Thursday, January 31, 2008

What is the media and Hollywood fascination with homosexuals?

After all, this group is a small part of total society. And homosexuals have been a part of humanity since the start. Just what makes this small group get so much media attention? Is it the media in America? Is it the ability to organize to some kind of anti-revolt or even worse some kind of demon fascist movement that mimics the worse days of Hollywood’s witch hunts for communists? Who cares, except.

Any behavior that is duplicitous, promiscuous, and demanding of public monies is simply un-American. And this is so simply a pocket book issue. Most Americans just want to be entertained during their available time. And most homosexuals just want to live normal lives. Other forces seem to be at play.
Vital national interests should rise to the top of any candidate’s core values

And like many oaths of office suggest, national interests are both domestic and foreign. And they are at all levels: federal, state, and local. Not even a President of the USA can dictate legislative results, though many candidates suggest they can. It takes a bottom up and team approach for things to happen in our National Interests, again domestic and foreign.

Deciphering and differentiating between what a candidate for any office promises, and what they believe, is the one of the main dilemmas of voters. Now there are other factors that this author cannot understand, but can try explain. President Clinton gathered a majority of the women’s vote, and a minority of the men’s vote, and in both votes, less than 50% of the total vote, even as he won the Presidency in 1992 and 1996. And it was popular in the first two years after he was elected in 1992 to ask the question: “what are his core values”? No one knew…the answer was the proverbial blank stare. Is this what we Americans want again?

Questions many still wonder about should be presented to the public before they vote. The answers may give a hint as to core values.
A. For Hillary Clinton, why is her personal staff, nicknamed Hillaryland, all female (11 of them I think)?
B. Why is so little known about Huma Abedin, her constant female aid?
C. Why did she tell the press the day after her husband’s election to President in 1991 that she was adding Rodham to the requirement for her name in press releases. All this was after she changed her name from Hillary Rodham to Hillary Clinton after her husband lost his earlier reelection for Governor in Arkansas.
D. For McCain, remind us once again about his part in the Keating Five.
E. For Obama, why doesn't he have a federal voting record of positions, vice parliamentary waffles?
F. Once and for all, is he for or against legalizing marijuana since he has taken both sides of the question?
G. For Romney and Huckabee, many have questions that I don’t have right now. Core values on abortion would be a good start.

And we Americans are still in the primary stage of a 2008 election period when politicians are running to their base before they move to the middle, if most follow the common strategies. Just how Clinton reconciles promises of 800 million dollars in more benefits than exist today with a general election will depend on whether she is the nominee? It is the core values part of this question that is very intriguing.

Much has been said about our Country working together to solve our common problems. Much of the talk is noble and flowery, and of course, for the best. The core value question is: is it just talk? Many citizens will say that they value integrity and an honest statement of core values as much as they value agreement with their values and being pandered to. This is a powerful point, since much of our future is both unknown and is not determined by we Americans alone. In the same vein, much of our future is determined by our votes, local, state, and federal. Is there a better way to chart the course of a new world country such as the USA? Let integrity and core values be important in all elections as we citizens vote. And there are other Americans still out there. We are not stuck with the present volunteers if judged lacking in integrity and core values.

Now back to trying to figure the present volunteers out. A common American saying comes to mind.
Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How many people in the world is enough?

How many people in the world is best for our survival on the planet earth?

All the hoopla over global warming has made cynics of much of the world’s population that cares enough to be interested. All the charlatans and naysayers who prophesize doom come across as the latest version of what happened as long ago as the dark ages. Those who profit from all this, as well as the most recently “fact check” ignorant reverberaters of all this, are no more than profiteers and alarmists. While they have to make a living, so do we. The mix of western scientists motivated by money and income from grants, mixed with politics motivated by charlatans and just dumb media in the western world, can confuse even politicians. Bottom line, would anybody move or spend money on what they know and read today about global warming? That some politicians do spend “public” money and issue “public” rules says much. They too have families and lives and common sense.

Most will agree, I think, that we humans can get to a point where there are just too many of us. To take an extreme, today’s rough number of 6.5 billion humans may be OK, but if we get to, let’s say 9 billion people, that may be just too many. And it is not just the number of humans, but the number of cooking fires, the number of transportation means, the number of farm animals we raise, the amount of energy we use, and general quality of life ideas that are spreading to all humans. It is fair to say, I think, that there is a limit to what is good for the world and we humans.

So in all the present hoopla about “global warming” and humans’ part in all this discussion, consider the sources, and their motivations, and the qualifications.That we can have a discussion is a major improvement in society since the dark ages that we can consider the sources. And as always, take council of your fears. In modern talk, our imagination is our worst enemy.

Now for the downside. If we don’t have too many people on the earth today, we may be getting closer. The idea has much to do with our human demands, which are increasing it seems, multiplied by an increasing number of humans. And it is not just energy use (like oil, gas, nuclear, earth heat, and “renewable”), but things like even more bovines and chickens and ducks farting methane into the atmosphere. Even conservation should come into play, as it does not stop keeping us seasonally warm and cool at home; it only slows the process of putting our human comfort heat into our atmosphere.

If you buy all this theme, then one can buy the theme of an “eastern” solution. After all, most humans are being made in the eastern third world. Anything that slows down birth rates can be considered a good idea, from a western point of view. Here’s an idea. The old social security idea of having a large family of kids to take care of you in old age could be changed to a more western retirement scheme. Probably someone will come up with a better idea in the next 100 years. The alternative is chaos.
The United Nations must change to survive

After all, the world has changed since the U.N. inception after WWII. And if those enjoying the present U.N. don’t like change, then they probably will really dislike being irrelevant in the future.

The discussion is far beyond what is fair and decent. And it is far beyond the classical debate between realists and idealists. It is as simple as the “nations” part of its organizational title. Since the U.N.’s inception many “nations” have devolved into city-states with the claim of national sovereignty, to the point that some tribes and families control the capital cities of these “former” nations (though nations still in name and on maps), and therefore their vote at the U.N. And many other small countries have come into being, including joining the U.N. But that some of these “countries” have populations around 100,000 to 200,000 and have an equal vote with much larger countries like those on the Security Council seems patently wrong and unfair.

The main value of the U.N. to humans is that it is one place we can meet, talk, argue, debate, and sometimes decide. But when city-states and tribes and families can use their local mafia-like powers to gain a place at the U.N. table, and affect the future of the human world, then things have gone amuck, and change is in the air and called for.

It is easy to complain, and much more difficult to change an organization as large as the U.N. That is both obvious, and predictable. And the present charter makes change most difficult to achieve. And only the naïve can expect city-states and tribes and families and small countries to give up with they have at the U.N. today. So two courses of action seem a good place to start. One is the “within” course of action led by the Secretary General, who is supposed to respond and work for the Security Council. This course requires hardball leadership, and budget fights, and is a good course of action because it can lead to results that are better for we world humans, and can be observed by we world humans. The second course is more likely and revolutionary in approach, though banal in its application. Call it the League of Nations approach, call it irrelevance, call it pulling the budget plug, or just call it starting over.

The idea of nation-states needs to be reinforced by all means, diplomatic, economic, and simple government. While the nation-state idea is considered western, it also recognizes that by coincidence, those of us living in the same region have enough in common to work together for our common good (mostly economic), and suppress what divides us. The always-present power of city-states, tribes, and families needs to be recognized as human, and not privy to the recognition afforded to nation-states. It may take a century of time to get closer to the nation-state idea than we are at today. Classically, the world since WWII has evolved differently than what existed before WWII. And we are not bound by those that brought us WWII, and the subsequent U.N. that we have today.

A forum for nations meeting and debating and deciding is important to our World’s future. The present U.N. is not such a best and only choice forum. Change must come, one way or the other.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Why do the greens seem so western oriented?

The converse question is why are there so few eastern “greens”?

Another obvious question is why don’t greens run for elections in the western countries, and sell the power of their ideas to all citizens, western and eastern? And why do they avoid obvious questions like too many humans? If they are all sure enough right, then we common citizens should recognize the value of their opinions and support them in our votes. That is fair enough. But those that choose other methods to advance their opinions to include using politicians and the media are suspect. The motives are many. Those that retreat into the personal safety of western cultural sanctuaries are especially reprehensible. If a cause is important enough, one goes in harms way. Just ask our fellow Americans in the military about this idea and example.

To be fair, one is not a coward if using common sense. And also to be fair, one who is disingenuous about tricking us to support their ideas is using trickery apporaching reproach. They are acting in their interests and not necessarily our interests. And if they are ignoring obvious attacks by those who want to do us in, that is especially bad. Is surrender in their bag of tricks, or are they just naïve or disingenuous?

We American citizens have other choices and alternatives than what is presented today, mostly in the common reporting media, though the entertainment media also is defective. We can choose to be both green, and smart, and futurist as in thinking of our kids. Yes, we have alternatives, some pretty smart. And obtuse silly people have gained a plate at the table. Most citizens are as smart or smarter than these table people can be.

A little science and a lot of leadership will go a long way towards our national interests and future survival. Few seem to have stepped up to the plate, yet. And this is the beauty of America. We have so many soft spoken people who live by principles and do well for our Country, and hopefully in the election cycle of 2008 many of these fine citizens will step up, mostly at the local level. Good on ‘em if they do.
Boxers or briefs as a polling technique

Monday, January 28, 2008

The fad of hyphenated Americans is coming to an end

Thank goodness. The idea of African-Americans, or Italian-Americans, or Irish-Americans, or even census names like Latinos and “mixed” are as passé as multiculturalism. Even the suggestion that people vote as blocks is also passé and so status quo.

Now all is not some kind of kumbaya nirvana. The change is that the dogfights are between Americans, pure and simple; and thank goodness we can argue and debate about ideas, and not some old world ties that make us think we still have to carry the waters of our immigrant ancestors. And many of us “older” Americans may not like what we read, see, smell, and observe, but at least the fight can now be about ideas, some which are much better than others.

As a hard core conservative, I don’t see government as the solution to many of today’s problems. I think we have better alternatives. Obviously, many Americans don’t agree with me. My main cause of concern is finance, as in who will pay if I lose. But at least it is a fair debate, so far.

And this leads to my enjoying, for two reasons, the internal friction and public debate within the Democratic Party that seems as simple as “the soul of the party”. While I am not a Democrat at heart, I recognize the value to the Country of having two parties providing we citizens with two choices. Now the two parties may seem too close to each other for many citizen’s choices, as in they seem like lemons and limes when some citizens would like to have a tomato choice. And this is fair, also. But never-the-less, the Democratic Party internal friction that focuses on the past, the status quo, assumed voting blocks, and hyphenated-Americans is a day-to-day reminder of what we were, and can be if we choose to go back. Is the vote about ideas and future and national interest, or the past ideas from Arkansas that the Clintons introduced to America in terms of political tactics as a way to get elected and rule. Last I heard, the phrase “politics of personal destruction” is a new phrase since the Clintons arrived on the scene.

Who knows, but all change is not always for the better. The Democratic rising star, Obama, is a smooth talking devil, but his politics are pure losing 1960’s ideas we tried and failed on. This is seldom discussed, and appears to be off limits as questions in most debates. Talk about kid glove treatment. And will the war on poverty ever end? Those calling for an end to the war in Iraq are about four decades behind another losing effort, at least losing the war on poverty without challenge as to failing ideas and programs. How about another timeline there. Good intentions and noble is wonderful, but results are prime if we are to help our fellow Americans.

And so we are Americans, pure and simple. I prefer the term mongrels, though most take offense as this derogatory term. Either way, we are smart and savvy, and most certainly, are Americans, no hyphenation required. And no body had to raise 100’s of million dollars to suggest this media focused campaign in 2008 to influence our vote and tell what to think. We can be Americans, just fine, thank you bye the way.

Friday, January 25, 2008

An Asian convergence of events

The next few months should make us think ahead while we have the calm to do so. When the events converge, terrible things may happen all to quickly.

This winter’s bad weather in China, the Chinese lunar new year February 7th, the friction between the statist and entrepreneur economies, and a shortage of coal for heat and electricity (like 8 days left right now in one report) will brew up a possible revolt or civil war when people start freezing to death in the rural areas and people go without electricity in the metropolitan areas. All this is on top of their existing and severe environmental problems, to include birth defects.

Add in the anxieties of Japan’s government smudging their overseas support of the war in Mesopotamia with their constitution, and the nervousness of their neighbors with long memories going back to the 1930’s, comes up, again.

Add in the probable collapse of the North Korean government for economic reasons (even Korean people will only starve and freeze to death for so long), and the resulting migrations of Koreans into China, and the Chinese resistance for their own reasons, and another brew comes into play.

All this could be a witches brew in western talk. Said another way, change will be quick and on a national scale, and even an international scale, especially if WMD’s or severe economic impacts come into play.

Now is a good time to think about what the USA should do, if anything. Mostly we citizens should think about it, and if the worst case comes to pass, then get involved with our federal government, executive and congressional, and their hired staffs. During this period of relatively poor leaders in Washington, D.C., our American national interests should predominate, and we citizens need to tell these fellow Americans what to do. What we do is not up to them, it is up to us. Mostly we can tell them by our vote. In the next few months we may be stuck with those we elected earlier. But we are not stuck in the past, thank goodness.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thinking and behavior

We can never legislate what people think and their aspirations for their children are. We sure can legislate their behavior upon our soil.

A couple of books got the nation’s attention on the subject of Altzan decades ago. Altzan was a possible future country that occupied the lands between the USA and Mexico. Even author James Michener discussed it in his writings, his main point being human migration cannot be stopped by legislation. It is inevitable.

Now Altzan-like things are happening in today’s times. And as even James Michener postulated, no amount of legislation in Mexico or the USA can stop it. This is normal, and a good kind of problem to have, albeit a problem.

First the good news. The USA gets a lot of the best and brightest from Mexico and parts south. Many serve in our military to great distinction. The bad guys in Iraq know it, for example. Second, the bad news. We also get bad seeds and others who get so much media attention, but are not worthy of being a USA citizen. So there’s no free lunch in this inevitable process. That there are the usual pick-up artists exploiting this for money, power, ego, and greed is just part of the baggage, whom we must ruthlessly exterminate by extradition or citizens cutting off their funding. Let’em get a regular USA job. “Something for nothing” is not the American way.

Reinforcing behavior, as in legislating behavior, is also normal. Our land was developed and improved by hard work that we now benefit from. Nobody is going to take it away for free, or by political chicanery. Those who migrate here come for these reasons, and are more than willing to get in step as part of building and contributing, a useful idea since some Americans think they can exploit other parts of our country. So in this vein, the majority must just be itself, and legislate as need be, for behavior that is USA American. Most immigrants are already in step regards the English language, family values, religion, and willingness to work hard to improve themselves (please include our Asian immigrants, as an example). We also need to enforce to them all the normal stuff other American values like food and toy safety, health standards, paying for medical benefits (we do have rural hospitals to protect), and even respect for our law.

Today another course of action sticks out like a sore thumb. Idealism about humans migrating and bringing their society's standards has extended to naivety. Even sanctuary cities seem popular to the media promoting them. Eventually something for nothing will bankrupt many of these cities, and maybe California, and also many Californians as well as city citizens and businesses will move away to better protect their families and pocket books. There are other alternatives. Again there is no free lunch. Collectively we need to work together and contribute to our melting pot. Those who assume they can mine the benefits are in for a hard awakening as their local tax base declines. Most cities, and states, work to increase their tax base. Those politicians and the citizens who elected sanctuary types that erode tax bases may find little sympathy in the future from other citizens who charted a different path. Again there is no free lunch. And just look at the number of taxpayers compared to tax consumers. Then vote, or for a politician, assume a political position we can vote on.

For those immigrants and their sponsors who do not want to get in step, goodbye. For those immigrants who want to get in step, welcome. Now this is behavior we should legislate and morally can legislate about without blinking an eye, mostly at the local and state levels. The elections in 2008 are a good time to start, without remorse and with good judgment and self interest.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Brains, brawn, and a budget.

Our fellow American citizens in the military are a good role model for the rest of the Country.

The reason why is intellectual honesty during honest debate. While many solutions will work (and some won’t), a choice is made after debate by the wise men voting at the top, and then the decisions are acted on, as in proposals to our executive and our congress. This is a healthy process, though tough when one is involved in the infighting that also goes on. Some sides and people lose in their cause, often a good idea that just got beat out. And the end process does get dirtied by our congress, and even the executive, but the end product for we common citizens is still better than some scheme like top down from the political leaders.

And the military's empahasis on professional education continues. Those weak educational sister's constantly work to improve. Good on 'em.

One suggestion for our military future might be considered. Good ideas and strategies should meet the national budget. Eventually, good ideas that have won out in our recent decades past are perhaps just unaffordable in our future. Perhaps a good idea that we can pay for is better than a best idea that we cannot pay for. Or we can only pay for less numbers than we need, in which case perhaps we should have chosen a more affordable plan that also gives us numbers, as in numbers of ships or airplanes, or battalions of Marines and Soldiers along with their equipment and support.

Extrapolate this idea to our Country. If and when times get hard, and there is much to say we have been working in this direction a long time, then we already have a least one class of leaders (active and retired) institutionally imbued to work in our nation’s behalf in our future. Living within one’s national means, which are considerable by the way, is a good way to start. All families and family budgets understand all this. All together, a good idea that we can afford is a good way to run a country.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Suppose we suddenly had two suns?

Things might get warmer if a second sun showed up in our world. Of course it won’t, but our human effects are making the equivalent happen, albeit slowly. Too much of a good thing will hurt us.

There have been a bunch of the end the world scenarios, to the point of chicken little stories. Running out of food due to population explosions is the most common one today. Let me add another one. Too many humans.

In the process of researching this post, I have sought many sources. In the same vein, I have been motivated by a very old study that suggested back in the 1960’s that if we humans keep it up (in 1960’s talk), we humans will put as much energy into our world as what we get from the sun. In English, all the food we eat, the cars we drive, all the public transportation we use, all the renewable electricity resources we use, the all source electricity we use at home, and even our time at schools all eventually becomes an additive to our global heat. The recent idea of harnessing energy from Swedish public transportation people in a confined travel exchange place follows this idea of postponing the future using good engineering ideas. Even insulating our homes will save money, but in the end the heat will go out of our houses and apartments, albeit slower.

During the warm months, our air conditioning systems will keep us comfortable. Thank goodness we have it. But in the same vein, where does this “dumped” energy go? Of course it is the atmosphere.

In researching this post, and requiring two independent sources, I have failed. It is not just the so many variables and what ifs, but rather even the sources that allow this poster to converge using two sources and methods. Global warming is a complicated subject, and to amplify this subject with the question of how many humans, is just icing on the cake.

But here are indicators. While we may have a pretty good number of earth humans today, the demographics drive it all. Today supposedly we have around 6.5 billion humans on our earth. And while the western national birth rates are declining, the rest of the world birth rates are “inclining”; many think this is just old fashioned normal as the other“social security” traditional method. And if one adds in all the things we in the USA have been promoting, as in quality of life in the third world, then demands on quality of life and energy are happening as we speak. The introduction of a low quality and low price car to India is such an example of do-gooders that may bounce back on spoiled westerners.

While my research using internet means is not conclusive, the suspicion is. We have too many people on this earth, especially if their energy demands that are part of quality of life go up. If ever there was a time for leaders, mostly environmental leaders, to step up, it is now. Go into harms way in the third world, and for the earth’s benefit. Anyone less who retreats to some western cultural sanctuary is not the kind of leader needed these days. Now is not the time to call in the Navy and Marines, but rather to go in harms way and change the world, one small step at a time.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What goes around comes around

The status eventually returns to it original status after some sort of cycle. In America one can add in a repeating generational hiccup. And we in the west pride ourselves on recording everything, but apparently not all read it or watch it these days. Hence the hiccup.

So what upsets or concerns some may not concern others. Maybe it is just a difference in values. And maybe it is one that is lost in the endless cycles of birth, death, and experience. After all the hiccup suggests humans just start ideas over again due to normal human instinct. Passion and all, to certain youthful certainty about the truth, just cycle all this again and again. The modern phrase I believe is that you can’t teach the youth anything. Maybe they, like so of us before them, don’t want to listen. A clean break can be healthful, and then it can also be unhealthful when applied to any culture, to include America.

And this post is not about the American melting pot. My melting pot is not today’s melting pot. Change goes on, melting pot and culturally speaking. One usually accepts this as part of aging, to include cultural values. No, this post is about life and living and values that are common to our future.

And the “status” always has a way to have the same good ideas bubble up to the top, while some bad ideas sink of their own weight, over and over again. A real leader can somehow transcend the hiccup, and reinforce old successful ideas applied to today, and downplay the old bad ideas in order to protect us from these failed ideas.

In the 2008 election cycle, what goes around comes around seems to rule the roost, so to speak. No leaders so far have displayed what our Country could benefit from, to include transcending the hiccup. Rather one can say no real leaders have shown up so far in the federal election campaign. Today’s candidates come across as opportunists with hard working well funded staffs, some better than others. And all this is exacerbated by pundits practicing blood sport instincts and using national party corners in our so busy for profit news cycles.

One has to use local knowledge to decide about state and local people. But there is plenty of time between now and November 2008 to have real leaders step up, or even be drafted, to serve as future leaders who think of national interests as part of their values.

The present friction in the democratic presidential campaign between Clinton and Obama is simple and classic in the idea of what goes around comes around. When President Clinton pushed through the biggest federal tax increase in history in 1993, with Gore providing the tie breaking vote in the Senate, then President Clinton burned up the phones using the embarrassment argument. To let the proposed tax increase fail would embarrass him. There was little about the argument’s merits, or benefits to his national party; it was about him. Now in 2008 it comes around again. Is it about him, and are his party and the Country ready to buy it, again? And thank goodness the democrats have a candidate called Obama to ask the obvious questions that should have been asked as long ago as 1993.

Clinton and the democratic party quandaries are their problems, not the Nation’s. What goes around comes around seems to have validity in our futures. In the 2008 election cycle is the time to recognize this by selecting and electing those who think of our National Interests and good ideas, first and last, albeit a politicians version of the National Interest and good ideas. That is good enough. Now is the time to select, draft (even), and vote, locally, state, and federal. The elections in 2010 also count, and the elections in 2012 may be too late for real leaders to beneficially act in our behalf. Hence our elections in 2008 can be a bigger deal to our future than many have previously thought.

Call it timing, call it bad-timing. The idea of what comes around is a factor, many believe. Are our American birds coming home to roost, again? Probably.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The clock is ticking on the USA

We got another freebie recently when Moody’s, an American company that includes risk assessment and credit ratings, forecast a 10 year window before even they downgrade our Country’s credit rating mostly for our out of control benefits payments. Their present credit rating for the USA is the best, and has been so since they started about 90 years ago.

We’ve had other freebies, usually ignored to our peril. After we invaded Iraq, many Americans with some expertise kept saying our window of opportunity to win the peace and impose our will was closing until it became subjects like we have 4 months left before things will turn against us. In the meantime the bureaucratic frictions continued in D.C. without head knocking, and the windows closed until maybe the years-later surge strategy and some late applied head knocking could turn things around. And maybe it won’t, most likely, since the windows have already closed.

Now in the 2008 elections we have upcoming hints of those politicians who want to “reopen the windows of opportunity” that have closed for our Nation. Some of the words and phrases are so flowery and nice and inspirational and even to-the-point, that they are appealing. But too many of these politicians running at all levels, federal, state, and local, had their chance at leadership before these windows began closing, and no amount of talk, words, and phrases can reopen these windows of opportunity, nor even change credit ratings. These politician’s time has come and gone, though many may not know it. What our county can benefit from is future leaders who think about our National Interests, even if it is their version. What our country cannot benefit from is politicians (and their staffs) who try “manage” their way out of crises they and their national party helped create, as in now reacting to the closing of our national windows of opportunity, which too often occurred on their watch.

Those who avoided votes of position as a political ploy and used parliamentary procedures have especially frittered away what our country needs for leaders. And those that pandered with more benefits to citizens will be cut off, as well as the nation, when our credit rating changes within 10 years, and if we keep this up. And they had their opportunity, often called a requirement, to govern for our benefit.

A changing of the guard is called for, again at all levels, local, state, and federal. We can elect “leaders” who think about national interest as one of their considerations. We as a nation are still getting some freebies as in windows of opportunity. Now we need to elect those who will act on them.

Those parents who have been through tough love with kids understand all the friction and uncertainty about the process and outcomes. Nothing is certain. Future elected politicians and voters may be able to use this experience, though kids and populations are different. In the meantime, the clock in still ticking on the windows we still have left open.

Who could have imagined all this wonderful new world opportunity we voters and our elected officials could possibly be frittering away, with a countdown clock given us as a freebie. After all the USA is so rich in natural resources, and human resources. The USA and new world are so human. While we are destined to be the future (good news or bad inglorious news is still up for grabs), is the future some kind of idealistic English commune forced by politicians and their past idealism; or some kind of regenerative country forced by the youthful citizens with their own expectations? Leaving well enough alone (or even trying to improve it) is another course of action, by the way. The key point is that the voters are still in charge. And again, the clock is still ticking on the windows we still have left open.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Can’t live with them, can’t live without them

But you can outvote them! And teach.

The silliness of the American left has accelerated from careful articles about Iraqi WMD’s in 2005, to we support the troops articles in 2006, to returning American veterans are likely to kill their fellow Americans in early 2008. And it is both those saying these things, and those reporting those who say these things. Some have even crossed the line and do both. The trend is accelerating. It seems to be coming to the point of absurdity where it will collapse of its own weight. While many agree with this collapse idea, in the meantime there are articles that state as facts that there were no WMD’s in Iraq, for example. This is a classic maneuver where if some idea is stated often enough, then some will eventually state it as fact, even though it is not. This use to be called propaganda. Now in America it is called advertising or media management during political campaigns. And not all is devious. Some of it is hard work as paid media types even do news releases for lazy reporters. And never assume media conspiracy when incompetence and laziness will do just fine.

Now the most laid back might suggest that this is business as usual, as in what is new? Americans are more savvy than many think about what they buy, be it goods or politicians, or even scientists. And while these laid back types may be correct, they may not be correct. In this question comes the main friction. The American future is not about whether one’s intuitive instincts are right or wrong, or even some “know the truth”, but rather that the consequences of being wrong are unacceptable to many Americans, as in beyond compare. In other words, we do have choices, and decisions, acts, and votes; and down-side things like advertising, propaganda, and political media management combined, will have real effects on our Country’s future.

This leads to an historical trend that amplifies the concern for the future. Good manners and behavior seem to have been superceded by the human instinct to vent their emotions. How are we to vote rationally if we can’t even talk to each other with the most basic manners. Probably today’s citizens are just as passionate as their ancestors, but our ancestors had the advantage of another way to engage. And engaging not too long ago had nothing to do with winning a political argument, an environmental argument, convincing someone to change their stripes, or insulting to make one feel better. That has always been a waste of time for most. Rather we could talk without insulting and demeaning. This is leadership 101. Chewing out is fine, insulting is unacceptable and counterproductive (and this a taught skill as few are born with it).

So while we in America seem to be suffering through a period of poor leaders (some are better than others), we can do something about the situation. Most of the solution is at the local and state levels, where the vote is key after all else is done. And some of us may get outvoted, but that is also so American. But at whatever level, inducing some decorum into political debate and discussion will be the start that can become the trend that is also so American. After all, “giant oaks from little acorns grow”.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recycling election politics

What goes around comes around. That is just the way things are in the USA.

A recent article by a well known and respected pundit suggested a 16 year cycle in election considerations based on American generational life spans. The general principle suggested is that much of the bad (to include mistakes) are forgotten as generations come and go, and it is always the latest generations that are voting. It was a fair proposition. For this poster, the 16 year cycle in the article is about half of the genealogy generation time span which is about 30 years in the USA. That is one generation is on average 30 years, so for example, when one speaks about “over 3 generations”, those years are about 90 years.

And generations are a mostly matriarchal thing, as in women and their husbands have 30 years of influence before their children assert themselves. Others may say it other ways.

One can say the sins of our ancestors can be forgiven. More likely they are forgotten, as in superceded. How many of us have heard our seniors refer to the “good old days” and other now deceased ancestors in the first name? Most of us, I think. And most have let it pass by it because they are too busy trying to make their own lives and families.

Some of this ancestor stuff from genealogy can apply to our election politics. For the voters today, can we learn anything from the past and our ancestors? Or is the past simply superceded due to normal human behavior? Do the present voters always have to figure things out, again? There are arguments for both schemes. Both are very appealing. One is better than the other as an alternative, though.

One scheme in the USA is to reinforce success, not failure. This idea suggests we look at and review all the good and bad ideas of the past, the government programs to try implement them, and be ruthless about what has worked and failed. The intent in this scheme is to make us feel better about using government to help the downtrodden; and to free up taxes to also help we majority in the more basic things like police and fire security, clean water and flush toilets, public health, public education, and public commerce. Pretty much the basics!

The other scheme is to change our American society and culture, albeit with the best of intentions, decades old though they may be. Massive redistribution of funds (often called taxes) are required to enable this most grand socialistic English commune idea applied to an entire Nation. And the enablers of this scheme suggest they can dictate how people also think. Fine. But we all know any group can legislate behavior but can never legislate how people think. Hence using PC police and kangaroo courts and amazingly Totalitarianism is so un-American.

Right now another third scheme in the 2008 federal election is appearing. It is a talk and do nothing scheme as part of a get elected strategy. While it may work for the politician in the short term, it does not work for the USA in the long term. In fairness, some politicians are better than others.

And so can we learn by good ideas and bad from the past about how to vote today? The question suggests many things. One is to vote, today. The other is to educate our children in the 3 R's as a first priority. Elections are also local. After all this friction, then the kids are in charge, good, bad, or indifferent. In the meantime while we of the most recent old generation can vote, a little historical history about good ideas and failed ideas will always help in decisions of all voting generations.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just who is an American?

The question is prompted by four things: genealogy, Native Americans, Barack Obama, and Muslim extremists wanting to kill “Americans”.

First Mr. Obama. By genes, he has an African father from Kenya, and a Kansas mother from the USA, both deceased. Yet the media calls him “black”, and no one seems to object or laugh at the absurdity of it all. He most certainly is “mixed” in census terms, but accepts the one sided label of “black” even as he runs to be President of all the USA. Go figure.

And on the labels of “black” or “African-American”, keep in mind many people object to any label other than American. Now most know, or have heard, of the histories of why we have labeled in the past. Some were well intended, and some where not. While one can pick on recent Negro things like Miss Black America, there are other precedence’s like Columbus Day. I for one object to the label of anything that is hyphenated American. Labels like “Italian-American” ignore how big Italy is as a country, and a label like “African-American” really ignores how big the continent of Africa is, and how many of the inhabitants of both don’t get along within their space. Yes the intents might have been good and noble at one time, but that time has passed. Go figure.

When we read about the bad guys wanting to kill “Americans”, just how do they identify us? Is it by looks, smell, cultural behavior, jobs, clothes, music, or something else. Perhaps we blend in as part of all foreigners to the various tribes that will fight all foreigners on their land? Are old world clans or tribes part of our American future. Do we still have to carry their water? Go figure.

And there is an argument that Americans are anyone from North, Central, and South America, all New World. For we USA citizens to assume the name of Americans is a little presumptuous to many fellow Americans. That is just like it is, though.

This has become a two-way street vis-à-vis Native Americans in the USA. There are just over 500 Native American tribes within the USA, and in many ways they and their lands are treated like states. Fine. But each tribe has its own definition of what makes a human a member of their tribe. To many this is arbitrary and silly, though all so human. Let us amplify the silliness of it all. If a Viking warrior raids into France centuries ago, and stays and marries locally, are his 1/64 Viking progeny Normans or French as they go about life? In the same vein, if some European comes to America and marries locally, are his 1/64 local Native American progeny Native Americans or Europeans. Right now, there are about 500 answers. Go figure.

Genealogy research requires two independent sources to be comfortable about confidence in one’s heritage. That this is also a common sense approach to crime investigative work is an interesting comparison. There is much in common.

A big commonality of who is an American is our common convergence of ideas, often expressed in a Constitution that levels the playing field within our lands. Now that will make a difficult target for the bad guys, and their misses will do them in. Go figure, and count on it.
America first

I was asked the question today about who would I predict to be the next President of the USA. My answer got a laugh and an acquiesce.

My answer was simple. Someone not presently running for office today would end up being the next president. The response was: that is what many people think.

The bad news first. Many running for the office of president are too beholding to controllers and money interests and their party. The good news is they are about themselves, and if we vote for them, hopefully the country and they will merge.

Many doubt it. Though they and many wish it were so.

Many thought, including this citizen, that the elections in 2008 would be another average “election”. Assuming the status quo, just do it again and it will work. What a terrible time to be a politician pursuing a career and retirement this way. And what is this about retirement on the taxpayers dime?

All the present “announced” candidates for president are working the normal routine about doing their “party bit”, some more than others. And the for profit media types are playing it all up, many assume for their career jobs and performance reports. Too often it seems like handicapping and even a blood sport.

Fortunately, all this sorts out with a vote by we citizens. No amount of money raising to pay the best media managers can change what people think.

And many think the next elected by the voters president will not be among the present group. It could be a mayor, like that of Newark New Jersey, or a governor like that of Tennessee or South Carolina, or even a junior Senator from Virginia. The theme is USA interests, governing ability, and the capacity to say “no” to all the demands. Whoever it is, the idea of national interests asserting themselves will get a lot of votes for the most simple of reasons. We want to preserve our USA.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Love and hate may be close, but compassion is most certainly different

Why should Americans feel guilty because our world is not perfect?

I was dumb enough to buy the line that all little children are basically ‘unisex” until later in life when environment and genes (and the doggone hormones) kick in. Later, after being a parent, I realized boys and girls are different from the day they are born. A rocket scientist might have known this, but I was not that smart in retrospect. I had bought the unisex theory, hook, line, and sinker, and was wrong.

Anyone who has been through divorce, or knows someone who has, probably accepts that love and hate are close. Enough said.

What seems to get so much attention, monies, and voting power both at churches and governments is compassion. For the downtrodden by society, and there may still be some in our vast land, compassion has a plate at the table in decisions. But the vast majority of the intended recipients are not downtrodden by society; they are ‘bad seeds” (or “born riff raff”), and no amount of compassion both in intent and applied will change things for the better. In this case, the majority of we citizens should discount compassion in favor of protecting our own families while we educate our own children. And we should do this without remorse. In other words, how about a little compassion for the majority.

Since few expect seismic shifts in public attitudes about our entire welfare system (though it is deserved and long due), let me propose we focus on adults and teenagers, and give their children the benefit of the doubt about the circumstances of their birth into our world. After all, if there is to be change, one must start somewhere. And what happened at the federal level in the late 1990’s was a good start.

For the politically motivated who fear “give and inch and they’ll take a mile”, that is not what is intended. Nor do the majority expect to take these same politically motivated to court for the consequences of their actions and policies. There is another course of action than what is failing today in too many places in our vast land.

About a lifetime ago the majority of Americans had heard of noblesse oblige and practiced it in churches and governments. Part of the idea was accepting that there are “bad seeds” in our world, and it is better to lock them away from the majority, without remorse, and keep a priority on the majority that are the engine of our country, local,state, and federal.

Let us use one practical example. Is local society obligated (morally or even legally) to spend inordinate amount of taxpayer school monies for “problem children” to gain a high school degree (not an education by the way, and discounted by employers), when the same public monies could go towards advancing the majority’s kids education. At what point does hurting our majority of kids exceed helping our “bad seed” kids? How much should compassion cost the majority? What payback, if any, does the majority get?

Not too long ago, maybe a lifetime, born losers dropped out (or were kicked out, yes that was a school principal's choice) of high school, and did many of the lower jobs our society still depends on. Those who could not fit that mold, went to jail all too often. (Some even fell throught the cracks, but that is not society’s problem, and certainly should not define society’s policies). And we were protected along the way. In the same not too long ago time, we Americans also practiced noblesse oblige, and those willing to work, even the kids of the “bad seeds”, had upward mobility. And they, all, even said "thank you".

For those who think this post is some kind of code word for Negroes, forget it. I live in Appalachia. And have served in the Marines. This post is about America.

This idea of noblesse oblige should come back because it worked, it was a winner, and it succeeded. Remorse and compassion should not be a factor for voters today. If and when our rich times come to an end, or slow down, and the majority has to decide between paying some kind of “guilty” payments to the government to help “bad seeds”, consider noblesse oblige as an alternative that has worked in our history. After all, we always have a majority to take care of, nuture, send to school, and promote.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The tyranny of the minority

American’s penchant for favoring the underdog, or a David against a Goliath, or an individual over a group, or a minority group over a majority group has reached a crescendo not displayed in many decades. As idealistic and tolerant the penchant is, it can work against our national interests, that is the greater good of us all. It can take us down.

The First Amendment right to free speech is being abused. We’ve come a long way from “not crying fire in a crowded theater” to “a politicians right to lie”. All this has happened in a lifetime. When a teacher’s “right to free speech” exceeds contractual obligations to “teach an approved curriculum”, then the pendulum has swung too far one way, and the larger group of students suffer when taught something other than the curriculum.

Prisons used to have a main objective of protecting the larger population from the minority of criminals. Somehow it morphed, again in a lifetime, into a rehabilitation objective that put more minority criminals back on the streets and among the majority of citizens. And there have been other reasons to release this minority group of criminals back into the general population. Where this minority group gained priority, or even equal budget treatment, can be the subject of books, but the majority general population suffers for it.

If a man murders a pregnant woman, in most places he is committing two murders. But if the same woman has an abortion, that is perfectly legal, and not a murder of the unborn child. While a seemingly crazy policy, it is more evidence of the tyranny of the minority.

In politics, the rules in our federal Senate for filibusters have changed, again in a lifetime. Filibusters today are most gentlemanly, without the physical discomfort of the old filibuster rules. Now one Senator has only to declare his intention to filibuster to stop the “voter elected” simple majority of Senators from going forward. This is an egregious tyranny of the minority, especially in its routine use.

Promiscuous sexual behavior , not sex out of marriage, is still a minority behavior most Americans think. It becomes a tyranny of the minority when the majority are expected to fund for the medical and psychological costs of such risky behavior. The are alternatives for the majority, such as higher funding for cancer or heart disease research.

Illegal aliens, as in those people who are not citizens of the USA and came here anyway without going through the legal wickets, amount to an estimated 4% to 7% of the population. They are clearly a minority of people living within our borders, but have become a tyranny of the minority by the amount of political attention and benefits being thrown at them. The unwillingness of so many of this minority to assimilate is the “icing on the cake” in affronts to the majority of Americans.

American economic minority groups who have aligned or coalesced on economic common interests have also become nation-threatening minority entities. When organized as voting blocks, and pandered to by politicians, in the past they have broken the code that also breaks democracies. When they can vote monies from the haves to the have-nots, the National will fall financially. If ever there is a case for the majority rising up against the minority, this is a future one, albeit one that is seldom discussed these days, though it should be. Perhaps one or two votes may not matter, but the compilation of all these past uncoordinated good ideas applied to minority economic groups, when added together, is another case of the tyranny of the minority. In this case, even many of these minority groups don’t recognize the negative impacts that will ruin them.

Others have experienced or observed their own tyrannies of the minority. And some may be moved to make even more laws, rules, or regulations about correcting or minimizing this problem.

There is an alternative. It is called the “national interest”. This alternative takes citizens running for offices at all levels, local, state, and federal; citizens who put national interests above all other interests, which are often very many. This alternative also takes voters to use “national interest” as one of their considerations in whom to vote for. If it took a lifetime to get to the tyranny of the minority that we have today, perhaps in another lifetime the Nation can return to a majority that practices “largesse” in pursuing national interests. For the more politically current, call it a majority soft power way to lead and improve America. In all cases, we should not let our political minorities ruin a good deal for our kids, and later future generations.

Monday, January 14, 2008

As California goes, so goes the USA

The saying is quaint these days, but there may still be truth in its impacts.

All this is prompted by the proposed 10% budget cuts for California state government. Income projections are down, and the present governor is doing his best to keep all the juggled balls in the air at the same time while he balances the budget (with a little borrowing also proposed). And the legislature is part of all this, also. And the causes and solutions are many, but one may simplify it all by saying one thing for sure. The friction between benefits, often something for nothing to so many, and the basic citizen services, as in public safety, public education, and public infrastructure, is finally out in the open for all to see and debate, and hopefully even vote on sometime. The friction can be as simple as priorities. For example, what is more important, welfare payments for the child of an out-of-wedlock mother, or the life of a citizen killed by an LA gang member going through initiation, say in Sacramento while walking his dog on Christmas Eve in his neighborhood?

What still is not discussed in the open is why state income is down? The best first guess is property value appreciation and tax income has finally settled down. But there are other guesses. Californians can vote with their feet and pocket books, and move away. Conversely, other Americans (already moving) can move somewhere else instead of California. Both actions reduce the tax base and income. As a former resident of California (6 years), or at least assigned there by the military, I have moved away and will not move back. I have better alternatives, to include quality of life, and I suspect many small business leaders think the same way in their future plans.

All this suggests the California state government cannot tax or borrow its way out of this present dilemma. If ever there was a time for real honest leadership in California, and hard decisions in California government, it is in the next year or so. As a fellow American citizen I wish them the best. Some of the alternatives are the worst. What they sort out may be a harbinger for the future of the whole Country.

Only the reader can decide if this post is “chicken little – the sky is falling”, or an irritating suggestion that hard times and decisions are coming. For those who demand squirm room, or have the luxury of having squirm room, paying attention to what our fellow citizens in California do may help one’s decision process, as well as the acceptance of the reality of what is happening, which is out in plain sight.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Being right is less important than being convincing

The classic example is the sun rotating around the earth. While clearly wrong, it was taught in schools and accepted as dogma for generations. Those who disagreed suffered in life and careers. The instinct and problem is still so human. Even in the beginning of the 21st century, we humans are still humans in our ability to obfuscate the obvious.

The obvious is that we are beginning to have too many humans on planet earth, and the trend lines are not in we humans favor. Rather than offer all the normal arguments and demographics trends for the proposition, just imagine if in 6 generations (about 180 years), what will the numbers and implications be? There are ways that will work and postpone, we hope.

Another obvious is the willingness of humans to play god with mother nature and populations, be they human or animal. The former might be called socialists, and the latter might be called academic game managers. While the intents are always so good and nice, the skills and knowledge are so poor that the law of unintended consequences always pops up to embarrass the sponsors. In this case, the populations suffer, as well as the taxpayer funders for these do-gooders who need our money to do their experiments on us. There are better ways.

Less obvious but closer to our present time of 2008 is treating women as if they are one-half of humanity. Whole civilizations have taught in schools and used dogma to keep women from being one-half of humanity in their influence. Much of this is eastern, these days. Of course women are smart enough to control the world in their own way. The classic argument is the vote, which says much about our human world. This one is still up for grabs, the argument of being right is less important than being convincing. Most will say women control much of humanity, east and west, either way.

And so in America in 2008, being right is also less important than being convincing. Being convincing is mostly about whom we elect to do the most basic things like police and fire security; food, toy, and pet safety; infrastructure safety like safe water and sewage and roads and bridges; and homeland security. Being convincing is also convincing enough people to provide 24/7 electricity, albeit with all the compromises to make it happen.

Being right is tougher. Those who suggest we live more like cavemen and getting “in touch” with our environment have a point in reducing demands on the environment. They think they are “right”, though most of us think they do not live this way. They beg the original question, does the sun rotate around the earth, or is something else going on in 2008?

The answer is obvious to this human. Being right or convincing really doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of things in 2008. Voting is about America, we Americans, and our future Americans. And we can teach our kids that the earth rotates around the sun, and that America and its constitution, and the new world and its western ideas, are the best way for our human world to go forward. One can dress this idea up, but in the end, there are ideas worth fighting for if that is what it takes. And the amount of women stepping up to the fighting plate will be a good hint.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not hiding in plain sight

The alternative of an American national interest theme is out there for all to see. It is as large as the percentage of independent voters. This alternative theme is at all levels, local, state, and federal. Right now it is growing in spontaneity, which makes it so intrinsically pure, as in not soiled by political operatives like the two national political parties and their candidates they have working for them.

Practically speaking it is appealing to think of what unites we Americans, vice being exploited by all who seek political and business success and even more idealistic academic feel good success. Hence, CNN would never have an advertised news piece about Negro reporters who report “too white”. (And by the way, I saw this advertisement while visiting a neighbor. I have long ago turned off CNN). This is a blatant piece of liberal racism since all reporting is about Americans, or is supposed to be. And all the “hints’ that Hillary Clinton wants to emphasize women issues has lost this male’s vote, since all I want to vote on are American issues, which are gender free by both decree and reality. After all, women got the vote about 90 years ago. And while I do not like much of the music and clothing styles of your young people, it is definitely American, as in “melting pot” American. For sure it is not “multi-cultural”, an academic theory that reinforces Balkanization and is singularly un-American and a very “old world war generator”. Those who value and focus on American national interest themes and even new world themes are so far past the rest of the world in how we go about solving our myriad problems. Those who are anti-war, or pro-diplomacy, or even totally cynical and suspicious about our present government people, should for sure reject multiculturalism in favor of anything else, especially if any thing else is about American national interests.

What an odd, and very American coalition, may be forming. That it is forming suggests some astute politicians and parties may try take advantage. This being America, they can try. But this being America in 2008, they cannot take advantage. It is too late for them.

And what is happening is different from a third party effort, though it may work out that way in 2008. The issues are key, local, state, and federal. And how people vote will exhibit this when it is all over. We voters will select fellow Americans running for office who will use American interests in their considerations in how to vote, dictate, or even bully pulpit. Those running for office at the local, state, and federal levels who seek personal gain over national issues will fall by the wayside, as in go the way of the dinosaurs.

Let us be practical again. We Americans of all persuasions, caucasian, negro, latin, oriental, and significantly, “mixed”, have more in common than not. We should elect those that benefit us most, not those that divide us most. All this is out in plain sight, but some Americans have blinders on. We American voters can sort this out better than the politicians. And all this appears to be on auto-pilot, thank goodness.

The idea of having to live with controllers giving us choices on our future, whom to select, and what to do, is appalling enough to be un-American and smacking of the old world. We do have choices and votes and courses of action. Why else do so many fellow humans emigrate here. America and the new world has something special going on that needs to be nurtured and appreciated.

And it is not hiding at all. It is in plain sight.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The end of the beginning?

Hopefully it is closer to the beginning of the end?

Both questions are about America and the 2008 elections. Remember, these elections and questions are local, state, and federal.

Runs on our society and culture are about over. Really good ideas and ideals have been tried, and failed, or at best were disappointing in their results. Most have been domestic, some have been foreign. And we Americans have been most accommodating in going along with all this, so far. Keep in mind what is happening today is not normal, as in it has not always been this way. Today, we have even tolerated that many questions about character and policy are to be off limits in presidential debates, questions which are about our future, and our courses of action in the most basic national interest ideas, like security and safety and jobs for our families.

Let us be practical just on this last note. Criminals need to be locked up to protect us from them. We can try solve societies problems on a separate track. No more phone calls about home invasions and what to do when in fear of losing life and mothers protecting kids should ever be tolerated by taxpayers. If we need to hire more police, and build more prisons, so be it. The dictator of North Korea who used nepotism to inherit his job, needs to be held accountable to his nuclear agreements so as to keep us and our families alive and protected from his wacko behavior, and that of his 20 associated family criminal cohorts, to include his counterfeiting operations. And the rise of the regional power Iran threatens us by both their intents and our national performance that has encouraged their leaders over decades. For both the idealists and ignorant, ignore all this at your own peril. Japan was a similar regional power before WWII, and we know so many Americans died as a result. And talk about solving society’s domestic problems, public education must return to the 3R’s and parental control, as a start point. How radical can it be to suggest education as the best way out of poverty and a way to hope for our American way to deliver for those that work. And diplomats and elected politicians must actually enforce by word and deed all the global and free trade agreements we enter. The academic argument is fine, and certainly many Americans benefit, for how about all Americans benefiting. That is a big rub!

The implications of American change in 2008 are simple; some people need to get fired or voted out. If the two national political parties can’t change, which seems to be the case, then we voters will find Americans who can change things for our national interests, local, state, and federal. So there is nothing personal pointed towards the two national parties. They had their chances, and now it seems their chances were American votes about them, and not “we the people”. And State Department, stand by for change, also. How funny it seems when simple political theory and idealism can be so American practical in the year 2008.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Robin Hood factor

Today I read a tid-bit about USA major internet and computer companies suggesting a new bump in this Internet Superhighway. Basically, they wanted to have ways (filters) to protect copy write protected computer programs, and probably music.

I agree with them, and here’s why.

There are too many people in the world who will “rip off” our intellectual content, as in programs, and even music, and sell it at their cost of making it, mostly the CD making expenses. While this “business” is focused in Asia, it is also going on about everywhere anyone can buy “copy’ machines and one original program.

The robin hood instinct about robbing from the rich to help the poor comes through just fine. It is part of us, many think. But that is not what is happening. Newly arisen “robber barons’ are at play, and they are hurting us big time in America, assuming we still want to make a buck at doing business.

Any American shopping at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul or Yongsan in Seoul or shops in Hong Kong can shop and haggle all day, and get a good deal, in their mind. Yet they are most likely getting a knock off “pirate copies”, as in a Swiss Army Knife actually made in Asia.

We have many hard working Americans who go to work each day and create the programs (intellectual content) that make our lives safer and more thrifty. Even the artist types are about the same. All deserve the most basic protection to protect their work, their incomes from this work, and the American families they support. If we want to think about robin hood, let him be an American and not some global “robber baron”.
We American voters are best suited to restore civility to our politics

A recent article about former Secretary of State Albright bad-mouthing our present President and Vice-President prompts this post. That she did so as part of the normal process of doing a book tour to sell her latest book pretty much spells out her motivations and conflicts of interest. And just about when I forgot how weak she was as Secretary of State, and that she was selected and nominated for that exact reason, well she popped up again, and will probably have her book do poorly, and fade back to where she came from. Personally I still find it appalling she did not know her family genealogy very well (a grandmother of the Jewish faith I seem to recall), or chose to hide it for political reasons. Either way, I was disappointed in her basic homework and honesty for a Secretary of State.

But this post is not about her. It is about civility in American politics. Just because you can say and transmit about anything using all available reporting media means does mean you should. Ideas like self-censorship, which have a terrible connotation, also imply restraint and good manners by those who practice it. Let me add another term, “gauche”, which Madame Albright’s manners certainly were. She was certainly lacking social grace and sensitivity. She was also awkward, crude, and tactless. Her performance was unworthy of a former senior level diplomat. Why she did this is only known by her, and maybe a few others.

I for one can figure things out on my own. I understand all others do not have to agree with me and my American politics, but I also don’t need behavior such as Ms. Albright’s to point this out. The era of shock politics and insults, and being caught up in the 24/7 news business cycle that leaves little time for judgment and investigative reporting has reached both a cultural and business level that will come down, as it always does. The recent debacle over the poor performance of polls hopefully will ruin a few careers, as it should since many paid reporting media Americans were reporting polls as “facts”.

My point is two-fold. The business cycle and consumers voting with our feet and pocket books will correct much of the media reporting imbalance that exists today. But we voters also need to include “restoring civility” as a consideration of whom to vote for.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Is rationed health care what we want?

I grew up this way, through the Navy system, and it is pretty good. As a Marine dependent, and later Marine, I think our Navy medical people did very well maximizing care as money resources went down and our married percentages went up along with all of our children from the same marriages. There were long periods when I never saw a doctor, but corpsmen are pretty sharp, especially the Chiefs, and I always appreciated being able to speak with someone who spoke English as a first language. And I did not die, and was always treated, and it was free to me. All in all, not to shabby. And never did combat coverage suffer.

Now that I am retired, I can also use my Champus medical benefits voted by our Congress, which one doctor wrote me, as in writing, was the worst benefits program he had dealt with, and by the way, send him the payments for his big bill as an assistant anesthesiologist to a normal birth of a baby. I even went so far as to take a day out of my life and go visit the Champus advisor, who told me to suck it up. In retrospect, I wish I had been asked about whether to accept an “assistant” anesthesiologist, but that did not happen, and my training and instincts are to back up the local person making decisions on the fly. So I paid the bill, and still resent the insulting tone of his letter.

In the same vein, I met a doctor friend who had to use his American radiology medical training and hospital contract to make judgmental decisions about what the X-Rays suggested. He really resented lawyers who could take days dissecting his more quick judgments, all well intended and honest. In other words, much of his income went towards insurance payments for lawyers suits, and he too still resents the insults.

In the same, and last, vein, I have served and worked with real American leaders who back up the rationed Navy health care system. Even a Marine Colonel and Chief of Staff of a Base had to wait 18 months for a knee replacement surgery and follow on treatment. I was so proud of him for not taking advantage of his position and rank, but just being a normal member of the naval service, as in get in line for his turn.

Is that what we want for all of America. While I doubt it, it is being advertised in the present election campaign as saving monies by “grouping” us together to gain the advantages of economics of scale, albeit without lowering standards and schedules and doctor opportunities. If a voter believes that, then there is free land to buy, or some other “something for nothing” electoral gimmick.

What it really comes down to is: do we want to live forever? Should those Americans who want to live forever have the rest of us pay for extending their lives, even if they have to wait 24 months? If we go the national health care route, are we willing to let politicians and medical administrators tell us what they are willing to pay for, or let us die for? More simply, when the health budget cuts come, what will happen? Will we die quicker, will the taxpayers bail out quicker, will the voters change, or will the doctors who cannot make money leave.

Answering the question about rationing health care to save money begs the question. Just who’s money are we trying to save? And why? There are other alternatives to old people’s health care and saving monies than government health care. Thank goodness we voters are in charge, in the end. And while I like and still applaud the Navy system, many other fellow Americans may not.
American electoral politics can be dangerous to your health

Why do humans have to invent problems, or even dredge up problems from decades ago, in order to say how they will solve them “if elected” tomorrow. Since 1992 it even seems like a crescendo of bad economic news arises every federal election as in today is the worst of economic times. But like the “boy who cried wolf too often”, when he finally saw a real threatening wolf, no one paid him any attention.

We usually go to doctors about our health concerns. But how about if the doctor doesn’t ask the most obvious questions or address our most obvious symptoms. If certain questions are not to be asked, especially questions where even the most elementary details are required in response, then most Americans will find another medical practice and personal doctor. Our standards are higher than one of just how much money is spent since quality of life and the future counts for so much.

And so this citizen of America would to hear candidates for doctors of democracy address our national interests that are key to our future health as a nation. Here’s a start list: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, “smarting up” K-12 education, public health (like vaccinations, food safety, toy safety), public infrastructure (like bridges not falling down), border security, and even basic police security (like neighborhood safety). One can roll it up as issues that are more local and state than federal. And one can roll it up as “we can’t afford it all” if one senses the “benefits” programs have cut into all the “basic” programs to the point of bridges falling down. Tough discussion and follow-on decisions are due, but one hears little of this discussed.

Doctors of health care for humans and their practices will fail if they continue this kind of behavior. Doctors of democracy will also fail similarly. The only way for we to survive is not to accept this, and find new practices, usually called a political party. Fellow Americans who think another way can do so using their vote, but cannot also bring the rest of us down if we don’t agree with them. All Americans can vote with their political vote, and their pocket books, if we want American electoral politics to be healthy for us today, and our futures.

For those who think this present good national health is normal, as if in “I am an American, I have rights”, it is not, though most wish it were so, and some think it is so. Similarly clean running tap water, and forced air heat, and even 24/7 electricity is a privilege, not a right. Things we assume may be more fragile than we may imagine, or want to admit.

Another question some want to hear discussed in the next 11 months is: Why not focus on improving all the good things achieved since the end of World War Two, and “ditch” all the good tries that failed. After all we cannot afford it all, and dumping failures frees up money for successes, unless we want more bridges falling down. One can roll this one up as “reinforce success, not failure”. Many good initiatives often need time to be developed or enhanced. What we don’t need now are new initiatives for invented or over amplified “new problems”. A doctor (and political leader) might suggest trying to solve today’s health problems before we invent or try to find new health problems that at best compound our present efforts, most human politically intended it is shameful to admit.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cooking for our families can be fun, even if it often seems like work

Cooking for our relatives, even foreigners, can be a real pain. Most of these relatives and foreigners worry about sanitation and even styles that are different from their experience. So what is new? Too many mothers look askance at visitors, as if visitors are dirty or will make their family sick, even by just using glasses to drink from. So what’s new?

Being a macho Marine who dares all and does all, I had a buddy who attended a wedding in the Asian side of Istanbul, and at the reception the treats included a cold soup with chopped lambs intestines, a real treat that cost extra for the hosts. Well our Marine and fellow American proceeded to blow chow all over the place. How embarrassing, and so reducing in our fear factor.

Transport quickly to the Philippines and try baloot (baluge in the local term), a real delicacy from a fifteen or sixteen day fertilized chicken egg. A whole nation eats this and honors it. I have only had it drunk, so be it.

How about Taiwan birds nest soup. Or eastern European peppers. Or rotten seal meat dishes from Iceland. The whole idea of “pungent” can take on a whole new meaning to many Americans. How about when my grandma got a chicken out of the chicken coop in Tennessee and did the rest of things like normal. Me and my brother wouldn’t eat it, even if in retrospect, it was cleaner than “store-bought” chicken.

Last, it seemed funny when we Marines had one day a week soul-food meals in the mess halls decades ago as an effort in racial harmonization, but one main item of “chitterlings” was introduced by social dummies where country and not city, came to friction. and so many Marines just hated it as I did. Chitterlings are cleaned and fried pig’s intestines, and the stripping process alone is enough to make one leave the house, or throw up. Think of boiled poop. City Marines of all races had not even heard of this “meal”, and hated it. I have being from the country in Tennessee hated it too, and I left the house when my mother did her preparation. And as in “Marine mess halls”, most day to day food should be generic, and mess hall style. Our kids thrive on all this, of course. So do we adults.

For those who want to be cooks, as in cooks for their families and relatives and even foreign guests, go for it. We have such a rich and American blend of cultures and foods, we have a wonderful opportunity. Many cooks are worried about failing or being embarrassed, which is normal. Rather, cooks should try, and be willing to fail or even be embarrassed. And keep in mind that presentation counts, too. After all cooks are inventing our American future, even if they don’t know it at the time. What a shame saying this. Let us just enjoy meals together, and talk.

Kick back, cook, present, eat, drink, and enjoy our America that we invent.
The importance of a high school level education is so important to America’s future

That we do not hear this in the 2008 election federal debates says much about we Americans, those who control the debate questions, and even if they think we citizens do not have choices about our kid’s futures.

And an old fashioned curriculum that best prepares our young people for their future, and their kids future is what we voters and parental school enrollers must demand, expect, vote for, and “fire for” is “just the ticket”. Most of this idea is local, as in voting or even going private. And too many think we have in the last few decades frittered away our most parental and societal obligation to educate our young people to be good citizens for their benefit. And thank goodness, many have not “frittered away” their obligations to their kids.

There are also many who have taken this window of opportunity to educate their kids the old fashioned way, and so have benefited them to lead and succeed in our and their futures. Nobody can fault parents for doing the best for their kids. What has to happen sooner rather than later, is having American leaders, local and state mostly, get elected and introduce education standards that benefit the rest of society and our kids. Expect resistance, but the last many heard, the citizens are still in charge, vice the unions and jobs program’s bureaucrats and idealists who presently dominate so many schools in so many parts of our country. These people are Americans too, but their chances and opportunities have come and gone. They have failed ideas that hurt our children today.

Some practical examples come up for a society and culture such as America to survive, let alone succeed. Children must be taught geography and other cultures, American history and our culture’s values, arithmetic as in make change and understand interest rates, American English as in being able to read manuals and books, and home economics as in cooking, basic home repair, and home budgets. Just studying about driving, and responding to all the signs and restrictions is important for our safety and the common good. Nobody is born with this knowledge, nor is most of it learned at home or by osmosis, so it must be taught. If not taught, it must be acquired over and over again for each generation, which smacks of returning to our most primitive tribal instincts. Except we Americans are not members of tribes. We are Americans who take oaths to ideas and not people.

Since there are only so many hours and days in any curriculum, priorities must come into play. We cannot fit most of our parental and even governmental socialistic goals into what we hope to get from sending our kids to school, public or even private. When push comes to shove, the basics must always win out in our future, and our kid’s future. Now this idea may come across as radical these days, because it is radical these days. Not too long ago, it was just common sense. When we don’t have enough time in the day, or money in budget, then we prioritize. Let us apply this idea to our children’s educations up to the 12th grade level in order to provide them the basics to be an American citizen with opportunity for success. To do anything less can be called a form of child abuse. After a fair 12th grade education by local standards, they, and their parents, are on their own. And thank goodness.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Hollywood’s handwriting is on the wall

After a run of almost 100 years, the industry may remain the same, but the leadership is certainly changing. And the leadership is about making money, not the ideology we all rant against. Let the old Hollywood type dinosaurs go the way of the past. Let the innovators figure out how to make money with all the expenses unique to Hollywood and California . In the meantime, let most us be entertained, which is what Hollywood is about to most Americans. Even if movie theaters suffer, we all enjoy the entertainment of Hollywood. This is a real American industry that can be superseded in time. And American loyalty goes as far as the pocket book. There are other alternatives. Watching British movies is one example. One thinks they have already been through their version of a Hollywood strike.

The recent writers strike in Hollywood has exposed to the public many things earlier left unsaid in California. Two things jump right out. One is the politics of so many in this industry to the point of not crossing picket lines. Second is the incredible greed of so many in this industry who are arguing and striking over the monies we common citizens pay.

This citizen is fed up, mostly with the selfishness about money, and the selfishness of so many in this industry to use their media openings to tell us their political position, as in we are to follow their lead and vote their way. And all most of us want to do is be entertained. And along the way, if we American good guys win and gain respect, that is fine too.

Most of us don’t suffer from egos and poor experience that suggests we can define America and women’s and men’s ideals. Most of us are just in love with our spouses in our own way. Many think this also applies to Hollywood and even California. What a wonderful movie idea, when it gets made.

So many Americans make this movie every day in their own lives!
National interests are local, state, and sometimes federal

And why do we Americans feel comfortable seeking guidance from “studies”, especially “narrow academic” studies, and listening to pandering national party politicians; instead of using our own experiences and common sense to decide who our future leaders are to be? After all, most don’t want to be politicians, nor have the time to do it full time, but we do have full time concerns about our future, especially our kids’ future. And so many of these concerns are local and even state, with the federal concerns coming in third to so many Americans.

One humorous (as in sarcastic) element is the national media reporting about the trials and dilemmas of the various federal candidates. It’s a tough world out there for all of us, and that includes our politicians in this blood sport called the primaries. But why do they get sympathetic media coverage over their problems when our neighbors working and raising a family do not? Why are pundits handicapping the various federal election prospects and not our local American prospects? And why does the national media let politicians not running get away with murder, so to speak. As an example, why does inland Senator Lamar Alexander get away with legislation restricting off shore wind farms that make electricity when an obvious conflict of interest exists over his beachfront real estate investments. Add in his partnership with Senator Kennedy who did similar things because the wind towers would interfere (at least in his mind) with where he has always sailed. While this can be explained away as “this is how America has always worked” in the past, perhaps our collective national interests have progressed to where we have a “plate at the table”. In the wind farms example, perhaps all the talk about energy independence, conservation, and alternative sources of energy, should influence the Senator from Tennessee about where to invest in land; or influence the Senator from Massachusetts to review the sailing “rules of the road”. An obvious one is don’t hit the tower if it is bigger than your boat.

And so what are national interests? The idea is not the same as national security, though national security is in our national interest, and often a federal issue. But there are so many national interest priorities that only local and state elections providing us new leaders can address since so many “old” leaders have not done so. The basics are in our national interests, the basics that seem “assumed” these days as in on “auto-pilot”. Let us keep it simple in terms of basic home security and police and fire protection, public health as in vaccination programs along with clean water and septic systems, public education to make our young people good trained citizens for our future, local policies and practices that bring in good jobs and attract young families, and taxing to support infrastructure for our common good. Bridges that do not fall down is a good example of a basic.

The preceding is a full plate. But how we Americans today decide how to get things done in our national interest is not limited by the status quo and history. For example, the federal government redistributing federal tax income in block grants to states to do the basics is inherently and morally wrong. The states should be doing the taxing for the same reasons, and of course the voters should be saying so in their votes. In this will come hard decisions and votes, and results. Many political and bureaucratic careers will be ruined, but then again, is our national interest future about we Americans, or our political and hired and appointed bureaucratic ruling classes? And of course these Americans can get new jobs, too, just like the rest of us.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A democracy “bump” in the road

The idea of the “bump” is one of the “have-nots” using democracy to vote themselves money and benefits from the “haves”. And while this idea has many historical sources, one can choose to ignore all the history to come back to the basic question. Can we in America “kill the goose that lays the golden egg?” An obvious recent example is one of proposed full medical payments applied to the “middle class” (S-CHIP). That this idea is both so noble and socialistic and so full of financial and lawyer abuses is obvious to most. That its funding requires more borrowing and passing costs on to our children and grandchildren is also obvious. And this history of “all abuses” has legs if one only looks at TennCare in Tennessee. Thank goodness this State has a Governor who runs the State like a business, to include trying to make TennCare work (he was handed the program and its probems). Amplify this S-CHIP idea by others like retirement and medical payments for old and poor people, and the obvious question is begged. Are we voters going to respond to the most base and pandering politicians in both primaries and the main elections, and vote ourselves into financial ruin? And we do have alternatives. One practiced today is to ignore all the forecasts for financial ruin, that is “no services” for Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, and let future American voters and tax payers sort it out. And some Americans think the status quo will go on forever, that is we cannot financially ruin our Country.

First is the idea presently being practiced about ignoring the Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid solvency problems, all which have windows of problems, one very close to today. Passing the problem on to future generations will create generational warfare, something to be avoided at all costs if we want to avoid another revolution or civil war. Yet we in America already have hints of generational warfare as Presidential candidate Obama attracts so many young people who vote; yet as an older voter, I don’t want to have to lose and go through idealism and lack of experience another time (i.e. failed 1960’s ideas, or Jimmy Carter), especially if it means some of my progeny will unnecessarily die early, be cold, or suffer financially. While I think there is a better way, the hint and whiff of generational warfare is there. And introducing “fear” is not part of any decent political method in most Americans’ bag of tricks. We have bigger fish to fry.

Second is the idea of “as California goes, so goes the rest of the Country”. This prospect is also scary. The days of crossing into California at Needles and singing “California, Here I Come” are long gone. One wonders if the present California citizens and their elected politicians will vote themselves into being inconsequential and unable to fund it all, albeit with the best of intentions. Having lived there, and moved away, there are better “quality of life” places in America than California today. It has not always been this way, and the present Governor is doing his best to guide all this. Will California make it over the “bump” in the democracy road, or become something different from what it is today? Does the idea of “as California goes” still apply?

The question is Churchillian? The answer is about most human evolution, especially “new world” evolution. Will we vote for our future, to include our kids’ future. Or will we vote for ourselves today and benefits to us today and in the near future. Will we be able to balance, as voters, what we want and what we can pay for? Do we think we can become dependents of government, and worry about the negative impacts? Most think we “new world” Americans are different from the “old world” past, and will vote for our kids future, to include making it over the democracy “bump”. But who knows, in the end. The common bond of humanity is also powerful.
Why a two party system when we have republicans, democrats, and independents?

And the independents are the biggest voting group these days! There have been other national parties. When was the last time you considered voting Federalist?

That we have a two party system by evolution over 200 years suggests there are good reasons for it. An obvious reason is when one party gets too big for its pants, and needs a good check and come down. But what happens when the two party’s elected members have more in common than not? Just who is to check those who have become too big for their pants?

And while the phrase “too big for their pants” is from our past, it is still most modern when expressed as party and elite interests over national interests. This idea follows from a fundamental that there are many good ideas about how to run our Country, but generally two or three bubble to the top. And the historical friction from our two party system is often best represented by our past of rich vs. poor, rural vs. city, populist vs. robber barons, and any other either/or that could be found and promoted.

But even this beauty from our past is being abused by too many of today. Today things have evolved into another two party system, but one of elected, anointed, and hired Americans on one side and the rest of the citizens on the other side. As in most two sided frictions in the past, this too is untenable. Let me offer a math example. There are around 300 million Americans from newborns to very old people, and if only one percent, or 3 million Americans, wish to dictate to the other 99 percent of us, they will have to do so by good ideas that appeal to national instincts. Anything less, like teacher unions as local jobs programs, or being sophisticated robber barons by mining the national wealth by ruling votes, will fail. I offer the rise of the percentage of “independent voters” as good evidence of change underway.

What is to our American interests’ advantage? Sticking with the two party system, though not necessarily the present two parties, is one course of action. This course has at least one benefit in forcing each party to become a “coalition” that is so necessary in a country as large as ours. Another course of action is to expand to three or more parties. While this is emotionally appealing throughout American history, in our republican form of government, it hasn’t evolved over time.

Where to go from 2008 seems obvious. Let us 99% of Americans identify the 1% of Americans who have become a ruling elite, all to often by jobs, self anointments, and elections. This is one-half of the two party system fundamentals. This is also a target rich environment if there are over 500,000 elected positions, locally, state, and federal. After all we even once had a Republican-Democratic Party in our history. And let the two party idea continue to evolve to the latest friction between the ruling elites and the rest of us. Hence the rise of “independents”. Whatever this other “party” or group of Americans becomes or is called, it will probably be most focused on our American national interests that they define and will vote for.

Let us be practical. Most Americans recognize we have been attacked, and there are humans who want to do us in, and have. Some smaller group of Americans don’t recognize this, don’t care, or think we are too well off to have to worry. Some even think they have unassailable political jobs, given their status quo. They have a better way, they say. Another smaller group of Americans have made the public education of our children their indoctrination and jobs programs. Now these are two party coalition issues we can vote on! After all, we are not stuck in the status quo.