCare this morning, it's extremely interesting to see what Obama himself is doing. Here is his statement:
“I’m willing and eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act. But we can’t go backwards. Americans deserve the freedom and security of knowing that insurance companies can’t deny, cap, or drop their coverage when they need it most, while taking meaningful steps to curb runaway health care costs.”
As Obama and the House Republicans begin to decide the fate of ObamaCare, and as Andrew Price noted, Obama sets out his demands for the finished revamp of his unpopular national healthcare plan in the statement above. This legislation is the crown jewel in his presidency and he doesn't want it to be officially repealed, so the name must remain the same so he can claim victory. And though he hasn't said that he'll veto this new version of healthcare reform if there is tort reform, he didn't say that he would. That is a major slap at the trial attorney associations who pushed a fortune his way for his campaign. The matters he is "concerned" with keeping include pre-existing conditions, lifetime dollar caps, prohibiting dropping coverage and cost cutting. He didn't mention portability, but the Republicans will.

Essentially Obama said that the original Republican proposal for healthcare reform is good enough for him if you keep the "ObamaCare" label on it.

Gone is the public option/government policy/single payer, unconstitutional demand that everyone purchase insurance, massive government subsidies and all of the other pork in the 2000 page ObamaCare Bill that was rammed down the throats of the American people.

The public opposes ObamaCare and Obama knows it. Because it's his crown jewel, he doesn't want to see the Republicans defund it and repeal THE NAME OF THE BILL.

We always needed healthcare reform. I was a proponent of basically what the president has set as his opening bid THIS TIME. He is telling us that he'll back Republican legislation that gives the American people what they wanted and needed if they give him credit for the purposes of his legacy.