Saturday, June 24, 2017

Into the Night

As the sun sets in the west, the heat still boils off the land.  The crews walk to their aircraft, each quietly considering the tasks before them.
This scene has been played out ten thousand times, in a thousand different locations.  In every case, there was a mixture of excitement, confidence, dread, and hope.
Quietly, but with anticipation, they strap themselves into their seats, becoming one with their aircraft.  If the aircraft is the body, the skeleton, sinew and flesh, its hydraulic system its lifeblood, its engines the heart that makes it all go, then they are the mind and the soul of this entity, and they will feel the joy or pain of the flight.
As the engines come to life, as the systems warm and ready, the crews finish their final preparations.  Soon, they will hurl themselves into the night seeking the darkness as a cloak.  There they will hide until the first light of morning finds them returning to their perch.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Yet Another Morning After

On November 9, 2016 the Democratic party and its legions of supporters awoke to a blurred reality with Donald Trump beating its Wonder Woman/Warrior Princess/Saul Alinsky Apostolate Hillary Clinton.  A woman who, by her own admission, was far superior to the average person and would have been happy to stamp out the nation of deplorable middle Americans who had rallied behind candidate Trump. Her legions, located in California, NYC, and other urban centers could not understand how this unthinkable thing could have happened.
Since then there have been a number of special elections (four actually) to fill congressional vacancies created by people moving to fill the administrative vacancies.  In each and every case the DNC has pushed a candidate almost as flawed as her highness HRC.  In each case, they have lost because the local voters are, for the most part, the very deplorables HRC talked about in her campaign and outside money could not buy them.
The Republican Party is gloating.  I expect they will live to regret that, but for now they are busy patting themselves on the back for their brilliance.
What I’ve observed since that remarkable November 2016 night is the DNC and its public news media support seem incapable of self-criticism and examination.  As long as people like Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, John Lewis and Tom Perez represent the DNC, as their public face and leadership, this trend will continue when the average voter steps into the ballot booth.   
For the reality is simple; outside the liberal enclaves they come from they are toxic reminders of a Presidency that sought to divide this nation along racial and gender identification lines with routine name calling, shaming, and at times outright lies.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Cheshire Politics

‘But I don't want to go among mad people,’ said Alice. ‘Oh, you can't help that,’ said the cat. ‘We're all mad here.’  -- Lewis Carrol

We seem to have lost the ability to self-govern, the only question is what will be its outcome?  We have become like the citizens of Rome, caught up in the Circus, placated by the battles in the Colosseum, and amazed as our Senate sits around while the Emperor fiddles. 

For eight long years, the Republicans in the Congress bitched about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and how the Democrats had worked unilaterally to pass it for the President.  When given a chance to undo it, and pass a healthcare bill that would fix the many problems we see in the ACA what have they done?  Of course, this has been made easier by the stupidity of the radical left and their resist movement where the only thing important to them is the removal of President Trump at any cost.

Since January 20th we’ve had three or four special elections to replace congressional members who’ve taken jobs with the administration.  So far, the democrats have lost all of them, but the lesson they push is they didn’t lose too bad so they actually won.  Two thoughts spring immediately to mind. 

The first, we have truly entered into the world of Lewis Carrol where up is down.  When you choose to bend the language to suit your perception of what should be rather than what is, when you become so invested in the party rather than the nation, and when you choose your candidates based not on their skill in governing, but on their radicalness what outcome should you expect?

The second – the common definition of insanity; where you keep doing the same thing, but expecting a different result.  If the DNC maintains its current leadership (a likely event), and if they continue to play to what they believe is a strong radical base there is a real likelihood there will be a Republican super majority in the Senate come 2019.  If that happens, Annie bar the door.  The problem for the DNC is actually getting those radicals to vote rather than just protest and riot.

I will be the first to admit I don’t have a clue as to what relationships and negotiations go on behind the closed doors of our Congress, but it sure appears to me there is only the smallest of bi-partisan cooperation.  The peacocks of the Congress seem much happier playing media darlings to the press and their fan base, than they actually rolling up their sleeves and hammering out a solid compromise that isn’t ideal for either party, but is in the best interests of the nation.

Unfortunately for both them and us, the news media has chosen sides.  If there is even a hint a Democrat in the Congress is working with his/her counterpart they are hung in effigy, their is home invaded, and their lives made miserable by the very people they are elected to represent.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Glenfell Towers

Are the residents of last week's London's Glenfell Apartment Tower fire victims of EU climate change initiatives, or just bad English civil engineering, or maybe both?

Senator Bill Nelson’s Amendment

Senator Nelson (D-FL) has introduced the “Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2017.”  His proposed legislation seeks to amend the 1998 act to get more money for the EPA and NOAA to research algae blooms and provide the states with more money to counter them.  When I asked how much this would add to the debt someone responded “When we are talking about clean water does it matter?”  My simple answer was yes, this is my explanation.
Everything has both a value (real and emotional), as well as a cost.  In this case, everyone wants less algae in our fresh water, but does that mean we spend unlimited dollars to try and get it?  You can make the exact same argument for national defense, civil rights, speech, religion, open spaces, urban development, welfare, social security, medical care, wild lands, space exploration, education, infrastructure, and the list goes on.  When half the country believes cost is no object, but someone has to pay for it then how do we ever balance our books?
Most states require a balanced budget each year, why is that?
I believe it was Margaret Thatcher who is quoted as saying.  “The thing about socialism is sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.”

Monday, June 19, 2017

What was, but now is?

My wife, our son, daughter-in-law, their children, and I spent a frenetic week in Orlando.  We hit Universal twice, Disney twice, and spent full days floating around the resort’s pools.  In the course of these adventures, I saw some remarkable things and an aside comment by someone put these questions before me.  “When does teaching become indoctrination?”  or “Has teaching always been about indoctrination?”

For a child, the world is brand new and they absorb everything.  Social Science tells us a child learns at a remarkable rate, how much of what they learn becomes unquestionable truth that forms the basis of their adult judgements?  Interestingly, we see in many of today’s social media memes that my generation believes the things we learned as children are absolute truths.  Is this because we were taught them as an absolute truth, or because their truth has been confirmed by our life experiences?   

As we moved through the crowds of the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom we were constantly reminded of man’s obligation to preserve the environment, yet there was little, actually no, mention of the massive impact Walt Disney world had on the natural environment of Central Florida.  We were shown pictures of how sea turtles are killed by ingesting floating plastic in the ocean, but were then given the expensive merchandise we bought in plastic bags.

All the way up the “Expedition Everest” ride we were informed of the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas and how the legendary Yeti was its protector, and would be mad if we didn’t help save the planet.  Yet, on the ride at the very peak were empty plastic drink bottles, and what looked like rubber wrist or hair bands that had been thrown from the cars and left to sit on display.

On the newest Animal Kingdom ride “Avatar Flight of Passage,” we are shown pictures of how the evil strip mining practices of man had almost destroyed the natural beauty of Pandora, but now enlightened scientists were working with the Na’vi to help restore the natural balance, as we snaked our way through probably two miles of concrete passageway made to resemble rock caves.  Once on the ride about 100 or so visitors are taken on a breath-taking banshee ride through the trees and oceans of Pandora.  I rode this at 11pm so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t solar powered.

I wonder, what lessons do my grandchildren take from these experiences?  It seems to me to be just modern indoctrination given by a corporation that appears not to follow its own advice.  But perhaps I am just jaded by today’s political polarization and the fact so many claim “the science is settled” when we attempt to debate the environment and the needs of mankind.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Father's Day, 2017

Today is Father’s Day
I learned today Father’s Day became a holiday in 1972, although the Catholic church has recognized the importance of fatherhood since the mid-14th century as St. Joseph day.  As I think about fatherhood the word that comes to mind is leadership.
In a traditional family, the father is not normally associated as the primary caregiver of children, but a good father’s influence is inescapable.  He stands quietly in the background providing the support and guidance that enables his family to survive and flourish in the world, much in the same way the head of a business does not do all the work, but fills in where needed while providing the direction forward.
To lead requires an individual who will put petty annoyance aside, but is able to resolve conflict with the least amount of pain.
He is an arbitrator of things great and small, with the wisdom of Solomon.
A disciplinarian with the patience of Job.
A supporting cast member with the ability to step into the lead when the star is sick.
A director with the confidence to listen to all the prima donnas as they seek a larger role.
And finally, a father is love.  A love that knows when boundaries should expand and when a safety net is needed.
To all the fathers – Good luck, and go with God.

Friday, June 9, 2017

And Nothing Changes

It would be nice if the testimony by James Comey, the former director of the FBI, would change the tenor, tone, and drumbeat of the political rhetoric, but it won’t.  At this point I doubt anything can.  Everyone heard what they wanted, and the protagonists will spin the talking points to whatever they want to.
For the left, the President is a liar, and Comey leaking his notes makes him a hero.  There will be those, who despite the testimony, will still claim Russia hacked the election and stole the crown from the rightful DNC queen, and President Trump attempted to obstruct the investigation. 
For the right, there is finally an “on the record” statement from Comey that Trump was never the subject of the investigation and proof the former AG, Loretta Lynch influenced the Clinton e-mail investigation, most likely at the behest of her boss.  The President’s supporters will recognize how thin any allegation of obstruction is and will use that to gain support as the left continues to beat the drum, an instrument they seem incapable of putting down, much like the President’s twitter device.
The MSM has already made clear their allegiance so we can expect their bias to continue unabated until people stop buying their products, or sponsors decide to advertise elsewhere.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What is My Obligation? (part 2)

As society changes, as the old gives way to the new, how am I supposed to feel and relate?  Psychologists tell us man’s social structure is not vastly different than that of rats.  We are both social animals, who need the help of others to survive and prosper.  We find our niche in society and tend to remain there for our lives.  There are exceptional individuals who through their uniqueness affect the society as a whole, and in passing their genes on may improve the potential for that society.  I found this to be an interesting analogy when I first heard it, today I find it just a bit troubling as I ask the question, what kind of rat am I?

As individuals, when we interact with other individuals on a human level, we are usually kind and considerate, or we hide behind a mask that suggests we are.  As we band together in groups one of the first things we seem to lose is consideration for others and tolerance.  There are those who care so little for society they demand their own way at the expense of the greater good.  They move through life barging into people without notice.  They cast aside those they look down on, or they are openly violent to those they despise.  For a society to survive these individuals and groups must be a very small fraction of the population.  I am not talking here about those we understand to be ill, but rather those who’ve willingly chosen to abandon the accepted moral standards of a society striking out with a band of like-minded people.  Do I have an obligation to these groups?  If so what is it?

What makes this question so hard for me is the similarity between groups I am told are horribly bad and groups I am told are so wonderfully good.  Both have chosen to abandon the accepted social order and strike out on their own in the hopes of reshaping the society at large.  Who gets to choose which group is good or bad?  To illustrate my point, I will discuss two groups who’ve risen to political prominence (at different times), within the Democratic Party, (I focus on the Democratic party to remove the current debate between the values of good and evil the DNC and the RNC have framed for themselves), and while I have my personal view of why one group is now good and the other now bad does that equal a moral truth?

On the one hand, we have the Ku Klux Klan, originally established in the post-civil war reconstruction era, allegedly to protect the interests of the southern whites, it rose to nation-wide political prominence in the first third of the 20th Century.  In his 1915 film “Birth of a Nation,” D.W. Griffith produced and directed as a testament to the Klan.  In the film, he showed the Klan as protectors of white virtue and patriotic national pride.  The film was overtly racist, showing the blacks as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards the white women. It encouraged the discrimination of blacks and other minorities as it encouraged pride in the white race.  The NAACP attempted to stop the screening and failed.  It is credited with a resurgence of the Klan in the 1920s, so clearly it played to some sentiment within the larger society.  Despite decades of evidence that racism is morally repugnant, economically damaging, almost universally condemned by our society (as shown by the multitude of laws against it) -- it still exists.

On the other hand, we have today’s LGBT(Q) movement.  We see this group’s influence in almost every medium available.  They have gained significant support across the social infrastructure, and the SCOTUS has afforded them, as a group, the protections of the 14th Amendment.  The Executive branch has taken active steps to assure their recognition in the government structure.  In the transition from a silent minority to a vocal minority there has been an evolution within the Democratic party.  The political winds have shifted from a position where the democratic politicians denied their rights in the mid-1990s (the Defense of Marriage Act), to a decision to embrace them.  What has changed within the party to bring about this enlightenment? Is it just another hot-button topic to use as they struggle for political dominance, or is there truly a change towards acceptance in our moral foundation?

Obviously, those who support the LGBT movement would say yes there has been a change, but does that make it so? 

Here we have two minority positions, both of which have become political in their nature.  The first, white supremacy, came into being long ago, the second, LGBT(Q) supremacy, is recent.  But it would be foolish to assume either of the human traits is modern.  Our literature can trace both qualities back through the millenniums.   What I take away from the current condemnations or support, is that while political winds change, the deeper the politicians inject themselves into the moral issues of a society, the more likely they are to create division, rather than acceptance.  I don’t see a lot of fundamental success in legislating moral positions, so how do I decide what my obligation is regarding either condemnation, acceptance, rejection, or support?

At least for the time being the adage “live and let live” seems to be passé.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

What is My Obligation?

I’ve got a question, unfortunately I don’t have an answer.

What is my obligation to my fellow man?  It is a question I wrestle with each and every day.  I look around in hopes of finding an answer and yet I find more to question than to hold as true.  Forgive my political incorrectness, but I don’t feel like playing the game of gender neutral terminology as I wrestle with this.  If that offends you, you may leave now and think what you will of me.

I used to believe my obligation was to live my life quietly, defend the nation, support my comrades to the best of my ability, love my family, and when possible give to the help those less fortunate than myself.  Now I am not sure that is enough, or even appropriate, as I see society devolve into anarchy driven by those who would destroy it for some reason.

This century has not begun well, just as the last century did not end well.  The 20th Century will be forever known as the century of war, as we spent almost all the years in conflict, both hot and cold.  We had two wars that were so vast they were called World Wars, we had a few dozen small wars, a war between Russia and Japan, we (the US) sent Marines to Central America for the bananas, the Colonial powers in Africa had their hands full of rebellion, we had surrogate ideological wars in Korea and Vietnam, and of course the Islamic/Jewish conflicts were in all the papers.

So far in this century the US has been at war since 2001, and it doesn’t seem likely we will be ending that anytime soon.  This despite our nation electing a President whose promise to end the war led to his winning a Nobel prize for Peace.  The middle-east is still aflame, Russia is pushing to get its old empire back, and bands of terrorists control significant chunks of Africa.  Peace does not look to be on the horizon.

Since the 1960s, we have seen the erosion of respect and dialogue regarding ideas.  The pace of this erosion seems to be increasing on a daily basis.  Today, we are at the point were everyone is on one side or another and there is no room for understanding or tolerance of those who don’t fall clearly within your frame of reference.

The current outrages are only a simple extension of the hatred and violence I first saw as a teenager during the “age of Aquarius” when free love and peace was supposed to trump all the hatred in the world.  Somehow all those intellectuals who were suggesting we love one another were busy planting bombs, and calling the young men who were drafted to fight our war in Vietnam “baby killers” and no one called them on that hypocrisy.  The press was busy condemning those who would question their indignation and legitimacy, the school administrators were busy empathizing with their fears and demands.

What I don’t recall learning in those formative years was that the bounty of America came from the government, in fact, I believe I was taught the bounty came from the American capitalists and farmers who created innovations that led to increases in productivity allowing us to feed the world.  Still, I felt it my obligation to pay back my country for the bounty it provided.  The fact service was an opportunity to expand my limited horizon was a bonus.

Well, in the forty-five years since I first saw the hatred of those who spoke of love, we have seen our society sink deeper into the abyss where individual conduct is forgiven of those whose politics reflect the approved positions.  The entertainment and educational institutions have become the new stewards of our moral code, rejecting the standards of our earlier history.  Many churches have embraced these new codes and now advocate for their legitimacy.  They never asked my opinion before they were approved as being the right thing, they were just handed down, much like Moses bringing the tablets down from the mountain, yet there was no mountain, just a bunch of writers in the entertainment industry who pushed their agenda with a willing workforce, and corporations providing the financial resources.  What is my obligation to these new positions, how do I decide what is right, moral, and just? 

{To be continued}

Friday, June 2, 2017

I'm Thrilled.

As a long-time advocate for the rights of the states I am absolutely thrilled with California, Washington and New York taking the initiative to join the Paris Climate Accords, although since they are not recognized members of the United Nations I think full membership may be problematic, but why get bogged down in the details?  I am also hopeful Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Oregon, Michigan, Nevada, Virginia and Pittsburgh will soon join them, as they increase taxes on business and homeowners to help raise the money to begin the revisions to their infrastructure, fund the changes to eliminate fossil fuels as a power source, as well as make payments to less fortunate nation-states, it will be fun to watch as their general populations embrace these changes.

California is also discussing the implementation of a single-payer health care system that will triple the annual operating budget for the state.  Although ambitious in nature, no one ever said progress was cheap. 

I wish these three states, and the others states or cities who will join them, well as they engage together to save the planet at the cost of industry and infrastructure to their citizens.  I would suggest all those who’ve been emotionally traumatized by the President’s decision to abandon the accords show your support for these visionary states by sending your contributions directly to the Governors, or better yet, if you are not already there with them -- move to help them implement their vision for a less hot tomorrow.

As you prepare for this great leap just a couple of simple planning figures.  Nation-wide the average cost of a single-family home in 2016 was $186,000.  In California, their average was $448,000, New York - $256,300, and Washington -- $277,000.  So, if you are moving from say Florida (where taxes and home costs are low) you might want to brace yourself for the sticker shock. 
By the way, if you're not taking public transportation, drive a car that uses gasoline, or use air conditioning in the summer, perhaps its time to ask yourself, how serious are you about this whole climate change problem?

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The World Will End.

There are only three things certain in life.  Death, taxes, and political ranting by the minority party and their faithful.  I have to smile, perhaps a scotch induced smile, at the extremism of sentiment on President Trumps latest decision to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.  Those who favor the accord are striking out in condemnation and anger.  By the way, these are always persuasive techniques to bring others to your side.  "President Trump has sealed his legacy as the worst President in history with this single choice."  Polease… give the man a break, he has another three years to lock up that position, assuming he can wrestle the previous President from it.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing I am one of the few people who’ve actually read the accords before the President made his decision.  Retired life will do that to you.  You read stuff and actually think about it.  Granted, I am not as smart as the MIT economists who worked up the Affordable Care Act, but I did at least figure out how to read and occasionally even understand the words.

All those who are so outraged today, mostly the same people who think that Kathy Griffin is a comedic genius, are getting in their private jets to fly to exclusive resorts to complain about how bad this is for the world.  A world they don’t live in.  Those who make $500,000 or more a year should probably be looking to move away from the coast since the seas will rise pretty soon.  Maybe Death Valley will become lake front property soon?  I assume Elon Musk has decided to move to Mars. 

The sad fact is, I don’t know what the real science says anymore because all science has become suspect based on what political agenda is being pushed.  Anyone who says otherwise is full of climate change induced hot air.

Those who support the President are -- to use the words made famous by Ms. Clinton, deplorable.  They are not thinking of what is best for the politicians of the second and third world who will be enriched by the administrative jobs created by the accords, or the transfer of wealth from the rich countries to the rulers of the poor countries as carbon credits are bought and sold, no they are only thinking about the jobs and survival of their families as we create yet another costly regulation.  Shame on them for wanting a better life now where they send less money to the governments and keep more for themselves.  Not that it is likely taxes will get lowered any time soon.

As for me… I’ve decided to start working on a carbon neutral environmentally friendly ark made up of old Campbell soup cans and fueled by the chemtrails I’ve been collecting every time an Air Force jet flies overhead.

 ADDED 2 Jun 2017:  It was pointed out to me that much like Britain's exit from the European Union there is a process for US withdrawal from the Paris agreement.  If curious about that process read Article 28

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