Monday, January 31, 2011

The Danger to America is not Ideological...

Jefferson once said, "The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground."

We have been proving the truth of that statement for almost 235 years now. Mr. Obama's ideal of government isn't to be faulted for it's ideology. That is immaterial. It is not the ideology of government that destroys us, it is it's totalitarian nature.

The nature of government is to control. It eats away at individual freedom, sometimes painfully but often inexorably quiet, taking a small freedom here, an insignificant one there until the individual is left only with the decision of whether to live or die...and even that disappears over time.

It is politically incorrect for the Left to acknowledge openly that they believe in such totalitarian control, preferring to quote the mantra of "the common good"...but ask them who is to define that term. Whether a one person dictatorship, or a dictatorship by committee or ideology or religion, or by any other name...the result is a totalitarian government that eliminates personal Freedoms. And those on the Right argue that small government is the answer....the same logic as jumbo shrimp, it is a logistical oxymoron. It is like trying to be just a little bit pregnant.

I must allow that I believe in a totalitarian long as I was the Dictator, since I believe in the practice of benign neglect. But I lack the desire or the ego to want the job, and everyone else, whether in the form of one person or a group going by different titles, such as Senator or Congressman, is just totalitarian government no matter what it's title.

We allow our captors to focus our unhappiness on the strawment of ideology or religion or form of government, allowing them to continue the business of taking our freedoms and ruling us all.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mission Control...we have a problem: Egypt

Continuing the President's fascination with space references to encapsulate current events on the ground, our political mission control does have a problem.  Heck...I have a problem.  And I wonder if I don't have a lot of company.  How many of us have even spent a few minutes wondering, much less reading and studying, about modern Egypt and its effect on the United States and the Middle East?  Not many, I would wager.

And to try to get up to speed right now is to swim upstream against the purveyors of panic and disaster.  So...attempting to at least get an idea of the game board, and where we stand, who are the players?  First, of course, there is Mubarak.  Leader of Egypt since the 80's, he is a strong, autocratic ruler who came out of the military and has their instinctive support.

Then there is his security chief, Omar Suleiman.  Just sworn in as Vice-President of Egypt this morning (significant, as there has been no Vice-President during Mubarak's almost 3 decade-long run as President), he has been the head of Egyptian State Security since 1993.  He is a very powerful figure in international circles, very good at his job.

 Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel laureate and former secretary general of the International Atomic Energy Agency is a major political opposition leader who flew home to Egypt to join in the demonstrations.  He is currently under house arrest.  While some complain that he is a "johnny-come-lately" to the protests, he did get some street cred for his joining in the demonstrations on Friday before being put under arrest.

Another potential political figure is Arab League Secretary General Amer Moussa.  A former Egyptian foreign minister, he was in Davos at the World Economic Forum.  It is not clear that he would want to leave his current post in order to jump into the chaos back home, but if so he could be a factor.

Then there is Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army, Sami Annan.  Appointed to the position in 2005 by Mubarak, he will reflect the opinion of the Military at large, no small concern.  The public holds the army in high esteem, so the usual distrust by the people of anyone connected or appointed by Mubarak may be somewhat less for Annan, but there is no indication that he has any designs, conscious or sub-conscious, on holding the top office.  He will likely speak for the Military and, as such, could determine any care-taker regime and the speed of any change, should that come to pass.

And finally, the fly in the ointment is not just one man but a group, the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.  Although weakened by the constant prosecution, harrassment, and detention by Mubarak's government, it is still a visable force in the streets, as the Muslim youth pour out of the mosques to join in the uprising.

So...what is the likely-hood for an end-game?

First, Mubarak is likely at the end of his run.  The only question is one of timing: immediately or with the advent of new elections within a relatively short time.

Turning to the likely ascendant to power, my bet would be for ElBaradei.  Why?  Because the Military is unlikely to allow an Islamic oriented government...and the military has veto any Islamist is out. Annan does not want power, just a peaceful Egypt.  Moussa is too comfortable and has too much power and wealth doing what he is doing.  Why would he want to get down in the mud with the other peasants? He already has gotten his.  Suleiman is a potential, but he was appointed by Mubarak and it is unlikely that anyone with that close a connection to the out-going President can succeed politically, regardless of his desires.  And, although, I have not even raised his name before, Mubarak's son is totally out of the picture.  He has never been military, so the army has no liking for him, and the people will absolutely not even consider him in any position of power.

Whether immediately, or at the next elections, I think we will see ElBaradei as the next leader of Egypt.

Last question...what does this do to the political climate in the middle east vis a vie Israel and Islam?  I thing the status quo holds on both.  Egypt and its people are solidly behind secularist government, and both have investments in continuing the current position with Israel.  

Now...we have to sit back and see how it all plays out in real life.  I hope my analysis is right.  As a side note, it will be extremely interesting to see how quickly the Obama administration analyses and chooses postitions diplomatically during this crisis.  I predict some serious stumbling around, both publicly and behind the scenes...this is a decidedly callow group in power lacking a high-power diplomatic mind.  If it doesn't hurt the United States, it should be entertaining.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

OBama State of the Union Speech Reaganesque?

A significant number of media outlets have repeated some pundits comments to the effect that the speech was Reaganesque.

The SOTU speech was NOT Reaganesque...nor was it Shakespearian oratory. The Delivery was competent, but there was no substance to the hour. What made Reagan special was the years he spent honing his beliefs and message, learning what worked and what did not...all while talking to and arguing with those on both sides of the aisle to find and eliminate weaknesses in his positions.

By the time Reagan was President he had something to say. The icing on the cake was that he had the skill to communicate it effectively to friend and foe alike. President Obama can come close to delivering a speech as did Reagan, but he utterly fails to have the deepth and breadth of content that President Reagan delivered.

President Obama's story...his narrative...has no continuity and no substance. Not really his fault...he does not have the requisite experience...but it is not there and will never be there. He was given the office too soon...too early in his development. Ten years from now, if he had been left to mature in the Senate and learn, he would have possible made a superior President. At this time in his life, however, he is all flash and no substance. He is a smart man. Too bad he wasn't smart enough to bide his time and allow himself to mature and gain the experience to match his intelligence. Sometimes a guy can be too smart for his own good.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is there a "Work Ethic" in today's America?

Was talking with friends recently and the subject turned to motivation to work and just what constituted and supported a work ethic, particularly in today's America.  What follows is my shot at identifying and evaluating it.

There are two major elements to the maintenance of any semblance of a "work ethic": one is Internal, and the others are external. Internal motivation is essentially DNA and the way you were raised. There can be modifications in the intensity but rarely are there great changes in the internal elements. External, however are a different story.

External motivation is a combination of Fear and Praise coming from those around us, and our immediate superior in the workplace as the major element. The fear of being fired, the praise and advancement from working hard all affect future and ongoing motivation. And it is essential to factor in the need for health care and funds on which to live in retirement.

Unfortunately, with the very first Social Security program, followed by Medicare and Medicaid, the Fear factor has been all but eliminated as an external motivator. I remember my parents' mortal fear of not being able to put aside enough to cover costs when they could no longer work (and they never ever considered retirement...they were worried about failing health and strength, no going to the beach or the golf course). Social Security make that almost go away for most people. Maybe you couldn't live as well, but you were not going to starve. The need to save every dollar went away, and the need to work as hard for as long as you could manage also went away.

And all generations since mine have seen government step in and remove the consequences of NOT working hard. Just look at this past two years: Bought a house you couldn't afford? No problem, the government will step in and stop the nasty bank from trying to make you live up to your obligations. No Job? No problem, the government will provide you with a paid 2 1/2 year quiet time before you have to take whatever is available in order not to starve or live on the street. Thought you would be healthy forever and didn't buy any health coverage? No problem...the government will provide coverage.

What earthly reason is there to have a work ethic? It only puts you in the class that the President insults and you get to pay for everybody else's perks.

Work ethic indeed. I am surprised that it even remains in the dictionary.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

America is no longer a "Nation"

One of the acceptable definitions of "Nation" is: A people who share common customs, origins, history, and frequently language; a nationality. We have not been a nation since the 60's. America was a creation of men who disagreed with and decried the concept of a static populous that was the norm in England and most European Countries in the 1700's. We were different. Our attitude about government and personal freedom for the first 200 years remained markedly (and demonstrably) different from the rest of the world.

That changed with un-checked legal and illegal immigration. To be sure, in the earlier years there was no check on immigration...but the hardships of existing and making your way in early America culled the herd, so to speak, and only those who thought they could survive the hardships (or had no choice) came. And those who failed, died.

But assimilation into a culture isn't a natural thing for most. If immigration is limited, those who come to America have no choice but to assimilate...they have no significant group oriented to "the old country" to support separateness. Sure, the Irish, Italians and Scandinavians and others had small enclaves, but that was mostly driving by being they gained success in business and employment, they voluntarily and happily left the enclaves and joined main-stream America.

In addition, the mores of the times forced assimilation on those who came to America...unabashedly. The courts had not yet decided that you could re-create your "old country" here in America. If you came here, it was to "join", not infiltrate and expand your previous existence

The Courts and unchecked invasion have changed that. The American Nation State no longer exists. As the article says, we are divided. And that removes the concept of "nation." We are now just a "country." And we have lost the common bond that used to exist. Almost half of our citizens want us to emulate European Democratic-Socialism; almost half of our people believe that a New World Order should rise to do away with America and other country identities in favor of a World Government.

When the Roman Empire collapsed, something else would rise. Today, that is no longer true. The America the founding fathers envisioned has disappeared...forever..

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Our Insolvent Democracy

I remember President Eisenhower's terms in office well. I had been a fan of Truman and had serious doubts about how well an Army "General" would operate in the world of politics, that he might be a lamb among wolves. Well, I wrongly discounted the lessons he had learned in trying to keep Montgomery and Patton from killing each other and focusing on the Germans and Italians...but that is a different story.

what impressed me most (and continues to this day) was Eisenhower's farewell address just as he was leaving office. The Speech on January 17, 1951, was televised...sixty (60) years ago. Most remember his caution about the Military-Industrial Complex (which warning was proven to be true, even though subsequently misused by the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat movements of the time). But there was a paragraph much more important...and of particular importance today:

"Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for todayplundering for, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without asking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.” [underlines added:DT]

Too bad we can't bring him back, bust all the politicians to private and put them at the command and training of the General...we certainly would be better off.

We (the American people) have been "blaming someone else for more than 60 years now. We allow politicians to promise free lunches when we have always known they don't exist. We have allowed politicians to get away with Ponzi schemes before Ponzi ever existed...and re-electing them for their prowess.

Every tax ever put into effect has been touted as "temporary". Yeah...right. Every infrastructure has been funded "only until it is paid for, and then reduced and used only to pay for maintenance." Right...sure.

Then those funds are taken by the politicians to cover their regular government operating costs so that they don't have to raise the taxes to pay for the "free" lunch that you were promised. And decades later, as our bridges and highways and public buildings are crumbling, the current crop of crooks wring their hands looking for someone other than the taxpayer to pay...what a load of Bovine Excretion.

How about a politician who simply says..".You and your parents got the is the bill. Suck it up and understand that you voted in the people who screwed things are are going to pay...and the bill is due right now." That is what we deserve.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Giffords' reaction disingenuous at best, considering the past

Want to find real "hate" speech? Go flip through the posts on the Daily Kos sometime...if you can stand it. And go over to Newsvine (sponsored by Newsweek) for more of the same. It makes the rather mild attacks on (primarily) the ideology of the Left look tame by comparison. The frequency of the calls for the untimely demise of various Conservatives and others that do not espouse the Liberal line is wall to wall...almost universal, yet I have never heard the media denounce that as inappropriate. 

In the Giffords case, I find the rush to find blame through a domino effect to be disingenuous at best and flat out lying for political effect at worst. And the secular powered diminution of God and Morality enables the effort of the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat-Elites' to take find some political advantage from the act of one psychopathic delusional nut.

Would the new media be treating this story the same if the victims had been Republican or Conservative...or Libertarian? Tea Party? My suspicion is that the media and the Progressive-Liberal-Socialist-Democrat-Elite would suddenly find that the victims had brought it one themselves.

What if the shooter of Giffords and the rest had been an illegal? Can you describe the sound of silence? 

And, as tragic as the killings were, why indeed are they any more tragic than the death of a soldier in Iraq, Pakistan, or Afghanistan from a suicide bomber, or the murder of a Rancher on his own American Ranch on the border? How is it that they do not deserve a personal visit from the President? What are they...chump change? I think not. And a visit from the President no only exalts the psychopathic shooter (and proving to other psychopaths out there that this is the way to fame), but by comparison shows his not so parallel values for others who have died at the hands of murderers.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Do National Politicians have the capacity to learn?...Anything?

There are few differences between the governing of King Louis XVI of France and of todays Federal administration in Washington, D.C., in the United States.

Both acted with little concern for public wishes. Both acted to benefit their own interests. Both ignored the fact that they were acting disrespectful toward the majority in their country. And both had fair warning about the possible consequences of continued unresponsiveness: in France there was the convening of the Estates-General followed by members of the Third Estates proclaiming the Tennis Court Oath; here in the United States we have had the spontaneous rise of the various (and numerous) Tea Parties, followed by an election that clearly sent a cautionary message to the United States General Government.

Will history show that the parallel continued? I do not know. But, the actions of the current Administration to date show the same degree of disregard that was shown by Louis XVI. Perhaps someone in the White House and in Congress would be well served by going to their windows and recognizing the fast-vanishing patience and already aroused anger of the populace...their survival might depend on it.

Wonder what kind of odds a British Bookmaker might give me?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Obamacare and the Courts: an Opportunity

Obamacare is, of course, on its way to being guest of honor of the Supreme Court of the United States.  While some see this as just one more case, I believe it has the possibility of being a moment of renewal,in our country's history; there is the possibility of a regeneration of, and re-dedication to the Constitutional restrictions on Federal Power, particularly when in opposition to States Rights.

Prior to Roosevelt ascending to the throne, the Supreme Court of the United States repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional all attempts by the President and/or Congress to extend Federal control over States Rights. Much was made, albeit briefly, of Roosevelt's defeated attempt to pack the court by increasing the number of Justices. But generally ignored is the fact that over the course of his presidency, he nominated all 9 justices serving at the time of his death in office.

The result of his long tenure was that he nominated Justices that were in favor of his Federal extension of power and over-riding States Rights. That is how, after a number of defeats, the New Deal Legislation that started down the path of over-reaching Federal Power over all Americans, including the diminution of States Rights, succeeded.

That change was in defiance of "stare decisis" and much approved by a Democrat Congress (and President).

Why would there be any problem if, as they consider the Constitutionality of Obamacare, the Supreme Court of the United States were to recognize the departure of the Roosevelt Supreme Court from stare decisis and correct that departure by correcting the course of Constitutional Law back to that originally set by the Founding Fathers?

Indeed, such may be exactly what saves our country from continuing down the path of rejoining the europe that was abandoned in 1776 by Americans, only this time rejoining the democratic socialism that is the European Union of today.