Latest posts by Harrison Schmitt (see all)
- JFK and the Moon: Anatomy of a Historic Decision - November 22, 2013
- In Defense of Carbon Dioxide - July 7, 2013
- Apollo 17 Astronaut Harrison Schmitt on Neil Armstrong - August 30, 2012
(Reactions to recent events by Harrison Schmitt — Heartland Institute Board member, former U.S. Senator (R-N.M.), and the last man (and first scientist) to set foot on the moon. (Cross-posted at America’s Uncommon Sense):
bin Laden (again)
We have an Administration of adolescents with no apparent concept of how their actions will affect the well-being of Americans in the future. The continuing, unconscionable leaks to our enemies of valuable intelligence and military methods and information related to the bin Laden operation show only political addiction with no sensitivity to military concerns or security consequences.
Leaks, story obfuscation, and “spiking the football” by the President, his people, and the media show either a total lack of maturity or a desire to see the failure of future operations by American defense forces or both. Nothing better illustrates the failure of the nation’s government dominated educational system — it did not instill a sense of history, logic, and American exceptionalism in the minds of our current leadership.
Speaker John Boehner’s clear, unequivocal statements in New York about tying an increase of the debt limit to a dollar for dollar, real decrease in future entitlement spending put an end to weeks of the House Leadership’s wobbly uncertainty. The Speaker’s clear position for reining in spending and opposing tax increases in favor of economic growth greatly encourage all who see the President’s fiscal course as unsustainable and leading to the end of liberty in America. Now the House Majority must not cave. Members must remember that tax revenues will continue to be far more than necessary to service the current national debt. There will be no default.
David B. Rivkin, Jr., and Lee Casey, writing in May 12th’s Wall Street Journal, raise an intriguing possibility for Congress to take back constitutional control of federal borrowing. This control was given up in 1917 with passage of the First Liberty Bond Act. The relevant language of Section 4 or the 14th Amendment reads: “The validity of the public debt of the United States authorized by law…shall not be questioned.” This provision underpins constitutional necessity of not defaulting on national debt obligations.
On the other hand, Congress can exercise its constitutional authority to limit any increase in the debt limit to the servicing of existing obligations. Until 1917, under the Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, power “to pay Debts…”, Congress exercised its power to vote on all Federal Government debt issues. Taking back this power is worth thinking about. It at least would put the electorate back in charge of the national debt as originally intended by the Founders.
The President continues to declare that our border with Mexico is under control when all who live next to it know it is not and that an ongoing invasion is in progress (with Islamist terrorists possibly among the throng). He proposes that the Congress violate the constitutional limitation that any “Rule of Naturalization” must be “uniform” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 4) by singling out illegal alien groups for special naturalization treatment [See essay No. 19].
Amnesty, whether slow or fast, is unconstitutional if the rules differ for some groups relative to others. Further, the provision of welfare, educational, and health benefits to persons who live in this country illegally, violates the taxpayers’ 5th and 14th Amendments guarantees of “due process” and “equal protection,” respectively, in government’s use of the revenues they provide. The Founders never would have agreed that the judicial fiat that granted such benefits to the violators of U.S. law amounts to “due process” or “equal protection”.
Sadness and Joy: Sadness that Endeavor’s successful launch is the next to the last step in the Shuttle Era, joy that Endeavor’s successful launch once again will demonstrate why Americans must be the leading space faring people. Fifty years after President Kennedy challenged America to shoot for the Moon, President Obama has lowered our sights and is ceding our hard-earned space leadership back to Russia (and, more ominously, to China).