Category Archives: Politics

Connection And Identity As American

We are bombarded daily of late with reports of the divisions within our nation.  A real US versus THEM mentality that harbors many alleged dreadful results.  Maybe there is some truth to that and maybe it is another example of historical bias–meaning that each generation thinks that whatever is going on right now is the most important event(s) and most momentous of all time.  Each generation thinks we have never seen or experienced anything like it before.  Let’s think about that and what might be at least one root cause of the current divisions.

The strongest binders of any society are its religion, language and culture.  Culture being the art, literature, social mores and conventions that are mostly accepted by a large majority and a feeling that we are indeed connected in a fundamental way with those we consider our fellow citizens.  No thinking being expects complete agreement on all the issues of the day.  Three Southern Baptist Deacons will reach five different opinions on the policy for tithing collection after all.  In the 1930’s we faced tremendous differences about the direction of the country.  There were many who really disliked Roosevelt and his big government policies and likewise there were legions that thought he was terrific.  His popularity was not nearly as big as you would think reading the paeans to him these days when he is mentioned.  He also could be a very vicious and attacking politician and spewed vitriol on his political opponents constantly.

In the last half of the 20th century we were able to form a consensus on many large issues and when we couldn’t the losing side would begrudgingly accept the democratic outcome.  We had the big matters still in some harmony– language, religion and a loose but still defined “American” culture.  Also we had the unique benefit of so many millions of men having gone through the same experience–WWII.  Veterans of the War played an outsized role in our politics for at least two generations after the War.  No matter their political differences they knew that they people there were negotiating with on the on side of the political spectrum had gone through the same or similar events as they had.  They had all gone to boot camp, lived together, fought and believed they were doing something worthwhile for their country.

I really did not like McGovern’s big government approach and what I considered socialistic tendencies.  But I could never forget that during the War he was a B-17 bomber pilot.   Our boys had a distinct American culture they brought with them around the world on land and sea and the air.   That culture prevailed in the War.  If you don’t think our culture was distinct then ask some of the surviving Brits about out boys over there.  We had the same language and mostly religion but we were definitely American.  The Brits believed we were  “overfed, overpaid and over there”.

I sure ain’t wishing for WWIII but I do  worry about the loss of a commonality as a people.  We have become very segmented over the last 30 years or so. It concerns me that we are losing that cultural glue that binds us as one nation.

Maybe it is just us old guys with too much time on our hands and no audience that will pay attention to us anymore.   Just want my grandkids to have a country that will seek, search, dare, have moral fiber and a very strong sense of right and wrong.  Everything is not morally equivalent.

Time for some more reading and learning.  I have found that even a not so good history book will always have a few nuggets worth knowing.

Someone blow out the candle.

God Bless, olcranky

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Predictions About The Future

Alright, so I imposed a little on Yogi’s legacy.  He was right then and it still is true.  In our hyperfast info world of today we are literally inundated with predictions of one sort or another.  We don’t probably get that many more than 75 years ago its just that they jump off the website of any news outlet you choose or some talking head is pontificating on your favorite news channel whatever that may be.  To keep this within some boundaries lets focus on three areas–intelligence, financial news and or course today the virus and/or health issues.

Predictions come from the same institutions over and over again.  They are the Government, Academe and the Financial titans or financial analysts. In the last week how many articles or segments on tv have started off–so in so said, opined, believed  ( fill in the blank date) that such and such would happen.  The news media always pick someone who procrastinated correctly or course and someone who fits their particular narrative of the moment–whatever that may be.  Naturally there is always someone who predicted something correctly.  We’ll save for later comment the predictions that were and sometimes disastrously wrong.

We have for good or ill, the FBI, NSA, CIA, DIA and State Department all making their assessments, reports, memos and recommendations regarding military and intelligence matters.  You have any idea how many thousands of people you are talking about doing that work?  Actually it is tens of thousands.  They are not Jack Ryans.  They are mostly little nerds sitting at their desks reading newspapers, magazine, internet sites, debriefs of agents or assets, etc, about their particular area of expertise or geography.  A tiny handful read raw reports from agents on the ground.  They are our experts.  They are also bureaucrats, never forget that, and they do what bureaucrats have done since Egyptian times, they write reports and pass them along to someone up the food chain.   They offer warnings of one type or another and make predictions.

The same thing occurs in academia.  Those PHDs or MDs all work on their specialty.   Doing research which is mostly reading papers written by someone of their ilk at another school, Foundation or Government agency.   We all know that those professors are not spending hours and hours each week in a real classroom or seeing students during so-called office hours.  They study their data and read gobs of research by others doing work in the same area.  Then of course they write papers, essays or assessments.  Like the government groups there are literally tens of thousands of them. They predict future events, in chemistry, medicine, physics, climate warming, engineering or what have you.

Financial analysts and famous financiers make predictions constantly.  You have W. Buffet and Robert Reich and Jim Cramer.   The financial channels are literally overflowing with them.   They make predictions about everything economic or financial virtually every day.  Again there are thousands of these people.  Not as many as they other groups but a boatload for sure.

All those predictions are like the old saw about 1,000,000 monkeys and 1,000,00 typewriters.  Sooner are later you will get Shakespeare’s Hamlet.  Make your own guesstament but I think you would ultimately agree that the overwhelming majorities of all these predictions are wrong.  Some got something right.  But just because you had a bad stomach ache and I predicted you had appendicitis I don’t think you would really want this old lawyer performing the operation.  But hey, I was dead right on my prediction.  When you read or hear about some one who “warned” or predicted something would occur and it did.  Please bear in mind all those other smartest guys in the room who didn’t agree with it.  There is always a large number of them.  Many predictions turn true for the most random of reasons and rarely for the same ones highlighted by the predictor.  Einstein was wrong about quantum mechanics, Fauci has been wrong on several counts.  That doesn’t diminish the value of their opinions.   The Pentagon Papers were an internal assessment made by some in the military.  Their conclusions fit the narrative liked by the NYT and WP.  Voila, a prediction that was prescient.  Hey, the military was making constant assessments about the Vietnam War.  This was merely one of many.  That war could have been fought differently, like interdicting the supply lines of the north Vietnamese, really interdicting with troops, aircraft or whatever it took,   mining Haiphong harbor, destroying Hanoi, etc.  But the only prediction that mattered was the one promoted and touted.  That prediction for what it is worth was not correct.  We didn’t ultimately lose the war as foretold by them.  We quit.

In the name of God, please put all those articles, whether leaning left or, right, that reveal  someone, somewhere predicted, warned or hell, prophesied some particular event would occur in some kind of context.  There is a really good chance that his prediction was one of hundreds and his just happened to be right.  I am old enough to remember the thousands of predictions from the ’50s about nuclear energy. It was going to eliminate coal and natural gas as energy sources. We would have abundant clean energy forever.   Didn’t quite turn out that way but I bought into it as a teenager.  I thought that was really a cool idea at the time.  So when you read about all the current predictions about life after the pandemic passes, apply a healthy grain of salt to flavor it.  Someone will have it right and those other headline predictions will fade, only  an embarrassment if reminded of them later.  Remember those monkeys and Occam’s razor.  My prediction is that we will land in a boring equilibrium like mankind usually does.

Is my prediction worth a toot?  Probably just that, a toot.  Not Beethoeven’s opening in his Fifth symphony.

God Bless from around the campfire.  Time for the old codger to take his brain enhancing pill.

olcranky

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Ghosts Of Elections Past

It is still more than a year to the next Presidential election but the headlines are already there with the latest in this upcoming contest.  Even though the elections are only ever four years if you live long enough you endure or enjoy quite a few of those events.   The memories may be colored in sepia and the sounds more like echos but the recall can still be vivid.

I was too  young to have any memory of Roosevelt’s ’44 election but I do recall later hearing my Dad and his friends who were all in the War talking about the shock of his death because he was the only President they really remembered.  His death was quickly forgotten though in the turmoil of winning the War.  Berlin still had to fall and Iwo Jima and Okinawa were not yet done deals.

I do remember the newsreels at the movies about the ’48 election.  Images of Truman on the back of the train speaking inevitably to the union group and then photos of the suave Dewey.  I just remember thinking even then that Dewey didn’t look manly enough with that sissy skinny mustache.  He was no Clark Gable.  I don’t remember much reaction to the election afterward as all the adults were very much in the getting back to normal life after the War.   Mostly everyone just wanted stability and a chance to resume doing anything routine.

I was young but I definitely liked Ike just as most of the country.  He came across as that firm but fair grandfather and with a touch of the sage to him.  Even as a youngster I found Truman’s screaming and ranting a bit too much.  Besides Ike had led all those millions of men to victory and he knew how to lead.  Those ’50’s were great years.  Adlai Stevenson was the opponent both times.  He was too prissy; supposedly a real intellectual but he also had a very sharp tongue with his opponents.  He was too friendly with the Commies for the country.   You have to take into account the threat of the Commies during those years.  We really did have bomb drills at school regularly and the Commies continued to crush the Hungarians and foment wars and terror around the world.  The Commie threat wasn’t an abstraction, it was palpable.

Those first televised debates in ’60 were interesting and frustrating.  I didn’t like Kennedy from the git go.  He was too cool and cute by half.   Plus I resented him coming from a family with a corrupt history and born with that silver spoon in his mouth and then having the gall to say how the rest of those aspiring to do better for themselves had to pay more in taxes.  (yes, I know it reduced them some later).  I wasn’t  wild about Nixon but he was a Navy man himself and I thought would do a better job of standing up to Khrushchev.   I didn’t mind Jackie much but really got irritated with the liberal media treating her like some celebrity for just standing there and looking chic.  By the way the election was stolen from Nixon by the crooked Democratic machine  in Illinois, the Daleys.  It was that close.  Many wanted Nixon to sue as Gore did later to challenge the fraudulent results from Cook county but he refused saying it would be bad for the country to have the integrity of the election in question for months.  That was the real profile in courage.

Then came the Goldwater/Johnson duel in ’64 with the famous mushroom cloud behind the little girl.   I thought Goldwater was a very bright guy and that it was time for a Jew to come to the fore just as the Catholics had with Kennedy.  Johnson was the epitome of the crooked politician.  I was aware of the venality of the ’48 election were he had the dead vote for him down there in South Texas.   When he and Ralph Yarborough were the Texas senators each of them never met a union boss with a bag of money they didn’t love and would obey.   It was a nasty election with horrendous consequences.  The Great Society has  been a miserable and costly failure and resulted in even more powers being concentrated in Washington just as the Democrats wanted.  For them it was a huge success and their corrupt reach expanded  exponentially.  Of course we got the Viet Nam war out of him after all the fear mongering he did against the alleged war hungry Goldwater.  You have to at least appreciate the irony of it all. 

Next up was Humphrey and the reborn Nixon.  Humphrey definitely talked too much.  You should not that I believe he still holds the Senate record for a filibuster.  He was the guy to continue the Great Society programs and even expand them.   Nixon was for the Silent Majority the did their jobs and wanted a decent society with much less government.  I voted for George Wallace.  Didn’t even like the guy and he was way too populist for me, but, but , but, he was totally anti-establishment man and especially against the Democratic view of running everything and everyone from DC.  His campaign cost Nixon lots of votes and at least it sent a message.   He did as promised and started the draw down in Viet Nam although I wish he had bombed and mined Haiphong harbor right away as long as we had guys on the ground fighting VC and North Vietnamese.  I will discuss Watergate with you only if you have actually read the Watergate Transcripts in their entirety as I did and not just news accounts of those events and if you used you tube to listen to all the Watergate testimony before the Joint Committee and again not news accounts that are consistently skewed and often flat out wrong on the basic facts.

There never was any question about McGovern versus Nixon.  He was too liberal even for a nation at  the height of the Hippie movement.  I always tipped my hat to him for being a bomber pilot during the War but otherwise found him liberal trite, if not lite.

Then we had Ford against Carter.  Ford was a handsome man and a former All-American football player at Michigan.  Carter was a peanut farmer with a hokey approach with pretensions of profound depth.  He was the former but certainly lacked the latter.  He was evil incarnate like Johnson but he was an embarrassment.   He tried a one and done military action to get those hostages out of Iran but then wouldn’t follow through with any other efforts and his economic policies only lead to “stagflation”.   Look it up that was the call sign for an economy during his era, that along with inflation off the charts.  We took a home improvement loan then at 13 and a half percent that was floating in anticipation of it going higher.

Thankfully the good Lord took mercy on us and we got Reagan in the ’80 election.  If you weren’t there you can’t begin to understand the breath of fresh air he was and the new sense of pride he brought it and hope that things would finally get better after two decades of slow but constant decline.  That floating loan I took out for the house  actually dropped under Reagan because inflation was at last tamed under his direction for the economy.  Mondale never had a chance and for good reason in ’84.  The detractors said he was not smart enough, well he won.  Besides we’ll likely never have a President as bright as Jefferson again.  He had a clear vision and direction and got the right people to move us in that way.  The results surely speak for themselves.

Then we had Bush 41 in ’88 against Dukakis.  The country was not in the mood for a return to traditional Democratic theories after seeing the results of trying things a different way and Dukakis was again to prissy and prim.  Bush had been shot down by the Japs during the war and no one could challenge his courage or his devotion to the country.  Dukakis was still singing the Democratic mantra of kissing up to the Commies and criticizing vehemently the whole Star Wars program and military build up under Reagan and  Bush’s pledge to continue it.  Reagan was right and Bush fulfilled the commitment to win the Cold War.  Like Reagan said when asked how the Cold War would play out.  He said–we win.  The wall came down and the Soviets finally got the demise they deserved.  along the way he faced Saddam and was resolute in Desert Storm.  Only wish he hadn’t called of the dogs so soon.

Then there was Clinton who portrayed himself as a new Democrat with  a more centrist approach.  He was a chameleon who would adopt any ideology that got him power.  The millennials and other youngster are ignorant completely about his election.  Virtually none of them recall or know that he won without a majority of the vote.  H. Ross Perot handed the elections to Clinton.  Perot took 19% of the vote; Clinton barely got over 40% to sneak into the White House.  All the shame and ignominy that Clinton brought to the Presidency can be laid at the doorstep of Perot.   It was a time of despair for honorable people and even as the door was hitting his behind he added one last insulf with the Marc Rich pardon on his last day.  Dole was a decent man and admired his tenacity after those awful wounds he survived from the War but he didn’t have the zip or personality to win.

“When liberty becomes license, dictatorship is near”  Will Durant, American, philosopher, anthropologist and historian extraordinaire.   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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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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Rebellion And Independence

It is often forgotten or never reflected upon by most that our nation did not start with the Declaration of Independence.  If you did a survey of the “man on the street” no doubt a vast majority would assume that the Declaration was the beginning of our revolution.  The facts are that the Colonies had rebelled and were committing acts of treason for 15 months before the Declaration was issued.   The rebellion began in the spring of 1775 with the firefights at Lexington and Concord and then those battles were followed by the siege and seizure of Boston by a British naval and army force that summer.  That was the time and place for the battle at Bunker Hill.  Th Brits were in firm and complete control of Boston and were strangling commerce and intimidating in an effort to quell the rebellion.

It was during this time that the Continental Congress appointed George Washington commander of the rebel army and he was finally successful in extracting the British from Boston months later when he got the cannons from fort Ticonderoga in upstate New York and brought them to the heights overlooking Boston and its harbor.   Their force and navy was exposed to destruction from them and to take them seemed imprudent with the forces at hand so they changed strategy and took their fleet and army to New York.  Washington and the army followed by land and encamped in New York City for a while but the British arrived in the summer of 1776 and drove out our Continental Army after several short but brutal battles.   Washington himself was almost killed where the public library of New York City is located today.   Just before the battles for Long Island and Manhattan the Declaration was made but the outlook in New York was grime.  Our army was on the run but intact as a fighting force although severely diminished in capacity.  Washington was retreated  toward Philadelphia were the Congress was still in session after the Declaration.  The British view and that of the Tories was that they were about to teach the rebel upstarts a real lesson in power and the consequences of rebellion.   The prospects for a successful rebellion were not very bright at that time.   Overtures had been made to  the British for an amelioration of the laws and practices deemed most onerous to the Colonies but all such Petitions (and they were just that, appeals) were rebuffed.  That was the general background of circumstances as the summer of 1776 passed mid summer’s day.   We had been fighting and that certainly is rebelling for over 15 months but no formal position had been taken.  At this dark hour the Congress felt it necessary and appropriate to state the case of the Colonies to Britain and the world at large.

It is worthy of note that the Preamble and the Close but reference God and invoke His blessing.  “the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God entitle them”  (preamble) and then in that great peroration “We therefore ….appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World……with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our Sacred Honor.”  Failure meant hanging at best.  Another example of that old bromide about there being no atheists in foxholes.

The Declaration laid out over 25 specifics charges or justifications for the rebellion and the declaration to be independent.  Sadly those reasons are rarely discussed today but they may resonate with a reading anew.   A few that may bear on the events of our day–

“He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.”  He wouldn’t follow the existing law of the land but viewed himself as beyond or above the law.

“He has forbidden His governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance unless suspended in their operation until His assent should be obtained,and when so suspended,and when so suspended he has utterly neglected to attend to them”.   Again the King wouldn’t enforce the laws authorized by the legislatures created by the Charters of the Colonies.

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our People and eat out their substance”.   Hello, CFPB, EPA, IRS and the endless list.

“For depriving us, in many cases of the right of Trial By Jury”  Drone attacks on US citizens by the decree of the President alone.

“For suspending our Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with the power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever”   I have a pen and a phone.

And one on the allegation that the King was not enforcing the immigration laws pertaining to the Colonies; it is too long to quote here.  Are we currently dealing with a tyrannical Executive that refuses to faithfully execute the Laws of the land regarding immigration?

A few years later we established the US with our Constitution.  A singular document for the principles it proclaimed.  All prior governments from recorded time were based one way or anther on the assumption that every man owed fealty to someone over him; be it baron, knight, king, emperor, sultan or other liege lord.   Our new loyalties were to principles set in law and formalized with a contract between the governed and the government setting out limited powers of the government and the rights of the people.  Truly and unheard of relationship prior to that time.  Read the Constitution again, it is quite short, remember you are a party to that contract.  At least as long as we remain a country of laws and not of the whims, prejudices and preferences of men.

“For pride was not made for man, only as a tormentor”  John Adams, second President.  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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Polarization Is Us

How many times in the last few years have you read an article about how polarized our political process has become?   More than you can count likely and the same comments are heard on all the news broadcasts on almost a daily basis and have been like that for several years.  It is as though we have entered some new era of political disputation on a level never seen before to listen to the wisdom of the pundits.  Of course it goes without saying that the same discussions of polarization always immediately are followed up with some ponderous words and even polling data that allegedly show how badly the majority of Americans seek compromise.   The word dysfunctional is then tossed at Congress because they haven’t passed a lot of new laws during a particular session.

First of all why is it considered a good thing that Congress is passing new laws?  Don’t we really have enough of them already?  Aren’t we literally drowning in laws at the Federal level and in all those departments, agencies, bureaus and centers and such?   No one can ever accurately give the number of Federal criminal laws on the books at the moment.  Some have estimated them to be at least 70,000 separate criminal statutes but no on really knows.  It would take several thousand pages to list the various department, sub-departments, agencies and bureaus of one kind or another in all the Cabinet level departments plus the independent agencies created by special act of
Congress.  Again do a Google search or whatever you like and you will find it is impossible to get a complete listing of these different entities funded and run by the government at taxpayer expense performing Lord only knows what function much less whether that function is useful or necessary.

In the economic field consider the different organizations we have at work, at least nominally at work compared to the private workplace, studying, analyzing and recommending policy for the economic growth of the US.  There is the GAO which monitors and supposedly audits government operations for waste and efficiency (don’t laugh, I know that efficiency is an oxymoron when it comes to Government work).  Next up how about the Council of Economic Advisors.   Then here is the OMB, the Office of Management and Budget.   That is followed by the Federal Reserve which has an army of economists and actuaries and statisticians.  Hey, how about the Department of Commerce in addition to those.   Then there is the Department of Labor and its separate BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).  And lastly there is the Department of the Treasury.  Shouldn’t the Treasury be advising on almost all these matters?  If not then clean house and hire competent people.   Those entities are mere proof of duplication  and redundancies gone mad.   You know what is sad is that is not even the complete list for that one category.    And some liberals complain that Congress has ‘t passed enough laws.

If compromise means we have to pass new laws then I am agin it.  How about compromise agreeing to eliminate the useless and wasteful laws on the books now.  Wouldn’t it be grand to have a new Cabinet Department of Elimination who sole purpose was to bring to the attention of the people these useless and wasteful laws bureaus and programs.  I mean do we really need a bureau still regulating grape production?

We have faced much more severe polarization in our past than we confront today.  At the beginning of our nation we had great divides between  the Rebels who supported and won the Revolutionary War and the Tories who continued to support the King and England to the bitter end.  Many of those Tories had their property taken by force or only marginal legal process.  Remember that a third of the population then were Tories from Maine to Georgia.  That is a very large percentage of angry folks.  Setting aside the issue of slavery there was tremendous hostility between New England and the South from independence to the War Between the States over trade policy and the open seas.  The merchants and the farmers had very different views of economy.  Indeed it was the New England states in the early 19th century that first seriously proposed secession from the Union over trade policy, not the Southern states.   In the late 19th century that was open antagonism between the rural and farm country and the urban and eastern cities.  Thus the appeal and abhorrence of William Jennings Bryant by those respective sections and demographics of the country.

Don’t believe the history you read by journalists.  If you actually read real history you will be quite aware that there was open hostility for most of FDR’s reign.  He said awful and threatening things about business.  He was a vicious politician and pounded his political opponents without mercy and tried to institute and complete government take over of the entire economy with his NRA, National Recovery Act, that thankfully was rightfully found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and that is when  he strove mightily to pack the Court with Cronies which also failed.  As much as he was loved by many he was reviled by more than 40% of the people, again not an insignificant slice of the population.  He only came to appreciate Business when the War came and he realized he desperately needed them to win the War.

Soon we will discuss the acrimony existing at the birth of the nation and Reconstruction by the North.

We’ll survive the current discord and division, that isn’t the question.  How we survive and with what freedoms is the issue.  Even  the Germans survived the Nazis and the destruction of the War.  That was pretty severe polarization among themselves and the rest of the world to boot.

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence”  David Hume,   Scottish philosopher.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Do we laugh, cry or just go into our hole when we read the headlines from today?…thoughts and reflections on same follow.

Well, it is Yellen for the new Fed Chairmanship.  One wonders  a year from now who will be yelling for Yellen or yelling at her.   The elderly and the prudent savers of the US certainly won’t benefit from her severe easy money policies and extremely low interest rate regime.  The ants will continue to get crushed for their diligence and hard work and the grasshoppers will continue to eat off the fat of the land produced by the ants.

The arguments and conflict over the debt ceiling and payment of the Federal debt has been around since literally the inception of the country.  As we transitioned from the interregnum after the Revolutionary War to our current Constitution we had a big argument then about the debts run up by the Colonies to fund the War.  There were many who advocated not paying all that debt especially to the foreigners who had bought it i.e. the Dutch and French and even some Brits.   But Hamilton’s view prevailed and the Constitution honored all the outstanding debt of the US, Colonies.  Yes, there were some “fat cats” in the US who also profited enormously from this decision because they had bought up many of those bonds for pennies on the dollar.  But Hamilton and the like-minded believed we had to pay all those bonds to protect our credit and against the future need to borrow more and that meant paying all creditors regardless of their moral worth.  They were all paid 100 cents on the dollar with interest.

We are not yet bankrupt or a dead beat because the US does have the capacity to pay all its debts in full.  The current argument is correctly about future fiscal policy to see we remain that way.  The current trajectory of the Democrats will indeed drive us to bankruptcy.  That can and must be changed so we remain solvent.  The existing fight truly is about making the Democrats recognize that reality and adjust our spending accordingly.  Yes, the guy in the White House has it right–the numbers do not lie.   Houston, we have a problem!

Unless you keep up with the foreign press reports you would not know that the Arctic sea ice has in fact increased this year by 60%.  Strange that the Europeans are even more paranoid about the global warming hysteria than we are but they are the ones that most often report the facts and critiques of the IPCC reports and global warming alarmists excesses.

Historically, the Democrats and the Paul Krugman’s of this world have taken the position that the US debt is not a major worry because with just a little tinkering we can grow our way out of it.  They believe that increases in population will result in constantly growing GDP and thus the size of the debt will be manageable in relation to that larger economy.  Many arguments can be made against that proposition on the merits and the numbers especially when you include in the off balance sheet liabilities like Social Security and Medicare.   However there is one other flaw in the dialectic, who can guarantee they we will continue to grow?  Japan and Europe are already in the midst of a significant population slow as is China.  Why wouldn’t that happen here?    Then the debt would loom even larger not seem manageable relative to the size of the overall economy.   Those Democratic liberals are making a gamble on the future based on what scientific evidence?  They love to talk science.  But that theory is faith, not fact.

We’ve passed the Harvest Moon and already the moms in our neighborhood are putting out their Halloween stuff in the yards and on the doors.

I want to be safe and secure in the US and have no problem at all with taking out  the bad guys around the world.   The radical Muslims are our enemy and we do need to be vigilant and aggressive in combating them.  But, but, but….do we really need a million square foot facility in Utah for NSA in addition to all those thousands of worker bees there in the DC area?   Do we really need those 50,000 plus TSA folks doing those ridiculous searches at the cost it requires?  I don’t travel much anymore but when I do I sure don’t feel any safer with them around.  I don’t think they would deter in the slightest a serious terrorist bent on mayhem.  Indeed my last trip through their procedures I was questioned by a black lady wearing her hajib.  That didn’t exactly increase my level of confidence and it sure didn’t help that she was rude to boot to everyone passing through her line.   There are over 35,000 in the FBI and 114,000 in the Justice Department.  There is no way we need that many people protecting us from those breaking Federal criminal statutes.  They need to be cut back, not eliminated but cut back for heaven’s sake.   The FBI used to do most background checks for security clearances but they don’t even do most of that anymore it is done by contractors.    It seems to some of us that we have lost our sense of balance on these issues.

And on that subject why does the EPA, the IRS, Labor department, Interior department and many others have guys running around with guns and badges?  Can’t they have the FBI do the arresting when they come across a crime.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Feds were required by law to list all their departments, agencies, bureaus and the zillion other special committees along with their cost and personnel count online.  It wouldn’t be binding of course but then allow the public to “vote” on each one.   Either to eliminate it completely or change the funding level for each identified entity.  Might be a true wake up call for the Feds.

“All I know is what I read in the papers.”  Will Rogers  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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