Archive for September, 2009

Apologies, apologies

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

It’s very interesting, this controversy over the way Obama presents himself and the United States to the world. The right is outraged at the constant apologizing and obsequiousness, the sensitivity to the feelings and self esteem of Arabs, Russians, and Europeans. The left enthusiastically applauds because it coincides with their own assessments of imperialist America’s sins.

Reasonable people are not outraged or cheering, but they still disagree. Is this interpreted by the rest of the world as weakness? Or is it seen as good manners and respect for the other members of the international community, heretofore missing from America’s social skills set? Bottom line, does it advance or retard our interests in the dog eat dog anarchy of international politics?

It sickens me to hear Obama giving speeches all over the world, bowing and scraping and apologizing for the sins of the United States that occurred before he, Obama, took hold of the rudder of the pirate ship of our state.

Nevertheless there is a slight, nagging suspicion that just maybe this will have some salutary effect that could even be in our national interest. The fact that we, the United States of America, are far and away the bull goose loony superpower on the planet, is not something that needs to be emphasized, after all. Everybody in the world is, painfully or joyfully, fully aware of it. The same might be said, not only of our might, but of our many virtues. The rest of the world is gratefully or enviously, mostly enviously, aware of these as well.

Consequently, a case can be made for the apology tour. It’s like being born a Kennedy. We have an obligation to serve. It’s best not to carry the Kennedy analogy too far, but you know what I mean, noblesse oblige. Proof – pudding, as always. Time is needed for it to play out before we know for sure, just like the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

The War of Necessity

Monday, September 28th, 2009

The good war, what Obama called the war of necessity a short time ago, becomes the only so-so war, or even the not very good at all war, certainly not the absolutely necessary war.

I’m not sure where I stand on our involvement in Afghanistan. How could I be? I don’t know anything. All I know is that Generals McChrystal and Petreaus and Admiral Mullen are all advising more troops and a counter-insurgency strategy similar to the surge in Iraq. Advising the President to get the Hell out and just poke at it with drones and special forces, we have Joe Biden and John Kerry, who, along with Barack Obama, were as wrong as wrong can be about the surge in Iraq. If I were President, and didn’t have a clue myself, which I don’t and neither does Barack Obama, I know whose advice I would be more likely to listen to.

It’s not that there are no good reasons to quit Afghanistan, some of them are even eloquently expressed by conservatives like George Will. Karzai’s government is corrupt. Nobody has ever succeeded in pacifying Afghanistan. The real problem is Pakistan. Etc. I can see that. If the mission is simply impossible, which it may be (what do I know?), then of course we shouldn’t try to do it. General Petreaus and General McChrystal think it is possible, and they were right about Iraq. John Kerry and Joe Biden think it is impossible, and they were wrong about Iraq. That’s all I’m saying.

It is beginning to look like a done deal in any case. The announcement is being postponed in order to allow time to prepare the public, but the direction is becoming more and more clear. Obama intends to leave Afghanistan to the Iranian-supplied Taliban, and their brothers in Al Qaeda. They can have the country and they can shoot women in the head for dress code violations, in soccer stadiums (attendance required), blow up girls’ schools and Buddha statues to their heart’s content. And we will content ourselves with surgical strikes on Al Qaeda training bases.

This might be the right thing to do. I’m a little surprised that it is the liberal preference, but hey, times change. The cold war is over and there is a Democrat in the White House and those Al Qaeda guys just got lucky that one time.

When George W. Bush took the advice of David Petreaus and approved the surge in Iraq, he went against the opinions of the U.S. Congress, many of his own advisors, the mainstream media, public opinion polls, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, to name a few. He had to fire his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in order to do it. It was, to coin a phrase, a profile in courage. It was like firing McClellan and putting Grant in charge.

I have yet to see any evidence that our current President, regardless of the rightness or wrongness of a particular policy, has that kind of courage. I would love to be proven wrong.

Confessions of a Racist

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

I am initially somewhat prejudiced against extremely obese people, until I get to know them. I like beautiful women more than homely women, until I know them better. I get bored with people who are a lot stupider than I am, unless they exhibit some other engaging quality.

Variations in skin color don’t bother me. However, if I see a black male youth wearing a hoodie, his pants pube high, listening to gangsta rap, I assume, not the worst, but an increased probability of the worst.

I often enjoy the company of, and have respect and affection for homosexual men, but I do admit to harboring an aversion to the gay lifestyle and gay politics in general, and I don’t think that homosexual marriage is identical to heterosexual marriage.

I am proud of my Anglo-Saxon heritage. I think the Anglo-Saxons, Germanic-Norman-Celtic (and God knows what else) mongrels though they are, are the best in, not all, but many ways, culturally that is.

I don’t have a problem with Barack Obama because he is half African. If anything, that’s a plus in my book. I think that, generally speaking, Obama is favored with more slack than hate by being black, certainly from me. I therefore take extreme umbrage at the poisonous imputations of people like Jimmy Carter and Al Sharpton and various New York Times columnists that, to quote Jimmy, “…an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man…”.

I have intense animosity toward Barack Obama. I did not have it at first, even though he was already part black. It has gradually accrued. I wanted, still do, to like the guy. He is very likable. He is also a more facile liar than even Bill Clinton. I don’t know when we have ever had a President who was better at it. Pretty much everything he has ever said about taxes, health care, Iraq, ACORN, Reverend Wright, the Federal budget, Bill Ayers, transparency, the auto bailout, the stimulus, has been a lie.

I want to believe him, but I just know too much. I do not believe that his facility is a general characteristic of African people. It could just as easily be his white side that enables him to be so good at it. It may not be, probably isn’t, genetic at all.

So I admit it. I am a member of that threatened species, Republicans. Therefore I am, ipso facto, a racist and a homophobe, and I accept that. It’s not my fault. I need help. I would be most grateful for a government grant or program of some kind. I have, for example, some great ideas for Obama-supportive art projects that might be of interest to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Our Old House in Rutherford County

Monday, September 21st, 2009

A lady who lives in our neighborhood got this picture at a yard sale and recognized the house and came over and gave it to us. Now there is no longer a chimney on the right, and that fireplace is gone. The decorative glass in the dormer is also gone. Looks like there were no wires going to the house, hence no electricity. Apparently there were five people living in the house. Looks like a wood porch. Ours is concrete. Our porch pillars have a two foot high brick base. The bricks are painted yellow now. Looks like they were red in the picture. Click on the picture to see a larger picture.

Candace has been commissioned to write a play about the history of Rutherford County. It will be presented in the Murfreesboro town square on October 3rd. She is also producing, acting, and singing. She wrote a couple of original songs for it also. You can see the work in progress script and listen to the music by clicking here. One of the new songs is Mad About Trains.

A more recent picture of the house:

The Terminator

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I’m watching the fourth round match at the U.S. Open between Gael Monfils and Rafael Nadal. Monfils has already won the first set. They are in the middle of the second set. As John McEnroe said at the end of the first, “The good news is Monfils won the first set. The bad news is he has to win two more sets.”

Who has the better serve? Monfils. The better forehand? Monfils. Backhand? Monfils. Volley, drop shot, backhand slice? Monfils. Who covers the court better? It’s a wash. They are both incredible movers. Who is gonna win this match and advance to the quarterfinals? Nadal. That is a foregone conclusion. I am perfectly willing to post this before the match is over. It’s not a prediction. It’s a sure thing.

Why? Because Rafael Nadal plays every single point, no, every single stroke, as if it is match point of the most important match of his life. As Jimmy Connors says of Nadal, “He plays like he is broke.” Nobody else in professional tennis is able to do that.

Correction. They are all able to do it. Nobody else is willing to do it. This is a slight exaggeration. Nadal is human after all. He has lapses, he loses concentration, occasionally. But compared to everyone else, including Roger Federer, he is the most relentless, never give an inch player ever. He is the terminator. He never stops. He never gives up. And so, he wins. As long as his body holds out.

Obama’s Czars

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Green Jobs Czar – Van Jones – Communist, calls Republicans assholes (the feeling is mutual, buddy!), truther who believes that Bush and Cheney were complicit in 9/11, says environmentalism is the way to end capitalism.

Science Czar – John Holdren – advocated compulsory abortions and sterilization to prevent the population bomb, advocated “de-development” of our economic system.

Regulatory Czar (and “dear friend”) – Cass R. Sunstein – called for banning hunting in the U.S., suggested that animals ought to be able to bring suit, put forth the idea of the government requiring internet sites to link to opposing views (Whoaa! Glad that didn’t happen).

Now, of course there are many more Obama czars who are respectable people with great resumes and no history of wackoism, people like Richard Holbrooke, Dennis Ross, and George Mitchell. One may not entirely agree with these people, but there is no echo of Jeremiah Wright or Bill Ayers or Bernadine Dohrn there.

The assumption during the election was, for most, that Ayers and Wright (the Obamas sat in that church for twenty years) and PLO spokesman Rashid Khalidi were just useful people in Obama’s cynical rise to power, that there was no real ideological fraternity there. But when one looks at these three “czars”, doubt creeps in. Obama must have known this stuff before they were appointed. Nobody’s vetting process is that bad. You could, even then, find all of this stuff out by typing the names into Google.

So, I’m beginning, just beginning, to worry that maybe my worst fears might be realized, and Barack Obama actually is the radical, Alinsky acolyte that the talk show right says he is. That he is an anti-capitalist, radical, community organizer who sees the U.S. as an imperialist force for evil in the world. And he is on a crusade to overthrow the existing order.

Of course this is crazy talk, this is Glenn Beck, Michael Savage talk. But, just because they’re crazy, or crazy like foxes, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t right about Obama. The National Enquirer was right about John Edwards. Joe McCarthy wasn’t wrong about everything! The jury is still out, but they haven’t ordered pizza in awhile, and they’re putting their jackets back on.

It probably isn’t true. I mean, how could it be? it’s just too weird.

The President’s Address to the Nation’s School Children

Friday, September 4th, 2009

Posted by Andy

I really like the idea of reaching out, but I looked at the Education Department’s guidelines for teachers and I think they’re too general, too vague. If I were the Department of Education, I would provide specific questions, to give young people a better idea of the problems facing our country and help them weigh the policy options. In a politically neutral way, of course. For example:

1. President Obama wants to give everybody a lot of money, and make really rich people who already have too much money pay their fair share. Some people, the Republicans, don’t think that’s a good idea. Others, the Democrats, think it is a good idea, because otherwise your mommy and daddy might not be able to buy food and you could starve to death. You could also be kicked out of your house and have to sleep on the street. Who do you think is right, the Republicans or President Obama and the Democrats?

2. President Obama wants everybody to be able to go to the doctor if they get sick. The Republicans don’t care whether you’re able to go to the doctor or not, even if you’re about to die. What do you think?

3. It’s getting hotter all the time and pretty soon a lot of ice will melt and the oceans will fill up and spill over and flood a lot of houses, like the one you live in. There will also be more hurricanes and tornadoes and your house could be blown away, with you in it. President Obama wants to do something to keep this from happening. The Republicans don’t want to. Who do you think is right?

4. Republicans like to torture people. President Obama says everybody has feelings and it’s not good to beat people up and keep pouring water onto their face until they feel like they’re drowning. To understand this, you could imagine yourself being beaten up and having water poured into your mouth and nose until you can’t breathe and you feel like you’re drowning. Would you agree with the Republicans that this is OK, or would you be more likely to agree with President Obama and the Democrats that it’s not OK, and that the people who do it should be put in jail?

5. President Obama thinks everybody should be happy, and he wants to help them be happy in any way he can. The Republicans say that if people aren’t happy it’s their own fault and even if it’s not their own fault they don’t care if you’re happy or not. Do you agree with President Obama or the Republicans?

That’s just a sample off the top of my head. Might be a little advanced for pre-K and kindergarten, but kids are smarter than you might think. For the older children, teachers might ask not only for classroom discussion but written answers and tell the children to put the names of their parents and their home addresses on the completed papers before sending them on to Washington, with informational copies to the FBI and CIA. They could be encouraged to say what their parents talk about at home.

Politics and Business

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

In the early days of the Farm, there was no government. It was a weird combination of monarchy and anarchy. It was Moses and the Exodus. Later on though we had an elected council and chief executive. We also had several mature businesses, The Book Company, Solar Electronics, Farm Foods, The Construction Crew, and the Farming Crew.

There was a private sector and a public sector. Politicians and entrepreneurs. The public sector included the Clinic, the Motor Pool, the Store, the Soy Dairy, the School, etc. It was a small, self-contained world. I knew all the players personally. At one point I attended council meetings as the representative of the Book Company. I was also the CFO and CTO of the Book Company.

I believe I saw there, in that microcosm, how it all works. Politicians always want more power and control and higher taxes. The entrepreneurs want to be left alone. We were spared the phenomenon of businesses getting so big that they start using the government to eliminate their competition. There was no internal competition within our private sector. There was only one Book Company, which competed with the squares outside of the Farm, but not with anyone inside the Farm. The distinction between the two sectors was pretty clearly defined, not a lot of overlap.

Not counting inheritances, the businesses provided the income for the entire Farm. We were commies all the way. There was a constant tension over how much of the money a business got to keep for expenses and expansion. Being commies, the Farm, meaning the elected representatives, starved the businesses and sucked everything they could out of them, to support the public sector.

From what I saw on the Farm, there is an inherent dynamic that propels politicians towards more power, more control, and higher taxes. The government only gets bigger, never smaller. People who win elections believe that that gives them more legitimacy than people who have not won elections. They should, therefore, be able to tell you what to do, because they represent “the people”.

You may agree with them. You may think that’s a good thing. But, like it or not, that attitude inevitably leads to more and more government control. Myself, I wish there were much less government control, of the economy, and of our lives in general.

You could say that the people voted for this current Democratic monopoly of the government, so it’s our own fault. But, obviously, if you look at what is happening in the polls, the people did not vote for massive government overhaul of health care, or for taking over GM and Chrysler, or for the stimulus extravaganza, or for cap and trade, or for investigating the CIA interrogators, again. They didn’t vote for any of this stuff. They don’t like it. They don’t want it. But the politicians are trying to ram it through anyway.

Obama is still pretty popular. I think a majority still believe that he is better equipped than McCain/Palin to run things. It’s his policies that are unpopular. Before the election, I assumed that the fact that we are broke would prevent the government from doing much damage. It never occurred to me that being broke would be used as an excuse to do everything imaginable to become vastly more broke. It’s almost as if they want to run up the debt as fast and hard as possible. What it is really about is more power and more control and more taxes for the political class.