Tag 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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Republican Government

Article Four, Section 4 of the Constitution reads in part as follows  “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government,…”.  Just a little known and rarely discussed provision in the document.  I have searched and can’t  find any extensive exposition of that section in the Federalist Papers and only a brief passing reference once by Lincoln.  In those very brief comments the thrust is such provision would relate to domestic insurrection or disturbance.

I have not done any new legal research, after all I am a man of leisure these days and above such mundane requirements.  But I do recall from my Con Law class there was only one case I remember that concerned this provision.  Maybe there were fifty but I don’t think so.   In fact would bet real money on that.  There was a case that arose from some challenge to the Nebraska legislative scheme.  It has a unicameral legislative system.  Someone was unhappy about that and took it to court.  I do not recall if the case made it to the Supremes.  But that doesn’t really matter in the grand view of things.  The Federal judiciary essentially punted on the case.  It did uphold the Nebraska form of government but did not chart out the requirements for republican governmental form as they so often do.  They made clear that the State legislatures would have great latitude in the establishment of their ruling legislative bodies.  The case assumed there was a functioning State government.

But with recent events in Seattle and Portland one should have pause about the invocation of this provision by the Federal government.  It would not be hard to imagine officials or ordinary joes calling on the Feds to “restore” order.   They could quite reasonably allege that the rule of law had collapsed and that the mob was ruling the day and that the citizens no longer had a Republican form of government.  It is not a stretch to imagine legislators or Governors being physically intimated or threatened by the mob and thereby thwarting the normal functioning of Government.  You might have a Governor who decides for personal safety or political calculation that it is best to join the mob and rule by executive order (decree) and dismiss the legislators.  History is replete with such occurrences so don’t just dismiss that notion.  Many happened within the last century.  When the mob takes over is there a Republican form of government any more?

Frankly I am not sure the Judiciary would have a proper rule if the citizens of a State asked for Federal help to restore order and provide for a Republican form of government.  Even if you argue that it would have a role, would circumstances and the violence supersede any deliberation of the Court?  Exigencies might well cause any ruling of the Court to be ignored.  Just as Lincoln did when he ignored the Court’s ruling on Habeas Corpus for the Maryland legislators at the beginning of the War Between the States.

It has never been invoked that I know of for domestic disturbance but there is always the first time.  I do worry about it down the road.  When you have one party in control of the executive and legislative branches and the majority of the States and some minority party  is protesting and demonstrating in a State they still control politically will that majority manufacture a “crisis” and answer the call for a republican form of government there with military force?

I don’t know the future but I can read and know a little history.  If you think no politician would ever take advantage of such a call to “help” people have a republican form of government when it would benefit his prospects and his party, then you know a completely different brand of politicians than I do.

That provision means something.  It can’t just be brushed off.  I don’t like the idea of that provision being invoked by anyone.   But it probably will some day.  If we can think it we will do it at some point.  Ponder this.

Ok,,,,cynical lesson of the day done.

God Bless,

olcranky

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Rigged Election Complaint–Old and New

Both parties have been offering complaints of varying degrees and type about the possibility of rigged or crooked elections.  They each have a different take on it but the bottom line is they already are blaming the other for promoting a fraudulent election. Of particular interest to both parties is the participation or lack thereof of immigrants in the active electorate.   Let’s see what one of the icons, at least until recent weeks,  of the left had to say on the subject.  The following is from a letter written by A. Lincoln in 1858 concerning the upcoming election in Illinois.  The source is Carl Sandburg from his biographical tome on Lincoln.  Sandburg was poet laureate and a big Kennedy supporter.  He even read at his inauguration.

Writing to a political supporter and confidant concerning the influx of Irish into Illinois Lincoln wrote:  “On alighting from the cars and walking the square on Naples on Monday, I met about fifteen Celtic gentlemen, with black carpet sacks in their hands.  I learned that they crossed over from the railroad in Brown County, but where they were going no one could tell.  They dropped in about the doggeries (saloons), and were still hanging about when I left.  At Brown County yesterday, I was told that about four hundred of the same sort were to be brought into Schuyler before the election, to work on some new railroad, but on reaching here I find that Bagby thinks that is not so.  What I most dread is that they introduce into the doubtful districts numbers of men who are legal voters in all respects except residence and who will swear to residence and thus put it beyond our power to exclude them.  They  can, and I fear will, swear falsely on that point, because they know it is next to impossible to convict them of perjury upon it.  Now the great reassuring fact of the campaign is finding a way to head this thing off.  Can it be done at all?  I have a bare suggestion.  When there is a known body of these voters, could not a true man, of the ‘detective’ class, be introduced among them in disguise, who could, at the nick of time, control their votes?  Think this over.  It would be a great thing, when this trick is attempted upon us, to have the saddle come up on the other horse.  If we can head off the fraudulent votes we shall carry the day.”

Old Abe had his dander up.  I intentionally copied the entire letter so no one would think something was taken out of context.  I wonder how much cash it was going to take to “control their votes”.  You can reach your own conclusions.  Pretty apparent to me that he was more than willing to fight fire with fire and not above a few dirty tricks.  Maybe you read it differently.

In any event as is always and forever the case, when you think something is really a hot new thing, issue or concern that hasn’t be around before, just recall that there still is nothing new under the sun especially when it comes to politics.  One can only speculate if he finally got enough of the ‘detective’ class to work in his 1860 campaign.

History is what actually happened without regard to interpretations by ideology of any stripe.

Always wanted to go on a long trek out West with just my horse and me and the vistas.  Time to reflect, pray and appreciate.

God bless,

olcranky

 

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Separation of Powers Danger

There is a little known or discussed provision in the Constitution that I have wondered about for some time and whether its invocation would lead to major problems.  It concerns the removal of Supreme Court Justices.  Article III governs the Supreme Court.  The very first section states that the Justices “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior”.   That is quite different than any standard for the Congress or President.  Congress has complete authority over its members and either the House or Senate has the right to expel a member.  No reason for the expulsion is mentioned or apparently required.  We are all familiar with the right of Congress to Impeach and convict any sitting President for removal.   Is there another method of removal of Justices besides impeachment?

The Constitution is a contract between the People and the Government.  It is basic contract law that every provision in a contract has some meaning.  You can’t simply ignore it.  So what did the drafters mean with they required good Behavior of Justices but not for the other two branches of government?  I couldn’t find any definitive comments in the Federalist Papers on the topic.   Maybe there is a long article by Hamilton or Madision somewhere but it didn’t get on my radar.

I know most will opine that it is not a problem.  Justices have to be removed through impeachment.  I concur that surely is one method of removal.  But is it exclusive?  Impeachment standards are set out as Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.  If that is the only method of removal from office for a Justice then what was the point of the good behavior specification?  Remember contract law requires its interpretation to have some meaning.

Imagine a highly partisan time in Congress.  One party picks out a particularly offensive Justice in their opinion because he consistently rules against their agenda.  He is not in tune with the times, whatever they may be.   Rather than trying for an impeachment with the 2/3s majority requirement in the Senate vote; that majority in the House and then the Senate by simple majority pass legislation that finds the Justice not acting with good behavior and their party’s President signs off.  Has that Justice been removed from office?  After all the Congress of the US has found him not holding tenure during good behavior.  The Constitution doesn’t specify who or how that qualification of good behavior is to be determined or who is the arbitrator.  The Justices surely don’t get to judge their own behavior.   That would be Napoleonic.  The Supreme Court could perhaps issue some ruling contrary to the determination of Congress and the President.  But is the Court allowed to determine its own makeup?  They can’t just erase the “good behavior” requirement.  As important would anyone pay attention to their ruling?

I would hope such a scenario never occurs but with the hostility prevalent today it does concern me.

Nothing beats the smell of frying bacon and strong fresh coffee on the campfire coals.

Another day we’ll discuss those letters Marque which I would love to have.

God bless and your dream is yours….

olcranky

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Hold The Celebration

When it comes to politics and/or movements of one kind or another I suggest you enjoy the moment of your victory but temper it with an understanding that your win is only temporary.  You and your fellow travelers may be on top and relish the top dog spot for a few years maybe even for a decade or two.  But it won’t last for generations.  Certainly don’t believe politicians when they tell you that you are going to be part of something that will last forever.  Since the early ’60’s I have been aware of and voting in our political process.  Every four years like clockwork we are told “this is the most important election of our lifetime”.  There has not been any exception to that.  Wow, what cataclysmic events we must have been living through.  The elites of both parties desperately want to retain or gain power and fashion their agenda to appeal to us little people to acquire and retain that power we cede to them through mental laziness or ennui.  It is sad though that for most of us we don’t actually see a great deal of difference in our daily lives regardless of the party in power.  But those elites do and will struggle viciously to get that power.

Been reading my Iliad lately.  It has a line that is very timely and one that you should bear in mind when celebrating your party’s great victory or your movement’s advance to the front of the agenda.  Alexandros (Paris) is speaking with Hector about the state of the war with the Greeks and going out to join the battle.  He says “victory passes back and forth between men”.  How true.  When Lyndon Johnson was elected in ’64 the Democrats also controlled the House and the Senate and were set to rule the country as far as the eye could see.  Every pundit told us so and therefore  it had to be true.  Well 1968 changed that.  Reagan didn’t have the Congress but the Republicans were riding high until Clinton crawled out from under a rock.

Enjoy your moment of victory for your party, movement or whatever.  You are the top dog and get to dictate the rules of the game,  Hell you own the game.  But that ability to dominate the country will be fleeting.  It won’t necessarily be your political opponents who bring you low….but I guaranty Father Time will at some point.  I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to what the US will be like 50 years from now and certainly not in say 200 years.  Will it even be a democracy any more?  I have hopes.  But my faith is in God not man.  You still have to bear the c0nsequences of your own actions so do what’s right and seek the right as best you can in  others.  Beware the Greeks bearing gifts  (which is from the Aeneid, not the Iliad).  Especially fight back against those woken folks who don’t trust the people to ultimately make decent and intelligent choices.  They ultimately seek the dictatorship of the proletariat.

NPR gave a report last week that the Chinese Congress was “debating” the new security measures for Hong Kong.  What a lie.  They don’t debate anything in that Congress.  All decisions are made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party and then the Congress gets out the rubber stamp like the automatons they are.  By the way that final “vote” in the Congress was 2800 plus to 1.

Guess it is time for my nap and medications.

God bless

olcranky

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The Forever Battle For Equality

 

Freedom and equality are enemies.  Ponder that a moment.  More on it later.

Those from left field to right field will likely disagree with many of the thoughts expressed here.  I will confess up front that most of them are not original with me but come from minds probably larger and more astute than mine.  The attitudes and debates about societal equality have been with us since Biblical times.  Many who are ignorant of the history of mankind will think that this is something of recent origin and that past generations were not sensitive enough to have serious and credible thoughts regarding equality.  The Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament for you heathens, is replete with examples of the inequality among people.  It has repeated injunctions about helping out the poor guy.  That it is the duty of those who have prospered and have lands, cattle and vineyards.  But there is never any teaching that everyone should have equal outcomes.  Indeed slavery is recognized as a stable of society with instructions for proper treatment of the slaves or manservants as they are called.  The Jews had their Jubilee to even things out for a while by forcing debt forgiveness every few years.

The Classical Greeks had several eruptions of civil unrest seeking to take down the “wealthy” and make the playing field even for everyone.  It happened several times.  They even had some partial victories on occasion and controlled parts of ancient Greece.  Likewise the Romans had the same revolts with great swaths of the population seeking true equality for all.   They never lasted.  Here in the good old US of A we’ve had numerous examples of people coming from Europe and establishing utopian socialist communes or communities.  There were some in the original Pilgrim communities, Pennsylvania, then Ohio, Indiana and Texas.  North Texas had one near Dallas and there were a couple of them in the Hill Country near Austin.  In the 1960 communes were established in several places in California and Oregon.  None of them have endured.  Most folded within a couple of years.

In modern times the best example of government mandated equality would probably be Mao’s Great Leap forward.  Look at some old news clips of those Chinese in identical uniforms holding high the little Red Book by Chairman Mao and you’ll see a society bent on equality at all costs.  If you want complete equality then their template is about as good as you’ll get.  They got pretty close.  Of course we still don’t know exactly what happened to the sick, lame, mentally deficient, lazy and crazy in that society.  They didn’t exist per official government dicta.  Just like AIDS didn’t exist in the USSR.  You will recall the party line there was that there was no homosexuality in the USSR.

Now back to the opening.  That is not my original idea.  If you don’t like it then argue with Will Durant, probably the pre-eminent social historian of the 20th Century.  But there is logic and history to support that proposition.  To have equality you must restrict freedoms.  Else the smarter, more ambitious, or industrious in society will pull ahead of others in every measure.  Some folks, probably you, have a higher IQ than me, maybe much higher.  You already have an “unfair” advantage over me regardless of our respective paths in life.  So that you don’t do too much better than me you would have to be “handicapped” –just like they do with horse races where the better horses are forced to carry extra weight to make the race more even.  That handicap a priori would erode your freedom to accomplish and reap the benefits of your superior ability.

To my mind there is a difference in having rules of the road by government for all of us so we have a fair shot at success and will accept some loss of freedom for that.  But not much.  We are social beings and inherently understand the necessity for some common mores because they promote tranquility and social advancement.  But I do abhor the notion that I must be a robotic sacrifice on the altar of equality of outcome.  I want a world where we are all NOT equal.  Otherwise how would we ever get an Einstein, Newton, Da Vinci, Voltaire or Edison.

Don’t take offense.  After all old minds wander and even wonder a bit.  We have no authority or power, other than words and those are mostly ignored.  Ask any parent.

Maybe it was the full moon.  But time for my nap.

God Bless, olcranky

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Pathway To A Better State–V–Immigration

It is with a heavy heart that both Left and Right don’t truly have a deep-seated pride in their nation anymore.  Both believe that the US is heading in the wrong direction for completely different reasons.  It is right and natural that a citizen should be extremely proud of their country and want to feel they are part of a team working together for a generally agreed upon goal.  We desperately want to have a swelling pride within our breast when we listen to the refrains from America The
Beautiful but so many feel the country they want to love is becoming something they distrust and even revile.  It will be better when both elements can have their own sovereignty and they each can have that desired and admirable pride in their new and separate US.   One of the many contentious issues that divide the Left and Right is the question of immigration and very different views on the path forward to admission of new immigrants.

The Left going back to the 1960’s have had a deliberate and steady policy of loose immigration policy heavily favoring certain segments of the world at the expense of European immigration.  Until then our policy and simple historical, economic and cultural matters propelled the overwhelming majority of the immigrants to the US to be of European origin.  The Left had a harder time recruiting them to their cause when they came here.  They knew as any rational man would that if they allowed more immigrants of perceived minorities and from Socialist or Socialist leaning nations that those new immigrants would much more likely become new members of the Left or Democratic Party.  They overhauled the immigration laws to drastically reduce European peoples and favored heavily immigrants from South American, the Philippines, certain other Oriental countries, Africa and the Caribbean and the Near and Middle East.   They were right.  Those new immigrants did move to the Left as they became citizens and they continue to do so to this day.  The left wanted and got a very lax enforcement policy regarding border security because they would allow even more immigrants to migrate to the US and eventually receive citizenship.  After the Constitutional Convention and the reorganization of the US into two equal and sovereign entities each will be able to pursue their own vision of new immigration policy.

In the new Coastal America it would be the knee-jerk reaction that the immigration policy would be quite liberal and allow generously new immigrants and citizens.  Many would suspect that they would continue the current policy of favoring Third World countries or emerging markets.  Now many of them advocate granting citizenship wholesale even to those who violated US law in coming to the US.  It could well be true that the Left would adopt such a policy but on reflection it might be a bit different from that.  The unions form a strong and influential portion of the Left and advance the Liberal agenda.  It is an important cog in that political movement and would certainly continue to be after the grand division.  The unions are very leery to allow too many new immigrants entry because it would have a negative effect on wages of their members and their job security both of which are dominant issues in their movement.  Of course there is also the fact that after the division the Left will have “won”.  They can take their Socialist or psuedo-socialist agenda as far as they want without interference from the Right.  They can design their society through social engineering and tax policy as they wish.  They won’t be needing new voters to swell their ranks anymore.   They will have their majority for generations.

The Left likes to look to the European model for a goodly portion of its agenda and direction because it is progressive and Socialist to a greater or less degree.   A dispassionate view of Europe today would reveal that they have restrictive immigration policies; they do not have  open borders and immigrants face steep hurdles to becoming full citizens with the right to vote.   Coastal America will have no need for new progressive voters.   The significant majority of Coastal America will already be of one political vision and direction.  There are many on the Left that believe that population growth is a problem or outright evil because it leads to environmental damage and human suffering.   They will have their choices to make.

Middle America will revise its immigration policy most likely in a more restrictive manner.  It is most likely that the driving thrust of that policy will be to admit new immigrants based on merit or economic need of Middle America.  The policy will not be driven by ethnicity or perceived Third World status.   The result will be that more Europeans will likely be admitted along with substantial Oriental influx.   There would be an efficient and flexible guest worker program as they have today in Germany and other European nations.  These special visas would be granted liberally to those who bring “value” to Middle America.  The guest workers would be mostly from South America and Mexico.  That is simply a recognition of social and geographic reality.  Those immigrating with citizenship in mind will be mostly from Europe.  Not because of race but because of education and special abilities and capital to invest in American enterprises.

It is likely in a generation or so Coastal America would grow in population much more rapidly than Middle America but that trend might not last as Coastal America comes to grips with its identity and internal disputes with the entrenched interests of the unions and their power base.  They will have met all their diversity goals and economics will prevail at some point.  Middle America will grow but in a more even manner and become more homogeneous, not ethnically, but in cultural outlook and appreciation.

The great advantage of the separate nations is that each can pursue it own dream for its society through immigration policy.  They can amend  and emend as they wish without the discord of dealing with the other side.  The current disputes and disharmony we face over immigration policy would be gone.  Both Americas would be happy with its p0licy.  The best policy is what makes most of the citizens of each America content as opposed to the distrust and conflict we face as one polarized nation today on the issue.    Let each follow their own drummer.

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Pathway To A Better State–Part III–Geography

A thorough examination of how two new United States could emerge from a Constitutional Convention to divide the nation into two new portions must include a look at the geography of those new nations.   The case for pursuing this course of action is clear because of the great and unbridgeable chasm between the Left and Right on some many critical issues.  The first and foremost disagreement concerns Federalism or the size, scope and power of the Federal government.  The sides have vastly different outlooks on that vital issue.  Personal freedom from Federal control and regulation is very important to the Right but the Left views that central authority as benign or even a force for good. Economic and tax policies couldn’t be more disparate between the sides.  Then there is the list of social issues that are viewed differently be the sides.   The sides don’t respect the views of each other and indeed on many important matters see the perspective of the other side as anathema to their core beliefs.   To some extent it can be viewed as large urban areas versus the outer suburbs or rural
America.   The divide between those two areas could not be more profound.   Geography matters greatly in all societies and cultures and the division of the US should be sensitive to those effects.

Fortunately the geographic separation is mostly manifest to any rational mind.  One only needs to look at the last few decades of Presidential elections and the elections down ballot at both the Federal and State level.   It is very apparent that the Left is concentrated in the Coastal regions of the country and that definition of coastal would include several states around the coasts of the Great Lakes.  Thus a likely moniker of “Coastal America” because that would be a reasonably accurate description.  But one of many advantages of this separation is that the new Left region can call themselves whatever they want.  The remainder of the country is “Middle America” or whatever that region will ultimately wish to call themselves.   Coastal America would encompass the area north of Virginia to Maine and then pick up a couple of three states on the Great Lakes shores and then move west to the Pacific and all three states from California to Washington.

The Left should be more than satisfied with the area.  It would include many of the great cities.  They would have New York, Boston, Philly, Baltimore and it is posited here that they could have Washington D. C.  Then they would pick up Chicago and likely Detroit.  Out west they get those great urban areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco.    They would have a huge industrial base and abundant natural resources if they wish to develop them.   They would have plenty of great port cities and access to both oceans.   They would get the economic center in New York for as long as they can keep it.   They would have great advantages they could exploit.  Indeed some might point out many difficulties like the NYSE and the commodity exchanges being in Coastal America but that wouldn’t prevent cross border commerce and Middle America would be free to compete for all that business and the better run economy would emerge the strongest which is as it should be.  As far as this commentator is concerned Coastal America could keep D. C.   Middle America would choose its own capital city.   Many of those Lefties in northern Virginia would decide to leave because the size and scope of the Federal authority in D. C. would diminish and Virginia would return to a more robust and long term rational balance economically and politically.   Remember there would be a free flow of people and trade between both nations.  But you would be a citizen of only one or the other with the attendant right and privileges granted by your chosen nation.  You would be subject to the local criminal laws of the nation where you reside or visit and have to pay locally imposed taxes but all other legal matters would be determined by you own nation or State as the case may be.    There would be a sufficient time period allowed for people to migrate from one area to the other before the division takes official status.

Middle America would have the Mississippi and Missouri and the Gulf of Mexico and access to the Atlantic from the southern states.   It would not have direct access to the Pacific but the Panama Canal would be accessible and trade and goods would be allowed to flow freely to the Pacific coast from Middle America so there would be no impediment to its economic viability.   There would also be very abundant natural resources available and it would continue to be the breadbasket for all America and much of the world.   There would be beautiful and beckoning sea shores and New Orleans for the entertainment minded.

Yes, there would be many concerns to be addressed but they could be dealt with.  Even the professional sports of the US could continue without interruption.   It might even add a little more spice to some of the rivalries.   Take the time to look at a map and you can see the logic of this division.  Each state after the Constitutional convention would make its own determination as to which nation it would elect.  That selection process by each state would be determined by each state, closer to the real voters.  For each problem with this proposed solution think about each new opportunity it brings to the two sides.  The Left can have tax policy as they wish.  They can attack the “rich” to their heart’s content and use affirmative action as a hammer to fashion the society they want and do these things without any interference from the Right.    They can let their judges legislate directly from the bench if that is their desire.   They would be free to nationalize any industry or enterprise they wish for the greater good to spread the wealth around in any manner they deem more equitable.   All problems can be solved and both sides will be so much more content without having to deal with the other.  The hard cold facts are we don’t like each other and there no longer exist even mutual respect for the views of the other.  All societies are better off dealing with reality rather than a fantasy society built on the bludgeon of legal force against a sizable minority.   I am confident about the future of Middle America; it will be a nation to take pride it and support and Coastal America can forge its own destiny for good or ill.  Give these ideas reflection.   We created the US from nothing and it turn out pretty good;  each of the new nations would have tremendous advantages in their fresh starts.  More of the problems and concerns you envision will be addressed in future posts.

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”   James Madison.   US President.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The Holidays are upon us but the news cycle never stops for Holidays and thus…..

Already you hear the mantra that if we don’t increase the Debt Ceiling from 16.3 trillion by another 2 trillion plus that such refusal will cause a default on the US Debt.  That is a bald-faced LIE.   The latest estimates are that the US will collect about 2.7 trillion in this fiscal year or maybe a bit more.  The Feds will have money, lots of money.  If the debt wasn’t increased they would have to figure out where they were going to spend that 2.7 trillion and establish priorities.  They w0uld have top live within their means, what a novel idea.  They naturally could pay the interest and principal on the government debt first.  Their choice.  I don’t recommend not raising it some if there is a solid agreement to  reduce spending dramatically.  But we here just can’t abide dishonest conversation and the presentation of optional actions as concrete fact.

If the Feds don’t fix the Alternative Minimum Tax there would be a huge tax revolt and mass confusion.  The latest estimates are that 28 million families could be ensnared in that tax quagmire and many simply wouldn’t have budgeted for the extra taxes they would owe.  Many simply wouldn’t pay or couldn’t pay that higher tax.  There would be at a minimum  a large red tape jam at the IRS.  Maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.  The outrage would be enormous.  These are the truly “middle class” folks all the politicos say they are there to help.

Those of us who cherish our freedom and freedom of the internet should keep an eye on the progress of the push by many countries in the UN to take control of the internet.  There are 193 “countries” that have a vote on this issue and it is likely that a majority will vote to have a UN agency and/or individual countries with the UN imprimatur of this vote take over the internet.  There are many things wrong with the internet now and daily abuses as we all know but I’ll take that hassle any day over any kind of governmental control.  We darn sure shouldn’t want Ghana, Dubai, China or whoever to have any say regarding the free flow of information on the Net, even the silly or erroneous info  that is there.

I can still remember that first Lionel train set I got when I was about 5 years old.  I am sure it cost my mom and dad a fortune at the time.  The engine alone must have weighed almost a pound and it even puffed smoke at the stake up front.  Kept that thing for years and then like so many items it got lost in one of our moves but the memory of it lives on.

Egypt is looking worse and worse with each passing day.  It slowly but inexorably slides into a Islamist fundamentalist trend.  Do those people in the Administration really believe that Syria will be a shining example if and when Assad falls?  We are not likely to come out of that situation  with a dependable or reliable ally in the Mideast.  Indeed the outcome could be far worse with one more hostile Islamist regime in place.

If BO were to attempt to raise the debt limit by executive order the Congress of both parties should advise him that is an impeachable offense.   Such dictatorial action goes beyond any current President or circumstance.  Congress has boatloads of problems and shortcomings but even with all them that is preferrable to the arbitrary whim of a President.  We don’t elect them King, only President.

This constant argument about protecting the 98% we hear from BO I find curious.  Give or take there were about 60 million people who voted against him and for the Republicans last month.  Only a relative handful of them were in the 2% yet they voted to protect everyone.  The vast majority of that 60 million were voting their conscience and what they believed was in the best interest of the country not to benefit their own pocket book.  You can make your own comparison as to the motives of the 60 plus million who voted for BO.   I never found a “beggar thy neighbor” approach to politics or government policy good for the long haul.   Someday sure as the world you’ll be the “neighbor” in the cross hairs of the majority of the voters.

If I were King for a day one of the things I would do would be to repeal thousands of the Federal criminal statutes.  There are so many of them today that no one knows exactly how many there are.  They potentially intrude into every aspect of your life.  The vast majority of them are never used or enforced.  The problem is that they are used selectively to punish those determined to be a difficult for an Administration or one of its Departments, agencies or bureaus or even worse the spite of a US attorney.  Make no mistake those guys are highly political and will go against political enemies in a heartbeat. Further all of our Federal criminal statutes should be in one location, in the US Penal Code and no where else.  Now they are scattered throughout the hundreds of thousands of Federal laws and regulations.  That is a set up for abuse.  It is one thing to say that ignorance of the law is no excuse but our citizens should at least be given a reasonable man standard about knowing some of the arcana of the Federal criminal laws.

“Fame is proof that people are gullible”  W. Emerson, American poet, essayist.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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A House Divided–Better?

We all know that the US has become more polarized politically and culturally for decades.  That gulf between the right and the left has only widened and become more ossified in recent years.  Regardless of the outcome of this year’s election that yawning chasm will continue to exist and likely grow in years to come for a variety of reasons.  We could write literally volumes about why that divide is there; the cause and effect of it; the merits and demerits of both sides of the argument but all those really don’t matter in the end.  The Bible taught us that a house divided can not stand and there is surely profound truth in that but does that mean that two new entities cannot emerge from the one and still thrive for generations.

World history is replete with instances where nations or empires have been bifurcated and the separate entities continued to thrive for long periods of time.   Toward the end of it time in the Sun the Roman Empire was effectively divided into two portions and each continued to have various degrees of success for centuries.  Yes, the western empire suffered more and had a more checkered success than the Byzantine Empire its decline took generations to reach its denouement.  Those savages who conquered Rome also absorbed Roman customs and cultural to a great extent and those the essence was still there.   We can fast forward in time and see similar occurrences unfolding.

Many on the Left look to Europe as their model for a society that is heavily socialized and where the Government dominates all industry and enterprise.  They like the idea of the Government controlling anywhere from 40% of GDP to over 50%.  Modern Germany would be closer to the 40 and Greece today would be over the 50% level.  The Left also loves the politically correct approach to every aspect of life and industry and government.   That is fine is that is their preference but should that preference for a socialized economy and liberal life style dominate those in society who don’t see matters the same way.   Modern Europe is not as monolithic and devoted to the European Union concept as most of the headlines would indicate.
You have to be a real news hound to be aware of some of the rumblings afoot in Europe today.  Most of the articles regarding these actions are buried on the back pages if they are reported at all.  Let’s look around the modern map of Europe and see if there is any modern inclination to divide the house.   Hey, we can start with the former Yugoslavia.   Can you even name more than two of the new countries that have mushroomed in the last generation from the collapse of that nation?   Those different areas had quite unique and distinct views of life, economics, religion and the role of government.  They couldn’t and ultimately didn’t get along.  Thus today we have Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and in  Kosovo to name the ones you may recall.  Also today even though it is not discussed in our news sources we can see other areas where splits are being openly discussed and advocated.  How about Scotland?  It has been part of the United Kingdom for centuries and now we see that the Scots are pushing for complete independence.   The Scots and the English and Welsh are pretty darn close culturally and in terms of their views on the economy and government’s role and yet the differences are strong enough to be leading to the vote in 2014 for separation.   Move over to the Continent and we see that Catalonia in Spain is having open conversations about a separation from Madrid.  How dramatic and profound a split it might be is not known now but the fact is that the discussion is under way.  Spain could face and division down the road.  If you follow the news carefully you might have seen the reports that some have called on Madrid to even send more troops to Barcelona.  Move a bit farther east and we come to Italy.  Another nation facing economic crisis and that has had stirrings for some time now about the divide between North and South.  The former prime minister Berlusconi had his power base with the Northern League.  That political group has a very strong contingent that believes southern Italy should be cut loose because it drags down the whole nation and takes more from government than it contributes.   Move north a few hundred miles and we get to Belgium.   Yes, that small nation squeezed between France and Germany.   It has had for centuries a divide between the French-speaking areas and those in the Germanic speaking regions.  Everyone has assumed that it all has and would work out and both areas would love one another in the politically correct era.  The headquarters for both NATO and the European Union and its parliament are in Brussels.  Yet, within the last month the Flemish party advocating separation into its own nation as gained substantially in the recent elections.  They want to go their own way.   Only time will tell how things evolve in the various countries and regions but division of those countries down the road is certainly not out of the question.

If Europe is the preferred model for the Left does that preference include the notion of dividing culturally diverse regions into more homogeneous areas?  Ultimately that is what is behind every one of those movements.  Those people want to be with and associate with those they identify as being socially and culturally akin.  They don’t want as much diversity as comes with the larger entity.   Are they any lessons for the US in this analysis  and what might they be?   Would your life, your happiness factor be diminished if the US were divided into separate nations?  We will examine this question in more detail over the coming months.  Ponder on it in the meantime.  After all, change is the constant in life and societies.

“Is freedom anything else than the right to live as we wish?  Nothing else.”  Epictetus, Roman stoic philosopher.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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