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Monday, December 31, 2007

Do not discount Pakistan’s British heritage

Most of us don’t believe everything we hear, and certainly not what we see on TV. Add in the poor education of so many in the for profit media, and their tendency to reverberate what ever bubbles to the top of the septic tank, and it is difficult to be confidently informed of reality. Good, bad, or indifferent, that is how it is these days.

All the turmoil in Pakistan is the test case, or example. The obvious candidates for who commissioned the assassination are three. Add in the not so obvious candidates, and who knows. The key point is there are many in Pakistan who still believe in the nation-state idea, the rule of law, and the many myriad of compromises to help make this happen. Along the way, many in Pakistan see the exploiters of their many cultures and tribes, who can never rule in their own right because of competing cultures and tribes, and so are willing to follow the British model that worked for so many centuries. It is one tough cauldron of politics and business and ruling families.

Just don’t forget them in all the reporting going on. Our western example, a nation-state example, is worth fighting for, and certainly rates honesty in values and reporting. While we probably will never know what is really going on in Pakistan, our support for the British principles there will probably help the solution work to our advantage, as well as their advantage.

For the younger types so interested in all this, read about Marshall Tito and Yugoslavia back when it was both a nation-state and a dictatorship with rules. Sometimes knocking heads has benefits, especially when the alternatives are anarchy. Anarchy is not good for child raising and the future. Hence there are often better and compromising ways to do things for society.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

If times get hard, can we live off the land?

Since most cannot, do we decide to surrender?

Or do we do our best to survive? Can we survive relearning to grow and make food and clothes and heat? If we are trying to survive, are we tribal or more nation-state, as in American? Basically, is our survival about us, or our American society?

Whether the worst case comes to pass or not, the basic questions exist. For the last four or five decades, an overreaching idealistic principle that assumes America, the USA, is the world standard and goal of life and lifestyle, has seemed to predominate here in the USA, and has resounded and reverberated at home. That most in the rest of the world, mostly the third world, did not either get the message, or agree with the message, seems to pass most people by. What a shame since these other world people count, too. And most of us would rather do business with them dealing in their standards than fighting them in their standards.

Some of these third world people want to kill us, end our way of life, and impose their way of life. It seems hard to believe, but there we are. Use the 9/11 events to spark your incredulity. And they are such a minority. But then again, all revolutions begin this way, including our own revolution.

Be trendy and cool in your own way. And be new world and American that recognizes your own birth and responsibilities to continue on the new world way which you will define. In the mean time, growing corn in the desert and living naked in caves seems to be the ways we were pointed decades ago. What a waste, speaking for my kids, and grandkids who think all this is as silly as it is. We have a better way, and it is so American.
The world is full of little trickles of water

Some become floods of water in the world, and also in politics. And even little trickles of blood can become death from the cuts of a thousand knives.

What has seemed like little trickles of water and blood in America over the last four decades are many many. Double standards and affirmative action to address obvious past discrimination has evolved to many frustrated young people who can’t meet common standards to compete amongst themselves. American idealism and western standards naively applied to the rest of the world is not reciprocated, and even used against us. Too many American politicians focusing on themselves and their party and financial power have abused the local, state, and federal basic reasons for government, and the trickles of laws, guidelines, and restrictions have compounded. Now many Americans have to hire neighborhood or even local street police to do what taxes used to pay for. And the taxes are still there, just the basic function of domestic protection is not present. Basic education has evolved into basic indoctrination. There are only so many hours in any curriculum, and the 3 R’s have been superceded by indoctrination ideas that have achieved higher priority. And now that we have been attacked, again, so many still give priority to now giving “our attackers from the world” American rights, and want the process to be a legal process, vice a war process. Even many Americans still think the prison system purpose is to rehabilitate criminals, vice lock them up to protect us against them. Again, here is another trickle that has been going on for decades, and now a hard working fellow in Charlotte gets shot while walking his dog on Christmas Eve in his neighborhood by a gang member from LA working on his initiation into “the gang”. And the best intended financial efforts of our federal government elected and appointed types to extend home ownership to the poor, and those buying beyond their means, extended to government policies and scolding that are now being renounced by many of the same government elected types, and then have band-aids put on top of band-aids using their votes in our present financial crisis. Most families know about first aid, and bandages on top of bandages do not stop bleeding wounds until the underlying problem is taken care of. If not, a minor wound can become life threatening.

The old joke about things being dimmest just before things get totally dark do not apply, we hope. While it might apply in the old world, it does not apply in the new world, and the American world, for now. Hence, we know to use our vote to fight for our causes, and to change things. The alternatives are third world, and are just un-American. With almost a year to go to the November 2008 elections, use the vote locally, state, and federal. Most of the issues are “trickle issues”, which is just fine. Let American voters stop the potential floods, or even bleeding deaths from a thousand cuts. It will take decades, but then where we are today took decades, too.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The retirements of our county and state government employees will consume us

The amount of guaranteed retirement benefits to our local and state government employees today exceeds what is in the banks. The obligations exceed the ability by about 50%, depending on the math and how it is figured. Bottom line is that the benefits provided by our local and state governments to their American employees, to include retirement benefits, has increased a lot, and many local voting people don’t know how much about this before they vote, to include how many weeks going into months they will have to work to pay all these promises. This will all come to a head within the next decade, probably sooner. In the meantime, these most wonderful services, and even local tax payer paid kangaroo courts about jobs continue. Specifically, a local government employee can be the judge, the jury, and the applier of justice even when someone gets fired for being lazy.

The obvious future choices are default, which may bring American generational warfare and civil war by our children and grandchildren; and a financial meltdown that will drag in the whole world. What a shame, since it does not have to be.

We can vote on all this. Living in a wonderful world is, well, wonderful. If only we could pay for it, vote for it, and finally pay for it within our means.

Perhaps we new world and USA voters can back down long enough to let our ideals and goals we set for politicians be caught up with financial reality. In all cases, we are a federal republic, not a democracy, and now is the time for American leaders to step in, and get elected. The choices, and options, are clear if our way of a new world American way of life is to continue. It is clearly not a republican party or democratic party way. That’s the beauty. We are a new world and American way.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What a shame about the influence and frustration of some bloggers

Now it has become political and even censorship by the “owners” of some internet blog sites. In turn, obviously some sincere writers of their opinions have gone beyond the old time standards of convincing arguments to “stuffing the ballot box”, internet style. All this is un-American since ideas should win out over ballot box stuffing, sincere belief in knowing “the truth”, or even egos.

The obvious question is one of how to deal with this “current trend”. Many choose to vote with their feet, and leave the discussion, not out of surrender or poor ideas, but mostly just out of common sense and respect. Practically speaking, if any author wants to try influence their fellow Americans by organizing their “votes” they are welcome to do so. In the same vein, if some other fellow Americans want to censor and restrict this abuse of democracy and internet free play, they are demonstrating old fashioned fascism, who many think we defeated decades ago as an idea. There is a third way, and pretty normal. It is called let people vote with their feet, recently using the internet, to show what they think about “current trends” going on at the RCP site, again as an example. In this things will sort out for the best.

And the best is our country’s future. Now that is something we can talk about. And there are many many who have good ideas, and are willing to express them. On this many wake up looking forward to the new day. The only people in charge of America are Americans.

Friday, December 21, 2007

The human instinct to dominate others is normal

There have always been alpha males and alpha females. What is new is the choice of using government to be a tool of the alpha individual. And it has worked since the beginning of the income tax in the USA. The only way to agree with this, or change all this, is our vote in the new world, in our case the USA. In the old world, revolution and assassinations were too often a usual means compared to the vote. “Off with their head” was too often a real political solution.

The alpha instincts normally and usually get sorted out two ways in the USA. Both are losers for our future, and our progenies future. The issues are as simple to think about as the complicated issues of integrity and competence.

First most of we humans will support fellow human politicians if they would run on what they believe, vice what they say to get elected. This normal dance of history is amplified by the best propaganda politicians can buy, and money raising supports all this. Second is the competence issue which is a fair issue. Alpha individuals who want to play god with humans and animals have a bad and embarrassing record of performance. Let the examples be, for animals, Yellowstone Park; and for humans, the war on poverty in America. In both cases, the law of unintended consequences is the quaintest way to say we Americans can do better than this.

And better than this is our vote. While nothing is certain, one thing is certain. Alpha types are not running America. Americans are.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Let Santa be Santa

What are parents and leaders for?

Having just read another younger psychologist's recommendation about how to handle when a kid finds out Santa is not real, I wanted to laugh. After all, we all went through this experience, and have our own opinions which we will apply to our kids. We don’t need or even want another young educated opinion.

That is what parents and leaders are for.
The difference between a national interest hungry American and an idealist American should be a great divide

That there is not a divide is fraught with political paths that can be ruinous to America. And all this is way beyond the two national political parties, which have had their chance and blew it. A national interest hungry American should come across as more like the Chinese we vilify, that is those who use every trick in their bag of tricks to promote themselves, their families, their business, their country, and their way of life. It is crude, straight forward, and they do have their own serious problems, lest we make them look too tall. An idealist American assumes as an only super power, again the operative word is “assumes”, our country can only be defeated militarily, and that is unlikely. Hence, there is not even competition both foreign and domestic, and some other more idealistic approach better ensures our national interest. Yet this path invites incremental dissolution of all the new world and American power earned by an ancestors.

For example, going to school and working hard still counts. New world American values and policies should promote this as a hard standard to be promoted, valued, recognized, rewarded, and awarded. So many from the third world recognize this (thank goodness), and we should, too. This idea of a hard standard goes against the thrust of “everybody’s a winner for showing up”, taking dodge ball out of recess, etc., that has been promoted in policies and practices during the last few decades. Even double standards to promote Negroes is counter productive, unfair, and racist in the long run. A hard standard is national hungry interest at its best, especially given our world competition. And in our new world amalgamation, we can win hands down, with some leadership and voted policy. And our elected government employees must work hard in this direction, both foreign and domestically.

The other side of the divide that should exist is those Americans who expect to succeed by leadership by example, as in the golden rule type foreign and even domestic policies eventually get their just rewards. Double standards and even affirmative action come to mind as how these idealistic policies get applied. Some Americans even are willing to fritter away all the advantages our ancestors passed to us in pursuit of their objectives. There is little thinking about even balancing out practicality with idealism. Even our politicians can tie our business and even CIA people’s hands behind their backs. As an instrument of foreign policy I understand. As an instrument of idealism it is much too idealistic and na├»ve in this most human and rough world.

In this is the rub. Some Americans are not willing to let other Americans take them down the tubes of history. Said another way, the tolerance for do gooders and good intentions is down if it means American children and grandchildren are to suffer and take the brunt of failed American idealism. There are other alternatives, and other better ways, even in the world we live in today.

That the divide, the chasm, is not so deep suggests the vote is a good way to decide our country’s future. All Americans can accept this idea of a vote. After all the alternatives are civil war or revolution. And the alternatives are “American” vice either present national political party's agenda today. Hence we Americans should see new names pop up nationally (and after the first of the year) in the 2008 federal elections. I have mine, you have yours, and let’s see what sorts out. The most important American names are at the state and local level. We Americans will not have to vote to take back America, rather we will vote to be America. But by golly, vote.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Old prejudices don’t “just fade away”. They evolve to live another day.

The rate they pop up in the most unabashed ways these days, mostly from left leaning individuals, is simply astounding in two ways. One is the simple silliness of the prejudices that show little exposure to other people in our nation. Second is the gall to write and report such gibberish, and not be laughed off the national stage, or at least fired by the bosses. Perhaps the problem is deep enough to fire the producers, and their bosses? Perhaps the Board of Directors need to step in to protect their Company from poor management and loss of income from simple prejudice?

And what is going on is different from the past. It is way past jokes that begin “have you heard the one about …” Some are just mean-spirited, and too many reflect an appalling ignorance of many fellow Americans. That’s what gets so many, that others who self-anoint themselves as do-gooders have so little experience with their fellow American citizens. The consequences can be disastrous, as in the media and politics.

Start with entertainment media. The recent movie about NWA Airlines (niggers with attitude) plays upon every caricature of American negroes. Except it is far from what is going on in the real American world. Just who financed this abomination of a movie? Continue with too many in academia and the reporting media who literally believe and teach and report a hate-America and Christian agenda that is far from reality. And I don’t even go to church. This prejudice even smacks of an agenda to tear down American civilization, with little responsibility for offering change and improvements we can vote on. And on to the Jews, always the Jews seem to be at the bottom of everything bad in history, despite the evidence otherwise. Between the academics who should know better, and the Muslims getting all the political and media attention these days ( a real minority of Muslims by the way), the Jews are getting a bad rap in the USA. It is enough to make me think the Jews are God’s chosen people, and again, I am not very religious. Last, prejudice seems to be perpetuated by our education system of kindergarten through the 12th grade, both public and private. Too many things required for our children to be taught and tested on reflect prejudice and indoctrination. That I have a daughter taught American history in a Wake Country public school in the Raleigh, NC area, that emphasized racial prejudice as the main lens is simply appalling. Fortunately, many children recognize all this, to include at the college level, and the effort to indoctrinate becomes counter-productive. But some don’t. And in both cases, an education to be a high school graduate has been wasted. And just who is in charge … the teacher, the kid, or the adults.

So when I am at a super bowl party not too many years ago, and I hear an “educated engineer” describe how quaint people are in the South, to include living and dressing in the “Gone With the Wind” mode, all based on a vacation and visit to the Stone Mountain tourist trap, well, that is the icing on the cake to me.

Being an American is better than all this dumb prejudice. We’re a big country, with a lot of people and traditions. What will benefit us most are leaders who think about America first, as in unite us. Parents will help along the way. And this concern is real, as in children and people do matter, the most. Those who do not matter are TV personalities expressing themselves, and pundits who write for a living. And government is not the solution, business and voting is a better alternative. Being on a board of directors used to have intimations of being an honorarium. Now it is work. And the rest of us will sort it out just fine.

Monday, December 17, 2007

If everyone has a college degree, who is going to do the blue collar work?

There are other paths to happiness and self-respect. And a college degree is not what it used to be.

Most of us have read the studies that suggest the more education one has, the more potential to have increased income during a lifetime. And while this might have been true in the past, it is not necessary so in the future. And since when does income equal happiness and self-respect, a question not even asked in these studies equating education to income? And many believe there was a time when a college degree represented imparted knowledge as well as indicated willingness to work hard and persevere. All these qualities appealed to recruiters and companies competing to hire people to help their company succeed. Alas, during the last decade or more, even that assumption has become subject to review dictated by what is really happening.

The best candidate for employment should have brains and some way to show exposure to the school of hard knocks. And certainly those who hire recruiters and candidates look at performance after hiring, as well as education before hiring, salaries, etc. Hence it is for the most basic reasons that the military has already started recruiting more officers from the ranks with the logic that one should be a good non-commissioned officer in order to be a good commissioned officer. And the military sends them to get a college degree to see if they can make it through that wicket. The Israelis already understand this idea. And if the report of 1/5 of IBM employees are from India is correct, then they too have broken the code.

One wonders how we got to this state of over-valuing a college education. Perhaps it began with the GI Bill after WWII, but then these college people had been through the school of hard knocks. They already had experience. Perhaps it was the rise of the soft subjects, the vast increase of women entering colleges, the cultural idealism and elitism of academia, the grade inflation and lowering of testing standards that denigrated the value of a college education. Who knows. But those who run companies who do many things, to include build and repair things, know what works and what does not work. Here there is little room for idealism and double-standards.

One does not have to be a math major to think of a triangle, with the USA population of 300 million part of the top of the food chain while others in the 6 and ½ billion world build and maintain and repair things. Fine if the status quo goes on forever, which it won’t. Are we to expect legal or illegal immigrants to build our houses, repair our refrigerators, and maintain our lawns in perpetuity. Are we to expect enough Americans will “fall out of the college pipeline” to do these blue collar things so necessary for a culture and society to exist. Are we to look down on them as in the past, a most corrosive cultural divide for those that believe it now. Just maintaining an auto these days is beyond the old time jack leg mechanic days. It takes smart well educated people to do these auto maintain and repair things. And they are worth a lot to society, and bring home some hefty salaries that support families, and happiness, and self-respect.

All married parents of children seek the best for their children. (The motivation for adults having children out of wedlock is a little more questionable?) But all seek to promote happiness and self-respect for their children. Nowhere does a college degree enter this equation or thought. Meanwhile, we have a country to run.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The rise of the elite ruling classes in the USA new world is something new

We did not elect most of them, but somehow they got to today’s positions. All this has happened in a matter of recent decades.

It is human in instinct, smacks of the old world royalty, often reflects business successes in our past, and is generally accepted by many of the ruled classes. Yet it is in fact newly arrived to the USA new world, and is unhealthy for our future and our children’s future. Said another way, is our loyalty to a constitution, or to a person or family? Of course the answer is automatically “a constitution”, but how many have really thought about it here at home? That others have thought about this, and choose to emigrate to our new world suggests “a constitution” is the better course of action for their future. And voting counts more than propaganda to tell us what “they” think.

In the not too distant past, the divide and conquer strategy tended to be one of class warfare. Rich against poor, white against black, urban against rural, and even now immigrant against native always were the normal political routines. Never was national interest and culture even brought up. But now it seems the elite ruling classes have either become lazy, or just assuming, by dictating the media reporting, the debate questions for the 2008 elections, and even standards of decency where “lying” is now accepted as normal, and one has to use the term “appalling” to try differentiate what is happening today. This my fellow citizens, is different, and a good indicator that we in the USA new world have a new divide, and it is one between the elite ruling classes and the rest of us. The friction is about our future, and how it is to be.

Let me run the numbers. There are about 300 million Americans. The elite ruling class type people can’t number more than 1 million, and more like 25,000 is a good guess. And as Mahatma Gandhi said about India and the Brits, the vast majority has to agree to let these people rule them in order for it to happen. So why are we even letting them have their way? The answer is the vote, to include the pocket book vote. Only then will old world royalty ideas and propaganda and human infatuation be subject to the new world types who do get one vote in our federal republic. Let me be less “sensitive”. The future of the “whole” world is our “new” world, and most are on board just by living here and voting. While perhaps a crude standard, it beats Sri Lanka, for example. And nothing against the Sri Lanka people, including the rebel Tamils. I am sure they are all fine people. But here in the new world USA , the elites can catch up, or go the way of the dinosaurs.
Never accept today’s status quo as normal

After all, for a thinking younger person, things that exist today probably do so because it is a good idea. This is a fair assumption, but fraught with dangers to the assumer and citizen, and their children.

Here’s three examples. 1) Presidential libraries have not been around forever, in fact the idea started with FDR in the 1930’s. Before that it was strictly an academic archivist issue. The need to raise funds and compromise was never part of being elected to President. 2) Nation-states are a modern western idea steeped in colonialism in the last two hundred years. Before that things tended to be more tribal laced with royalty in the old world. We new world types just went along with the old world. 3) The rise of the two major national political parties in the USA accelerated with the depression in the 1930’s, and was enhanced by our TV culture and great wealth. Before TV and the use of parties to divide and live off our public taxes, politics tended to be more local; and those working in D.C. had less stature nationally and internationally.

At a minimum, not accepting the status quo is fair. At a maximum, rejecting the status quo suggests there are better ways to get things done in this world we live in today. And this is a voter decision, not any one else’s decision in spite of the best propaganda efforts to influence the voters.

There are many practical examples here in the USA. Here’s three. 1) The rise of bureaucracies’ power inside of D.C., recently attention has been focused on the State Department and the Intelligence Community, is not the original status quo. 2) The idea of “career politician” is not the status quo. 3) The ability of the government to assume borrowing autonomy is not the status quo. There have been times when no one in their right mind would loan us money, and we American people had to pay as we went, and our politicians would fight about all this. Even the income tax is not original status quo, it was voted in during the early 1900’s. And now it is not enough, we have to borrow to balance the budget. This is not the original status quo.

If this article comes across with an anti-D.C. theme, that was not the purpose. Much good has been done and is being done by those Americans who serve each in their own way inside of D.C. Rather, some things seem seriously out of balance, and “out of balance” is not the status quo. The criminalization of politics, and political dirty tricks to embarrass political opponents as a way to rule is not the original status quo. Pandering to get votes by more benefits to the middle class, benefits to be paid by reckless borrowing without afterthought to the politicians, is not normal, not the status quo. Hence the need for voters to step in locally, state, and federally to elect those who think of national interests, and American culture. The idea is that we can’t have it all, at least for now.

The crescendo seems to be this. While “they” can take themselves down by their politics and well-intended theories, they have no voted right to take the rest of us down with them. When will this be debated?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The litmus test for the world’s future is immigration

Just who is moving where and why? All the politicians and pundits and media and academia and religions in both the east and the west can pontificate, talk, and even legislate. Some might even care, though many don’t. But what many normal human beings are doing is immigrating in this most wrenching human decision. And it is always for the basic reasons: economic security for them and opportunity for their children, police security, and comfort in cultural numbers in their destination country and culture.

And the world always has reactionaries. The present group of mullahs issuing fatwah’s and such intended to return to their 7th century standards reminds many of an older catholic church imposing such standards as the sun rotates around the earth. In the meantime, the tide of humanity rolls on.

One can learn that the magnet that attracts such humans is something to be pleased with, and worth both preserving, and even building. Mostly this is western culture, with a particularly new world bent. Mostly it is the USA, but it is also the entire new world. That Peru elected a president with the name Alberto Fujimora is another hint, even if he was a crook.

While we can leave the old world by coming to the new world, we cannot leave our humanity. Much friction has come out of this. Governments, revolutions, books, poetry, songs, art, and even politics still reflects things like boys and girls are different, cultures are always suspect to each other even to the point of cleanliness to protect the kids, and trust in other cultures is almost impossible unless the receiving culture, in our case the USA, can trust the most basic instincts like respect for the law, respect for our new world constitution, and respect for the common English language. Given the infatuation with anything “anti” the old culture our “greatest generation” passed on to us, it is amazing our cauldron of turmoil is still attracting the immigrants that are coming, illegally, and legally.

And mostly the amazement is on the toleration of the receiving end, our American culture. The rise of gangs from young immigrants provides such an example. And being tolerant costs public monies, as in taxes, and increased public medical costs. Some hospitals are going out of business because of this. Some of this toleration is killing some Americans. In the same vein, we in the new world can demand others in the old world meet our standards in order to do business. Safety issues like food for humans and pets, toys for kids, manufactured drugs, tools and metals that meet building standards, and even meeting safe building standards without payoffs are a big deal.

The classic argument about integration, be it the races in America in the old days, or the cultures in America these days, is how fast? We always seem like we are in hurry politically speaking. I still wonder why. There is at least one alternative. That alternative is to hold to standards, and let time take its course. The kids will sort out most of it their way, and the adults will provide standards and guidance.

This idea is so old fashioned, it might sound like new. Meantime, the tide of immigration rolls on. This citizen expects our USA politicians will still let us be in charge of all this. If they don’t let us be in charge, or even show that they care, then let us vote them out and vote others in. Those who seem to want to seek “world” positions should go elsewhere. After all, the tide is rolling, and it is coming the new world way. We in the new world, the citizens today who live here today, should have much to say about this. And like the immigrants, it is also about our future, our family’s futures, and our own security.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Leadership is an idea whose time has come again

Leadership is about devotion to principles or a mission. It is not a formula. Leadership is about the future, and not the past. Leadership is about the good of the whole, and not the individual. There are few natural born leaders, most have to be trained. And “government leader” is an oxymoron. Most leaders come from our entire culture, to include business leaders in management and worker groups and unions, our religions, our schools, our scouts, and our entertainment media.

Do you remember when cigarette smoking quietly left the movies. Do you watch old movies without bad language or nudity and with scripts that just rivet your attention as they provide entertainment. That is an example of leadership in the entertainment media.

Leaders know to uphold standards, and are willing to let people fail and struggle. Their relationship to their followers is one of “teacher to the student” and “father to the son”, never “senior to subordinate” or “master to slave”. Leaders don’t give out trophies for all participants in sports. There are winners and losers, and leaders use the difference as an opportunity to teach and show. Leaders do not believe in “from each according to their abilities” and “to each according to their needs”. Leaders are taught to be egalitarian and altruistic, and to practice charity.

To say leadership is an idea whose time has come again suggests other values have been rated higher in the recent decades. Ideas such as individual rights trumping group rights, multiculturalism making all cultural values morally equal, sexual promiscuity disguised as sexual freedom, the education of children changing from basic training to exist in society to indoctrination, to drug use being tolerated with a wink to even promoted in media and sports happened on purpose. The perceived value of all the preceding often followed the vague principles of revolt and reform intended to improve culture, though the mob mentality and necessary lowering of standards ruined this in the end.

Perhaps had we fewer “virtual mobs” and more individual leaders who could survive the many derisions of the last few decades things might have sorted out better than what we have today? And we in our American culture have many leadership start points, many focusing on our young people who respond to respect, education intended to benefit them, challenge, taught standards, and well, leadership, to include parenthood. Leadership is not dead, just coming back in respect and appreciation. And again, most leaders have to taught and trained to do the basics so valued by their followers, and children for some.

So start today wherever you are and at whatever you have a chance to do. Be it a church meeting, a business meeting, a school dance, a sports event, or whatever, start the leadership of our country according to your definition. If you need cotillion training, find it. If you need to respectfully shame having children out of wedlock, do it. If you need to evict school disrupters out of the regular classes, do it. If you need to break up children dancing too sexually suggestively, do it, and even explain why in harsh terms. When you are a sports coach, teach sports values along with sports drills, and explain why. If you don’t like the media movies being offered, vote with your pocket book. If you don’t like the cable or satellite "bundled" packages that include channels with girls making out with each other in the 6 PM timeframe, cancel the whole package. And then work to enable us common citizens to bust up programming packages to allow us to pick our own channels to pay for. That is one of the original ideas of the public benefit of TV, and the technology has us there.

Last, and again, few leaders are born, and most have to be trained. So much a part of training is self-confidence training. While it can be physical, it can also be mental. And so if in doubt, go for what you think is right and valuable, and find the training you think will benefit you later. Leadership is back in. Be willing to make mistakes, and be willing to take constructive criticism. But be a leader.

Of course there will be burps and farts along the way. But never be intimidated by the old school types. They had their chance, and blew it. Now it is back to basic leadership.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trying to live the hippie lifestyle and "living off the land" sucks.

Talk about a good idea gone bad. Mostly the bad is due to humans. The commune idea also is not normal human.

Let me start with energy, as in water that is healthy. Add in electricity, as in lights after dark that come on with a switch, cooking, and for some heat, at least in the thermostats that control other heat sources. Add in making your own clothes and growing enough food to make it through the winter, and well, our American culture has made a better way. Let me say it another way. There are others who can make electricity, and maintain it through bad weather, that do it better and cheaper than I can. So much for idealism and going back to the land. And when my family gets sick, I appreciate the American medical system in my rural area. It is pretty good, and hats off to my fellow Americans who serve in this business. Thank you.

To make a long story short, my water comes from natural springs pumped by an 1879 design hydraulic RAM. It is good water (as tested by history and the local university), and rural to the max, and working since 1905. What I have paid in to make it all happen does not justify the expense and pain in the tail. Maybe I am getting older, maybe I am getting worn out, maybe I am just being practical and realistic. Even in my rural area, I can hook up to the dirtier “city water”.

An incentive to maintaining an existing running water septic system in the house was provided by a 5 year old daughter years ago. She did not share the same rural fervor I had, and objected to using an indoor 5 gallon "honey" bucket which is a post WWII Japanese idea to me. My Marine experience made me exasperated, since most of the world lives without running water, and certainly without sit-down toilets...and so did I.

I can also make my own electricity using pipes and water power (there is an 800 foot drop on my property.) Do I want to maintain the whole system during bad weather, like ice storms, is the big question. The alternative is to pay the local co-op and TVA, and they do a better job than I can. So good on them. They are thriftier than I can be.

Being a kind of right-wing hippie, I even went through the studied evolution of using solar and wind to pay the energy bills, of course with the most noble and altruistic of intents. It turns out most machines we use, like lights or refrigerators, are designed to work on AC, so going hippie locally was going to require me to buy/convert to DC machines, even light bulbs and water heaters. We’re talking big bucks and sacrifice when clouds and lack of wind mess up the storage batteries I also have to buy, and protect from freezing. The simple math said TVA and the AC rural electric co-op were a better and thriftier deal. That being said, learn your local rules (passed by politicians) about selling your local energy generation back to the public grid when it is to your advantage. I have, and I still say hats off to those Americans who work in providing electricity to all Americans, and in all weathers.

As part of this noble idea were three considerations. The alternative energy sources seemed pretty good and thrifty. My wood stove started to look really good. And finding a woman who would put up with all this was also looking really bad. After all, heating by wood is pretty romantic in the first year, after that it is just work. And being able to go to a grocery store should help in future romantic endeavors, especially during the winter time.
Will the American revolution hold firm for freedom, individuality, religious liberty and "justice for all?" *

This is not a random question. One only has to live overseas to know our new world is different, and better than the old world from the common citizens’ point of view. Since most of us are common citizens, this is a big deal. Our evolutionary path since the “greatest generation” won WWII and left their country to the present generations has become acrimony, career politicians, much frustration at all local, state, and federal levels of government, and even the criminalizing of politics. Perhaps this evolution is human in nature, but perhaps it is old world and hard to guess, or explain. But certainly it is unsatisfactory. What seems astounding is that the revolutionary goals in 1776 seem quaint and anachronistic, yet in fact they are the most socialistic goals any society and culture can aspire to achieve. Where the evolution that made the 1776 goals seem old, and what is pandered to these days seem trendy in 2007, is a simple abomination by the people on the wrong side of the evolution since WWII. It is time for corrective action.

Complaining is easy. As easy is being a self-appointed and self-annoited do gooder in the environmental political gig. Getting out of any mess is harder. Yet things may be simpler than one might think. Rather than future leaders wasting their time focusing on correcting the errors of our past political leaders, just elect American leaders who will focus on the future. And ignore all the silly media and pundit reports that tend to cherry pick and sensationalize any thing to generate income. Over time things will sort out just fine. The political dinosaurs need to be voted out and sent down the dust bin of history. A good guess is that within two decades we will have leaders closer to 1776 ideals, they will have appointed or drafted worker bees who think like them, and the end of the politics of personal destruction will bring back the best and brightest to go forward to our new world future. All this may have already started, but certainly the elections of 2008 are a way to continue. One can dress all this up by saying common citizens can take back their country. Rather one can say common citizens can elect politicians that are our country. And most of American bureaucracy is on board with all this. Talk about a win-win!

* http://www.bachlund.org/

Monday, December 10, 2007

Cooking at home is normal

Somebody has to teach how. It is used to be mom’s and some dad’s education, and it will be such in the future as long as such moms think they know.

The old days of shop and home economics seem silly in school education these days. But it doesn’t quite translate well when young married couples can at best boil water, and none even knows about things like cooking and sewing, Even the basic Marine is taught this, and part of a kit is the sewing kit. Do we want this? Of course the answer is no. Are perpetual dinners out at the expenses to be the standard. Just who loves their spouse this much?

Perhaps couples in love can be normal, as is settle in. This is the best part of being in love. Cooking at home is normal. As long as no one dies from the food and meal, this is a really good expression of love. I just love cooking for my sweetheart.
Complaining requires alternatives

There are other Americans out there than those running for the office of President of the USA.

How about business people in positions like governor of a state. Governor Bredesen of Tennessee comes to mind. How about business people like Oprah Winfrey. How about an actor like the Governator Arnold who speaks so well for American principles. How about principled leaders like Colin Powell who can say B.S. politically speaking. How about a military type, like Petraeus. How about a media friendly person like a religious evangelist.

Much change is coming in America. Hopefully some of the aforementioned types will help change America in the 2008 elections. Only time will tell.
Every man and woman for themselves in our Congress

The national ship of state is going down, and humans and rats are bailing out of the status quo. Nobody wants to drown. And the congress is such an important part of how our government is supposed to work.

They had their chance to lead with some civility and modicum of decorum. Instead we have congress people still focused on themselves as in financial enrichments, their party as in power and access to federal monies is the end all, and even lying as in leadership about national interests doesn’t count. Enough is enough; out with the brigands we have sent to the congress in our past.

The most recent example is the waterboarding CIA destruction of the tapes to protect the agents doing the deed. Now we hear the expected Congressional briefings did occur over a long period (as required by law, by the way), but one would not know it now by the outrage in Congress, mostly from the Democrats. This is unfettered duplicity and conniving that is beyond the pale. While I disagree with the tactic, the subject is leadership and the most basic honesty in reporting. If this country is to be ruled properly, and not by D.C. bureaucracies, let it be by others than those in Congress these days. Taking positions, and accountability, still counts to most Americans. Otherwise, how can you run a country where senior responsible leaders cannot even take a position? This is no goody two-shoes idealistic point of view. All countries need leaders, and so does ours. Those who have come up through the political process in the last few decades serve us poorly these days. We voters must elect people more like us. Even local congressman Foley lost his congressional seat in 1994, as well as his Speakership. So it can happen again. And will.

It is the honesty and voting, stupid.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Who are these people who assign minority status?

The best guess, since there is no answer, is “they” are unelected and self-assigned people who are good at promoting their “minority group”. It is kind of like trying to find out who is a “native American”. There are over 500 “officially” recognized tribes each whom seems to have its own definition of what it means to be in their tribe. But back to “minority status”. It could be based on social status, race, ethnic identification, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or whatever any self-appointed group wants to promote. Numbers don’t count, so even if women make up a majority of Americans, some group has promoted them as a minority. And just who is buying all this dumb stuff.

Several things are appalling to this American. I know our ancestors left the old world to get away from all these old world type problems in order to get a fresh start in the new world. And now so many of their descendents are trying to “go back”. Being tolerant is American, but being tolerant to all the multicultural diatribe over the last two decades or so has lost its appeal. While one seldom hears the term “melting pot”, that is what the new world and Americans in the USA are about. The present term of “multiculturalism” with its values that include equal moral standards is an invitation to new world cultural destruction and a return to old world problems. This whole episode in national and world history seemed silly and laughable until people and governments began implementing things like affirmative action, double standards, political correctness, recently carbon standards, and even a new reverse McCarthyism in Hollywood and the entire media industry. People trying to enforce all this are fascists in the old sense of the term. Hard to believe we have gotten back to this point. That this whole mentality has coincided with some new hedonism has made things worse to those who worry about the future of our American culture, our families, and our children. Most Americans know what this discussion is all about.

Best I can figure, those self-appointed and unelected people and groups who sell minority status are less idealists, and more promoters in it for themselves and their financial benefit. Of course some are academics and others with tenure and guaranteed retirements who do not have to worry about the consequences of their actions. Most of us Americans who do not speak out and object will just be left holding the bag, so to speak. And it will be a bag of worms, also so to speak.

Think financial ruin, growing corn in the desert, making your own clothes without electricity, wood stoves, carrying water in a bucket and having to boil it, pooping in a hole and night buckets, animal education, dieing from sickness, etc. Most of the world already lives this way. And it is not romantic in the long run. It is work. Communes and other such socialist’s ideals always fail on these most basic points. There are better alternatives.

Most appalling is how unelected people can make up and promote “minority status” as a means to their end. And why do the “minority status” groups really allow themselves to be used for the perceived advantages they may receive. Of course the scheme is so basic to be exploited, since the “minority status” group is seldom an organized political entity. And so the unelected and self appointed people and groups do what used to be called extortion and things like it, though it is considerably dressed up in political tones these days. None of this is what new world America and the melting pot is about. At worst, idealism has been taken over by those with criminal instincts, or even worse, anti-human instincts. And here’s a key point, these criminal type people need to be stomped out, as in eradicated. The period of toleration and idealism has been superceded by the threat to our new world American culture. Now this is what socialism can be about, both nationally, new world, and even old world.

This dim-witted American appreciates the subtleness of British humour, but naturally tends towards sarcasms. So where and when does this “minority group” angry white male go to vote?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Me thinks I am dealing with dogmatists

Back in the old days, the JFK type of words about advancing liberty and defense of freedom made sense. It still does if you are living in the New World, in my case the USA. What is interesting is now seeing so many that talked the words then now come across as fascists now. They all come across as various kinds of apologists, as only able to operate inside their own culture which will tolerate them, protect them, and feed their egos. How about the rest of the world, and harnessing western press to expose their cultural adversaries , hopefully push them towards a more western solution, and make their peace. Can anybody say Darfur?

Those who suggest sending our children to fight in their latest cause are especially dangerous. “Trendy” is not national policy. And thank goodness we have hopefully gotten past video foreign policy in the USA. Perhaps the adults are in charge again? This question alone is disturbing. Is Elmer J. Fudd the latest version of so many Americans’ idea of a foreign policy? The alternative is National Interest. We do have things worth fighting for, and recently enough people trying to take it away by all means, to include killing us. Some of these people are domestic, so there is a long row to hoe, so to speak.

What gets me is the difference between well intentioned people who will take what they can get, and the rest of us. These well intentioned people could take the rest of us down the historical tubes into the dust bin of history, and well, many of us don’t buy it. There are other alternatives, most better. Of course the alternative is that they have to be fascists types because they have no other recourse.

Enough fascist talk. What is meant? Let us be practical. Imposing women’s rights in the western world and not in Darfur is sexist. Accepting all this is fascist. Those operating in their own self interest are the worst sort of leaders who do not deserve to go forward in history. They should stay home. Of course most are not leaders, just pontificators and writers. So what happens in Darfur is important in human history. The implications are as simple as the consequences. The local debate is one of religions, and races. The local talk can even be about cultures. Let the realists and practicality kick in. Which way is it to go? Advance a 100 years and get a good guess.


Boys and girls are different.
Remembering and reminiscing are two different things

I remember when national TV news reports were 15 minutes long and prestige loss leaders. I reminisce that I trusted most of what I heard and saw back then. I remember when national TV reports went to 30 minutes 5 days a week, and later weekends. I reminisce about them before they became money generators and parts of entertainment divisions. I remember when Cable News Network (CNN) started with the collective cooperation of many local news departments. I reminisce about the expectation of TV news coming out of Atlanta, vice the East Coast and New York City. I remember when I first heard the term “24/7 news cycle”. I reminisce when the business cycle had no effect on news reporting. I remember when most reporters were expected to have subject matter expertise as a first priority. I reminisce that youth and good looks and energy to generate ratings and income would have less influence on the news business today.

I remember when the news was just the facts, let the reader decide what to do with it, and let the chips fall where they may. I reminisce things might go back that way, as get away from all the news practices today that are driving away customers in droves. Boycotts are not even needed. I remember when TV was mostly black and white. I reminisce I could have today’s technological advances (like color TV, cable, and satellite) married up with yesterday’s more honest news’ standards.

I remember an older BBC which enjoyed an international good reputation. I reminisce the BBC World Service could return to its independent ways. I remember all the stories, many current, about the BBC hiring actors to help make up the then reported news. I reminisce these reporters and producers would never have made the grade to be hired, and then shamed before their dastardly deeds could occur. I remember “before news organizations commissioned polls that they then reported on”. I reminisce about a news world before hired polls.

I remember not knowing the political persuasion of TV reporters. I reminisce most could leave their politics at the door to work. I remember most TV news people are Americans from throughout our land, with mothers and fathers from throughout our land. I reminisce most TV news people could overcome any academic indoctrination and lowering of standards taught them in colleges and universities. I remember when news was a private for profit business. I reminisce it will stay that way, even as many news people and organizations will go out of business. I will both remember and reminisce it does not have to turn out this way, but probably will. Having lived overseas, I have seen government news. I hope it does not come to the USA. I hope private news goes under first, with Americans picking up the good pieces. Foreigners already are.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The recent NIE report stinks

Maybe it is supposed to smell.

The recent release of the unclassified executive summary of the NIE about Iran never seemed right to many. That it gave up or pointed to obvious sources is most disturbing, if correct. People’s lives are at risk in Iran. Things may be bad in D.C., but are they that bad?

Yet we may be observing and even participating in a brilliant plan, either on purpose or by accident. Conspiracy nuts of the left and right will be in their element. Here’s an example. Whom ever leaked the sources of the NIE (not included in the unclassified version) to the New York Times probably had incorrect info fed to them, and others, so the sources could be traced back later. And they can be prosecuted, using the incorrect data since it is made up unclassified data. This should get around many prosecutor’s reluctance to prosecute if it means giving up classified means and resources. And even if we don’t prosecute, leakers will know an active campaign to catch them is underway and hanging over their heads, and a whole group should clam up*. Meanwhile on the Iran end, a small group of Iranians have had intimations of disloyalty or poor information discipline cast upon them by the New York Times, and be suspect forever more. Again, maybe right, or maybe wrong. Maybe they are mullahs, maybe they are IRGC. The Iranian counter intel types will be forever watching them, and maybe even reduce their effectiveness. Since the corrupt mullahs and their private army, the IRGC, is a center of gravity in Iran, much harm has already occurred there.

The most basic intelligence methods include levels of stories about any thing classified. So a level 2 person read into a classified program may be told a plausible story that, if the level 2 person later blabs, will think is the truth and sow further confusion. And none of this has to be right. People just have to think it might be right. And there is only one real reason for anything to occur…but there are many good reasons for things to occur. Hence the combinations and permutations of stories and effects coming out of the NIE are just enormous. And while all this probably has been gamed out in advance, in the end it is still a free-play exercise initiated in D.C. and reflects well on so many in our executive and congress working together, whether correct or not **.

How many get to be in an off Broadway show of sorts, with many playing roles without even knowing it. Who knows? Time will tell, maybe.

*The same effect works in other ways. The raids by authorities on illegal immigrants working in plants in Ohio, Kentucky, and out west, seems to have “changed the demographics” here in rural Monterey, Tennessee with its large chicken plant. My hat is off to those authorities in the other states.

** We Americans are sharp, too. And counter intel works both ways. We Americans are always ready.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Imagine the world using less oil and gas

The environmentalists be damned, it is the cost of oil and gas that is beginning to change things so fundamentally. The effects will depend on where you live. And the effects will take time, as in decades, to show themselves. But the effects are coming.

One hopes the beneficiaries of today’s $100 a barrel oil will sock it away. Some will, some will invest it, and some will continue on the status quo. The recent order of a private version of an A380 jet plane by a Saudi prince is such an example of the status quo ($300+plus million). The recent foreign policy of Russia to use oil and gas as both a foreign policy tool (as in withholding energy from others) to a domestic policy tool (as in funding their deployments of the 50’s era Navy and Air Force) is another example. The domestic budgets of Iran and Venezuela’s leaders have been saved by the fantastic increase in their incomes. If only they could tone down their promises to pay for so many things that even the increases will not cover.

Jump to the future. The cost of transporting so much of the rain forests being cut down will have to slow things down. The explosive costs of oil will probably bring the long awaited civil war to China. Self-appointed environmentalists in all nations will back down as people go without heat and electricity, and begin to die of the usual results. The use of coal will rebound, cleanly in the western world , and still dirty in the eastern world. Domestic sources of gas and oil in all parts of the world will be hoarded, and become national assets. Global trade will be restrained by transportation costs, and domestic production of such basic goods as clothes and food will resurge at home, where ever that is. Even home economics and shop will come back in American school education. All the silly false promises of alternative energies will become apparent.

We in the world need energy to live and work, and even if our populations decline, our standards will increase enough to be a real problem as we use less oil and gas. Bottom line, our energy requirements just to live and work should go up.

What’s a politician to do? What is a citizen to do? In present day USA it seems to be hope for the best, and push the hard decisions on to the future citizens. One expects they somehow can figure things out better than we can. Of course some nations and citizens may go some kind of Tom Clancy novel, and unleash some kind of human killing disease on the world. Maybe our present policies are already helping this along the way. So in the end, it is not the oil and gas, but the numbers of humans and the energy we need to live and work with. Cro-Magnon styles are starting to look better and better as a survival strategy. Also, more clearly, most prefer using our judgments and votes to guide solutions, and not any self-appointed environmentalists. And some people think things are exciting now!
Calmer heads always prevail

Common sense, time, and national self interest always wins out in the end. In this time of political campaigns, isn’t it amazing how quickly so many pundits who write for a living, along with a few politicians, jump on the bandwagon of the recent declassified NIE report, basically an unclassified executive summary of a much much larger and classified report. As the pundits go about their writings about this unclassified report, they tend to line up according to their political persuasion, and who hired them. With all the MSM derision by much of the public about prejudice in reporting, it is amazing so many writing can still make a living these days. Use your imagination and fast forward about five years, and imagine if these same people will be in the same business. Most American citizens will opt for news, vice writer’s opinions.

Here’s why the imagination is justified. While nobody knows the future, and being a soothsayer is a most dangerous business (career wise at least), the willingness of so many pundits to take the chance of the Iranians having bad intentions for our country is, well, astounding if ignored. And even discounting the recent NIE unclassified executive summary, there is a pattern of behavior by the mullah Iranian present leadership going back decades that should alarm most Americans. Amplify all this with we and the pundits are not the only people in the world, and what happens and is written about and debated about inside of D.C. is not the be all, or end all. Those who think or know otherwise are about two decades behind the times. Perhaps the path to the American future will take the federal government to work together again for our common good, with a little savvy and conniving thrown in as we “engage” in the real world.

Intrinsically, one should trust the unclassified executive summary of the Iranian nuclear programs. I trust it has been through an intensive and thorough vetting process. And if in the end, it is a political document promoted by three fellows who bombastically forced themselves, well that too will come out in the end. But in the interim, it is not the time to take our pack off, so to speak. The Iranian pattern of behavior is against our National Interests. And this same pattern is also against may other regional nation's National Interests.

Collectively, let calmer heads prevail. Most in the region are already doing this, as if they are already on auto-pilot. It’s the herd mentality inside of D.C. and the punditry that can be more dangerous to our National Interests and current events. Sometimes being steadfast is just as important as being smart.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Back to the basics again

We have an unseemly poor group of leaders in D.C. who have lost sight of the responsibilities to do the most basic things to promote our general well-being and provide for our common defense. What a shame because it did not have to turn out this way.

All the stories swirling around the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) provide the latest example. All the suggestions as to motivations and suspicions are worthy of a techno-thriller novel. Yet how many have actually read the “declassified version” of the Key Judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear intentions and capabilities. How many are qualified to interpret this obscure English language variant meant for a select few. And the key point is that what is in the public domain is the “declassified” version. While most citizens cannot read the “classified” version, our elected executive types and congress people can, and are expected to do this as part of their basic job. Yet this does not appear to be the case in earlier versions of the NIE being read before key congressional votes. And now it seems that decisions are being made by too many based on media “reports” and those who have not done their basic homework. Talk about an aimless herd. Where’s the congressional oversight and askance questioning of the people who produce the NIE. Will these congress people take the time to read what they are supposed to review, and pass advise on to their colleagues. This is so basic in job responsibility.

The NIE is just one example. How about other basics like food and drug safety, pet food safety, toy safety, bridge safety, and border safety. How about public policies to promote vaccinations, communicable disease control, clean water from the tap, sewage practices, and police and fire safety. These seemingly “boring” things are never on auto-pilot, but it appears like our seemingly poor group of leaders think so, even as budgets in these “boring areas” are being cut beyond inflation rates, voted on, and approved and signed into law.

What we citizens have in the USA is special, and worthy of defending and promoting. The recent decades long focus on improving things has morphed into tearing things down and misdirection, often displayed by our electing the politicians who compliantly go along, with some of the astute ones taking advantage. Even the politics of personal destruction and criminalization of politics has driven away many of those Americans who should serve, but won’t. And we and our politicians have also begun to let the castle crumble, and now is a good time to get back to the basics. For all the self-appointed socialists, anarchists, environmentalists, scheming politicians, and such, consider moving your goal posts back so as to keep the baby alive. For all the others, its time to vote in those Americans who can still do the basics, and balance things out. We should demand no less.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It is time for a course change in our bureaucracies

And they are local, state, and federal. Somehow, including civil service protections, these fellow Americans who serve in these bureaucracies have either become unaccountable, or think they are unaccountable. This is a terrible state of affairs, if correct. If much of bureaucracies have evolved to a jobs program, then there is also an expense (beyond financial) of our National survival being drawn down as bureaucracies act in their benefit, first.

There are many hints to citizens who vote, and ultimately pay for these bureaucracies. Locally it is mostly the education of our children issues, though creating new tax generating codes and enforcements (as in new government jobs) comes in, too. State wide it is the balance of paying for all the services promised. For example in SC, a lazy employee fired can enter a bureaucratic kangaroo court , and be advanced by a bureaucrat who is all three things, prosecutor, judge, and jury in deciding unemployment payments, and future percentages of company "contributions". Federally, too many bureaucracies ignore the vote of we citizens to advance their agendas. Hence, there is little unity of effort in the prosecution of the war in Iraq, as an example. The recent surge in Iraq resulted in the Department of Defense accepting over 200 quotas assigned to State (including a friend). In defense of the federal bureaucrats, they claim they know better, and that having to respond to changes in the executive and congress is a real pain in the tail and disruptive to continuity of effort. Yet one of my friends is in harms way, thanks to the bureucrats in D.C. Most citizens will say our vote still counts, and somebody better listen or else. Yes, we voters are a pain in the tail, but of course we still run the country.

How to clean house, as in take control of the bureaucracies, is a problem at all levels, local, state, and federal. So there is no universal solution. But for sure, we are talking about fellow Americans who must be led and supervised according to what we voters want. I personally think the civil service rules we invented to overcome the problems of the past have gone too far. It should be easier to fire poor performers and incompetents than it is today. Now that is something we can elect people to do. And the rise of government employee unions has certain values until it interferes with what we citizens vote on. If it comes down to the old tried and true tactic of hiring our lawyers to fight their lawyers, so be it. Our vote is sacrosanct, and must trump all other things. So getting from A to B will take work. So what. Our Country and culture is worth it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Things are not always as they seem

Politicians lying to get elected is now accepted as normal. There was a time this was not so, or at least they were more crafty than they are today. A popular pundit suggests another standard on top of accepting lying. He called such behavior appalling. All this suggests we common American voters are around to go along with all this, as if our standards and savvy are less than those of the politicians and the pundits. Maybe they are correct. But the thought that some politicians concoct strategies and hire media managers (many will say propagandists), to hide their real agenda with platitudes and pandering that has always worked to gain votes in the past, well, things may not be what they seem to be today and in the near future.

What seems to be happening for the 2008 elections is the “best marketing ever” applied to politics. Any advertisement on TV, especially kid’s TV, provides a good example. Even if it works, which is doubtful applied to politicians in 2008, can one imagine it still working in 2010, or 2012, or 2020. And jump ahead. Can it work on the TV, radio, or Internet pipelines of today and the future. And how many Americans will even pay to bring the receivers of these pipelines into their homes?

An “old saying” goes that the higher up the chain of command one achieves, the later this person finds out what is really going on. Things are not always as they seem to many of these politicians and their hired minions, who exist in their own social circles of work and socializing. The successful leaders know how to cut through this wall. Most never make the leap to even try cut through the wall, mostly out of simple ignorance as they bask in their own world achieved to date. Most don’t care because the world revolves around them, and not we common citizens. This smacks of royalty, vice ideas like loyalty to a constitution, which is the bedrock of American culture.

All the hullabaloo about Iowa and New Hampshire is not as it always has been, also. The basic strategy was used by Jimmy Carter, and since it worked, most since have plagiarized it. But there have been other strategies that also worked. Some might say there are more American strategies than two localized caucuses/primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire. Even the abhorrent idea of smoke filled rooms at national conventions deciding on candidates is starting to show value, when compared to managed and manipulated campaigns powered by raised/private money that are the alternative. Again, things are not always as they seem. Somewhere our American values, culture, and basic blue collar concerns will assert themselves. The big hint is the little discussion of basic blue collar concerns at the debates. It appears the debate controllers and the politicians want to talk about other things, and are having their way, so far. Again, things are not always as they seem.

It is interesting to keep reading about polls. It is an American infatuation, as if we can rule by polls, or just accept them. This can even apply to sports, or hurricane predictions, or global warming, or politics, or our favorite recipe or color in China, or even our favorite Hollywood/Bollywood type star. In business, the rules are more realistic, and more time is spent in constructing the poll than is in accepting the results. So no insults to the sincere pollsters like Pew, but somebody is paying the company, and many of us are just suspect. We would rather vote.

And voting issues should be about American national interests first and foremost. And of course our local blue collar issues are second, and important. Assuming things are not always as they seem, and too many present political candidates can be out of touch, we voters will sort it out just fine.
Nature of the Beast

The song/lyrics are from Manfred Mann’s Earth Band

It's the nature of the beast
To satisfy his every appetite
He doesn't worry 'bout the cost
He doesn't worry if it's wrong or right
There's no method to his madness
Just watch him step up to the firing line
And it's all a game
It doesn't matter who plays
It's just the nature of the beast
To jump into the fire
Tell me can you feel the heat
I see you walking on the wire
At the crossroads of the night
Too scared of passion but too lonely to learn
Nobody wants to lose control
Nobody wants to be the careless one
Throwin' caution to the wind
And makin' love is like trial by fire
And it's all a game
It doesn't matter who plays
It's just the nature of the beast
To jump into the fire
Tell me can you feel the heat
I see you walking on the wire
It's just the nature of the beast
To jump into the fire
Tell me can you feel the heat
I see you walking on the wire

Sunday, December 02, 2007

When can we as a society end the war on poverty?

We are 43 years into the war on poverty declared by President Johnson and the Congress in 1964. Depending on which study you choose to believe, we have spent well over 7 trillion dollars of public monies with little change in the reported “poverty level”. Of course most think being poor in America is different from being poor in the rest of the world, even middle class in many parts of Europe and the rest of the world.

Many will consider the idea of ending the war on poverty a “code word” for many things. Some older folks will say the “war” ended in 1973 with the dismantling of the OEO (Office of Economic Opportunity), though many of these social welfare programs went elsewhere in the federal government. Many will say the “war” is a code word for Negro welfare, though if you live in Appalachia, you would disagree with this. Many will also say the “war” is a code word for redistributing wealth, or income (depending on how you look at things), as a way to gain party political power by using pandering to gain votes from welfare recipients.

Most Americans know our collective national interest, our common interests, our respect for what we have has to be respected and nutured. Our anarchists have not figured this out yet, or are just "different".

This “war” does beg the question that bedevils Americans. Why do politicians continue to assert that spending public monies is evidence of achieving the goal, or showing concern, and why do we voters continue to accept this? Most Americans work in business, and performance is a demonstrable measurement tool. And for the military types, winning a war or even a battle has little to do with human casualty tolls or sincere intentions. They know the mission comes first.

Our culture, we Americans, are deposed to helping our fellow man for the most altruistic and egalitarian reasons. Many also recognize the possibility of creating permanent dependent classes of citizens that too much largesse causes. This is a long time argument and a big deal since that is not the goal to most. It is a fine line to weave, made courser when politicians and governments get involved. Yet we go forward, so good on us. Maybe this altruism has been abused? And so many churches and their members do so many things like privately funded meals on wheels that get little national attention, though local attention is still recognized.

It appears that too many national party politicians still use the old time status quo methods to gain votes in their election, be it local, state, or federal. That much of this vote gaining seems to be pandering, as opposed to performance to help our poor, for example, is a judgment based on 40 years of observations. The idea of career politicians may never go away, but voters can make them earn their pay. And earning their pay should include ending the “war” on poverty. The political effort in the late 1990s’s was a start, but not the end. Much as we expect politicians and generals to win in Iraq, and come home, we should also expect the same in the “war” on poverty. We voters should demand nothing less.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

The USA and the New World are an oasis in human history

We should all vote our USA interests, and let the rest of the world catch up. Those present candidates for President of the USA who too often seem like they are running to be President of the World have missed the point. We have too many domestic problems to solve, many would say make better, to imagine electing candidates who want to get into solving the problems of the world. This image sticks out like a sore thumb to so many voting Americans. And the rest of the world is not waiting on America, they have their own agendas. It is a fair observation that many foreign quality of lifes have been advanced by past USA money and policies, now notably without thanks to the USA. Now we suffer the consequences.

We should respect our ancestors in their foreign policy choices. What happened was not by accident, it was on purpose. Criticism has used buzz word “phrases” like realism vice idealism, benign neglect, or American ideals are the root of all that is bad in the world.

This voter thinks we have too many people in the world, and that is the root problem. And while the birth rates in the western world are declining, the birth rates in the eastern world are rising. Given the many demographic trend line conversions, it appears that human numbers are going up. More of concern is the amount of demands on the environment, mostly energy, that has to be anticipated and planned for by the new citizens of the world.

The problems are innumerable. The solutions are both USA and New World. Old time politicians in both the New World and present Old World, to include the present Eastern World, are on the losing side of history.

So much for political theory and diatribe. Just vote, as in show up and vote in the USA.