Trump’s Legacy – Freedom

This week President Trump announced the United States’ withdrawal from the Obama/Kerry nuclear agreement with Iran.

It was, like most Trump foreign-policy speeches, brief, direct and common-sensible, putting America’s security and interests first.  He pulled no punches, calling the original deal “a great embarrassment to me as a citizen and to all citizens of the United States.”

Trump made a concise, compelling case for dumping the agreement.  But he added one potent paragraph at the end of his speech that was even more significant:

Finally, I want to deliver a message to the long-suffering people of Iran: The people of America stand with you. It has now been almost 40 years since this dictatorship seized power and took a proud nation hostage. Most of Iran’s 80 million citizens have sadly never known an Iran that prospered in peace with its neighbors and commanded the admiration of the world. But the future of Iran belongs to its people. They are the rightful heirs to a rich culture and an ancient land and they deserve a nation that does justice to their dreams, honor to their history, and glory to their god.

We now have a president who understands the human value of self-determination that Americans share.  He gets it.  And as his presidency evolves, more people around the world will get it, too.

Despite the “resistance” of his short-sighted adversaries, Trump will make his mark of freedom around the world, without spilling American blood and wasting our hard-earned wealth.  Eventually Iran’s people will overrule their despotic leaders and rejoin the free and modern community of nations.  North Korea will follow suit.  Venezuela will not be far behind, and recent cultural progress in Saudi Arabia holds promise for the defeat of Muslim extremism and the expansion of personal freedoms across the Middle East.

We Americans have often assumed that our success is a direct result of our unique form of government.  No doubt, to this point the design and execution of our democratic republic has been a major contributor to our growth and prosperity.  But the details and nuances of how our government works is secondary to the single, underpinning belief that we hold most dear – above all else we Americans treasure our personal freedoms.

President Trump’s work toward eliminating the nuclear threats in Iran and North Korea is much more than a military exercise.  The people of these nations, and others, may soon realize that our president is helping them gain their freedom.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

You can knock me down and watch me bleed
But you can’t keep no chains on me.
I was born free

The USA Produces Less Enriched Uranium Than Iran and North Korea

While developing nations strive to build nuclear power plants (and weapons), the USA seems to have lost interest.

Back in the 1960s and 1970s nuclear plants were popping up all over our nation, and conventional wisdom was that nuclear power would soon meet all of our energy needs at a bargain-basement price.  It sure hasn’t worked out that way.

It’s not that nuclear power was a bad idea.  In the USA nuclear power has proven to be clean, safe, and reliable.  But generating nuclear power is also fraught with challenges.  The cost to build nuclear power plants is daunting.  Nobody wants nuclear waste dumped in their back yards.  And disasters at Chernobyl and Fukishima, while preventable, have tarnished the promise of nuclear power as a primary energy source.

New technology in fossil fuels has reduced carbon emissions and production costs, making nuclear power just too expensive an alternative.  Technology in the nuclear industry has come a long way too, but you would never know it by looking at our domestic nuclear power plants.  The average age of our nuke plants is 36 years.  The last two reactors built were the Watts Bar units – one was completed in 1996, and the other struggled for completion in 2016.  Hundreds of approved plant projects never got started.  Only four plants are currently under construction, and they are behind schedule and over budget.  If they are completed, they will produce electricity that costs more than even solar and wind power.  A growing number of plants are scheduled to shut down.  Westinghouse went bankrupt trying to get its new lower-cost, faster-construction model up and running.

Our biggest gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant was closed two years ago, so we currently buy almost all of the enriched uranium used in our nuclear power reactors from Russia.  But Russia, in a snit over Obama’s Ukraine-related sanctions, suspended the trade agreement by which highly enriched uranium from weapons was being downblended for use in nuclear plants in the USA and around the world.

Germany intends to shut down all of its nuke plants by 2022.  China, on the other hand, is planning a number of plants as part of their effort to reduce carbon emissions.

Industry experts say that the world is already using more uranium than is being mined.  After the re-purposed uranium from nuclear weapons is used up, they expect hot competition and shortages as China, India, Russia and other nations ramp up their nuclear power programs at a rate greater than Europe and the USA wind theirs down.  No wonder there was a commotion when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton agreed to grant a Russian company the rights to mine one-fifth of our domestic uranium in exchange for a $2.35 million contribution to the Clinton Foundation and a $500,000 speaking fee for her husband.

We won’t need a great deal of expensive nuclear power to meet our nation’s future electrical needs.  But we will still need enriched uranium.  Our existing nuke plants will require uranium for some time yet, and the Trump administration wants to expand our fleet of nuclear powered ships and submarines.  Plus there is no avoiding our strategic need to maintain an arsenal of nuclear weapons.

At this time there are no US companies producing enriched uranium – a few foreign companies make a small amount in America, but our total domestic production lags far behind other nations.  Granted, enriched uranium is available in the world market, but it seems that domestic production of at least enough uranium to power our Navy is a matter of national security.

“While the U.S. once led the world in this technology that contributed to our national security, we currently have zero domestic capacity for enrichment, yet Western Europe, Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, and even Iran maintain this capability. During the past decade, the DOE shut down the last domestic enrichment facility that was in position to ramp up deployment of an American technology. Now Mr. Perry has the thankless task of modernizing the weapons complex, upgrading aging infrastructure, and in some cases rebuilding entirely lost capabilities, such as enrichment.”   — Aaron Weston, director at the American Council for Capital Formation Center, and Norman Augustine, co-chair of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, quoted by Forbes

Dept. of Energy secretary Rick Perry and the Trump administration should give priority to addressing our abandonment of nuclear power and the resources required to produce it.

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

I’m so happy!
Doin’ the neutron dance.
I’m just burning!
Doin’ the neutron dance.

the Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance

 

Here’s something fun – the girls are still burnin’, doin’ the Neutron Dance!  Check it out!

Hillary Will Continue Obama’s “Don’t Do Stupid Sh*t” Foreign Policy Strategy

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton

photo by Brian Snyder/Reuters

President Obama once summed up his foreign policy strategy as:  “Don’t do stupid sh*t.”

On the surface, that sounds like a pretty good plan.  I have often said Congress functions best when it is on one of its many long recesses, like its upcoming paid vacation from July 18 through September 2.  When they aren’t in session at least our congressmen aren’t writing bills ‘supporting the support of transgender acceptance‘ (yep, it’s a real bill), or bailing out Puerto Rico and the Post Office, or doing a sneaky-workaround to allow Lindsey Graham’s favorite crony, Boeing, to sell airplanes to Iran via a taxpayer-guaranteed loan through the corrupt federal Export-Import Bank.

I pretty much like it when Congress is “not doing stupid sh*t.”

But as a long-term strategy, especially for something as critical and far-reaching as the foreign policy of the world’s still-barely-greatest-but-fading-fast-superpower, “don’t do stupid sh*t” has some flaws.  After all, “stupid sh*t” is in the eye (or the nose?) of the beholder.  When he took office, Obama adopted the position that everything his predecessor did was “stupid sh*t”, and vowed that our country would never do any “sh*t” like that again.  Under President GW Bush, Russia and China were pretty well in check, the military surge had stabilized Iraq as their fledgling democracy took root, and our armed forces were re-tooled and modernized. Apparently that didn’t meet Obama’s “smell test”.  But giving Iran a half-trillion dollars with which to build their nuclear weapons program and fund terrorism?  Inviting hundreds of thousands of unvetted, illegal immigrants to indulge in our social services buffet, exacerbate our unemployment, push down wages and stifle our economic growth?  Naw, that’s not “stupid sh*t.”

Another major flaw in the Obama foreign policy plan: some might confuse “don’t do stupid sh*t” with “don’t do any sh*t.”

Obama failed to help Iran’s “green revolution” oust their nation’s radical Muslim leadership.  He stood on the sidelines as former allies (or at least peacekeepers) in the Middle East were toppled and replaced by tyrants and terrorists.  When Russia began pushing around its former minions in Georgia and the Ukraine, Obama laughed it off.  “Boys will be boys.”  He smiles and waves as Russian and Chinese jets buzz over the bows of our depleted and duct-taped warships.

Most critical of all, while our president was proudly implementing his “don’t do stupid sh*t” foreign policy, our adversaries were doing all kinds of scary, aggressive “sh*t”.  China has all but claimed the entire South China Sea as its own private domicile and locked up the world’s supply of strategic rare-earth metals.  While the US nuclear capability has been whittled down to a few 1950s era B52’s and a couple of rusty Minuteman missiles, Russia has developed 14 new state-of-the-art tactical and strategic nuclear systems.  Obama’s do-nothing policies have made our nuclear arsenal the equivalent of Cuba’s auto industry.

And now Obama’s partner in foreign-policy crime, Hillary Clinton, waits in line to dutifully continue the strategies that have brought them universal praise from leftists and globalists worldwide.

Oh boy.  Eight more years of “don’t do stupid sh*t.”

Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side

Rockin' On the Right Side

The time is right, your perfume fills my head,
The stars get red
And oh, the night’s so blue.
And then I go and spoil it all,
By saying something stupid
Like “I love you”

 

Something Stupid – Frank and Nancy Sinatra

Sorry, no live video of this dad and daughter classic exists.  Some nice photos though, and worth a listen!