Spring beckons in the near term and like the buds promise full blooms soon and ideas and ruminations sprout from the mind after the winter lull…..
As the comments over “sequester” roil the headlines it is useful to remember a fact or two. First sequester comes from the law and means in plain English that an asset is held or frozen until a later ruling. This sequester does not automatically result in a reduced Federal spending level. It merely authorizes it to a certain lower level of growth. Even that modest reduction does not occur until directed and that comes in later March with the Continuing Resolution funding bill. If the reductions occur it will be then. Recall also that we are already half way through this fiscal year so the immediate reductions will not be the full 120 billion (average over ten years) but cut about in half because we have been spending this fiscal year at the old higher rates.
Speaking of spending why can’t each and every department of the Federal government take a real, honest to God 1% cut in its budget? Just 1% lousy per cent. That would be out of a 3.8 Trillion dollar budget.
Liberal Democrats love to look to Europe as they model for so much of our social and economic policies with one glaring omission–immigration. We are about to allow 11 million or so illegals citizenship simply because they are here in violation of our laws. France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and several more have much stricter immigration policies. They usually do allow a fairly generous guest worker program and those folks have legal status in the respective countries but they are never allowed citizenship. Look at the record for yourself. Many Turks and others from Eastern Europe have come to work legally but they don’t get to vote or have full benefits of citizenship.
The current controversy over the use of drones to kill bad people is confusing to some of us. Sure we all want our rights respected and protected but we’ve killed bad guys for years even in the US borders in violation of the 5th Amendment right to protection of life, liberty and property without due process of law. Today many are concerned that the US citizens who might be killed in a drone strike are denied those rights and that is true, their rights are ignored. Check a little history though and the actual circumstances of taking out bad guys in times past. John Dillinger was assassinated not arrested as were many over notorious criminals over the years. They weren’t read their Miranda rights or offered a chance to surrender. How about those nuts in Waco twenty years ago? Women and children were there and they were assaulted with military weapons. A drone is just another weapon like a cannon or hand gun in the hands of our military or law enforcement. Regrettably our leaders will always have this power and we can only hope it will be used wisely. For political reasons it likely will never be used inside our own borders unless we spotted a pack of terrorists moving to a specific target like a nuclear power plant.
This week the politicos at the top-level of the Pentagon, the top generals and admirals, announced that the Navy will be reduced down to under 300 ships in the near future. Yes, that level Romney talked about being lower than what we had during the WWI era. Sure those ships are more powerful, run faster and can do more. But they are still ships and vulnerable to attack. Most of the modern defense systems for those ships have never been tested in real combat conditions. They have missile defense and those automated gatling guns to bring down incoming aircraft or missile but they’ve only done test. What if an enemy like Iran attacked a flotilla with four missiles at once? How about if they attacked with 20 all within a couple of minutes of each other? Even the gatling guns can’t fire straight up only at elevations of less than 90 degrees. The most recent episode of “modern” warfare at sea was the Falkland’s War of 30 years ago. You may recall that those relatively unsophisticated Exocet missiles (compared to today) wreaked tremendous havoc on the British fleet. That was only a few missiles. Just as at Pearl Harbor there should be serious concern that a significant part of our fleet in the Persian Gulf area could be eliminated in matter of minutes. Quality is wonderful and to be sought, but a little bit of quantity even if of a lower capability could be comforting and very useful. A large gun on ship could still inflict real damage to a potential enemy using WWII technology.
As the East gets buried in a huge snow storm this week it is noteworthy that the UN, yes, the UN, recently gave an update on global warming. It noted in the back pages that at least 25% of recent weather changes can be attributable to the effects of the Sun and its cycles. Hmm, perhaps we should pass a Sun Regulation Act to make the Sun conform to our notions of friendly renewable energy standards. Someone should make the EPA form a committee to investigate right away.
One of the major Japanese car makers is apparently seriously considering abandoning totally the lithium-ion batter or any similar battery and looking into the hydrogen powered car for the future. Makes sense, the battery cars didn’t work 100 years ago and they aren’t the best path to the future now. They are too heavy, to slow to recharge and too expensive to replace when the time comes as it always does because all batteries wear out. Don’t know what the future will bring but it will happen one day–just not next year or the next decade. Be patient, it will happen.
“When a Government takes over a people’s economic life it becomes absolute, and when it has become absolute it destroys the arts, the minds, the liberties and the meaning of the people it governs” M. Anderson–American dramatist http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com