Tag Archives: democracy

Social Security… is Neither

San Diego — I’ve been a bit out of touch having some fun on a field trip with students to Yosemite (you can read about it on my travel blog from the link in the right hand column).  Besides, to be honest with you I was growing weary of trying to shout a wake up call only to discover readers and listeners had very effective ear plugs and slept right through the alarm.

But events transpiring while I was off in beautiful surroundings have not stopped our devolution into a country that is nothing like the one I grew up in and certainly not one I want to see develop.  So much has happened i hardly know where to start.  So for this post I’ll start by re-visiting an old posting on Social Security.

Some of you may remember back when I wrote that by comparing Social Security to a Ponzi scheme, Governor Perry of Texas should apologize… to Charles Ponzi.  In Ponzi’s case he actually seemed to have tried to make the pyramid scheme work while our government never has.

I took a fair amount of flack over that characterization but thought to just wait and see who turned out to be right.  This week the government itself just told us the answer… I was right.

This week the government’s actuaries, who originally told the Obama administration and the public that the fund would be solvent… until 2036, re-examined their numbers and concluded that it will be in the completely out of money at least three years earlier than they thought when they tried their best to help Obama by saying that.  Now they have admitted the system will be bankrupt, that is not able to meet its obligations by 2033… at the latest.

Let me copy an article by Andrew Napolitano on this news.

“This revelation should come as no surprise to those who monitor the government and its deceptive ways. When he first introduced Social Security, President Franklin D. Roosevelt argued that under Social Security the federal government would be holding your money for you. He deceptively fostered the idea that Social Security would be a savings account, into which employees and employers would make contributions and out of which guaranteed monies would be paid to those who reached the age of 65. Essentially, he claimed that you’d get your money back.

“The politicians believed him, but the actuaries and the judiciary understood that the government would never hold anyone’s money for him — as if it were the custodian of a bank account. In the first of several challenges to the constitutionality of Social Security, the Supreme Court found that the Social Security fund did not consist of your money. It was merely tax revenue.

“Did you know that?

“It also held that since Congress’ law-making authority is limited to the 16 discrete delegated powers granted to it in the Constitution (a truism few in Congress accept as binding) but its spending authority is open-ended (a conclusion that must torment James Madison’s ghost), Congress could collect funds, claim it was holding the funds in a savings account and then spend those funds as it saw fit — for those in need after age 65 or for any other purpose.

“Did you know that?

“And, in a curious yet revealing one-liner in the Supreme Court opinion upholding the constitutionality of Social Security, even the court recognized that there would be no trust fund in the traditional sense when it found that the tax dollars collected and supposedly designated for Social Security were “not earmarked in any way.”

“Did you know that?

“Eventually, the government would acknowledge that what it first called a savings account and then called old-age insurance and then said would be fortified by a trust fund did not even establish a contractual obligation to those who have paid the Social Security tax — which would be all of us. Thus, the feds have conceded and the courts have agreed that the money you have involuntarily contributed to the so-called trust fund is not yours and can be spent by the government as it pleases, just like any other revenue that the feds collect.

“Did you know that?

“The so-called ‘trust fund’ is not money that the government “holds” for you, as FDR promised. It is not money to which you have a lawful claim, as he claimed. It is not a guarantee for you, as he led the public to believe. The so-called trust fund is merely the difference between what is collected and what is paid out. And the feds just acknowledged that in 21 years, they are likely to pay out more than they will collect.

“Perry did not succeed this time in his quest for the Republican nomination. But he did succeed in articulating a hard truth: The same federal government that prosecutes people like Bernie Madoff for paying out more than they collect does the very same thing under the color of law.

Is a Ponzi scheme — which is basically theft by deception — lawful just because the government runs it? The Supreme Court has, in the past, clearly said yes.”

This state, California, has done the same thing to its citizens.  The lottery, was sold to us and continues to be promoted as a source of funding for education, a need that in my opinion ought to be our first or at least second priority.  But the establishing law contained a clause that said if the State Assembly declared an emergency it could appropriate all of that revenue into the general fund.  And every year — EVERY YEAR — one of the first items of business when the Assembly convenes is to declare that emergency and appropriate all lottery revenues into the general fund where it can spend them in the same profligate ways it does all of the other tribute it receives from us vassals.

My Question is, “Are you OK with that?”  On either the state or federal level?  If so you will be thrilled with what is in store for you if Obama wins re-election.  The gloves are off and what you need to know is out there.  The problem is that the main stream news simply will not tell you, or else buries the data on the back pages knowing few will plow through all the garbage to get to it.

The real question, as November approaches, is a simple one; in fact I do not recall it ever being so simple and so straightforward.  Do you believe that you as an individual are entitled to protection from responsibilities and consequences and it is the government’s main role to provide you with everything you want?  Or do you believe  that each individual is responsible for their own well being and should rely on the government only when they have been blind-sided by catastrophic events for which they could not reasonably have been prepared?

Do you believe the government knows best how to run enterprise and best how you should spend your money and, in fact, how much you should make?  Or do you believe the best way to move the country forward is to have government do only what the Constitution, it now ignores, specifically provides grants it as its powers?

Do you believe the government ought to have the power to tell you how to live, what to do with your life and any revenues generated by your labors and can even force you to buy what it says or destroy your livelihood (as is going on now in Michigan where pig farmers are being told by the state that hogs are an “invasive species” and must be destroyed)?  or do you believe you know better what you should buy for yourself, how to spend what you earn, and have the right to apply yourself and move anywhere up the economic ladder your ambition and skills will take you and then be rewarded for that success?

THe philosophies on open opposition in this upcoming election have never, NEVER been clearer.  Prior to this election, those two opposing views have never been the real core values and policies for voters’ decisions about who should be president.  But they are the ONLY questions of value this time.  Entitlement or self-sufficiency are the core but competing principles driving the two sides and for the first time in our history we seem to have a growing number of people, mostly from the fantasy land of academia, the thug-ridden world of unions, or the delusional world of young people raised with a sense of entitlement for simply being alive, who believe openly in entitlements, socialism, and communism as viable economic and political theories.

They have, with marvelous misdirection, wrapped their rhetoric in the banner of democracy as if that was a magic word or concept and relied on the likelihood that most of the dumbed-down populace does not realize our country has never been and was not supposed to be a pure democracy, something Plato referred to as the rule of fools.

To accept the ideology that any of the flavors of socialism actually works to better the society it rules, unless some outside source of revenue apart from the tribute required of the population (such as in Finland where oil revenue props up the government) you have to toss out all of human political-governmental history.  Why?  Because of all the times those social theories have been applied, not a single example exists where it has raised the standard of living and improved living conditions despite its promise to do just that.

This time getting truly informed about what has and has not worked and why is critical.  You must, MUST, as was never before really necessary, do your research on this.  Don’t take what anyone tells you, including me, at face value until you have done your own research.  Find out for yourselves what has, in the litany of governments around the world and throughout time, worked and what has not.  And before you fall prey to the emotional arguments of “fairness” or that great canard of “social justice,” research how the success of various systems of economic and political authority changes with the level of complexity and maturity of the population being governed.  What works perfectly on a tribal, hunter-gatherer level falls apart starting with the agrarian, surplus driven stage of development.  And that perfect tribal system turns really ugly in the industrial stage.

Please, I beg you, don’t take my word for it, don’t take ANYone’s word for something so important as the future of this country and therefore the future of your children and grandchildren. Become truly, personally, individually informed.  Only with an informed electorate driving this republic will it have a chance of continuing.  One of the founders (the quote has been attributed to several people) when asked what they had just given the people, responded, “We have given you a Republic… if you can keep it.”

Never before, has that issue been more at the forefront of an election than this one.

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Posted by on April 26, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Who Is To Blame?

Once again I received a marvelous email from a friend asking why I thought the current generation was, as it seemed to them, less capable of serious reflective thought beyond accepting then parroting the sound bites and one-liners from TV or the internet. The implication was that our generation had been better at it.

I had to think about it since mine was the generation the brought us Timothy Leary and Bell Bottoms, not the best indicators of brilliance.  But I do remember some of the exchanges, debates, and discussions I had back then and can contrast them with what passes for intellectual commentary now on Facebook or in the halls on campus and perhaps this friend was on to something.

While my/our generation certainly was not monolithic in its conclusions, on giving the question some serious thought, I do believe we put more of our own thinking and reflection into our conclusions than does the current generation, at least the college-age ones of my acquaintance.  We did not use the verbal equivalent of clip art to illustrate and inform our discussions except for punctuation.  We did not, all that often, simply accept the conclusion of those verbatim, even if we agreed with them and used their pronouncements, if at all, as a jumping off point for our own conclusions.

The email asked if i blamed TV for it.  In the 1950s Marshal Mcluhan wrote that unlike every news and entertainment technology to precede it, TV was the first to have the potential of not just being an adjunct to reality, it had the potential of replacing it.  I think to a large and unfortunate degree his fear has come true.  any advanced technology has the capacity of becoming a double edged sword and used for good or ill.  TV has done both with wonderful educational content and pitiful drivel next to each other on the channel selector. By itself I think it is neutral, but I admit it is perhaps more easily missued than not.

I try to use it, along with papers and internet as resources to let me see what the spokesmouths for all sides are saying.  From the personal experience of being interviewed a number of times and then reading the article, and from watching a speech and then hearing the commentary, I no longer trust a third party’s reportage of either side including the sides they are openly and sometimes shamefully supporting since they will spin it for or against their champion.  I also place little faith anymore in what the actual participants assert and much more in what they have actually done… or not.

I am a stickler for trying as best as i can to fact check those assertions of quantifiable items that allow them to spin one direction or the other. I recently got into a pointless exchange on Facebook calling to account an assertion that was factually in error.  Instead of ever addressing the error as it impacted the argument, they simply talked around it by trying to bring up ancillary issues.  Thomas Sowell wrote that if, as a politician, you want to help the country then you will tell the truth, but if you want to help yourself, you will tell people what you know they want to hear.  it is clear to me that virtually no politician now yammering from either side is doing other than telling their disciples what they want to hear… and I find that frightening.  But I do not try to excuse one side by pointing to the errors of the other.

It is especially frightening to me at this precise juncture in time because I see it as a time of great danger for this country and this society.  Internally we are taking a trend started way back with Wilson to vear off of the course set by the founding fathers and bring it to a critical tipping point.  I wrote in the early 90s that my sense of that trend line was that by the 2016 campaign the U.S. would either be irrevocably on the road to European style national socialism (or worse) or would have turned the corner to try to head back to its beginning philosophies.  I see nothing happening to change that opinion at this point except i think the chances of the latter option being more and more remote.

My students see themselves increasingly as entitled and victimized.  They believe the government owes them something apparently just for being alive.  They do not believe there should be consequences for choices or behaviors; there is no right or wrong for them except for what they wish to have done for them.  They wish only to feed at the government trough and receive the same portions as those who are productive and, even so, they do not want to have to wash the dishes. They are more than willing to buy a sense of security (not REAL security as any summary read of history would reveal) by paying for it with freedom.  I fear that is a trend that may be unstoppable since it is supported by the entertainment industry that is, to them, the royalty of our country, and is reinforced by a government that seeks more to gain votes by dependency creation than a strong country by supporting independence and self reliance.

History is pretty clear on the outcome since we are far from the first to try this experiment; nor are we the first to weaken ourselves from within.  Meantime, as we make our citizens increasingly dependent on the government, encourage them to think the government should control the means of production, and allow our nation to become increasongly dependent on other nations that do not especially like us and cultures whose sacred texts demand int he clearest of terms that they kill us, the danger of our collapse from within is exacerbated by the dangers from without with a decreasing ability to deal with either of them.

So I am pretty much fearful for our future and in some ways a little thankful that at my age I may not live to see us fall apart as I think we will do if we continue on this trend line.  I lived to see America at its greatest and that is cool but it makes me sad to see us in decline and heading for what, to me, is an obvious cliff.

I’m not sure, however, that it can all be put at the feet of TV, though that certainly is a part.  A lot of it must be laid at the feet of academia.  Peopled as it is by folks who have never had to interact in the real world and can live vicariously not on their own actions but on the reading of other people’s ideas (not actions), and who, as Arthur C. Clarke wrote, suffered from having their education surpass their intellect. They preach a warm and fuzzy view of economic and historical pabalum designed precisely to keep the slop in that government trough flowing because, for them, it has to.

Every great autocrat in the last two centuries was helped if not outright ushered into power by the denizens of academia — the intelligentsia, who wished for a savior to protect them from the real world and then were stunned at the results which were quickly and inexplicably ignored by their academic progeny.  I have never understood that failure to learn from the past except tp accept that they had left their students in no better position to accurately review the current and historical situation, much less to fend for themselves in the real world, than they were.  Yet I see it in action almost every day on campus where, if it were not for the blessings of tenure, more than a few would find themselves out on the street where their level of competence would have consequences they most likely would not enjoy.  They have, therefore, a vested interest in maintaining and accelerating this trend to entitlement.

To paraphrase George Bernard Shaw, government has come to the point where it enhances elections by the incompetent many with the appointments by the corrupt few.  Churchill once opined that the best argument against democracy was a five-minute conversation with the average voter.  And even Plato characterized democracy as the rule of fools.  Benjamin Franklin said he and his companions had given us a Republic… if we could hold on to it.  But I think it is slipping through our grasp.  And we have allowed that by allowing our so-called representatives to end up representing only themselves and their own interestes and therefore, to bring this back to the early part, telling us not the truth but what we want to hear.  The first clue was when they first exempted themselves from some law passed on us. Why that was not a major red flag in the face of the electorate can only be explained by the comments of Churchill and Plato above.

My impact on the situation is limited.  I can give my one vote.  Since i am not dead and do not live in Chicago,  I cannot continue to vote for the democratic candidate a few more times (regardless of who my live personage voted for) so one vote is all I get.  Therefore I can only now and then vent and rant about it such as I do here.

But we dying few who would prefer a state of self reliance where Maslow’s idea of Self Actualization was still the highest of our psychological goals, are a shrinking democraphic, happily so in the eyes of most of my students.  They will never know the freedoms I knew, the joy of successful productivity I was allowed and even encouraged to experience, or the  “rush” of attaining, now and then, that state of self actualization.  But not experiencing it they will probably not miss it either.  The founders wrote that our system would not survive the point where the citizens realized they could vote themselves goodies from the national treasury, forgetting it was theirs in the first place.  We are at that point, our toes are, in my opinion already over that line.  A few months will tell us if we will walk totally over it or draw back from it.

I know which I prefer but that is, alas, not what I expect to happen.  I am not sure enough of us who are old enough to remember those freedoms and joys are still around to vote, or even care anymore. or if in our antique dottage now we also simply want to play out our days with the youngsters at that same government trough.  And we don’t want to do the dishes either.


Posted by on January 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


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De Tocqueville on American Culture, Religious Influence, & Devotion to Equality

San Diego – Much has been made by modern secular progressives and liberals that Americans, including our Founding Fathers, were never all that enthralled with religion per se or with Christianity specifically.  They cite the 1st Amendment as evidence and conveniently forget both the words per se and the annunciated reasons for it.  And they especially ignore that while it mandated that the government never establish a State Religion (which they claim demonstrates their antipathy to religion in general), it also specifically protected the fee expression of religion by the citizens.  Oops…

Modern liberal spokesmouths would have you believe that any association with Judeao-Christian core values was utterly coincidental and that, as King Barrack said, we owed as much to Muslim influences as to Christian or Jewish ones for our founding principles.  That is a little hard to square with the Koran’s directions relative to Jews and Christians that the good Muslim will convert them or “smite their necks” as was done to Daniel Pearl and those who followed him into the merciful clutches of their  righteous Muslim captors.

Yet, In spite of that, the current attacks on both Jewish and Christian traditions coupled with the open acceptance of Muslim traditions does not seem even the slightest bit contradictory to the sycophants fawning before his majesty.  No one notices or finds anything unusual when the National Day of Prayer, started by President Truman and observed for decades is ignored and that at the White House the observation is cancelled because it might offend some groups.  Who, for instance?  Perhaps the 50,000 Muslims that came for THEIR national Day of prayer held on Capital Hill in 2009.  They had no reason for concern since the King had already declared that we were not a Christian Nation.  Now tell me Reverend Wright did not have an influence here…

It is hard for us, the non-readers and politically naive in 2011, to know whether that assertion about the lack of religious influence in the past was true or not. The disciples of our anointed one seem to decide truth not on facts but upon His  Sacred Words from behind the prompter.  And for the others simply too lazy to check facts, that appearance of uncertainty is precisely what liberals hope you conclude because in that vacuum of self imposed ignorance it is easy for nearly any gibberish to be sucked in to fill the void.

But, unfortunately for them, there were lots of eye witnesses who wrote prodigiously about it, not to mention the volumes written by the founders themselves because, as they noted, they knew they were creating something very different and wanted to be sure people later could understand their intent.  The founders would be astonished that modern people wishing to claim ignorance of intent or wishing the intent to be different than what is was, insist no such documentation exists.  For that to be true all libraries would need to be burned to the ground.  Based on the unwillingness of his adulating followers or the adoring press to verify the pronouncements however, they might as well be.

Surely there must be a few who did their homework and discovered the disconnect between his assertions and reality.  No problem, the answer cannot by definition be that he is wrong so it must be that the founders themselves were too close to it and too biased to assess, objectively, how early newly minted American citizens felt and therefore could not speak accurately for themselves. OK, but there is another source often overlooked or ignored and he had no actions to support or personal decision to explain.  In fact, he was not even writing FOR an American audience.

In 1835 Alexis De Tocqueville major French political thinker and historian (1805-1859) published the first edition and volume of his famous work, “Democracy in America”.  His timing was unique and fortuitous; he visited us at a crucial crossroads in American History and worked to capture the essence of American culture and values developing as, after two wars to assure our political stability and freedom from European colonialism, we transitioned into something unknown in the rest of the world, a country virtually obsessed with the concepts of equality. He was a true liberal before the term was hijacked by modern progressives.  He believed in objective observations and gave little credence to the value of power derived through some sense of elitism or anointed authority.

He noted the irony of having northern States, where old concepts of aristocracy were dead or dying and the loss of hereditary wealth and power generated an obsession with the work ethic and equality of opportunity to become the test of value, and a collection of southern States where a landed aristocracy, kept in place like the patricians of Rome and Ancient Greece by a slave-based economy, held on to those aristocratic values and ideals though he saw them as doomed to failure.

But, getting back to the main point here, he also wrote clearly about the role that religion played in the thinking of Americans and below are some quotes to that effect as he discusses the relationships between religion and the broader national culture.

“Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious. There is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

“There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equaled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfills all the outward duties of religion with fervor.

“Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country.”

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (New York: A. S. Barnes & Co., 1851 ed.), pp. 331, 332, 335, 336-7, 337.

OK, let’s hear you spin those observations into assertions of secular deists only marginally attached to any religious values…

Also aware of the rise of socialistic philosophies in Europe he saw America as a great experimental testing ground and wrote of the “Political Consequences of the Social State of the Anglo-Americans” by comparing how European socialists and Americans dealt with the concept of equality in Volumes One, Part I, Chapter 3.  He not only recognized our great potential strengths, he also recognized our great potential weaknesses and the traps into which we might fall.

“But one also finds in the human heart a depraved taste for equality, which impels the weak to want to bring the strong down to their level, and which reduces men to preferring equality in servitude to inequality in freedom”

“…Furthermore, when citizens are all almost equal, it becomes difficult for them to defend their independence against the aggressions of power. As none of them is strong enough to fight alone with advantage, the only guarantee of liberty is for everyone to combine forces. But such a combination is not always in evidence.

“…“Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude”.

It appears we have fallen into most of those traps.  It is one thing to espouse a personal philosophy that prefers socialism, or secular humanism flowing from Rousseau and Godwin and Marx over the philosophy flowing from Locke and Burke and Jefferson.  Those are legitimate debates to be had.  But they need to be held based on facts not on wishes, and they need to be based on a history that corresponds to reality not on a re-written version that ignores inconvenient facts.

If one believes that religion per se is inherently negative and we, as a country, should turn away from such “superstitions” that is their right.  But it is disingenuous at best and openly deceitful to try to base such an argument on a fabricated history which claims that we NEVER were a religious culture or that the religious tenets of our culture flowed from anything other than Judaeo-Christian roots.

It was De Tocqueville who coined the phrase that “In every democracy the people get the government they deserve.”  if we continue to vote based not on historical realities or on easily verifiable truths but on concepts openly opposed to our long held values then we will get what we deserve but not something that will preserve the nation as we know it.

When we as a democracy, allow all three branches of government to ignore or de facto repeal our Constitution and then allow the media to abrogate its job of finding the truth in favor of supporting its own biases, then all that is left to us is our votes.  And when those votes are primarily cast by people who believe they are entitled to feed at the government trough, and who, as De Tocqueville noted above, “… want to bring the strong down to their level,” and who prefer, “equality in servitude to inequality in freedom”  then as I have said before,  we are truly doomed.

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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Uncategorized


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Revolution Revisited: Libya, Bahrain, and More to Come.

I can’t tell you how much flak I took because I suggested that the recent events in Egypt not only did not amount to a revolution per se, but that they were not a democratic upswelling of the populace nor the progeny of social networking.  In fact, I asserted they were what amounted to a bloodless coup by the military using the protestors as cover.  For the gall of suggesting that “the people” had not risen up and overthrown a dictator I was seen as reactionary at best and an more likely an idiot… and then it got ugly.

Amazingly I got it from all sides.  The left-leaning were incensed because I cast water on the fires burning for their messiah-in-Chief and suggesting his apparent foreign policy was amateurish and dangerous, that is if it existed at all.  The right-leaning were incensed that I cast water on the fires burning for their martyred hero, “W” by suggesting that his dream of spreading democracy by example was naïve.   And the youth were incensed that I cast water on the fires of their fervent belief that youth and exhuberance coupled with the sacred Facebook could accomplish anything by virtue of its own sincerity and enthusiasm and that anything so accomplished would, by definition, be a good thing.

Let me introduce you to Bahrain and Libya.   Perhaps the people in those places too were emboldened by those misconceptions and thanks to the cheerleading of the media believed that a groundswell of democractic ideals was in the process of sweeping the middle eastern dictators and theorcratic tyrants from their thrones.  They certainly had reason to wish a change in their own oppressive autocratic regime as would so many in that region.  It does not take that much education to see that the monarchies are too self serving to worry overly much about the populace as long as their own coffers are kept full to overflowing.  So long as they can hop on their own jetliners and escape observance they can flaunt their devotion to Mohammed in public and then engage on whatever manner of debauchery and excess they desire in practice and away from scrutiny.

Unfortunately both monarchs and theocrats bought into the same mistakes Marx did in not really recognizing the cultural-social positive impact of the middle class and established socialist/communist style economies so that the leaders are getting rich while the people are getting poorer and more subservient and dependent.  Many of those countries are ripe for a revolt; if the revolt went well – a complete uncertainty and not the statistical norm – then such an event, after the smoke cleared and the blood was washed away, would be good for them.  Sadly the history of revolutions is not one filled with good endings for the world or for the people.  The lure of power and ill gotten gain is too powerful and most end in what has been referred to as a “kleptocracy” or a rule by thieves of the people.  Machiavelli is still the most accurate predictor of their behavior because his directions to his own Prince, Lorenzo de Medici, actually worked and worked well.  To understand the holding of power read him.

To bolster their regime’s security and longevity no matter how disgruntled the populace, those countries have followed the obvious and successful tactics of every dictatorship in history: they disarmed the people.   Things were different for, say, the French revolution.  Pitchfork-armed citizens were, in sufficient numbers, a better match for musket and sword wielding soldiers.  Now, virtually no number of pitchfork, knife, sword, or even pistol wielding citizens can match automatic weapons, artillery, ordinance, air power, and chemicals used by the army.  Ask the Kurds in Iraq, or the protestors in Tripoli for examples.  No amount of enthusiasm, sincerity, desperation, anger, or need can overcome a larger number of better armed, better trained, better led, and better fed body fighting for their privileged position.

I said in the first piece that the protestors in Egypt could protest in relative peace for one reason only: the army allowed it.  And that meant, necessarily, that the army had something to gain by it.   In Bahrain the people also rose up to protest the situation.  And they rose up in some pretty good numbers vis-à-vis the proportion of the population.  And they were routed from their assembly area by gas attacks like swatting flies.  By whom or what?  What, according to the press and wishful thinking could so easily route such enthusiasm and sincerity?  The Army.  They were beaten by the army that, in that case, is interested in maintaining the current government.  Similarly in Tripoli the security forces are in control.  But in Benghazi, the army appears to have sided with the protestors and there THEY are in control.  In both cases, who is in control?  The army.  And in Libya this is far more a tribal row fomenting civil war than a true overall revolution.  Also the Libyan despot, who completely understood what i just said, kept the military fragmented so it could NOT perform a coup d’etat against him so the end game will be somewhat up for grabs here.

Over the next few days this will play out to some conclusion.  There are several optional scenarios.  Will enough of the citizens join in to where the army realizes it has a loyalty to the country that is higher than its loyalty to the individuals leading it?  If so the ‘revolt’ will succeed.  But if not; if the army remains firm, then they could decimate the entire population without breaking a sweat.  If the army is made up of more fundamental Muslim thinkers then the individual is of far less importance than they would be to us and it will get really ugly.

I was also called to task for my characterization of the “peaceful” Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt.  After all, our own intel man in the White House called them secular and moderate and driven only by Egyptian Nationals interests.  That man is either a political pawn, an illiterate idiot, or has a position to promote that is not in any western country’s best interests and certainly not ours.   That view can only come from following someone else’s talking points and doing no, I mean ZERO, ZED, NADA independent research into the matter on their own.  To substantiate that I included a URL to the page of the Brotherhood’s own website that displayed their Mission Statements and By-Laws.  Why would you not believe their own charter?  Well here is a reason: the response, not just from me but from others was so great that the English language site for MB just took down the page with their by-laws on it so outsiders could not read them.   Hmmmmmm.  Go to that link and you will see the message that the page is “no longer available.”  Why not unless it was not something you wanted to outside world to see?  Fortunately some of it i copied down the first time i visited it.   Clearly, the purpose of the MB or Ikhwan was to unify the predominantly Islamic countries under a new caliphate and subordinating all lands to the rule of a single caliph, under shariah law.  In its bylaws The Muslim Brotherhood makes clear the organization’s objectives and how it intends to achieve them:

“The Muslim Brotherhood is an International Muslim body which seeks to establish Allah’s law in the land by achieving the spiritual goals of Islam and the true religion which are namely the following: . . . (F) the need to work on establishing the Islamic State; [and] (G) The sincere support for a global cooperation in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Sharia.”

Chapter II, Article 3 of the MB’s bylaws states:

“The Muslim Brotherhood in achieving these objectives depends on the following means: . . . (D) Make every effort for the establishment of educational, social, economic, and scientific institutions and the establishment of mosques, schools, clinics, shelters, clubs, as well as the formation of committees to regulate zakat affairs and alms; (E) The Islamic nation must be fully prepared to fight the tyrants and the enemies of Allah as a prelude to establishing the Islamic state.”

So tell me again about their secular nature and interest only in Egypt.  Ah, but it then got even better.  E-mailed responses tried to tell me that Islam was completely and thoroughly a religion of peace and that true believers abhorred violence and condemned it.  Really?  And where are those voices of condemnation to be found, much less heard occupying the world stage?  This is a religion with lots of believers scattered around the world.  So where is the world-wide murmur of condemnation for acts of terror and the murder of both muslims of other “denominations” and non muslims all in the name of Mohammed?  I don’t mean a few isolated rational voices which certainly exist, but a ground swell of push-back against the apostate terrorists?  If these extremeists and Jihadists have truly highjacked the religion then where are the voices of the highjacked believers complaining about it?

The truth is that what we call extremists are simply following the words in their sacred text.  Again, if you don’t believe me then read the book; read the Qu’raan itself.  It is not long, it uses simple words, and it does not ever, ever equivocate.  You will not have to “interpret” anything, unlike the often cryptic Judaeo-Christian Bible.  For your own purposes you may be able to force spin in it some direction or the other (and it even clearly says a believer is encouraged to lie to non-believers to advance their cause which might explain some Muslim Brotherhood statements that contradict their own By-Laws ) but it will require you to do it in contravention of the clear meaning of the words themselves.

I’m waiting…

And while I’m waiting to hear the litany of world wide voices condemning terrorists and murder as being anti-Islam let me ask this… even if they actually materialized, how does one reconcile them with such Qu’raanic verses as, Surah II, 216 which states clearly,

“Warfare is ordained for you though it is hateful to you. It may happen that you hate something that is good for you or love a thing that is bad for you.  Allah knoweth, you know not.”

There is an apparent huge contradiction of attitude in the book but it is easily explained by history.  Early on when followers were few and surrounded by enemies they were told to be nice and cool and friendly to avoid being simply exterminated.  But by the time Medina was taken and Mohammed was in tight control of an impressive army, the gloves came off.  Now he could have kept to the original peaceful vision that got him that far… had it been what he really wanted.  But instead, once the ability was there with virtually no risk of self destruction, his real goals and beliefs were given free reign and he had no problems seeing every non-believer as someone to be converted or killed or, when it was a population segment that possessed special and needed skills, allowed to live and work but under very restricted and oppressive conditions.  Islam was not spread by the good word, it was spread by the sharp sword.  Still think I’m making it up?  Then read on in the good holy book of these peaceful folks:

Surah III, 196-197.  Let not the vicissitude of the success of those who disbelieve deceive thee.  It is but a brief comfort.  And afterward their habitation will be hell, an ill abode.

Surah V, 10.  They who disbelieve and deny our revelations, such are the rightful owners of hell. .. (14) And with those who say, “Lo, we are Christians,” we made a covenant but they forgot a part of that whereof they were admonished.  Therefore we have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the day of resurrection.  (51.) Oh ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for friends.  They are friends to one another.  He among you who takes them for friends is one of them.  Allah does not guide wrongdoing folk.

Surah VIII, 12-13.  … So make those who believe stand firm.  I (Allah) will throw fear into the hearts of those who disbelieve.  Then smite the necks and smite of them each finger.  That is because they oppose Allah and his messenger.  Lo!  Allah is severe in punishment.   (38-39) Tell those who disbelieve that if they cease from persecution of the believers that which is past shall be forgiven them.  But if they return thereto, then the example of the men of old hath already gone before them for a warning.  Fight them until the persecution is no more and religion is all for Allah.  (65) O Prophet, exhort the believers to fight.  If there be of you (believers) twenty steadfast they shall overcome two hundred and if there be one thousand steadfast they shall overcome two thousand by permission of Allah.  Allah is with the steadfast.  It is not for any prophet to have captives until he hath made slaughter in the land.

Surah IX, 36. … Wage war on all the idolaters as they are waging war on all of you.  And know that Allah is with those who keep their duty unto him. (123) O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you and let them find harshness in you and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty unto Him.

So, hey, if you want to go on believing that the Egyptian event culminating in the removal of the dictator Mubarak was the result of some protestors following the call of Facebook and Twitter or that any Muslim organizations that might wish to coopt it are really only interested in peace with their neighbors, then go ahead.  But start now practicing the explanations for why in other areas (can we spell “Iran”) that same approach has been, shall we say kindly, somewhat less successful.  For me, I would assert, rather, that the way to carry off a successful overthrow of an oppressive government or at least to survive the attempt, is to first gain the ear and sympathies of the army.  Don’t spend time putting your money on demonstrators, spend time putting money on the ones with the weapons.  Protests and Demonstrations are not revolutions; regime overthrow is a revolution.  Figurehead replacement is not a revolution; replacing or converting the real power often behind the thrown is revolution.

Pay attention to the events of history.  Remember Tieneman Square in China.  The revolt failed but one lone man did the unthinkable and stood in front of a tank moving in to clear out the rest of the protestors.  The cause was already lost but this one incredibly brave soul had one last act in him.  The tanks and army had already brutally crushed revolt-minded citizens but then one tank driver, dealing not with a hostile crowd but with one brave citizen, would not run him down.

That is how you win your revolt.  That moment of revolution failed, but that image has, in the end, done more to bring about change in China than all of those other protestors who died combined.  And it happened because he was lucky enough to stand in front of a soldier who would not kill his own peaceful people.  Others may well have had no problem driving over him but not that one driver.  One citizen and one soldier connected in that time and place and a continuing massacre was averted.  One citizen and one soldier were photographed and flashed around the world and the government could simply not pretend it did not happen.

And finally I was assailed because I said it was better in Egypt that the army remained in control than if the “democratic” protestors had actually taken over.  I said that because stability in the region and the potential of improving the lot of the Egyptian people is, to me, a better goal than simply some change of governmental form with a name that we like.  Creating a government, especially an otherwise unknown and untried form of government is not an easy or quick task.  How many revolutions do we have to review to understand that when the mob wins, for whatever reason, it is usually unable to rule?  That job falls to the better organized groups waiting in the wings to let the others get bloody then take over.  It happened in the Russian revolution which was taken over by the thuggish Bolsheviks once the Tsar was toppled.  It happened in Iran.  It happened in Cuba.  It happened in China.  Never forget that Hitler rose to power in a completely democratic way winning his elections to power as vestiges of the old republic were swept away.  The iconic revolution of the French saw desperate people topple the monarchy and then fall under Robespierre and the reign of terror.  America is one of the very few revolutions in history that came out OK but it was led by people who already had experience in the administration of a civil government.

The Shia/Sunni divide is simmering just under the surface in the middle east, power brokers for both sides are looking for every chance to advance their territory in preparation of a great internal struggle they know is coming and we are ignoring or denying.  They are watching these countries in turmoil and looking for an opening provided by a desperate people wanting change from despots but unable to actually govern for themselves due to lack of organization and experience.

We need to be very, very careful what we ask for from these so-called revolutions.  We may be sorely troubled by the results if we get it.

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Posted by on February 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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