Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"Terrorism" is a tactic, not an enemy

It is maddening to hear the universal cacophony of voices talking about "Terrorism" as our enemy.  Such misdirection and/or sloppiness is embarrassing.

Terrorism (causing terror) is exactly like "carpet bombing", "gorilla warfare", or "flanking."  It is a tactic used by nations, groups and individuals in an attempt to accomplish something; the "something" does not have to be cogent or even sane.

The mass murderer who kills children in a school is using "terror" as a tactic; we don't understand it if he is insane, but it is his chosen tactic instead of standing in the middle of the road and waving a sign.  A homeless women engages in an act of Terror when she drives down a sidewalk, killing folks she doesn't even know.  A person who snipes at people driving cars by on an Interstate road is combining two tactics: gorilla warfare and terror.  I could go on and on, but the point is made:  Terror is a tactic...it is a means to do any one or more of many goals.  The goal is not particularly important.

Terror, when used by an individual, may have a goal.  It may not.  A mentally ill person may engage in a terrorist act and have no goal.  Mental illness was and remains the enemy.

A bank robber may shoot up, wound and kill many in the robbing of the bank.  The terror of multiple wounds and killings is for the purpose of causing fear and confusion and to make escape easier and more certain.  The Criminal Act was and remains the enemy.

When an extended group adopts the tactics of Terror for a purpose, it helps to identify the enemy, and the source that created that group as an enemy.  It does NOT help to focus on tactics; I remember the focus on the gorilla warfare of the North Vietnamese instead of on the source of their vision of the United States as their enemy.  What a waste of effort...and we failed to achieve our goals in that conflict.

Currently we have ISIS (ISIL or whatever other derogatory name is currently in vogue) as our enemy.  Their tactics include infiltration, conventional military warfare, psychological warfare, as well as Public Relations efforts in recruitment, terrorist acts,  and many others.  All of these are tactics.

Why does ISIS see the West in general and the United States in particular as the enemy?  They say (and it behooves us to listen to our enemy when the consistently declare why the hate us and avoid trying to re-define it in terms that we find comforting (and, most harmful, misleading), that we are destroying their their way of life, bringing immoral and unacceptable behavior to their countries, interfering with their way of life and trying to erode their lifestyle, indoctrinating their youth with the immoral and wasteful ways of the west and showing them and their brand of civilization no respect.  They also will quote the commands of their religion, Islam, as contained in the Qur'an, that they conquer the world and convert all to Islam.  Dying in this cause is seen as a guarantee of entry to Paradise, hence the willingness to engage in the terrorist tactic of body bombs and mass killings when death to the perpetrators is all but guaranteed.

Any reasonable person bothering to ask questions, read, and analyse all of this cannot escape the finding that the self-declared enemy attempting to fight, kill, and terrorize the west and the United States is Islamic in nature and most specifically involves devout extremist Muslims who have decided that they need to act now to save their perception of what civilization should be: Islamic.

There are Muslims in name only, just as there are Christians in name only; these folks claim the title and show up on special occasions and actually value the heredity of Islam...but neither group actually is dedicated to live the life that either the Bible or the Qur'an dictates.  They are not enemies of anything other than having their lives interfered with by the folks who comprise ISIS.  Still others have fully embraced the qualities and practices of the western world for various reasons:  women because of the freedom to make their own decisions and dress as they wish, the LGBT community because it avoids being put to death...and others.

The West in general and the United States in particular doesn't want to acknowledge the truth of what is presented here for a variety of reasons.  A main one is that the west has become afraid of confrontation and developed a distaste for stress of any sort; I call it the "pc movement."  How dare anyone make us feel "uncomfortable."  ...or "wrong." ...or put in an unwanted position of having to actually "do" something!  Like Neville Chamberlain, they just want to believe that everyone really just wants "to get along."  Wanting and acknowledging the truth are often not co-existent.

I wonder if we will ever see our President or any world leader acknowledge, and identify the enemy instead of repeating over and over references to the "behind the lines tactics?"  I am starting to doubt it.  Even if they called the tactics of terror a form of gorilla warfare it would be an improvement, because it would make everyone consciously aware that we have avoided actually putting a name on, and thus identifying, the real enemy.

That would be the start of what perhaps could become victory.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Is Change possible without admitting Error?

What a question..."Is change possible without admitting error!"  Is it an important question?

To define the discussion, let us assume that change made as a result of our own evaluation process is a change made by choice.  That is not strictly true, but space requires a condensing of the discussion. And let us also stipulate that change imposed by other people or outside events  are not "choice" driven.  With those boundaries in place, let us consider the question again.

There are two different kinds of changes we make in our lives;  First, we change to choose a better path or result; Second, we change to avoid a bad result that is contrary to our intention.  The first is an improvement and the second is an avoidance.  That is all well and good...but do we have to acknowledge that fact?  I would suggest that the change to improve the result often is not consciously acknowledged...unless it is in the business world.  If it is in the business world, that evaluation is often trumpeted as proof of ability to evaluate and succeed, so not only is it acknowledged, it is headlined to the public as well as in our own consciousness, and is not seen as labeling the initial direction as "wrong" but merely as an "interim" step in "doing the job right."

But...what if the change is imposed upon you by your superior at work?  Now the change is not your discovery or choice at all.  Yes, of course you will (it is your bosses command, after all) make the change and you will attempt to do your best to make it happen...but will your effort be the same 110% that you would have put in if it had been your discovery?  I would argue that it depends on whether you are able to admit that the first direction was in error, even if only by degree, acknowledge that fact, and commit to the new process or goal.  Otherwise, your effort will be something less than it could be.

So...when a change is imposed upon you it is logical that it will be less than optimally successful unless you can see that the original direction was in error.  Applied to the current discussion, "No, change is not possible without admitting error!"

What about our private life decisions and paths?  Those changes which we determine are appropriate...all by ourselves (or, at least not imposed by others) are likely to be successful.  But...do we acknowledge that the original path or choice was "wrong?"  No...I suggest that does not often happen.  But our subconscious mind does play games with us, doesn't it?  The "new" choice is better and the "old" one abandoned...at least in part...as "no longer being optimum!"  Isn't that just a polite way of saying that the "old" choice is now seen as "wrong?"  I think the answer is, "Yes, we do acknowledge error in the original choice and once again optimize the change because we do see the improvement and accept responsibility for ourselves to make the change happen.

However, now the trick question: "Does this apply to politics and voting?"

I argue that not only does it apply, but that history proves that it applies.  Just looking at the current administration (one could make the same observations about each and every other one, with the same result) we can see that a choice of who to vote for had been made twice.  The first was by and large an acceptance of a promise for "Hope and Change" in which specifics were never provided; each of us imagined that the definitions of "Hope" and of "Change" by the candidate were the same as ours.  For many, that was clearly not so.  Yet at the next election, the result was the same.  And dialogues after the second election showed that most people were unable to admit that their expectations were in error.  The majority of voters were not able to come to terms with their own error in evaluating campaign promises and character, much less commit to any change.  Only now, after almost 7 years of facing the facts on a daily basis does it appear from polls that the majority of voters are beginning to admit "error" to any degree, no matter how small.

Many in our country prefer that our subconscious deal with admitting error and putting it in an acceptable format before bringing it to consciousness.  Perhaps all of us do!  Either way, I suggest that no change is ever possible or successful without admitting error in the preceding choice, and denial only slows the correction.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Does Socialist Governing make for a resigned populace?

During my life I have had opportunities to visit many different countries.  Many of them were, at the time of my visit, ruled by governments that were Socialist in nature...some even coming close to Dictatorships.  And, over time, I have noticed a peculiar constancy of national attitude:  the level of "contentedness" is the inverse of the level of personal freedoms.  The higher the level of government control of personal and business life, the lower the level of happiness and the higher an attitude of "resignation."

There have been volumes written about the financial toll as well as the results of Socialist, Marxist and even Communist governing.  And one finds it hard to disagree with the fact that those types of governments have always ultimately failed...usually after having exhausted the earnings and savings of the "rich" to finance government benefits.  It is undeniable that during this period of governance there is a sense of "happiness" and contentment with this approach.

One difficulty with all of this is that during this period of euphoria over low cost or "free" benefits, the majority become accustomed to doing less work, lowering production as well as efforts to succeed; after all, the government is guaranteeing an acceptable existence without any consequences from failed performance...one need not "earn" anything.  It is, indeed, the good life...apparently.  And people adjust to that attitude.

But ultimately life demands the discovery and acknowledgement that there is no such thing as "free" anything...lunch, government benefits, guarantees, etc.  This is not a "happy" discovery, even to those who know in their depths of soul what the truth is...no one enjoys playing life's equivalent of Musical Chairs when the loser finds his family going hungry, without housing, and having lost the knowledge and conditioning to be independent.

Many of those nation states then turn to anarchy and slowly develop new government entities that for a time do not forget the lessons of the previous experience.

This commentary is NOT about those.

There are nations that even after the early blush of easy benefits continue to support a Socialist style governing...it usually has some democratic element, such as elections and the appearance or fact of some popular representation, yet applying the leveling elements of a Socialist environment.  Much of Europe is governed in this manner.

One of these nations is Norway.  My father immigrated to the United States almost a century ago; he waited for years and had to have a sponsor that guaranteed that he had a job ready for him, and had a place to live, and generally could show that he would not be a burden to the government or to anyone if he were allowed to come to the United States.  In due course he became a citizen...and held the United States in high esteem for the rest of his life; we were told that while our heritage was important, we were first and finally Americans and this was our country and to which we owed our total allegiance.  We were here to be a part of the American existence, not to complain or try to change it.

Why did he come to America?  Because he was from a family that had fallen on hard times, with the early and unexpected death of his father.  Norway guaranteed an existence.  He would never have gone hungry.  He would never not have had a job.

But...he could never have improved his existence.  He couldn't save enough to buy property and build a house...the taxes were too high.  Sure, that meant that he never had to pay for Doctors or hospital or elderly care services.  But he could not improve his personal existence.  The governmental system protected his status, but did not allow him the financial freedom to improve it.

America guaranteed nothing...BUT the chance, the opportunity, to risk all but allow him the reward as well as the consequences of his own efforts.  THAT is what America used to offer; it is the essence of a Capitalistic and Democratic governing status.

That opportunity to succeed on the basis of your individual efforts...as well as the risk of failure...is what makes democracies different from Socialist nations.  And that governing approach encourages an optimistic point of view as well as the total effort to succeed on a self-reliant basis.  For my father and for many of his friends, a government guarantee would have been an insult...an indication that someone thought they weren't good enough to succeed on their own, that they were "less-than" others.  Even during the Great Depression, my father did whatever work he could find and never once doubted that he would survive and ultimately succeed.  Even during that period, my father remained optimistic, knowing...believing...that the hard times would pass and he would then succeed.

His attitude was the same that our Founding Fathers must have had; they wanted independence, not patriarchal or matriarchal care and governance.

Americans always have complained...but they also found much to support their internal happiness.  For every element in their lives that were a challenge, there was one or more that provided a source of happiness, of opportunity, of joy.  No one problem was insurmountable.

In socialist nations the government is the single, overwhelming element in your life;  if you have a problem and the government cannot "fix" it, it will never be fixed.  You are locked into a level of existence and, while that might be insured, you will rarely be able to change it or improve your place in that society.  And that promotes a certain sense of resignation and even sadness that colors your existence.  Oh sure, there are celebrations and moments of joy...but they are temporary and often seem transparently unable to hide the underlying sense of having to be satisfied with what and where you are.

Lately, I have found myself looking around and growing sad as so many Americans seem to be coming to the conclusion that their only choice is to take what the government can provide, feeling uneasy but finally accepting the not-always-so-slow incursion of government into their lives, regulating how they can live, what they can say, what they can read or hear, who or what they may worship in public.  Like wild pigs, they are becoming comfortable with being fed, instead of foraging on their own, and ignore the erection of a fence on one side of the food, to be followed by the erection of a second side...and so on, until they will find that they have allowed themselves to be imprisoned and no longer have any freedom of choice at all.  And then they, too, will feel what my father felt so long ago in Norway; an imprisoned existence.  And there will be no "United States of America" to hold the promise of a different way of life.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Why do we Disrespect Congress?

I will admit to disrespecting Congress...a lot.  If I want to be totally truthful, it usually rises to the level of hatred.  But lately, I am stung by the question, "why?"  Oh, I can complain about their actions (or perhaps I should say inaction).  I can marvel at their ability to squander money that we as taxpayers had to work hard to earn, only to watch our politicians treat it like so much dirty water...to be splashed about and not even clean anything up.

It occurred to me earlier this week that I was blaming the forest, instead of the individual trees...and by doing so, was insuring that nothing would ever change.  And it can be argued that most of us in America do the same thing.  Of course there are reasons for this:  we are busy earning a living; we believed and expected our Congressman (or woman) and Senator to do what they promised; others know more about the governmental challenges than do we.  These are all legitimate points and facts.

But...it is our government. At least on paper.  We are the ones doing the voting.

Perhaps we have our priorities wrong.  Maybe checking on whether or not our Congressman and/or Senator is doing his job is a bit more important that watching that third football game of the day.  Maybe writing or calling our Representative and asking why he voted for or against a particular bill...and asking directly (Yes,...or No) if he actually read it before voting is a mite more important than that tv movie.

Maybe our anger should not be at Congress, but at our own (the guy or gal that is supposed to be serving us, protecting us, listening to us, fulfilling their promises to us) particular member of the House of Representatives and/or our United States Senator.  Perhaps it is time to tell them that their allegiance should be to us, not their party and certainly not the leaders of their party.  We didn't elect a party...we elected a person.  That person made promises and took an oath.  We should be checking to see if they are keeping their promises, if they are fulfilling their duties to which they took that oath...instead of feathering their own or others' nests or making self-serving deals and not respecting our wishes and our needs.

Oh, they will scream bloody murder...much as our children do when we check on them and insure that they are doing their homework and keeping the right kind of company.  But if we are going to serve ourselves and meet our own obligations to both us and our country, we need to treat our elected officials just as we do our children: trust...but verify.  There are some that are doing their job for us.  There are others that will only do it if we monitor them and hold their feet to the fire...or whatever other euphemism you want to use.

We should get on with it.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Why such an increase in lawlessness?

While certain crimes appear to be fewer in number, general lawlessness seems on the increase, as does a disrespect for the concept of Law.  Why?

Some argue that increased enforcement of laws has also come with lawless behavior on the part of those enforcing laws.  Is that true...or is that a nurtured perception made possible by the ubiquitous nature of phone cameras and the social networks that make no effort to separate truth from fiction?  Whatever the truth, and I would suggest the impact is relatively small, that does not really help to answer the question as to basic cause.

There is a theory that of the total population in America, there are about 20% that will always try to do the right and just thing, regardless of the law, its enforcement or the attitude of those around them.  That theory also puts forward the likelihood that about 15% of the people in the country are true psychopaths, who ignore the law and attitudes about them with the exception of the care they take to do exactly what they want to, when they want to.  Laws have no effect on them, and they regard the attitude of others as inconsequential.  That leaves 65% of the population.  That 65% is arguably highly influenced by the attitude of those around them and the degree of enforcement that various laws receive; if a law is ignored by the authorities, they will ignore it and break it with impunity and no sense of guilt...if a law is enforced and stringent punishments applied in a timely manner, they will forego breaking that law, even if they would wish to.  While I can not verify the percentages suggested, I have no doubt that the three categories exist and that the vast majority of the populace is affected by laws and their enforcement.

So...back to the question.

It is inarguable that most of the laws in America are NOT enforced effectively; many are archaic and remain on the books, others are spottily enforced to the point where people are fined when caught but the vast majority will break those laws to some degree because of the small odds of being caught.  But these factors have always been around and can be considered a constant.

So, let us turn to the matter of "selective" enforcement of laws...and almost as importantly, the selective "unenforcement" of laws.  Laws were intended to reflect "right" behavior.  Over time the concept or "right" and "wrong" have, for better or worse, gone by the wayside and now the law reflects "legal" and "illegal" behavior.  Often this allows what is clearly wrong to be allowed as legal.  This muddies the waters of any logical mind as they view the power and dictates of a formal society that has a governmental presence to enforce this "Legal" point of view.  Civil Rights is a case in point where for years "wrong" was "legal."  People broke the "law" to point this out.  What was remarkable in the last century, however, was that those who broke those laws expected and were willing to suffer the legal punishment in order to bring attention to the "wrongness" of those laws.  They did not expect to go unpunished; they respected the need of laws to be enforced if they were to have any validity at all...that to not be punished would take away the efficacy of ALL laws.

That is no longer true today.  The Judicial System, including both judges and prosecutors, frees without penalty the vast majority of those arrested by police officers with little regard for the fact of the misdeed in favor of the technicalities that allow them to release most accused.  In truth, such actions have fostered a belief in the majority of our citizens that most laws don't matter and there is little reason to be concerned for, or expect the meaningful enforcement of, the law generally.

Then we have the example set by the Federal Government of the United States of America;  The President ignores laws on the books and directs law enforcement personnel to disregard them; the Congress passes RICO statutes but exempts themselves from the application of them; the Justice Department ignores perjury in sworn statements to Congress on the basis of political alignment, and then fails to elicit facts of disputes before condemning those front line Police Officers around the country tasked to be the first line of defense against lawlessness and crime.   Government employees routinely break the law and are, save for the very occasional sacrificial lamb, never punished in any way, while citizens are routinely charged, have their money and property taken without due process and otherwise abused.  Arguably the Federal Government made Organized Crime illegal because it didn't want the competition.  And now, many would argue that they now are willing to license such activities as long as they get their share.

So why is there any wonder at all as to why lawlessness is on the increase.  There is little, if any, honor of the concept of "what is RIGHT" in Washington.  Instead, it is whether something is legal or...if illegal...proof can be eliminated.  Our "Leaders" set the example and then they complain that we do as they do instead of as the "say".

Our police departments know how to fix this...but they are ignored.  It is the "broken window" approach: take notice and action against the smallest infraction and it will lessen the tendency of more egregious law breaking to take place.  Protect the civil nature of a neighborhood and lawbreakers find it harder to have a disparate impact.  Bring to trial those who are accused quickly so that both the miscreant and the public understand the relationship between the misdeed and the punishment (does anyone other than a victim's family really connect a killer being put to death with the horror of their crime 10 or 15 years ago?).

A true Leader...a Representative Government...trusts the system to discover and prosecute fairly those who break the laws.  They forego pre-judging any matter, as that is for a jury of the citizenry, not an elected or appointed official, to rule.  And even as the quality and training of our Law Enforcement Personnel is scrutinized and their performance analyzed, there is respect and a demand made by all for the well-being and honoring of those who put their safety at risk to protect the rest of us.

ALL lives, including the quality of those lives, matter.  Those who call for the killing of members of the Police Force are inciting lawlessness.  Truly, if they were to be successful and we return to mob rule, it is they who would fall as the first victims of majority mob rule.  Be careful what you wish for.

A cohesive argument can be made that the true cause of the current state of disrespect and disregard for the law lies with the actions and words of the United States Federal Government...and that they should be held accountable.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Has America stopped respecting and being governed by the Constitution?

My generation revered the Constitution.  Beginning in grade school...and right through High School...all kinds of History classes were linked and compared to the Constitution, comparing and contrasting it's content against other governments in other times.  The Founding Fathers were also shown great respect for the thought and considerations they embodied in the Constitution, and than the Bill of Rights...and even the declarations and wording of the Declaration of Independence.

Not so anymore.

My grandchildren to to highly ranked schools, several now in Middle school, one in High School, one in College.  They had almost zero teaching centering on the Constitution.  Any time spent on the Founding Fathers seemed designed to find fault and to "bring them down" to a level that was disrespectful of their person's and, by extension, their work product.  Their teaching seems designed, through criticism as well as neglect, to create disrespect for the "idea" of America.

Today technology seems to rule.  Technology is a wonderful tool, although I often think that the young people of today have become too dependent on it; they don't know multiplication tables in their head, they often can't do simple math and need a calculator, a slide rule is an unworkable puzzle to them, and except for the math "nerds" Algebra and the solving of simultaneous equations might as well be Greek (and don't get me started on languages and vocabulary).  They can't write legibly...even printing is questionable, and they can't "problem solve" without "Google" or "Bing" and they are lost if the internet goes down for even a moment.  They "text" to each other even if in the same room, and walk down streets and malls blind to the actual world around them.  Most don't know their elected officials on any level, have no idea of how any government actually works, can't create a budget, read anything that takes more than 3 minutes, and can't be bothered to be civil to anyone.  Discuss the assumptions that the founding fathers had when they started to consider and create and write, and you get puzzled, confounded faces.

The concepts of "opportunity", "consequences", Pursuit", "earning", "civility", "responsibility", and "respect for others"...among others...is foreign to them.  They are familiar with the concepts of "being owed", "privileges", "my rights", "someone else's fault", and other narcissistic traits.  Their schooling (not sure if that term is appropriate any longer...perhaps indoctrination would be more truthful) and their experiences as they went through their school years have indicated that this is the way to look at life.

"Someone" has done these folks a disservice.  And that "someone" is us...all of us.  Oh, I could write for hours on the Progressive infiltration and present control of the entirety of our educational (Yeah...right!) systems, from Kindergarten (note the Germanic origin of the word...our school system is based on the Prussian Model that was intended as much for indoctrination and regimentation as it was for any real education.  Basic reading, writing and math was fine, but independent problem solving and thinking was not desired) through Doctorate Level Degrees and the application of Alinsky's Rules to turn out intellectually inadequate "graduates."  I could point out how many of the High School Graduates today cannot write a cogent sentence, cannot spell, cannot do simple math without a machine, and are unable to concentrate for more than 3 minutes on anything before wanted and...in some cases...needing to consult "Facebook" or the like.

But what is most disappointing is that it is our collective fault.  The not-so-slow disintegration of our society has not been done in secret.  It has happened out in the open and ... although couched in ways and terms that seemed legal, civil, and considerate at the time ... we all knew that we were allowing a diminution of our ideals and allowing avoidance of the concepts of "right" and "wrong."  Oh, we had excuses.  We had "reasons".  The end results was that we gave up the concept of standards and the expectation of "striving" in favor of the lowest common denominator; of not wanting anyone to "feel bad" about not being first.  And we gave up on the standards assumed in the Constitution to be a constant...that of "earning" one's way, of suffering consequences of bad decisions, of recognizing that there is such a thing as failure...and that one can actually learn from it and use failure as a sign-post to success.  This is the kind of thing that a study of the Greek Empire and the Roman Empire would have revealed to our children and grandchildren.  Such an understanding is essential to being a good citizen, whether having a College Education or not...but it no longer is taught in our Grade, Middle, and High Schools.  Oh, an occasional perceptive teacher who is dedicated to his or her students' well-being and success in life may include some portion in the course of a semester or year...but not many do, some because they themselves are not aware of its importance.

Is it too late to save the "idea" of America?  I want to believe that it is not, but...when close to 50% of us are living on the Government's tab rather than on what we have achieved and earned on our own, and that Government tab is creating what is approaching Nineteen Trillion ($19,000,000,000)Dollars in debt, it is hard to see any way to repay it without telling a lot of people, many of which will be determined voters if you take away their "free" stuff, "NO!"  Madison and Jefferson warned about the dangers once any democratic form of government served a populace who discovered they could vote themselves money that they didn't earn.  I fear that we are now there...

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Barack Obama - a layman's analysis

For almost eight years now...ever since he burst on the scene as a Junior Senator running against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination to be President...Mr. Obama has been an enigma.

Here was an unproven young man with what appeared to be an excellent educational background and an exceptional oratorical ability seeking the approval of a major Political Party to attempt to win the Office of the Presidency of the United States.  Any cursory examination of his background revealed that he had fine educational opportunities (although curiously his transcripts and papers from that period were never made available) and his work experience seemed confined to that of a Chicago-based Community Organizers, with little administrative experience or record.  Further reading revealed that the closest thing to a mentor was one Frank Marshall Davis, an admitted and proven Communist active in Communist, Socialist and Marxist causes.  Also of interest to any researcher was his long-time attendance and affinity for the Church of one Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who's sermons seemed to glorify a "victim" status for his church members and often called down the wrath of God on America for their treatment of his members generally.

Few attempts to discuss this background ever found its way into the mainstream media.  There seemed a protective cocoon established around Mr. Obama's background and history other than the superlative labels of intelligence and high Educational background.  Any challenge to this cocoon...any attempt to pierce it...were met with accusations of racism.  You see, what we have not yet mentioned was that Mr. Obama's genetic background is 50% black, as his father was from Kenya, although not present for most of Mr. Obama's life, as he was raised in a single parent home in Hawaii.

However, the cocoon was no excuse for awareness of the totality of Mr. Obama's background.  Any person who deemed it important enough to know details about the background for a candidate for the Office of the President of the United States of America could easily find and read the essential details.  Few did.  There was an aura of "special" about him seen by his supporters.  How much of this perceived "awe" was the admitted power of his oratory and how much was the collective vision of putting to rest the stain of slavery by putting into the office of the Presidency a man of the black race, or some other perception may never be known.  What seems clear, however, is that absent his Black background...if he were a white man of European heritage...he would have been judged as too young, too inexperienced, of unproven ability and with no track record by which to judge his likely intentions upon achieving the Office of the President.

He won.

Since taking office, Mr. Obama's performance has been spotty at best.  Running on the ambiguous (subject to being defined differently by each listener) tag line, "Hope and Change,"  Mr. Obama promptly disappointed the first of his well-wishers by approaching elected officials of the opposing party, not with offers to compromise and work together but, with the comment, "I won," and then pushing through (barely) a partisan health-care bill.  He failed to use his majority control of government to achieve promised immigration reform and generally earned a failing grade in "plays well with others" by totally neglecting to even attempt to establish a working, friendly relationship with Congress...even within his own party.  He disturbed many with what appeared to be an "apology" tour of the world as unseemly and obsequious.  Over his two terms, his Foreign Policy has seemed, at best, puzzling and at times non-existent.

While his supporters will deem my comments extreme, even they will admit a certain lack of achievement and direction, as well as Mr. Obama's proven propensity to lie to the the general public.  I will not bore anyone with the multiple examples...the fact stands.

But...now rises the ongoing question of...Why?  Some have argued that the lack of performance is simply a matter of lack of experience.  Others assign darker motives.  And the scope of the speculation is absolutely breath-taking with most being beyond the ability of this writer to consider, ...even momentarily.

I would like to suggest the major explanation (or motivation, if you wish) of Mr. Obama's behavior and attitude in office goes back to a self-perception of victim-hood.  Certainly, Mr. Obama was subjected to the challenges of growing up as neither fish nor fowl; he was half-Black, raised in a single parent home by a loving mother but feeling clearly that he was a minority.  He spent much time hearing the country and the world being analysed by Mr. Davis.  While a card-carrying Communist, Mr. Davis also saw the Black race as being victims...and felt he was a victim.  The truth is that Mr. Davis WAS a victim and was punished continually for the "sin" of "being black."  Of course, he was also seen as at fault for his Communist views, a judgement that would have descended upon him regardless of his skin color.  But...much of what an impressionable youth would take from the relationship was that element of being a victim, even as his education would steer him away from the Communist point of view...at least in part, although clearly there were associations (again, never explored or discussed during his campaign by anyone, much less the public) with socialist groups.

Would a self-image of being a liberated "victim" explain most, if not all, of Mr. Obama's character, behavior and attitudes?  Consider: he has a thin skin, reacting badly to criticism, unable to admit fault; he is virtually unable to punish others or hold them accountable, finding sympathy with them regardless of outcome; he finds it virtually impossible to confront anyone or anything directly, unless at a distance or in surroundings he deems "safe"; he avoids contact with people where is is not in absolute control, where he can avoid one-on-one challenges (where unavoidable, he does not challenge directly any person face to face); he expresses true feelings and particularly anger only when with trusted friends.

"Victim-hood" places an almost unimaginable burden on anyone.  To me, the consideration of it as a primary element explaining Mr. Obama's behavior and attitude, as well as his character, gave occasion to an "Ah-hah" moment.  That doesn't make it so.  But perhaps it is worthy of consideration?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Iran Nuclear "Agreement": final comment

Our Congress is going to repeat the their abdication of their oath's of office.  Just as they passed the Healthcare Bill without reading it, they now are going to allow an agreement that was fashioned in a manner designed to give Iran an express lane to both nuclear weapons AND ICBMs while also releasing Billions of Dollars to help Iran fund terrorism around the world.

The Administration continues to claim how tough this agreement is.  Really?  Even they acknowledge that they have not read ANY print, much less fine print, of the side agreements that the IAEA and Iran have signed and which are incorporated by reference into the multi-party agreement now being considered by Congress.  So, if Congress were really doing its job, it would refuse to even consider the matter as the entire agreement has NOT been submitted to Congress and the Administration admits that neither they or anyone on the negotiating team have seen these "secret" agreements.

No sane person would ever sign an agreement that did not state in writing ALL the conditions.  Would you sign a car loan that didn't say what constituted being late on a payment?  If you were told you had 30 days, but suddenly two days after it was due and while your payment was en-route they repossessed your car, would you be happy?  But it would be your own fault for not insisting that ALL the terms were there for you to read and understand.  But this is what Congress is doing, however, and they are being pushed by our Administration, which is saying, in effect, "Trust me...and them!"

Viewing Iran's behavior over the last 35 years, there is no basis for any degree of trust.  And this agreement has nothing in it that can be verified as requiring timely effective inspections.  So it is toothless and ineffective until or unless provisions to the contrary are shown in writing.

Yet our duly elected representatives are going to drink the Kool-aide; they will fail to over-ride the President's veto of their probably disapproval of this farce of an agreement.  And Iran has already stated, through their leader, that Israel will not exist within 25 years.  That is NOT an empty threat.  And with the ICBM development that this "agreement" allows, America will also be in range.

When the mushroom cloud does occur, a proper memorial should give credit to every administration member and elected member of Congress who did not vote to stop this farce.

Monday, August 31, 2015

"Deflate-Gate" Idiocy

Our President has established...or perhaps I do him a disservice and he simply reflects...an attitude in the country where no one is ever responsible or suffers consequences for anything.  The NFL for some reason never had officials in total control of Game Balls.  Seems like an oversight to me.  And not a particularly egregious one, but an error nonetheless.

But that error was discovered last year in a manner that threatened to bring mirth and derision down on the league for failing to oversee one of the most critical tools of the game...the ball.  What to do?  What to do!  For some inane reason, "Our Bad!  We'll fix it!" did not come to their collective minds.  Instead, they focused on how to blame someone...anyone...else.  Who could they possibly put on the hot seat that already had erred in the past (ala the guy who already has a record so everyone will certainly believe that he transgressed again)...Hello, New England Patriots.

The League made a bunch of assumptions (always a really bad beginning for any action): 1) that the "under pressure" was deliberate; 2) that the staff of the New England Patriots reduced the pressure; and 3) that Brady both knew and condoned it.  Of course, there is no proof of any this.

If you inflate balls indoors, with warm air, and then take them outside into winter or late fall weather, the air pressure goes down.  That is why we have to re-inflate our auto tires in the late fall and winter.  If the balls were inflated indoors to the lower legal limit called for in the rules, as soon as they were taken out to the field, that pressure would drop.  No rules were broken.  The League didn't have any provision requiring or even suggesting that the officials check ball pressure prior to or during a game.  Is that New England's fault?  I have no recollection of anyone proving that any ball-boy or anyone else on the Patriot's staff did anything with the ball pressure.  Did any confess?  If so, I missed that headline.

Finally, I have 5 friends who played Quarterback at various levels, up to and including top University teams.  All of them say that they could not tell pressure in a ball: a ball they liked in cold weather sometimes turned out to have higher air pressure than another that they did not like.

As a side note, some point out that Brady "destroyed" his phone when he got a new one.  Well, he had given the league the emails that he thought had anything to do with the matter before, and he was fully aware of how easy it is to get data off any electronic device even when you think you have erased it, so his decision to completely destroy his phone after he had gotten a new one seem like good common sense to me...and I am not a star subject to a desire of many to know the most insignificant details of my life.  He did a smart thing.

So...this action by the National Football League is not about Justice, ...or Punishment...as much as it is about their desire to save face and direct attention away from their failure to supervise game balls properly to someone or something else...and it was the New England Patriots turn to be in the barrel.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Iranian Nuclear "Deal": Part III

If you wrote this as a fictional novel, not one publisher would touch it; they would claim it is too unbelievable for any reader to think that any leaders of any major country could possible be so blatantly naive...or inept.

Apparently News Reports that one of the major "side" agreements to the overall "agreement" provides for the Iranians to self-inspect their military sites.  Perhaps a review of past history of Iranian adherence to promises made might be in order?  Feels a little bit like the Police allowing a known Drug Distributor checking his own premises and/or warehouse and assuring them that there are no drugs being moved in or out of there...it leaves a shock of disbelief at the core of your being.

Yet...this is precisely what Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama are approving as sufficient assurance that Iran will not develop a nuclear device.  What they actually are trying to get approved constitutes an express lane for Iran to develop the "bomb."

There are only three possible explanations for this:
1.  As previously suggested, everyone on our side of the table is naive and inept;
2. America's representative at the table are anxious to have Iran eliminate all opposition to controlling the Middle East; or
3. Mr. Kerry and Mr. Obama are so blinded by their narcissistic need for a legacy that it is the creation of any agreement that is important, not the content of that agreement.

If the reports of this side agreement's contents is confirmed, then it strikes me that the act of recommending approval of our government to the "deal" would constitute treason.

I further suggest that if confirmation is obtained, the same charge would be in order against any Representative or Senator who votes to approve the "agreement."

Each of my Senators and Representative have been put on notice by me in writing that I will hold them directly accountable for the results if they vote for the United States to accept this agreement.  And I suspect a lot of folks around the country will be watching and noting their own Senators' and Representatives' vote on this matter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Only the government wins...

Our President, and the current leading contender for the Progressive Liberal Democrat Party nomination for President in a year or so, Mrs. Clinton, have come out in favor of increasing the minimum wage for all workers in the United States.  They claim that this would at least partially solve the pressure of the cost of living for people who are apparently "stuck" in entry level positions historically known for their minimum wage levels.

They suggest two things: 1.  That the plight of these workers is the fault of the opposition; and 2, that this increase will benefit the poor and the middle class.  Both assertions are demonstrably wrong.

As to the first assertion, for the last 22 years, Progressive Liberal Democrats have held the Office of the Presidency for almost 64% of the time (14 years).  During most of that time, they controlled the Congress and had the opportunity during that period to both discuss and create an action plan to solve the now declared plight of the Middle Class.  As our current President stated with such smug, quiet impudence when he first took office and was rejecting the suggestions of the opposition regarding the health care plan, "We won."  Yet, the Middle Class has not progressed during his time in office either.  Looking, as an example, at the plight of the Black community we see that the unemployment rate for them is higher than when Mr. Obama took office.  Previously, Mrs. Clinton's husband held the office of the Presidency yet the middle class did not increase or gain economically.  The same is true for Mr. Carter's sojourn in the Oval Office.  Yet, with all that opportunity, Mrs. Clinton wants the nation to believe that the fault lies with the opposition!  That is patently absurd.

The second assertion is similarly flawed.  And the reason is so obvious that one is tempted to call the assertion a purposeful deceit.  Consider the following:

When the minimum wage is forced higher by government action, all other pay levels must be adjusted to keep the step system defensible to all employees.  When the cost of labor goes up, prices rise.  This increase in the price of goods and services, eliminates any apparent gain in wages.  It is a wash.

Well, that is not actually true...both the business sector and the Middle (and all other working) Classes lose.  Why?  Because the Federal Government Income Tax is a graduated tax...as you earn more money, you pay a higher percent of your income to the Federal Government.  So  everyone but the Government loses when wages go up.  But the Federal Government wins big time!  And they have the nerve to tell you, "Hi, I'm from the Federal Government.  I'm here to help you!"

Hypocrites all...and in this case, especially Mrs. Clinton.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Trump" is an idea, an attitude, but not a President

I must admit that our Federal Government has infuriated me for a minimum of six Presidential terms of office.  We have descended morally, financially and civilly.  I have watched misbehavior in the White House (always, I am sure, present to some degree at different times) become endorsed as acceptable and understandable and not cause for censure by the multitudes.  Our Federal Representative and employees have shown disregard for responsibly balancing the federal budget and for actually working an honest work day properly for some pretty good wages.  And now we see all our Elected officials lying with unprecedented frequency with not one hint of embarrassment.

But when anyone shouts out in anger and disappoint, stating these facts out loud, the media and multitudes shout them down as being "disrespectful."  Seriously?  Such behavior warrants respect?  In what Universe?

And into this remarkable state of affairs comes one Donald Trump.  He doesn't work for people; people work for him.  That has been true for most of his life and he has made money...a lot of money. He has gotten quite used to his word being law and, to quote a recent, once successful actor, "winning."

He has, like many of us, become unhappy with our government.  And he states his anger with no filter.  What is most wonderful to many of us is that the media actually reports these comments.  And these are comments we have made for years to each other and not one reporter, not one elected official has ever done more than nod in what was supposed to be seen as sympathy, ... and then ignore us and our anger.  To see the consternation on the part of media at this is cathartic...it makes me feel wonderful at not being able to shut down his comments.

So...why am I uneasy?

Because anger, when unchecked, becomes the ignition for mob attitude and behavior;  such anger becomes the rationale and excuse for excesses that go beyond those that are the immediate source of that anger.  It can be dangerous...like watching a back-fire you thought would stop the big blaze suddenly turn into an even bigger danger.  Be careful what you wish for...

Trump's comments are expressions of frustration...but they are not solutions.  When asked for specifics, he replies with a torrent of comments which all come down to two things: "I'll build a wall" and "Trust Me."  The first is only a first step to protect our borders and is by no means comprehensive.  "Trust Me"????

We are completing 6 1/2 years of an administration that was elected on the basis of "Hope" and "Change."  Everyone I have spoken to interpreted those words as meaning what each individual saw as hope and as change.  Turned out that no one ever actually demanded that our "President" tell us how he defined those terms.  That has not turned out very well.

Now I watch a firebrand and hear him saying "trust me."  I don't think so, Skippy!  Been down that road before and I won't do it again.

But that ignition is still operating and I watch, hear, and read the tremendous emotion of his followers, acolytes and minions declaring that "the whole thing needs to be turned down."  They are the reverse image of the followers of our current "President"; facts mean nothing, questions are not allowed, discussion is useless, and behavior is crude and uncivil.  Any challenge is perceived as personal, not related to policy of accumulation of fact.

We have a President right now that sees his power as exponential, by-passing Congress on everything, including items that are clearly withing the purview of Congress; who is so thin-skinned that whenever anything...anything...he says is challenged in any way, you can see the rise in both blood pressure and  pulse rate.  Mr. Trump has the same reaction to any challenge, only his verbal skills are far more crude and direct; Mr. Obama will internalize that and then seek retribution in some way that does not leave any evidence.

I don't want a hot head in the oval office.  I don't want a liar in the oval office.  I am looking for a President that is honest and has a sense of NOT being the smartest person in the world; one who will always welcome questions and disagreement...both of which expand understanding and lead to better decisions.

Does anyone who has watched the ideas and attitude that is "Trump" feel that such attributes apply?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Iranian Nuclear "Agreement": continued

Apparently the Administration is presenting the Iranian Nuclear "Agreement" to Congress in a manner and form that looks more and more like the AHCA (Obamacare) on steroids.  Anyone who remembers that debacle recalls Ms. Pelosi declaring, "We have to pass it to find out what's in it."  Sure!  Did that ever work out.  As I recall, there were...and remain...so many errors in that bill that it continues to reward our citizens with pain and disappointment.  Not only were there technical errors that required a subservient Supreme Court of the United States to abandon legal analysis and assume the role of proof reader for Congress to bail them out, but the failure to thoroughly think through how the new bill would affect everyone left many with higher costs and higher deductible after being "promised" that this would not happen.

But...back to the Iranian "Agreement"...notice that we now know that two diametrically opposed conditions have been established; 1) We have a written agreement that when carefully read and analyzed fails to provide for inspection of Iranian Military locations under any conditions; and/or 2) We have been told of two "secret" side agreements, not subject to examination by Congress or known to U.S.citizens that are alleged to proved some sort of examination of Iranian Military sites under written conditions and terms that will NOT be made available to Congress, although promises have been made that oral assertions as to the contents will be made known to our "Representatives" (as if they really do that..."represent" us) in classified sessions.

So...the real and proper choices for Congress would be the two following scenarios:  First, judge the Agreement ONLY on the written portion presented and made public, fully available to all to read and interpret; and, Second, judge the Agreement on assertions of "Trust Us" made by the Administration without their even knowing (according to their sworn testimony before Congress) the written details, but relying on assertions by the AEIA...the equivalent of Ms. Pelosi's assertion, "We have to pass it before we can know what is in it"...except that in this case we will NEVER know what is in the secret side deals.

I don't know what others think, but I have already contacted my Congressional Representative in both he House and the Senate informing them that I still have not forgotten their passing the Healthcare bill without reading it...an obligation on their part that they failed to perform...and that any vote by them to approve the Agreement with Iran would constitute a far worse abdication of their duty to protect the country.  The written "Agreement" is inadequate; the alleged side "secret" agreements must be considered inadequate until and unless they can be examined in their written executed forms for specifics and analysis.  Minus such detail, there is no way any individual would bind him or herself to such obligations...why would any official do the same to an entire country?

This entire matter only serves to reveal the incompetency and amateurishness of our Administration...and perhaps also their desparation.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Accidental or Purposeful Fraud Untruthfully Presented?

Diplomats lie. They don't lie legally and could never be prosecuted for "lying under oath" or any related concept; they lie by implication and invited assumptions on the part of the listener (or reader).  They, and their Masters, know and depend on others who wish a particular outcome to see and hear what they wish to be true as existing in any agreement or pronouncement.  It has been going on for centuries at least.

That does NOT make it right!

It does NOT make it right when the people doing it, are doing it to citizens of countries to which the perpetrators have sworn an oath to protect and defend.

Compounding the danger to all normal citizens of any country is that the Masters that direct Diplomats are usually Politicians.  Mark Twain once said, "It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress."  As I recall, both our current "President" and our Secretary of State at the negotiating table are past members of Congress, although it seems that the category could be applied to a greater and greater percentage of all people who are employed by our Government in general, whether in Congress or in any other branch of the Federal Government.  And it seems even more and more applicable as we remember just how many criminals are never caught or convicted, much less accused.

There have been articles in great number is various publications that have pointed out the lies that have been perpetrated in claiming what the proposed agreement does and does not do.  It is clear that one of the things that is is most unlikely to do is prevent Iran from developing the capability to make and deploy a nuclear weapon.  As to the details withing the agreement, those supporting it are raising as many verbal statements and promises that allegedly clarify actual clauses in the agreement that would, if true and enforceable, improve any interpretation of the actual writing.  But interpretation is exactly what those who wish to avoid conduct the agreement seems to mandate use to "skate" without consequences.

There are lies in the goals to be achieved as parties prepare to negotiate.  Remember the one about preventing Iran from becoming a Nuclear Power?  That one seems now not to be remembered, although at the time it was promised as an absolute.

And current articles in publication and by people on multiple ideological tracks point out the lies and issuance of invitations to make positive assumptions even as a careful examination of the sentence and phrase used shows no such enforceable promise.

While my angst will no doubt force a revisit to this subject, let me make this last point today:  Kerry, in sworn testimony before the Senate earlier this week pointed out that our "allies" were close to abandoning the current sanctions that he claimed were so effective in bringing Iran to the negotiating table and also that no military action was possible that would have stopped Iran's progress toward Nuclear capability.  Yet, when pressed on just what responses would be available should Iran violate or fail to abide by the letter and intent of the agreement, he claimed that sanctions would "snap" back.

The term "snap" implies an immediacy that clearly does not exist.  And he already claimed that there was no military option.  So...we have our own Government signing an agreement that provides Iran with exactly what our Government promised us...the American People...that it would not allow.  Further, that our Government believes that in addition to being powerless to keep its promise to us (no real surprise there!) it is inferring an Iranian "trust me" promise in the face of a track record of Iranian perfidy.

Except when I am the subject, I can appreciate a really good con job even as I strive to punish it.  But this does not qualify as "really good" and smacks of coarse, in-artful and even disrespectful treatment of the American Public.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

America has left me behind...and I miss her!

I am glad that I am in my twilight years and won't have to suffer the emotional pain for long.  It hurts me and I feel sad when events force me to think about what has happened to and in the America that I have loved my whole life.

My parents were immigrants.  My father came to this country poor, but with a work ethic and a friend who guaranteed the government that there would be a job and a place for him to stay...a requirement for legal immigration in those days.  That may still be so...I don't know.  But...my Dad just wanted a chance to see what hard work on his part might accomplish.  No guarantees, no promises...just a chance.  He didn't speak English, so he took whatever job was available.  He learned the language...not perfectly, but well enough, and to read and write it...he wanted to; he saw America as the embodiment of what he wanted to become.  He wanted the freedom to put himself on the line and see if he could succeed.

It took him some time to achieve what he saw as success.  He and, later, my mother worked long hours.  First it was for others then for themselves.  They went through the Great Depression and were intent on being prepared should another ever occur. They saved.  The borrowed only to purchase a house...and that with misgivings.  We never spent money we did not have...that was anathema to them.They taught me to read and to do simple math early in life and explained that those skills would enable me to educate myself and not be dependent on others.  And there was no such thing as an excuse for not taking advantage of schooling:  I was required to have perfect attention, to do all homework (and show it to my parents daily), and to achieve good grades as they explained that education was the key to getting a chance to succeed in life.

My father never took a Social Security payment...ever...despite living to almost 70.  He had saved and he saw taking anything from the government as a hand-out.  He had left his native land at a time when his mother had no money and the family had significant debts.  Over the years, with increasing means he paid every one of those debts off in full, with interest (even if interest was not demanded).

He gave to those who came on hard times through no fault of their own...but refused even the time of day to those who did not try; those who were slackers, liars, cheaters and what in those days were called naer-do-wells were to be looked upon as unworthy and disreputable and not to ever even be around.

I grew up in an America where to be respected, your word had to be good...it was your bond.  And work was honored, and doing your utmost was the standard.  Dependence on the good will of others was seen as embarrassing and a failure and you would all you could to get out of that situation, pay back what had been given and again regain your place as a contributing member of the community, not a taker.

Civil discourse was the norm.  People could argue on many things: religion, politics, raising children and more.  But those arguments were conducted with personal respect of each other...for the right of every person to his or her opinion.  And we used good language: whole sentences, with decent construction.  In those days, "Sailor's" language was not used in mixed company and only occasionally even when men got together.  And even then there was a certain embarrassment after some of the utterances...it just wasn't polite and generally was seen as a sign of an inadequate vocabulary.  How much more effective, we felt, to use a word of criticism that required the other person to run to a dictionary, rather than revert to clearly inapplicable scatological utterances.

Classmates of mine in High School got jobs upon graduation:  good jobs that paid well.  Some of them used the pay from those jobs save up enough to later get a College Education to pursue and dream to which they were dedicated.  And some took an occasional course to extend their knowledge but were content to live in the practical world of having a loving family and supporting it and themselves.  Those of us who went to college, went with a dream.  We wanted to achieve something in particular.  Of course in the midst of the striving, the dream often changed a bit...but there was never the thought of spending on a College Education because of any right or entitlement: it was a gift of opportunity and not a way of avoiding the real world or military service.  That would have been dishonorable and a waste of our money...or, in some cases, our parents' money...in in even more cases, both our and our parents' money.

That America no longer exists.  I liked my country.  I respected my country.  I respected the morals and the ten commandments of that country.  And I respected the immigrants who come to this country according to its laws and with the intent to become Americans...not to bring their previous country's practices and attitudes and languages and make America more like them.  They wanted to become Americans.  And, except for the grandmothers and grandfathers...they did just that.

Now, everyone seems to believe that consequences of one's actions are a thing of the past.  That no one should be either expected or required to earn a living, but should be given any job they want and not held to standards.  People "working" for the government don't do their jobs, lie about it and are never held accountable.  Our government spends money it doesn't have and claims that it doesn't matter.  Our politicians lie to us with increasing frequency and are not only not embarrassed by it...they don't even admit it.  And the Press which for decades was a watchdog over all facets of government activity, protecting the public by shining the light of truth, now joins with those in power to protect them from any revelation to the public.  Meanwhile the "public" apparently has come to believe that there is such a thing as a "Free" lunch...or free anything.  Make that everything.

I miss the America that called out to my parents.  I miss the America that I grew up in and both enjoyed and revered for much of my life.  I don't recognize the country I now live in...it is still called America, but it no longer has the soul of the country into which I was born and raised.  And it makes me feel sad.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Chief Justice Roberts: is HE the smartest guy in the room?

Our Constitution contemplates three co-equal branches of government with competing interests being forced to co-exist in order to accomplish anything.  Considering the distrust our Founding Fathers had in government generally, it is not surprising that this arrangement did not, does not, and never will be terribly efficient.  But then, Jefferson was know to believe that eventually government becomes the enemy of individual freedom, so this attitude was certainly no surprise...and the truth of the underlying concept should be ignored at our peril.

Not surprisingly, there have been attempts by Congress ... and the President ... to make the Supreme Court join in a partnership against the third branch of government.  The President does this through the power to appoint new Justices as vacancies occur and assiduously attempt to divine the ideological bent of each and every person considered...with a remarkably low percentage of success when all are taken into consideration.

But until now each Justice once ensconced on the bench has evidenced a sharp mind and a distinct ideological vision of whether the Constitution was clear when written, remains clear today, is meant to cover all facets of life in America, contains commands or merely suggestions.  If in their legally restrictive view, they can see the Constitution agreeing with their view of what they would like it to say and mean, they will do...and have done...so.

Every Justice respects the others, even in the heat of intense disagreement.  They understand the confines of their considerations and as some would say, "they play by the rules."

However, now enter Chief Justice Roberts.  Either he disdains the "rules" or just doesn't understand that narcissism doesn't become any member of the Court.  Justice Kennedy is a swing vote.  But his decisions are always on very close call analysis of the law and what he sees as "justice" in accordance with the Court's purview.  He does not see himself as an Editor or Proof-reading aide to Congress or the President, with the obligation to save themselves from the consequences of foolish behavior or malfeasance..."mistakes" in laws have consequences, and those who make the mistakes are not to be saved from the consequences,..of either law or the electorate.

But Justice Roberts seems to believe that he is an adjunct of Congress...with the additional prescience to know what Congress means, even if they clearly write something into a law that is totally at odds with his vision.  For SCOTUScare, he knew that Congress meant tax, even though they wrote "fee."
And earlier this week he just knew that Congress did not (could not) mean that just because that they had written into the ACA a provision that subsidies would only be available to those who applied for coverage through STATE operated centers, that Congress didn't mean it.  How Godlike; how dictatorial: forget the words...the law says what I decide it says.

An inept Congress and President certainly appreciates this kind of assistance...this time.  But suppose Justice Roberts at some point decides that any clear wording an some law that comes up for review cannot be what Congress really wanted?  I wonder if the President and Congress will be so appreciative then?

Chief Justice Roberts needs to be taken out back by his colleagues for a "come to Jesus" moment before he destroys the Institution of the Supreme Court of the United States as a primarily legal institution and leads it to a subservient tool, albeit with a run-away, out of control Chief, of either Congress or the Presidency.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

No longer Checks and Balances on Congress by SCOTUS

Laws no longer mean what they say.  Congress no longer need concern itself with careful and accurate writing and wording.  The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will plug the breach, intuit the "real" intent of Congress while ignoring the actual wording of the duly passed statute, and save the day.  Of course, there is a consequence for this service: SCOTUS has now re-affirmed its move from co-equal branch of Congress to a second rate arm of Congress. We have ceased to be a nation governed by laws and now are dependent on a political class that continues to fund the courts as a sap to many who wish to continue to delude themselves that there is a check and balance against Congress. Anyone with a brain recalls how Congress "crowed" about the condition of creating a State Healthcare program as a prerequisite to getting Federal Funding. They tried to blackmail the States and it didn't work, so now they went to their underlings, the Supreme Court, to absolutely legislate from the bench and eliminate holding Congress responsible for its actions. "Umpires" indeed...if so this is the Black Sox Scandal with the Umpires bought off instead of the Players.  Does anyone question whether SCOTUS' budget request will now be granted in full?

There is a serious question of the legitimacy of any government structure when the laws mean nothing and can be interpreted as a politician wishes, instead of obeying the clear reading of words written and voted upon.  This is the result of the political class coming to adopt the Bill Clinton plea of "It depends on what the meaning of is is."  So many laughed as the absurdity of that comment, even as it turned out to be legally effective...and so we began to slide down the slippery slope of making honesty and truth and consequences immaterial in the American political world...and have also just made them immaterial in American life generally:  now it is apparently acceptable to narcissistically focus on getting "free" stuff even as we all know that someone is paying for it...as long as that someone isn't "us."  How delusional...and how clearly designed to ultimately destroy our country.  Khrushchev will turn out to have been right when he claimed we would destroy ourselves from within...he is chuckling in his grave right now.  Deservedly so.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Do the American People even want real Freedom anymore?

Oh, I know everyone wants to do as they wish.  But that is not Freedom.  Freedom is not license and it is not lack of consequences; Freedom is the right and even the obligation to take charge of your own life, to make decisions for yourself, and then suffer or be rewarded for those decisions, learning from your experience and growing in the security that you did do that yourself.

What and how the government operates has little effect on thirty (30%) percent of the population; about 15% will never want or achieve independence or be much concerned with freedom; and about 15% will never be stopped from struggling for independence and freedom, despite any government or other attempts to make them dependent.  But the remaining seventy (70%) percent of our population can be and are influenced by both laws and by what seems acceptable in general society.

For years, biblical morality was the general norm.  People understood, even if the laws didn't say it outright, what was acceptable in society and in public action and discourse...and they abided by it for the most part.  Men didn't swear in a proper public forum or in the presence of women; women didn't use foul language when in public (what and how they spoke when with other women has always been a mystery).  Men held doors for women to enter first, parents disciplined their children as they saw fit, and children were expected to be seen and not heard.  Not always codified, nonetheless there was a certain level of behavior that was expected.

And one of those expectations was that every person would earnestly try to successfully earn a living for both himself and for his family; that being "on the dole" or receiving assistance from family, acquaintances, a "Community Chest" organization or the government was an embarrassment and to be avoided if at all possible...and, if not, to be repaid or to get off of any assistance as quickly as possible.  Such proof of lack of independence was a sign of both failure and or loss of Freedom of existence.

Again, this attitude was not necessarily codified...but it was enforced by public perception.

None of this appears to remain true today.  Oh, there are some who give lip service to the concepts.  But actions speak louder than words.  And legal decisions seem to encourage and buttress concepts that consequences are politically incorrect; that there is no bedrock of "right" and "wrong"; that an inability to support oneself is not embarrassing or to be corrected, as someone or something else owes you a subsistence.

When the government creates a support system that actually results in reducing your earned income if you take a job instead of remaining on government-sponsored and created programs, thus punishing you for wanting to actually earn a living, the vast majority of the public quickly adjusts to the new attitude that working or earning a living doesn't matter...that government will be your "big Daddy" and take care of you.  How utterly appalling, disrespectful, insulting as well as destructive to the individual and society at large.  And how absolutely it puts the country on the path to destruction, as that kind of support ultimately runs out of money even as the percentage of citizens growing up to expect such support grows toward 100%.

And yet young adults all around me seem blissfully unaware of the inherent dangers of dependence on others to survive.  They also have a narcissistic view of what is important in their world.  Certainly there are some who battle this view...but they ultimately abandon that instinct because 1) of the influence of their friends, or 2) come to see the injustice of their being required to support so many who could but don't work.

So a very good case can currently be made for the proposition that, other than in words, the American people care not one wit about their Freedom and are totally prepared to be dependent and be controlled by any entity (currently our government) that will provide an acceptable level of subsistence and not hold them accountable or enforce "consequences."  The failure to accept personal responsibility and hold to moral standards of conduct seem eerily reminiscent of the historical descriptions of the fall of both the Greek and the Roman Empires.  Perhaps our country will prove the exception.  I, at least, am not counting on it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Is there a New Way to solve Inner City failure?

It seems as if our inner cities suffer from duel failures: the fact that the so-called drug war is failing and that there is not effective way to eliminate the existence of "gang" control and influence.

Why don't we consider making peace with the world we face and use it to improve our world?  What if the government went to the gangs and offered something akin to this:

You claim this is your turf.  OK, we will acknowledge and give recognition to your claim on the following conditions:

     1. You keep the legal violations to those of a minor nature: no murders, not sexual assaults, no burglaries;
     2. No violence from drug deals and a reduction in over-dose deaths:  control your territory;
     3. Watch over your "turf": keep your territory safe for ALL the residents, respect the elderly and those that need assistance;
     4. Get your gang members to learn to read, write and do math: they need good math to compute your profits anyway, and they should be able to write down notes for you and be able to read your instructions, so this benefits you anyway...and it sets good examples for your community;
     5. Finally, we will look to you for a call when police are needed, if you do all of the above: murders, physical harm burglaries, suicides and the usual assault type crimes that show a lack of respect to your resident and to you, we will respond to, and you will make sure that those occasions are welcomed and endorsed by your community.

Do we have a deal?

This would bring gangs into the legal world, encourage them to take real responsibility for their areas and eliminate them from being an "enemy" of law enforcement.  Certainly, it would involve being blind to drug deals, but our attempts to stop that are failing now, particularly in the inner cities, so what are we losing?

Sure, this could fail miserably...but we are failing miserably now.  Maybe this is worth trying.  I haven't seen anyone else come up with this idea...but it seems worth a shot.  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Is the concept of "Consequences" being eradicated around the world?

Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that writing seems as if it increases the pain and the disappointment in the world around us; that even commenting on it increases the clarity of the error(s) of our ways and makes it even more unlikely that there ever will be a Financial-like correction in our moral compass, bringing us back to something like a meaningful society.

But, eventually the words and thoughts build up and demand their freedom...a release, even if without effect, to flow into the universe looking for fertile soil in which the thoughts contained may take root and be discussed with other, compared, and considered.

So...today my thoughts center around what seems to be a general consensus of the majority that there should be no such things as Consequences.

Friends and acquaintances have said that I am over-reacting; that consequences are still the norm.  They point out that there are laws and, when broken, that they are enforced to settle consequences on the law breakers.  They suggest that generally, despite the exceptions, those who do evil and wrong things are held to account.

My response it that not only does it not happen often enough, but that the frequency of it happening is in decline.  Moreover, when people do the right thing, more often than not they are criticized for "getting involved."  Millions of people are cheating on their taxes; few are ever made to suffer any consequences, nor do they lose the approbation of their neighbors and associates...many of these miscreants are actually held in high esteem by those that know their actions.  Just yesterday a gang rape took place on a Florida Beach, surrounded by multitudes of young people drinking beer and partying, and not one person interfered with the attack.  Only because of the fact that someone actually filmed video of the event was any police action taken...if not accidental, then just sign of the fact that such behavior is acceptable.

There are some people who are psychopaths who will ignore laws in favor of their own wishes and desires.  There are others who need no laws to motivate them; they will do all they can to help others and make life better for their fellow man.  But the vast majority in the middle are remarkably responsive to the general behavior and general definition of acceptance in the ordering of their lives...they won't rock the boat.  And it seems clear to me that the boat may be deserving of some rocking...not that I have much hope that such action will happen anytime soon.

Some of my friends suggest that this is simply a natural phenomenon; such a fall occurred to the Greeks as well as the Roman Empire and therefore it is inevitable that it happens to the United States of America.  I used to agree in major part with this view.

But now I wonder if it is not far more extensive that just an American phenomenon.  It seems to be spreading to the International Stage...to the entire world.  My friends say I am nuts...which, of course, may or may not be true and a subject that may be worthy of a full discussion at a later point...but I am not convinced.

Consider the events in Foreign affairs in the last year or so.  Terrorists killed our Ambassador to Lybia and others.  One person was arrested.  Have any of them been punished, much less caught?  Russia has annexed through force a portion of the Ukraine.  Has there been any uproar of any significance from the world nation states, much less those countries immediately surrounding the area?  For years, Pirates have operated lucrative seizures of ships off the coast of Africa, making millions of dollars from the hijackings?  Any serious repercussions to those pirates?

And more recently we have the rise of ISIL (or ISIS, or whatever they are calling themselves these days, as if it matters) and the killing of all believers in Christianity that they catch, as well as many of Islamic sects with which they disagree.  Any serious repercussions?  And some in the world see their cause as acceptable.  Yes, there are words of condemnation but few indeed...and tiny if you look at the percentage of involvement...people involved in standing against it.

Consider the matter of Iran.  Here is a nation-state that has a track record of lying and failure to abide by promises.  A nation state that finances and supports with material and people terrorists around the world.  Any consequences?  Well, one of my friends argued that we do have economic sanctions in force which hurts them.  Oh? Really?  Who is hurt?  The leaders?  The ones who control the actions of Iran?  Or is the people of Iran who suffer despite have very little, if any, control over the political decisions of Iran's leaders?

But that is the past and is almost an after-thought now.  Now Iran is working toward developing a nuclear capability, which could include nuclear weaponry.  So...what does the world do?  It sits down with the powers in Iran and begins negotiating.  Not declaring that such a development is unacceptable, which each participating nation had assured their own citizens up until a short time ago was not ever going to be allowed, but a timetable by which ultimately Iran would have the capability it desires...and also a lifting of sanctions.  And all of this based on a written promise by Iran to limit their activity toward such an end.  Doesn't anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?  A country that has a consistent track record of breaking promises now is to get relief from sanctions on the basis of a written "promise" to play well with others?  Really?  Wonder what odds would be given by any professional Book-maker on Iran fulfilling that promise.  And yet, multiple nation-states are actually seriously considering entering into such an agreement.

This is not only a failure of Consequences, but could be argued appears to be reverse consequences...a reward for bad behavior.

And the most recent event involves the Communist nations of Cuba.  Cuba has been cut off from diplomatic ties to America ever since the Communists took control of that country.  It has a proven record of human rights violations, has no freedom of the press, precious little freedom of religion and is a Dictatorship.  No change at all.  So...what are the consequences?  America opens up talks to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.  This amounts, also, to reverse consequences; a reward for continued bad behavior.

What I am raising for discussion is that fact that all around the world there seems to be a general acceptance that consequences for bad behavior can be done away with and there will be no adverse repercussions.

I think that is not possible.  The balance that the world has heretofore acknowledged is that all people and nations should have the freedom to make decisions and choices for themselves....but that those choices have consequences.  It is the consequences that check the unfettered expression of wants and desires.  Freedoms without consequences becomes license...and that never turns out well for anyone.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


I was raised with adages echoing in my ears.  Today, I can go for months without hearing even one. What are adages, some of you ask?  Well, as some examples: "Birds of a feather flock together," "The early bird catches the worm," and how about "Call a spade a spade."  Now, an adage is not quite as declarative as a proverb...or even a maxim...but it has its roots in both tradition and observation.

When I was a youth, and I would have some trouble that came about because of things some of my friends were doing I would, of course, claim that I personally hadn't done anything wrong and didn't understand why I was being punished.  The response?  "Birds of a feather flock together."  "You are known by the friends you keep."  In other words, by choosing friends less than wisely, I would be tarnished by the same brush that recognized their miscreant behavior.

Adages came to be recognized by me as non-religious rules to live by; instead of commandments or bible verses used to claim dictates of or by God, adages were based on long experience of many generations...proven to have value and permanence.  Over time and with consistent repetition I came to gain respect for adages...and proverbs and all the rest...as non-experiential ways of living a less dangerous life than I might have otherwise.

Now...there is absolutely no substitute for failure as a learning tool.  If you chose a dangerous path and fall and break a leg, you will never make that choice again...or at least not without taking the proper precautions.  If you invest on the promise of another and lose your investment, you will never take a person's word as sufficient again, requiring some additional form of surety.  Nonetheless, adages do have a very helpful influence and can guide all of us to an easier life, somewhat limiting the number of failures needed to grow and learn.

Where have the adages...and the proverbs, maxims, and axioms, etc.....gone?  When was the last time you heard one, except from a grandparent?

Big deal, you might say; what difference does it make?  Really?  Are you sure you want to go there?

We (the United States of America) currently suffer the presence of an administration and a President that clearly abhors truth, desires power beyond that granted by our Constitution, used words not to explain or clarify but to mislead, distort and subvert, has a work ethic based on sloth, and has surrounded himself with people who clearly want to totally change our governance.

Perhaps you ask, "how would adages and the like have helped?"  Consider my first example: Birds of a feather flock together.  Who raised Mr. Obama?  What was that person's political beliefs?  In whose church did Mr. Obama sit for years, never complaining or objecting?  What were (and are) that leader's feelings about the United States?  One of his associates was Bill Ayers, an admitted and unrepentant domestic terrorist.  If one had been comfortably cognizant of "Birds of a feather flock together" do you suppose public concern might have been loud and persistent?  I do.

And how about job background and performance as a focus.  "By their works shall you know them."  Simply thinking that out loud and then seeking answers regarding each of the seekers for public office...and particularly that of the Presidency...might have done us a tremendous service.  But that did not happen.  Instead, the constant plea of the con man of "trust me" carried the day.  Twice!

What is past is past.  But I would suggest that there is a lesson to be learned.  And that lesson is that a reflection upon adages, proverbs, maxims and, heaven forbid, Commandments might not be such a bad idea for the future...particularly when electing those who would have power over us.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Does anyone in the West WANT to understand Islam?

When politicians, heads of State, and pundits speak of events in the Middle East and terrorist acts around the world, their statements never agree when talking about motivation...and President Obama even refuses to consider Islam as any portion of the motivation.  Now, generally speaking, it is actors themselves who declare their motivation, not the victims or observers.  So...why is there confusion?

I suggest it is not because answers don't exist, but that each speaker is more motivated by their own political and ideological needs than by the desire to develop facts.  So...how does one get facts?  I suggest that a careful reading of the Qur'an (many translations are readily available on line and you can order a hard copy of you like books), listening to various Imams as they explain their religion and talking to Muslims in your community readily provide an understanding sufficient to our purposes.

The Qur'an commands its followers to strive for political power.  While doing that, followers are commanded to respect all other religions and their practices while Islam is in the minority.  If Muslims become equal in number and power, then they should demand equality of respect of Islam with any and all other religions.  Significantly, if Muslims do acquire political power and control, they are commanded to institute Islam as the only recognized religion, to impose Sharia Law and punish all violations as laid out therein.  Those who refuse to convert are then declared "dhimmi" or...and the circumstances are not entirely clear...killed.  There is a presumption that such an imposition is "Peaceful" since it is done by a gradual process of gaining power, although the imposition itself may involve violence, hence the claim that Islam is a peaceful religion.

One may logically ask,..."...but, what about the terrorists?"

Good question.  Islam countenances quite a bit of violence, for a variety of reasons.  Insulting the Prophet, as we have seen recently, can motivate Muslims to murder.  Simply the presence of behavior that is not acceptable under Islamic Law is enough to motivate some Muslims.  ISIS and other Islamic-based (as defined by the actors themselves) terrorist organizations and their members do not see any prohibition against establishing political power and control by gradual, much less peaceful, means and wish to make their supremacy happen NOW!

All of these statements and facts come out of the Qur'an, hadith, and Sharia Law.  They are remarkably easy to research, read and study, and I have found all Muslims prepared to speak of the contents and their beliefs.

When listening to all manner of people speaking of the terrorist actions as being totally outside acceptable Islamic behavior, and pointing to surveys of Muslims living in the West as proof, it is probably a good idea to be aware of the concepts within Islam of "Taqiyya." "idtirar," "kitman," "hiyal" which relate to different Islamic sects and allow dissemination (lying) to protect the faith or the practitioner.  So, any reliance on such polls or surveys is questionable at the very least.

Islam is the only "religion" that I have found that advocates achieving dominance here on earth by force.  Because it is so firmly based on a political goal, I have always believed that the only way for the politically correct West to fight this threat (very real if numerical and political supremacy is ever achieved in any country) is to use this ideological focus as a reason to define Islam as a political ideology with a religious base.  Such a view would allow control of its precepts, and prevention of adoption of its exclusive views of behavior without violating our concepts of freedom of religion.  I seriously question that non-Muslims would see required conversion as an acceptable practice of Freedom of Religion.  Nor would I.

But wouldn't it be logical, responsible and responsive...so say nothing about nice...if our leaders and our pundits did a little research on their own and present us with all the facts, instead of ill-based opinions?  It would be refreshing...and reassuring that our leaders can actually look our for our country and its citizens.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is life expectancy really getting greater?

I keep reading that people are living longer.  Do you think that is true?  Do statistics make the case?  I think that the numbers so support the concept...but I have a couple of questions.

If you contract or develop (I'm not sure of the right term) Alzheimers, does the rest of your live count?  I mean...if you don't know your past, do you get credit for the past years?  Or should your count start over...at one?  I don't know.

Does stress kill?  I ask this because if it does, it would suggest that smart, aware people suffer more of it...and probably die earlier.  If that is so, does that skew the value of the average age?  I don't know.  Do you?  Is it worth considering.

I once told my daughter that if my mind should fail, she should pay the vet whatever he wanted to come over an put me down in the backyard; I have no interest in "living" if my mind is not operating at least close to normal.  I don't care if I have senior moments; I just don't want them to connect.

She promised that she would...but if my mind is gone, how will I know?  I guess my point is that it isn't life that is so valuable; it is quality of life.  Now this might seem like a "puff" piece.  Not so.  

I suggest that even when your are young, what is prime about life is living each day...not the goal, not tomorrow, and certainly never yesterday...in that day.  Appreciate the people around you, what they say, how they look, and remember to appreciate your family and every scene you pass as you walk, drive, fly or drive.  Because only today is within your grasp and appreciation.  Take the time.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come...but today is YOURS.