There are a lot of theories being thrown around regarding the missing Malaysian 777. I've even had some supporters call with great, well-researched ideas about what might have happened to the plane and how our national security might be compromised because of it. These are essential concepts for our leaders and ourselves to ponder with clear eyes. In a situation like this, we can't "hope" our way out of the scary reality we live in - that there is evil in the world and terrorism is always a possibility.
(Photo courtesy of Luccio ERRERA/Wikimedia commons)
I definitely feel for the families involved in this case, and I know it must be hard to hear conjecture and theories on every news channel - but I think that this kind of incident is healthy for us to think about. The truth is, when there's a missing jumbo jet and the very real possibility of seriously high-tech terrorism, it forces us to think about our priorities. In this kind of situation, it matters who we vote for and what we spend our money on. Suddenly, shrinking the military seems foolish and wasting money on endless grants, bail-outs and healthy eating programs seems even sillier. These are endeavors that prosperous nations in peacetime can afford to pay for in moderation, but we've become a bloated bureaucratic pool of vanity projects and special-interest payouts. We've gotten so comfortable, with 99-week unemployment and worrying about the health of the planet, that we forget there are people in the world who dislike us very much, and are spending their time thinking about how to make us afraid instead of ways to market a lousy healthcare law to hipsters.
Last week, I was challenged about my reasoning for supporting Israel. The question was, if I'm really dedicated to the Constitution, what is my argument for national support of Israel? Here is my response:
Today’s entire Middle East conflict needs to be addressed to help frame this discussion. The Arab-Israeli conflict is, in truth an Arab conflict with Western, particularly American, culture. Part of the dilemma that our nation faces is one of leadership and influence. Is it appropriate that American ideals get exercised throughout the world, or on a smaller scale, in the Mid-East region?
I think the answer is “Yes”, although my preference is that this influence should come through open commerce and voluntary contractual relationships instead of through foreign aid, or worse, foreign wars.
When so-called public servants suggest the increase of Federal land management, it's usually sold to us as a great resource for our communities. We're told that we'll get wide open spaces to hunt, fish, hike, access with OHVs and use for countless other pursuits.
Unfortunately, all too often, once the government gets control of our land, it becomes closed to one or more of these activities. They close forest roads under the guise of "environmental protection", ignoring the fact that keeping these roads clear aids firefighters in the summer fire season. The bureaucrats insist that they know better than we do how to enjoy our wild places, and so they padlock the woods and force us out of land that should rightfully belong to the local community.
More and more forests in Oregon are being closed to OHV traffic, and our current Congressman seems content with making empty statements and meaningless votes. For those of us who love our open places, this is a serious issue, one that is worth fighting for. We will not be content with empty rhetoric - if we aren't willing to stand up, our kids will never know the freedom of Oregon's mountains and forests.
This is National School Choice Week, and I am thrilled to support the efforts of so many brave educators, teachers, lawmakers and parents who are standing up for kids, and the choices of parents and communities to pick what’s right for their families.
School choice is close to my heart, because Diane and I chose to home-school our two children, and were blessed to see our kids not only succeed in academics but excel out in the real world. Living on a ranch 36 miles from town would have meant multiple hours in a school bus every day for our kids, not to mention the countless wasted hours that a public school teacher must spend on discipline, and the lowest-common-denominator approach that so many schools are forced to take, even with well-adjusted, bright students.
So, we decided that our kids would be better served by more freedom, and the choice of home-schooling. By the time our children were in 8th grade, they tested out of High School on their SATs, and they reveled in the freedom to pursue their interests and take on entrepreneurial endeavors in junior high and high school. Children are gifts to us, their parents, and there is nothing that brings me more joy than watching my son build custom furniture using skills I passed on to him, or my daughter enjoying classic literature because my wife and I nurtured that love of English and let her experience the classics at a young age.
“From the moment of conception, the unborn has a human nature. That he cannot yet speak, reason, or perform personal acts means only that he cannot yet function to the degree we can, not that he lacks the essential nature that makes those functions possible in the first place.” — Scott Klusendorf, in The Case for Life
As you wonder about today's tragic anniversary of Roe v Wade, consider the implications of Klusendorf’s statement. I believe Scott nails it. He states an obvious, self-evident, common-sense truth that deflates the pro-choice moral position. Philosophically, there is no significant difference between the man I am today and the baby that I was in my mother’s arms 57 years ago. Clearly, this same logic also holds for me as an embryo only days or weeks earlier than that.
The logic of this pro-life position is stated clearly in what is known as the SLED Defense for Life. SLED represents four logical arguments based upon Size, Level of development, Environment and Degree of dependency.
Last week, your current US House member sent out a puff piece attempting to justify his recent votes. These kinds of word games are exactly what's wrong with Washington — in an age when more and more people are demanding honesty from their elected officials, why are we accepting these kinds of false claims? Rep. Walden asserts that this deal is a series of “common-sense cuts and reforms in the plan” that will “reduce wasteful government spending by $23 billion more and when passed will avert another government shutdown.”
An analysis by Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee (SBC) details where, the proposal identifies two specific years “(2022 and 2023) to reduce deficits by $28 billion.” Do you think that's going to happen? Do you believe that politicians will keep these promises, when right now they are misleading us about the nature of the bill itself?
Only in Washington can a legislator put the phrase "reduce wasteful government spending” and omit the gutting of the sequester law. Also, Rep. Walden purposefully hides the $63 billion in spending hikes over two years. Where did those "common-sense cuts" go again? This budget increases spending by $64B over 2 years and proposes to reduce spending $23B over 10 years. Only from an out-of-touch political class can this be labeled as a common-sense “step in the right direction.”
As I’ve shared many times, I own a small cattle ranch east of Klamath Falls, and the health and sustainability of rural livelihoods is a very important issue to me. The issues I want to address require serious reform, not small, impotent acts. We need to be willing to stand up for our way of life and the inheritance we want to leave future generations of cattlemen and agriculturalists. The time to address these concerns is now, with firmness, confidence and hope.
Rural Oregonians are demanding change on these five issues, and I stand with you:
1. The Massive Overreach of the EPA
Rural counties in Oregon are struggling to maintain sensible budgets, a reasonable standard of living and viable livelihoods for their citizens - and the Environmental Protection Agency seems bent on making those goals almost impossible. With endless resources, a bully pulpit and an agenda that focuses on good optics rather than sensible policy, the EPA is a dangerously out-of-control force in rural America. As concerned cattlemen and citizens, we need to demand oversight of the EPA and a representative that sees its bureaucratic overreach for what it is - a criminal abuse of power and a force that could easily rob us of our agricultural legacies and freedoms.
If you drive anywhere in Oregon, you’re likely to see massive billboards touting “Long Live Oregonians”, using cute cartoon scenes.
The trouble is that while the ads are attractive, all the clever marketing in the world can’t mask a bad product, which is what we’re seeing at the Federal level. Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster, one that even Democrats are running from, as more and more individuals lose their health insurance and rates continue to skyrocket. As liberals flounder, they see what they think is an escape and they grasp on to it - the accusatory question to conservatives: “what would you do to fix healthcare?”
In response, many establishment politicians are apologizing to America. Both Democrats and Republicans are expressing dismay at the dismal outcomes of a poorly-written policy and badly-executed technology. Still others are trying to convince us that they are truly outraged by the price increases, or that they “understand the pain” of Americans who are experiencing rising medical costs and lost coverage.
Professionals in our timber industries are the best-equipped stewards of our forests. However, in Oregon, more than 50% of the state is owned by the Federal government, so this means that private industry, state and local governments have ultimately no control over most of Oregon’s resource-rich landscapes. As a county commissioner I regularly see the tragic results from ill-conceived federal policies and the high costs of unintended consequences.
In Klamath County, and throughout the 2nd District, we find ourselves begging for favors from the Federal government instead of being allowed to create jobs, build communities and see prosperity flourish at the local level. The political establishment prefers rewarding national or regional special interest groups rather than local communities because that creates a culture of power, money and control for themselves. Federal control and regulation diminishes the effectiveness of those most likely to steward natural resources well (loggers, miners, ranchers, etc.).
Last week, in a letter to the Herald & News editors, someone commented that:
“[Linthicum] never seems to use the word ‘we’, but generally expresses his personal feelings toward issues and starts every objection with ‘I’.”
Frankly, I find this odd, because, surely, my objections belong to me. While various individuals might agree, or disagree, with my positions, I am voicing them because they are mine. I see no problem with owning my opinions as my own.
Each of us as an Individual
We are all different and we all carry different ideas. We are different in height, weight, body-type, talent and skill. We each come from different educational backgrounds; we have different life experiences, families and, hence, different perspectives.