Friday, February 29, 2008

Change in America is about

The change is mostly the financial fear and probable impact of a coming depression that will hurt most of us and the world in so many ways. Aggravating all this are the international wacko types who think they are number one in the world; the puppet president of Iran being the latest example. If and when he and his leaders start a war in their region, things will get out of hand, as in what we think in the USA may make us bit players. Talk about piling on when we are down.

The political change improving things in the USA is optimistic. All the last many decades of our political leaders and parties are about to be replaced by future leaders who better represent our fears to survive for our kids sake. The times are not 1929 with all the causes then. Mostly today it is about having jobs, and not taxing and borrowing our way into some politician’s idealistic view of their future based on their upbringing. Even better, the old ideas of taking advantage of our largesse is being supplanted by those living in the real world. The idea of pay as you go supplanting pandering, and Americans knowing this, is much about the change in America.

Even free trade and globalization is an indictment on our federal government agencies (mostly state department when it used to represent us) when treaties are not enforced, like in environmental and sweat-shop standards. This is not a subtle subject in the rural area where I live and so many low paying jobs are going overseas. People resent being messed over by those who take advantage of the treaties our fellow Americans negotiated. Most prefer the dignity of work over welfare.

What a shame it came to this, but let it roll, never-the-less. And so let us elect new leaders and politicians, probably from a new national party yet to be named that does better than the old republicans and democrats. Suddenly, the elections of 2010 and 2012 are more important to our future. Yes, choices matter. And the politicians are not the only choosers.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Will we fight ever?

Will we fight to defend Israel, or Taiwan, or our own Country if any are attacked in the future? Will we allow ourselves to get dragged into another European war that starts in the Balkans like in WWI? What will we do if a Chinese civil war goes nuclear, and the downrange fallout patterns cover Japan, and finally drifts over Hawaii and then the USA? Will we allow nutcases like the present puppet president of Iran, who now declares Iran is the most powerful nation in the world, to dictate to we USA citizens? Should we even worry about the capacity of Iran to start a war? Do we understand that other countries in the world will react differently to the same threats as we see them? Is hostage taking a viable foreign policy tactic for third world countries in the future?

Is open out in the TV news war a viable course of action in the future? Must most war be covert in the future?

How influenced are we USA citizens by the political influences of the reporting media and our federal politicians? As the story goes, the Hearst newspapers and the Yellow Press got us into the Spanish-American War circa 1896, so there is a precedent.

How worried should we USA citizens be about our potential future presidents having their mettle challenged by those who think they can use intimidation as a foreign policy method? How worried should we be that some future president may overreact and get us into a war just to prove his or her mettle?

How much have we USA citizens thought about the differences between experience, education, and intelligence being applied to answer these most difficult questions? How many have heard of the Powell Doctrine? How many have thought about our vital national interests as a guide to our future? Will our country’s future be more influenced by our masses of voters, or a small elite group of master politicians and media managers?

How many think about these questions, while we have the time and benefit of true peace, which will aid in deciding their vote for President of the USA? And the vote will have much to do with our future, and our kids’ futures. Maybe even the world’s future?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

If it is that obvious to me, then it must be obvious to others?

The title suggests certain principles that apply to most Americans, and most likely most of the rest of the world.
They are:
(1) When younger I thought I was really smart with a deserved big ego, until I grew older.
(2) When younger I thought my status quo was normal and assured, as in before, during, and in the future. Then I grew older.
(3) When younger I thought I was rich. Then I got married and had kids and knew I was not rich.
(4) When I was younger, I did not know how protected I was. Then I became a Marine recruiter, and got to meet the rest of humanity. It still hurts my feelings to think only one 1 in 3 Americans in my area at the time were even mentally, morally, or physically qualified to be considered as a Private in the Marines.
(5) When I was younger I confused privileges with rights. When I lived overseas, often in the third world, I began to “appreciate” things like warmth, being dry, western toilets, toilet paper (to include splinter-free toilet paper), and public health and public assistance (like education) that give kids a chance to reach adulthood.

So in this 2008 election cycle certain things are also obvious to me.
They are:
(1) Much of the reporting media coverage I have access to focuses on the federal elections. Yet much of what affects Americans is state and local.
(2) Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama seem to be running for some “world president” position. When they mention using my taxes to accomplish their vision of their future, it is obvious to me.
(3) The American trend to worry about what the rest of the world thinks about us is obvious to me. Also obvious is the complete difference between the emigration trends and what the reporting media says is important to so many Americans. It is also obvious there is a mismatch between the coverage and the reality of having to defend our borders.

So certain questions about our future, and our voting, also seems obvious to me.
(1) Is America’s elite leadership too over-intellectualized? Can we defeat ourselves by being too smart, or too spoiled, or too assuming?
(2) Do we have something to be proud of, respect, and promote? The obvious answer is our Constitution and our constitutional way to change the Constitution if and when we want to.
(3) Do I need to carry a legal gun to protect myself and my family in future America? To answer the question with an obvious answer, yes. As budgets change from basic government functions like defense to benefits, and if not corrected, then it is back to defending ourselves with legal guns, and other legal defenses.
(4) Can we go rural, as in revert to our past? If not, what? Surrender to some barbarinans?
(5) Is America, and our votes, about the USA, or the world? If we vote for the world, then who will defend our American rights that are so obvious to me?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cold black noses are cold and clammy

American dogs are so much like American humans that much is what is new? So who is smarter in the long run, our American dogs, or we American humans? My vote is for the humans, but the logic and loyalty of well fed animals is OK, too. Even bully instinct is as much female as male, at least in my own local yard dog small farm. Yes, girls can be mean, too.
Election periods always prompt trend observations

Reading the tea leaves is chancy work, much as always subject to the eyes of the tea reader. Today’s soothsayers, usually called pollsters, provide the recent trend forecasts.

The influence of the TV media in trying to promote the mostly producers’ candidates is a trend. The influence of the younger college age generation being concerned about what the rest of the world thinks about America is a trend. The self-announced power of the pundits to predict what is happening recently is a trend. The latest version of propaganda managed and paid for effects on we people, called the media managers and spin masters, is a trend.

The biggest trend of all still is seldom talked about. The last few decades of status quo in America is about over. To put a good face on the trend, most of what we Americans have tried to improve for we, America, and we, the World, will still take more time, and the trend is to reinforce all that is good about America, and within budget. This smells like a slow down trend. How about we catch up at home, locally, state, and even federal?

Now many of us have heard that lack of growth in federal budgets “is a cut”, which of course is baloney. And many Americans wonder if the present candidates for our federal President want to be President of the world? If correct, that is not an American trend, though some may disagree. Do we really want our taxes to go towards trying to solve the world’s problems, as defined by the politicians running for the federal office? Do we really want to live in their vision of their future using our taxes. If their trend, not ours, is to be President of the World, then they are in the wrong place and running for the wrong office. If you buy the do-gooder ideas balanced with some financial sobriety, then there are other alternatives to be more USA American that can become trends for the next decade or so. Even the most conspiracy oriented will probably go along with taking care of our country first. Even this probable trend is obvious, and for our world and human benefit in the long run.

The underlying trend of the last two decades is also so obvious. The trends need to focus on local, state, and sometimes federal tax distribution for our benefit. The frictions between benefits like retirements and the local taxes that it takes, and basic police and fire security like most expect from government, is becoming more obvious. If one has to hire an extra, on top of basic police neighborhoods patrols, to protect their life and home, to include little kids, then something has trended out the wrong way.

Most of American local communities have not yet suffered this way. But it is coming as a trend. Vote to make things better, of course, in your voters mind. And voter choices are often more grey, than black or white. Now that is our America.

Monday, February 25, 2008

When east meets west…

Both sides are out of their league, or experience level. Expecting humans to think like “our own experience level” is all so human. Yet there is really nothing new under the sun, except the people do change, and history seems to recycle. For those who like history as a “hobby”, isn’t it amazing to read and find out that much of what is important “now” was just as important “then”. And “then” can be way back to the roman ages, or be more current like the recent world events.

Today’s soothsayers and pundits that we read are mostly western educated and experienced. That says it all. While we had a western dark ages, much of the rest of the world was flourishing, so there is much in our western education and experience that may be missing from the bigger picture of humanity. In turn, we westerners seem to have been dominant in the world for the last few centuries, but will it continue? Now we even have a minority of eastern educated humans using propaganda techniques, called madrashahs, to perpetuate a 7th century ideal of humanity.

The various ideas are different, to be kind. But the question should be less than one of dominance, than what is best for humanity? Again, there is nothing new under the sun, only the people. And only the people will decide, mostly with their feet and their pocket books, and love of their families. And there is much to suggest the ideas of east vs. west are already being superceded by old world vs. new world ideas. If this reality idea ever takes as what is really happening, then this is a new “under the sun” idea.

The practicality of this esoteric academic type argument is appropriate to we in the USA. Let us vote for those that promote our USA national interests, and expect the old world and the rest of the new world to follow. Never, ever, ever, let us get dragged down by the past. While most USA types are mostly too busy to worry about our old world, there is still a distant connection. And while the American pin striped pants types who do foreign policy may tend to be old world oriented, most of USA people still live here in the new world. And they still have to get up, maybe fight with their spouse, go to work, raise their pain-in-the-tail kids, do home repairs, listen to their parents and in-laws, fight city hall and the school boards, do charity work, and even support by word and family, foreign military affairs. And all this after getting up at 0430 to go to a church workout with one’s sister, and don’t forget balancing the family budget.

Even the arguments of benefits vs. basic government expectations are now in play in the new world. While none of these quandaries are “new under the sun”, the privilege to discuss so and vote for change is “new under the sun”. Pour it on, new world USA America! Whatever this means? While the financial picture is pretty ugly, the opportunity to vote even during possible hard times is still new world, and it is seemingly “new under the sun”, and it is still our USA and our new world. One might also note or imagine none of this is subject to professional media managers ideas of what to think. We are smarter than them as to our future.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Who speaks for Americans?

The present 2008 election cycle in the USA still seems too often like the status quo that has existed for decades. At all levels, local, state, and federal, much of the debate, discussions, and frictions, are still pretty much run by both national political parties, and their enablers to include party professionals, the media, and so many new public unions. Even that could be acceptable if the debate and worries about making things better for Americans was, well, about Americans. Somehow things have evolved to how the politicians will distribute our taxes for their personal and party visions about our future. For those that don’t like what is happening in too many school districts, or retirement benefits for our local government employees, or control of our southern borders, take that in your face. And in this is a trend worth noting.

Not too many decades ago, Americans running for office still responded to the voters. Now these same professional politicians hire really smart media managers with someone else’s money to manipulate us to do their will, and we go along if the status quo is to continue to exist. And as long as we could afford it, or borrow to support it, well, that was noble and idealistic in purpose.

What’s a shame is that we have voted for politicians who have resorted to borrowing to supplement all the wonderful promises and benefits for fellow Americans that got us to vote for them, the politicians. Now too many fellow Americans are left holding the bag, so to speak. How about their future taxpayer obligations, the requirement to work to generate these taxes that pay the retirements, and these taxpayers expectations about their future expectations. The whole scheme has been elevated to the federal level with too many relatives who are in fear of losing “benefits” of social security and mostly Medicare, and they will vote their fears. In the same vein, many younger Americans don’t want to be left “holding the bag”, so to speak. Why pay in with no expectation of pay out. Somethings got to change for our USA system to make sense for our old people. Hopefully it is not a night of the long knives, though that is an option.

The whole pathos, yes I mean pathos, is that our most wonderful quality of life that extends to most Americans will go on forever. It won’t in all likelihood. And this terrible forecast about our future is based on events dictating to us what will happen, vice we Americans dictating our own future.

For those who enjoy going to local plays, or even off-Broadway shows, they are most likely observing the final acts of the old status quo through the 2008 elections. America is not about the political dinosaurs going through their most gut wrenching changes compared to what they expected to happen, and all too often worked so hard for all their life, to include whom they married. America is about the future of our present citizens and our children, and all the gut wrenching changes we will have to make. Best case is that we will make these changes because we should do it for our own common interests. Worst case is that these changes will be dictated to us. Humble pie will come in when foreigners and other outsiders dictate to us, and we have to listen and implement. In turn, our new world status will allow us to accommodate quicker than those in the old world. Our old fall-back of vast national resources will work well in balancing ideals with mining and food resources.

In the same vein, we USA types will survive and still be the beacon for the whole world, albeit will adjusted and reasonable expectations. The results will not be by accident, but on purpose. And we will vote this way, since we will still be able to vote, thank goodness.

In the meantime our old world cousins will go through the turmoil they deserve…and think is normal.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Hollywood is about entertainment

That it has devolved to politics and cultural and environmental fads is a most crass abuse of egos by too many entertainers. Some have not, by the way.

Let those that choose to confuse entertainment with politics run as politicians if they choose, and let us vote as we choose. In the meantime, can we just go to the movie, or buy the DVD, without remorse and expecting entertainment.

In the meantime, let many of us vote with our pocketbooks, and not see the movie or buy the DVD.

Especially irritating are movies that portray women like men, to include as strong as men. This so silly, since we all know men and women are different, thank goodness. And movies and TV shows that respect this most obvious idea and frictions are entertainment.

Apparently this most obvious idea of separating politics from entertainment is not as obvious as many Americans may have thought. Maybe this is a hint as to why the Hollywood industry may be going down financially, at least for now.
Financial directions we can vote on

Mostly the votes are for the politicians who will do what we want to happen in our best future interests. Mostly these interests are vital national interests.

Like it or not, most of us are entering the times when we are going to be left holding the bag, also called the financial sins of our mothers and fathers and the politicians they elected. Often we are also present beneficiaries of much of this largesse. And it is at all levels, to include local, state, and federal.

The examples are everywhere, and are being dealt with as best politicians and voters who elect them can…postpone and put off to the future. For example, New Jersey, the state, may have as much as $113 billion in unfunded deficiencies. Numbers are hard to figure given all the smoke and mirrors and accounting games, but the trend reflects things that began to go off the tracks when the state, as well as other governments as in local and federal, went from pay as you go to borrowing to pay for all the promises that all to often also got votes. Now it is time to pay the piper, or default, with the latter’s terrible consequences. Even muddling through will not probably work in the long run.

Much of the rub appears today as budget competitions between promised benefits, which are a growing lot based on demographics and ever increasing promises; and the basic government services like defense, home security, infrastructure for our common good and enhancement, and even border security to include food safety.

Here is where we voters can make a difference in whom we vote for, now and in the future; and locally, state, and federal. The choices of financial directions are becoming more stark than anytime in the last few decades. Two examples stick out. Is national defense to become secondary to social security and Medicare? Are bureaucracies like defense to be supported as a jobs program first? These questions are most serious for those who choose to accept them. Most won’t, it seems, and will take what ever they get as a result.

To conclude, we Americans generate a lot of national wealth that will pay for many things that our elected politicians will decide in distributing our taxes. It is suggested that politicians who want to achieve their most idealistic socialistic and hippie and English commune goals with our money are now passé. Rather we should be voting for politicians who will help us achieve our national interests that we can pay for, both paying for our future as well as the financial sins of our mothers and fathers. It sure looks like it will take a new national party to make this happen. And it will take a new generation of Americans not bound to the status quo presented to them, as ugly as the picture is today.

Friday, February 22, 2008

When it rains, it sometimes pours.

We USA Americans still have a little time to think about what is important internationally, as in worth fighting for. Here’s a primer for the discussion.

We inherited our old world striped pants diplomat's nation-states, mostly European and colonial in nature. Some of the ideas have extended to far east Asia, but they too have their own histories of temporary nation-states usually more like tribal fiefdoms. That some of the tribal chiefs have included amalgamation with domination is a tribute to their good political instincts. Today it is called winning the hearts and minds of the intended populations. Back then it was called killing off the opposition, and often intermarrying.

Thanks to Islamic fascist types, who are after all a very small minority of Islam, but dangerous as to their killing instincts and liberal funding for various reasons, to include payoffs, the whole idea of nation-states has come up again, and for good reason, since it may not be the future history of humanity. The general objection is the bad idea of trying to get multi-cultural groups to recognize their commonality when thousands of years of human experience suggest otherwise. The specific objections are more pointed, as in why should we send in the militaries of the USA, the U.N., or NATO to reinforce old time ideas since these people want to kill and dominate each other anyway.

Ah, if life were so simple!

Many idealists support the glorious ideas of people groups gaining independence and control of their lives and lands. Today’s consequences are not so idealistic. Local mafias and gangs and all things not so democratic is what really and usually arises to rule and manage the land and people. A world reduced to tribes and city-states is not what we Americans think is the way things should go, many think. When infrastructure is reduced to the local area, and there is little interaction other than old river steamers in the Congo, and below the falls, for example, then we USA Americans have choices about what is important to us. Or should we let our government support the Kosovo independence declaration knowing its economic weakness and history of Ottoman Empire machinations. Is this an idealistic stance, or a realistic stance? Most importantly, should we let out federal politicians, including those presently running for offices, spend our money and send our children in their causes as they sort this out. This is not a silly question, though it should be. The example of how USA Americans and politicians think about protecting us on our southern boundary is a most recent example. We new world people and our leaders can still lead, and the whole world will probably benefit.

End of the promised primer. The world is full of new ideas of promised tribal lands, like Kurdistan, Baluchistan, or even Tibet. One might say the world has not been fair, since the pin-striped diplomats of old have delivered us to our present state. But don’t discount their logic and confidence at their time. Perhaps they knew more than is being reported today?

So if and when turmoil and confusion seems to reign supreme, as if the media reporters are confused and out of work, consider this primer as to future courses of action that benefit our American Nation. And by golly, we do have other courses of action, if we choose to vote these ways. And we voters can think and vote domestic and foreign issues, just about equally. This is why, whatever our future deals us, the new world we USA Americans live in is also the course of actions for our whole world.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Just where do your campaign contributions go?

Idealism compared to realism can be painful:

The thrust of the link is to pick on Hillary Clinton. Fine. A little goes towards Barack Obama, also. One may fairly apply the ideas in the link to the republican candidates, also. And there is much discussion about campaign contributions as to sources, most appealing being those from small time contributors using the internet. What an appealing citizen influence principle! But the uniqueness of the link is where the money goes. A lot of fellow Americans, albeit a small group, are making a lot of money off of the campaigns using the best propaganda and media control techniques thought of so far; with maybe some lavish lifestyles of eating and living ameliorating some of the most demanding work schedules. Even reported ego fits about not accepting a “poor politicians” Gulfstream G5 jet airplane when one expects a Gulfstream G7, albeit at more expense, if reflective of the old time status quo politicians who think their lives will go on forever, are sad. This idea of ego has gone from subservient in the 1960’s to “I deserve it” in today’s times. Just who are these Americans? Soviet commissars come to mind.

The election cycle in 2008 is becoming more important to our future than the only years ago prediction it was going to be status quo as usual. The impetus is mostly negative, as in concern about our future and the path we have been on. We are not stuck on our present path. Unfortunately we voters are going to have to shake things up. And while the media will report one group of voters over another, usually because it is a for profit business, after all, we voters are still in charge.

So contributions are important. But so is how the politicians spend the money we give them. And always think locally, state, and federal. So much that is important to us is closer to home than Washington, D.C., or the reporting media centers in New York and London. Americans still live in New Mexico, for example. And they and their kids count, too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just wondering

Are the media reports about our terrible north American weather fair? After all, it is the winter.

Are the media reports about the engineering problems on the ISS, the International Space Station, fair? After all, we citizens have spent billions of dollars on the equipment which is supposed to work out of the box.

Now we hear that heavy seas may hamper the shoot down attempt of the American errant spy satellite. Just what are we getting for our American money, to include basic embarrassment if this most difficult shot fails?
Buy low, sell high, politically speaking

For decades we have voted for politicians who placated us with more and more benefits generated by the vast wealth we Americans generate, and share through taxes; and more recently, a lot of borrowing.

All has not been easy given the control of public schools and their curriculums, for example.

But suppose the boom becomes bust, as most good runs end when enough is finally added on to the run to bring it down. This analogy seems appropriate to today’s America, the society and its politicians, and the coming elections. All this is exacerbated by so many others in the world who seek our quality of life and relative comfort and family safety, politically speaking. America is special in the world’s history, though many take it for granted, as in it is a “right” that comes from birth. America’s high quality of life is simply underappreciated by those not otherwise exposed to the rest of the world. Those that think things like clean running water, flush toilets, splinter-free toilet paper, electricity on demand, reasonable medical care, safe food, and “political rights guaranteed by a constitution”, will be disappointed if the economic and political boom goes bust.

Given this concern, the present American candidates for President from both political parties seem too status quo to this poster. Now all of us accept that politicians are a special breed, and one should accept this. But should we also accept that they are the only present choices for what may be hard times ahead, certainly not the status quo times. One still never hears terms like “national interests” being a consideration for our votes. It should be so, locally, state, and federal.

Until the term “national interests” becomes a topic, the present status quo candidates are suspect. This poster has “had it”. Our America has many more good leaders than running for offices today (515,00 elected offices by one count). Candidates that think of national interests as compared to mining and abusing our national wealth are the kind this poster thinks of. Most of the other world thinks this way, and we should, too.

We are not omnipotent, especially economically and militarily. We need to take care of ourselves at home, first. And our American way of doing this is what makes us so appealing. But always, national interests first.

Candidates who are willing to say these kind of ideas and run on their ideas can still be in the forefront today. Those who still are status quo, and hope to buy low and sell high, politically speaking, are on the way out. In the end, it is our voter decisions. The status quo types will say let it ride, and take what they and we get, even muddle through. The “national interest” types want to do better than that, as in decide what America will be in the near future. This is our constitutional privilege, thank goodness.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Small Wars and America

We’ve got a lot experience with small wars going back to the frontier Indian wars, Pancho Villa raids, the Banana Wars, the guerrilla actions in the southern Philippines going back to Pershing, and even the small war in Iraq. The recurring problem is the perishability of the knowledge and lessons learned. The short attention spans and short times of generations of American soldiers makes it part of the nature of the beast. Kicking down doors in Iraq, or Sri Lanka, may hurt more than helps. Amplify this by back knowledge from old National Geographic articles from the third world as long as 100 years ago, and there we are. A new layer of humans even complicates this more. It is the academic well intentioned younger people who study and form their own opinions more based in study than experience. They too have a real basic on which to contribute. Their operations analyst ancestors did much to contribute to the winning war effort in WWII.

Now it seems like the latest fad, the small war in Iraq, will become the tail that wags the dog. Many well intended people suggest that the Army should focus on small wars as in America’s national interest. Maybe they are right, but then maybe they are wrong. As a retired Marine it is appealing to see the effectiveness of Army “light” units doing so well in the small wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These are “kick tail” Americans, and we should be so proud of them and their families at home here in the USA.

Assuming we the USA cannot do it all, as in police the world, or even fight all possible wars our State Department and American humans can get involved or dragged in, then maybe we should spread our efforts and monies to try do it all. We American voters should not get distracted into the so-called “fighting the last war” syndrome, though many will try, for good and bad reasons. Perhaps we should vote for those who think more balanced and less distracted by the latest war for which we have Americans committed. Assuming all our soothsayers cannot really predict the future, perhaps we should hedge our bets, and fund and think about trying to do it all, within budget, and with reasonable limitations.

Let me take a parochial point of view with saving our tax monies as an objective. We in the USA already have a small wars military, called the naval service with the Marines. While the Marines advertise themselves as a 911 force, they bring much more to the small wars arena to include professional education. Add in the great Army light units, and we in the USA are sitting pretty good, at least compared to our competition, which is most tribal leader and city-state peoples. And if our entire professional military education can include courses that are small war oriented, to include respect for third world leaders in tribes, as an example, then we can exploit our USA while we cover our rear-ends if things get really bad. Then it is time for the regular Army and Air Force.

Only the most naïve may miss the implications. The other USA bureaucracies must assume these same ideas and professional education principles for our new world in the USA to be the future of the World. We can bleed ourselves out if we choose to make our bureaucracies jobs programs*. Or we can do better. We should focus on educating our bureaucrats long before we focus on educating our losers in society. We are not stuck with history nor the well intended Americans telling us what is best. A little American common sense and accountability goes a long way. Our Defense Department is a good example for what to think, good and bad, about our future.

* Who is the bigger jobs program? Is it the Department of Defense, or the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of Health and Human Resources, or ? Is the distribution of our taxes and massively borrowed monies about us, or our USA future? The old world may have been about our past, and the waters we should carry in honor of our ancestors causes. The new world is about us, dirty, confused, complicated, and reeking of all the best parts of the new world.

Monday, February 18, 2008

All national governments are not perfect

Some are more or less perfect than others. We in the new world have had opportunities for the more perfect kinds of national and state governments. This is historically a rare opportunity to be savored, and exploited by the savvy and those who sense the opportunity to be better.

And even national governments are not automatic, as exhibited by all the frictions in the old world and the various nation-states created in the last century or so. One trend is the ability of the old world to have us new world types carry the waters of our ancestors’ past. It is a strong trend that is alive and well, even today in our new world. But we do not have to carry the waters of our ancestors if we choose not to do so in our new world.

Along the theme of national governments not being perfect is the trend for our USA governments, local, state, federal; and our ruling national parties, republican and democrats, to have crossed the rubicon to be a point of financial self-destruction enjoying our new world wealth. We in the new world can “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. Many humans who have lived in both worlds, old and new, know and sense this (they often have dual citizenship). In the best human instincts, they connive and exploit to take advantage of both worlds, both types of governments, and their relatives in both the old and new countries. And for the racially motivated, try hard. The human instinct and taking advantage of USA naivety is, well, human. Asians and Eastern Europeans and south of the border Americans are pretty much equal in the new world, to include love of family and willingness to work hard. Oops, I forget the Africans to be politically correct. But most immigrants today are from other than Africa.

So much for political and historical history. People voting with their feet and pocketbooks suggest a powerful vote about our human history to date. Most trends are towards the new world. That many are just trying to improve their family opportunities is probably most of it. That many of us USA types want to take care of our families along the way is also part of it. That our Congress still does not still get this is part of why all national governments are not perfect. Just what we USA humans do about this is mostly voting, and being practical. Said another way, we USA types are still in charge of our future, to include immigration and new world principles that should be our future.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The new world is about us

Does what happens in the old world about Serbia and Kosovo really affect us? Though it may, it should not. The same goes for the less reported stories in the trans-caucus, and even more eastern parts, to include India, China, Singapore, Japan, and Australia.

Suppose Russia intervenes and goes military? The new world approach is let them get dragged down by their old world policy.

We have our own interests, too. And those Americans who try to harness our efforts towards their politics are probably well intended. One wishes they would use their money and their lives in their cause. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and in the old way of the status quo, many fellow Americans will try to get us to do their deeds, like get involved in Kosovo and Serbia, and use our money and our lives, and our kids lives. Phooey.

The future of the whole world is “our new world”. After our human dinosaurs (to include Americans and Russians) die off, this will become more obvious.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Noblesse oblige is an alternative as it used to be

Those that suggest hippie ideas and socialist ideas and even English commune ideas often miss the point about what we Americans feel about our poor and less fortunate. Our psyche is that we care, but how we care and can we can talk about it is still up for grabs. There is much friction.

Many of the poor are drunks and druggies and have done themselves in. And it is not just the boys. The girls are screwed up, too. What a shame. Those who are so pure about helping even get their feelings hurt when their designated people sell their used washer and dryer to get money for beer. What’s new? Mostly what is new is the impacts on children of meth parents in jail, as an example. These kids are our part of our future, and noblesse oblige is a good way to help them in their future lives. Having seen the impacts of government foster parents and kids, one can be glad we adults and the kids have alternatives. And this is not to denigrate the wonderful foster parents that work so hard today. Rather, we Americans can promote alternatives, like noblesse oblige.

What’s new is how we try to help, often as hopeless as it is, all too often. This poster suggests citizen noblesse oblige is a good course of action when budget cuts come. Our local government need do nothing. Now that is another course of action. A little tough love and honesty goes a long way. Just ask any married couple. And kids and partners appreciate it. Basic leadership 101 says never insult while you chew. Insults are never forgiven, while chewing’s out are always respected. Kids thrive in this environment. So do Americans, and Marines, by the way.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Glimmers of hope that the times have changed

One thing is for sure. The status quo lasts as long as the moment. Just because it was does not mean it will and must be that way forever. And even if too many Americans have been “dumbed down” in an educational sense, Americans still have their common sense, a desire for home security, and a wish that their children’s lives be better than their lives have been so far. All this is pretty much generic.

That we have so many Americans who are educated fools and suffering from advanced educations with little life experience or too often little intelligence is finally their problem. After decades of going along with these elite types, the vast public is finally showing signs of leaving the latest ones holding the bag, so to speak. In a musical chairs idea, they are left standing. The status quo is changing, and other alternatives to our public’s future are now being seriously considered to dig our way out of the terrible mess we are in. Fortunately, we the vast public still have ways to do this, locally, state, and federal. And fortunately, we don’t have to resort to revolution or civil war, though we can.

That so many, actually most, of the present federal candidates and the media don’t even discuss and debate this is a sign of avoidance and denial of the most basic and obvious threats to our future. Hopefully they are not just stupid. Like the dinosaurs before they declined suddenly, let them bask in the past and the status quo today. The vast public is moving on to their future as they reluctantly take the time out of their busy schedules to figure out how to vote.

And vote they will. Here are some signs of glimmers of hope for our American future.

The enormity of our financial problems are now more publicly aware. As an example the voting public is not as accepting of promises from candidates of even more benefits without knowing how it will be funded.

The American psychic personality to help our less fortunate is now also followed with questions of personal responsibility. In other words, our poor and “victims” no longer get an automatic free pass. Help is a two-way street, and some demonstration of self-help is expected in our future.

The friction of funding basic government services like schools and infrastructure and home security wherever we live competing with benefits as an ever growing aspect of government budgets is slowly being recognized. The most pitiful discussion focuses on the federal social security and even closer in time federal Medicare promises and insolvencies, but the discussions must extend to our state and local promises, all too often retirement benefits for fellow Americans who joined government unions in the last two decades or so.

Most buy the idea of free trade and competing. The frustration is when foreign trading partners take advantage of environomental rules, and put fellow Americans out of work.

There are courses of action that offer hope beyond financial collapse and “cold turkey” and generational warfare. These courses are very American, and normally use the scheme of being incremental. After all, it took decades to get where we are today.

The basic question still remains. Where are the politicians who offer glimmers of hope as to our future? We certainly need them at all levels, local, state, and federal. And some of these politicians may not even be running for office today.

The present national parties have had their chance over the last decades, seven or eight many think. They are now part of the problem. Glimmers of hope suggest other national and state and local courses of action are underway for Americans to be better Americans. Many American political dinosaurs will suffer, but then America is about us, not them.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Reinforce success, not failure

Public schools are as American as apple pie. That some fellow Americans with agendas have tried to assert their politics on our children is a fact, most would say. That the amount of time devoted to the 3R’s has shifted towards more indoctrination courses at the expense of the 3R’s is also a conceded fact in too many school districts and systems (after all there are only so many days and hours in the curriculum). That they have decades of impacts which already affect our grown children and elections is too often a conceded fact, also. Whoop de doo. The pendulum is swinging as always.

Some school systems and the adults who vote and run them have held to the basics in educating young people as the first priority. Call it mission first. These systems and their parents and political and teacher leaders should be applauded for giving their young people an advantage in life. Good on them! All is not gloom and doom. Public schools (and even many private schools today) are not all the generalized “government schools”, unless we local people want them to be adjuncts of some older peoples’ political beliefs. So I do not buy the different surveys and polls about the “dumbing down” effects of government schools as a “national” trend. Not that one may discount all going on, but perhaps the results are on purpose for the commissioners of the poll and how the questions were asked.

Many Americans vote with their feet and move to a “good” school district to enhance their kids educational opportunities. This is pretty normal. Some stay (as in not moving) and politically fight to change what their tax monies are doing to give their kids an educational advantage. The whole story is that much good to educate and give our kids an advantage in life is going on in so many places in our vast land. All is not gloom and doom. The “government schools” complaints and concerns are valid, but only at local places. There is not a national trend, and we have American citizens to thank just for being Americans and parents. Good on ‘em.

So on to our children’s future and ability to lead and compete. As the title suggests, reinforce success, not failure. And recognize and promote all the good local things going on. There is much! A lot of atta-dads and atta-moms should be recognized and promoted. Many don’t have to invent good ideas, just borrow or plagiarize them from other Americans who have figured it out in their local area. Just get on the phone or internet, and talk.

And the converse is true, too. All the losing ideas of the recent past (mostly well intentioned one hopes) will be recognized as adverse to our kids futures, and flushed down as these ideas should be.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why does Ilona go home to Budapest?

Because it is home and more comfortable than her new country in the USA.

Hard as it is to believe, many others see better deals than the USA. They have the advantage of knowing there are other ways to live and work. That they have the choices of knowing opportunities in the USA and Hungary are a rare privilege in life.

One can say the differences are a matter of spoiled immigrant people who are lucky enough to be able to act on their dreams (and maybe have dual citizenship). That is fair. One can also say we Americans are also lucky enough to act on our dreams. Recognizing this for both Ilona and we common citizens is so important. There is more in common than not, but recognizing the differences, and knowing the differences between the two, is so important as to be a voting issue.

One will always wonder if Ilona’s dilemma is more old world compared to new world? Perhaps she doesn’t even have a real dilemma, at least according to our USA standards? And this post is not some kind of political multi-cultural diatribe, as in there are no standards, at least USA standards. Ilona’s dilemma is the best compliment to the USA we could ever hope to have since it is so human.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

When vision meets budgetary reality

Sometimes we can’t pay for what we want and should do. Then what happens? Reality.

First the reality, then the vision.

We Americans generate trillions of dollars in federal, state, and local tax monies whom our voted upon leaders distribute according to their priorities. In the last few decades many Americans and their governments have avoided raising taxes even more to pay the promised obligations by using borrowing as a method, as well as counting on rising property taxes. It has worked, though the impacts on future generations, and our national sovereignty, is seldom discussed. The scale and trend of things is most alarming. If the federal government raises around three trillion dollars a year in taxes to spend, it also borrows about one or two trillion more dollars a year (depending on which studies you use) on top of the taxes to pay the bills that we elected them for, it seems. Today about one-third of the borrowing is from foreigners who loan us the money we “need” to survive on, as in meet our obligations, which we vote on and expect. This is the reality.

Depending on the politician running for elected positions, many just promise their vision for our future, and offer to finance it with more borrowing since the tax income is already tapped out. Depending on the bureaucracy, competing for budget income as the main mission is almost as bad. The principle is about the same. Good ideas that are sold convincingly have always been funded up until today’s times. The catch is that borrowing has been a 'free lunch" of sorts in making this happen. And there are no "free lunches".

The Defense Department is the most shining good example of developing strategies after much in-fighting (since there is more than one good way to get things done), and then attempting to man and fund the decisions of the elders. Also, it is typical in that financing these good ideas is seldom part of the public discussion during the development of a strategy that benefits we Americans. Never do we ever hear discussion of the equivalent of WWII War Bond Drives to generate the income to help finance them. Call them Peace Bond Drives today that focus on borrowing American's money vice foreign money. It just has not happened. Apply this idea to the other departments of the federal government, and the picture is “depressing”.

This author suggests the obvious realities going on today. Politicians and bureaucrats at all levels are doing their best to balance benefits with basic government obligations. And slowly and surely, benefits seem to be trumping basic government responsibilities like police and fire security, road and pot hole maintenance. Poison foods and medicines from China are a good example. Vision is going under due to budgetary reality. This is especially alarming at the local levels where government employee benefits like retirements can trump local security and schooling for kids.

The most “known” loan company that “rates” is Moody’s. They give America about nine years before we revert to older times when no one in their right mind would loan us money…hence War Bond Drives, or hopefully some new variation in our future.

Are we ready as Americans to go “cold turkey”. Are we ready to “get ready”? How bad will we “rail” against the imposition of reality, as in pay our way? Maybe the status quo will continue as is? The point is we Americans are in a good and unique position to change how we balance vision with reality. Hopefully our votes will kick in before reality later makes it happen anyway. When will political parties and their annointed politicians even begin to discuss this as votable issues?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Going along to get along is another old failed idea

The idea of going along to get along used to work. And it was so American as it advanced union Americans as well as business people as we elevated ourselves, together. That this idea may not work now, as being a failing idea now, was superceded by those who can sneeze, baloney. Said another way, we have more in common than not, and our leaders in business and unions better promote this idea before it is too late.

Of course what is too late? How about no job? How about no welfare to make up the difference. (The question is begged as to who is going to hang around and pay the taxes and borrowing that pay for the present welfare). How about politicians and governments that promote jobs by USA standards, and defend the jobs and standards., and even generate taxes that pay for welfare.

It is most difficult to decipher why so many Americans cannot tell the difference between idealism and practicality, and know the difference between the two. The historical friction between unions and management is now another failed idea if Americans just want to be Americans, and do a good job that sells throughout the whole world. Even the historical level friction between liberal types and conservative types is another failed idea. Rather we should count on deploying our “sales forces”, as opposed to “government forces” just to be Americans. And we make good high quality stuff that other people will buy for as long as we can sell it.

Our hegemony as a super power has its limits. Our motivated citizens who wish to tear down our hegemony also have their limits. And many citizens, all to often with kids, also have their limits. Somewhere along the way, there should be a fourth option. Working together for our common interests is the big deal. The situation is much more serious than just the old failed idea of going along to get along.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Most crescendos are followed by a lull period

Let’s hope it works in American primaries and caucuses, and here’s why. American voters should be in charge, but they are not. Candidates, who are volunteers by the way, and their very professional hired staffs (funded by contributions), are in charge. Now this is something we can change, and should change. But even on a day called “super Tuesday” all the names on the ballots are selected for us, and any amount of sincere noise by the most enthusiastic voters is tinged by the obvious. We can choose among those selected for us, but cannot choose to select those who do the best for us. Now that is a crummy deal. But this has been happening for decades, and now it seems even to be more in your face. “Take it” or “leave it”, it seems.

The “leave it” types seem to avoid the obvious, that things will collapse of their own weight, eventually. And they may be right, but again, they are probably not right. Moody’s gave us a good forecast not too long ago, and the national borrowing ratings change (for the worse) is predicted around 2016 or so. And for those that record we cannot predict the future, especially the doom and gloom stuff, they are right. But in the same vein, the Naval Academy graduated the Class of 1941 early in February 1941, to send young men to the fleet earlier and in anticipation of the coming war. So we Americans can look at the same events and make different decisions. The “take it” types are even riskier. The operating assumptions that American hegemony, based on previous super power thinking, and the most idealistic leadership by example, may just encourage the type of behavior these fellow Americans hope to change. Too many eastern thinking people take our practices as weakness and even moral surrender. That they are wrong is obvious to us, but what they think is more important when it turns into attacks on our country and our culture. The rub is that many Americans don’t want to take the chance of poor judgments all-around taking down their and their families quality of life that is so special in the USA. Idealism and enthusiasm is fine, but a little judgment and hedging one’s practices is a voting issue. Of course it is especially a voting issue if we choose to make it so. Having kids is an amplifier.

So who chooses who will run our federal, state, and local elected offices, all 515,000 of them. Is it the present two national parties (and their self anointed elite leaders), which we Americans have invented and supported over the last half century or so? Or is change in the air, where we can select our own leaders vice accepting the volunteers and the national parties that promote them. Since our land is the new world, we can do things much better than our ancestors from the old world did. Of course, this is why they came here. In the meantime, enjoy the lull after the crescendos of “super Tuesday”.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chicks for free is another silly saying, though the line from the Dire Straits’ song was great to sing to around the world. Girls are smarter and just themselves which is also not too complementary to girls or boys, even in 2008.

In the same vein, men and women are now mixed in our western work force. And men and women have a tendency to want to get “together”. The rub comes from those who imply mixing business with pleasure provides business and job advantages. This friction alone will tear down about any business situation. And the answer is pretty obvious, never ever ever let business get involved with pleasure.

Less this idea sound too complicated, it is not. For example, married people are off limits. People from different ranks in any organization must stay apart, sexually. Basic discipline to keep business and pleasure apart must always be reinforced and supported by the Officer Corps or company leadership. And the intent is not to be repressive about sex. Rather it is to support leaders who must lead using their own trained abilities, supported by respect for keeping our zippers “zipped”. Never , ever, mix business with pleasure. The thought that one can compromise their sacred leadership responsibilities for sex is abhorrent.

Let’s reverse the idea and argument. Let’s teach our daughters to be normal American girls, whatever that means. Certainly it does not mean chicks for free. And let me be a normal mean protective father, as in mean to anyone who meets my female kid. Form all this things might sort out, OK.

To conclude, I have made my peace. If my kids want to be adults and get pregnant and have kids and a family life, so be it. Just don't expect me to pay for your adult decisions, nor welcome you all into my home.
Changing the direction of an underway aircraft carrier takes time

Are we in the USA stuck with having two national parties, and the choices offered to be the next President of the USA? Many American voters say yes, often reluctantly accepting the choices. Many other Americans say no, though many think it is too late to expect to be able to do anything in 2008. And their judgment is reasonable.

Yet there are more than a few articles popping up suggesting one or both national political conventions in 2008 may have to be decided the old fashioned way, be it the smoke filled rooms caricature, or some more obvious horse trading and scheming going on in the background. If this should happen, a crack appears for someone else than those already running to gain a nomination. This small option smells of poor leadership, as in “anybody but”, but that is the way things could happen to produce a good leadership type person who acts in the national interests, first.

And then there is the chance in 2008 that dissatisfaction is such that no one candidate will achieve an electoral college majority, in which case it is time to dust off the 12th Amendment. Then the States, with one vote each, use the House to elect a President from the top three in the electoral college. So a third party candidate could slip in that way, though more likely which ever party has a majority of each State will probably vote for their national party candidate. And it can actually get a little more complicated than this, though the ideas and principals are correct. And the idea of voting at all levels, local, state, and federal, gains even more credence as to importance.

Looking ahead to the elections of 2010 and 2012, and the Presidential election of 2012, time to change the direction of American government has more time to take effect. Voters can change the captain of the ship, and those that steer it, more easily than they can in 2008. Third party efforts have a cathartic effect on those that promote them, and often also have an influence by drawing off votes from another candidate. One would like to avoid the more emotional counter votes for “Mickey Mouse” or “Darth Vader”.

Voters have another option to consider in the near future. We are not stuck with the present two national parties. In fact, there is nothing in the Constitution at all about national political parties. In a nutshell, the present parties are an invention of we Americans. And the present parties have been ensconced long enough to dictate rules and practices that promote themselves while they suppress other party efforts. Much of these “rules and practices” are at the party and State levels, so again the idea of the importance of votes should be at all levels. In general, think of the old historical poll tax idea used as a means to suppress Negro votes, and apply it to the rest of us, nation wide. Now this is not a call to revolt, but more a report to say the present status quo is no better than that, the present status quo. To suggest one change, recognize the present two national parties have more in common than not. Call them by a refurbished name, the Republican Democratic Party. And let a newer second party arise, call it the National Party.

So we as Americans are not totally stuck in the present status quo. And there are so many fine Americans out there that come across as better than what we are being offered for the 2008 elections. And the offer is not just the character of the volunteer candidates as offered by the national parties, it is about our American future.

For some other possible inspirations, listen to a license free part of “Ride of the Valkyries”. Digress from the old ideas from Apocalypse Now, Blues Brothers, Jarhead, Lord of War, and even Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in What’s Opera Doc?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

How much representation can we afford?

The obvious implication is the money. The money is a big deal when it comes to the now traditional methods of running for office, where advertising usually helps gain more votes*. The less obvious implication is that those who pay more “get more representation”.

Few are so naïve as to think that the reported $1 billion being contributed by companies towards candidates in the 2008 campaigns are for the most altruistic reasons. One can suspect most companies expect to get a return on their “investment” with most of the money coming from the federal treasury, taxes and borrowing combined.

Now in fairness in America, they should be able to do this. And in fairness, we voters should be able to vote our individual votes even after exposure to all the media campaigns. Whether the campaign contributions are trumping individual voter values is to be decided by the voters, and no one else.

Whether voters should be impressed or not with a candidate’s ability to raise funds is also a voter decision.

* Don’t discount the other expenses paid for by campaign contributions, to include transportation by private jets, personal staff salaries, overhead like offices and take out food and hotel rooms, and other quality of life and TV issues, like haircuts and make up artists. For example, a $100 contribution might pay for 9 minutes of private jet flight time, or a few shrimp for a staffer eating take out in Las Vegas, or a special lunch with a local school official.
Double standards never work

Most voters just want to know about each candidate as best they can…before they vote for them. So why do so many fellow Americans hold out on facts about any candidate before an election, or even during a ruling period. The answer is the double standard, and the judgment of the person holding out the facts as they know them.

Now give most Americans some credit for savvy. Those that spread malicious rumors as a way to discredit anybody, to include candidates running for office, will suffer ruinously when the scheme comes out in the open. But savvy works both ways, and competitors for office and their proponents who time the release of facts to embarrass an opponent also suffer from showing their weakness as potential rulers, if that is what they need to influence the future. And news reporters and producers and editors and government employees who withhold information that is important to voting decisions have inserted themselves into the voting decisions that only the voters own. Even a media news reporter or producer or editor or government employee that is not sure whether they are rumor mongering or doing good investigative reporting should just report their uncertainly as part of their report. To not give the voters some credit for savvy is un-American. Partisan manipulation of the facts and news is no excuse for superceding the voters right to know, and to filter as they, the voters, deem necessary. Like in the old TV series Dragnet…”just the facts”.

Much like mafia hits, there are political hits also. What happened to former Senator Bob Kerry is such an example. But, again, give credit to most Americans as recognizing it for what it was. As a citizen he looks better and better for both the hit put on him, his response, and our citizen judgment as to what went on.

What is frustrating to many voters is the present two party system, and the emphasis on campaign tactics to both win a party nomination, and hopefully the general election. Right behind this frustration is the rise of federal government bureaucracy’s present employees trying to influence things for their benefit. What is missing in the previous statements is any thought or discussion as to our national interests, as to us, our families, and our futures.

The status quo seems so strong, as if the two national parties and present federal bureaucracies are all that matter, with the nation and the citizens coming in a smaller fourth. And the double standard as to informing the voting citizens only seems to exacerbate all this. Said another way, some partisans do their tactics to promote someone else in the other party, knowing they can expose them later so as to gain an advantage in getting their own candidate elected.

Pardon me, but this may have worked in the past, but the future of this method is in doubt. Some of we voting citizens just want the facts as known, before we vote. And we can filter it out just as well as the present controllers of the facts. Some of the dirt about McCain might have been better known a few months ago. Some of the new dirt about the Clintons might have been better known over a decade ago. Add in all the others, and we voters just want to know, or at least have access to knowing. Some of the voters even recognize the most modern propaganda methods being used, to include the double standard, and resent it.

The bottom line again, is the double standard. The balance has tipped in the past to keeping us in the dark, according to the judgment of the reporter or government employee, or whoever. It is time to tip things the other way, as in to change the balance to favor more knowledge, before we vote. To the squeamish, the hand wringers, or even the lazy, just let us voters have a chance to decide, before we vote. Our America is a big deal in so many ways. We deserve to be able to vote for our future, and not to be embarrassed by our past leaders behavior and politics.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Big trends that work against our national interest

Let the elections of 2008 be an unexpected start to keep the USA going for at least another 200 years. And why are these big trends seldom discussed in the election campaigns of 2008? If you believe in the idea of USA Americans being different from their old world ancestors, then there is hope. That the ideas and trends are not even discussed are the problems of the politicians and their hired managers, mostly. We can decide our future just fine without them.

The biggest trend of all is unfolding in front of us, right out in the open. The USA does not generate enough taxes, as vast as they are, to meet all the past obligations and promises; and the ever increasing borrowing to make up the difference, will finally crash of its own weight. The rub is right out in front of us. The friction between paying promised benefits and basic government functions like border control, food and toy safety, import safety, transportation maintenance, and even national defense is a real problem now, and we citizens are on the losing end, be it as a beneficiary or a basic citizen expecting to be safe in their home. Sooner or later the local, state, and federal governments will not collect enough, or be able to borrow enough, or increase taxes enough, to make things balance. That it is so close in time is frightening.

I can already imagine a movie scene like my granddaughter asking “Granddaddy, how could you do this to me?” just before she pulls the lever to terminate me. The debt we are passing on to our unelected kids and grandkids, is new in the annuals of human history, and immoral. Debt and borrowing are normal. It is the scale of what the USA is doing that is the biggest trend.

Most of the effects from the biggest trend will be practical in the effects on our lives. Social security and Medicare and many retirements will collapse and be reduced so much that generational conflict will result. Our basic government services will be reduced to the point of lawlessness, being cold and hungry, and even poor national defense. No one will loan us money, even to the point of the era of domestic War Bond drives, if anyone, domestic or foreign, thinks their principal in the loan will lose more value than the interest pays. In other words, the reduction in benefits and basic government services is going to happen, anyway. That we have warning and time to plan ahead is a blessing, if we elect the right Americans.

The second trend is also very scary. It has an academic name and history, but call it one of the flaws in democracy. When the have-nots figure out they can vote themselves benefits without having to pay the taxes to pay the bills coming do, then that democracy is doomed to eventual failure just from the underlying financial reasons. Most have heard the expression that there is no free lunch, and this expression is all so true. One can get into the weeds on this subject, and many have, often in books. But one simple point comes to mind. There is no free lunch, and pandering politicians who suggest so to get elected are doing our Country and our future a disservice.

The third big trend is the expansion of “big government” at all levels in the USA, local, state, and federal. Taxes have increased to fund all this, and one can reasonably roll the idea up into “increased income taxes”, though “increased property taxes” have helped a lot, also (depending on where one lives). The trend is obvious, we tax more and offer more government benefits and services, some which compete with former private services. The trend is one of voter direction since we ratified the 16th Amendment in 1913 approving the federal income tax. The trend is obvious, voters and the politicians who pander to them have exploited this federal income tax mine to gain more power using our monies to offer benefits along with the traditional services, like national defense. Increasing taxes reflect all this. But like a variation of the proverbial saying, can they break the camel’s back with another final straw? This author suggests that is a trend we are seeing right in front of us.

This trend clearly has led from starting income tax increases to borrowing increases above what income taxes bring in. And what have we got for it. There are benefits. For example we have been able to dump our elders off on the government, and cut our birth rate along the way. And many of our federal bureaucracies have also become jobs programs, funded of course by our federal income tax ratified in 1913. Is this what we voters want in 2008?

The old status quo is, well, the old status quo. Many don’t buy it. The times they are a changing, and we voters can make a difference, if we choose to do so. If you buy the idea of three trends that work against our national interest, then you can vote your own way to change things for your and your kid’s future. Perhaps most of us think we are too minor to count, but the combined votes at all levels, local, state, and federal, will count, and probably be influential, maybe even a start. Only time will tell.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Herding cats in the New World

The status quo is the worst sort of example of how things should be. Certainly we USA types are different today than our ancestors at the time of the Constitutional Convention in the late 1700’s, for example. Said another way, personal experience, and even sincerity, even revolutionary fervor, may put blinders on us, blinders that keep us from seeing all the things going on around us. Yet we always vote our instincts and experience and life to date, because that is all we can do.

Thank goodness for election cycles that inconveniently ask many to think about things, to include the status quo. Have things always been this way, or are they more transitory? Much of this can be imagination, amplified by a little history.

One does not have to accept what are presented as givens so often today. Givens such as globalization, ever increasing federal income taxes, ever increasing borrowing because even federal income taxes are not enough to meet all the voted upon demands, ever increasing foreigner numbers to loan us money in perpetuity, and even more local things like school boards (fellow American I may add), telling us how to raise and teach our kids the basics, like sex, the golden rule, and the basic American history. And in fairness to the local issues, many Americans don’t let this happen, as in they control the school boards that dictate what the teachers must do.

Back to the theme of the status quo being such a transitory point, at best. And “at best” is the hope for our collective American New World future. We are not bound by our ancestors’ pasts. We may be driven by our own self interests that both ignore the Old World and exploit our New World for the sake of ourselves and our kids. When push comes to shove, our own National Interests should win out. This idea can be expressed in our votes for candidates who think this way. What’s wrong with taking care of ourselves first? And with the future so uncertain (what is new), candidates who are status quo and so formula seem like the dinosaurs they have become.

While the cats may be out of the bag, most voter’s still live in the real world. This post suggests not accepting the status quo, and challenging ideas like globalization as the accepted routine today. Some of those who accept globalization, then even suggest maritime strategies that have the USA enforcing sea lanes as part of making it happen. While the ideas are good, and even noble, maybe we can’t afford it, either from a simple tax or borrowing point of view, or even a National Interest point of view. This post suggests this is a voter decision, as much as to the theory as to the financing.

For voters too busy to get down in the weeds, here’s a suggestion. Rather, during your time in the voting booth, consider voting for candidates (local, stare, and federal) that impress you as having integrity, as in telling you and me what their core values are. And then hope for the best. And I hope our National Interests come out in all this, both domestic, and foreign. Whatever the case, tell your friends and connections as in spread your word. This is so American.