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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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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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