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Friday, April 8, 2016

Nuclear Security and Its Few Constituents

I want to take a moment this week to highlight the understated challenge of nuclear security in the world today. You might have heard news about last week's Nuclear Security Summit in Washington. With risks of terror growing amid rapid globalization, the world must prioritize developing the right nuclear security strategies. This critical issue has special relevance here in Nebraska, where we host Strategic Command: the nerve center of our nation's nuclear weapons program and nonproliferation efforts. I invite you to read my thoughts on this subject, which you can find below in a national editorial published today.

Huffington Post: Nuclear Security and Its Few Constituents
By Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, April 8, 2016

As a graduate student, I once asked a prominent professor for a summary of the philosophical arguments for immortality. He was excited by the request and invited me to his lecture on the topic. While I considered this a great privilege, I could not manage scheduling the required four hours, so I politely declined. “Ah,” the professor said, “you asked me a question about immortality, but you do not have the time!”

The United States cannot afford to risk that same mistake on nuclear security. If we are to bring the probability of a nuclear catastrophe to as close to zero as possible, we must make the time. Understanding how nuclear threats have evolved and how to resolve them most effectively is an urgent national priority.

Imagine, for a moment, just one of several scenarios. A terrorist organization collects enough radiological material to set off what is called a “dirty bomb” in the stadium of a major city, triggering widespread harm and panic. A smuggled package on a container ship—with no need for a sophisticated weapons delivery system—explodes in a major United States harbor, causing widespread destruction and loss of life. Or worse yet, a reckless nation state actor such as North Korea’s autocratic strongman launches a missile attack against Seoul or Los Angeles. Each future scenario is alarmingly feasible. No one enjoys thinking about nuclear dangers, but ignoring them would amplify an ongoing threat to us all.

Americans deserve assurance that our best and brightest minds are fervently engaged in their defense. They should be able to trust that policymakers on both sides of the aisle are working together for innovative and sustainable solutions to nuclear security concerns. In this age of anxiety and sound bite foreign policy, constituents should know that Congress is leading when it matters most.

The leaders who courageously helmed our formidable nuclear enterprise through World War II and the Cold War have passed the baton to a new generation of policymakers and scientists. Now, as our world grows more complex, the challenges of nuclear proliferation have multiplied. The binary concept of mutually assured destruction is no longer as relevant in an increasingly unstable geopolitical environment. Non-state actors play havoc with global treaties and normative rules, seeking to do horrifying harm. Rational responses cannot be guaranteed.

Despite these challenges, of all the important issues that come before Congress, nuclear security seldom surfaces in our national conversation outside highly specialized forums. The problem is real. The United States and our allies face a stark deficiency: nuclear security as a multidimensional issue with no longstanding organic constituency in Congress. That constituency must be built.

Recognizing the problem when I first came to Congress, the Nuclear Security Working Group was founded to advance this discussion and help prevent the unthinkable. While the analytical and tactical expertise rightly remain embedded in the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, the Department of State and other executive branch entities, Congress must create an agile policy environment in this age of globalization and swiftly advancing technology. We also need an awakening of citizen concern—and there is very little. The need for broader involvement extends in a particular way to millennials, the coming stewards of our nuclear security.

The community of responsible nations has much work ahead to achieve an ideal nuclear security settlement. Advances in reprocessing technology, nuclear power, and weapons infrastructure, once the exclusive domain of the nation state, pose serious ongoing proliferation concerns. Although many countries have altogether renounced pursuit of nuclear weapons, turbulent situations in the Middle East and elsewhere are worsening an already hazardous global nuclear dynamic. A new architecture for nuclear security demands an ongoing effort by the responsible nations of the world.

The fourth and final Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama in Washington at the end of March represented another important step in securing loose nuclear materials and heightening collaboration. We need to sustain these international gatherings and multinational efforts to achieve an effective 21st century nuclear security strategy, one that prioritizes common ground on important strategic and nonproliferation priorities, in a cooperative campaign to make our world safer.

Looking ahead, I anticipate an augmented role for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as a primary implementing agency of future verification initiatives. A revitalized spirit of unity, common purpose, and renewed dedication is essential to nuclear security in the 21st century. Our challenge is that we cannot react to a nuclear crisis; we must act to prevent one. If we have the time.

About the Author:

JEFF FORTENBERRY has served as the U.S. Representative for Nebraska's 1st congressional district since 2005. He is the Chairperson for the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry. Vice Chair of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights and has a seat on the Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a member of the following Caucus groups: Civil War Battlefield Caucus - Congressional Biofuels Caucus - Congressional Farmer Cooperative Caucus - House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus - International Conservation Caucus - Sportsmen's Caucus. Congressman Fortenberry has become the most knowledgeable representative on Capitol Hill for nuclear security issues.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Islam - Amalek: A Connection?

What I am about to say will seem harsh, unrealistic and perhaps uncivilized barbarism to many in this lost worldwide politically correct environment we have created for ourselves. But I ask which is the most barbaric - allowing the current Islamic trend of killing, destruction and bombings to continue as in Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino, etc., or bring it to a final end? You decide.

Growing up I always had a problem with one particular story in the Bible. It took place during the reign of King Saul of Israel. G-d, through the prophet Samuel had commanded the king to go into the the cities of the Amalekites and wipe out every man, woman, child and even their livestock from the land. Of course, Saul being a politically correct thinker in his time didn't and paid dearly for that mistake, as did the whole House of Israel. I simply couldn't understand why a G-d of love, who cared so deeply for Its people and Its creation would command such a thing. Now I get it. ISLAM IS AMALEK.

Just like them Islam teaches its children from birth to hate anything and anyone not of Islam. While the mothers suckle their babes at their breast the milk of hatred is fed to them one drop at a time and they grow feeding on this hatred their whole lives until it finds an outlet in death and chaos. They will destroy any nation they enter, just like the Amalekites. Islam and all who follow, like those ancient peoples of old must go or the world will be destroyed by them. There is no negotiating with them, no appeasing them, no political correct way of bringing them into the fold. They must be totally and unequivocally removed from the face of the Earth.

G-d and Samuel got it right regardless of how brutal their ways and means may appear to our Saul-like PC hearts and minds.

Friday, March 18, 2016

We Are Done With You

A Response to those political establishment elites on the Right and on the Left after their meeting to "Dump Trump."
The majority of you on the right and those on the left have failed us miserably. Why should we ever listen to you all again? Why should we trust you yet again and again. If we do then we as a people are by definition legally insane - Definition being: Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome. No, this time we will not be listening to you. We will not heed your admonishments. We will turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to your suggestions. We don't necessarily know who or what is the correct course going on but the one thing we do know - The current makeup of the GOP and the DNC no longer represent the majority of Americans and we have moved on from you and left you behind us. We still may be insane, but we will now choose a new path for that insanity to play itself out

You have lost us. We are DONE WITH YOU forever!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Problem With Ted Cruz

Before starting on the revelation of the Ted Cruz image problem, I believe a bit of background of my political leanings might be in order. If labels need to be applied then I suppose I could be called a Right-Leaning Moderate on the order of a Ronald Reagan or the early Senate days of John McCain.

In my youthful period of life (age 18-30) I was a registered Democrat before the disaster that became Jimmy Carter. I even voted for the peanut farmer from Georgia thinking he would fix the Washington D.C. debacle created by then Republican Richard Nixon and the so-called corrupt establishment of that era. When Ford immediately pardoned Nixon I was outraged and moved more toward Carter in the 1976 election. In my arrogance I believed the pardon was the wrong message to send to the nation and world, but now with age and wisdom I can understand the logic and healing that came about by a more tolerant Gerald R. Ford, a man with more compassion and wisdom than I possessed in my youthful exuberance.

After the terrifying four years of the Carter administration in which the first signs of my party moving further and further to the left on issues such as security, debt and debilitation of the nation’s ability to protect itself and its citizens at home and abroad by the calculated depletion of the military, I found myself more and more attracted to Mr. Reagan who was more measured, deliberate and committed to making the nation stronger both militarily and financially. The great Reagan Revolution had begun and I found myself hitching a ride to that wagon. Looking back at that crazy period in 1980 when one man took the stagnant, elitist heavy-laden Republican Party and made it once again the party of Abraham Lincoln it gives me pause and concern for today's current Grand Old Party, which is a far cry from the one President Reagan created and fostered. Reagan was hardline but not ultra-conservative hardline in the same tone and tenure that many think of hard-Right conservatism of today represented by the likes of Ted Cruz, Mark Levin and many politicians and pundits. Reagan always left his options open for negotiation with the other side of the aisle. He knew the fine art of compromise without trashing his basic foundational principles. That is why more successful work was achieved under two party opposites - Reagan and O'Neill (then Democratic Speaker of the House). While Reagan was not shy from using Executive Orders, he found it more pleasing to work with both sides of the aisle and walk away with a deal in which the opposition got some of what they wanted while he got nearly all of what he sought after.

So, with that in mind what is it about Ted Cruz that simply turns me off?

The Senator from Texas is after all a real conservative by today’s standard and the current definition or understanding of that word. He is tough on crime, probably tougher than any other candidate in the running. His stance on immigration, while muddied at times, is still one that a person like myself could get behind. Economically, he is a bit weak on details but not as much as Donald Trump or even Hillary Clinton. He is anti-ObamaCare to the nth degree which I find very appealing but what he plans on replacing it with is still a bit foggy, even after reading his ideas on his website. He will likely double-down on keeping the Second Amendment of the Constitution intact and will not allow tampering with it, which I also find attractive. While I think his plan to shutdown the IRS is a bit premature, his desire to radically alter the current tax status quo to make it more favorable to the middle-class is intriguing.

Why then am I hesitant to pull the lever for Cruz come election day?

Last night (15 March 2016), after Mr. Trump handily walked away from Super Tuesday 2.0 as the undisputed winner of the majority of delegates I watched both Trump and Cruz give their after tally speeches and like a flash of light - a revelation, if you will, dawned in my brain. Senator Ted Cruz comes across in his speeches, in his tone, the way he turns a phrase, his verbal staccato and the movement of his facial tics when he talks reminded me of one of those old-timey tent preachers that at one time were a staple across the country. What’s worse he doesn’t project a positive image of those types of preachers, like a Billy Graham or Billy Sunday, but more on the order of an Elmer Gantry or the slick, faith healing con-man Jonas Nightingale played by actor Steve Martin in the 1992 film “Leap of Faith.”

I can’t seem to shake that image from my brain every time I see Cruz. No matter what he says I simply find it nearly impossible to take him at his word. I don’t distrust him as I do most politicians; I distrust him on the same level as I would be wary of any pseudo-religious figure out to sell me a spiritual bill of goods. I think this might also be the case with so many voters who have had this inner battle going on about Cruz who, like myself, couldn’t quite put their finger on it until now. As long as I can't get his Elmer Gantry persona out of my head I will be hard pressed to cast my vote for Ted Cruz, and at this point I’m not sure he could do anything to change this because he is what he is perceived to be, not what he might actually be.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Is It Trump Violence?

I find it simply astonishing to witness that since June 2015 Donald Trump has been holding meetings and rallies with audiences numbering in the tens of thousands with little to no confrontations like we saw over this past weekend in Chicago, St. Louis, and the overt attack on his personal life in Dayton, OH.

His speeches and rhetoric have remained the same over the last nine months with very little impact or heightened violent activity from his supporters in the crowds. However, once Bernie Sanders supporters and those from the ultra-left-wing liberal group called MoveOn.org started showing up in mass at his rallies then violence breaks out as those two groups go in and try to curtail the First Amendment Rights of the attendees to Mr. Trump's rallies.

My observations are unbiased and I am not a supporter of Mr. Trump, as I am leaning toward another candidate within the Republican ranks at this time. My comments are a very simple and pragmatic view of what I have been witnessing over the last several months since this race for the nominations began - in both parties.

Mr. Trump cannot be held responsible for how his supporters react to his rhetoric or the obvious intrusion into those rallies by factions who do not support his candidacy and have one goal - that is, to interrupt, cause confusion, mayhem, chaos and distraction to the ongoing political process. Those coming in from the Sanders and MoveOn.org camps aren't even registered Republicans yet they feel they have the right to involve themselves in this Republican Party process of picking a candidate for that party. If this were the general election and Mr. Trump was up against either Senator Bernie Sanders or Secretary Hillary Clinton then I could understand their involvement at that time. However, this is a Republican Party primary event so the goal of the disrupters is nothing more than a concerted effort on the part of those on the Left, and which is being allowed, tolerated and even encouraged by those within the establishment Republican Party to derail Mr. Trump's obviously successful ongoing campaign for President. And, the fact that the media in general are playing up this distraction is just another indicator of just how far the United States has slipped from the grasps of its founder's ideal.

If, those in the Sanders camp and those who subscribe to the rehtoric of MoveOn.org wish to make their voices heard about their disgust for Mr. Trump then use your constitutional mandate and let your voice be heard at the ballot box not in the arena of violence, assassination attempts, while creating an environment of hate. If they don't then we have yet to see how badly this can become and we all will be witnesses of the decline of American politics to the lowered depths of third world bigotry and destruction.