Sunday, September 30, 2007

Going local, American style

It’s time to move our Nation’s capital to the interior of our Country. Nothing against Washington, D.C is intended. Our founding fathers picked its location as part of establishing the federal republican government and our Constitution they approved in the late 1700’s. And we were a coastal nation then, and land travel was limited, and the District of Columbia was a good choice in hindsight. The earlier Capitals were Philadelphia and New York, so the choice to start a new capital was a bold move. This story is the simple version, and while the history is more complicated, the theme is there. Most importantly it was to be ‘federal land”, as opposed to “state land”.

Our nation has expanded since our founding, going from being an Atlantic coastal nation to a “sea-to-sea” nation, one might even say a “continental nation”. Sea to sea was the Atlantic to the Pacific. But we are also (still) a new world nation where ideas count as much as our family’s geographical location and genealogy. We are way past the “old world”. Most busy Americans don’t think about this, or even care, but think all the present state is normal, thank goodness. The alternative is to feel threatened, and vote that way.

Astute politicians will consider the idea of moving the Nation’s capital to a more present representative location in the center of our Country. The states of Kansas and Colorado stick out. The real intent is to be a new American federal capital city, though other good intents like infrastructure support, and spending money should be highly popular. The Brazilians tried to move their new capital to the interior Brasilia in about five years. Perhaps we Americans can learn from them, and take much longer, like 15 years.

A key point in this idea, though boring to many, is the idea of infrastructure support. We can only cram so much into the District of Columbia, or go vertical, which is presently restricted. And the present size of the House of Representatives is 435 based on an early 1900 law when the number of Americans was much less than today. Eventually we Americans will change the old law and make more representatives, and perhaps the suggested new capital for the next 200 years may help in supporting our future leaders we do have to provide for, by our vote. Again, this is just the boring infrastructure support idea.

Newt Gingrich has offered the idea of a National evolution leading to most regular Americans reacting against a small minority ruling elite. He may be correct, but then maybe he may not be. Most Americans choose to lead, not follow, using our own experience and judgment. Going local, American style, is still a big factor.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Is it a change or a phase?

A recent report that about 40% of Americans only know a Clinton or a Bush as their President got many attentions. Whether the report is factually correct or not, it suggests that the present situation politically is not normal, nor accepted by those who know there are other options than a Clinton or a Bush, or Republican or Democrat. An older person might suggest there is a USA national option, as in benefit the present population, and our children. Again, the present situation is not as it always has been. There are other alternatives.

The recent promise by Democratic presidential candidate Clinton to give each new baby a $5,000 federal bond reminded me of the scene from the movie “Gone With the Wind” when carpetbaggers promised 40 acres “and a mule” to anyone who would vote for them. Each new baby born today is automatically saddled with $27,000 in national debt, and now it is politically proposed by candidate Clinton to give each baby the aforementioned federal bond. The disingenuous part is how to pay or fund it, since we already have to borrow massively to fund what is already promised, and people keep loaning us the money. This citizen thinks the idea will make each new baby owe now $32,000, all without giving them a vote.

So the basic question remains. Is the present political situation a change or a phase? Are voters going to continue the status quo, now accelerated by past successes of pandering politicians. Are we going to vote for 40 acres “and an mule”, or perhaps be a little more suspicious and savvy about our personal interest, national interest, and not the politician’s interest. Perhaps the question is proper. Is it a change, or a phase?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

History is what is written, not what happened

While many topically political themes and modern political debate goes on, all referencing “the facts” and “the truth” make me go back to my 10th grade history teacher.

While I cannot remember her name, I do remember her face and personality. She was meek, but always dispassionate and calm. She probably taught the curriculum in Arlington County, Virginia at the time, but I will never know. I do know the 9th grade typing teacher used her position to express her political point of view which I strongly disagreed with. Since I was crummy at typing, I cannot argue that my debate with her influenced her grade, which was poor.

What I remember most in history class was the idea of a “yellow press” getting our Country into a war with Spain circa 1898. The idea then, as taught in 1960, was that the war would generate income for the newspapers. Right or wrong, that was being taught in 1960 in Arlington County, Virginia. I believed it then, and I believe it now. And I thank my mentor teacher for encouraging me to think for myself.

I often wonder what she would say about all the global warming hype these days. Mostly I wonder about how she would teach analyzing all this, and influencing making up my mind in the 10th grade. Mostly she has given me a hint, decades later about how to think. Having the advantage of hindsight, the yellow press idea is still alive and well. While she is probably dead and gone due to age, I still want to thank her for being a teacher and mentor.
Playing the Iranian poker hand with our American lives

Many have been waiting patiently and expectantly for the Iranian soft revolution to evict the tyrannical theocrats running Iran since 1979. Many have thought this course of action was in American self-interest and still do. Most still think the Iranian people are friendly to American culture, though any soft revolution will likely produce new leaders less inclined to American culture than the people are.

Over the last two decades, the tide has shifted more towards an actual attack on the Iranian military structure, both regular military and/or their Army of God units, which are significant. This shift has focused on a short campaign without occupation, and either attacks the military in general, or just the nuclear facilities in particular. Over the last year or two, the rising concern over the probability of the Iranians building a nuclear device in the near future has even been amplified by the most alarming statements from the puppet president of Iran. And the alarm is not just in the USA and Israel, but throughout the entire region, and even India and China.

Also alarming is what appears to be classic cultural misunderstanding also amplified by decades of experience on both sides. The western side has emphasized containment, diplomacy, patience, and the tolerance of backdoor business deals. The Iranian side has emphasized duplicity sustained by good results, especially with proxies. Over confidence has occurred because every time they take an inch, the west gives a mile. The carrot has been offered, but never has the stick been overtly employed (with one exception in 1988 - Operation Praying Mantis).

Decades of events have only made matters worse. The Iranians announced last spring they would begin overt attacks in Iraq to counter the surge, with a stated goal of influencing the American congressional vote in their favor. And they conducted their campaign and are killing American servicemen, though the American political scene turned out differently. What a classic case of cultural misunderstanding and over confidence. Many westerners would say they are being stupid like Tojo and even Hitler, they just don't know it. And the western side is beginning to act like a person up against a wall with the Iranians in their face, and pretty confident any limited attack on Iranian military and Army of God will be the spark that gets the soft revolution going, and prevents any nuclear attack or threat of an attack by the present Iranian dictators.

It is a terrible state of affairs we have come to here in the USA. We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. And I blame our national leaders, executive and legislative, over the decades. This is not a President Bush problem, this is a national problem. Nothing about the debate about Iraq should be considered in what we are stuck with in Iran. Many will do it, though. Articles about what President Bush should have done miss the mark that this Iranian situation has been building for decades, and again is a national problem, not an executive problem. And a national problem requires a national executive and congressional working-together response. Anything less will create another 2008 election wildcard.

Philosophically, postponing a decision in the end makes the costs of that decision even higher. The consequences of waiting longer for a soft revolution are balanced by the time allowed for the Iranians to build a nuclear weapon and use or threaten its use. If ever there was a high stakes poker game, this is one. And actually, one can say there are many players in the game, each using their own strategies and national interests. Most are familiar with the phrase “fog of war”. Well, the “fog of diplomacy” is just as thick. And unfortunately, the law of unintended consequences becomes more consequential as time goes on.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Is feminizing a culture good or bad or just a phase?

Much has been said about unleashing one half of humanity to do good. Little is said about the doing bad part. All this is confused by western idealism about equal opportunity, free speech, and other explosive-to-culture anarchist ideas. Some is also confused by man-hating.

Much is published in the west about the socialist ideal of remaking our cultures better. This discussion is led by those who want to remake our cultures in their image. Most know the normal people would never vote for such changes, and politicians and idealists cover up their agendas since they have a long history of being failures in this area. In other words, others before them have tried, and failed. The failures are usually because people did not buy it. The ideas were crummy. There are better ways.

The impossible nut to crack is humanity. Boys and girls are different, thank goodness. Banning boyhood is not an option since no one can legislate humanity, as in hormones and genes. This is not rocket science. Banning girlhood will suffer any similar fate. Why are there enough forceful and naïve fools that even think so and are willing to try trick voters and dominate a culture? Why do we give them access to our children? Some of us won’t, or more simply will teach what parents teach.

What leaders of our culture should promote, and most do, is being in love, being married, and having families, though baby making and national interest was the least thing in my mind at the time. Now the result is a vital national interest. Promoting sexual promiscuity is not a national vital interest, as much fun and pleasure as our kids may derive. The downside is the hormones. The old fashioned idea of good girls and honorable boys needs refurbishment. We all know boys and girls will always connect . What we also need to teach, culturally, is that a girl offering special privileges needs to cross her legs and say no. How about that idea for power?

The American actress Sally Field’s comments about no wars if mothers ran the world got attention in the media. As a father I object to her unelected assumption of pontification. Last I heard, I had kids, too.

Many things in the media reports seem out of control as if we have lost our tolerance for each other politically. I doubt this is correct, since most Americans still go for leadership, thinking, and the good ole golden rule. This especially applies to any who try to change our culture, which is unique in the world, and not too shabby. Best the political feminizing effort goes, it will fail inherently because boys and girls are different, thank goodness.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Voting with our pocket books for our kids sake

The recent debacle of Columbia University inviting a dictator to speak is amazing. That the University President probably makes over a half million dollars yearly, plus a house, plus perks only reinforces the intent of his bosses, the Board of Directors.

Perhaps his Presidential performance in his introduction of the dictator was a political ploy. Perhaps he just showed he was a rude host, after the fact. Americans don’t like political ambushes and bad manners. Certainly public attention to Columbia University’s practices are now focused.

Forget the double standards about thought control and double standards and ROTC. How about what we Americans get as a return for our investment of public tax dollars to his school, to the tune of 300 to 400 million dollars, depending on the source. How about the Columbia University pedigree providing an advantage in job hiring?

Can this highly paid President, and his hired minions tell us about our values? Will the parents who pay tuition, and graduates who sustain the contributions to the “fund”, keep it up? All want our kids to succeed, and the present President and Board have put the element in doubt. Could this be the beginning of the end?
How important to America is Middle East peace?

The question is prompted by ad infinitum peace initiatives and peace conferences over decades, to include the one coming up in November. The question is also prompted by what looks like a near miss war between Syria and Israel. The lack of facts still leads mostly to speculation about the Israeli action and intent in early September, but the American question still remains. How important to America is Middle East peace? Is it in our vital national interest?

Maybe many of us have missed something, but it seems like I have not heard the question asked, nor explained (maybe explained again). And this author was born in 1948, and is a reader and news junkie.

Of course the explainers should be our executive and congressional leaders. That we have not heard any explanation suggests it is time to vote in new leaders who will take the time to explain all this to us. Maybe they just assume it is so because it has been so. I hope our country is better than that.

If the Syrians and Israelis had gone to war, probably started by the Syrians using missiles with both persistent and non-persistent chemical weapons (area weapons at best), and with their objective of the Golan area, what would we have done? What would other regional players have done? Since nobody knows, the issue of American vital national interests kicks in. What is important to America in the Middle East?

This author for one thinks peace in the Middle East is in our vital national interest. The interest is in tamping down these historically implacable enemies so as to prevent a world war, which we do not want to have happen. But that is just one opinion. Until our national leaders can explain a national policy about our Middle East interests that is supported by a majority of Americans, we continue on to a train wreck of political confusion, political infighting, and division.

Institutionally, some of us are taught never to critique unless one can also offer possible solutions, ideally three alternatives for our leaders. Here’s an example.
· Have a debate in Congress that guides our Middle East policy in the future.
· Let a small select group of executive and congressional people decide the USA’s paths in the Middle East
· Hope for the best, see what happens, and react then.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Equal opportunity works both ways

Young people volunteering their service and time is the trend.

The old connotation was racial. Now it is national service. Same phrase, but different connotation. And national service is not always military. Many volunteer for the CIA, and the likes. Our country needs all the help it can get, and the old time people have been superceded by their children.

Bad guys are smart too. But our smart young people are smarter. And we are so noble in our political objectives and tolerance.

As long as national service is voluntary, our hats should be off to congratulating them all, and their families. Good on ya!
The end of General Motors as we know it

And probably the rest of American auto manufacturers and their unions. Is there something special about them, yes. Will I voluntarily pay for it, no.

General Motors (GM) runs a vast retirement and health benefits program that each and every car buyer of GM vehicles helps pay for. For this, GM and like companies Ford and Chrysler and their workers, an American dream is coming to an end. It may not seem fair to those who are affected. They have benefits most countries in the world cannot afford, nor offer. And our ancestors benefited by it, as do many today. But like all benefit programs, it takes money coming in to pay money going out to keep it solvent, balance the books, etc.

And other country’s practices, such as Japan’s, seem so simply unfair to American workers. Their government pays the health care costs and retirement costs, and this does make Japanese built cars more affordable here in America. Maybe we should try make them like us, though it might take another war to do so. And the key word is costs, and there is no free lunch about health care and retirement costs, so the Japanese people are paying. Perhaps that will not go on forever?

Of course, most cars assembled and sold in America today are more international than most people realize. And the quality of what Americans assemble is worthy of note for quality and sales. What is not worthy of note is the quality of our leaders at the business and union levels. At least the Marines go after the officers first when things are screwed up. Why not the rest of America? The recent New York Times debacle about the moveon ad had their ombudsman blame some low level advertisement person for the mistakes. Many prefer the include the leaders approach the Marines use. Maybe the present New York Times company is going down in stock and subscription value for similar reasons to GM?

So let the union at GM strike, which of course they can. Let the GM management pay salaries and bonuses for doing a bad job, which of course they can. Let them collectively end a company. There are many other examples that come to mind. Eastern Airlines and TWA and Pan American are all gone, but we simple public people can still fly. And we can still shop for cars to buy at an affordable price.

Keep politics out of all this, since many business and union leaders will try to induce politicians to preserve their GM type way of life, income, and benefits. Most citizens just want to drive a car at an affordable price in order to go about life’s chores. Politicians might want to pay attention to this constituency, also.

One emotional plea is this … why can’t they work together and compromise to preserve GM and today’s leaders and workers. A second emotional plea is this line. If I were a sophomore girl in college having to drop out because my GM parents can’t pay, I would be rude about the union and the management. I would be willing to work to get through school, even if four years stretched to a longer time. Go think.
Assuming can be dangerous

Remember, assuming makes an a** out of you and me. So many statements include assumptions as if they are a given. Yet times change, assumptions change, and eventually acceptance of the status quo changes.

Here are some questions about our American culture’s assumptions today.

How much of our American defense budget is a jobs program? How many of our elected leaders and their hired staffs know or have education about the national defense interests and can set reasonable priorities?

Does the State Department run its own foreign policy, or follow the guidance of our elected executive and congressional leaders?

Is a college education what it used to be? Why is Columbia University called an elite university, and who says it is? Do parents get a decent return on their $39,000 a year investment in their children’s education at Columbia (or substitute what you have to earn in order to pay)? Is the main mission of educating our college children still the main mission of college faculty and staff?

Should American mainstream religions be influenced by the culture they worship in? Will other world cultures provide equal respect?

Do parents still have the primary responsibility for children’s education? Are there things that are taught in school, and things that are taught out of school?

Has the free speech idea been taken too far? Is shouting fire in a crowded theater still considered going too far? Are self-restraint and good manners still valued as part of the free speech idea?

Do words have the same value as actions? Is talking the talk valued the same as walking the walk? Do good intentions count as much as getting results? Are these opposing views taught, is how to discuss about opposing views taught, or do they have to be figured out?

Are political results more important than political process?

Does science know everything? Is the scientific method still taught, or valued?

Are public schools about an adults jobs program, or educating our children? Are local governments about an adult jobs program, or providing basic public services?

Because news is published in newsprint, on TV, or on the Internet, is it basically correct or biased? Has political opinion entered the news medias (more than in the past)? History is what is written, not what happened? People know propaganda when they see it?

There is one real reason while there are always many good reasons. For lack of knowing what to do, people do what they know. This author assumes these last two statements are correct. Do you?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Déjà vu or jamais vu in the Middle East

Often described as the opposite of déjà vu, jamais vu involves a sense of eeriness and the observer's impression of seeing the situation for the first time, despite rationally knowing that he or she has been in the situation before.* So is it the 1930’s all over again, or is the British Middle East and Mesopotamia experience more appropriate?

Is starting or getting dragged into a Middle East regional war in our American national interest? Would a regional war there become a world war because of the economic and political concerns of China, India, Japan, Russia, Europe, and many others? That the theocratic and dictator rulers of Iran have already started a covert war which has become a regional overt war is believed by most in the western world, and the region. How does this complicate things?

These are staggering questions of our age and period. The issues are complicated, the reported facts are too often disputed, and even the questions of national interest can vary … and this is just in America. If ever there was a time for our Country to debate a declaration of war, this is such a time. Even if the debate results in a declaration of war, and the debate would say who or what, a declaration does not automatically give away the element of military surprise. The long period of inaction after France and England declared war against Germany in September 1939 was nicknamed the sitzkrieg or phoney war. And any declaration of war then provides the unity of national approval that best enhances diplomacy. This is often called the carrot and the stick approach. And if the vote is not for a declaration, so be it.

The USA is not the only player in town. Debating and voting not to declare war is no guarantee other nations will agree, and even go along. Not declaring war after a debate is no guarantee of peace. We cannot legislate our way out war, as much as we may try. The Neutrality Acts in the late 1930’s provide such an example. After all, the USA felt compelled to declare war over two years later than the French and English did so. And as of that time, the Germans had only attacked us indirectly, at sea. Of course, the Japanese attack on the USA in Hawaii prompted all this action.

This article is not a sales pitch for declaring war on who or what. It is a sales pitch for the National need to have a debate about declaring war sooner rather than later. The acrimonious non-partisan atmosphere in D.C. is why. And the Congress passed a more narrow authorization to attack Iraq back in October 2002, and incredibly are still arguing about all that. This article is also a sales pitch to not let a narrow group of executive and congressional leaders get us into some covert war in the Middle East. This article is a sales pitch to have this debate before the 2008 elections. Covert is what the weak enemies do as their best course of action. Overt is what a big country like the USA does as its best course of action.

Of course few things in life are black or white, rather they are grey. That idea political leaders: elected, appointed, and hired, can drive a train through, and have. Being squishy has worked in the past, so why not in the future. The answer is the well-being of our Nation in the future. Americans are not squishy people when it comes to war, diplomacy, and the commitment of our children. Not without a vote. The present arisen ruling elite should pay attention. Their children do.

It is time for a Congressional debate in D.C. about our National Interests in the Middle East. It is time for an up or down vote on a declaration of war. Non-binding senses are squishy. Letting our national leaders off the hook by all that has gone on before is water over the dam. Most think Americans will still fight for our way of life, that is anything in our National Interest. (After all some minority group of Americans, between 1/6 and 1/4, are always anti-war.) This debate should be framed around our Middle East interests, national and vital national interests. The debate will probably lead to debating the terrorist threats which are world-wide. The outcome is uncertain, but that is what leadership is all about. One hopes our present leaders recognize all this benefit of debate, and are up to it. The 2008 elections may be more monumental than first predicted. However this idea sorts out, it will be national. Talk about a sense of the people. The old fashioned word is the vote.

*from Wikipedia

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The tyranny of the minority in the Senate

Most probably know it only takes 41 out of 100 Senators voting to stop any legislation in the Senate. Said another way, it takes 60 Senators voting together to pass anything in the Senate. Most probably don’t know that any/none of this is in our Constitution. We Americans via the Senate have made all this up over the last 200 plus years. Our present two party system has a similar history.

Most Americans are fair. A majority vote will be accepted by the population. What has happened in the Senate has rendered it less manageable. The House of Representatives used to have similar rules about filibusters and cloture, and changed them to make the House more reasonably manageable. The Senate can do the same, if they do it, or we American voters elect those who will do it.

The normal objections to change are two. One is overcoming the 66 vote rule to change things, but again, it is a Senate rule, not something in the Constitution. The other is the party rancor as to not doing it on their watch. Depending on which national party is in the majority, one chooses to act now, while another wants to postpone until a future majority will give their party the advantage. Nowhere in this debate is there discussion about what is good for our United States of America. And for those who provide a good reason as to the importance of protecting the rights of the minority (to rule), they are listened to. One also expects they will listen to the rights of those who vote for Senators.

And nowhere in this article is there a suggestion of ending the filibuster in the Senate. Rather, restore the filibuster to it original evolved purpose which was a painful way to avoid voting on major issues. By painful, one means having to take the floor for 15 to 24 hours before passing control on to a fellow Senator, which is painful enough for not being allowed to go to the bathroom, amplified by age. Right now gentlemanly respect only requires the suggestion of a filibuster to invoke the now accepted 60 vote rule.

The idea that the Senators and the Senate are some great deliberative group may have been borrowed from history. Present demonstrated behavior is that our national interest is low on the list of these USA Senator’s priorities. Present demonstrated behavior is that too many Senators act in their self interest first*, their State second, and the USA last. One can conclude that the best way to change the tyranny of the minority in the Senate is for citizens to vote out those opposed to change, and vote in those in favor. Lest this idea sound too revolutionary for the Senate, all we are saying is give the people a chance to ask the questions, and vote.

* Teddy Kennedy is opposing off-shore electricity generating wind farms (5 miles from his Kennedy family estate), reportedly (in his words) because that is where he sails. Lamar Alexander from the interior state of Tennessee is opposing the same kind of off-shore wind farms nationally. That he has valuable beach front property on Nantucket Island makes this seem a conflict of interest.
Nourishing our American leaders

Leaders are made, not born. Leaders reinforce success, not failure, and know the difference between the two. Leaders have the moral courage to lead, and the moral courage to suffer loss, and bounce back. Leaders are lucky as some disappear along the way. Leaders use the initiative to be in charge. Leaders recognize being on the defensive is like a ship being dead in the water, and having to respond vice initiate is a least preferred situation. Political leaders are in their positions for patriotism and ego, not money and power. Political leaders represent and create; cynical political followers manipulate and critique.

Leaders take council of their fears; they recognize our imagination is our worst enemy. (We are our own worst critics.) President Franklin Roosevelt said it another way: “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself”. Leaders will go in harms way, knowing nothing is certain as to outcome. Leaders will fight the good fight for its own sake. And leaders will show restraint when called for: they do not shout fire in a crowded theater.

Leaders think of the future. They avoid being bogged down by the past. Having a problem is less important than what the leader does about the problem, in the future.

America seems to suffering from a period of poor leadership in the executive and congress at the federal level; big churches and academia at the national level; as well as the state and local levels. It’s not that all leaders are poor, just that we’ve had more good leaders in the past than we seem to have now. Of course in a Country as big as ours, this opinion and situation varies around the Country. What is universal is the need to grow future leaders at all levels to promote our Country domestically and foreign-wise. Growing and nourishing leaders mostly means voting for them, and supporting them with money and election support. It also means supporting standards and practices that enhance our Nation. Self appointed leaders and those who proclaim to know the truth are always suspect. We seem to have more than our fair share of educated fools.

It is easier to see all the failures and problems around us. It is easier to critique after the fact. It is not easy for many to acknowledge they are followers, which most of us are. It is not easy to think America can cease to exist as a nation. But we all do serve in our own way, and nourishing our leaders is in our National Interest.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Vital national interests and the 2008 elections

Many issues are in our national interest. How many are vital to our American security and our economic future are certainly a smaller number and worthy of thinking about when deciding one’s vote. And vital national interests are both foreign and domestic. And vital national interests may be expressed locally, nationally, or internationally.

If all national issues are vital, then none are if all are treated equally. Determining what is vital can be a cold heartless process for the determined voter. Most Americans find it easier to determine what is not a vital national interest, and to critique with the jaundiced eye of the cynic those that lead the discussion of vital national interests. For example, humane treatment of our pets is a national interest, but not a vital national interest.

A confusing problem is separating a vital national interest from a plan to implement it. An example is the education of our children, our future generations, which is a vital national interest. How we do it: public education, private education, or vouchers, can confuse the voter trying to make up their mind about vital national interest.

The US involvement in Mesopotamia is another example of the usual confusion separating a vital national interest from a plan to implement it. Most would agree homeland security from foreign terrorist attacks on American lives and political and economic targets is in our vital national interest. This is not a casual subject. Yet there is much debate, often acrimonious, over how to implement an American plan to defend this vital national interest. The wise voter should think about both: vital national interest and an implementation plan vis-à-vis Mesopotamia.

The present plan to implement in Mesopotamia is evolving it seems, about as fast as our elected leaders in the executive and congress, and their hired staffs, can learn. They have shown themselves to be inexperienced, and smart, a dangerous combination. This learning curve is distinct from vital national interests when voters consider both in their voting decisions. Goals and performance, and confidence in same, are both worthy of voting decisions in 2008.

It has been disappointing so far to perceive certain nation interest subjects as being off the table for the Presidential debates from both national parties. Social security and Medicare and Medicaid solvency come to mind. Are they vital national interests, or not. That it is not being debated is of concern. This idea suggests the politicians and the media control the subject of vital national interests, and are avoiding the debate. Other ideas suggest the voters control the subject of vital national interests as will be expressed in the vote beginning in 2008.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Being a victim tends to change one’s perspective

Let’s be common. A victim lives in an urban area, and while asleep, has their home or auto’s in the drive way burglarized. This is national, not local. Even the Nashville neighborhood Al Gore lives in suffers. Even women and children in Charlotte, NC fear for their lives within their own homes. Even in Atlanta, thugs are obtuse at 4:30 AM when stealing DVD car equipment from a home drive way.

If you have not been an urban victim, fine. Some Americans live in more rural areas, and we shoot back, reportedly. And there are even reportedly local rural recognitions for doing so. As you might imagine, the reported crime rates are lower than urban areas. Perhaps there is a cause and effect, scientifically speaking.

Back to the title theme. Being a victim does change one’s perspective. Most victims just want to live in peace, enjoy security, and be left alone to enjoy the benefits of their hard work, and too often family sacrifice. One or two burglaries and family concerns can be tolerated by today’s standards, even when the local police say that is just how things are in prosperous urban neighborhoods. But after that, one’s perspective changes. And it comes down to the vote. All Americans must live by the same standards, and we will vote it so. And the criminals must go to jail to protect us from them. It seems like more prisons are needed for now. Of course on a percentage basis, things can be looked at one way. And of course, based on the increasing population, things can be looked at another way. Today’s tolerance seems to be racially based in the south, and culturally based in the southwest. This old fashioned out of touch idea about tolerating thugs, criminals, or even criminals in the guise of urban guerrillas, has come to being just dumb. My kids and grandkids deserve having those that threaten them locked up. This is not rocket science. And bummer about paying taxes to build more jails. The population is going up, why not jails?
It has come down to outvoting the opposition

No amount of tolerance, facts, and invitations to discourse will change the minds of those who do not wish to listen. The President says about 1/4 of Americans are anti-war. It may be smaller, like 1/6. In both cases, they are a minority, and cannot be allowed to drag the majority down their path of false security and inability to see what will happen if they got their way. Saving ourselves is still a priority to most Americans.

So locally, state-wide, and federally, the primary effort must be to get out the vote if the majority is too prevail at all levels of our American culture. Using the story of taking a horse to water but you can’t make him drink can apply. In this case, don’t waste your time taking the horse to water. Rather ensure the majority of the herd always has troughs of water to go to for their nourishment.

Available time is important to most. Waiting to organize a get out the vote campaign has to start now, not later. And the intent is let the majority say what is important for the future, assuming the politicians will follow the vote. Some won’t since too many are dinosaurs politically, and they will be replaced. This especially applies to those who follow the money and power and egos about what our culture should be, rather than representing us. And domestic concerns about American culture normally trump foreign concerns, and who knows what the majority will say since independents outnumber republicans or democrats. But it must be the majority who predominate.

Everyone gets one vote. Income nor education nor property ownership nor national service provides extra votes. For the majority to run this Country, they must vote, locally, state-wide, and federally. Polls and focus groups and forecasts do not run this Country, people do. Forecasts about wasted votes because the forecasters already know the outcome are too often incorrect. Americans know this. History is replete with examples of upsets in elections and sports. Voting and showing up for the game still counts: locally, state-wide, and federally.

As many who fall into the trap of over-intellectualizing issues, or being too missionary in their goals, or being too tolerant for naivety reasons, or just being children of the 60’s, a tipping point has been reached due to the convergence of foreign and domestic issues. Foreign-wise, the recent Israeli strike in Syria tells many in their face there are evil people who wish to do us in for their reasons. Domestic-wise, the recent moveon ad in the NYT was a low too many cannot tolerate since it is un-American, and the poor condemnation of the ad only amplified the divide that is now clear to them, again in their face. Since most reject revolution and civil war, let the vote and the majority rule. Since no one has a lock on wisdom as to a best course of action, and in spite of those who declare they know the truth, the majority can be wrong, or be less than best. But by golly, it will be the majority in charge. This is the American way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Of Love and Loss and Love Again
By Rebekah K. Bohannon-Dalton

This story is a tragedy and a victory. As all true love stories begin, a young, beautiful lady fell in love and married a dashing fellow. Josephine Trice of Franklin, Tennessee, fell in love with the valiant John Colton of Nashville, a beloved cousin to Colonel Hensley Williams, in 1939. With the world at war and the United States on the fence, John wrote to the Tennessean in June 1940, to voice his view of our responsibility to the Second World War:

John volunteered his service to the Army Air Forces in October of 1942, foreseeing his duty to his country in this war. He trained at several southern bases and in March of 1944, received his orders to fight overseas in occupied Europe. In the dragon’s keep, 2nd Lieutenant John Colton flew in 13 missions and in late May of 1944, at the age of 26, he would fly and fight his last. According to the report, the B-17 Bomber was hit by antiaircraft fire flying over Kiel, Germany, and was said to have exploded in midair. It was not, however, reported until a year later, when the War Department declared John dead, that Josephine had received word from those of her husband’s crew who were able to jump. They had been taken as prisoners of war in a jail in Frankfurt, Germany, shortly after they bailed. In the letters to her family about John, Josephine explained the true events the crew members revealed to her which left her without a husband and their four year old son without a father. The B-17’s were flying in formation and one of the crew members noticed one of their bombers flying overhead. They became aware that they were out of formation and made maneuvers with the bomber above to correct their position. The raiders, including John and his crew, were then at the appropriated targets and began to drop their bombs. When they did, the same B-17 had slipped back out of formation and was again overhead and subsequently dropped its explosives right onto the wing of John’s plane. One by one the crew members bailed, even the pilot to which John was the co-pilot. One of the last crew members who managed to bail got his parachute caught on the tail of the plane and didn’t make it. The rest were arrested and taken as prisoners of war. Going through the wreckage they found a body at the controls. It was John. In the words of his widow:

John really died a Heroes Death. He tried to save the plane, and he was thinking of the boys in the back.

Josephine took the loss and harbored it to be strong for her late husband and their son, until as she wrote in her letter:

My mind has been in one turmoil and I haven’t slept thinking over and over in my mind all details. I finally had a good cry yesterday. I kept it in my system as long as I could.

Josephine and her late husband’s dear cousin, Colonel Hensley Williams, USMC, who had also fought in World War II, found happiness and love and commitment in each other and were married in 1947. Hensley, Josephine and John Jr. became a family and started a new life together as he loved his wife and raised John Jr. as his own son. Hensley and Josephine had two more sons, Clay and Maxwell, and continued to vacation with their family in Monterey, at their personal resort, The Hemlocks, as they had for generations. Josephine and Hensley enjoyed 50 years of marriage before her passing in 1997. As a wife then mother, widow and single parent the titles which plagued family stories all too often after the Second World War, she found she would, against the odds, be blessed with another dashing hero and with him would complete her family. And Josephine’s life story of loss and love is one that has loss but in the end was love.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The future according to today’s media experts

We began the 2007 fall NCAA football season with good humor and expectations based on personal knowledge, personal prejudices, and expert opinions. Now four weeks into the season all has changed. The team picked to be number five, and maybe a National Champion, isn’t even rated.

So how can we with our personal knowledge, personal prejudices, and today’s experts opinions predict the 2008 fall NCAA football season?

Yet so many predict the November 2008 political elections, confidently. Perhaps this voter should not even care, or show up. Ha! Just where do these expert people get their Chutzpah so far ahead of November 2008. Many suspect they listen to those they hire and pay for and listen to, political manager or politician or pundit inside of DC. After all, conventional wisdom has always worked before. Why not now?

Perhaps we Americans can be fickle. Perhaps we are worried about our future? Perhaps conventional wisdom has got us to this point? Perhaps our families and future has trumped political advertising and talk? Who knows, but these are good guesses. And National preservation issues seem to rise up to the top of the heap. National preservation can be translated to American culture.

Maybe even those who cannot even reliably predict the fall of 2007 NCAA football can still predict the fall of 2008 elections, in spite of all the money they earn. There is a shift going on, since they cannot predict what we Americans trust. The modern buzz word is tipping point. And the change will go past 2008, but whoa be to those who get in the way.

One prediction is reliable. Represent the people.
Just the facts please

The reported Israeli action in Syria has prompted much speculation since the facts are few.

The other Arab nations have not loudly objected like normal about the Israeli action.

Classified things usually have levels of lies within lies, so say a level 2 person blabs, he or she is blabbing what they know, which is probably a lie they think is “truth”.

Another distracter is people’s desire to divine intent, which is most difficult and unreliable. Figuring out capabilities is easier, and more reliable. Yet a misinformation plan always appeals to those seeking inside scoop on intent.

There was one reported Israeli action in Syria about 10 days ago. The exact target type and location is still publically unknown. Most guesses have the target in the more rural eastern Syria. There may have been more than one Israeli action. And the speculated target locations are spread over a very large area.

The action occurred in the night, well after midnight local time.

The winds at night tend to be calm. The prevailing winds in this area, when blowing, tend to be from the NW blowing towards the SE.

Speculation about a physical target (if there was one) ranges from WMDs (chemical, biological, or nuclear) to missiles to missile manufacturing equipment. Missile fuels, including SCUD fuels, tend to be toxic to humans.

The Israeli action alledgely included helicopter inserted commandos with laser designators, and airplanes with bombs. Most laser designators have a max effective range of 5KM (around 3 miles). Bombs can be GPS guided. GPS can be spoofed by local GPS spoof protection. GPS implies very good targeting locations are known ahead of time. Commandos with laser designators implies eyes on the ground providing later exact target locations for the bombs from the airplanes are needed.

Think of the possibility of dirty bombs and downwind contamination from WMDs or toxic missile fuels. All potential downwind contamination patterns go into Iraq and on to USA forces. All target locations guessed at so far are also either in the Euphrates River Valley or one of its tributaries. The Euphrates River later flows into Iraq past Bagdad and on to the Persian Gulf.

The best way to try contain possible contamination is to use precise targeting to have the target collapse unto itself. The best way to verify success or failure is to have commandos on the ground after the bombs are dropped. And any underground facility is easier to collapse unto itself than an above ground facility.

Much has been reported about a North Korean ship coming into the port of Tartus, Syria about three days before the reported attack. Its cargo manifest said concrete, but much is speculated about what it could have been. Tartus is also the proposed new basing location of the to-be restored Russian blue water navy in the region.

One of the speculated target locations is just along the Turkey-Syria border, which generally runs E-W. One of the speculated possible Israeli air attack routes to Iranian nuclear facilities is along this same border. Borders make great routes to attack along, since the opposition has to traditionally cross boundary coordinate, and by the time it is done, the action has moved elsewhere.

Strategic deception is part of warfighting. The allies did it in WWII to confuse the Germans as to where the main landings were to be, i.e., the main effort. The allies did it in Desert Storm to tie down many Iraqi forces to defend the beaches in Kuwait. The Israelis have confused the Syrians as to where to best place their new Russian made mobile anti-aircraft weapons, which are well thought of if you believe the Russian advertising.

Rehersals are still important to the militaries of the world, since all cannot be known about the adversary, all cannot be known about how the friendly forces work together, and the fog of war and Murphy are alive and well even after the best of planning.

There is always one real reason, and many good reasons. Intermixing all: attacks, deceptions, military censorship, rehersals, and the indirect approach, confounds the adversary.

That the past President of France in January of this year made a comment about nuclear retaliation, and the now President and his Foreign Minister are saying something similar, suggests they are responding to a reported nuclear threat to France.

Much has been reported about getting uranium from phosphates, a normal fertilizer. Syria has a lot of phosphates. But getting the uranium poison out of phosphates, and reprocessing uranium into a nuclear fuel are two different things.

The inter-relationship between Syria, North Korea, and Iran is not known from a public facts view. There is much speculation. Syria has absorbed over a million Iraqi refugees. How that affects politics locally is just speculation. The present leader of Syria is the eye-doctor son of the now deceased former dictator (d 2000). The present leader was the second choice until his brother was killed in an accident (d 1994).

The Israeli response to all this is an historical fact. Why is just speculation?

Monday, September 17, 2007

The passion and religion of global warming

At the end of the last ice age here in North America, New York City and Chicago and a lot of other places where under the ice, often ½ to 1 mile of ice depending on the time and location.

Is that the objective today?
The next President and Congress must be able to unite the Country again

Most media focus today on leading this Country is on the President. This focus shortchanges all the other important leaders in our future, mostly our Congress people, and their hired staffs that do much of the real work. Collectively, they are the leaders to unite the Country again. Or they can continue to practice dividing the Country, albeit at their own peril. In both cases, the voters will sort things out as the ultimate shoppers seeking uniting the Country, if it comes to this. Then we may have to wait until the 2012 elections, but it will surely come as most people are fed up with the present poor performance of most politicians and staffs at all levels, federal, state, and local. There are exceptions, bright shining lights if you will, that have shown uniting and managing the Country can be restored. So all is not gloomy, just in need of improving.

Uniting the Country means civility, debate, votes, and then working together to implement the vote. It means voting for those who support a healthy political process. It means voting out those who support the politics of personal destruction. For the younger group of American citizens, the present state of affairs is not normal, in many humble opinions. The present state of affairs is just not normal, historically. But young and old we can vote restoring a healthy political process so, maybe even debate it so. Politics has never been some kind of kumbaya come to San Francisco Rodney King can we all just get along kind of thing, certainly not in a Country as big as our Country. The process has always been rough and tumble, with historically a common bond of our Country’s interest as dominating things. Of course, just what our Country’s interest is what politics is about, but what also existed then and needs to come back is the process, and the respect for civility, debate, votes, and then working together to implement the vote. To get there also includes minimizing those our American nature has recently seemed to appreciate: anarchists, political guerilla fighters, and now self appointed environmental dictators. They are not on the path to our Country’s future.

Most voters appreciate practical examples of past political debates. Now deceased Daniel Patrick Moynihan predicted many things, many never popular at the time. One (in the 1960’s) had to do with the counter effect of welfare dividing up families in order to gain benefits. Even in the late 1920’s (even before my time) there was much debate after the great Mississippi River flood of 1927 as to the benefit of federal government loans and creating a dependency based on government help after disasters. The monumental Civil Rights legislations (in the 1960’s) also caused much rancor and debate, and then citizens got in step to make things happen.

Unless we Americans think we are about constant change, to include changing our society, then perhaps we can just work on implementing all that has gone on in our Country’s history, and pay for it. Consider this as one start point for a debate and a learning process by our future leaders to unite the Country again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Thought control is un-American

So is intimidation and bullying.

All the history about Galileo being persecuted by the Catholic Church for believing the earth orbits around the sun I always thought was about the Church at the time. Thanks to today’s times recreating this atmosphere, the problem seems more human in nature, not just a Catholic Church nature.

Too many things stick out that leads so many to believe this is going on, much to the detriment of our American culture. We may have escaped the Old World, but it seems we have not escaped humanity.

McCarthyism was a sad state in our American history after WWII, and died a natural political death as it should have. Hollywood blacklisting was the normal history we heard and still hear about. Yet the same is happening today, albeit in the opposite direction. There is still a blacklisting process going on that is politics based, and it is immoral, wrong, and another example of modern thought control. Such much for idealism and multicultural exposure to the masses. Now, Hollywood investors can spend and support any cause they want to, but so can we spenders who can buy or reject the product, which is what seems to be going on these days. Eventually, there will be a tipping point much like the Pentagon lawyer that ended McCarthy’s time, but that still has not happened. But America will make it happen sometime since intimidation and bullying are so un-American.

American academia seems infected by the same disease. Too many academics in positions of influence seem focused on other than the primary mission, the education of our children we send them and pay for. Now many professors have not lost sight, but like the Church of Galileo’s time, it is obvious too many more have lost sight of the main mission. It sure seems many are using their immunity vis-à-vis tenure to change the mission, advance their political opinions, change society, and most alarming to many, indoctrinate our children we send them and pay for. While it may be time for something like government intervention such as a national inspector general for academics, as one opposed to more government, it seems smarter to hold the present governing bodies to their standards, and also let the present academic dinosaurs die off. Most of us have been exposed to kissing tail to survive, and often get ahead. Graduate students understand this very well. And our kids are also exposed to this academic environment, and parents get the result. Why send your kids to college if you can teach this at home through parental means and as compared to the collegiate intimidation and bullying means? A college education is not what it used to be. So many parents have already figured this out, and there are better ways to get kids educated to make a living and support a family. And they are not intimidators and bullies, just parents.

Somehow American media has evolved to be some kind of loyal opposition. How is still worthy of study. All Americans can live with this since it makes us better informed. But too many in the media have crossed the line to intimidation and bullying. Ideas like “fake but true”, academic ideas taught like mixing facts with opinions to gain attention, or just plain reporting opinions as facts via all means are a recent phenomenon. Along the way laziness into investigative reporting is rearing its head. Many Americans note all this, as present business plans exploit the gap between facts, opinions, intimidation, bullying, and poor reporting. Inheritors from the Old Guard have frittered away all passed on to them. One wonders what Galileo would have said about this, intimidated and bullied as he was.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hints of the broad regional war in the Middle East

The genie is out of the bottle again. Be nervous. The Israeli action in Syria is the big hint.

That little is reported says much about the effectiveness of Israeli secrecy, Arab reactions, and the USA distractions over Iraq. Yet there is much going on that will never be known to the public. Classified things usually have levels of lies within lies, so say a level 2 person blabs, he or she is blabbing what they know, which is probably a lie they think is “truth”. Another distracter is people’s desire to divine intent, which is most difficult and unreliable. Figuring out capabilities is easier, and more reliable. Yet a misinformation plan always appeals to those seeking inside scoop on intent. Like I said, we will probably never really know, mostly about intents. While there are many good reasons, there is always one real reason as to intent.

Here’s why an American should be nervous.

The Arab nations have not screamed like normal about the Israeli action. This suggests a much larger concern about Iranian expansionism than is reported here at home. The Arab national leaders do not have to be correct, just think they are correct. So be nervous about Arab Sunni actions against Persian Shiite actions in the region. Believe it or not, we are not the only player in this region, and despite all the debate in the USA and among our politicians, others may act with or without us. All nations have vital national interests, and the Israeli action in Syria has met quiet approval elsewhere in the region, if you trust the Arab reaction.

Another nervous factor is human in nature. Call it misjudgment, over confidence, or just plain cultural ignorance. The recent Bin Laden rant is such an example, be he alive or dead. Whoever did the rant is out of touch with American reality. Much the same applies to today as so many regional players think the USA is distracted by Iraq. Certainly they have a reason to think so. This is what makes these times most dangerous, as many wars are started by political leaders using misjudgment. Just use the judgments of Hitler and Tojo and the rest of the Japanese political leadership who took their regional nations into what became a world war that killed tens of millions of humans. We did not start the regional or world war, but were dragged into their wars, for good reasons, mostly in our national preservation. Be nervous because it can always happen again, and the times seem ripe again.

Another thing to be nervous about is the nuclear genie. When many despots get the “bomb”, and their engineers probably manage this technology with less safety than we do, terrible political and environmental things will come to pass. Just read about the areas relatively near now renamed Ekaterinburg as an example of poor Soviet standards. (Hint: google under soviet nuclear accidents). Or read about the Soviet nuclear submarine problems. It’s scary. The hint from the Israeli action is the planted speculation that the target now, or maybe in the future, will be either a delivery means or the WMD itself.

Last, be nervous about the USA leaders in the executive and congress, and their staffs, who collectively suffer from too many smarts and too little experience. Situations like this are too often what end up in wars. Call it cultural ignorance, call it being painted into a corner, call it inexperience. While there is no school for such leaders, there is the school of hard knocks, and the present leaders don’t have many who attended this school. Be nervous they may get us into a war they personally and probably will not show up for. Be even more nervous if these executive and congressional types avoid a congressional declaration of war debate. For lack of knowing what to do, they do what they know. That should make Americans nervous.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

How about we have American educational standards?

It was so frustrating to see one of my favorite students from Morris Brown College screwed by the whole system; I and he again were frustrated. He’s a perfect American leader, other than he couldn't read very well and write at all. And this was after a college degree. Thank goodness his wife could read and write, and she and he could advance ideas and expression together. While I always thought it was his ideas, I suspected many were her ideas, also.

Then he entered the real world, in his case the Marine Corps. He got recycled after the basic officers course process ran, and then called me to suggest his recycling then to transportation as an officer required skill was racially based. So I chewed him out. I reminded him that I had forcefully suggested he take a basic English course, which of course he did not. He could not compete with his real world peers, or lead, since he could not read and write. The Marine Corps let him go. Later he worked for a major retailer in Atlanta. I wished he and his wife luck with the same dilemma.

Here’s another similar story. Having been a recruiter I knew how to manipulate the best I could to pass the tests to be a private in the Marines. Basically it was just having the candidate practice on the parts that counted. Any bookstore had the practice books. And I had one very frustrated Morris Brown College graduate who, even after this coaching, could not pass the test to be a private in the Marines. This is terrible. And we tried three times over 18 months. He got teary on me, then expressed bitterness.

Actually, this article shows we have standards. We just have to start them sooner if we are to advance our young people to the future.

I always assumed the parents who paid the very expensive bills to this private college were also frustrated. They got screwed, too.

Morris Brown specialized in the "diamond in the rough" idea, but at the time it seems the idea was taken too far, to the point of frustrated young people and their parents. Now that is not in our Nation's interest.

Morris Brown later went through a rigorous academic review process, and survived, so hopefully things are more balanced. What prompts this article is hearing too many presidential candidates suggesting going back to this old way of frustrating our young people. Educational standards applied at the beginning are doing our young people a favor in the long run. It seems incredible that so many others see relaxing standards as helping kids in the long run. Of course too many are politicians or hired staffs (local, state, or federal) whose kids do go through rigorous private educations to gain the advantages all Americans deserve, and have to earn.

Now standards are doing kids a favor and promoting our National Interest. Can we apply this idea to all of us? Maybe even parents and local governments will get in step? Call it an "educate and release" plan.
Do Americans want a government by polling?

Most Americans trust the vote and elections more than the polls.

It is astounding that so many polls exist, and that so many can make money at doing polls. Obviously, many people desire to hear about polls, and many of them have an inherent trust in poll results. Many others don’t, and here’s why in English (vice statistics talk).

Polls suffer from human intervention, be it influence by the buyer, the creator, or suspicion by the readers of the polls that the creators had an agenda. Much can be said for “focus groups” and “studies” by the way.

A poll purist, or a poll idealist, truly does believe polls are a shortcut method to the latest situation report about whatever. This may be, but more likely it is maybe not. A purist will spend as much or more time on constructing the poll and its assumptions, and publishing them, than they will on the poll and publishing the results. The basic reason is human mistrust, some call it experience. Polls can be manipulated, especially given the news cycles, the election cycles, and some business cycles.

Some of us have gotten to where we won’t waste our time reading polls or the latest fatwa. Both are suspect to those who have only so much time to try figure out the “facts” and improve our situational awareness.

Yet news companies keep commissioning polls so they can report on them. Is trust in these polls and resulting headlines increasing or decreasing? Is this tried and true business method part of the decline of mainstream media? Many think so, and so these kinds of polls one can predict will decline and go away. After all, these types of polls and headlines are a recent phenomenon, and lacking an infusion of trusted professionalism, will go away.

Another group decidedly grounded in the polling past is our ruling political group of Americans, and their hired staffs and media and campaign managers. Their principles are simple and two. First is to run to the extremes to gain the nomination, and then run to the middle to win the general vote. Second is to control and frame the discussion so as to win the votes. Polling is an important tool in both principles, and so far seems to work. As always, past success breeds complacency and confidence that it will continue to work. But this one underlying tool of polling has reached its epoch, and will fade until some professionalism is introduced. Professionalism, by the way, means confidence in polls by the voting public.

Family run businesses are a good example of how polls should be constructed if to be used for business reasons, albeit balanced by Family considerations. Human intervention is so necessary in building trust in the poll results that most time used in a real poll is just that. Let the audience being asking the polled questions create the questions that should be asked, how asked, and in what order? Then, and only then, is there credibility in the poll results.

Absence all the time a real poll takes, no wonder we still have a Constitutional vote to find out what we really value, locally, state-wide, and federally.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Declaring war is not old fashioned

Let our Country have the debate and friction and votes up front. Politicians standing up and being counted in this most important national issue is key to our National survival, or demise. At least we will have voted on it.

Today in the national discussion is the war in Iraq, the war on terror, and possible regional war in Mesopotamia, to include Iran. Tomorrow it may be a region in the world, an asset in the world, or even out of this world, like the moon.

Presently the preferred course of action is covert action since this is a good way to fight fire with fire. But this course also gives the initiative to our enemies as they define how things will go. We deserve this present state since our present educated but inexperienced leaders and hired staffs have decided to avoid messiness while responding to overt attacks. The politics are key since America’s national interests are too often second to financial and reelection benefits accrued to politicians. What a mess. And it is both executive and congressional.

There have been strong hints. After 911 when our Nation suffered casualties in the thousands, terrible financial damage, and political damage, our congress and executive could not even craft a declaration of war as a response. Rather there was a carefully crafted authorization, now even called disingenuous in the underlying facts, that let our Nation go forward. What a sad state of affairs since this is still alive and well 6 years later. And this is not some Gulf of Tonkin ruse as many still remember.

There has been another strong hint. All the politics of 911 fades to just normal things, like a family, or a business, or being in love. This is normal in America and votes.

There are Japanese type arguments about the value of surprise attacks. In a covert war, surprise is key, and it works, for and against us. While the public is ignorant, the political leaders get the message from their enemies. And there are many other covert things going on just to say Americans are not docile.

If it is important to our Nation and its future, declare war. If it is not, say so.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Taking the Country back

Who’s going to do it? The obvious three choices are Republicans, Democrats, or Independents. Maybe there is some common sense combination of all?

How are we going to do it? The obvious three choices are revolution, revolt, or the vote.

Of course the question assumes getting the Country back has a meaning? The obvious three choices are American character, American standards, or American respect for each other. The common theme is the willingness to be governed.

Inherently, are we a melting pot, or multicultural, in defining all preceding? Can we still assert ourselves in our present choices, or are the immigrants directly in charge of our future?

How are we going to achieve getting the Country back? The obvious three choices are American social values, American religious values, and American educational values.

Implementing the last three options means one of three things: dictating the winning classes values in an autocratic but republican manner, converting to a parliamentary government like England, or becoming some kind of quasi religious oligarchy where the anointed pontiff’s environment or social values trump national values like jobs and security.

To add a perspective, the vast part of our Country is well grounded in their values and not as alarmed by all these minority efforts, nutty or not, and even by the fact they are reported by the media. Yet the concern is that minorities often take over small revolutions that come to fruition, especially when well financed by those patrons who can afford it and have their own agendas. Youth often include well intentioned naivety in the merging of both. Being an adult means squashing this like the bug it is.

Recently one group has demonstrated such poor American behavior, yet brag about having bought the Democratic Party and now demand their just rewards. Of course this is the moveon group. If ever there is a case for taking back America from such a minority American group, this is the one, as in crushing them like a bug. If the Democratic Party can’t do it, then let the voters do it.

Our American nation is most important to us, our children, and to the world’s future. And once again the majority have to fight at home and across the seas just to maintain our way of life. Who ever thought this could happen?
What a difference ten months makes

The Democratic Party platform for 2006 was different from what is going on today. The cure is worse for our Country than the problems.

Phrases like “drain the swamp” and “end the culture of corruption” still come to mind. Like most citizens, all platforms are taken with a grain of salt, and many even agree Rahm Emanuel and other Democratic leaders probably let the Congressman Foley abuse go on until the timing of the information release could do the most damage to the Republicans. Many even accepted the “we support the troops” proclamation as having some element of truth suggesting National Interest was still important to the Democratic Party. And many could see the collective mainstream media wanted to elect Barack Obama as the next President, and most could live with this media intent.

What the Nation got was the wool pulled over our eyes. The more cynical will say it was all obvious from the start. The less cynical would say maybe, but sending a message to both national political parties was worth the chance, and the Nation lost. The “swamp” is deeper than ever, and the new “ethics” bill is a fig leaf for even worse corruption and abuse of the federal treasury.

The unwritten but cultural impacts are more disturbing. Hints began when the 2006 Congressional election results became a mandate for getting out of Iraq. Old fashioned Nazi-like propaganda techniques such as repeating often enough, first softly and then forcefully that there were no WMD’s, became accepted as fact. We “support the troops, but” mutated to a more anti-military tone where assaults on others opinions and integrity have entered an Alice in Wonderland quality, where even double standards go without reasonable challenge in the Democratic Party. The tone of all civil debates has gotten worse, much worse than 10 months ago. Previous restraints and self-discipline as to bad language and behavior have not been challenged within the culture. Rather the plain old fashioned reactionary use of intimidation and thought control have ascended as a method of imposing one’s political goal. The poisonous political atmosphere coming from the politics of personal destruction with all its ramifications has taken hold, as being normal, which it is not as an American trait.

Practical effects are disturbing, too. Speaker Pelosi orchestrated an anointment set of events extending over days. The basic responsibilities of politicians have been passed to their hired staffs, whose influence is even greater while their experience is not. The immigration debate in the Senate shows a great disconnect between the citizens and the politicians. The mainstream media has taken a more overt political tone and greater tolerance for the “fake but true” standard of reporting the news. Federal basics like guarding the borders, food and drug safety for humans and pets, import safety, maintenance of our bridges, and enforcement of our trade agreements suffer from lower priorities and funding, all the while we still borrow vast sums of money for “a bridge to nowhere”. Senator Reid’s financial problems are not even brought up by the Ethics Committee. Minor, but overt revolts, by cities sponsoring immigrant sanctuary sites have appeared.

So much for the Democratic Party “draining the swamp” and “ending the culture of corruption”. Things have gotten worse since they got the chance. This political party should not get another chance to pull the wool over our eyes. “Shaft me once, shame on them. Shaft me twice, shame on me”.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Clouds in our coffee

Yesterday’s 1960 conservative is today an American liberal. Yesterday’s 1960 liberal is a PC socialist reactionary. The American public is about the same and too busy getting on with life to get bogged down in most politics, foreign and domestic. Anarchists are more organized thanks to the internet and computers. The sedate are comfortable in their personal security. The politicians are busy making money. Just swirl that cup of political coffee and milk and see America in action.

Will all this last forever? Will something make a cloud and rain on America? Will that something be foreign or domestic?

Our pursuit of quality of life and security for all is a dangerous course of action as going on today. It is one thing when the have-not voters can vote for a redistribution of wealth to them from the have voters; and it is another thing when we freely borrow to make up for shortfalls, and expect our descendents to pay the principal and interest. All have read the economic logics of why this may work in the long run, and all these theories are chancy. Perhaps the short or medium runs will cause the house to collapse financially.

A little self restraint, and even leadership and assertion about how to sustain all the good we have, is due in our future. Examples of leadership opportunities abound for foreign and domestic issues. Perhaps we can’t spend billions of dollars in Iraq even if we want to. Perhaps social security and Medicare/Medicaid solvency should be debated now before the system collapses.

The percentage of voters who think of themselves as independents exceeds those of think of themselves as of one of the two major national political parties. This is a clue to our national future, as our way of life and future becomes of concern to the voters. We all look into that cup of swirling coffee and milk the same.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

What’s important?

The answer is pretty simple. My and my families ways of life.

That there are divergent ways to think about values and civilizations is a given. The recent 911 attack on we Americans and our western culture is a recent example about divergence. Where I thought we were leading edge in women’s emancipation is now a reason to attack us.

Before the attack on 911, I did not have to think about what is important. It was just assumed. Now I think about values mostly since the attack. Even the subject of equality of fighting for our national cause has appeared in the term proportional response. How sad as one who wishes to preserve ones way of life while preserving other points of view. In this is the western strength, as long as I or my kids don’t have to die for it.

There are costs to be human as to our own families. Mine fields in the west are well planned and recorded, even the cluster bombs with 3% failure rates are location known. What Princess Dianna campaigned against was the indiscriminate use by those that were “indiscriminate”. What never was reported was young Brits and allies dieing in her behalf. Mines, properly used and locations recorded, save lives.

The basic answer still applies. My and my families way of life are a normal way to survive.
Just who is driving this Iraq train?

This coming week includes reports by our top General and top Diplomat in Iraq. Both are sharp as tacks. Much in the American media suggests we will hang our hat on what they say and recommend. All this is amplified by the ignorance of Congress who required a Presidential report vice report by these lowers, and now is bad mouthing what the Presidential report they required may say, ahead of time. It is obvious that these Congressmen don’t even know about which they mandated, especially since their staff’s did most of the work. Ignorance is not bliss when running a country, or even running a country down. This principle applies to elected representatives, and their hired staffs.

Mob mentality variations rule. Those who write on everything from genocide in Darfur to incompetency in New Orleans to being armchair generals and secretaries of state to global warming to social security reform to how to judge the “surge” reinforce themselves and their job security, still have respect, or at least get paid. How about America’s security, to include our future?

How about a little experience, common sense, and national selfishness? Those presently in charge in the federal executive and the congress, along with their staffs, have much education, hopefully intelligence, and little experience, both at home and abroad. They are out of their league, in American and western terms. At home, it is especially frustrating to try implement the executive’s guidance by gaining interagency cooperation (local buzzword). Cooperation and unity of effort are not natural, though it should be if run like a business. But either way, it must come from the top down, not from the bottom up leaders we do have in Iraq today. That the State Department passed 200 of their 350 surge quotas to the Defense Department says much.

If what we end up with this coming week or two is an American compromise that later brings us more Americans dieing at home and our way of life under assault, then the our enemies are driving the train. If our political leaders and their hired staffs don’t like political division, then they probably won’t like being superceded. While most of us are not politicians, eventually some consensus that we are under attack will come, and the need to do something in our behalf, will emerge. And it will be more than some commision like after 911.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Politics in America today

One common citizen’s situation report follows. Call it a perception report if you will.

Too many young people don’t know enough to respect the Constitution and the nature of a republic.
Too many rich patrons don’t care enough to respect the Constitution and the nature of a republic, or take advangage of it.
The poisonous nature of politics is driving away too many of our best and brightest Americans at all levels: local, state, and federal.
Education of young people has gone too far towards indoctrination and an adults’ jobs program.
The federal executive and congress are loathe to declare war when attacked if a lesser course of action will sell inside of the Beltway.
Many think wars can be won in the media.
Americans are still confused between rights and privileges, and what is God given.
Passing debt to future generations, principal and interest, is no longer considered immoral to today’s citizens.
Citizens confuse intelligence, education, and experience, which are all different.
Mainstream religions have taken idealism past standards and public responsibility.
Government unions should be an oxymoron.
Taking care of all America has done so far is not sexy enough to get votes.
Our litigious nature has been taken to extreme, as in now being counter-productive to the well being of society.
Public trials and jury type judgments in the media have approached mob mentality, to the degradation of the innocent until presumed guilty principle.
Our national financial under pinning is little understood, little respected, or a cause of concern to the common citizen.
National secrets are just that.

The status quo is assumed as why not.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The audacity of politicians is astounding

Be it local, state, or federal, money and ego and agendas have trumped citizen interests. This is not normal, this is just what has evolved. Be it the Gwinnett County Georgia annual school budget of $1.4 billion dollars, or the Duke University annual budget of almost the same $1.4 billion dollars, our local politicians and teachers have much responsibility, but too little accountability. Most parents just expect the basics as in a normal child sent to be educated will come out educated. Most do not expect indoctrination. This is different from the past since indoctrination does go on. In the “old” days, there was not enough time after the basics to indoctrinate. The basics took all the available time. Now indoctrination type subjects trump the basics. How about pet care as an elective in Wake County, NC. Now a candidate for Miss SC Teen cannot even speak coherently to answer a geography type question. And the school system follow-up promotes her as a 3.5 GPA good student. How sad.

For those that perceive America’s problems from their point of view, and where they live and sit, good on ya. There is much work to be done to lead where we and our children should go. This idea is America, nothing less.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Namby pamby foreign policy

What a sad state of affairs our executive and congressional leaders and hired staff have brought this wonderful country to be confronted with. Thank goodness the 2008 elections are coming.

Some don’t even want to acknowledge we’ve been attacked to include massive human and financial damage, and even our way of life is being attacked. Many mealy mouth the details, circumstances, timing, and even blame the USA for the international and regional problems going on. That’s just fine to mealy mouth since conceding control to time may in fact solve the problems of the attacks of 911. In turn avoiding confronting an Iranian nuclear capability with the already announced intention of using it on Israel, will most likely hasten the event, if allowed to go unchecked.

The more likely results of our namby pamby foreign policy is to concede control of world events to others. If this is on purpose, fine; we can vote on it. If it is more a head in the sand and hope for the best, then this is unconscionable. For these USA leaders and their hired staffs, if they think Americans can’t stand war, see how well we and our allies like being attacked by enemies who said it was coming. Said another way, when we start losing the way we and our culture live, we voters will change things that could have been changed before. To paraphrase an Army quote, if you don’t like change, you probably won’t like being inconsequential.

Most Americans will not concede control of the their way of life and culture to others, even if their leaders and hired staffs try to do so. In the foreign policy area, others (not us) will step in to assert their objectives as in the Arabs fighting the Persians, or the Greeks fighting the Turks, or the Tamils fighting their oppressors, or the Xhosa killing their Zulu and English and Dutch opposition in South Africa, or any other tribal conflict (there are so many). In the domestic policy area influenced by foreign-assumed principals, public education for our children, immigration, infrastructure, and even self defense of our way of life and culture are American things we will assert ourselves on. This seemingly complicated brew can be reduced to Americans, as in what is in our national interest.

Let the world stand by. What is usually in the USA interest is also in the World interest. The present day buzzword is actionable intelligence. If you don’t like such reports after the fact, change, or the future’s uncertainty, just ask the citizens of Tel Aviv, or Paris, what they think.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Apples, oranges, and enlightenment

When the witch’s brew includes humans of different cultures, humans of the same culture but different parts, and humans who just want to get along, the brew’s outcome can be surprising. Making apples into oranges can be hard work, with often disappointing results on all sides. Maybe the objective for now should be getting apples and oranges to coexist in the sellers market without contaminating each other.

And this is just about the American Civil War, the War Between the States, the War of the Rebellion, the War of Northern Aggression. To say the debate about facts and history and honoring our ancestors is alive and well is an understatement even after 140 years. While not from Georgia, I’ve lived there and the friction over the state flag alone got a very good governor replaced through election. Apples and oranges and civility had a distinct local tone, and it was all civil and honest as he lost his job.

Apply these ideas of apples and oranges to the clash of cultures, the west meets east, the internal muslim frictions, the tribal loyalties, the nation state problems, and maybe we in the USA have some similar human experience, albeit USA style. The civil war is close enough in time to have ancestral relative’s values applied to we Americans today.

Whether we should apply our personal historical experience to the world of today is a moot point. Of course we will and do. For those not affected, or don’t care, of course the same applies. Even the USA civil war has this standard applied, thank goodness to today’s world.

Whatever version of the civil war history and especially local history one knows and respects, those who have done all this have a good advantage in trying to sort out what is best for our nation today. Consider the aftermath of the civil war as a good place for lessons learned, and then apply them today in the world. Many do. Most should since we do have experience. Some call it values, and a willingness to assert them.

Maybe our political leaders will even listen.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Attacking Iran?

Why the Congress must vote on a declaration of war with Iran.

The evenly politically divided nation we live in can’t even agree on whether on not we are being attacked even as American’s die not in Iran, but Iraq. And so many citizens blame the USA for all the Iranian’s have been doing to us since 1979. And so many other citizens think the blame the USA crowd has invited the exact Iranian actions we all object too. Nobody thinks Americans should die, I still believe. And all believe in diplomacy first; even many support the modern version of diplomacy without threats of overt military action if diplomacy fails. At best this group supports vague threats of watered-down UN economic sanctions, or some kind of MAD doctrine assuming the Iranian leadership thinks like us. Of course, the MAD doctrine types are willing to accept the death of some major western city first which many who live in the likely cities object too. Just ask Israeli leaders and families what they think about the president of Iran talk about wiping out the Jews as his government develops nuclear technology against the entire world, including the UN.

The USA deserves a recordable vote on war with Iran by our Congress. The federal politicians will avoid this idea at all costs since the present model of complaining without offering alternatives seems to help so many get reelected. Those anti-war pacifist types, who are a small minority of our country and the democratic party, also deserve a chance to be on the record. Then we voters can decide, hopefully before the 2008 election. And this bottom line issue is one of National Interest.

A vote on war with Iran in the long run will help unite this country, which is so much needed. Avoiding a vote just continues the divisions. For those that cannot accept the voting process, go away, one way or the other. Find a better place to try be dominate; or change our Constitution. History since the 2006 election suggests this minority cannot even end the war in Iraq by cutting off funding, though both Houses have tried. Perhaps some have read the tea leaves that they are a minority. A vote on war with Iran will reinforce this belief.

Of course going to war is very serious business, fraught with consequences never anticipated or expected, and much less preferable to diplomacy. This is not an original idea. The phoney war in Europe after declarations of war in WWII failed to stop the war that followed, and all the horrible consequences that descended on much of the world. The WMD incidents of Russian nukes circa 1991 (just after the dissolution of the USSR) going to Iran, or the satellite photos of convoys of Iraqi somethings going to burial sites in Syria come to mind.

In the USA, prosecuting a small war, such as in Iraq, to many means accepting two things today. One is that AQI has chosen to define their war on us there in Iraq. The second, is that professionals seem to now be in charge both in Iraq and DC as compared to after the invasion. Such people understand and respect that small wars includes the basic three requirements from the USA point of view: local security with jobs and family and tribal quality of life, protection from outside Iranian interference, and forcing the Iraqi politicians to get in step to maintain USA support.

All of these aforementioned opinions, as well as regional impacts in Mesopotamia, will come in a debate about whether to go to war with Iran. There should be no Iranian sanctuaries, for example. The Iranian IRGC should be very vulnerable, and recent history and presidential actions suggest so. But these findings are less than a declaration of war.

It is in our National Interests to have this debate, and vote. This should help diplomacy, and avoid another phoney war.
Conventional wisdom for America

Just how conventional thinking are we Americans?

Years ago a Scientific American article suggested a group of jurors was as astute as a group of psychiatrists about judging the mental state of the accused. Recently another similar article in Aviation Week suggested that a group of Americans was just as astute as self-declared pundits and experts about the state of technical affairs in America. Most Americans today inherently recognize following their informed instinct is a comfortable way to think and talk and vote.

Most recognize conventional wisdom when they see and smell it. Preseason and even during-season sports rankings are one obvious example. Pundit opinions about the political status quo almost always assume the status quo will continue for a long time. Pundit and expert opinions about elections are much the same. Farmers will certainly add in the weather as a subject. A common thread is the enormous amount of information, facts as well as opinions, that is beyond the ability of humans to digest. And don’t automatically knock the pundits and experts who pontificate, as they have to make a living, also.

The rub many Americans feel is almost emotional in nature. It is somehow demeaning and somewhat insulting to be thought of as conventional thinking in nature. Those leaders and hired managers, and those who report on all them and then apply conventional wisdom, are too often fooled by Americans who perhaps are not as conventional thinking as thought.

Of course one can put the shoe on the other foot, so to speak. Perhaps it is the leaders and hired managers who are conventional thinking and more out of touch than they know.

In either case, change is always coming. Sometimes change is faster at one time than other times. And seldom is there a speed limit on change.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Divorce rates, arranged marriages, and are you happy

Men and women throughout the world do think differently.

Think about this link about divorce percentages throughout the world:

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Top down or bottom up … America in Mesopotamia

Why are we even there? What is different from all the others like the Brits and the Russians and other colonialists who have expended themselves for their reasons before us? Why not let the locals fight on to kill each other for their own reasons, and then live or die with the results? That is a legitimate argument, often called the diplomatically realistic view of the region and the people. What prompted the alternatives to the realistic view is that we were attacked by those in Mesopotamia. Thousands of Americans died on our own shores, killed by those born and educated and financed in Mesopotamia. And now we even have the puppet president of Iran threatening to nuke Israel, an ally in name and values. So the debate expands as whether to believe the president of Iran or not. The analogies to how our ancestors listened to Hitler cry out. Now do we listen to the president of Iran, or do otherwise, whatever that is.

Much of the American prosecution of the war and winning the peace in Iraq is full of much friction, mostly over the poor experience of our leaders out of D.C. The President gets much blame as he should, but do not leave out our Congress and their part in all this. Even the media and pundits try get involved, but in the end it is the politicians and voters that run the government. Now smart words and phrases like small wars, respect for all foes, becoming police and local, listening, using our money for influence, and winning the peace means jobs and families and security in Monterey, be it be the city in Texas, California, Mexico, or Tennessee.

One debate is the purpose of our future ground military. Let me suggest that militaries are to defend our country primarily. Let me suggest that police, otherwise called traditional names such as police, constabulary, gendarmes, or para-military, do all the other things we pay for as taxpayers. Advanced thinkers, hedging their bets some think, suggest our Army of the future has to think small wars as part of how to organize and train and educate. Given the present war of winning the peace in Iraq, they have a very good point. The point is so very well amplified by all the initiatives of officers; commissioned, staff non commissioned, and non commissioned. It appears we Americans should be so proud of what our young soldiers and Marines are doing by pure instinct and values. None of this is taught in military school.

In the end, we Americans can listen to those on the ground in Mesopotamia, and learn. This is the bottom line way to decide to vote. Are Americans politicians, or just Americans?