When I was 7, my grandfather told me, "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch." He explained that whoever was offering "free" stuff always had a hook in there somewhere that would probably cost you as much or more than a paid lunch. I idolized my grandfather, so I paid very close attention. His explanation made perfect sense, both at age 7 and ever since. What I will never understand is how adults in massive numbers will vote for politicians offering free stuff, and not even consider there might be a hook in there somewhere.
Jan 24, 2016
The Democrats say they are the party of the poor. What this means is they adopt policies to make as many voters as they can reach as poor as possible. Conversely, if the Republicans are the party of the rich, like the Democrats say they are, then Republican policies will be aimed at making as many voters as they can reach as rich as possible.
Now that I've explained it to you, who would you rather vote for?
Some kooks have occupied a bird sanctuary building in Oregon. At least that’s what you can get out if the news. Their reasons are all about how much land the federal government owns out west and how poorly they manage it.
Arbitrary federal management of land out west is notorious. It matters because the federal government owns between 30 to 60% of most western states. The size of the federal debt is also notorious. We can solve both problems with a single program. The federal government should sell western public land to private parties in regular auctions to raise money to pay off federal debt. This would help in two ways.
If Congress could tie the western land sales to the size of the deficits, it would be perfect. All of the socialists who don't want to sell western land would face a dilemma. If they did the usual borrow and spend, land would be sold to make up the difference. If they budgeted responsibly, they could keep western land in government hands, but only at the cost of fewer votes purchased with federal free stuff.
On paper, judged by qualifications and career results, the Republican field is very strong. The reason the Republican field is losing to Trump has nothing to do with qualifications. The problem is that once in Washington, Republicans generally lose their nerve. They fear being denounced in the national media, so they cave in to avoid shutting down the government. And when their reasons for shutting down the government prove valid, Republicans don't make their point to the press. In general, Republicans have such fear of seeming strident, they say almost nothing in interviews with the Pravda Press. Trump has shown he does not fear the Pravda Press. That's why he's winning.
Republicans shut down the government in 2013 to get a one year delay for Obamacare. They ultimately failed. When Obamacare rolled out, it was barely functional and obviously not ready for prime time. In short, Obamacare was a disaster. That was the time to link the government shutdown to the one year delay of Obamacare. That was the time to kick the administration for a total lack of judgement. They took a government shutdown so they could roll out an Obamacare system that was obviously not ready, instead of taking a one year delay and getting it right. I didn't see one Republican on any talk or news show explaining that Republicans were right to fight for the delay. Obamacare wasn't ready and would have benefited from a one year delay.
I am not a big fan of Donald Trump in most respects. He's ignorant about checks and balances. He's ignorant about foreign policy. I would strongly prefer several other candidates for Republican nominee. But there is one thing Trump does really well. He makes the Pravda Press dance to his tune, not theirs. In the news arena, Trump is an example of "the heck with them" attitude Republicans need to have at the national level. Republican voters will not nominate another doormat for the Pravda Press to stomp on.
Isn't it about time to question liberal's motivation in all of their verbal maneuvering? When liberals declare words and subjects off limits, it's usually because they are losing the argument.
I think liberals like high crime because it makes individual citizens more dependent on the government. That's why cities that have been one party bastions of liberalism are mostly high crime, high poverty, low education hell holes. If someone mentions an alternative, like vigilantism, that implies people might be able to do without government, liberals declare that even the words describing self-help are pejorative. Liberals want gun control so they can make you vote the way they want. Vote wrong and the police may not respond to your emergency call. Without a gun, you have no chance of defending yourself.
Liberals say that you can't challenge anyone's patriotism. I think that liberals mess up any war they manage, because it's in their interest to make military spending look ineffective. Liberals need all of the defense spending they can cut for domestic programs to make citizens more dependent on government so they have to vote for liberals to continue the gravy train.
Liberals favor teachers' unions over minority children. For liberals, no escapes from failing public schools can be permitted. If someone actually gets a decent education, they might be able to support themselves without government help.
Liberals are taking identity politics to its logical conclusion. It started out that if you voted your identity, the results of government actions were irrelevant. Now, you can be guilty of crimes only if you are not in a liberally favored identity group. As a straight white Anglo-Saxon Protestant Republican Vietnam Era veteran, I can tell you I am not happy about the prospect of identity justice.
The breakdown of law and order in Cologne, Germany on New Year’s Eve lead to widespread sexual assaults and robbery by roving mobs of Islamic immigrant men. Police were unable to stop the crime spree. If this kind of breakdown becomes common, people will resort to rougher methods of self-defense. When law and order break down, people take the law into their own hands because they have no other choice. This is called vigilantism. Liberals give the word a pejorative connotation and then dismiss the possibility that anyone would even consider it.
The pejorative nature of "vigilantism" depends on how much history you know and where you grew up. In the gold fields of Montana in the 1860's, vigilante justice was the only kind available. The Civil War was raging back east, so nobody had time to send the agents of law and order to the gold fields. In the fall of 1863, a band of outlaws killed about 100 miners. The leader of the outlaws was Sheriff Henry Plummer of Bannack, Montana. In January and February of 1864, the Vigilance Committee of Alder Gulch captured, tried and hanged about 25 members of the gang, including Plummer.
The numbers 3-7-77 have long been associated with Montana vigilantes. These numbers are on Montana State Police patches. When I lived there, they were also painted on the bottom of every Montana State Police car's front doors.
Adam Smith famously said, "There is a lot of ruin in a nation." Barack Obama seems hell bent on seeing how much ruin he can inflict on this country as part of his "legacy."
The Iran nuclear arms deal is a dire threat to America. We could easily lose a major city to a terrorist nuclear weapon hidden in a hijacked ocean freighter. We also run the risk that other countries who once depended on the US to defend them from nuclear threats will feel compelled to make their own arrangements. This could easily lead to a general, perhaps nuclear war in the Middle East.
Putin is taking crazy chances because he knows his grip on power is threatened by the rock bottom price of oil. Energy is Russia's main world class export. The last time oil prices crashed, Russian inflation hit 80% a year, Russia defaulted on its bonds and Boris Yeltsin was forced from power. That's how Putin came to power. Putin believes, probably correctly, that losing power will be the death of him. He has resorted to risky military adventures to bolster his popularity. Putin has found no US resistance to his attacks on the Ukraine and Syria. In the Ukraine, Obama has not supplied any weapons at all. Putin's next trick could be attacking Lithuania, a former Soviet Republic and now NATO ally. At the moment, Putin has just finished quietly negotiating basing rights in Belarus, next door to Lithuania, while everybody is watching the Russian Air Force bomb civilians in Syria.
I am also concerned that Obama's disdain for the Constitution and rule of law has created dangerous precedents that his successors will emulate. I don't want a dictator even if he's on my side. I think it will probably take a Constitutional Convention called by the states to fix the mess, because the courts have not acted to restrain the administration's extralegal moves. In many cases they have piled on themselves, for example in the Obamacare cases where they rewrote the law twice without benefit of Congress.As to the amount of ruin in the US, I am fearfully asking myself, "Are we there yet?"
2015 was the end even a polite fiction of the rule of law in the US.
The way the Supreme Court decided the Obamacare case and the Gay Marriage case both came from the Humpty Dumpty school of law. The law means whatever 5 Supreme Court Justices decide it means, and neither more nor less. According to the Supreme Court, Congress no longer has the power to require statutes, like Obamacare, be implemented as passed. According to the Supreme Court, the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868 when homosexual acts were illegal in all states, requires gay marriage.
Regulatory overreach became the rule in 2015. It was the year when the administration asserted it could regulate the internet using a law passed in 1934 to regulate defunct land line telephone monopolies, a law which was modeled on an earlier law passed in 1887 to regulate railroads. Statutes that seemed to forbid internet regulation did not make any difference. It was the year when the EPA outlawed coal without benefit of Congress, and the courts refused to restrain the EPA before this obviously illegal system of regulations was put into effect. It was the year which made clear that regulatory agencies had executive, legislative and judicial functions all in one package which were obviously at the president's command. These regulatory agencies have no separation of powers and no checks or balances. The Congress can't restrain them without a veto proof majority and the courts won't restrain them because the agencies are supposed to possess subject matter expertise to which courts are supposed to defer.
I think it's obvious that Barrack Obama has brought us to a turning point. If we don't reverse the trend toward arbitrary executive edicts and runaway justices, we are on the road to a banana republic dictatorship. If we are to reverse the trend, Barack Obama has pointed out all of the flaws in our current system that we need to fix by exploiting them. The flaws are so dangerous, numerous and ingrown that it will take a Constitutional Convention to fix them
Jan 1, 2016
The slogan, “War never solved anything,” and the hidden agenda behind the slogan, need to be clear to everyone. Democrats need those big bucks for domestic spending to buy votes. Military spending is easier to cut if the military looks ineffective. So Democrats adopt policies that limit air strike targeting, and rules of engagement generally, that render US military force ineffective. At that point, Democrats argue that "war never solved anything," so we might as well spend the money domestically.
The problem right now is the same problem we had in Vietnam. Since World War II, Democrats seem to intentionally mess up running wars. They try half measures that prolong the conflict until everybody wants to give up and go home. Democrats' motivation is to increase domestic spending over the long term. If military efforts are seen as ineffectual, it's easier to cut military budgets and use the money to buy votes domestically. Lyndon Johnson prolonged the Vietnam War by refusing to use US air power to shut down North Vietnam's seaports. Barack Obama is prolonging the ISIS conflict by also refusing to use US air power effectively. Obama has refused to hit oil production, transportation targets and infrastructure targets that are crucial to ISIS funding and operations. ISIS makes a million dollars a day selling oil. ISIS is moving men and supplies over open desert highways. ISIS has vehicle maintenance and bomb factories in civilian neighborhoods the US refuses to destroy.
War actually does solve problems very well. War solved the world's Hitler problem. War solved the Imperial Japan problem. Through history, war solved the American Colonies' British problem, as well as Rome's Carthage problem. War is the only solution to the ISIS problem.
The slogan is absurd. The only reason for it is to excuse poor military performance followed by budgets which shift spending to domestic investments in crony capitalism and programs encouraging government dependence. If you're dependent on the government, you have to vote for the Democrats, or the gravy train is over. Quite easily done.
Kurdish forces, along with ethnic allies, recently seized the town of Sinjar in a 48 hour battle. Very efficiently done. The report I read says that the vast majority of ISIS casualties were the result of coalition air strikes. The results described mean that someone was calling in close air support very effectively. It could be US, Canadian or British Special Forces. It could be Peshmerga trained to do the job for themselves. But the big difference from earlier battles is how close the air support is. Previously, we were hitting ISIS targets that were a distance away from any ground contact with friendly forces. We wanted to avoid "friendly fire" accidents like the one reported December 17, where 10 Iraqi Army soldiers were reported killed by a coalition air strike near Fallujah. There seems to have been much tighter coordination with the Peshmerga.
The other part of the announcement is also startling. It seems to say the US is going to deliver a lot of heavy equipment directly to Iraqi Kurdistan. Up to now, US policy was that all arms deliveries had to be physically delivered or at least authorized by the Baghdad government. The quoted statement does not seem to have any such qualification. However, Secretary of State Ash Carter included enough obscurity in his statement that it will not be taken as a new beginning for US military aid policy until the weapons actually are delivered in Erbil.
Article I reacted to:
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A recent Real Clear Politics article says fighting ISIS is another Cold War. This analysis is completely wrong. While the effort against Islamic terrorists may take years, this is not the time to settle in for a long siege of ISIS. The one thing that makes ISIS superior to other Islamic terrorists is that ISIS controls territory and proclaims their territory the restored caliphate. But unlike our Cold War opponents, ISIS is vulnerable because ISIS has an address that's not protected by nuclear weapons. ISIS has almost no air defense other than deploying civilian shields, which is a war crime. ISIS makes a million dollars a day from oil sales. All ISIS military and economic activity takes place in wide open desert. ISIS has just occupied Sirte, Libya, Muammar Gadaffi's home town. ISIS is shipping in troops and supplies by sea. As long as the US allows ISIS to hold territory, ISIS can claim divine intervention has given them victory of the so-called super power crusader country.
This is not rocket science. Henry Kissinger's diplomacy is not required. The way to stop ISIS is to destroy their assets, especially any transportation assets.
There is no way ISIS should be able to move men and supplies between Raqqa and Mosul over open desert roads against US air dominance. There is no way ISIS should be able to move its oil from oil fields to market by truck in the face of competent air attacks. There is no way ISIS oil fields should still be in operation given what one well planned air attack can do to a defenseless oil field. There is no way that ISIS should be able to move men and supplies through the Mediterranean Sea to Sirte, Libya, without a navy.
Even after budget sequesters, the US military can do the job as long as the White House lets them do it. And that's the point. The only reason we need patience is because the White House isn't trying to win and maybe doesn't even want to win. The White House isn't allowing our pilots to do the job. The White House is just trying to play out the clock to the end of the term in January, 2017. Mr. Cannon is probably right that problems with Islamic terrorists will continue for a long time. But there is no reason to slow walk the destruction of ISIS.
Article I was reacting to:
Many people think that lifting the US oil export ban was a hollow victory for Republicans in the Omnibus spending bill this year. It looks hollow now, but it’s a big foreign policy win for the future.
Three of our most dangerous enemies, Russia, Iran and ISIS, finance their military and terrorist operations with oil sales. Russia and Iran need a crude oil price of about $100 a barrel to maintain spending at current levels. ISIS needs about $80 a barrel to be able to sell its smuggled oil at an attractive discount. With European benchmark crude selling for about $37 a barrel, all three are really hurting financially.
In the US, most oil production uses ever improving fracking technology. Fracking injects a solution of water, sand and secret ingredients under pressure to fracture rock formations that contain oil and natural gas. Fracking technology can ramp up production much more quickly than ordinary drilling. When the price of oil is low, you stop injecting. When the price goes up, you resume injecting. Break even for US fracking operations is somewhere between $45 and $60 a barrel.
Lifting the US oil export ban means that Russia, Iran and ISIS will not see an oil price above $60 in the next 5-10 years. They will be financially incapable of continuing their aggressive violent strategies. The last time oil prices were this low, inflation in Russia topped 80% a year, Russia defaulted on its government bonds and Boris Yeltsin was forced out of power. Prolonged financial difficulty may destabilize three of our most dangerous enemies, based on a concession the Democrats didn’t think was worth anything.