Tag Archives: government

All International Institutions Are Not Good Ones

The annual clambake for the UN has come around again.  It isn’t pushed as much in schools these days as it was in the past.  At least that is my observation of my children and grandkids and their school experience.  The media and bureaucracy have long pushed for what they perceive to be institutions that are progressive and forward looking.  That was the UN back in the old days.   As schoolchildren my generation was spoon fed platitudes about the value of the UN for all mankind.  It was going to make the world a safe place and wars a thing of the past.

As a small child I remember the special presentations we had to sit through in the auditorium with films and the UN flag on display during UN month.  We were told that this organization was a celebration of all the people of the world and was there to assure a peaceful and progressive world.  In class this was further explained with details about the formation and operation of the UN and the Security Council.  We even had tests on these subjects.   We were taught to look beyond the shores of the US and find worth in all the peoples of the world.

Of course there was little mention of the Soviet influence at the UN.  Don’t remember that there was ever any condemnation of the Soviets or Stalin.  Likewise there was silence about the Chi Comms and Mao.  These special assemblies and classroom work started about third grade or so and we were still having special events honoring UN day all the way through High School.  I don’t remember any mention of the UN with regard to the Korean War.  We only got any help from the Aussies, Kiwis and I think some Indians and maybe a small  British contingent to help out.

I don’t remember my Dad talking about the UN one way or the other to influence my thinking but I was even at a very young age very leery of this organization.  I was old enough and aware enough to know that Stalin was a truly evil man and the commies were set on world domination.  They openly declared that was their goal.  They were not shy about it.  They fostered active and violent local commie organizations in Britain, France and Italy and of course East Germany was under their thumb.  Those organizations were large in each country and totally controlled from Moscow.

The UN was flawed from the git go with allowing all those “independent” Soviet territories to have separate membership and voting rights in the general assembly of the UN.  Also the Security Council was stacked with the Soviets and the Chi Coms having a veto power there.  What were Roosevelt and Truman thinking?  I am pretty old now and honestly can’t think of a single instance when the UN really did any good any where in the world.  The Berlin Airlift, the Balkans (with the replete stories and rape and pillage by UN forces), not Korea, the Middle East,  anywhere in latin America, the corrupt African countries they have been sent to like the Congo which is the very definition of a failed State.

I could never work up any pride at all in the UN even as a youngster, indeed I viewed it as an impediment to the interests of the US.  Hey I am all for world peace but believe various bi-lateral or even multi-lateral treaties are and will be more effective toward that end.  I never wanted to live in the United Nations of America, I liked the United States.  Today it is a bloated and expensive bureaucracy and pinnacle of elitism run rampant and openly hostile to the US.

Remember Governments don’t earn or make money, they only spend it after taking it from the people.

God Bless,

olcranky

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Historical Note or Tomorrow’s Headline

Imagine if you will a sophisticated society with a form of democratic government.  It is far from perfect but there is no king or autocrat running things.   The elites mostly run things but they are very sensitive to the mood and temper of the “man on the street”.  Indeed the average Joe has some say so in the running of government even though it is indirect.  They do get to elect representatives even if those representatives are from the upper crust only.  But those reps to have a powerful tool in being able to veto almost any legislation from the upper chamber were the elites initiate all laws.  This hoi polloi is called out on lots of occasions to riot in the streets on behalf of one political personality or another.  Some come from emotional or ideological convictions and then there are others who turn out because they have been hired to do so by one of the leaders of the senate.

Now in that upper chamber imagine there are several competing factions.  Each is “led” by a senator of eloquence and influence.  Those senators have usually distinguished themselves through military service or accumulating great wealth.  Each develops their own following.  They have “clients” and they are the patron.  The clients agree to support they goals whatever they may be and in return the patron offers them positions and advantages when the opportunity arises.  Both are honor bound to do so and also compelled to do the bidding of the other because know one else would have them since it is publicly known they are pledged to a particular patron.  The patron won’t ask for something often but a request made can’t be refused, a la Godfather style.

Discord and disagreement is rampant and there is no apparent room for compromise between various factions governed by the leading Patrons.  The street violence is rising and tension mounts every day.  Now the most famous and one of the most influential of these senators is rising high in most public esteem and even among many of his fellow senators.  He has a strong following among the street crowd and wants to greatly expand the franchise and distribute public land to veterans of whom he led many.  He is viciously and vehemently opposed by many of his fellows.  They hate his populist appeal, they hate and envy him personally.  It is visceral.

A group of his opponents decide that for the good of society, and themselves and their power, that he must be assassinated.  They don’t do it in the dark of the night or make any attempt to hide their actions.  They all join in the killing on the steps of the capital and slay the famous celebrity.  They don’t immediately flee.  Indeed some tout the act publicly, others try  to slip away quietly.  The immediate reaction from the elites and the street is a mixed bag.  Some celebrate the death openly many others bewail and bemoan the death.  The victim is portrayed by some as a wanna be tyrant, others praise him as a possible savior of the land.

That all really happened in 44 BC to Caesar.  There was anguish and confusion  and riots on the streets for a while as various factions and supporters of Caesar and his opponents jockeyed for public support among both the elites and the “head count” as the ordinary joes were known.  Ultimately civil war broke out.  You know most of that story if you’ve seen Cleopatra at the movie house. Augustus, a nephew of Caesar, and Mark Antony, a former war companion of Caesar in Gaul, went toe to toe.  It was bloody and a fight to the finish.  As you know Augustus was the victor and Rome indeed rose even higher for several more centuries.  What might have destroyed Rome did not.  Its basic institutions and culture allowed it not only to endure the strife but to actually flourish even more.

America–whither thou goest?

A rosy sunrise is an inspiring and wonderful time for morning prayers.  Those coral skies aren’t just an accident of atoms and photons.  God Bless,

olcranky

 

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Police and Old Research Data

There is a lot of jabber now about police practices and data showing how they interact with different populations and arrest made.  I don’t know the accuracy of any of the current reports other than what I read and the very different interpretations of that data.  I do know the accuracy of at least one survey made.  I made it.

In the summer of ’65 or’66, I can’t remember which, I was taking a special course in law school which was a seminar on criminal law.  Rather than a final exam which was the usual method to determine our grades in law school we were required to do a paper.  I believe we were given a long list of possible topics to cover.   I thought it would be interesting to see if there was a pattern in police enforcement that supported the theory of police intentionally going to black neighborhoods more than white.  One of the topics was concerning this area of examination.

Like any student I wanted a good grade with the least work.  Nothing new about that then or now.  I foolishly envisioned going through some musty records and coming up with numbers, a map maybe and charts.  I believe when I contacted the Dallas police department they directed me to the public relations office or some such.  At first they weren’t very cooperative.  I suspect they suspected I was really working for a news outfit and just trying to dig up dirt on the police.  But after some schmoosing they did offer aid and gave me access to the records.  This was way before the days of computers so everything had to be done with pen and paper and reviewing pages of documents and collating it.

Of course it would have been overwhelming to try to review every police report filed by every cop after his shift even if I limited it to a short time frame of like a week.  Each cop filed an after action report if you will following any arrest or criminal activity observed by them.  To keep it manageable I picked a random time a year or two earlier.  I believe I covered a month time period.  It was relatively short.  Also I picked during the summer months.  I further narrowed it to Friday through Sunday.  I mean do you think there is more criminal activity at 2pm on a Tuesday or 2am on Saturday.   Having grown up in Dallas I was quite familiar with the town and its various neighborhoods.  But the raw records would speak for themselves.  I researched what I think were called “watch” reports which was a summery of a particular time shift by the police but they covered the entire city.

The first thing that jumped out from reviewing them was that the vast majority of police interaction was due to calls made to the police, not cops just randomly seeing something they thought was suspicious.   Second regardless of racial makeup most activity was on or near main commercial streets.  Bars, honky-tonks, liquor stores and lounges were almost always in the vicinity.   Naturally there were far more incidents during night hours than during the day.  The reports were cut and dry.  List a brief description of the suspect and yes it would state ethnicity, age, etc and the alleged offense–drunk and disorderly, assault, burglary, etc.  Not surprisingly in white neighborhoods the suspects were mostly white and in black neighborhoods they were black.  Not really a lot of cross over.  I got someone to help with the math to double check my numbers.  I am not the best at that.  It was not hard work but it was tedious as the devil.  I charted the spots that had the highest crime rates or interactions with police.  Made a map with dots representing different numbers of occurrences.

Maybe I was wrong but my conclusion was that the police would do best by putting the most resources in the areas with the highest incidences of criminal activity.  Keep lots fewer in the low rate areas until there was a change.  But hey I was just a kid, what did I know.  Don’t remember my grade but I was satisfied with it.  Wonder if the the professor even read the thing.  Sometimes they didn’t.  My tax professor had a reputation of not reading our exams but just giving you a grade based on your existing average.  He must have for me because I was terrible at tax law.

Just some old info signifying nothing I am sure.

God bless,

olcranky

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Slow March of Science

On the news at State funerals you are bound to have seen some military formation do the slow march in honor of the fallen.  It is not to be confused with a goose step.  But it is a very deliberate and slow paced stride.  Not in every case but often that is the pace of the progress in science.  In particular biomedicine comes to mind.  Yes, there have been remarkable breakthroughs but by and large those big advances stretch out over decades.

The small pox vaccination took a really long time to become commonly accepted.  It was used in Europe first and even there its adoption was not universal for decades.  It took some tinkering to figure out the right amount to “scratch” onto someone and to know if the “goo” was right for deployment.  That is only one example.  Sure penicillin took off really quickly once it was found quite effective during the War.  But mostly it takes a good while. You have read the predictions about how long it may take to get an effective vaccine for Covid; some speculate it may be years.

I have a particular interest in one of the proposed treatments for developing a vaccine I have read about a few times  in recent weeks–the monoclonal antibodies.  You make think that they are something brand new on the medical landscape.  That is understandable.  I don’t know for sure when research first started on them but I do know for a fact that work was being done on them back in the earl ’80’s.  Yes, forty years ago.  My partner and I invested in a monoclonal antibody research outfit at that time. It was promoted as a tax avoidance measure then with possibly a big pay off down the road.  The tax rates then were 50% for just upper middle class folks.  We sure weren’t millionaires but doing ok.  We worked for our money.  We weren’t clipping coupons off bonds or living on inherited wealth.  It was depressing to have to pay half of everything I earned to the Feds.  This was before the Reagan tax cuts were in place.

The company doing the research was located in Brazil.  It was there because of the tax system in the US and all the regulatory hassles.  It took forever to get anything approved.  It was even worse than today.  So we invested.  A few years later the IRS audited us and everyone else who had invested in the research alleging it was a tax scam.  I hired a lawyer and spent lots of money and then finally settled with the IRS.  I was chicken because they can destroy you.  One of their auditors was a young lady who came to the office and I gave her all the files and the use of the law library so she had privacy.   Went to check on her after a couple of hours to see if she had questions or needed anything.  Found her with her head down on the table snoring.  But the competency of Federal workers is for another day.  My partner was braver and filed suit against the Service.  When they sent someone to investigate his suit I met with them as a potential witness.  He was surprised I had a file and not just the legal documents we signed but actual projections, research papers, and notes from my calls with the laboratory in Brazil that I talked with before we even made the investment.  Yes, I actually talked to one of the lead medical researchers on the project.  I don’t claim to have understood even a third of what he told me but had an idea and it made sense.  They were developing the monoclonal antibodies then and weren’t sure how they could be utilized.  But they had hopes it would be a useful treatment for cancer and some infectious diseases. I had even checked it out with the head of microbiology at SMU.   My partner eventually settled with the IRS also but for far less than I had paid due to my potential testimony.

All this was 40 years ago.  I do hope that monoclonal antibodies will do some good.  That would be a nice small silver lining to my tale.  Those NASA rockets rip off really fast but Goddard had started working on the basic concept in the ’30’ as did Von Braun.  So be patient and maybe good things will happen.

See the cattle and horses are heading for the barn……guess I should too.

God bless,

olcranky

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June 6th And Liberal Blinders

June 6th should always remain a day of remembrance and gratitude for the sacrifice of thousands of young men who faced terror in its rawest form and an uncertain outcome for that day’s efforts.  There were many significant engagements during the War but that date was truly the opening of the final act in that grand and fateful play.  The day and the War were a victory for freedom, for some of the world but not all.   The Left in the US and much of western Europe had had a romance with the Communists and the Socialists regimes for decades and before the War and continued that devotion in many quarters to the present day.  They ignored then and continue now to avoid any discussion of the villainy of the Communist and Socialists movements.  Today many especially in western Europe prefer the use of Socialist rather than Communist.  Of course that completely overlooks the fact that the Stalinist empire was promoting Socialism.  Indeed its very name–“Union of Socialist Soviet Republics” says it all.  The Commies love Socialism.  Stalin never held a formal government office.  He was Secretary General of the Communist Party and sat of the Politburo but he ran everything.  For decades the Left had a romance with the Commies and for decades after the War continued that romance.   Many of the “journalists” from the ’20’s all the way beyond the Reagan era touted their goodness or at least their good intentions.  They were for the regular guy as long as he obeyed the dictates of the elite who knew best.

The first warning the Left had regarding Communism were the publicly flaunted purge trials of the ’30’s shortly before the War.  Their public nature was the whole point.   Yet, the Left sympathizers in the West made feeble at best comment and mostly ignored those events or made tortured efforts to justify them.  Then came a real bang on the head for the Left in the West–the Treaty of Friendship between Hitler and Stalin literally a couple of weeks before the invasion of Poland.  Some on the Left did finally abandon the socialist ship at that point but not in buckets.   They filled the newspapers, magazines and radio waves with justifications, explanations and apologias for the action.   That venal act of the Commies was quickly followed within a month by the conquest and annexation  of eastern Poland by Stalin during September of 1939.  Even then most on the Left remained loyal to that ideology.  Two months later Stalin invaded Finland without any provocation whatsoever.   Finland was tiny but fought hard and contrary to the French a few months later hung on into early 1940 before the weight of the Soviet assault overwhelmed their limited resources and men.   Finally some on the Left woke up.  You have to know your history or do some real research because it is never mentioned these days.  But the West was so outraged by the naked aggression that for a couple of months Britain and France seriously considered declaring was against the Soviets;  they say not a wit’s difference between what Stalin was doing and Hitler.  They were right but hesitated and events passed them by.  No sooner had Stalin taken a huge chunk of Finland than he immediately marched right into Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.  Raw evil on display.  As always the Soviets maintained that the local socialists and commies wanted them there and that Stalin was only doing a good thing for the ideology of the Left.   This additional conquest occurred only weeks before Hitler finally launched his invasion into Western Europe.   Still the Left around the world for the most part stood by their ideology and their man.

The Commies after the taking  of their share of Poland rounded up about 25 to 30 thousand leading members of Polish society.  These were military men, lawyers, professors, politicians, preachers and anyone consider influential in the bourgeois world.  They were taken out and slaughtered, shot in the back of the head.  Recently the death of the military people at Katyn forest was remembered as part of the current Russian charm offensive.  You may recall that was when the jet crashed killing the then Polish President and all on board.   But that was only about 5 thousand or so of  the total executed by the Left.   The Germans found some of these mass graves during the War and made them known  to the world but in the midst of the War and Hitler being hated the disclosure was discounted for decades as Nazi propaganda.   As with the concentration camps word leaked out of the executions but the Left of the West ignored the truth.

Tend years before Joe McCarthy became infamous there was another purge of Communists in a Western Nation.  The Communist Party was very strong in France during the ’30’s and totally devoted to the cause and the Comintern.  Several dozen communists were in the French legislature at the outbreak of the War.  France was a very left leaning nation at that time.  But Stalin’s invasion of Finland was too much for the majority of the French.  Within weeks of the Finnish war start, 24 communist deputies were arrested and several were tried and convicted on various charges against the State.  Over three thousand more were rounded up and imprisoned for their membership in the Communist Party and their activities.  Most of those were eventually released.   Of those arrested in the legislature otherwise many were in fact funneling information to the Commies and following orders of the Comintern which of course meant Stalin.  Old Joe wasn’t the first one to go after Commies because he believed them a danger to society and often outright spies for Stalin.

Unless you really know your history pretty well you’ve never heard about any of the above.  Certainly the typical World History text book won’t mention any of this of the multitude of other atrocities committed by the Commies before during and after the War.   The Left never discusses the shortc0ming or outright evil of Socialism.  After the War there was still the romance and all was forgiven.  At the Nuremberg trials the Soviets did not allow any of the German defendants to raise these or similar issues as mitigating circumstances.  Like an Orwellian world the invasion of Finland the rape of Poland was eliminated from history and sadly the Left in the West and their media friends were co-conspirators in this grand cover up that continues to this day.   These events mentioned are only a sliver of the evil cared out in the name of the “Revolution” by the Left.  We might list a few more down the road.

“Education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” Joseph Stalin.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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Physician Heal Thyself

We have a new nominee for Surgeon General.  Her photos have now been flashed across the screens of cable TV and elsewhere.   The job of Surgeon General isn’t to actually be out there treating patients on a daily basis but to serve as an advisory for the general health policies of the nation.   Their role is to lead those efforts against diseases and conditions that affect the general health of the nation.  They also project an “image” of our nation to the world as the spokesperson for all of us on those issues.   They should serve as a role model in some form.  Those role models are not the be all and end all but they have a significant place in a modern society founded on communications.  Words and pictures communicate all kinds of messges.

Be honest, when you saw those pictures of the new nominee what was your immediate reaction?  Mine sure wasn’t of someone who is the picture of health.  That lady must be at least 75 pounds overweight.  Merely standing there without saying a word she sends the wrong message to everyone.  She is a professional and knows more than I do about the dangers of being overweight yet she carries around lots of extra heft.  Her mere presence says to the young people it is ok to be way overweight, you can still become an important person.  She is the poster child for saying that weight doesn’t matter and that it is ok to be like that and have a much higher chance of developing those debilitating diseases and conditions and others will pay all your expenses.  I think she is a terrible choice.  She is a living negative about everything wrong with modern health issues and self control and taking responsibility for your own life and well-being.  The Surgeon General doesn’t need to look like an Olympic champion but they sure shouldn’t look like that lady that sings at the end of the opera.

We have been advised in recent years repeatedly that obesity is the major cause of at least four of our deadliest and costliest medical issues: heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.  Those by far consume the bulk of our national health care cost.  If you reduce obesity you dramatically would reduce the incidences of those four medical conditions and the attendant treatments, medicines and hospitalizations associated with them.  We know and our common sense tells us that obesity is self imposed.   I realize that they are few medical conditions that can cause obesity but those are quite rare.  The overwhelming majority of obesity is caused by over eating.  In spite of those hundreds or thousands of diet books on the shelves at the book store and promoted on TV or radio, the issue of weight is really very simple.  It is chemistry and physics.  It is gross calories in and gross calories out.  If you consume more calories than your body uses each day then for sure you will gain weight.  That isn’t opinion but science, facts, physics and the laws of chemistry at work.  If you are taking in on average 2900 calories a day and your body’s metabolic rates and the additional exertions you make on your body are burning up on average 2000 calories a day then, yes, you will become obese at some point.   The simple solution is to stop eating so much and/or ramp up your burning of calories.   When you burn more than you consume the weight will drop.  There is nothing magic about any of that.

Why are so many of us having to pay for the self indulgence of so many others?   I know you can make the argument that if you don’t even have a car why should your tax money be spent on the highways.  But I think this issue is very different because it is a problem that is self induced and then the problem has to be paid for by others.  I think that is a quite a different kettle of fish.  My behavoir shouldn’t cost you money and likewise I don’t want to pay for your bad mistakes and choices.  When folks choose to indulge in harmful behavoir that is their right and freedom but I shouldn’t have to bear the risk attendant to that behavoir.   As those politicians ramble about health care costs I hope they will consider both incentives and downsides for those who wish to lead risky life styles.  I have enough government on my back already to carry and I don’t need a bunch of overweight folks with high blood pressure expecting me to pay for their medication.  Lose weight.  That doesn’t require any medicine or diet pills or frankly any expense.  Just eat less.

I guess before they appoint a health czar they might want to check into how that is working for Rattner.  The car czar is gone.  He came in to do Goverjnment, Inc’s dirty work and did fire lots of people at GM, hand picked new board members, ignored all shareholder rights, and strong armed the creditors into submission.  Submission is the right word. Those weren’t bargaining sessions, they were platforms to deliver threats.  After all Mr. Rattner represented the creditor,  new shareholder, regulator, labor negotiator, banker and car designer extraordinaire.   It seems he forgot some of that “luggage” from his past in his hurry to feel the rush of pure power.  I predict he will lay really low.  Let’s see if the investigation goes anywhere into his company’s dealings.  It won’t unless it is so obvious that it can’t be swept under a really big rug.

Bulgaria is the latest European nation to join the list of those that are leaning to the “right” as the US runs downhill to the left.  Those progressive folks across the P0nd are trying to send us a message but Reid, Pelosi and that guy don’t  read their mail from over there.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Divided We Unite

During any tense election season it it always tempting to think the worse and lose some hope for the future of the country.   I have endured for about half my life Administrations that I either didn’t trust or outright despised.  Even when the Administration was one that I geneally approved of there were always policies and actions that irritated me or disappointed me.   Have you ever worked on a committee at the school, Church or any other civic organization and noticed how a seemingly simple proposition will get so many varied and disparate responses.  We are an argumentative people by nature in the West.   It has been our hallmark from recorded time.   In the East where great deference is paid to age and authority you don’t have that same outlook.   It is considered bad form to disagree publicly with your “betters”.   We in the West don’t like that idea that we have betters.   From Greek times, to Roman to the Middle Ages to Napoleon to this day, our history is filled with contentious disputes about religion and politics, power and money and the shape of society  and the determination of power granted to government and who gets to wield it.

From our birth as a Nation we have broken into factions and blocs for various reasons and causes.   The early country was split most vehemently between the merchant class (generally the New England states) and the rural and agricultral classes (mostly in the South and western portions of the country).   It was not geography so much as economic interests and outlook toward the world that mattered.   The New England states were the driviing force behind the increasing tensions with England that lead to the War of 1812, the South mostly followed along but once committed joined whole heartedly.  Remember A. Jackson and the last battle at New Orleans to finish the war.   The respective sides said really vile things about each other.   We endured the War Between the States and the ongoing struggle between the “East” and the Western expanding portions of the country.   Teddy Roosevelt had vitrolic enemies during his terms as President and so did his later cousin.   One way or another we managed to survive our disagreements and disputes.   Those strong differences are both our glory and our curse.  I try to remember that in trying times.  

Now with our economy  very shaky our differences of opinion become more pronounced and strident.  Surely you have noticed that not even all those in the same party are in agreement on the correct course of action and that applies to both parties.   We as a nation will make some mistakes, our leaders will make mistakes, and there will be the usual inefficiencies of democracy but I have confidence the ship of state will right itself in time.   As long as we keep our freedom we will be alright.   As long as the Government remains our servant and not our boss we will be fine.   Our danger is not fear or tumoil or a weak economy, it is any eroision in our rights and privileges or the ceding of individual responsibility to the collective wisdom of Government.   We must have a Government that allows for the rewarding of industry and integrity, not one that rewards simply based on existence or status.   If our freedoms remain intact we will survive our disagreements and our different points of view will merge into a consensus that will keep us well.   Compromise is the evil we hate when we are losing the argument, but it is the bedrock of a large and rambunctious society.  Both donkeys and elephants are beast of burden to aid man but remember that they each need a firm hand and guidance by man.   Left to their own devices each can be very destructive and tear up the field and crops.   Let’s remember who needs to be the leader here and now.

The Federal Reserve Bank in New York was the repository for the gold stores of many different nations for years.  It may still be for all I know, I have not read that it ever has changed.   In those vaults there was gold bullion stored in the name of each country with reserves.  When one nation owed another for debts they would literally measure out the right amount of gold ingots and move them from one storage vault to another.  Interesting that all the nations in the civilized world trusted us with that duty.   Churchill during the early days of WWII commented privately often about the drop in the reserves of England as she had to pay her debts for war materiel from the US before Lend Lease and then our entry into the war.

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Texas and the Senate count

Ok, guys  we are going to explore a little bit of history that most of you don’t know anything about but which some day could have a real impact on the makeup of the US Senate.  Knowing a little history comes in handy now and again and can have real practical effects on the world of today.

When Texas came into the Union in the 1840’s, its admission as a state was completely different than all the states before it or after.   Originally there was the 13 colonies which formed the first states of the US after the adoption of the Constitution in 1787.  After that all the new states were part of the territories of the US and then were admitted per the Contstitutional provisions for territories.   That practice was followed for all the states down to Hawaii and Alaska in the late ’50’s with the notable exception of Texas.   The territories would apply to Congress and then be approved there and a local vote for admission would usually follow. 

Texas was never a territory of the US so it did not follow that procedure at all.   When Mexico broke away from Spain it was more or less simultaneous with Stephen Austin bringing the first settlers to Texas in 1821.  Mexico was a newbie as an independent nation.  After several years of turmoil between the new settlers and Mexico Texas won its independence in 1836–Remember the Alamo! and all that.   For the next 10 years Texas was a nation, a republic with its own government, navy and army, coinage and ambassodors  around the world.  Texas had ambassadors in all the major European countries and that promoted and encouraged the migration of many from old Europe from Germany, Czechaslovakia and elswhere to migrate to Texas.   When Texas and the US both thought it would be mutually beneficial to have Texas join the US negotiations were begun.  It is true that many including Sam Houston believed from the beginning that Texas should join the US, but that belief was not universal in Texas or in the US. 

After negotiations between envoys there was a treaty and compact entered into between the two independent nations that resulted in Texas joining the Union.  Some in the US were opposed to it and there was even a saying that Texas was really “Taxes” and that the admission would only be a burden on the US.  But obviously that sentiment did not prevail.   So Texas became a state in the union by treaty and not under the normal Constitutional provisions.  That treat provided that Texas resserved the right to partition itself into 5 states any time it wanted.  Each of those five states would automatically be states of the US.  There was no admission process.  The partition is totally under the control of Texas.   Texas gets to make the decision to divide itself and the geographical configuration of the five states.   Those matters are not under the purview or control or subject to the approval of the US government or Congress.  The belief at the time of admission was that Texas was so large that it might make more sense some day to subdivide if you will.

Texas has 2 senators at the moment.   If Texas became 5 states they would have 10 senators, a net gain of 8.  It wouldn’t take much gerrymandering to assure that 7 or 8 of those new states of the union would have Republican senators.   Over 40 years ago when there was one of those perrennial pushes to have D.C. made into a state with it own senators there was a bit of talk about the partition right of Texas.   Neither effort every got off the launching pad.   But the right of Texas to subdivide itself still exist and will always be there.    In politics you better learn to never say never about what will or will not happen.   And remember the old military adage when assessing an enemy–what they are capable of doing you should plan that they will do some day.  There are some who maintain that Texas lost its right when it joined the Confederacy and then was readmitted to the Union.  But that argument makes no legal sense since the position of the US all during the War was that secession itself was illegal and that there never was a legitimate government in Texas during the War.  The argument of the US was that Texas was a state all along but under domination of renegade groups–the Johnny Rebs.   In fact a solid legal argument could be made that the US Supreme court would not even have jurisdiction  over any dispute in this matter because it is a matter of treaty, not US law.  The Court could decide only the matters pertaining to the US side of the equation but not the other.   I assume the US would not want the treaty revoked and then have Texas revert to an independent nation status again.   Hmm,,,,,interesting thought.   Texas and California are probably the only two states that actually could make it as completely independent nations.   So, ponder these thoughts and check your history if you think this is a fairy tale.   You’ll find the facts are there.

Vaya con dios.

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Authoritarian Governments

I have noticed so many times that people bandy about the words Nazi and Communists or Socialist as though they were interchangeable.   There were differences between the two.  Usually some politician, “activist” or “spokesman” when really upset about a particular policy of our government or that of another nation will throw around those words.  They seem to like using the word Nazi more than Communist.  Sometimes they would use the phrase Stalinst, like it carried a different conotation than Communist.  Make no mistake they were both reprehensible systems and abused human rights and dignity with brutish force.

An entire book or thesis could be written on this subject and probably has somewhere.   We’ll explore a few distinctions.  Under the Commies there was only one party as a matter of law.  Only those who were members of the Communist Party could even run for any office.  Originally, the idea was that there could be some diversity of opionion about how to achieve the Communist ideal and comrades could compete against each other.  That quickly went by the boards.  The Communist learned that a true democratic process can be rather messy and unpredictable.  The Politboro put the kabosh on that idea.   The Government was monolithic by law and design.   To participate in Government you were a Commie or you were out–period.  You could rise based on merit, intelligence and education.  But that was for the few and if you and your family weren’t part of the Party your chances of advancement were virtually nil.  And your rise was controlled by the State.   What you became, where you lived, where you worked were all under the dominance of the State.  Remember only a tiny percent of the population was allowed to go to college.   Assume you were bright and got a college degree, then you were assigned where you would work and the type of work you would do.  You were expected to fill the needs of the State and to do so happily.   To request different work was considered disloyal and suspect.  To travel you needed a permit.  I mean travel inside the USSR.  Travel beyond the borders was restricted to diplomats and very few others.   If you were assigned to a job in Kiev and were leaving the University in Moscow you better take that direct route.  If you were caught going off on a little lark of the heart you could wind up in the Gulag.    Your job, your housing, your education, your travel and even free time were controlled by the State.   There was no freedom of religion.  It was banned and the churches were turned into museums or other public buildings.  Privacy was non existent.  If you wanted privacy that in and of itself was suspect.   Read Solzhenitzyn, read the biography of Stalin’s daughter,  read anything by people who actually lived there.   If you or your group were deemed adverse to the Government’s agenda you would be killed.  Read what happened in the Ukraine in the early ’30’s–the starving of the farmers who didn’t like having to obey central government control.  Everything was controlled from Moscow.  Stalin killed more people than Hitler.  Stalin slaughtered more Poles than Hitler, check  the Katyn forect massacre as an example. (That was where thousands of Polish officers were executed because it was believed by the Commies that must have belonged to the wrong class or they wouldn’t have been officers in the first place)   You belonged to the State.  Your loyalty was only for it or else.   Family was not first, the State.   Read the early John Le Carre novels, like The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. 

There was a structure to the Government.  But please read some good histories of that era and analyses of the USSR government structure.  There was an Assembly but it was eye wash.  The real power was with the Politboro which was a governing committee if you will.  Over it was Stalin or Lenin or the leader of the day all the way down to Gorbachev.   The local offices were filled from Moscow or at the direction of Moscow.   Different viewpoints were not tolerated and thus the central control mechanism.   Unions of course were prohibited.  After all it was a workers’ paradise.  The Govenment took care of everything and  everyone was treated fairly and equally they maintained.   “Activists” and such were not allowed anymore than a preacher.  Yes, everyone had a roof over their head, they had free medical care, a free education and food on the table. 

The Arts–only as approved by the State.  An arthor could get in trouble merely submitting a book for publication that was found suspect by the authorities as not adhering to the Party line.   Movies, plays and any other entertainment likewise had to be given the seal of approval by the Government.  Merely possessing books, movies, paintings or poems from non USSR sources was a crime against the people.  Communism didn’t exactly engender creativity but fostered conformity to the level of a religious tenet.

Of course there was caviar and Bering Sea lobster but who do you think was entitled to have those luxuries?  Likewise who got the other good food stuffs and the dachas in the countryside or on the shores of the Black Sea–yes, the Party big wigs and no one else.   The conformity and the lack of respect for the common man and lack of trust in the people lead to the eventual downfall of the Commies as much as anything else in one man’s opinion.

Tomorrow we’ll explore the ruffians of the Nazi elite.

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Bailouts–what’s the dog and what’s the tail?

Well, dear friend, Mother Government has come to the rescue again with the recent legislation for just about everyone to “save” the mortgage business and home ownership.   At least so they assure us.   No one loses we are told by the Kings of Capitol Hill.   I submit to you that there are millions  of losers and that the problem has been mis-stated and the solution shaped to benefit the political fortunes of those seeking votes.   Was it done to help you?   There are millions of people who own their homes outright and millions more who are current on their mortgages and will remain so until it is paid in full as per the terms of the original agreement between the owner and the mortage lender.   Other than higher taxes what are all these millions of people getting  out of this deal except to aid politicians in winning  reelection.

Remember our heritgage.  People came here and built their home with their own hands.  We were individuals and that stalwart attitude toward life with all its joys and trials is what has made us a great nation.   If we lose that “soul” of America then we will diminish as a people.

No one is forced to buy a home. No one is forced to go into the mortgage lending business.   The negative consequences of greed should always be punished the same as punishment should apply for those who broke any laws.   This legislation helps homebuilders, the mortgage lenders, those who buy and sell mortgages, mortgage brokers and the irresponsible homebuyer who bought more than they could afford and no doubt knew they were buying more than they could afford.  

Mortgages are a safe long term investment.  They are not spectacular like Google or Microsoft but you can make a good return on your money if you loan to repsonsible people and loan an amount appropriate to the value of the house.  They pay off like a slot machine for years.   Why else do you think there was such a market for them in the first place.   We have plenty of money in the private sector to fund mortgage lending.  We Americans have over 3 trillion dollars in ready cash in Money Markets and savings accounts right now.   That doesn’t count the trillions additional held by pension funds, unions and private investment houses.  businesses and assets.  Our economy is still the world leader.    Would you rather own assets in Indonesia or the US?   Well, those folks around the world feel exactly the same way.  There are millions more worldwide who love investing in US. Exactly what has a 25 year old done to deserve a $7500.00 tax CREDIT to buy a new house that I didn’t do 35 years ago?  I would have liked a tax credit when I bought my house.   I had to pay 15% down in cash, real money.  It wasn’t easy and there were years when it was a struggle to make the payments.   But I felt like I was in the same boat with everyone else and it seemed fair enough to me.  What is going to be fair about doling out money to people who won’t work long enough and save enough to own their home?   Those people with sub prime loans moved in with no money down.   They had no investment in their home.  Talk about believing in the free lunch concept.

I am afraid this is just another example of how we are becoming a nation of victims and one where no one will accept blame for their own actions.   There are those who even take the position that they don’t want to pay for anything personally but they will let the Government pay for it!   They somehow can’t seem to get the picture that the Government only takes from us.   We blow so many things out of proportion to the delight of the media and the politicians because that sells newspapers and makes people think they need to rely on Government for everything.  Losing to the Nazis or losing the Cold War would have been the end of the world as we know it.  Having our American culture Balkanized would be the end of the world.   Letting Fannie/Freddie fail would not be the end of the world.   Do you want the Government to be in control of mortgage lending with all its rules and regulations and bureaucrats running that vital part of our economy?   I much prefer private entreprise with all its diversity and competition and the choices  it provides to us as consumers.   Think  about your dealings with any branch of the Government.   How flexible have you found it to be?  Did they people at the SSA or the IRS even use common sense when dealing with your problem?   I don’t want people like that making those future loans to my grandchildren.

The politicians have grabbed the tail and sure won’t let go.  It makes for too many wonderful sound bites during a campaign season.   Let’s show them though that the dog still has a bark and a bite when necessary.

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