Category Archives: Foreign Affairs

Today’s Worry From Yesterday’s View

We’ve just passed the 70th anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with all the usual alarms and horror stories from the many survivors of those events of war.   At least this year I saw one article about one of the few surviving American POW’s who witnessed the Nagasaki bombing from miles away and what his perspective was.  The article did correctly p0int out that the Japs had already issued orders to kill all remaining POW’s once the Allies launched the expected invasion of the Homeland Islands.   The POW’s naturally were unaware of their impending death sentence and most had already reached the near end of their endurance due to the extreme cruelty and brutality of their captors.   They were thrilled to learn within days that the Japs had surrendered and that they had a chance to live.  They literally were given a ladder up at last from the depths of Hell.

I was very small at that time and don’t have a specific memory of the bombings or the end of the war.  I don’t recall my dad or any of the other men coming home in a big parade.   I do remember that dad was there and we moved to a new duplex from the old one and then a new baby brother.   The War and its aftermath was the dominate event and topic of conversation for years.  By the time I started school I knew we had used a really big bomb and that made the Japs surrender.  I recall the adults when I listened to them really didn’t understand exactly how the bomb worked.   It was an “atomic” bomb I knew from hearing them and that an atom was a really tiny thing you couldn’t even see.

It was a wonder to me that anything so small could make such a big bang.  How did those miniscule bits mix around to make such a large whomp?  As a small boy playing soldier I could understand rifles, cannons, hand grenades and regular bombs but the physics of the atomic bomb were beyond me.    You could get a feel for the destruction regular bombs and artillery could do because the newsreels in the ’40’s after the War were often about the occupation of Germany, Austria and Japan and they would always show the unimaginable destruction of whole cities.  Frankly, the newsreels of Hiroshima and Nagasaki didn’t look any different than the cities like Berlin, Munich or Dresden.

When mom and dad had relatives or friends over to visit I was always watching for when the men would gather separate from the women folk and would immeditate ly stop whatever I was doing and slip in there and sit quietly somewhere so I could hear them talk.  Sooner or later they always began swapping stories about the War.  Virtually all of them were in the War.  I guess the had some acquaintances that didn’t serve but I don’t remember a single one.  They were in all services, Army, Navy, Air Corps and Marines.  I wish I had those conversations on tape today.   What a treasure trove that would be.   All except one (with a minor wound) were still in the services in August of 1945.  Without exception they expected to be soon shipped to Japan.   Never heard one word of regret or sorrow for using the atomic bomb from one of them.  They believed the Japs deserved it, earned it with their barbaric behavior and none of them were eager to face the prospects of death after four years of war.   My dad could have been on one of those Navy ships off the coast of Japan facing the 5000 kamikaze planes (yes, 5000) that the Japs still had to deploy and planned to deploy against our invasion.  I am sure glad my dad didn’t have to do that.

“These proceedings are closed” General MacArthur after the last signatures on the Japanese surrender documents.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Iran Deal –False Choices

The guy in the white house claims that we either accept his horrendous proposal and complete surrender to Iran or we face the prospect of immediate all out war with the mad mullahs.  The assertion is that this deal is good because it…..well exactly what do we get out of it?   He asserts that Iran will not be developing any nukes for at least 1o years but history with Iran and other terror organizations around the world clearly indicate that such an assertion is childish at best and out right treasonous at worst.  He puts out nation and our important allies in harms way only to fulfill some delusional and narcissistic impulse to be remembered as a great diplomat.   After all he won the Noble Peace prize his first month in office, could we expect anything less.

The comparisons to Neville Chamberlain are astounding.   He also assured the world that old Hitler had been brought to heel and proudly waved the copy of the agreement from Munich and claimed we had “peace in our time’.   Well, guess it depended on how long you defined “time”.  It turned out to be a little over one year.  He is all about himself and that legacy.  He’ll have a legacy alright and it will live in infamy.

What would have been so bad about leaving everything exactly where they were and letting Iran suffer the consequences of the sanctions?   They are going to do what they want to do toward building a nuke either way.  Could any thoughtful and thinking person doubt otherwise?   They lie and do it often and brazenly.  They will only ramp up their mischief in the entire Middle East with the extra funding of billions they will get immediately from this deal.   A few billion here and there to Al Queada, Nusra, in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon can cause untold grief, death and misery to millions and advance their ideology at the same time.  They have no incentive to refrain from that course of action.

We have many military options besides putting 200,000 soldiers on the ground in an invasion of Iran which is the clear false choice presented by the current white house occupant.  Unfortunately many who do not know history and get their news from TMZ will buy into that sophistry.  The are many degrees of military action that could be taken and be very effective.  How about using our Navy and air power to destroy the Iranian navy. That would be doable and as wars go pretty low risk but a painful blow to our adversary.   Further we could impose a complete blockade on Iran in addition to sanctions and cripple what economy they have which in turn would greatly diminish their capacity to spread terror with money and arms and even troops throughout the Middle East.  If that wasn’t enough we could also take down their air force entirely.   Yes, it would cost some money but how much will be spending anyway under the Iran Deal?  We would have to spend mony to fight the terrorists the export and those they supply.   And also yes it would have casualties.   All wars do sadly but would we be safer with a defanged Iran?

Lastly, many would argue tha Iran would retaliate.  So, they already are as fast as they can throughout the Middle East and North Africa.   With a blockade, sanctions and no navy or air force it would be that much harder for them to export terrorism rather than the free hand they have under the Administration’s plan.   For those who would argue that Russia or China would take action against us if we pursued that course of action, please think that scenario through.  They would huff and puff but why would they really care that much in the end.   Russia would see stronger oil prices and the diminishment of a competitor and China would have one less rival in that region of the world.  Neither of them would attack the U. S. on behalf of Iran.  How could we be worse off than  the road we are heading down right now?   Iran is evil just as Stalin was evil.  You never go wrong fighting evil and always do when accommodating it.   The Call to prayer might be the sweetest sound Barack ever heard but we need to heed the righteous call to arms for our Western way of life.

“There is a time for war and a time for peace”  Proverbs.  oldranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ISIS Strategy for Victory By The West

Saddle up and let’s go for a ride through the headlines and old times.  Still the cheapest ride in town.

Many rightfully bemoan the lack of a comprehensive strategy to defeat the ISIS scourge.    It doesn’t need to be that complicated from a grand/political view.  The Commander in Chief (Lords knows we could use one) would issue orders to our military and such allies that will join with us to seek and destroy ISIS and all is cohorts and supporters.  Defeat being defined as utter destruction of organized fighting capabilities of the enemy.  Eisenhower’s orders when invading Europe in 1944 were that straightforward.  In 1945 when Germany surrendered he simply advised the Combined Chiefs of Staff that the “mission of the Allied Expeditionary  Forces  was completed on May 8, 1945 at 02:40 hours”.

The bigger issue among the effete left is collateral damage and winning hearts and minds.  As Twain said history doesn’t repeat itself but it does rhyme.  The Nazis and Japs were pure evil and deserved to be destroyed root and branch which we accomplished and the world became a better place for it.  We can’t eliminate every evil heart in the world but we can stop any organized mayhem and slaughter.  Sure there will still be bad guys down the road but they would fall legitimately into the category of criminal activity rather than and organized assault on western civilization.  Only the naive or ideologically bent would deny that this is a war to preserve our Western culture.  Because the foes certainly are clear that that is their aim.

Don’t be sucked into the false argument that this would be a racially motivated war against those with dark skins.  Several have made that argument before and try to give the impression that Allies were harsher against the Japs than we were the European Nazis.  That is simply incorrect.   Check the actual facts for yourself.  We killed many more German, Italian, Hungarian and other assorted European Nazis than we did Jap soldiers.  That is a fact.  Many argue that we only used the A Bomb on the Japs and never would have on the Nazis.  Again check that facts. We bombed the stuffing out of Germany and killed many more German civilians than we ever did in Japan even including the two A Bomb drops.

To be successful we need to not be squeamish about collateral damage.  It will happen if you want to wage a military campaign that will succeed.  War is nasty and messy business.  It is not laser brain surgery.  It is digging a big hole with pick and shovel.  We killed with our bombing during the War tens of thousands of French, Czech, Danes, Dutch and Belgians and assorted others from North Africa to Berlin.   As our troops advanced from the west into Germany we would destroy with artillery any village or town that put up any resistance.  Those where there was no resistance were allowed to stand.   No one stopped the fight for victory because of concern over collateral damage.  This is not to say that many involved in the bombing and artillery salvos weren’t depressed or disturbed about the cost in human life and suffering but that was the price for victory.   We should have an announced and public policy that any town, village or neighborhood that shelters or condones any ISIS or affiliate will face destruction.  They outnumber that bad guys  by huge amounts (or so the moderate Muslims always tell us) and don’t have to harbor them.

Any occupying army must have cooperation or at least fearful acquiescence from the local population.  Yes, I admit the locals might be fearful but they need to have some courage too if they truly believe these are evil guys doing the Devil’s work.  Going along to get along with ISIS is the same as supporting it.  By refusing to resist at all the locals are in fact harboring the people who behead and burn those they perceive as infidels.  The locals need to fear us more than the fear the Islamic radicals if that is what it takes.

The Allied military should move how, when and where the military commanders direct to complete their mission.  Their mission is to destroy a fighting force, not to engage in any nation building project.  The Allied countries should also not embark on any Marshall Plan as some have suggested.  Let the Arab world and Mid East determine their own future and build it themselves with their own resources.   We should likewise make is fundamentally clear that we will come back and do it all over again any time a similar threat arises.  If the Muslims can behave like a civilized society they can peacefully participate fully in the community of man and practice their religion as they see fit.  This is a war about evil actions not the religious thoughts of anyone.  Like all wars of great enduring significance this is one of ideas and taking the higher moral ground as difficult and abhorrent as that may be.   We don’t always get to choose the era in which we dwell.

“The moral forces are amongst the most important subjects in war.  …”There is only one decisive victory; the last “.  olcranky.wordpress.com

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Wonders And Amazements

We have so many wonders around us every day that we don’t notice and it is amazing the current events and historical occurrences that are ignored by our media.  It must be that old adage at work about hiding in plain sight as the best way to remain unnoticed.

Speaking of adages, the next time you are trying to learn the origin of one, start with the Bible.  There is a very good chance you’ll find it there.   Remember Hamlet  “our fate is not in the stars but within ourselves”?   Well, the Bard was paraphrasing Job.  There when facing the common lament that God caused some misfortune Job responded “why persecute Him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?”  How many times have you said something like “you are the apple of my eye”?   Well, take a gander at Psalms 17:8.   There really isn’t much new under the Sun.  Even that comes from Ecclesiastes.

We worry about global warming and all manner of natural disasters but are ignorant or choose not to face facts that the laws of physics and astronomical facts harbor  enormous changes in relatively short order.  The global warming debate is primarily forecasting conditions roughly a century from now.  A long time compared to a human life but a blink in the grand scheme.  You want to worry about something then try to understand the implications of precession.   That is a term that describes the wobble of the earth as it rotates on its  axis.  You know that the earth tilts at a 23 degree angle that gives us our seasons.  And as it does it also wobbles just like a top slowing down.   For several centuries and for a few more we have had our North Star found using the far end of the pot of the Big Dipper and taking an imaginary line four times that length to find it.  It has been very reliable for a long time.  But, but, but as the earth moves on its wobble the North Star is moving and a few short centuries down the road it will not be the “north” star any longer.  The complete precession takes 23,000 years but not that long to move quiet some distance.  What does that portend for our climate down the road?  No one knows for sure, but perhaps another ice age.   Neanderthals and Cro-magnons made it and hopefully homo sapiens will also.

These modern punters have such big averages per punt.   Not all that impressed with them.  Those punters back when had it much rougher to get a forty yard average for punts.  They changes the rule a few decades ago to make it easier.  The rule used to be that the kicking team could not down the ball inside the opponents ten yard line.  The punter had to be much more accurate to kick it out-of-bounds to achieve those really good numbers.  It was a penalty if the ball was touched or d0wned by the kicking team inside the ten and the receiving team got the ball out on the 20 yard line.  Not like now where the kick team can have guys run down quickly and down the ball near the goal line.  That change immediately pumped up the numbers for the modern kickers.  So when you see the averages from some old punter back in the ’40’s, ’50’s or ’60’s remember the rule he had to work under.

We notice that Apple  and Google and others are using new encryption methods to protect users’ privacy from government surveillance.    A great idea.  The Feds already have too much access to our everyday lives as it is.  I recognize the occasional need to track down a missing child or elderly person or similar emergency.   Fine, let those and other extraordinary circumstances be exceptions.  Require the Feds to go to a judge and lay out those facts and then get access, otherwise leave us alone.

I don’t recall any big feasts for Thanksgiving when I was small after the War.   We had very modest circumstances.  But we had as roof over our head and food on the table.  I guess we had a turkey or maybe a big chicken.  I do know we had pies and cakes.  Mostly even then I knew I had a remarkable Dad and Mom and I never doubted that Dad would take care of us.  I do remember when I was about 5 and we lived in a rented house with an ice box.  Yes, a real ice box where Dad brought home a block of ice every few days to put in the special drawer and my job was to empty out the drip pan every day.  Those were modest days but abundantly lived.   May each of you be so blessed.

“Barbarism is like the jungle; it never admits its defeat; it waits patiently for centuries to recover the territory it has lost”  Will Durant, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Ok, sports fans and the great unwashed out there, buckle up for another ride on the
Wabash Cannonball express down the valley of curiosities of the inquiring mind.

Ebola hysteria reigns at least in the headlines and surely in many a concerned household.  But recall that mankind has dealt with far worse plagues and disease outbreaks in times past and we are still here.  The Roman Empire had two major episodes with plague, the 14th century saw an estimated 25 to 33% decline in population from the plague and likewise the 17th century had a horrible outbreak on the plague.  London was hit with the plague and the Great Fire in the 1660’s.  There were two common themes to all these occurrences.   First the plague eventually played itself out.  Either there weren’t enough hosts left to support it or mankind developed its on immunity through the natural processes of biology, or some combination of both.  The medical treatment was simply to let the sick lay down and give them nurture from those willing to risk being near them.  The second feature all those centuries ago was a quarantine.  History is replete with ships from suspected areas of contamination being denied access to port.  They were told to sail away, as recently happened with that cruise ship that was denied docking in Belize and Mexico.  Even with their less sophisticated medical knowledge the ancients understood the basic benefit of cutting off all intercourse with infected areas or people whether that was a nation-state, city or individual.  We really don’t need to try and re-invent the wheel here.  If we did absolutely nothing,  ebola would die away at some point but we can accelerate that process with sensible isolation policy.

ISIS–never go to war half-heartedly and without an intention to destroy and defeat your enemy.  History makes this point clear.  One has only to look at Korea and Viet Nam to see the efficacy of that maxim.  As has been said before War is too important to be left to the politicians.  Once the decision is made to answer the bugle’s call, let the military achieve their assigned objective.   And certainly never telegraph your punch.  Don’t tell the enemy what you will or will not do militarily.   To the contrary let them know that you will do whatever is required to destroy them.   As evil as ISIS is we should eliminate them.  Yes, send in combat troops to every center where they are now nesting.  Kill every one of them we can find.  Sure some will survive and the ideology of hate of that branch of the Muslim world will still exist.  But not one dime of help, aid or nation building.   Destroy what we have to and leave.  Be prepared to come back and do it again in a few years if necessary.   Such a p0licy would encourage most Muslims that there is a better way to express their religion and to function in the modern world with peace and such progress economically as they choose and pursue on their own initiative.

I noted the recent article pointing out how ordinary folks were having their bank accounts seized by the IRS because of a pattern of making cash deposits of less than 10k.   People, that has been the law for decades regrettably.  I have always abhorred those RICO and money laundering laws.  I do understand the desire to corral the mafia and other assorted bad guys,  I don’t like them and wish them nothing but the worst life can offer.  But go after them for an actual crime and why create a “crime” for someone doing what they wish with their own money?   That law is especially egregious.   You can be convicted of a crime for simply taking your own money, honestly earned, and depositing it in your own bank account if you do so in a manner that some damn assistant US attorney in his mind thinks is a “pattern to avoid reporting requirement”.  Hells bells what have we come to?  This is  supposed to be the US where you can mind your own business and live you live quietly and even off the grid if you prefer.  Unless it is stolen money or the fruit of some specific criminal activity you should have the right to do with your money as you damn well please and not be required to offer and explanation to anyone–including the Feds.   And if it is ill-gotten gains then the Feds must be required to prove that in court before they can lay hands on your money.

Karl Marx viewed everything and explained everything in society and the economy as part of the class war.  Modern Democrats divide all Americans by class and view all their political strategies as part of a class struggle.  Black and white, the 99%, war on women, you name it.   They clearly have read their  Marx thoroughly.   Capitalism was the great evil Satan for Marx and what Democrat these days (with rare exceptions) has anything decent to say about Capitalism?  Bernie Sanders is an openly avowed Socialist and believes government should own the means of production for many major industries just as Marx proposed.  Today the Demos don’t advocate direct takeover but they accomplish their goal a bit more subtly by Federal regulation.  They have just turned the entire health care industry into a government utility.  Their prices, services and means of operation have to all  meet Federal standards.   Even the Marx dictum of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” is alive and thriving in the Democratic agenda.  Now the dictatorship is the elites in government whether elected or part of the vast army, literally, of bureaucrats doing the will of their party at EPA, HHS, FERC, FCC , etc.   They know better than the common man  what  is good for him.   Just as the Commies the Democrats don’t really trust the people at all.   You think FDR’s old buddy Stalin trusted those millions in the Ukraine that he starved to death?  Or the other countless millions he and his successors condemned to the Gulag.  Read your Solzhenitzin.

“Where men cannot freely convey their thoughts to one anther, no other liberty is secure”  Wm. Hocking, American 20th century philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Alrighty, let’s take a tour around the world and see what’s going on in all those corners of the globe….

We can start close to home in South Texas where we are being inundated with thousands of illegal aliens walking across the border with impunity and no apparent opposition.  The underground and smoke signal network of communication has been in existence since time immemorial.  Those kids, and more to the point, their parents, are aware of the vaguely disguised “invitation” of our guy in the White House that any and all Hispanics are welcome as future Democratic voters if they just cross the border.  Doesn’t it strike anyone else as a bit suspicious that all these so-called refugees claim that they are subject to intimidation and threats from gangs and drug cartels.  We’re expecting 90,000 this year alone.  How many gang members do they have in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras?   I personally don’t see refugees in those media photos but moochers.

Rule number one for any nation since the beginning of time is to have a border.  Each nation has the right and duty to  its citizens to defend its border.  Every nation must have the right to control and regulate the flow of foreigners and commerce across it borders.   That is the foundational definition of  being a nation.

Africa.  Well, the French after almost two years still have troops chasing radical Moslems around Mali.   Nigeria couldn’t be more of a mess Boko Haram roaming around killing and kidnapping more or less at will.  The Congo is beset with turmoil from radicals attacking and killing when the notion strikes them.   Libya and Egypt are both teetering on the brink or sinking into totalitarian status due to the conflict with radical Moslems.   Even a “stable” and democratic Kenya is subject to routine slaughter and attack from Moslems and radicals.   Somalia?  enough said.

Our friends in Europe are clearly rethinking their liberal policies regarding immigration and the influx of Moslems from North Africa and the northern and western marches of the Mid East.  France, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and even Sweden are seeing growing and more vocal opposition to open borders and increasing immigration of Moslems.

Sentiment against central governments is growing much stronger across the European landscape whether the central government be domestic or the European  Parliament in Brussels.  Catalonia is voting on separation from Spain.  The Belgians are taking a fresh look at their centuries old joinder of the French, Flemish and Germanic portions of their nation with many calling for independence.  Surely you are aware the Scotland will vote in a few months on independence from the United Kingdom and predictions are for a very close vote.  Northern Italy is stirring even harder and more volubly for cutting loose the southern portions of Italy and letting them make their own way.  The Balkans remain on edge after nearly two decades of alleged peace between their Christian areas and the Moslem portions of that area.  The Ukraine?  Well it is getting plenty of press these days.

Who knows how Iraq will evolve over the next few weeks and months.   The radicals look to have at a minimum a permanent nation-state to consolidate power and use as a base to slowly but surely spread their barbarism in that immediate area of the world and even worse to then plan long term strikes against the West at times and places of their choosing with impunity.  It is very apparent that the US and all Western nations will not intervene in a way that would force them out of the areas they now occupy.  The Shia Iraqis don’t have the will to make a  war against them in those northern reaches and drive them out.  Even if Iran sent troops and everything they had available it wouldn’t work.  Look at the map and consider the demographics as you look.  The geography and Islamic peoples of those regions don’t favor driving out those fiends.  Iran can’t afford the  cost in treasure and military resources and personnel it would take to remove those Islamists even with the help of what exist of the Iraqi army.  That huge swath of earth looks likely to descend into a new dark age for some time to come.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are more or less the same problem sitting across two borders.  The Taliban will take over in reality or behind the scenes in running Afghanistan as soon as we are gone.  Who is going to stop them?  Serious question.  Pakistan can probably and likely will bumble along more or less as it has for decades.  Always on the edge of self-destruction but strong enough to thwart an outright collapse.

In the Far East China is on the march and Japan is slowly but inevitably renewing its martial aspirations.  Sitting between them is the powder keg the two Koreas.   China is readying its aircraft carrier and will use it to intimidate its neighbors and even strike the weaker ones when they feel they can without repercussions.  It is in our long-term strategic interest to back Japan in this growing and volatile mix.   It would be a disaster for China to be allowed free rein in such portions of the Asian area as they wish.  The Philippines just reached yet another in the endless series of truces with the Moslems on its island chain.  It won’t last either.  Lordy how many of those have there been since the SpanishAmerican War?

Saudi Arabia is allegedly an ally and how many of the 9/11 attackers came from there?  We should only trust when we can verify.  Be vigilant and hope some day those peoples will move beyond the 9th century in their outlook on the world and be able to tolerate other views. They are entitled to their own religion and culture and we have no problem with that but they should not be permitted to impose a Caliphate across any section of the modern world with the repression and of differing views.

Be brave,,,,fear never wins the battle and always leads to retreat.   olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Coming out of a winter hibernation and a move so its time to crank up the word machine and brush off the mental cobwebs…..

Moving ain’t fun.  A fundamental truth.  Especially true if you have been in the old homestead for a long time.

The Russians call the Ukraines in Kiev Nazis.  Even some of the media has picked up on that theme and talks about the Ukrainians who fought with the Nazis during the War leaving the clear impression that the Ukrainians were true Nazis at heart.  The truth is much more complicated.  Stalin during the ’30’s literally starved to death untold millions of Ukraines.  The exact number will never be known.  In addition many of the Ukraines like the idea of owning their own piece of dirt as had been their tradition for centuries.  When the War and the Germans came it is true that many of the Ukraines joined the German army to fight against the commies and Stalin.  That did not make them fans of Hitler or the Nazis but simply people who were faced with two difficult choices but decidedly believed the Nazis were the lesser of the two evils and the Germans fostered that notion with hints of some autonomy.  They weren’t Nazis, they were Ukrainians fighting communism.

If Monica wants to be taken seriously then she should have avoided that picture spread with her lounging on the couch.  Didn’t exactly portray the image of a mature gal not trying to exploit her prior persona of the Linda Lovelace of the White House.

When will the civilized world quit pretending that Africa is a legitimate part of the world community?  The latest episode in Nigeria is only representative of their dysfunction.  There is not only Nigeria but we have Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Kenya, Cameroon, the Congo, Uganda, Chad and Libya to name merely the most outrageous places.  The West needs to stop sending any kind of aid.  Those people have the resources to do quite well.  It is up to them to make the countries and world they want.  We can’t import decency or democracy.  Their militaries by turn are cowardly, incompetent, tyrannical or corrupt.   They need to live in a house they built, not one provided by the Peace Corp.  Can anyone honestly say that the generosity and sympathy of the West has made any significant difference in the last 60 years?  That is three generations.  How would letting them fend for themselves possibly be any worse than the current situation.

Remember that science is never “settled”.  The very nature of the beast is questions and then more questions after apparent answers are found.  Not my brilliant observation but from David Deutsch.  He refers to the dire predictions due to  global warming, prophecies, not science.  Just for you consideration, he is an Oxford don, world renown physicist, philosopher and member of the Royal Society, not exactly marginal thinker or denier.  He would no doubt be apoplectic being called a “denier”.  Check out his The Beginning of Infinity.  Pretty heavy going but worth it in the end.

The current rate for a 10 year Treasury note is about 2.5%.  That rate is strictly a function of the market manipulation of the Federal Reserve.  What do you think  the rate would be if the Fed was neutral and let the market alone determine what the proper rate should be?  Maybe 2% or maybe 6%.  Whatever you think it would be the difference between a true market rate and what the Fed is dictating now means that there are some serious losers in the market due directly to their policies.  Those losers aren’t so-called fat cats on Wall Street necessarily but there are some of them too.  For every trade on Wall Street remember that there is a seller for each buyer whether for stocks or bonds.   Pension plans and unions are some of the biggest investors along with endowments of major universities on Wall Street.  Current losers are the seniors for sure and the savers among us.  It makes those in their mid years to start eating their seed corn rather than save because there is no incentive or reward for saving  in the near term.  Supposedly the Fed works for our benefit but its hard to discern that benefit.  Seems more like the inmates are running the asylum or Dr. Frankenstein let loose on the financial system and sure enough he has created a monster he can’t control.

We’ve all known someone who talks too much.   They will never shut up.  Worse they think you are interested in everything they have to say;  even the stuff that is stupid,  logically inconsistent or borders on that line between outright lies and embellishment.  Why does such a thought evoke images of daily briefings or speeches from the occupant of  the White House of today?

We are approaching  the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I wonder what the average heart rate was for those boys jumping out of a C-47 or down the ramp from a LST?   It had to be a terrifying experience and their bodies reacted accordingly.  We should be very thankful that they were able to overcome that fight or flee syndrome all men have in face of extreme danger.   I not only tip my hat to them but am grateful and worry whether this generation is worthy of the sacrifice they made.

Strange we don’t hear a peep about the antarctic ozone hole or the impending ice age that were all the rage 30 years ago based on “settled” science.  Although the Yankees might have thought they were in at least a mini ice age last winter.   But, lo, spring came again as it has since the earth began spinning and circling the Sun.

“The instinct of ownership is fundamental in man’s nature”  William James, American psychologist and philosopher. http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, the Holidays are over and the hibernation will be interrupted long enough for the current thoughts and ramblings of the gray matter…..

Another State of the Union address and again we call for the elimination of the current method of delivery.  It is pure political theatre and propaganda.  Regardless of what party controls the White House the prevailing showmanship of the delivery should be stopped.  For well over 100 years the State of the Union was a straightforward written report to Congress from the President.   We need to really tone down this useless drama show.  It should be a business meeting between the Executive and Legislative branches of government.  Put it on C-span and no applause and distractions.  Let the President and his Cabinet present facts and figures about our economy, national security and society.  Let the Congressmen ask questions and challenge the data and assumptions and proposed policies.  It should be give and take.  The Presidents written report should be no longer than 20 pages in length, anything more and you’re getting hyperbole and fluff.

Saw a shooting star the other night.  It was the first one I’ve seen in a number of years what with all the bright lights of the city and trees and roof lines.  It was quite dramatic and very bright as it descended to earth.  So large that I actually listened for a boom.  Did see one so large and close that it produced a loud boom decades ago.  Better than any fireworks display when they are that large.

Not at all surprised that so many people were having their private insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare.  Those reading these pages remember that I said that would happen back in ’10 when the thing was passed and I actually read the bill.  It provided that the policies being grandfathered in could only be those that never changed.   “Any” change meant they no longer met the standard of a “qualified” plan as approved by the bureaucrat in charge, the HHS Secretary.  So if your premium in the plan you liked was $300 per month and it increased by $5 per month then that change would kick you to the exchanges and you had to get the government approved plans, period.

Fighting wars half-heartedly is always a recipe for disaster. Korea and Viet Nam are probably the worst examples but Afghanistan isn’t far behind with that current guy in the White House view of the military and the mission there.   The object of any military action should always be to destroy and subdue your enemy and do so with all the resources at your command.  History teaches well the old maxim that when you go against and remove the King you better get rid of all his heirs also.   If we aren’t committed to eliminating the Taliban as a force then we might as well get out completely and go back in at our pleasure when we detect specific threats.   If our guys can’t conduct aggressive offensive operations as of now then they are merely becoming targets for the attacks of the Taliban at their pleasure.

Read another detailed and thorough article this week about the probability of our magnetic field starting another flip.  That means the magnetic poles will switch places and your compass would point south, not north.  If that is beginning to occur then it makes a mockery of the concern over alleged global warming.   The process could take thousands of years and the effects on Mother Earth would be enormous.  Weather would change for sure as would the overall climate and the effects of the increased radiation from the Sun would tear apart much of our modern infrastructure built on electrical power and electronic machines of all stripe, not the least of which would be your handy computer.   The magnetic field has flipped many times over the eons and many scientist believe we over  due for another  anytime.  The magnetic field has already weakened and some view that has the harbinger of the flip.  So another item to add to your list of worries but this one is real, the danger is only a question of time, not an if.

About two weeks before we dropped the first A bomb on Hiroshima a US sub made one of the most unusual attacks of the entire War.  The sub had already sunk several Jap ships in a harbor and was due to return to base but the captain noticed a  railroad trestle right on the shore line that was used by the Japs to transport supplies to the war making factories nearby.  They couldn’t have used a torpedo but were innovative both captain and crew.  They decided a shore party could attach a explosive device to the tracks and get the next train to pass after installation.  It took several days to figure out how to do it.  They used the explosive charges that normally are used only to scuttle the ship for the pow factor.  But then they had to devise a method to make the “bomb” explode at the right time to take out the train.  They jerry-rigged a trigger from a battery and copper wires.  The trigger was to be placed under the metal rail after they dug out a small pit for the explosives and then when the train passed over it would depress the rail a bit and that would close the electric circuit and ignite the device.  In the dark of the night a couple of nights later the landing party of 8 went ashore, dug the pit and placed the device there.  As they were heading back to the sub in a rubber dingy a train pulled into sight and then onto the trestle area embankment and sure enough it worked and everything went sky high.  The Captain was already a Medal of Honor winner when this took place.   Needless to say it was the only sub to take out a train during the War.

Even the Fed is beginning to taper.  Now if we could only get Congress to “taper” also and spend less.  I don’t feel like I get a bang for my tax bucks paid, er, extorted, to the Federal government, do you?

“Liberty alone demands for its realization the limitation of the public authority, for liberty is the only object which benefits all alike,…”  Lord Acton, British historian  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Syria, St. Paul And Of Mice And Men

Damascus is a really old city.  It has been there since recorded time from the Biblical ages.  Christians are familiar with the story of St. Paul.  He was on his way to Damascus to punish Christians as he had been doing in his role of Roman bureaucrat and a true Jew who viewed them as heretics.   Then came the epiphany on the road to Damascus when he literally saw the light and heard the voice of God and his life was transformed.  He bought a word of hope and peace as the Gospel to the world that is followed today by billions.   Can we expect such good news (no pun intended) from the US’s tortured and perhaps militant (?)  journey to Damascus today?

One major factor we overlook in our current slap stick foreign policy efforts is that from the Syrian and Assad perspective this is a fight to the death.  The loser will be at the mercy of the winner.  It is winner take all and one can see the way Muslims treat one another in their internecine wars.    The Shia, Alawites and Christians will be killed or enslaved at best if they lose this battle.  Such dreadful outcomes focuses the mind and stiffens the spine even in the face of difficult odds.  We can’t credibly promise love, peace and prosperity for them if they lose this battle and they know it.

Its geography is diverse as is its people.  From desert lands to the mighty Euphrates to the north and the mountainous regions in its southwest.  The entire land like Damascus is filled with nooks and crannies to hide WMD.  Because of the way we have handled the situation they have already had three weeks to disperse and re-arrange their armaments including those WMD.  You can assume that only the  most trusted troops would be involved in such a process.   Damascus alone would provide endless small buildings off alley ways to stash the WMD.   They have been doing that.  Never assume your enemy is a fool; what they are capable of doing they will likely do.   But for the mental exercise let’s assume that somehow there is an agreement to get the WMD and have it destroyed.

First there will be the interminable delays.  They news today is already that the Syrians supported by the Russkies wants at least 30 days to merely hand over an inventory of the WMD on hand.   But assume we get the deal for real people to come and look and locate in a reasonable time.  How many will it take?  If there are 20 locations you have to assume at least 3/4 inspectors per location.   They can fly in fairly safely and even get transport to a school or hotel or wherever there is relative security.  Speaking of which who is going to provide the actual, day-to-day security for those inspectors.  No doubt they will want some outside force and not be dependent on Syrian troops for that job.   How many foreign security troops will Syria allow into their country during the Civil War?  They could rightfully suspect they might be spies transmitting data back to the CIA or similar organization.   But assume we get by that hurdle also and some limited number of foreign troops are allowed as escorts to protect the inspectors.

Will the Syrians blindfold them en route to locations?  I mean what if the deal falls apart only a few days after the process is started.  You think the Syrians will allow those inspectors to take back home the exact locations of their WMD?  They sure won’t allow them to wear Google glass hardware or Zillow cams.

After they locate the WMD it has to be secured.  Locked under seal.  It is inconceivable that it could be destroyed in place.   How will it be transported?  Who supplies those trucks and workers to load all that bad stuff?   I doubt the Syrians will donate trucks during the civil war when they need them to move troops, ammo and logistics to their own troops.  In all likelihood if the US estimates are remotely close you are talking about lots of trucks.  Who will provide the security for the convoys to move those trucks and exactly where will they be taken?  You ever thought about one of those trucks being taken out with an RPG?  Either side could have a lone wolf who decides that would be just a dandy idea.   One assumes the neighboring countries will not touch this transportation and storage situation with a ten foot pole.  Israel would probably help out but, but, but, try selling that idea in a Muslim country.

Of course there is the obvious advantage to Assad of having those inspectors in-country during the Civil War.   First, those facilities and nearby areas will never be targeted by the US for fear of collateral damage.  Secondly, he has some built-in hostages that he can disperse where he likes and again protect those areas from any US military strike.   If he delays, hides stuff even without trying to conceal the effort, the fact is that there will never be any military strike against him as long as they are there.   History is replete with “guests” being in fact nothing but hostages to their hosts.  Read any history and you see.

Yeah, we have satellites and drones and all that sophisticated gear to detect and attempt to locate the WMD and keep up with the inspectors.  But Assad will not let the inspectors wear tracking devices unless it suits his purposes.  And all that sophisticated gear is not full proof.  It can’t see everything and night vision and all that heat sensitive sensors still have limitations.   We simply can’t keep up with all the Assad troops in Syria 24/7.   It will be impossible to verify we got it all.  Maybe we get 90% but is that really making us safe?  That ten per cent with the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston is not a vision we should welcome.

The only way this would work effectively is to destroy the opponent militarily so that you can work your will without interference.  But getting it that war is a terrible idea.  The US interest are not threatened and those Muslims should solve their own problems by the sword since that is their choice.  We aren’t making them fight and kill each other.  The solution is for them to find.  Indecision and vacillation are the marks of the tepid and weak and seen as so by the world.

“Fish or cut bait”  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The surprise isn’t that history repeats but that folks are surprised when the same thing occurs again and they think it is something new.

If you  searched or stumbled across the back pages of the news today you may have seen the article about the arctic sea ice.   Since spring of this year we have seen repeated stories about the allegedly alarming reduction in the arctic sea ice and as a harbinger of global warming doom.  Yet, today in the small print we note that the sea ice there has actually increased by 30% this year.  But the media types immediately in the same articles continue the warming that the “models” show that the ice will decline rapidly.  Where’s Groucho when you need him–who you going to believe your lying eyes or what these smart folks tell you?

Both the message and the messenger are important on the major issues of the day.  Syria is a case in point.   Hitler was a great messenger regardless of his evil.  His message was evil for the most part.  Yet it can’t be denied that he could sell the message extremely well.   Check out those old videos of his speeches.  He was very effective with his audience and that is what counts.   In Syria we have the bad combination of a terrible message and an ineffective and arrogant messenger.    The I, Me, My guy in the White House is so egocentric that he makes the issue all about him.  That wears thin after a while and has in this instance.  There needs to be a compelling message and that hasn’t been presented.  Exactly what are we attempting to achieve in Syria?   Whatever that may be, do the facts at hand regarding the combatants there and their goals match up with any vital interests of the US?

Harry Truman was not my guy.  Didn’t like him but he did speak plainly which is appreciated.  At least you knew the devil and his designs.  When faced with a similar conundrum about picking sides between two abhorrent foes he was direct.  When Hitler invaded Stalin’s play pen old Harry said clearly that he didn’t like either of them and he hoped that would slaughter each other.  This was before he become vice president.  At least he knew evil when he saw it.

Vladimir Putin, the great peace maker.    That is something for an old KGB hired hand and ruffian.   I believe he has read his Machiavelli more carefully than our guy.

After a long hot summer it is hard to believe that in only a few weeks some parts of the country will see the first flights of Canadian geese heading south.

We are all familiar with  the basic story of William the Conqueror and his conquest of England and the Battle of Hastings in 1066.   The Normans were on the move during this period of history.  What very few know is that a relative of his Robert Guiscard was during the same time frame conquering and liberating much of central and southern Italy and Sicily.  He and his quite small army threw out the Muslims from Sicily and areas of southern Italy and at the same time dominated Rome and the Pope.  The Pope was glad to have him because he was Christian and was fighting the Muslims and restoring the prestige and power of the Church.  Old Robert also was about gaining power and dominion over as much land as he could.  He even expelled the Byzantine empire from those central portions of Italy.  His children were married off to cement alliances and his 12 sons aided in the conquests.   Those independent Italian  principalities lasted well into the 19th century.  Napoleon’s son become the King of Naples centuries later.  Robert never had more than 10,000 Normans to accomplish all this.  He formed alliances with local groups who had their own  reasons to want the Muslims out and have different rulers in other areas that weren’t dominated by Constantinople.

It is a truism of investing that you don’t buy or sell stocks of feelings or emotions.  But I guess those green tree -huggers slept through that part of the class.  They are still buying Tesla even though the stock is selling at a negative, yes, negative 89 times earnings.  And about 80% of their “earnings” come from selling those energy tax credits to others, not selling and making a profit on  cars.   Good luck to you if you are one of those investors.  Sooner or later morning comes and one has to face the reality of the day, not the dreams of the night.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest.  The square base is aligned correctly on a north /south and east/west setting.   From the chamber of the Pharaoh buried in the middle there are two passage ways that run at about a 45 degree angle up to the surface hundreds of feet about ground level.  The one facing south points directly at the belt of Orion; Orion was the Egyptian Osiris God.  The one pointing north faces true with the North Star.   Clearly those two markers in the sky were very important to them for whatever reason.  We’ll likely never know for sure why but we know when they constructed these huge structures that those stars were very important.  They went to a lot of trouble to make those alignments happen.

Even as late as this summer Bernancke has continued to insist that the Federal Reserve is not monetizing the debt.  That simply means printing up new money to cover the Federal deficit.  Let’s see, they have been buying 45 billion per month of US Treasuries for well over a year.  The US has run a deficit over or near one trillion dollars for 5 years now.  The Fed now owns more US Treasuries than even China even though some politicians keep talking about the Chinese being our largest creditor.  The Fed is buying about 75% of all US Treasuries trying to keeping rates low. Those rates have jumped dramatically this summer from 1.4 in May to near 3.0 as of today.   Would the US treasury have been able to borrow all those trillions without the Fed at such low rates?   And remember when the Fed “buys” treasuries it does so with a keystroke on a computer, not real money.  But not to worry we’re aren’t monetizing the debt.

“The law is silent during war.”  Cicero.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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