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Blind Anger Is Going to Destroy Us…

History is clear about some things and among those is that if you give anger enough fuel it will lead to violence.   Charles Hayek wrote, “It doesn’t take much of a trigger to push extremely large crowds of very angry protesters into committing acts of rioting and violence. And rioting and violence can ultimately lead to widespread civil unrest and calls for ‘revolution’.”  Among the photos and videos of the latest protests is a picture of a woman holding up a sign that reads, “Remove Trump by any means necessary!”  My God people, don’t you see where this is going?

Many of you are already engaged in selective amnesia over Trump’s Executive Directive to temporarily restrict immigration from 7 (of the 50) predominantly Muslim countries in the world, having forgotten that in 2011 Saint Barack issued an identical temporary ban on refugees from Iraq until a better vetting system could be created.  His administration also was the compiler of the list that Trump used to designate countries for his temporary ban.  But for disciples of Saint Barack he was just trying to keep us safe while the evil Trump demon is seen as being un-American and simply tearing down the fabric of our country.  The only substantive difference was in scope and that as disciples you were prostrating yourselves at the feet  of your political messiah and now are in rending your clothes and engaging in emotional self-flagellation in shock that there are actually people out there dumb enough to reject his (to you) enlightened teachings.  Therefore even for similar or even identical actions if Saint Barack does it, it has to be good and if Demon Trump does the same thing it has to be bad and therefore, by definition based on initiator and despite identical effects, they cannot be the same things.  But the only REAL differences, other than length of ban, was that Obama was smart enough to do it quietly and Trump was narcissistic enough to make a production and spectacle of it.   Even arch liberal attorney from Harvard, Allan Dershowitz opined that whether one favored it or not on a policy basis he thought this would pass Constitutional muster.

I was not completely sold on the efficiency of the ban when Obama did it and feel the same now.  There are too many holes in it to be effective and thus far no details on the better vetting being promised.  But good grief, folks, get a grip.  Obama’s temporary ban was for 6 months and whether or not it actually kept any bad guys out the country still stood and no massive upheaval took place.  I assume there was no evidence of it working because if there were ANY evidence it stopped so much as one attack we would have heard about it endlessly from Obama the same as he claimed he killed Bin Laden.  Trump’s ban is for 90 days and the odds are good we will survive it as well.

But the amnesia goes deeper into territory beyond the merely hypocritical and into the dangerous zone.  For those with at least a smattering of remembered history, you have to recall that only once in the political history of the planet has an attempted revolution ended upon a better note than it started and that was our War of Independence from England.  Every other  Revolution, from France ending in the Reign of Terror to Russia ending in the Stalin blood baths, to the Chinese atrocities by Mao’s Red Army, revolution has been a predictable recipe for long term disaster for the country.  Over a century and a half later our own country is really not completely over the rancor from our own civil war.  Almost a century ago, the National Socialist Party in Germany was correct that the Weimar Republic was destroying their country but the result of their overturning existing structures was Adolph Hitler.  Statistically the attempts at regime change by extra- systemic means is most likely to lead to something worse than what was overturned.

For me, the division that created the grid lock of the last years has ossified in the congress and culture to fashion a division that threatens to tear us apart with far greater power and skill than any foreign enemy could do.  And continuing the dialogue of hatred simply exacerbates the problem.  The continued ad hominem slurs flung wildly at each other do not serve to persuade anyone to change sides and only cause the warring factions to dig their heels in deeper.  There is so much history to let you know that you are, on both sides of this, simply hurting the country more that the hated other side could ever do by itself.  My ancestors, the Highland Scots were too busy launching clan against clan to have any chance of a strong coordinated front against the British.  The American Indian tribes were too busy counting coup on each other to join forces to hold the Europeans at bay.  One time tribes united and wiped out Custer but then quickly broke apart and were easy prey.  Is your growing hatred so great you cannot see what you are doing to the far more important entity than your sainted candidates? (That would be the country by the way.)  You claim you want to save the country from the evil hordes massed on the other side of the political spectrum; but they, equally fervent and sincere in their beliefs, claim exactly the same thing.  And together you leave us broken and defenseless from the real enemies out there.

Some of you are so taken by the hatred for the other side I am frankly embarrassed to admit I know you.  And that statement is aimed in BOTH directions.  But this time the overt hatred seems to be coming mostly from the left.  You were scandalized by the rightwing stonewalling Obama accusing them, accurately I think, of not thinking about the country.  Well guess what guys, now you are doing the same.

The real problem I see is that you are high centering on a basket of red herrings when other more important and problematic activities are taking place quietly.  From an internal perspective, Trump’s creating a private security force to replace some of the Secret Service responsibilities has some frightening negative potential from a historical perspective.  His declaring as a candidate for 2020 is hard to explain other than as a ploy to allow funding available to candidates but not to presidents along with other shields for activities that would be blocked for him as a president.  His reshuffling of his intelligence and security departments and meetings may be a good thing but it needs to be explained to a skeptical nation because it could also be easily interpreted as a means of consolidating power for a coup into tyranny.  I think many of the departments need a major shaking up, but because such shake up can go in multiple directions I think the initiator of those actions needs to explain them and his rationale to the public.

From a geopolitical perspective, we are a single step away from chaos and war on a grand scale. Let’s review…  Iran is testing ballistic missiles claiming it is for “defense.” Really?  Their intercepted communications are exploring the concept of using HEMP (High altitude ElectroMagnetic Pulse) weapons against the great Satan which, in case you have forgotten, is us.   North Korea is testing nukes and delivery vehicles.  China has been creating new militarized islands in the territorial waters of Vietnam and Philippines and a few months ago, sent a naval fleet into U.S. Territorial waters.  Russia has taken and claimed other neighboring countries and twice strafed U.S. naval vessels in international waters.  India is busily damming and redirecting water from a river that flows through Pakistan and is considered their “river of life” and over which they have stated they would go to war and pre-emptively use their nukes. And ISIS continues its harangue to kill Americans wherever they can be found.

Meantime on the home front, to help coalesce opposing parties into a unified front we have idiots openly supporting the concept of an assassination as an acceptable solution to the demon Trump situation.  Maybe we have reached the end of track for our country and between internal morons trying to take us apart in violence and outside villains doing all they can to destabilize us even further and then pick us off we are way into borrowed time.

Your reality checks have bounced… you are sitting on the back of a tiger but worried about the rats.

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Posted by on January 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Ugly Reality of How it Works… And Why

San Diego — The sequester — so-called although it is a semantic oxymoron… but then again, it is elected officials we are talking about — is about a week old.  Thus far the apocalypse we were told was inevitably descending on us like a financial tsunami has failed to materialize.  But an odd dance is now playing out that ought to tell everyone willing to watch and (dare I say it?) THINK, just what kind of stuff our leadership is made of… and how badly it smells.

After the administration started making a career of complaining loudly and with a degree of pathos that makes a dog begging at the table seem disinterested, that due to this Draconian and unthinkable axe, critical governmental activities would be curtailed, the House offered a Bill to allow the president to be more flexible in picking and choosing what would get cut so long as the final tally was undisturbed.  Sounds reasonable.

But he reacted as if they has offered him the hot end of a branding iron… which of course is what they did by calling his bluff.  If accepted, he would now have to publicly be seen not only as the author if the idea in the first place, which he was, but now would be seen as the person picking and choosing.  That is a task guaranteed to make no one happy even though it offers the best opportunity to date to selectively get rid of the financial weeds while hoeing around and sparing the good stuff.  Worse it means he would have to make a public decision and stand by it, unable to vacillate and worm out of it with his prodigious rhetorical abilities.

At first blush though his response makes absolutely no sense.  Despite the PR danger attached, if he wishes to fundamentally transform America as he says clearly, this is probably the best chance to do it. If he is truly an enlightened leader then he would jump at the chance to demonstrate his nearly superhuman wisdom in a way to make the ghost of Solomon writhe in envy.  Even his economic God, Keanes wrote that the way to bring down a government was economics and the debauchery of the currency and Obama is doing both.  So why not go all-in and make it clear what you want to kill and what you want to protect?  After all, he claimed the almost 2% majority that voted for him was a “mandate” of biblical proportions for his policies.

But Thomas Sowell — a real economist — wrote the disturbing answer in his own blog.  And it is as frightening as it is ugly, mostly because it has that inescapable ring of truth to it that can only be associated with politics.  With apologies to Dr. Sowell since I do not have it in front of me, I’ll paraphrase it but the gist is the same.

He wrote of an exercise he used to give his students in which they were to imagine a government bureaucracy that was created and, over time, evolved into having two activities under its charge (neither of which was the original intent but then, hey, it is the government and it is a bureaucracy).  The first was to feed hungry and homeless children.  The second was to build statues in parks across the land to Benedict Arnold trying to change his image and pointing out that before his little indiscretion, explainable easily to an self-entitled populace, that he was a hero, a brilliant strategist, and that despite that, he was passed over unfairly and so therefore justified in changing sides in mid stream and treasonous stabbing his country and his benefactor in the back.  And both activities of this agency were working just fine, getting lots of government money to keep them running, and a cadre of desk-bound bureaucrats fed and coddled.

But then the budgets were slashed by the evil opposition and they would have to curtail one of the activities.  But which one?  The children or the statues?  The students, after a careful examination of other governmental decisions, came to the only politically savvy conclusion: stop feeding the children.

What?  What kind of cold-hearted wretches could come to such a stance?  Politicians and bureaucrats sadly find it a no-brainer. You cut the kids because that does two things in the agency’s benefit.  First it makes an emotional case against the cuts per se, and second, that humanitarian cause is valid and needed so sooner or later the money will be returned.

But if they cut the statue activity, too many people will look at that, wonder why we were EVER spending money on such a hare-brained scheme, and kill that activity forever.  THat is death to a bureaucrat.

Now if you have been paying attention to the news and the government’s responses to the budget cuts, this ought to start making a sort of malevolent and highly Machiavellian sense.  Good ol’ Nicollo wrote in “The Prince”  that now and then the Prince needs to turn the dogs loose on the people so they will be so grateful when he calls them off.

Meantime, the lack of national collapse is not escaping attention and is instead calling attention to all of the cries about impending doom and disaster as being, perhaps, a bit hyperbolic and, worse, political gaming.  That, of course, cannot go unpunished.  So I would expect to see, using the story example above as a metaphor, more starving kids’ programs being very publicly cut and the other side more roundly blamed for it so the current Prince can make everyone so happy when he “convinces” the spineless opposition to capitulate and give him the money he wants.

And then, just as Maciavelli predicted for Lorenzo de Medici, the people will feel gratitude and once again line up behind his banner no matter where it is actually leading them.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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More BS Flowing Down The Political Sewer Pipe

San Diego – Oh how soon we forget when it serves our purposes…  But sometimes there is that pesky videotape that someone forgot to erase when the agenda changed.  And now we have a glaring example of it.

The year was 2006.  The President was the hated Bush demon and in his evil machinations sought to raise the debt ceiling.  The left was simply apoplectic.  Senators Reid, Pelosi and, yes, Senator Barrack Obama each took to the dias and bloviated in soaring rhetoric how this was an outrage!  This was, they ALL chanted, simply so we could spend more money but we did not need to raise it for current spending obligations because all of those had to have been approved under the debt ceiling as then defined.  This was, they shrieked, merely a way to allow the administration to spend NEW money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan beyond that already approved, which they hated.

In fact, they were right.  Congress cannot approve borrowing more money than the debt ceiling in place at the moment will allow.  So every debt and liability incurred by the country at the moment has had to fit within the debt ceiling when the liability was enacted.  And, sure enough, we have the revenue to at least service the current debt even though we do not have the revenue to pay the principle down or to fund new debt.  That was true when Reid, Pelosi, Obama, et al rose to say it in 2006.  And it is still true today.

It was still true in 2008 when Obama, on the stump, called the Evil Bush Demon irresponsible and unpatriotic for allowing the national debt to reach $4 trillion on his watch, to create, he noted, a debt exceeding the total debt run up by all presidents before him.  He was correct.  But that was $6 Trillion ago.  And that additional $6 Trillion was run up not by the Evil Bush Demon but by the benighted Obamessiah,  How can that be when he was telling the truth back then.

However, he was not telling the truth today or anything even close to it.  He had to be assuming, (and with every reason to make the assumption based on the election results), that the populace is so ignorant and so burdened with short attentions that they will not only have forgotten it but those few who remembered will think they remembered in error, our Spender in Chief rose Monday morning to warn the people that if the evil right wing continued to hold America hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless some equal cuts in spending were added, we would fail economically, fail in our promises to the world, our credit would be shot, and we would no longer be a powerful nation.

Sorry Chief, that is simply a bald faced lie.  And worse.  Trying to frighten recipeients of social security and VA benefits is disingenuous because he knows full well that the payment of those specific benefits is protected by Federal law.  It is more than disingenuous, it is sleazy and duplicitous.

And, Dear Leader, it contradicts your own surprisingly well reasoned diatribe against raising the debt ceiling for the Evil Bush Demon which, against all odds, actually caught you doing something unusual, telling… the truth.  Well, some of the truth anyway.

Raising the debt ceiling is wanted and needed solely so we can raise our debt.  Duh.  Obama’s problem is that as a country, we do not take in the revenue to pay for the desired levels of spending especially when the leadership wants to turn us overnight into a Scandinavian model socialist democracy.  But this is not a result of incompetence.  I believe it is an obvious part of strategy 101.

If we continue, year after year to raise the debt ceiling and then borrow up to it so we need to raise it again to spend and borrow more, sooner or later that house of cards will come crumbling down just as it does to a family who tries the same thing.  And then we have a choice.  We can do what we are doing now which is simply push the day of reckoning down the line so our kids and their kids will have to deal with the catastrophe we are creating, or we have to belly up to the bar and cough up the revenues into the public coffers to pay for it.

The problem is then we will have to believe that a Congress known most of all for its profligate spending (and yes, this includes the mainstream Republicans as well who differentiate themselves from the liberals only be want to spend a little less and a little slower, will take that added revenue and put it toward paying down the debt instead of simply expanding new programs.  You do all believe they will all suddenly be bitten by the bug of restraint, don’t you?  I’m sure I do…  NOT!

The only chance this generation has of getting the debt under control is to stop increasing the debt faster than it can be paid down.  And that needs to start now.  Will it happen?  I doubt it.  The citizenry unburdened by any real knowledge of the issues or the consequences, hearing only what they want to hear and even then only if buried in the speech is a promise for more stuff to flow down into the public trough, are apparently clueless.

Obama has an uncanny ability to avoid issues and solutions while successfully painting any who oppose his view as the enemy, not just of him, though that is bad enough in his eyes, but of the country, of the children, of the poor, of the minorities, of women, of anyone whose status allows the inference of some ugly label to be applied to his opposition.

Amazing.  Sad.  Maddening.  I think perhaps we need the object lesson  now rushing at us like an out of control freight train while we, in our economically and ethically broken jalopy sit here broken down on the track.  Maybe those left standing, after they have clawed their way back to fiscal responsibility and productivity will, at least for another generation, remember.

Despite government promises to the contrary, there really is no free lunch.  And this lunch is going to have one Hell of a bill.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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A Voice of Moderation from the Intelligence World

San Diego — I had barely uploaded the last post when I received the latest comments by George Friedman, Geopolitical analyst of Stratfor.  I love those guys as your know.  He has a different take on the election results and how it will impact us domestically and geo-politically.  In the interest of fairness and to widen your understanding of such things, with permission of Stratfor to republish his article, here it is.  Please read it carefully.

—————— Republication of Stratfor Article Follows————————————————–

The Elections, Gridlock, and Foreign Policy By George Friedman

The United States held elections last night, and nothing changed. Barack Obama remains president. The Democrats remain in control of the Senate with a non-filibuster-proof majority. The Republicans remain in control of the House of Representatives.

The national political dynamic has resulted in an extended immobilization of the government. With the House — a body where party discipline is the norm — under Republican control, passing legislation will be difficult and require compromise. Since the Senate is in Democratic hands, the probability of it overriding any unilateral administrative actions is small. Nevertheless, Obama does not have enough congressional support for dramatic new initiatives, and getting appointments through the Senate that Republicans oppose will be difficult.

There is a quote often attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “That government is best which governs the least because its people discipline themselves.” I am not sure that the current political climate is what was meant by the people disciplining themselves, but it is clear that the people have imposed profound limits on this government. Its ability to continue what is already being done has not been curbed, but its ability to do much that is new has been blocked.

The Plan for American Power

The gridlock sets the stage for a shift in foreign policy that has been under way since the U.S.-led intervention in Libya in 2011. I have argued that presidents do not make strategies but that those strategies are imposed on them by reality. Nevertheless, it is always helpful when the subjective wishes of a president and necessity coincide, even if the intent is not the same.

In previous articles and books, I have made the case that the United States emerged as the only global power in 1991, when the Soviet Union fell. It emerged unprepared for its role and uncertain about how to execute it. The exercise of power requires skill and experience, and the United States had no plan for how to operate in a world where it was not faced with a rival. It had global interests but no global strategy.

This period began in 1991 and is now in the process of ending. The first phase consisted of a happy but illusory period in which it was believed that there were no serious threats to the United States. This was replaced on 9/11 with a phase of urgent reaction, followed by the belief that the only interest the United States had was prosecuting a war against radical Islamists.

Both phases were part of a process of fantasy. American power, simply by its existence, was a threat and challenge to others, and the world remained filled with danger. On the other hand, focusing on one thing obsessively to the exclusion of all other matters was equally dangerous. American foreign policy was disproportionate, and understandably so. No one was prepared for the power of the United States.

During the last half of the past decade, the inability to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with economic problems, convinced reasonable people that the United States had entered an age of permanent decline. The sort of power the United States has does not dissipate that fast. The disintegration of European unity and the financial crisis facing China have left the United States, not surprisingly, still the unchallenged global power. The issue is what to do with that power.

The defeated challenger in the U.S. election, Mitt Romney, had a memorable and important turn of phrase when he said that you can’t kill your way out of the problems of the Middle East. The point that neither Romney nor Obama articulated is what you do instead in the Middle East — and elsewhere.

Constant use of military force is not an option. See the example of the British Empire: Military force was used judiciously, but the preferred course was avoiding war in favor of political arrangements or supporting enemies of enemies politically, economically and with military aid. That was followed by advisers and trainers — officers for native troops. As a last resort, when the balance could not hold and the issue was of sufficient interest, the British would insert overwhelming force to defeat an enemy. Until, as all empires do, they became exhausted.

The American strategy of the past years of inserting insufficient force to defeat an enemy that could be managed by other means, and whose ability to harm the United States was limited, would not have been the policy of the British Empire. Nor is it a sustainable policy for the United States. When war comes, it must be conducted with overwhelming force that can defeat the enemy conclusively. And war therefore must be rare because overwhelming force is hard to come by and enemies are not always easy to beat. The constant warfare that has characterized the beginning of this century is strategically unsustainable.

Libya and Syria

In my view, the last gasp of this strategy was Libya. The intervention there was poorly thought out: The consequences of the fall of Moammar Gadhafi were not planned for, and it was never clear why the future of Libya mattered to the United States. The situation in Libya was out of control long before the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi. It was a case of insufficient force being applied to an uncertain enemy in a war that did not rise to the level of urgency.

The U.S. treatment of Syria is very different. The United States’ unwillingness to involve itself directly with main military force, in spite of urgings from various directions, is an instance in which even a potentially important strategic goal — undermining Iranian influence in Syria — could be achieved by depending on regional powers to manage the problem or to live with it as they choose. Having provided what limited aid was required to destabilize the Syrian government, the United States was content to let the local balance of power take its course.

It is not clear whether Obama saw the doctrine I am discussing — he certainly didn’t see it in Libya, and his Syrian policy might simply have been a reaction to his miscalculations in Libya. But the subjective intentions of a leader are not as important as the realities he is responding to, however thoughtfully or thoughtlessly. It was clear that the United States could not continue to intervene with insufficient forces to achieve unclear goals in countries it could not subdue.

Nor could the United States withdraw from the world. It produces almost one-quarter of the world’s GDP; how could it? The historical answer was not a constant tempo of intervention but a continual threat of intervention, rarely fulfilled, coupled with skillful management of the balance of power in a region. Even better, when available as a course, is to avoid even the threat of intervention or any pretense of management and let most problems be solved by the people affected by it.

This is not so much a policy as a reality. The United States cannot be the global policeman or the global social worker. The United States is responsible for pursuing its own interests at the lowest possible cost. If withdrawal is impossible, avoiding conflicts that do not involve fundamental American interests is a necessity because garrison states — nations constantly in a state of war — have trouble holding on to power. Knowing when to go to war is an art, the heart of which is knowing when not to go to war.

One of the hardest things for a young empire to master is the principle that, for the most part, there is nothing to be done. That is the phase in which the United States finds itself at the moment. It is coming to terms not so much with the limits of power as the nature of power. Great power derives from the understanding of the difference between those things that matter and those that don’t, and from a ruthless indifference to those that don’t. It is a hard thing to learn, but history is teaching it to the United States.

The Domestic Impasse

The gridlock in which this election has put the U.S. government is a suitable frame for this lesson. While Obama might want to launch major initiatives in domestic policy, he can’t. At the same time, he seems not to have the appetite for foreign adventures. It is not clear whether this is simply a response to miscalculation or a genuine strategic understanding, but in either case, adopting a more cautious foreign policy will come naturally to him. This will create a framework that begins to institutionalize two lessons: First, it is rarely necessary to go to war, and second, when you do go to war, go with everything you have. Obama will follow the first lesson, and there is time for the second to be learned by others. He will practice the studied indifference that most foreign problems pose to the United States.

There will be a great deal of unhappiness with the second Obama administration overseas. As much as the world condemns the United States when it does something, at least part of the world is usually demanding some action. Obama will disappoint, but it is not Obama. Just as the elections will paralyze him domestically, reality will limit his foreign policy. Immobilism is something the founders would have been comfortable with, both in domestic politics and in foreign policy. The voters have given the republic a government that will give them both

The Elections, Gridlock and Foreign Policy is republished with permission of Stratfor.

——————- End of Stratfor Article ————————————————–

So there you have both, my personal feelings that we are entering a profoundly negative direction, and Stratfor’s considerably more nuanced comments.  They also will halp to prepare both Obama supporters and opposers to the realities that will face his administrations, the gridlock the elections have virtually cemented in place and, in Friedman’s view, put there purposefully by the voters to ensure some period of quiet.

Time will tell…

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Today’s (and Today’s Only) Stance on the Election

San Diego – As you may have noticed I’ve not added anything here lately.  To be honest I was burned out on what I feel is a nearly pointless activity, that is, trying to get anyone to actually think about it.  And that goal is made all the more difficult when the options to think about are both so far less than ideal as to easily render the whole process pointless.  Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum had it far more together than the options we have allowed ourselves to run for the most powerful job in the world.  Shame on us.

But I was roused a bit once again by a query from my great friend from High School, Gary, asking, following the second debate, what I thought.  And here, with some further editing and thought, is my answer.

I’m still absorbing and processing last night (the second debate between Romney and Obama) and waiting for the next one so my position truly is “in process” in terms of details and announced policies.  My bottom line “for today” is as it has been actually for the past number of elections: I would prefer another choice and will likely end up voting against a candidate rather than for one.

Both seem to have a pretty cavalier attachment to the truth or to the facts on the ground except as it serves their interest.  And that, a characteristic of every politician I can think of, and to our serious and profound discredit as a people as well as possibly our doom as a country, seems to be where we have brought ourselves these days.  But that is an indictment of US more than of them since there have always been sleazy politicians but in the past of some decades ago, the people, even with far less communication and information flow, seemed to be dedicated to seeing through it.

In terms of policies, at least as Romney has annunciated his and Obama has implemented his, I would prefer to individually select and discard policies from both sides far more than to have to live with either in their entirety.   I think we have let the debt/deficit crisis and economic issues go so far that on their own, neither the minimalist or maximalist views of government are, in the short term, practical or likely to succeed getting us over this mess.

There is no medicine for this fiscal illness that it not wretchedly distasteful and without unpleasant side effects of its own.  This cancer has spread so far that the chemo and radiation that will be required will take a serious toll on the host body even if, in the end, it manages to eradicate the disease.  And there is a frightening chance that any really viable medicine will kill the disease but at the same time, kill the patient.  That is the pitiful and pathetic and stupid place we, the people, have allowed ourselves to reach.

There was a time when, had we had people smart enough to continue to “stay the course” walking a tight rope through all of the competing interests influencing policy both domestically and foreign, when I would prefer new policies to be much nearer the minimalist ideal.  TR was perhaps my ideal in that approach; and the last of a breed.

But following first Wilson then FDR then Johnson our government had so changed into a lightly socialist balancing act, that approach grew less and less likely to work all by itself.  As I have written, liberals pine for a world that never existed and conservatives pine for a world long passed on and neither seems willing to truly face squarely the world as it is (or, to be honest, as it seems to me to be).

One item of critical need not even directly mentioned in the Constitution is education.  If Justice Brandeis could fabricate a “right of privacy” out of whole cloth from issues of general welfare, then I think it a much smaller leap to construe the government’s interest in education though it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution either.  With the availability of low tech unskilled jobs evaporating as we watch, the future of this country’s prosperity lies directly in the lap of education.

And no, I do not believe in free education as a right; I see it as a responsibility of each citizen.  But I do believe that in a country where the federal government has essentially usurped form the states the right to oversee education, then it brings upon itself the responsibility to make sure that the education available for the citizens, at least from those institutions it supports and aids, is absolutely top drawer and aimed at preparing students for the world as we see it evolving.

California has demonstrated, however, that education is a priority somewhere near the bottom rung of its ladder of interests.  When money falls short education is the first thing to be cut.  The community colleges are, let’s face it, the bulwark against such rampant unemployment as it is the most used institution to prepare individuals to enter the workplace.  But even in the proposition (30) being pitched to bring money to schools, the actual wording states that of all the money to be generated (assuming some is) only 11 percent is targeted for education and of that 11 percent only 4 percent is targeted for Community Colleges.  And even that can be dipped into if the state feels a need.

If that is how a friend of education implements policies then we have no real need for enemies.

So in the Presidential race, today, and that is the only time frame I can speak to, I am straddling the fulcrum of the balancing board tilting ever so slightly toward the Romney side but only because I sadly believe that there is something malevolent underpinning Obama’s reign; malevolent, that is, toward the notion of America as I believe it was founded.  Were his policies genuinely implemented in the single interests of getting the country back on track then the truth is some very better economic minds than mine have disagreed over it and continue to do so: some would agree with him and some do not.  That means the jury is out and a final position is far from being determined even among those in the discipline that should be able to give us some definitive answers.

But I do not believe his motives are benign or are genuine.  I believe rather that his real interests, as his books state and as he clearly stated before being in the public spotlight, are not in rescuing the country and returning it to a former state of glory but in transforming it into a far different place than I want it to be.

He believes that transformed place to be a good one.  So did Marx.  I do not.

So I will vote against him but on any numerical scale of comparisons, the difference would probably be in very small numbers.

But that vote against Obama should not be construed as a vote FOR Romney or read as if I think Romney’s policies are, in total and exclusively, what it will take to get us back on track.  I simply see Romney as less damaging to our future than Obama.

Partly that is because though I am merely and only slightly tilted toward Romney’s policies economically, I think Obama’s foreign policies will, if continued as they have been, make the world and our corner of it a far more hazardous place.  As critical as our economy is (and it certainly is reaching critical mass for the far more unemployed than Obama will admit to) it is not the only issue of the America facing the 21st century.  I think Obama has ZERO grip on that portion of our interests.   More on that will be revealed, I hope, in the final debate.

The key to our future, in any case, rests less with the presidential outcome than with the outcome of the races for congress and in the composition of the court that will flow from the result of the presidential election.   Or at least it used to.  But Obama has taken the authority upon himself to send the military into acts of war, he has taken it upon himself to determine which lawfully passed laws he will direct his administration to enforce and which to ignore.

I read one of the simpletons on Facebook declare that America would never allow a dictatorship to occur.  What is it of importance about a president openly ignoring and countermanding congress that is missing from the definition of dictator?

The world has seen, though probably not since ancient Greece, that it is possible for a benign dictator to be good for a country.  But the ease with which that slips into abject tyranny is so well documented in history that even if I were comfortable with the specific policies involved in Obama’s usurpation of congressional powers, I could not ever feel at ease with the precedent it sets.

And I simply cannot bring myself to vote for someone who has shown the willingness to act in such direct violation of constitutional authority.  THAT is something I will always vote against even if I happen to agree with the specifics of the policies being enacted, I cannot accept a president assuming such personal power.

So that is where I stand at the moment.  Once again being very angry over having to vote against someone and not for someone.

 

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Where the HELL is the President???

After that last multi-part post I thought i could relax a little and not worry about any subsequent postings for at least a week.  But reality has a way of influencing our most ardent desires.  And as stupid as the postings on Facebook have been relative to the presidential race, the silence on recent events is far more stunning and far more indicative of a population totally self absorbed and out of touch with things in the broader world that can turn round and bite them.

Are you all paying attention or does Prince Harry’s latest streak or Bradjalina’s latest spat demand your full attention?  Do you have even the remotest clue that possibly, just possibly, very recent events concerning the middle east, while they may not have actually lit the fuse, certainly opened the box of matches?

In two countries in the middle east, Egypt and Libya, Islamists principally following the Muslim Brotherhood, yes, that same group our administration declared were good guys, stormed and took over the American Embassies. These were factions that we had recently helped to overthrow the former governments and from whom, in any intelligent part of the world, we might have expected some loyalty.  But none was evident as the walls were scaled, fires were set, flags were torn down, and violence and murder were perpetrated on our representatives to those countries.

This is not like having some tourists attacked, heinous as that would be.  Are you aware that an embassy is considered by all governments to be the sovereign soil of its country?  The other countries with embassies here demand that status of us and in past administrations we have demanded it of them.  Two of our embassies were just attacked and overrun.  By the language of international law, when any, much less two areas of American territory were attacked an overrun, that is an overt act of war.  Once inside the compounds they tore down the American flag, burned it, and replaced it with their own.  That is an act of war.

But it gets worse.  In one of the attacks, an American ambassador was killed – no. let’s call it what it was, he was murdered.  THAT is an act of war if one ever existed.  In scale only does this depart from the precedent of Pearl Harbor.

And what set off this attack?  A cheap, independent, stupid movie was what.   A F*****G MOVIE was all it took to rouse adherents to the “religion of peace” to attack U.S. territory and murder its Ambassador.  In my opinion the moment word was received of the actions, the congress should have been convened, the acts of war recognized for what they were, the governments of the countries put on notice that we would be considering responses but that in the meantime not another dime of foreign aid would flow into their corrupt coffers… and they could stand by for the REAL response…

But what did we actually do?  The following day – not that very evening – the following day our fearsome guardian of the American way essentially apologized for the affront of the movie.  He did mention the attacks and murder really shouldn’t have happened and were perhaps a bit over the top, but the major thrust was that we were sorry and that our values did not include insulting someone else’s religion.  Apparently however, they do condone murder of our own people based on the provocation of an insult to someone else’s beliefs.  THat is news to me and not news i find positive since it tosses out the 1st amendment.  Remember this murder did not happen on foreign streets, it happened on U.S. territory.

And wait a minute, was the government the one who created the film?  Were its comments about violent Muslims coming from any official voice of the country?  Did embassy personnel or the ambassador himself offer free screenings of the film on the embassy lawns and speak on its behalf?  Did the movie even act as if it were speaking for the country as a whole?  No, they did not.

But both attacks took place after some time passed as the crazed, ignorant savages worked themselves into a frenzied froth before launching the actual assaults.  There was enough time for message to be sent here asking for guidance. The governments of those countries then had more than enough time to become aware of the growing mob, assemble their troops to, as all countries agree to do, defend the embassies of countries they host, but they did not. We apparently didn’t even ask them to.  That overt, purposeful lack of action on their part is tantamount to a tacit official OK of the actions and, it turns out, neither has offered any sort of apology or offer of restitution for the actions of their countrymen.

Do you truly believe we are respected in those areas more so for being patently weak-kneed in a response to attack?  Do you truly imagine a warrior culture such as theirs would look up to such cringing cowardice and seemingly paralyzed leadership?

But it gets still worse.  A flashpoint that nearly everyone agrees has the potential for escalating into a conflict that will inure to the benefit of NO ONE is the issue of Iran and its nuclear ambitions.  So far, the rhetoric has served both sides if, and only if, the leadership of Iran truly are completely rational persons fully in command of the realities of the world and history despite idiotic assertions and saber rattling rhetoric.

If that rationality it true then we (the U.S., Iran, and Israel) are playing a dangerous but understandable game where the rhetoric serves to keep the people stirred up but the reality is far less inflammable.    If that is true, Iran may indeed NOT have any nuclear weapons ambitions but is using the possibility for international credibility, Israel may actually not feel threatened with their very existence but wishes to test its so-called “friends” relative to their actual support, and we can cleverly, if cruelly, play them off against each other by holding to the public rhetoric that we want to give Iran more time to ‘come clean’ and stop their weapons plans but in the meantime we will hold Israel back from precipitous action.

It is a potential win-win-win in a macabre and ugly game of international politics.  But it will work only if Iran and its leaders are (a) rational and actually do not really have the desire to build a nuclear arsenal and (b) there is not a hidden agenda that would make the Iranian government have fish other than Israel to fry, oh, such as re-establishing the Persian empire and Hegemony of old and, at the same time, settling once and for all the under the table war between Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam.

If either (a) is not true or (b) IS true then we, the U.S. have been suckered (or strode knowingly) into a huge problem likely to spill over into regional and then possibly global war.

And then… into that uncertain environment steps Iran’s leader who, purposefully as an insult, comes to speak to the U.N. Security Council on Yom Kippur, one of the holiest of Jewish Holidays.  The next day, Israel’s leader then comes to New York to speak.  Israel is internally seriously divided in purpose between those that want to do a pre-emptive strike before Iran can develop a weapon and those who believe that since they have not even tested a device yet, there is no hard evidence they are developing one and a strike is a very bad idea.  The U.S. certainly acts as if it is in the second camp while, officially, being a firm back-up to Israel if that is wrong, something the Iranians cannot ignore.  We back worthless sanctions for the PR value but do virtually nothing else even though the sanctions have only the effect of irritating the Iranian public who attempt to clean up their government went unsupported while we whole-heartedly backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s take over of an Egyptian leader who was at least sometimes an American ally.

And what happens?  The Israeli leader asks to meet with the American leader.  Of all the people in the world you would think we would want to chat with and both press our point while getting a feel for his real intentions it would be him, especially since he is given to rhetoric as volatile as that of the Iranians.  But the response from us is that our leader is too busy.  His schedule is full.  He cannot meet.  And what IS on his schedule that day?  Appearing on the Letterman show.

I know Letterman is a huge fan and supporter, but what private citizen, even George Soros or Michael Moore, could be more important than meeting with a person who may hold the key to war in the region?  For that matter what government official would not happily re-schedule a meeting if in doing so they could help promote the agenda of at least delaying such a war?  Well, now we know the answer to that question and it is not some lower level functionary, it is our dear leader himself.

There is a complex geopolitical high wire act going on with global stakes and our President does not seem to get it.  If our stance and rebuff make the Israelis feel they truly are on their own and all decisions have to be based solely on their own beliefs about a potentially existential threat, and the Iranians are made to think that despite blanket and outdated comments of support, we will not get involved in their squabble, just how much more secure do you think we have made the situation?

The only thing that even remotely makes sense, other than potted plant levels of stupidity, is that the Administration wants Israel to either act first or so frighten the Iranians that they perform a pre-emptive strike to forestall the feared Israeli pre-emptive strike and hopes that this time, finally, Israel looses.

No?  Give me another logically sound way to look at it?  You cannot separate these two actions happening so close together.  You cannot think that the rebuff to Israel which happened first fell on deaf Islamic ears and did not play some part in the thinking that led to the belief in an assault on American soil that could be done without consequences.

And regardless of your conclusions about the Israeli leader’s rebuff, do you think it is good for us to have the Muslim militants assume, based on experience, they can mess with us and get no more than a few words about how we wish they had not done it but we understand why they might be mad at us?   Is that a position for the U.S. to occupy in the world that you honestly think will lead to others respecting us and to a greater likelihood of world peace?

If you do, then I think that while the jury is still out about the administration being rock stupid, there is no longer any question about you.

(ADDENDUM… to be fair…)
Finally, today, our President, after a round of criticisms from a number of fronts, went BACK before the cameras and actually condemned the actions and said we would punish the people responsible.  i applaud that position but it should have been the FIRST reaction, not one as part of damage control.  We shall see if something actually happens…  However AFTER that the countries involved now are apologizing and offering to help.  Perhaps they think that now Obama is forced into real action so they had better shape up.  That would indicate they do not know the lengths he will go to to avoid that but it is informative to indicate that when we DO at least act or talk like we are still America and mean business it gets a response.

If only it were true…

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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ENOUGH Already!!!

Good grief… ENOUGH of the inane drivel populating my Facebook page.  This is simply verbal instragrams on steriods.  If political discussion of a serious nature, the kind designed to really help inform others and allow for the fires of a real discussion to burn away the dross and leave enough salient data from which educated and informed choices can be made, then this moronic, childish, simpleton level of posting needs to be replaced with a level that would indicate the posters’ intelligence is anywhere near what they would have the readers believe.  But none are appearing.

We are facing a set of choices unlike any in recent history:  they are clear and diametrically opposite in their philosophical bases.  People of intelligence have, over time, championed both sides but few of them or that intelligence are in evidence.  Facing this country are major issues on a wide variety of fronts, many of which go to the core structure of our society and some of which may go to the future existence of it.  Getting lost in side issues or cartoon level thinking is simply to avoid reality and admit to mental dwarfism.  Pretending to be somewhere in the middle is to demonstrate abject cowardice.  Getting lost in the fear of oligarchies and holding that there is no difference between the candidates is ignorance gone to seed.

The choices and actions and policies of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush or any of their predecessors is a red herring since none of them are running and the two candidates, if we are honest (hey, there is a concept) are different from any of them in their experiences, resumes, attitudes, and visions for the country. Blaming the past does not fix the future.. it usually just accelerates the worst potentials.  Whoever brought us to this point, we are here, now, and cannot go back to change it; we can only go forward and deal with the realities facing us now not the screw-ups of the past that will make for interesting reading in years to come.  There will be plenty of time to play the recriminations and blame game but for now, we face a deadly serious reality and we need to give THAT our attention while we still can.  Getting high centered on issues that should be private matters and for which government should not be involved, either to prohibit or facilitate, takes us away from issues that can destroy the country both from without and from within.

So what IS facing us?  On the geopolitical front we have Russia wanting to re-constitute the USSR, Iran wanting to reconstitute Persia, and China wanting to corral world energy resources.  Any of those, much less all of them, pose challenges for our future and our future place in the world… and none of them bode well for us if achieved under the current players or regimes.  Against that complex world, such side issues as who can marry who — or what – or how many of them, serves only to distract from the issues that, depending on how they play out, could render such questions pointless.

We have a mind numbing national debt and a crippling deficit that says to anyone with a calculator who is willing to review numbers honestly that we are spending and leveraging money for which we have no revenue source.  Simple math and a review of IRS data shows clearly that taxing the entire tax base at 100% (much less the 10% that pay 70% of our revenue already) will not solve it.  Our solutions are limited.  Since we stupidly have a “fiat” currency we can always print more money thereby increasing inflation, devaluing the dollar, and as the great God Keynes himself said, destroy the country by debauching the currency.

Or, we can make profoundly painful cuts in entitlements until we get back on track along with reasonable and temporary tax hikes that do not drive off businesses and thereby lose the employees whose taxes we need.  But as any household knows, what we cannot do is continue to spend more money than we take in or CAN take in.  The results are always, without exception in the home or in the State (think California) or Country (think Greece) economic catastrophe and that renders issues of how and when can we kill our progeny pointless since it will not much matter if the country and its economy actually do go over the cliff.

We know, or should know if we are honest, that in an election cycle the candidates on both sides will play loose and fast with the truth in order to sway the greater number of the population to vote for them.  Blind partisans will eat up their guy’s most outlandish claims and, at the same time, ignore or castigate those on the other side who cry fowl and “shenanigans.”  But it is the blind partisans on both sides who got us into this mess and who will not now admit to it.  So we know that we cannot rely on speeches, PACs, or other shills and hacks spewing the latest greatest clever sound bite.  We can only look to the experiences, policies, records, and visions of the candidates to draw some informed and hopefully reasonable conclusions.  Where DO they stand and how WILL they likely act on the REAL major issues?  Those are the questions and debate intelligent folks are having, not the claptrap spewed out on Facebook from those unable or unwilling to participate in the discussions of real issues.

Here, to help us decide, Obama gives us an advantage: he has written books clearly spelling out his vision and naming his mentors who inspired it.  He pulls no punches and neither do his mentors.  Romney has no books and we have only his record as governor and businessman to look back to.

Based on those criteria however, we have candidates with two virulently different views as to where American should go in the future.  And it is upon those views and those views only that we can draw some conclusions and pit those conclusions against our own views and visions for where we would like to see this country progress or even exist.  One follows pretty closely the philosophical line from Rousseau, Godwin, through Marx and Engles and desires  worker’s paradise filled with social justice as defined by the ruling hierarchy of enlightened thinkers du jour.  The other has a cloudier more convoluted evolution of political thought and is nowhere nearly as clear as the incumbent, but roughly and generally follows the philosophical line of Locke, Burke, through Jefferson and desires a world of self-reliance and government whose role is simply to aid citizens to prosper by mostly getting out of their way and intervening only in cases of abuse.

One sees the Constitution as an impediment, at best a rough guideline when it serves and at worse an obsolete document to be circumvented when it conflicts with the vision and has given us a record to demonstrate that view.  The other asserts an adherence to the Constitution, but we have yet no real record to indicate the truth of that statement so we have simply a known against an unknown.

And that means that an issue worthy of debate is the status of the Constitution itself and whether or not you or I believe in it and believe in its value.  But to serve our own philosophies honestly we have to be honest about this issue.  Our choices of action vis-à-vis the Constitution are incredibly straight forward: ignore it at will and render it meaningless or accept it in whole and, if in disagreement, work via the process spelled out in it to change it more to our modern liking but retain the structure.

Following their views of the Constitution we have a clear divergence of thinking on the structure of government itself and the roles and powers of its parts.  One sees the executive branch as monarchical and able to annunciate laws and edicts or create at will agencies to promulgate and promote their wishes in spite of or in avoidance of Congress.  We know that from actions and the record.  The other claims to believe in the sanctity of the checks and balances spelled out in the Constitution but we have no real record from which to judge the honesty of those claims.  Again, we are left with a known against an unknown; a known who has spelled out their vision and worked tirelessly and consistently to achieve it opposed to someone who has simply talked about theirs but sometimes vacillated in action.  What a horrid choice and at perhaps the worst time in history to be reduced to it.

But known or not, honest or not, both sides represent a very divergent set of views about the proper role of government.  If you truly prefer the side that would trash the foundations and start over, i.e. to, as Obama said, “fundamentally transform” us then be honest about it,  spell out your ideal policies, plans, and rationales so we can openly, publically, seriously, discuss them and see which candidate best expresses or embraces them.  But you, the voter, have to make them fit into the broader reality of history (and what has worked and what has not), the likelihood of acceptance by the country at large, and the impact on the future of the country and the future of us on the world stage.  If the issues that make you vote for one person or the other do not rise to those levels of national impact then in my opinion you have no right going to the polls or opening your mouth.

Don’t regurgitate someone ELSE’S ideas like the vomit from a drunken politician with mixed chunks of various origins; tell us the issues that YOU think are formative and critical to the country’s future and then give us your thinking on them so we can chat intelligently and honestly.  If you prefer the vision of Marx and Engles then have the guts and integrity to say so and support it intelligently.  That can foment a good discussion.  But supporting that vision while trying to pretend it is something else so muddies the waters as to render a logical and meaningful debate impossible.  Or, is that what you want?

To do less reveals clearly not any manner of political or philosophical brilliance but a mind bereft of depth and displaying a paucity of cognitive ability.  Someone who, had they an ounce of shame, would make sure their name never appeared next to the shared cartoons and posts that demonstrate for all the lack of thinking and adherence to blind, slobbering partisanship unburdened by the demands of sober review and evaluation of issues that are critical to our future.

I understand that I served in the military along with all of the other veterans, in no small part to guarantee your rights to be morons.  But that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy having it come back to slap me in the face.  I walk with a limp because of that service, the country therefore has a sufficiently deep meaning to me that it makes me cringe to think that people who buy into those cartoons and cutesy quotes, none of which they could originate themselves, as having attached to them even the most trivial amount of intelligence or relevance are going to the polls and voting.

With citizens like that we have scant need of outside enemies.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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