Tag Archives: tea party views

Much Ado About Old Inequality

For months the liberal or socialist left has been trumpeting the alleged great cause of eliminating the alleged inequality in American economic life.  Well, blow me over with a feather!  You mean we don’t all make exactly the same amount of income?   The fact that some do exceedingly well and others do much better seems to come as a great shock to our Left and they are determined to eradicate it by any means and all means.

Such disparity is as old as recorded history.  The Bible in both the Old and New Testaments is filled with references to the rich and poor and the discrepancies between them.  Just read Proverbs or Ecclesiastes or Mathew if you want a citation.   Likewise ancient Greece is replete with similar concerns and conflicts to resolve the wealth gap.  Indeed the ire of the middle class and the lower classes in Greece lead the Tyrants who ruled under law and the laws of Draco (our Draconian usage).  You are reminded that the Tyrants, dictators, who came to power in roughly the 6th century did so to protect” and promote the middle classes and what they got was some redistribution and lots of dictatorship.  Nothing has changed over the centuries.  Stalin provided and quite even playing field but he also established all the rules of the game and lo to anyone who wished to  march to a different drummer.

If people are allowed to have freedom to differ one from the other you will always have inequality.  It is a truism that some can’t seem to abide because they want to be in charge of all the rules.  Further there is nothing inconsistent with a society having great income inequality but at the same time being charitable and caring about their fellow man.  The Bible is also filled with commands to aid the poor not only in wealth but in spirit.  The French just before the Revolution had forgotten that part of the duality.  Our goal should never be to eliminate inequality for that leads to a Dante’s inferno of mediocrity and brutal coercion; our goal should be to provide equality of lanes on the path to a better life restricted only by our own ambition and desires.  Some will always choose to live by Walden’s pond and others will want to be a Wall Street Master of the Universe.  Our society should allow and encourage both.  For the slovenly and lazy I refer you to Proverbs and the lazy man who reaps no crops; he doesn’t need or deserve charity but chastisement.

Lastly, it was written that liberty and inequality are not associates but rather enemies.  The former will in direct proportion lead to inequality and the lack of liberty will likewise lead to more equality of mediocrity or outright misery and oppression to maintain the equality balance.  This was observed by Will Durant, American philosopher and anthropologist and certainly not any sort of right-winger.  Read his twelve volumes sometime for your own edification and to agree or disagree with his comments on the civilization of Man.

“he that oppreseth the poor reproacheth his Maker, but he that horoureth him hath mercy on the poor”. Prvbs 14/31

http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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Polarization Is Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Darwin’s “Duh” On Social Darwinism

Many folks on the Left including the guy in the White House have used the phrase –social darwinism–as a pejorative turn of phrase.  That has been a trend for decades.  The current occupant of the White House used it a couple of months ago to describe policies that favor more individual responsibility and less federal government control of almost every aspect of your life.  He likened it to every many for himself and survival of the fittest which he viewed as equal to the vilest of human instincts.  His view is that the federal government is there to prevent any such notion or reality of social darwinism to take root or flourish.   The view of the Left is that everyone is in fact equal as opposed to being entitled to equal opportunities in your individual pursuit of life.

This view is evident in the Left’s obsession with a free education for everyone all the way through college level  degrees.   You can only judge them on their rhetoric; they say the want “every child” to get a college education.   Then what would be the value of such a degree?   The Left is constantly hammering the perceived belief that everyone is capable of a college education if only allowed the opportunity.  Of course the also scream at every opportunity that they are the party of “science”;  that their views are based on hard scientific fact–from Keynesianism to climate change.  They certainly believe in Darwinism and the theory of evolution.  They couldn’t be more demeaning to anyone of has any questions regarding any of these theories, or in their world, facts.   Yet when facts and science don’t jibe with their ideological views then they are a quick as a brown fox to jump the fence and abandon the logical conclusions of some of the science.

Human nature and experience for millennia demonstrated that there are indeed vast differences in intellectual and cognitive abilities.   Julius Caesar and Leonardo di  Vinci were noted as geniuses from an early age as was Bacon and Newton to name only a few.  In the last century we’ve had the benefit of refined testing with IQ’s and other skill test to determine not just ability but actual intellectual performance.  We all know that 100 for example is the average for the IQ test.  That means that there are gazillions of folks in our fair land that have IQ’s below that level.  Some of those with hard work and devotion probably can get a college degree and God Bless ’em they would truly deserve it.   But many simply don’t have the brainpower to achieve college degrees.  That does not diminish their worth as citizens, neighbors, friends or family, but it does mark a demarcation of intellectual achievement.   It is a waste of time, talent and money to try to send those without the capacity to college.    Yet the Left insist we expand even further the student loan programs and want to emphasize the societal goal of almost universal college education.  Here they simply will not accept the science and facts.  Not anywhere near that many people can or should be going to college.  At most around 15% or so of our population is and should be college material.   That degree should mean something.  It should signify real intelligence and also a steadfastness of purpose in those who attend college.  If 80% of young people are attending college then we all know as a fact that there is no way they are all qualified to be there.  The course requirements are being watered down or affirmative action programs are allowing admittance and advancement.

There is nothing demeaning about trade school or community college courses and certificates.  A fine violin maker doesn’t need a college degree.  We all appreciate the work of a talented furniture carpenter.  There is value and human merit in working with a metal lathe for one’s lifetime work.  A skilled mason makes buildings and homes more beautiful.  Horse trainers and even computer geeks don’t need college degrees to do their chosen labor.  Everyone sure loves the plumber when he shows up after the flood in the laundry room.   Recognizing reality and science doesn’t mean that anyone short of a college degree has to be or should be demeaned by those who do possess those degrees.

Darwin was correct.  All animals, including man, do evolve.  The best and the brightest and the most advantageous traits are the ones that thrive and survive.  Yes, Darwinism does apply to societies.  Either it applies to Mankind or it is junk science.  The Left can’t have it both ways.  There is a social darwinism at work whether we like it or not, want it or not.  Just look around you.   Some people cope and adjust and advance much better than others.  Some survive hardships and even severe dangers and other succumb to adversity.   And yes it is true that the survivors tend to seek each other out and marry and produce children with those traits.  Those with minimum intelligence and other limited abilities tend to fail and are the ones most dependent on the government.  In the middle are most of us with enough skills to muddle along and don’t damage the future gene p0ol.  We just ask for a fair shot in society so we can achieve as much as our hard work and talents will allow.    Most of us wish we had an IQ of 150 but we don’t.  We are creatures of our backgrounds both genetic and the milieu in which we were raised.   The Left and the rest of us are far better off recognizing the reality of social darwinism at work and dealing with the society we have rather than trying to conjure up a society that only Alice and the Cheshire Cat would recognize.

“In the survival of favoured individuals and races, during the constantly-recurring Struggle for Existence, we see a powerful and ever-acting form of Selection”  Charles Darwin.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The summer heat makes opinions and thoughts bubble up……let’s see if they are over cooked….

As you age you will notice more often that some old and useless items have an intense emotional value that exceeds all rendering.   In our breakfast nook there is a special built-in mail box, bulletin board, black board and mail box covering one wall.  We had it added special when we re-modeled over 30 years ago.  Then one of the kids used a wood burning tool and wrote everyone’s name above the mail box slots, even one for Mom and Dad.   Messages, congratulations, notices, team schedules and take out restaurants graced the bulletin board and the black board held comments from the ridiculous to the sublime over the years.  The mail boxes were for their letters and school papers and then there was the general small storage box right above each name for whatever small items they wanted to store there.   Toys, jewelry and birthday and Christmas cards have been there along with every other matter under the Sun.   It is merely a collection of cedar wood and nails.  It won’t go with us when we move.   It hasn’t been really used for years now because the youngest is 37 but no matter.   I will miss the family wall cabinet and mail box.  It reflected lives lived.

Here is the best compromise on the immigration debate–allow the illegal aliens to have permanent resident status but never citizenship.  If they really came here for work, money and opportunity then such move will allow that goal to be met.   Same with the kids.  Never citizenship.  We all have to suffer for bad decisions of our parents.  There is nothing special about illegal aliens to justify a more sympathetic attitude.

Another anniversary of the end of the active fighting on the Korean War.   Those poor guys had a rotten hand from the git go.  The first of the no-win wars.   In fact the spin doctors for Truman were active then and abetted by the compliant liberal press.  They insisted that it was in fact a “police action”.  Damned if the NYT and others of that ilk didn’t report it that way with a straight face.  Before the first year was done the front had moved back and forth several times and then settled down pretty much along the 38th parallel where it remained for over two long years before the cease fire that remains in place.   It would have been nice for the American people to know that Truman didn’t intend to do anything to achieve even a hint of victory.   He held up that facade of making an effort until he left in ’53 and then Ike mercifully put and end to it.

The guy in the White House makes a protest of “phony scandals”.   Such an old but still effective political and propaganda tool.  Simply re-label an event or transaction or program to your liking and if the press will report it that way–viola!, you have just diverted the attention of a sizable portion of the population that only follows reality shows and headlines but never dares look at facts to support their position whatever it may be.   Don’t take my word for it read the master of the art–Goebbels.   His diary should be required reading for journalists and marketing majors.   Most people rarely look beyond their own feet and the next step.   They wouldn’t see a mushroom cloud on the horizon until told to look out the window by CNN.

Anthony Weiner.   That is the lead up and the punch line.   Of course there is also the international implications of the situation.  I mean if Huma and Anthony can co-exist maybe there is hope for the Palestinians and the Israelis.   We should just make sure there a plenty of porn sites in operation across borders in that area.  Wouldn’t this be a truly new low even for New York if he were to win?  And if you know anything about New York politics that reaches down to some pretty subterranean depths.

Two young men demonstrated their ability to hack into the control systems of the modern cars last week.  They can make your car stop, accelerate, turn either direction or turn off the engine in addition to other minor nuisances.    With the proliferation of computer controls and electronics this should come as no shock but it is nevertheless very scary.  Apparently when the car manufacturers turned to computers and electronics they didn’t think about anyone hacking into the systems.  First they tell we’ll have driverless cars soon and now before that is ready to launch they inform us that some pimply-faced 18 year-old can grab my steering wheel from miles away.   Imagine the havoc a couple of those jerks could cause during afternoon rush hour in your town be controlling just a handful of cars on the major freeways.   On top of this latest concern we have to face the reality of the Government, boo, hiss, being able to track your every move in your car.   Hell, are cars going to be worth it soon?  Be lots of folks who will like the latest in the mechanical engineering but will be wanting to retrofit and take out the computer control systems and GPS signaling devices and those black boxes.    Naturally, such people who don’t want their cars tracked or controlled by others will be on a suspect list by the NSA as potential bad guys.   You’ll need a horse and buggy for privacy in the near future.

“That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath been; ”  Ecclesiastes, 3/15  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

The comments and actions or inactions of the politicians provide plenty of fodder for the inquiring mind…..

Those on the Right generally bemoan the level of regulation of business and even private affairs and those on the Left defend each of them and call for even more regulations for ever perceived problem whether real or only imagined.    A few facts might be helpful in determining the level of regulations we face in the US now.  If you are a big bank then you are subject to the regulations and injunctions of–the SEC, the FDIC, Office of the Comptroller, the Federal Reserve, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the new committee under the Dodd-Frank law and that leaves out the other government agencies like EEOC, OSHA, the NLRB, the Commerce department and even the EPA and of course the IRS.   Those are the ones that come to mind much less those other arcane Federal entities that have a hand in regulation we can’t think of now.  You think that is enough regulation?

Does anyone anywhere anymore take a few two by fours and old apple crate and wheels from an old pair of roller skates and make a small derby car for their three or four year-old?   It really isn’t that hard and it is a great Saturday project for Dad and his son.  Try it sometime and you learn something about yourself.

France has historically prided itself on a vigorous protection of individual rights including the right of free speech similar to our own.  Just this week they made another arrest for an alleged criminal violation because of speech.  It involves a Norwegian fellow that supposedly made “aggressive racist, xenophobic and anti-Semitic remarks on the internet.  Let’s assume that what he wrote was indeed very vile, nasty and offensive.  But the West has become so addicted to the notion of political correctness that we are intruding on the right to free speech.  After all if I restrict what you say then you may be able to restrict what I say.  And like art much of the offensive language is in the eyes of the beholder.   Even if the comments are outright racist do we really want the Government to impinge in any degree on our comments?  After all we allow the most vile images in the art world that are grossly offensive such as a crucifix in a bottle of urine in the art gallaries as an expression of free speech but someone is not allowed to vent against another group he finds abhorrent.  Let all the ideas have free license in the marketplace of ideas however repugnant.   We have faith that ultimately the better thoughts and arguments will prevail among a free people.   You have a right to despise red-headed, one -legged Irishmen and call for their deportation through new legislation.  It might be an awful idea and even silly but free speech is all or control by the State, there is no middle ground.   Free speech rights are a zero sum game either you have them are  they are regulated which means you have only the free speech rights allowed by those in power.

Politicians will, when convenient, deny that the Sun rises in the East.  Witnesses Jay Carney’s recent statement this week that there is no evidence that Obamacare is slowing or impeding hiring in the US.  What is so sad is that there will be millions out there that will hear that and shake their heads up and down in agreement.   That statement has as much truth as the assertion of the guy in the White House a couple of years ago that passage of Obamacare would save the average American family $2500.00 a year.  Some still believe that even in face of revised health insurance  premium statements moving up.

I was blessed with a great mom.  She was full of energy and had a true joie du vivre and watched over me and my brother.  Yet by today’s standards she would probably be brought up before the child welfare services.  When I was about 11 or 12 we lived in a neighborhood that was still open land in many areas as the building bo0m after the War continued to fill in the vacant areas.  My friend had some horses about a mile from our house.  On many occasions my mom would let me and my friend go to the corral alone.  We would saddle the horses, bridle them and then go riding for an hour or so in the woods, creek bottoms and fields still extant in the neighborhood and then undue everything and stall the horses and come home.  Horses for you city slickers can be dangerous.  When a 1000 pound animal decides to do something he will regardless of what you want him to do.  I fell off a few times and was thrown off a few times.  Got some bruises and bumps but no broken bones and don’t think it lowered my IQ, but others may disagree about that.  It was a lesson in learning to handle freedom and the responsibility that goes with it.  You may think I am a bad seed to rat out mom now but the statute of limitations has long since run.

Poor Walt Disney must be spinning in his grave. First it was John Carter a couple years ago and now it is the Lone Ranger.  He knew it was best to tell a fun and interesting story and stay away from silly social issues of the day.   People always like a great story told and shown with verve but a significant part of any potential audience will rebel against a propagandist vent unless it is totally patriotic.    You might disagree but the ticket sales speak for themselves.

Best cartoonist ever?….without a doubt this vote goes to Bill Mauldin and his Willy and Joe series from WWII.  If you’ve never seen them you really should.  He had a deft touch about the average Joe and his worries and hopes and helped everyone truly appreciate the little joys in life.

“Where the people possess no authority, their rights obtain no respect.”  Geo. Bancroft, American historian.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

We’ll do some politics and history to celebrate the 4th and our heritage…..

The announcement that the employer mandate in Obamacare will be delayed for at least a year raises several troubling questions, not the least of which is the legal authority of the President to take this action on his own.  The Obamacare act uses the word “shall” to implement this provision on Jan. 1, 2014.  Will this usurper ever bend to the injunctions of the rule of law?  What higher duty does any President have than to see that the laws are “faithfully executed”?  We need to remain a nation of laws, not diktats of mere men.  Regardless of the merits or demerits of the Obamacare act we must preserve our adherence to the rule of law or we are swimming in deep waters of turmoil.  Sure hope someone will challenge this delay in the courts.

In shouldn’t be surprising that the guy in the White House would ignore the laws he finds inconvenient to advancing his radical liberal agenda.  Look at his non compliance with two circuit court opinions on his alleged “recess” appointments to the Labor Board and his total failure to enforce the existing immigration laws.  He unilaterally granted special status to those illegals he deemed worthy by executive order over a year ago.  This was contrary to the existing law of the land.  Let Congress pass the laws and if he wants different laws then ask for them.  He is asking us to bow to his diktats like serfs of old.

It was with mixed emotion that I attended the 4th of July parade in my neighborhood.  I want so much to  have pride in the nation and its leaders.  But our current direction is not anything I can support.  I don’t want Big Brother or Big Sister dominating my life.   It is hard to have pride in a nation that believes me and my fellow countrymen are incapable of taking care of ourselves.  If they don’t trust us to do the sensible and moral thing then why should we trust them?   Neither condescension nor dominance is the right path for leadership of a free people.  Those work only in the totalitarian states.

Boy are all those European nations really doing the Casablanca routine with their shock and dismay that the US is spying on them.  Give me a break.  Intelligence gathering goes on all the time even among the closest allies.  During WWII our diplomats and yes, spies, gave confidential reports all the time on the intentions and actions of Great
Britain and for sure the Soviets.   Doesn’t mean we don’t like them or trust them but sometimes self-interest gets in the way of even mutual goals.  I am not offended that the British or Swiss poke around as much as they can to discern the intentions of the US.   Hell, most of the time we can’t discern the intentions of our own government.   Just like the inspector in Casablanca who was “shocked, shocked” to learn of illegal activity, nothing will come of this one and it will fade away.  After all would those feigning outrage want us to reveal everything we know about their spying on us?

You should be reminded that even before the Declaration of Independence in July 1776, that we had already fought very significant engagements against the British in open rebellion in Boston.  Bunker Hill, Washington’s appointment as commander and the withdrawal of the British from Boston had all already occurred.  The British had moved their strategic location to New York by this time.  The Declaration is a great document and rightly revered by those who love personal freedom but it was really stating the obvious.

The Summer Solstice comes about June 21 each year and is our longest day.  Intuitively one would think that would also coincide with the hottest time of the year.  The days have been lengthening for months at that point and after that date the days begin their steady shortening for the rest of the year.  Why is it that July and August are the hottest time of the year when the length of the day is already in steady decline?   Most places in the northern hemisphere by mid August are 45 minutes to an hour shorter than they were in mid June yet it is hotter.

When worrying about global warming take a peek at some history before you reach any conclusions.  First, the current drought in the US in NOT the worst in memory.  You read that false headline all the time when there is an article about global warming and it goes without challenge.  I don’t have to read or research this allegation, I lived it.  Yes, we do have a drought underway in the Southwest but so far it is peanuts compared to the drought we had from the late ’40’s to the late ’50’s.   This latest drought has only been about 3 years so far.  In the mid ’50’s if you drove thru the Southwest you could see dead cattle, horses, goats and other live stock literally lying in the pastures.  I did with my own eyes more than once.  Nothing of that sort is occurring yet at this time.  In 1939 and again in 1940, at the beginning of the War they had really hot summers in England.  Some predicted then drastic changes.  Churchill had special linen suits tailored due to the extreme heat.

Likewise during WWI there were many examples of extreme weather.  There was lots of scientific discussion of the cause and many very smart people speculated that the weather changes were due to the huge artillery barrages from the trench warfare on the Continent.  It is true that millions upon millions of tons of artillery rounds were fired by both sides throwing dust and debris into the air which was carried by winds and that included the toxins from those shells, such as cordite.   I have enormous respect for science but do like to make sure it is science unbiased by a political agenda.   Study, look at details, be sure to separate conclusions from fact and reach your own conclusion.  Don’t trust for God’s sake computer models.  Those are just computations based 0n human input with all the foibles of humanity.

“Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work”   Proverbs 24/29.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

As long as the politicians keep moving their lips we’ll have something to discuss besides the weather….

The recent lively discussions regarding renewed efforts for more gun control mostly avoid or completely avoid the elephant in the room.   Cuomo talks about his restrictions complying with the 2nd Amendment rights of hunters as though hunting was what those folks had in mind with the Amendment was approved.  Not true.  Also so many proponent talk about the abuse of that Amendment or that it leads to abuse.  True that does occur but, my Lord, how many abuses of the 1st Amendment right of freedom of the Press do we have to endure every day?   Some severely challenge our trust in that Amendment right but we stick by it.  Those who use and abuse the 1st Amendment don’t have to explain or justify their use of that right and that is as it should be.  Same should be true for the 2nd Amendment.  I don’t need to justify to anyone for any reason why I wish to exercise my right to own a gun or guns.   Fact is that the most important reason for the citizens to have guns is to let the Government know we do have them and can use them if the Government over reaches or tries to rule in a tyrannical manner.  Yes, the Government should always take pause that a free people can only be pushed so far.   That is the unspoken raison d’etre behind the 2nd Amendment.

The Germans in the last week or so have announced their intention to repatriate over 374 tons of their gold held and the New York Federal Reserve and the central bank in Paris.   I have no special insight into the future price of gold; you can make your own assessment but it is clearly highly valued by even the socialist leaning egg-heads who run the monetary and financial affairs of the Germans.  If gold doesn’t really have any intrinsic value and isn’t a hedge against inflation then what difference could it possibly make where it is stored?   Indeed ask yourself why the Germans have any gold at all if it is of no consequence.    As an aside it is interesting that the New York Fed still stores the physical gold for some many nations around the world.  It is stored in secured bins in the bowels of the building and they literally move the ingots from one cage to another when nation pays nation and such instructions are received.

Japan and China continue their games in the East China sea over those small islands.  Small places can have enormous effects on world affairs.    Look how WWI started in an obscure Balkan nation with the assassination of an obscure prince or archduke.  Most around the world would not have been able to get within a few hundred miles of locating that place or knowing who the archduke was but they certainly learned of the consequences a few months later as the war settled into the trenches from Switzerland to the North Sea.   Japan and China will not go to all out war over those islands but there might well be some shots fired and deaths between the two before all is resolved.   It will be big headlines sometime in the next few years for a while.

Many hate globalization for ideological and social reasons.  They argue that it is capitalism’s way to thwart the ambitions and hopes of the middle class and third world nations.   You have seen their protests in Seattle and other locations over the last decade or so.  Of course some of the greatest beneficiaries and participants in the globalization movement are those paragons of capitalism China and Russia, to say nothing of the socialist European Union.  One factor cannot be denied and that is that globalization whatever its faults, if any, it dramatically reduces the likelihood of another great world war or a war between major powers.  The interconnectedness of globalization makes it very difficult for those large powers to contemplate a major armed conflict.  It could happen of course but the odds have been reduced because regardless of outcome of any future major war even the “winning” side would suffer huge economic loss and its own people would have a much lower standard of living for decades because of the cost and disruption of any such war.

The guy in the White House is either historically challenged or so filled with hubris as to boggle the mind.  That line about “peace in our time” echos such sad mistakes and missteps of the last century.  You recall that Hitler had already invaded the Rhineland and absorbed some of the Czechs and Austria when Neville Chamberlain went to confer with him in Munich.   He negotiated with Hitler without pre condition (like some have proposed with Iran) and even brought back a deal.  That famous quote comes from his remarks after he got off the plane returning to Britain as he waved a piece of paper in his hand saying we have “peace in our time” because of his negotiating skills.   Of course what he and the world got was WWII 18 months later.  He had claimed he could bargain with Herr Hitler.  He showed him respect.   He didn’t say bad things about him.  Chamberlain did all the touchy-feely things some in the Democratic party claim we should be doing with the Muslim world today.    Appeasement is not a winning strategy; it is simply surrender to an opponent just on a more gradual time reference.

The Democrats and press keep harping on the alleged “default” if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.  Well, there wouldn’t need to be a default at all.  The Federal Reserve could simply buy all the Treasury bills and notes as they mature.  The Fed regrettably can print money for any reason it deems appropriate.    Hell, they have bought over 2 trillion dollars worth of mortgages and Treasuries since the guy in the White House took office to fund the deficits of the Federal government.   What’s a few hundred billion more?   Last year the Fed bought 75% of ALL Treasuries issued.   While this would be perfectly legal it is probably more transparency than the Democrats would want; some might start to think long and hard about what the dollar is really worth when they see fake money printed to buy debt to support programs that can’t otherwise be paid for.

Social and economic advice from a strange source–“Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work harder.”  N. Khrushchev.   Soviet leader of the ‘5o’s and early 60’s.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

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The Pathway To A Better State–IV–Laws

The deep divides within the US today have caused a stagnation in our body politic and the separate camps of Left and Right have less ground for compromise than before.  This is because those disparate parties have fundamentally different views of the role of central government and the power to be accorded to it.  This divide and discord has been evident for a couple of generations and the division has only deepened over that period of time.   There is no logical, legal or moral impediment to dividing the US into two parts so that each is sovereign within its own borders yet retain essential relations for mutual defense and trade.   Such a division would dramatically reduce tensions both political and emotional between those two halves and allow each to follow its own perceived path to a better world and future.   It is possible that each could be “right” in its own way and achieve its goals within constant disagreement with the other side.  A view of the laws to govern each prospective entity is in order.

The basic legal structure of each sovereign would be set forth at a Constitutional Convention called by the States under Article V of the Constitution.   No doubt each would adopt almost without any changes the US Constitution as written and including its Amendments.   Coastal America would probably not make any changes whatsoever but that would be their choice.  Middle America would make modest but significant changes in all likelihood.  This would not be revolutionary or radical.  It is likely that the commerce clause would be tightened so that only laws that in fact directly and materially affect interstate commerce would be authorized under that provision.  This would prevent the Congress of Middle America from passing virtually any law they wish with the claim that the subject of the legislation  affects interstate commerce even though there is no common sense justification for such claim.  The use and abuse of that section has been rampant since the days of FDR.  Coastal America in contrast can leave as much authority to their central government as they wish.   Middle America would likely consider some form of the various  balanced budget amendments that have been proposed.  Lastly there may well be discussion of eliminating the 13th and 14 Amendments since no one is proposing slavery these days and that was their only purpose.   Maybe there would only be slight changes to refine the definition of citizenship in the 14th Amendment so that simply slipping illegally across our border would not qualify such a birth for citizenship.

The fundamental distinction between  the Federal and Constitutional laws of each new nation would be the concept of Federalism.  In Coastal America the central authority would be imbued with substantial powers because that is the desire of the majority of the Left.  They can have what they wish for without interference from the Right.  Likewise Middle America would strengthen the role of the States and diminish somewhat the power of its Federal government to dominate all affairs.   The traditional roles of the States would be preserved in Middle America.  The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for example has issued regulations dictating the terms of mortgages and deeds of trust which affect the real estate laws of the various States.  Real estate law should be the exclusive domain of the States as it has been from our inception.  The same would apply to contract and tort law and educational laws and all the other that have been historically viewed as within  the police powers of the States.  Coastal America would be free to degrade the authority of their individual States as much as they wish and not be concerned with the actions of Middle America.   Tax laws will be discussed in another chapter at a later date.

The untold tens of thousands of Federal laws existing on the books at the time of separation would be kept intact initially.  Without doubt Middle America would begin paring back thousands of these laws and their companion regulations and the various departments of government and Cabinet positions.  Some departments that would be reviewed for elimination or diminution of authority would be Commerce, HUD, Education,Labor,EPA and Energy.  Likewise Middle America would probably make significant changes to HHS and reform all the welfare programs.   Coastal America would be free to expand these departments and give them even more power if that is their desire.   The Right believes that the Federal laws have multiplied to Kafkasque proportions to the point where individuals and businesses can’t function without violation of some Federal provision which leads to selective and discriminatory prosecution.  The Left could retain all the laws they wish and maintain their faith in the fairness and compassion of the central government.   The changes made by Middle America would not be radical within the concept of Federalism and the proper use of the commerce clause.   Most personal and business affairs would continue on as they have before only with a significant reduction in regulatory burdens imposed by someone thousands of miles away.

Each new sovereign nation would be free to make a nation more prosperous, civil and blessed with individual rights as they see fit.   The Left could increase union power or expand government control over business.  It would be free to even nationalize such business as it thinks best.   The Left could adjust Labor, minimum wage laws and affirmative action laws to their liking within having to do political battle with the Right.   The Left has a vision; let them seek it.  That is not the vision of the Right so allow each the freedom to pursue its chosen path.   This division of the nation will increase freedom for both new nations and unburden them from the drag of the opposing camp.  We are Americans and for every problem there can be a solution.  The difficulties with a division will be present but all are solvable by the respective side when they can do as they wish without having to accommodate the other side.   Those problems you are reminded are certainly no worse than the absolute assurance of consequential and perhaps tragic problems we face if we continue our current course of dispute, inaction, decline and likely civil disorder.

“Even peace may be purchased at too high a price.”  Ben Franklin.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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2 Cents Worth On Life Its Ownself

Well, the Holidays are done and the extra pounds need work and the time off is a memory, back to the grind and does the daily news ever make it a grind….

Ever wonder where the expression about  being a scapegoat originated?   Well, learn it here.  In Leviticus when God was giving His statutes to Moses and Aaron about the sacrifices to be made to Him and their purpose for the people of Israel there was an example of goats to be sacrificed.  One goat was selected for a sin offering and used for that end.  However another goat, the scapegoat, was selected as an atonement sacrifice for the sins of others.  That goat did nothing wrong whatsoever but was killed and placed on the altar for what others did wrong.  That expression has become part of our vernacular and is used when some poor soul is picked out to take the fall or blame for the wrongdoing of others.  The politicians in Washington are particularly adept at finding scapegoats for their own shortcomings.  Shakespeare and the Bible are the two greatest sources of our adages and Shakespeare liberally used those from the Bible.

Some pundits and others are complaining loudly about the possibility that AIG might sue the government over the bailout takeover of that company and its management under government control.   We wrote here months ago that such a suit might be likely.  You might want to recall that the takeover of the company was a complete violation of the 5th Amendment and there never was even a token acknowledgement of following established corporate law.  The shareholders never had a voice in what was to happen to their investment.  It was simply confiscated by the Feds.   Full, disclosure, I had litigation with AIG several years ago and don’t even like the company or its management but I do have a regard for the rule of law as opposed to rule by edict of the anointed ones.   AIG could have filed a Chapter 11 and reorganized itself and paid all its debts and retained value for its shareholders but it and the shareholders were denied that opportunity by the Feds.   Many thoughtful legal scholars agree they have a solid case to make.   Here’s hoping they do sue and win big time.    They didn’t go begging the Feds to give them money and AIG had assets of substantial value as events have proved.   Are we a country of laws or dictators?

We also wrote some time back about the crazy notion of the Trillion dollar platinum coin to be minted by the Treasury and used to “pay” a trillion dollars of debt to the Federal Reserve.  Viola, we reduce the national debt by a trillion dollars.  You may have now noticed that several Democratic Congressmen are actually promoting such a proposal to avoid the argument over raising the debt limit beyond its already staggering 16.4 trillion dollars so even more spending and debt can occur.   Remember that the demand for US notes is manipulated and phoney at this time due to the fact that the Federal Reserve is currently buying 75% of all the new debt issued by the Treasury.  Others in the Democratic Party are beginning to push the idea of simply writing off some of the Treasuries owed to the Federal Reserve.   Either idea is horrific.  It will cause an immediate and steep decline in the stability and confidence in the US dollar.  Even Joe Six Pack at that point would begin to question exactly what is the dollar worth if legitimate debt could be wiped out with a minted coin deemed by the Treasury to be worth one trillion.    The international community would be apoplectic and demand hugely higher rates to lend us money or worse what if they decided to pull the same trick and pay their obligations to the US and US companies with minted coins they deem worth a designated amount?   Its like someone who has maxed out their credit card and then just manufacture their own credit card in their basement and expect all their creditors to accept their self-created credit card as having real value.   How did all these people escape from the institution at the same time?

Would the appointment of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense make Israel more or less likely to strike Iran on its own?

In spite of what Democratic spokesmen may scream the full faith and credit of the US would not be jeopardized if the debt ceiling was not raised.  The phrase refers specifically to the Treasury notes issued by the Feds.  That is the “credit” of the US; by the way that credit and credit worthiness belongs to us, the people, no the politicians.  It is our credit being used.   All the other payments made by the Feds is just statutes and those could be met too.   The Feds will still be collecting billions of dollars ever month to pay bills  and specifically the interest and principal on the Treasury notes.  The employees at Commerce, EPA or HUD or those zillion other departments and agencies are not guaranteed a job, although it is true you can’t hardly fire them even for incompetence.   So what if Planned Parenthood and gobs of other organizations don’t get their monthly dole from the Feds?  The money is there for defense and the three big social programs–Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.   If the debt is raised there should be cuts real cuts for each dollar it is raised.  And we don’t mean those “baseline” projected growth cuts but an actual reduction in budgetary expenditures year over year.

Our tides are affected by both the Moon and the Sun.  The Moon moves the oceans and seas by about a foot and the Sun by about half that.  Even though the Sun is enormous it is 93 million miles away whereas the Moon is literally right on our doorstep figuratively speaking.  The full Moon and the new Moon produce the high tides and the half Moon creates those small neap tides.

Sherman famously said that War is Hell but a worse Hell is subjugation to a central dictatorial authority.   http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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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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