Tag Archives: Obama

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…


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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A Convergence of Cycles, Stages, Passages, and Turnings

San Diego — I love it! I have been questioned closely as to why I appeared so gloomy about our nation and culture’s future prospects in last week’s post on the 4th of July vis-à-vis what is at stake in the upcoming elections.  It means some are at least exercising their brains which is something we need more of.  I never, ever, asked anyone or demanded of anyone that they agree with me — I am indifferent to that.  I only asked that you THINK about it and research the answers for yourselves rather than take ANYONE’s word for it, including mine.  So the question is a valid and serious one, asked in a respectful way, and therefore one worthy of a serious response.  This may be long but, hey, you asked for it.

Let me first provide some context for my answer then get into some specifics.

Many historians firmly believe in the theory of “Anacyclosis,” a Greek word set forth by Polybius in the first century BC while holding that the story of history is a story of repeating cycles that inexorably follow one another down through time.  According to Polybius…

Originally society is in anarchy but the strongest figure emerges and sets up a benign monarchy. The monarch’s descendants, who because of their family’s power lack virtue, become despots and the monarchy degenerates into a tyranny. Because of the excesses of the ruler the tyranny is overthrown by the leading citizens of the state who set up an aristocracy. They too quickly forget about virtue and the state becomes an oligarchy. These oligarchs are overthrown by the people who set up a democracy. Democracy soon becomes corrupt and degenerates into ochlocracy (mob rule), beginning the cycle anew. (paraphrased from Polybius’s “Histories, Book VI”)

The various theories and their believers range from serious to, well, let’s charitably say “exotic.”  Famously Marx presented his theory of economic system cycles which is followed and encouraged by communist and socialist idealogues even today.  It was inevitable, he thought, that civilizations cycled through the following economic systems:

“primitive communism, barbarism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and stateless communism.”

Theories of cycles such as these fall into a general category of historical theories called “Stage Theories.”  They are so popular that a great one was devised recently and given life through the internet that was, to give it some credence, ascribed to the Scottish Historian Alexander Tyler, even though it does not appear in any of his books and the modern version does not come even close to his normal phraseology.  Nevertheless. In spite of being shown to almost certainly not have originated from its claimed source, it is repeated endlessly and it does, as do many of the others, seem to reflect a reality.  It sees the stages of governance as follows:

  1.      From bondage to spiritual faith;
  2.      From spiritual faith to great courage;
  3.      From courage to liberty;
  4.     From liberty to abundance;
  5.     From abundance to complacency;
  6.     From complacency to apathy;
  7.     From apathy to dependence;
  8.     From dependence back into bondage”

Allegedly this was not a broad set of stages but an internal one and reflected the stages in the rise and fall specifically of democracies and republics, i.e. those states governed directly or with indirect representation by the will of the people.

And less we forget… of course in this potentially fateful year of 2012 we are all familiar with the alleged impending doom implied by the ending of the Maya calendar on 12/21/2012 where, we are to believe, they could foresee the end of the world several thousand years ahead, but did not see the end of their own civilization in a vastly shortened time span.

A major criticism of stage theories generally is that they do not take into account the random advent of wild cards such as prophets, maniacs, geniuses, disasters, etc. that can potentially turn the current stage off course into something completely new and unexpected.  In examining this criticism, in the 1980s historians William Strauss and Neil Howe studied geopolitical events with its progressions and declines as well as their underlying events juxtaposed with generational attitudes and thinking and developed what they came to call, “The Four Turnings.”

A “Turning” in sociological/historical terms is an era with a characteristic social mood, a new twist on how people feel about themselves and their nation.  This was a far simpler listing than those above.  Strauss and Howe’s four turning were

  1. The HIGH,
  3. The UNRAVELING,  and finally
  4. The CRISIS.

Fascinated by this perspective on history, technical writer and historian John Xenakis subsequently spent more time studying the generational attitudes going back to the late dark ages to identify major crises as the end points that launched each new turning.  He wanted to understand WHY these turnings happened and why those “wild cards” noted above seemed to sometimes have major short term effect but little or no long term effect in changing the nature of the turnings.

He came to believe it lay in human responses to those events noted by Strauss and Howe.  In the process he developed his theory of Generational Dynamics which is based on the idea that societies and nations make mistakes and then learn lessons from those mistakes.  Those wildcards may appear for awhile, here and there, but in time, as generations grow older, retire and die, they are at some point replaced by new generations who are too young to remember those wild card people or events or the mistakes and those lessons.  When that happens, the mistakes are repeated.  He then redefined the turnings of Strauss and Howe with generational labels that coincided with the turnings.  His generations were:

  1. The Hero Generation
  2. The Artist Generation
  3. The Prophet Generation, and
  4. The Nomad Generation

What fascinates me about all of the various views is that, taken together and overlaid, they all — ALL — are in the final or next-to-final stages now.  Even though they range in identified stages or cycles or turnings from 13 (Mayan Katuns) to 8 (Tyler?) to 7 (Marx) to 6 (Polybius) to 4 (Strauss & Howe and Xenakis) they are all in the last or next to last steps.

The truth is I have not the faintest sure knowledge that any or all of them are either complete hokum or actually reveal underlying truths of historical cycles… or something in between.  The mere fact that fantasic theories have points of overlap does not, in itself, offer definitive proof for any of them, much less for all of them.  Correlation does not equal causality.  Day follows night in a pretty predictable manner but one does not cause the other.

Yet…  There are no doubts that civilizations and empires rise and fall and that the triggers for their declines tend to be easily identifiable in hindsight and found  to be very nearly identical and that, as Xenakis points out, we tend to forget the previous mistakes or, perhaps more likely, reach a point of such hubris we refuse to believe it could happen to us.

So why would I give even sufficient credence to these theories, singularly or together, to even write about them here as context for my conclusions below?  To me, it is a bit unnerving to lay those various stages over the history of our own country and then to see how well they have fit.   With the exceptions of the Maya Katun stages and Nostradamus’s Quatrains, which are both hit and miss in their descriptions of events to come, the stages and turnings of Polybius, Marx, Strauss and Howe, and Xenakis have been pretty consistently accurate and they have their own internally workable sequencing logic that works with human nature as I believe it to be.

Additionally and more importantly, anyone who does not understand that we as a country (and California as a State) are staring down the barrel of the potentially perfect storm of crises on the very near term chronological horizon is simply not looking.  Need I itemize to make the point?  OK… here are but a few issues coming down on us…

  1. The Bush Tax Cuts are due to expire.  All sides think that will create some huge economic problems  but the parties are in grid lock as to what to do.  Obama wants to lower the limits and do a one year extension, Pelosi and Schummer’s group with a far greater understanding of middle class and small business wants to raise the cut off to $1 million, and Republicans want to extend the cuts indefinitely for everyone.  For rationale’s they aid gridlock by arguing past one another.  The left says the taxes will help the economy and debt but Obama’s plan would, according to GAO stats, annually pay for 8.5 days of deficit growth.  In fact a 100% tax on the same people would not significantly diminish the deficit.  The other side says lowered taxes will encourage productivity but if it is offset with inflation and unemployment it will accomplish little to improve attitudes necessary for improved productivity.  That is all sort of moot since on this Sunday’s interview shows they all admitted they were in stalemate.  if that continues the cuts will expire on their own.  No decision IS a decision.
  2. At the same time, the jobless benefits and a payroll tax cut are set to expire.  Since the U3 filter of unemployment (those on unemployment insurance) will then drop as benefits stop you can count on an argument that employment figures improved.  And partisans will act as if it were true even when they know it is not and generate the “statistics” to show how much better off we are.
  3. At the same time a $1.2 Trillion across-the-board program cut is set to go into effect since Congress failed to solve the budget crisis.  Whopee.  We concentrate on a debt of $15 trillion in borrowed money, but, in the background, our brilliant congress has approved over $119 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, i.e. mandated programs which create liabilities for the treasury but for which there are no funds.  $1.2 trillion in cuts is a slap in the face insult to the American people.
  4. At the same time, we will hit our debt ceiling and will clamor to raise it making any cuts pointless.
  5. At the same time credit agencies are already warning of another credit downgrade for the U.S. so a rising of the debt ceiling again may be pointless if we can only borrow at such rates as to make mob loan sharks seem generous.
  6. At the same time we will be presented two treaties worked out by our Secretary of State that, if ratified, will cede Constitutional rule to a hostile international set of rules.  This time it is over gun control and oil revenue.  But if the precedent is allowed to set then what?
  7. Powerful arguments from progressive strategists on the interview circuit are already arguing that what we need is for more stimulus spending and not just a little but a lot but in no case that I listened to was there a suggestion as to the location of a source of such money.  With, as noted, even 100% taxation turning us into a complete slave nation  would not have all that much effect on the debt, the money can come from only two sources: printing it or borrowing it.
  8. But at the same time, a growing ground swell from major trading nations is pushing to drop the American Dollar as the world’s reserve currency.  Already China and Brazil have made serious proposals for a replacement of the dollar and offered ideas for the replacement. China has been replacing its dolar holdings with other currencies and securities. But it is that reserve status alone that makes loaning money to us still a pretty good idea even if our personal/national credit rating drops.  But if we all woke up one day and at the daily begging for loans China said, “No thank you!” and declined to loan us more, our house of carefully laid cards would crumble virtually overnight.
  9. But why would we need more money and more debt?  Simple math. Presently in America, nearly half of all households receive either a salary or substantial benefits from the government. Presently in America, nearly half of all adults pay no federal income taxes. Presently in America, the half that pay no income taxes receive the bulk of their income courtesy of the government, but ultimately from the half that do. This money is extracted involuntarily from the paying half by a permanent bureaucracy that extracts and gives away more each year no matter who is running the government. The recipients of these transfer payments rely upon them for subsistence, so they have a vested financial interest in sending to Washington those who will continue to take money from the productive and give it to the parasitical.  Harsh words?  i don’t think so.  i am in favor of helping those blindsided by life, but you will never convince me in the age of OSHA, fully half of our population is unable to work AT SOMETHING even if it is a short term strategy instead of demanding to live off of the government slop trough.
  10. The Fed is clearly setting the stage for more money creation which has never in the history of human economics failed to result in inflation.  This is masked for the populace by replacing the old measures of unemployment and inflation with new ones that allow for data cherry picking.  Inflation used to be measured by the Consumer Price Index based on the costs of identical items over time.  Now it is based on a “substitution” scheme, i.e. when an item’s cost increases it is replaced on the list with a lower cost brand or version or redefined as an improved or upgraded item.  And we no longer use the government’s previous “U6” view of unemployment which counted ALL people out of work (now at 15%) and replaced it with the “U3” statistic (now at 8.2%)  that only measures applicants and enrolees for unemployment insurance.
  11. California has already proposed a budget that includes tax increases and makes clear its own philosophical priorities based on what is maintained and what is having it funding cut further.  Funds are maintained for spotted owls but not for fuel refining and extraction; maintained for prison needs but not for law enforcement, maintained for fantasy bullet trains but not for existing highway and bridge maintenance, maintained for union support but not for businesses, maintained for homeless care but not for education.  But remember the old cliché asserted, “As California goes, so goes the nation.”  Though not a “stage” theory it has been fairly reliable over the years on a number of fronts.
  12. At the same time on the geopolitical front we are at a dangerous ignition point in multiple places as we work hard at degrading any ability to deal with them and instead, against the rules laid down by the Constitution, insert ourselves in economy strangling wars, governmental overthrows, and other events designed, in my opinion, to further cripple the system and provide the cover of distraction from the transformation happening at home.
  13. All of the issues started with previous administrations.  There is no getting around that.  But the current administration has, on every single front and by every applicable measurement, worked tirelessly to make it worse.  And now they are proposing measures to further accelerate the growth of debt, deficit, and the death of capitalism to a growing crowd of entitled and dependent citizens who are the victims of one of the world’s worst education systems and in one man-on-the-street interview after another cannot name the country we gained independence from or when, think Lincoln was a founding father, cannot point to Russia or China on the map, or, for that matter, Washington, DC, and yet will bring that systemic ignorance and idiocy to the polls next November.

So, since I am by nature a contingency planner, I think forewarned is forearmed.

And what is especially maddening to me is that close examination of historical examples shows that in nearly every case, the final crisis or failure need not have happened if the nation under review had simply remembered and learned from the lessons of those nations that came and went before.  And, as startling, there were nearly always some voices in opposition who were shouted down by the crowds fearful of losing their goodies.

As I have written before and often, I see us doing precisely the same thing now: refusing the lessons of history and following the paths of apathy and dependence, opening the gates to the Visigoths and Vandals of our day, debauching our own sovereign currency, legislating immorality by the removal of consequences for actions, promoting the concept of outcome equality while ignoring the concept of opportunity equality, developing dependencies instead of self reliance, and refusing to accept the concept, even as it might apply to societal survival, of good and evil.  From Herodotus to Josephus to Toynbee those things are clearly at the root of the internal rot that over and over brought civilizations to a point of such weakness that they were easy prey to the enemies from without.  But we are not just doing one of those historically successful suicide techniques, we are avidly pursuing ALL of them!  In the end, the playing fields were leveled all right, EVERYONE lost.

When looked at from a historical perspective we are being led to the hammer by a bellwether, a political Dr. Kevorkian with us as the gasping patient; and astonishingly to me, a majority of us are begging him to proceed with his apparatus.

On September 18, 2008 under the previous regime, ironically, the one crying most fervently in favor of capitalism while at the least the left was more honest about wanting it replaced, we effectively drove a stake through the heart of capitalism, the economic system based on private risk and reward.  Both parties had become so tangled with business and drew so much money for re-elections from business that they did the unthinkable in terms of capitalism’s inherent self checks and balances of rewarding success and punishing failure.  With total bipartisan support (in itself revealing) the government married big business and big government by privatizing profit while nationalizing risk.  In one giant bipartisan pandering we exchanged capitalism for corporatism and we allowed the weak minded to then think they were the same thing to further weaken support for capitalism.  They are NOT the same any more than a democracy and an oligarchy are the same.

In order to pull off the fallacy that the two (capitalism and corporatism) are the same, we had to further debauch an already debauched and floating currency by simply printing more and lending it to ourselves to cover the risk.  Leaders on both sides had to convince you that some things were “too big to fail” rather than let bad management pay the consequences of failure it should have.  If those businesses were critical to the economy and promised, if run properly, to return a profit, then the shells and infrastructure of those failed business whether a bank or auto maker would have been picked up and rebuilt.

But those bailouts were not about saving capitalism or saving the economy.  They were about saving the bankers and saving the unions… the major sources of political money.  And less you also drank the mental kool-aid that sees those as separate issues, follow the money trail, in this case the money flowing in to the union coffers and wall street vaults and see what they have done with it.  Don’t just believe me or the union thug or the wall street apologist, look into it yourself and then connect the dots for yourself.

But there is an even bigger issue at play.  With capitalism essentially on its death bed, no other economic system has ever been able to provide the cultural “fire” to support a Constitutional Republic and, to my mind, our leadership has knowingly and purposefully moved us closer to Marx’s identified next stage.  Those readers wishing to be coddled and protected should be thrilled.  Get what you can quickly though, because this is happening at a stage where the governments, both federal and state, are close to running out of other people’s money.  Demanding the productive carry the unproductive has historically always been the start of an end game for that society.  And with the “occupiers” we have already seen the first attempts at mob rule a la Polybius.

Einstein is alleged to have said that insanity was continuing to do the same thing and expecting the results to change.  Toynbee warned, because he saw it so commonly in action, that failure to learn from history would doom a people to repeat it.

In the last post I wrote that I believed we were in decline and this next election was only between an incumbent who would accelerate it and a challenger who might, at best, slow it down a little.  I do not think it has to be that way; I think it would be possible to get us back on the rails with good leadership and a return to sound policies.  But I see that potential utterly missing in both candidates and, in fact, not even readily apparent anywhere in any direction on the political horizons.

I’ve read countless Facebook posts and even gotten several emails from readers who, unburdened by historical information, truly wish for us as a nation to embrace the idea of a government “nanny” state that will provide us all needs and shield us from all risks.  That there are enough of them out there to have voted as they did in the last presidential election and now will probably carry this one merely reinforces the stages and cycles noted above.  So how could I draw a conclusion that to me, since I am so opposed to that system and believe it flies in the face of human nature (which it has failed at every attempt)  not believe we are headed in a way designed for cementing the doom of the system created by our founders and not be gloomy, much less be happy about it?

Some seem to believe you can have it both ways but thus far there are no – zero — examples to support that.  You can have the sort of no-risk, warm and fuzzy system of Europe, especially Sweden, or you can have a potent vibrant but risk filled system that can move the world forward such as America was.  However in trying to do both, all sides are left unsatisfied to some extent, unhappy, and it soon degenerates into mob action and failure.

For those readers that ARE happy about our transforming into a “Sweden Lite,” enjoy it while you can.  Had this Turning happened in better economic times or on the upswing of a productive period you might have had a couple of generations of entitlements covering all aspects of your life to enjoy and ossify the soft spot in our national soul.  But the fiscal cliff we are racing toward may be so steep and closely upon us as to undermine even real efforts to save us or to foot the bill for a nanny state.  Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that we are being herded over the cliff purposefully to allow this system to completely collapse (otherwise I would have to believe the leadership is just stupid and I don’t believe they are).

Individuals and collections of folks wanting to nationalize/socialize, whether a little or a lot of their country’s functions, have, by expressing that desire, openly admitted that they refuse to take responsibility for their own behaviors and choices.  If we, as a people, cannot function economically without needing our country to create an artificial and precarious balance using fiat stimulus and overt taxation, then we can no longer claim to be even remotely free OR self-sufficient.  Get real!  Only a population filled primarily with pathetic, over-indulged whiny children would actually need government to enforce mandatory charity: welfare, healthcare, etc. A healthy society supported by strong and self-sustainable individuals would not beg to be parented by government. Once a people become so weak and culturally immoral as to stoop to socialism, then the cancer that rots their perspective has already metastasized beyond the point where even the best leadership could cure it.

Socialism is an admission of defeat. It is a waving of the white flag by a society and the assertion that they are willing to trade that culture’s liberty for the illusion of security.  It is the act of an adolescent and naïve populace groveling for an allowance from their “motherland.”

Once collapsed it will be easier to rebuild this socialized state upon the backs of a traumatized citizenry just wanting some relief – ANY relief.  Just remember, as you roll the dice in the upcoming months, both communism and fascism are simply variant forms of socialism.

I would deeply like to see that dire prediction fail to come true.  I do not believe it is cosmically inevitable, but on our current path I see it as inescapable because as I also indicated in the last post, I do not believe we have the political will or personal strength of purpose to start the combination radiation and chemo treatments necessary to kill the cancer rotting our system.

This internal rot started long before Obama came on the scene, but based on his own words, writings, and actions he is absolutely dedicated to accelerating its spread so he can get on with, in his own words, “transforming” America to better coincide with the dreams of his Marxist father.

Some of you are, based on your posts, comments, and Facebook postings, blissfully and even deliriously happy at that prospect.  Sometimes it is the fervent desire, as noted by Conrad, to lounge safely through existence; sometimes it is a blinders view of a single issue such as here in this state where we will happily bring the state to its economic knees, drive off businesses and kill revenue sources before we will further endanger the Delta Smelts and Snail Darters, or use our own resources to alleviate fuel issues.  Sometimes it is just blind accession to peer pressure (as in the experiment noted in the last post) and sometimes it is simple stupidity.  How else to explain why we will joyfully spend money on indigents that neither produce nor promise anything positive and yet slash funding from education, the only real salvation, so we have the money to do it.

Why else would we rush to open our gates to people who generally take only the jobs that the poorest of us need to survive unless we wanted to strengthen the public doll and those on it, thereby inceasing dependencies.  How else can we interpret the statistics that show in a day and age when our nanny state overlords have made the workplace increasingly safe from even our own negligence and stupidy and with fewer of us employed anyway, that the disability insurance rolls have absolutely skyrocketed except to note that if your standards are low enough, policies now make it easier to NOT work than to work?

If we were sitting on overflowing coffers it would be different, but when the coffers are empty and we exist, day-to-day, on borrowed money, then sane policy demands you perform a hard, perhaps even hateful economic triage on your projects and prioritize them in terms of positive return and help to the country and state.

I think that many of the warm and fuzzy projects are actually very good things to do… IF the basic services specified in the Constitution and state charters are met first and then enough money remains to do them.  But I do not for a heartbeat think they should EVER supercede, in importance or priority, the basics of security, infrastructure, and education.   If the money is not there it is not there; unfunded liabilities are an abomination and are proving to be self destructive to the governments that allow, much less encourage them.

A government, no matter how well intentioned, cannot help anyone if it collapses.  The two major political philosophies stemming from Rousseau and Locke on down represent two very different ideas on how a government and a country should be structured both philosophically and economically.  History has given us plenty of real life examples of how each system has performed when tried outside the classroom and in the real world.  I ask only that you look at that history before deciding  automatically that something that sounds good when its benefits are noted out of context and with no discussion of cost or contraindications, is the best and most workable approach.

But if you do not think the future of our country and, by extension of your children if you have any or want any, is worth such research effort; if you are willing to abrogate your thinking ability to the talking spokesmouths who are openly and overtly biased and who have their own vested economic interest in the outcome to provide the talking points; if you give more credence to celebrities than trained historians and sociologists because they make it simple for you; and if, in fact, you are pining for the day government on federal and state levels realize that you are a victim and desperately need to be taken care of fiscally and shielded from your own choices and behaviors, then fine; it looks very much like you are getting your way and are gleefully bringing both state and country to ruin to do it.  Brick by brick, stone by stone you are helping our dear leader to dismantle the country given us by the founders so a new one can be rebuilt better suiting his view of how things should be.

The good news for you of the parasitic class is that each new freedom you give up will be easier than the last and less noticeable since you have fewer and fewer to worry about or count.  The great news for which you should be overjoyed is that you appear to be winning.

But you will never be able to count me as among your ranks.  I do not believe we need a “kinder, gentler” society as Bush the elder pronounced, but instead a leaner, tougher one.  No great civilization in the history of the world has even been able to pull itself back to its former glory and power after its collapse.  I think, and fear, we will be no different.   I see a national hourglass with far more sand in the bottom than in the top and an astonishing number of my fellow citizens pounding on it to make it run faster.

Does that answer the question?

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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Straw Men, Red Herrings, and Big Lies

San Diego — Several times I’ve used those terms in posts and finally someone emailed me and asked what I meant by them in a political sense.   In normal use, a straw man is an effigy designed to stand in for some other person or to mislead viewers into believing they are someone else.  The term is also used for a fake item planted to make people think it is real or something else.   A Red Herring is a rotting fish designed to be a distraction so it will draw attention away from some behavior or activity that is would be better if it were not noticed.  Both are tools of misdirection and used just as a stage magician uses the process, to get you to not notice how the trick is done or what is really happening.

Think Wizard of Oz here; the smoke and mirrors hiding the man behind the curtain.  And think Goebbels’s concept of the “big lie,” which is a lie so preposterous that the listener would not think you would ever try to fool them with that line so it must be true.

I believe the political elites in this country have turned the use of straw men, red herrings, and big lies, i.e. all tools of misdirection, into a fine art that is performed and executed so well that no one seems to be noticing. The more the big lie, straw man, or red herring has some personal meaning to the audience, the more likely it is to succeed in its mission and so they have presented theirs with deep personal and emotional connections.  Below are a few of the areas in which I think those terms can be applied.

Leadership.  Some argue Obama has shown no leadership over the areas of real importance to the country.  I would argue the opposite.   Instead, he has shown brilliant guidance in the causes of debauching the currency and creating debt crises as well calculated tactics to implement his strategic goal of transforming the country to become closer to the ideals of his Marxist father (which he wrote about in detail), his radical socialist friends like William Ayers, and the liberation theology of Jeremiah Wright, his Pastor of 20 years.

He has carefully placed unelected government officials like Tim Geithner, Valery Jarrett, Van Jones, etc. in powerfil positions where they can advance those agendas even when it requires an apparent loss of reason such as when Valerie recently said more unemployed people using unemployment insurance was good for the country and its economy.

That statement is only unreasonable if you want to try to protect the government laid out in our Constitution.  But it is quite reasonable if the goal is to tear down the existing model and replace it with a very different kind.  Why are we not willing to accept the obvious when his communication Director, Anita Dunne, said Mao, the butcher of 20 million innocent Chinese was a model political philosopher to her.

I think, in fact, that presenting to his opposition the appearance of failure of leadership is a straw man when in fact his leadership in advancing the cause he believes in has been masterfully executed.  My only problem is I think it is a cause that is disastrous for the country or at least the country I would like us to be.

Apologizing for America.   This is not about apologizing or trying to make amends for past infractions real or imagined, it is about seeing America as something flawed and needing to be changed.  But though the President has expressed several times his sympathy for that negative view of our country is that who and what we really are?

We have been the repeated rescuers of huge portions of the world from tyranny and oppression and have asked, in return, only for enough ground to bury our dead.  We have, in the past century, left a host of cemeteries of dead Americans who fell trying to free other countries all over the map.  But I ask you, in that same period, how many foreign cemeteries do we have here to honor the dead of foreign countries who fell in our defense?  We need apologize to no one.

We provide more money to such marginalized peoples as the Palestinians than anyone except the Saudis, our money feeds poor all over the planet limited only by the amount their own despots skim off the top.  We keep goverenments from Pakistan to Egypt to Saudi Arabia in business with our dollars so they can use their own dollars for personal stuff.  American organizations gather and spend billions and billions of dollars saving children and forests and water all over the planet.  We need apologize to no one.

On the other hand there exists in the world a force that believes it is mandated by its prophet to convert or kill all those who think differently and that if you convert from their beliefs to something else you are also subject to being executed.  Now we hear that a pastor who was NEVER muslim but whose parents were muslim is sentenced to be hanged for apostasy.  What great people and what a great culture they have…

These people will allow young girls to be burned alive in a fire because their face coverings were burned up and they would otherwise have to appear in public showing… their faces.

These people capture Americans and torture them, saw their heads off, burn them alive, hang their bodies from bridges or drag them through the streets.

These people will call for murdering people for cartoons they deem irreverent or whose writings call their actions into question.

These people create hypocritical governments where strict theological laws constrain the public but dictators and self-declared royalty live in corruption that would even offend a union leader and in debauchery that would make a Hollywood actor blush.  And I am supposed to be tolerant of that or understanding?  Not in this lifetime!

Perhaps their prohibition on eating pork is because they recognize it as cannibalistic.  And apologizing to these intellectual, spiritual, emotional savages is like apologizing to pigs.  To them it is simply a sign of weakness to be noted and exploited.

We do not EVER need to bow to them, or to apologize for accidentally burning a holy book — especially one that contains the instructions to kill us because we do not believe as they do.  If we sometimes step over our own lines, sometimes take actions that violate our own principles, all of which we have undeniably done, then we may well need to apologize to our own people for getting off track.  But we need never apologize to such savage slobs who want nothing more than for all of us to be dead and off the planet.

But that too, whether you think we owe others apologies or not, is all a red herring.

The reality behind bowing and apologizing is to promote a new view of the transforming America as no longer exceptional in any way, but just another of the mediocre collections of people around the globe.  It is the product of a world view so different from the historical and even normal current American view that there is little point of common reference.  And that worldview is indeed the real issue at stake.

But what is also at issue is the result of that world looking back and seeing us as weak.  Because they want to kill us and there is no “fall-back” position, the only thing holding them in check is our perceived strength.  That is the only thing they understand and respect.  When it is gone or diminished their willingness to engage in conflict increases.  And with that comes another strain on our attention and more importantly another drain on our economy, the primary tool of transformation.  And that, I believe, is no accident or simple mistake of a buffoon trying to play in the grown up’s world as it has been characterized.  I believe it too is another tactic perfectly serving the strategic goals of the anointed one.

Where Obama was born is irrelevant.  Obama and his disciples and heralds in the media have played this out brilliantly.  By first refusing to provide a birth certificate and then providing one so obviously and amateurishly flawed we have several ploys at play.  The first is a great execution of a big lie.  Think about it; how does one not tend to accept that surely the President of the United States would not proffer such weak and questionable evidence if it were not in fact true and accurate?

But actually it is simply a wonderful red herring.  Let’s accept for a moment, for the sake of argument, that the document presented as a “birth certificate”, even if fake itself actually tells the truth and Obama was in fact born in Hawaii and therefore a citizen anchor baby.  So what?  It is not the issue.  The issue is the constitution’s definitions of citizens in which it recognizes three levels, and the relevant rules governing elected officials.

“Naturalized” citizens are individuals who were citizens of a foreign state but who have gone through the naturalization process and become citizens of this country.

“Normal” or “Native” citizens are simply anyone who has been born here.  That was an important distinction when the constitution was written since the country was so young.

But there is another category; the “natural born” citizen.  And that distinction is indicated in the disparate requirements for holding federal office.  Senators and representatives could be normal citizens or even naturalized citizens, but the president must be a natural born citizen.  OK, but what does this mean and how do we know this is what is meant by the framers?  Two reasons.

The first is that the framers were openly consulting the 1797 book by philosopher of law Emmerich de Vattel entitled “The Law of Nations.” We know that because they said so in several letters and essays.  In that book he defines “Natural Born Citizens” as “…those born in the country of parents who are citizens.”  The second way we know is that the Supreme Court has ruled in at least four instances — in 1814, (where the Vattel book is cited in the decision), 1830, 1875, and in 1898 where Natural Born Citizens were distinguished from “Native Citizens” who were individuals who were born in the US but of any parents.

The supreme court has specifically ruled several times that a natural born citizen is an individual who is born to parents, BOTH OF WHOM are citizens at the time of the birth.  The PLACE of birth is irrelevant and this category covers individuals who are born to U.S. citizens while traveling in another country.

But by getting us to focus on whether or not Obama himself was born in this country we totally avoid any scrutiny over whether or not his father, a Kenyan, was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth.  Because if he was not, where Obama himself was born doesn’t matter, he could have been born on the capital steps but he would still not be a “Natural Born Citizen” as required.   And the problem there is that his father’s status is much easier to determine… unless we are distracted from looking.

The mainstream media pretends that normal native citizens, as defined above, are also natural born citizens but the supreme court has expressly ruled otherwise and the President Chester Arthur was so sure it was the correct interpretation that he lied about and destroyed records that would show he was a citizen but not a natural born citizen and should not have been eligible to be President.

What do I care?  I don’t on a personal level; I think a person should be qualified if the people as a whole decide that is who they want as leader.  But I also think that any leader who pretends to be the overseer of the country, the executive officer to decide what becomes national law, must first and foremost be required to OBEY the prime law of the land, the meta-law of our nation, the constitution.  Because if they can ignore that as they wish then all bets are off.

(And by the way, lest you think this is a partisan shot by me, it is clear that Republican potential Marco Rubio is in exactly the same boat and should not be eligible to be president.)

In the end even the answer to this if true is irrelevant because the odds of the media or the congress acting on it are essentially zero.  So why are so many people exercised over it?  Simple: to get their minds off of real issues where there might actually BE some impact.

Fairness.  When Obama pushes for taxes that every historical example has demonstrated will result in less income for the US Treasury people scratch their heads and ask why he seems incapable of “getting it?”

But I think he DOES “get it.”  One of the initial heads of his economic team, an economist from Berkley, even wrote a widely accepted paper demonstrating how over the years there is a 3:1 inverse relationship between taxes and revenue, i.e. every dollar taxes are increased results in 3 fewer dollars of revenue and vice versa.  Obama himself even told us in an interview where that very issue was raised that he understands the negative revenue consequences but he is about “fairness.”   But when you see this country as flawed at its core and needing to be transformed into your own Marxist inspired version of “fairness” (or as Marx put it, “…from each according to his ability and to each according to his need.”) and know from your college mentors following Cloward and Plivens and Keynes that the way to bring down a country is economically via class warfare, then it all makes perfect sense and is brilliantly executing a well planned strategy.

This is not about fairness, it is about tearing down one model of government and replacing it with one you prefer.  “Fairness” is the positive buzz word that you can count on the disciples will latch on to and to misdirect attention but it is not really the issue because it is, at its core, undefinable.  But under the guise of “fairness” what we really get is something else, and that is…

Creating Dependencies.  Obama and his liberal/progressive philosophies are steeped in the strategic admonitions of Machiavelli and know what it takes to gain and maintain power.

“Thus a wise prince will think of ways to keep his citizens of every sort and under every circumstance dependent on the state and on him; and then they will always be trustworthy.” -Niccolo Machiavelli, 1469 – 1527

 This creation of dependencies is, in my opinion, pure political evil made all the more evil because it is done by fostering the idea that we can forget those God-given unalienable rights mentioned in the founding documents.  Those have the nasty requirements of using them to become self sufficient and self motivated and actually work to earn what one derives from the exercise of those freedoms.  Liberal philosophy, by contrast, teaches that we ought to understand that we somehow have an absolute RIGHT to whatever it is we desire.  When we don’t get it we are victims and only the state can step in and put down those bad guys who actually earn the stuff but want to keep it, and steal the fruits of their labor to give to those other folks who have a right to it notwithstanding that they did nothing to earn it.

“Catholics Want Contraception” and other health care issues.  Of course there are Catholics who use and want birth control.  Of course women’s health is important.  Of course there was unfairness (there is that convenient buzz word again) over pre-existing health conditions (I’ve run into it myself in the past).  Of course there are social benefits to having more people on health insurance.  So who would not want to see a good solution to those situations?

But none of those are the real issues.  The real issues are wrapped up in a single question: who has the authority to mandate those actions?  The federal constitution is clear on the subject: at the moment that authority does not come from either the legislative or executive branches of the federal government, but there is nothing to prohibit state governments from addressing it if their own state constitutions do not prohibit it.  Massachusetts had a perfect right to institute mandatory health insurance but the Federal government does not.  Let me repeat, the issue is not whether a law is a good idea or not, the issue is do those specifically involved lawmakers have the authority, under their own charters, to impose it?

In this case I believe the federal constitution does not allow it.  But Obama does not care about the constitution; in fact he has on a number of occasions referred to it as flawed along with the country and culture flowing from it.  These issues are at their heart, a means of changing the source of authority and power in the country from the legislative branch and the constitution to the Executive branch and his own ideals as espoused by sources other than those whose writings led to the constitution of the United States.

And if, in fact, the president can tell and enforce how Catholics interpret their sacred texts and practice their religion even if that is different than the Catholic Hierarchy teaches, who is next whose practices run afoul of official state policies?  So much for another clause in the Constitution.  One more nail in the coffin of a government of, by, and for the people and one more step toward a people that are of, by, and for the government.

Going Green.  Who could possibly not be for developing alternative and less polluting sources of energy?  No one.  Forget for a moment any issues about global warming, even if that is entirely a money generating hoax, the fact remains that we should be stewards of our one earth and using renewable energy sources would be good for us and good for the planet.  So who could possibly oppose that?  And that is why it is such a wonderful Straw Man tactic of misdirection.

The reality is that workable technology for all alternative energy except nuclear, vis-à-vis making it reasonably affordable, is years off.  At its cheapest it is 3 to 10 times more expensive per unit of energy than energy derived from fossil fuels.  And when people are in deep trouble economically that is a major problem.

The problem is compounded by the understanding that this country has HUGE reserves of energy resources that are estimated to match or exceed those of the Saudis.  And we have an energy rich neighbor to the north anxious to sell to us but needing to sell to SOMEONE even if that sale is not in our best interests.

Obama claims that oil production is up and it is his doing but leaves out that it is only up on private wells and is virtually shut down on federal wells over which he has control.  He said in a speech in Florida he has no idea what to do about the fact that we are producing enough oil here but prices are still rising.

Nonsense.  If that is true he is incompetent to be President.  But he does know what to do; it is just that his ideology prevents him from doing it.  The price of oil effects everything: not just gas at the pump but anything that relies on transportation (food, goods of all kinds) and anything made from oil by-products such as anything made from plastics.  No other single commodity has such a huge impact on our overall economy than oil: we are an oil-based society and in that we are the same as most of the rest of the world.  And until technology (which I think should be encouraged and supported) solves the disparity in costs, which it will some day, then as a country we need to get a grip on our own oil and oil costs.  That is within the prevue of the federal government.  So why not do it?

Because to NOT do it, to divert our attention onto that “green” ideal, we further weaken the economy and make it more vulnerable to the transformation that will come from the crisis that ensues when the economy fails.  And if we can lose a few Billion dollars down the drain of failed and failing companies while we are at it to speed up the gutting of the economy, so much the better because we can say, “We tried.”  Right.

Cuts in Spending.  Let’s handle this one quickly.  We all know that spending has to be cut.  But what has to be cut is the baseline.  Reducing the amount of additional spending desired is not a budget cut.  It is a straw man misdirection.


So then if these issues and others are not really relevant issues as they are presented by the media and the questioners at the debates, what IS or should be relevant?  In my opinion, to get this country back on track we need to accomplish several things in the next 7-10 years and in a particular priority.

FIRST PRIORITY.  The absolute first priority is to cement once and for all what are the powers of the federal government allowable under the constitution as it is now written so we never allow politicians of any stripe to bring us to this point again.   The proper behavior of a citizen is first to obey the laws as existing but work to change them if there is a real problem.   So if there is some national interest in amending some of the powers and rights set forth in that document, then lets start the amendment process and get it done.  In 1865 the amendment ending slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime was proposed and passed by the nation in a year.  In 1865!

Perhaps indeed our world has so evolved that it forces upon us as a nation-state a revisiting of some of our paradigms about how the world operates and how we can best work within that new, or newly perceived reality.  But that does not mean that our vision for our country has changed; it does not mean that our values as a society have changed; it does not mean that we can simply float willy nilly on a nebulous charter that is so flexible that it, de facto, has no meaning or directions for us at all.

It means, at most, that it is time for another Constitutional Convention to revisit the issues and see what changes, if any, would be potentially appropriate for us as we wade off into our future in this new world.  When the nation as a whole thinks it is time for a change it can accomplish it in reasonable time frames.  But the proper approach is not to usurp the document that set in motion what became, when we actually followed it, the greatest nation on earth and certainly not to give the executive officer of the country monarchical or dictatorial power or to allow unelected appointees and their fiefdoms to promulgate laws and regulations having serious impacts on the country usurping the jobs and responsibilities of the representatives we elect to do just that.

I would propose Constitutional amendments to the effect that cabinet positions be defined and limited.  That no law can be passed that does not apply equally to the lawmakers.  And that no rider can be attached to any bill that does not specifically speak to the main topic or subject of that bill so things can not be sneaked through riding on the backs of other important issues and requiring that each issue be addressed on its own merits.

This action has top priority because without it anything else done, no matter how much it is needed, will simply be a stop gap to buy time until the tide turns again and we return to this same path we are on now.

SECOND PRIORITY is the national debt crisis and overall economic condition.  Nothing else will so impact the “general welfare” noted in the Constitution’s preamble as our economic security and stability.  Who of us that has EVER tried to handle a personal or business budget truly believes you can solve a debt crisis by taking on more debt?  Crises of debt always, on any level, require incredibly painful and sometimes ugly efforts to bring expenditures and revenues into synch.

Obama has already admitted his tax policies will likely result in lowered revenue (as it has in other places they were tried such as Maryland and California) but that his dedication to “fairness” overrides that.  Meaning his ideology overrides helping to solve our biggest problem meaning this problem is actually working FOR him in some way.  If the so-called 1% paid 100 percent of their personal incomes as taxes it would not put much of a dent in the debt.  So let’s get real here.  The problem is mostly one of spending money we are not offsetting with revenue.  And we have gotten so far out of whack we now are faced with ugly, painful, hurtful choices but if we fail to take them then we are on the way to becoming Greece with riots in the streets.

We can no longer treat anything as sacred except the survival and stability of the country as a whole and we all must sacrifice.  But those sacrifices need to be defined and they all need to have built in, irrevocable sunset clauses so that when the country is again stable they revert to proper levels.  And laws need to be passed to prohibit the government from ever again allowing things to get so out of control.

But none of our normal “fixes” that were dictated during a world of sovereign, independent, self-sufficient nation states, will work in this now global economy.  We can argue whether we should have allowed it or bought into it but that discussion is pointless… we are in it up to our ears.  And it is our role in this global market that will determine our future success or failure as a country.

THIRD PRIORITY is the national defense and international policy.  And here again I’m not sure that many of the paradigms of the past from a day of sovereign self sufficiency and easy isolationist days that guide either party are still workable.  On some fronts I would love to return to those isolationist days of “live and let live” but it is simply not possible in a day and age of inter-continental ballistic missles and nuclear weapons and global markets.  We are part of this world whether we want to be or not. We are no longer self sufficient not the least of which is because the policies of the party in the White House has made it so.  And the ancillary problem is that in addition to now needing foreign goods,  there are other parts of the world that wish us harm.

Based on our OWN core values, we should define friend and non-friend; support the friends and leave non-friends to their own devices until they threaten global stability by threatening us or a friendly state.  And our military might and geopolitical will needs to be such that no one, no country who wants to survive into the future will ever risk a fight with us.

AND THEN… Overlapping and having an impact on both the 2nd and 3rd priorities above is the ongoing issue of energy.  Acquiring it presents national defense issues and paying for it presents economic issues.  We need to convene a convention of energy-related scientists of all types and energy consumers of all types with a basic charge and timeline; a 20 year plan as important as the goal of Kennedy’s of reaching the moon.

The objectives are first to make us completely energy self sufficient in 10 years at which point we need not buy a drop of oil from any foreign state.  If we used all of the reserves we own as a country that would give us an estimated 50-100 years based on our maximum consumption.  So objective two is that within 20 years we will have developed the technology to start replacing fossil fuels with other renewable sources leaving the remaining reserves of oil for those few areas where there may not be a replacement such as in manufacturing.

But that begs a more current question in which straw men and red herrings are also in play.  We get most of the oil we import from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela.  Only about 10% comes from the middle east.  Nevertheless, we now have enough excess supply, government restraints notwithstanding, that we export oil.  A recent interview with an oil exec claimed the reason gas was so expensive was the world price of oil.  Now I see two glaring issues buried in that.

First, if we are exporting oil, why are we buying a quart of it from Hugo Chavez, the favorite dictator of Sean Penn, if we actually make enough and are exporting it?  The only possible answer is to prop up his regime, which in turn props up Cuba, both of which are closer ideologically to our leadership’s political roots than to the roots of the country as a whole.

And the second question is what does what we charge others have to do with what we charge ourselves?  The only answer is that it props up oil company profits which are already through the roof.  And that is unlikely to change since the right wants to prop them up and the left wants us to run gas so high consumers will switch to alternatives.  Is that arbitrary abuse of federal power, in either direction, OK with you?  It is not with me.  We are blaming OPEC when we ought to be looking closer to home and starting in Washington and then Wall Street.

If we could have a successful “Manhattan” project and then a successful space project, we certainly have the brain power and infra-structure to do this if we had a true leader with a vision for it.  And rather than spending huge sums of money to prop up dictators that hate us or to allow non-productive people to live off of productive ones, this would be money that would truly help the country.

Now in my opinion, THOSE are some issues to focus on.  But I don’t see anyone out there doing it.


Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


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Political Passions and Upcoming Elections: Does It All Really Matter?

San Diego — To me, the upcoming election for President of the United States presents the clearest contest between two very opposing views of the world, the economy, and the role of government we have witnessed in my lifetime.  As I perceive it, the core philosophies the two candidates represent differ on the following primary issues:

  1. The role and ‘job’ of government,
  2. The contest of freedom versus security,
  3. The best economic model to follow, and
  4. The role and place of the US on the world stage
  5. The ethical appraisal of America itself

I said “core” philosophies because I believe one of them is a true believer, steeped to his toes in the tenets of his beliefs.  I’m not so sure about the other to be honest but to take him at his word and his claims du jour, if he is sincere, then those issues will break down pretty much as follows.

The Role of Government.  Is it constrained by the very specific requirements and limitations spelled out with absolute clarity in the Constitution or is it to be all things to all people and the source of determination as to what is fair or not and how to remedy it or not?

Freedom versus Security.  Do we as a people value our freedoms as granted in the Constitution enough to sometimes risk danger or are we so cowed by circumstances that we prefer to be protected against all danger even at the loss of essential freedoms?

Social Justice. Do we believe that those who are productive should be encouraged to be even more productive because it has a broader positive effect on society or do we believe that those who are productive should give the results of their efforts to those who are not?  Do we believe in the equality of opportunity or the equality of results?

 Economic Models.  As we look across the geopolitical stage of history and examine nation states based on the economic models they adopted, do we think those that pursued a more or less free-market system were more successful than those who adopted a government-controlled system?

The World Stage.  Do we look out at the world and see it filled with people who would gladly be our friends and supporters if we only would continue our aid to them and allow them to butcher their people and their neighbors as they wish, or do we see it populated with people whose schools and places of worship teach them to kill or convert all who disagree and most especially America?  Do we see the world as a safer place with the Soviet Union on the midden heap of history or do we see the world grown more dangerous with rogue elements holding serious weaponry and totally unconstrained by a larger power?

America Itself.  Do we see America as one of the grandest, boldest experiments in the history of mankind which, despite mistakes and failures still strives to be that beacon for freedom to the world or do we see it as a result of a flawed founding document that needs to be transformed into a different view of propriety from that of the founding fathers?

The parties in play could not possibly be farther apart philosophically in their espoused core beliefs about what America is and what it ought to be.  If ever there was a clear distinction in goals and objectives this election seems to provide it. if ever it truly mattered it is now.  Based on those opposing points of view at play, this could be the most important election in our nation’s history in terms of how it advances into the future.

But is that real or is it a giant shell game of red herrings and straw men whose purpose is to rally the true-believers on each side and keep them focused away from the real action?  There are a growing number of observers who believe the facts point toward a very different shadow power that really runs things and uses such issues as distractions to keep the passionate populace focussed away from what is really happening.

Unfortunately, that ‘conspiracy theory, normally relgated to the realm of crackpots and political loons, contains a certain logic because there is a common thread that binds the otherwise opposing parties.  Now to me it could either be the result of a benign and coincidental philanthropy, or, as the conspiracy loons suggest, revealing of an ugly oligarchy underlying it all and making our apparent choices pretty much irrelevant.  Here is the problem…

The major funding – for BOTH parties — comes from the SAME sources, mostly financial institutions including such banksters as Goldman-Sachs, Credit Suisse Group, Morgan Stanley, HIG Capital, Barclays, Bank of America, JP Morgan & Chase, USB AG, Wells Fargo, Blackstone Group, Citigroup or their proxies.  But it is Goldman-Sachs that would be the chief entity of interest in a search for a primary Oligarch pulling political strings since they not only provide more money than the others, they also have provided the manpower to populate administration officials and officers throughout the government.  A simple review of resumes will reveal this interesting common employer.

Now a financial entity so huge certainly has a huge employment base so a few dozen individuals in key governmental positions all coming from it could be coincidental.  It is also quite possible that these well heeled groups donate to both sides because they believe in allowing each a loud voice to reach the voters and are simply and patriotically doing their share, collectively and individually to facilitate that.  It is possibly a sheer and amazing coincidence that these major contributors, all capitalist pillars, included the groups bailed out because they were ‘too big to fail’ and allowed to rise above the law as it would apply to normal citizens which could not possibly be more antagonistic to capitalist principals.

Consequently there is a certain uneasy logic to the people who see this as evidence of a vast conspiracy; not of the left or right, but of the world’s oligarchs to be able to influence the policies of what was, at least, the world’s greatest power (and perhaps other powers as well).  I do not know the answer to that; I am not fully persuaded by either argument about their intents and goals in political funding.  but it does raise some interesting questions.

Unions are much more obvious: they are working in their own self interest which is what I believe they do all the time while pretending to protect but instead work to gain dependencies from the workers in their various clutches.  But big banks and financial institutions?  From a political perspective they could be either the ultimate evil or one of the more benign aides.  As usual in such cloudy areas the truth is most likely somewhere in the middle.

So until I am persuaded one way or the other about the sources and results of this major money I’ll continue to assume – or perhaps more accurately, hope – that the candidates are true to their core or avowed philosophies and vote based on that.  But that doesn’t help me much because, truth to tell, I think BOTH ideologies as they are currently finding expression, are wrong and living in some other century.

And no, I do not mean just conservatives.  I also mean the liberal/progressives because their ideology belongs to the past just as much as some of the conservative ideology does.

Both are based on thinking starting in the 17th century and flowing forward into the late 19th century when it solidified.  While I do believe one of them comes closer to representing accurately the underlying human nature at play in political interactions (and that is the ideology flowing from Locke and Burke) as they are being expressed in this contest in 2012, neither is truly dealing with the world as it now is.

Both are based on a world view predicated on sovereign or nearly sovereign and nearly self sufficient nation-states for whom trade was a common and handy but unnecessary thing.  Neither are, in their pristine forms, fully suitable for a world of global markets, revolutionary changes in the methods of production and the sources of revenue, nor well calculated to serve anyone, in any class, in a world of mutually capable destruction and growing competition for global but finite resources.

Conservative philosophies are based on a world that largely no longer exists while progressive philosophies are based on a world that NEVER existed.  And yet passionate partisanship has convinced us that we have a simple “either-or” set of choices and ignored the reality that the best choice is probably… “neither.”

I do believe that conservative ideals, however, are based in a far more accurate appraisal of the realities of human nature and that modern liberal approaches are based more on a marvelously Machiavellian awareness of the power that flows from dependencies but unfortunately that requires a subjugation of human nature to work.  But both now are off in fantasyland, ignoring the inconvenient truth that while they were busy focusing on fighting each other the world changed and with it, the U.S.  Our relations with that world in both an economic and a geo-political sense have not kept pace.  So though I think the best foundation for addressing this new world would come from the Locke/Burke/Jefferson flow of thinking but I see none of the current candidates attempting to apply it.  They are mostly applying it to a world that hasn’t existed for 50 years and maybe longer.

I have watched the debates hoping for someone to get beyond petty in-fighting and speak to the realities of the incredibly dangerous issues facing us both internally and externally and offer their ideas as to how to best deal with them.  I have heard nothing but platitudes and promises of results but not a single working plan. Pabalum for the true believers of all stripes but no real meat in any of them.  If they would come up with that sort of implied leadership then I think they would win, and if they do not then they may once again cede the election to King Barrack and unless the congress falls completely to the other team, we will, in my opinion, see a systematic dismantling of the Constitution; a concentration of power in the executive and his appointed czars in opposition to the legislative branch, and a transformation of this country just as he said he would.

And that scares me to death.  But, to ne honest, not all that much more than having someone from the other side, equally oblivious to the changed world realities, fomenting policies and actions in blind obediance to obsolete policies created in blind ignorance to a world that has changed while they were not looking.

But maybe, in the end, even that fear is unfounded because perhaps that same bankster-contrived and controlled oligarchy, if it actually exists and actually does understand the new world because it created it, will not allow its own golden goose to be cooked and will rein in either side as its pendulum starts to swing to far wide of a workable middle.  I do not know the answer to that nor will pretend to.  And I do not know if that potential phantom safety net would be a good thing or not een if it existed.

Orwell, who foresaw something eerily similar did not think so nor did most people who read his book when i did back in the 60s.  But those people must all be dead since there was no cry against recent announcements of domestic drone surveillance following the passage of the act allowing us to be targets of interest for domestic spying.  While on one hand you might try to argue that a world-wide oligarchy who rules from the shadows in utter self interest would not allow real war to break out, I would suggest you re-read 1984 to see a true nightmare: phony wars with real casualties all to keep the people distracted and in line but without actually destroying production centers and facilities.

Possibly Orwell’s 1984 was simply set in the wrong century. 
is there any possible clue we can look for to tell us the truth of it all?  i think there is.  First, will the outcome of the primaries seem to correspond to any sense of reality?  Remember Joe Stalin’s great observation that political power is not in the hands of the voters but in the hands of vote counters.

Then, once the final candidates are chosen, will any of them offer real leadership and some practical, workable, logical solutions to the major issues that face us to include energy costs, the debt crisis, and the middle east power keg?  These are all smart men with the ability, as president, to convene a forum of the brightest minds available to address nearly any subject.  Will they?  And if so, will they follow the recommendations.  Before you answer too quickly, think of the Simpson-Bowles bipartisan commission on the debt and whether ANY of their recommendations were followed.

Now, am I advocating that we throw in the towel and simply walk away to let the wizards behind the curtain do their thing in peace and quiet? That is what the conspiracy theorists are saying: that it does not matter at all what we do or how we vote.  Do I accept that? Absolutely Not!

Until some new data surfaces to support that theory beyond refute then this still remains the most important election of my lifetime and maybe of the lifetime of this country.  Even though i believe the philosophies espoused are too often based on a flawed and/or obsolete world view, I do still believe one of those world views has a better chance at bringing its ideology in line with reality than the other because I believe its political aims and goals are far more moral, practical, and most importantly, far more in keeping with the realities of human nature.

Discussing these possibilities is fun but also important because it helps to focus us on context as well: how do subsequent actions correspond to pre-election rhetoric and if not, why not.  Without knowing why not, we do not know how to fix it because we are bring a hammer to drive in a screw and a wrench to pound in a nail.


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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


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