Monday, August 14, 2017

Long Time Coming

I’m not all that thrilled with the television commentators and their spin on events like the Charlottesville riot (call it what it was), the North Korea situation, and the Iran nuke deal. Why? Because these events have been decades in the making and the fact that they’re now blowing up in everyone’s faces is suddenly an issue that needs to be dealt with. Oh really?

Let’s start with the white supremacists who decided to hold a protest march over the fact that a local municipality decided to take down a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Lest we forget, Lee before he joined the Confederacy as its military head, was a U.S. Army officer and a graduate of West Point. Unlike the Nazis or Imperial Japanese military, Lee was not involved in violations of the Laws of War. Over the past two decades, we’ve seen the left decry various actions as racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, etc. Most of these claims have been baseless, they have been nothing more than a grievance industry shifting into high gear and going full tilt.

Back in the early nineties, I remember a squadron mate decrying the fact that our society was becoming politically correct, but I gave it very little thought at the time. As I became a little more politically conscious, I eventually latched onto what he was saying. We have succumbed to the idea that we aren’t allowed to discuss “touchy” subjects because someone somewhere might get upset or offended at what’s being talked about. This is nothing more than free speech and the exchange of different ideas being squelched by those with an agenda. That agenda does not include the sort of discourse that this country’s founders wanted us to remain engaged in (the USAA incident is a good example). The kind of discourse that no how matter how uncomfortable or messy it became, enabled us to become a better, stronger nation. Make no mistake, what we witnessed in Virginia was the epitome of pure evil. It was the very antithesis of the melting pot philosophy that has made us, in the words of the late Barbara Jordan, the most successful multi-ethnic country in the history of the world.

The president was right IMHO to go off script on his initial statements condemning what happened in Charlottesville. He and his predecessor have been the recipients of an awful lot of vitriol from the political opposition. That hatred and the sort of hostility that we witnessed last week has been building over time and was eventually going to find a release somewhere. Political correctness lit the fuse, time did the rest.


North Korea and Iran are Pariah states, plain, pure, and simple. The Mullahs and Kim dynasty have held vise like grips on their respective countries and populations for decades. The fact that these regimes have been seeking to obtain nuclear weapons should come as no surprise. They need some way to maintain their legitimacy on the world stage. What better way to do so than become a nuclear power? Once that milestone has been achieved, it becomes much more difficult to unseat them and turn back the clock. 

When the 1979 revolution in Iran turned it into a theocracy, it also set the regime on a path to becoming a regional hegemon. They have been the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. The U.S. invasion of Iraq, their near peer competitor/regional foe was intended to send the mullahs a message, it had just the opposite effect and emboldened them to become even more aggressive in the region. The North Koreans were the original bad boys when it came to international condemnation and scorn being heaped on any nation for its behavior. We have watched three successive generations of despotic leaders starve their populace, engage in assassinations abroad, military acts of provocation, and the illegal detention of foreigners for the purpose of being used as nothing more than bargaining chips (Iran has been guilty of this as well).

Previous administrations have tried the philosophy of constructive engagement in the hopes of bringing these regimes to the table to establish meaningful dialogue. That dialogue was nothing more than a smokescreen that enabled them to focus their efforts on clandestine programs while the rest of the world thought that progress was being made at reaching a peaceful solution (think Saddam Hussein and the UN Oil for Food program). Yet, for some reason we see these commentators and politicos wringing their hands and bemoaning the president’s comments towards the North Koreans. So, can anyone explain how all those flowery and optimistic words have helped us get to a place where we can claim a modicum of success in dealing with either country? Simply put, they can’t.

The time for though talk is now at hand. Just look at the Japanese. What continues to go underreported throughout all of this is the fact that after the last series of North Korean ballistic missile tests several months ago, the Japanese government vowed to shoot down any North Korean missile that overflew its territory (Japan has had the capability for a while now). This most recent threat by Mr. Kim’s generals to launch several missiles into the sea around Guam didn’t go unnoticed in Tokyo. Those missiles have to fly over Japan on their way to their intended targets. Again, the Japanese ministry of Defense reminded all concerned that Japan would not stand for any act that violated its territorial sovereignty, but who’s been reporting it? Almost no one.

It appears that rather than focus on the things that should be bringing us together, we’re still being subject to partisan bickering over whether presidential condemnation over a brutal act was strong enough or if rhetoric directed towards a rogue nation went too far. C’mon man, grow up! It’s time to put aside the parochialism and start acting as Americans. ‘Nuff said.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Alphabet Soup

As I watch the news on the recent revelations about even more info coming to light vis a vis Mrs. Clinton and her email situation, courtesy of disgraced US Representative Anthony Weiner and his proclivity for showing his body parts to members of the fairer sex, I keep coming back to one question concerning all of Mrs. Clinton’s scandals. Why now?

She’s already been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing concerning her use of a private email server. Although, in testimony before Congress, FBI Director Comey’s responses to a litany of committee members’ questions, at the very least, sounded like a disqualification against her bid to hold the highest office in the land. The WikiLeaks brouhaha made her, her campaign, and the entire Democrat party establishment (deservedly so) the objects of a lot of scorn, derision, ire, and betrayal, especially among Bernie Sanders supporters.

The Russians, or at least hackers with ties to the Russian government have been blamed for the release of these documents to Mr. Assange and Company. The reason given, of course, was to directly or indirectly influence the outcome of a US presidential election. The Democrats, the media, and a few establishment Republicans feigned outrage over such an act, despite the fact that we’ve had our own dealings overseas doing just that in the third world. 

I’m going to go out on another limb and suggest that it wasn’t the Russians, the Chinese, or anyone closely associated with those governments who pulled this off. I’m thinking that we need to look a little closer to home. We have a hodgepodge of alphabet soup agencies in this country responsible for maintaining the security of this nation and ensuring the safety of its citizenry. In the process of accomplishing these tasks, they have been empowered by an all-encompassing law that was passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Of course, I’m referring to the Patriot Act.

Edward Snowden has been called a lot of things, patriot, traitor, useful idiot, but the one thing that needs to be reinforced amongst all reading this is that he was the source of the disclosure about how much information that federal agencies like the NSA have been collecting on the average American. In testimony before a Senate committee, James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, was asked the question about whether he knew that the federal government was spying on American citizens. His response was that the government didn’t do so willingly. The senator posing the question already knew that statement to be a bare faced lie.

In light of the fact that we now know that Big Brother really is watching us, should it come as a surprise to anyone that those at the highest levels of government would be given even more scrutiny? It has been put forward by a television talking head or two that the NSA may actually have all of Mrs. Clinton’s deleted emails. That should not surprise anyone, especially in light of the fact that it was recently uncovered that at least one email service provider may have been charging law enforcement agencies a fee for emails collected on certain individuals, without a warrant. That’s right, corporate America is getting rich selling our information to the government. Barring any sort of written policies or agreements between the subscriber and the company to safeguard personal info, this action is completely legal.

If the NSA had access to the trove of emails from Mrs. Clinton’s servers, as well as gaining access to the accounts of those individuals and organizations she may have been in contact with, then it stands to reason that the folks poring through the information contained therein may have become deeply troubled by the picture that was being painted for them. These sorts of revelations would have been earth shattering, to say the least. You have a candidate for the presidency of this nation who has engaged in the very sort of activities that have sent “untouchable” mafia chieftains to prison, yet their political masters, based on previous instances of corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of government, haven’t even bothered to lift a finger.

It may be one thing for the hacks in DC to politicize the security of this nation, but the Clintons have taken things a step further and commoditized it. They have been able to capitalize on their positions of power and influence to enrich themselves and their cohorts at the expense of the US taxpayer and our national security (Google the name Uranium One). It’s not much of a stretch to see how a fifth column movement could come into being with the express purpose of exposing such egregious/criminal behavior. Remember, these folks are not political. They are hard-working career people who swore an oath to protect the Constitution, the very fabric of our republic, from all enemies, foreign or domestic.

The question concerning who these documents should be “leaked” to was a no brainer. The only major concern was how to cover their tracks, or in this case, the fingerprint they would leave behind. Given the fact that Vladimir Putin and his government had become a thorn in our sides over the past few years, I’m sure that played a major role in deciding how to disperse the trail of breadcrumbs in such a manner that there could be only one conclusion drawn from what had transpired. Just about everyone fell for it, they were successful.

Based on what we now know, due to waves of disgruntled FBI agents who were about ready to mutiny, Director Comey was basically given no choice but to re-examine any and all Clinton related emails coming his way courtesy of one Anthony Weiner. But what if this wasn’t the only driver of his change of heart? What if that fifth column I mentioned earlier was also whispering into Mr. Comey’s ear? 

Of course, what they’d be whispering to him about would be the scope of information that they had collected on Mrs. Clinton, her campaign, and the party establishment. They’d let him know that he didn’t need to feel intimidated by his political superiors, that he wasn’t alone and that all he needed to do to get back into the fight was to act on the information being provided. This truly was becoming a conspiracy of light.

Pushing all of the political rhetoric aside, no one really knows what a Trump or Clinton presidency would look like. All one can go off of are the track records that the candidates bring to the table. In Mrs. Clinton’s case, it’s one riddled with corruption, double dealing, malfeasance, and vote rigging, to name a few. My guess is that this was more than enough for the keepers of the flame to step in and actually live up to that oath of office.

Q: Who watches the watchers?
A: They’re doing a damn good job taking care of themselves.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Take it to the Bank


Life is one big lesson divvied up into smaller, teachable moments called experiences.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. For some, it will be the headlamp of an oncoming train or semi. For others, it will be the freedom that only enlightenment can bring. With my luck, it’ll be the former and not the latter.

Context is king because it helps put things into proper perspective.

Time and distance tend to better enhance our perspective on events.

There are a bunch of folks out there who can’t see the forest through the trees. That’s why they keep running into them. Once you start seeing the forest through the trees, everything else begins to make sense.

Our ignorance does two things to us. It gets the best of us and brings out the worst in us. The same can be said for apathy and arrogance.

Stupidity is an equal opportunity destroyer.

Someone suffering from delirium has obviously lost whatever tenuous grip on reality that they though they may have had.

Common sense vs fear. One tends to keep the other on the run.

Where there is fear and confusion, there is opportunity to make a profit and take advantage of others.  (An extension of the Emmanuel Doctrine)

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, but it’s the ones that create the biggest stink that tend to garner the most attention.

First rule of civil discourse: never say anything that you’re going to regret later on.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, not because of what we know, but because of what we don’t know.

If arrogance is stupidity taken to new heights, and hubris is arrogance run wild, then what does that tell us about hubris?

Dealing with the continual intrusions of reality upon one’s reverie normally signals the beginnings of maturity.

The problem with conventional wisdom is that when it comes to the real world, it is neither.

Perception is not reality, it only colors reality.

Oh how the truth damns those who would deny it.

The truth is a wild and strange creature, incapable of loyalty or subservience and uncontrollable in its fury.

Sometimes we make fools of ourselves by believing things that aren’t necessarily true, while denying the very things that are.

The things we ignore at our own peril are just that.

Politics and Government:

Cronyism, demagoguery, and identity politics have been the root causes of the stunted development of many societies/nations and the downfall of others.

In crony capitalism, it takes two to tango, and Washington has been Wall Street’s longtime dance partner.

The one ultimatum evil doers around the world need to hear at some point in their miserable lives: cease and desist or cease to exist.

A few choice words about moral hazards:

  • The untenable positions we put ourselves in are the ones that tend to create the most difficulty for others.
  • Suddenly finding oneself in the deep end of the pool is one heck of a time to start learning how to swim.
  • Government is by far the biggest underwriter of moral hazards.

We live in a selfish, materialistic society. Government, instead of trying to curb or discourage us from such attitudes (which it has no business doing in the first place), at times seeks to take advantage of these vices for its own selfish purposes.

The politics of divisiveness, the divisiveness of politics.

Ya gotta love government mandates and edicts. You’re either being spoon fed or force fed.

When there is no infrastructure, there is no inertia. When there is no inertia, there is no resistance. When there is no resistance, you can make a clean break with the past and start over.

The liberal/progressive model for an ideal society can be summed up in two words:
no consequences.

I prefer to view politics through the unfiltered lens of history rather than view history through the prism of politics.

Dogmatic individuals tend to suffer under the myopia of their convictions.

Moral Relativism: changing the world, one gullible mind at a time.

Multiculturalism is nothing more than identity politics wrapped in the cloak of diversity.

Risk Taking courtesy of John Paul Jones and William Shakespeare:

  1. He who will not risk cannot win.
  2. Discretion is the better part of valor.
  3. When a conflict arises between the two previous rules, refer to rule number 2.

The Rules of 2.

2 many people were promised 2 much, worse yet, it was all 2 good 2 be true.

2 many people with 2 many friends in high places have been screwing us over for far 2 long.

Time for Americans to hit the Road



Moderate liberalism, compassionate conservatism, military intelligence, the work of government, conventional wisdom, an honest snake oil salesman, old bold pilots.


For some of our elected or appointed officials and celebrities, peccadilloes are more like peckerdilloes.

I suffer from a reptile dysfunction. My trouser snake ain’t working right.


Nikita Khrushchev Says (courtesy of The Glasnost Tapes)
Foreign troops on any country’s soil are not a gift from God, but a necessity of war.

Who ever has any extra money to spend on defense?  I say, no one, that’s who. It’s something you are forced into.

James A Michener 1995
War is war, and if you are unlucky enough to become engaged in one, you better not lose it.

F.A. Hayek

From the saintly and single minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.

Rule of Law vs Arbitrary Gov’t. By giving government unlimited powers, the most arbitrary rule can be made legal, and in this way a democracy may set up the most complete despotism imaginable.

Ron Paul:

When government grows, liberty suffers. This happens no matter what justification is given for the government programs financed.

As the iron fist grows in size….we will see a transformation of America that spells the end of a grand experiment in human liberty.

Ken Blackwell
We have become a culture where earning money doesn’t entitle you to it, but wanting it does. That is the essence of redistribution.

Glenn Beck
“Our problem in our country is not money and rich people. Our problem in our country is greed and loss of perspective…. each man has to police himself and each man or woman makes the decision for themselves.” 

Samuel Langdon (1788)
"On the people, therefore, of these United States, it depends whether wise men, or fools, good or bad men, shall govern them. Whether they shall have righteous laws, a faithful administration of government, and permanent good order, peace, and liberty, or on the contrary, feel insupportable burdens and see all their affairs run into confusion and ruin.” 

Frank J Fleming 2012
Having politicians fix problems is like having a three-year-old fix your computer with a hammer.

From Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln’s Legacy by David O. Stewart

Carl Shurz 1865:
Nothing renders society more restless than…..a revolution but half accomplished.

Congressman Thaddeus Stevens 1868:
If you and your compeers can fling away ambition and realize that every human being, however lowly-born or degraded by fortune, is your equal, that every inalienable right which belongs to you belongs to him, truth and righteousness will spread over the land…

The unmaking of Americans: how multiculturalism has undermined the assimilation ethic by John J. Miller

Woodrow Wilson on Immigration and Assimilation:
You cannot dedicate yourself to America unless you become in every respect and with every purpose of your will, thorough Americans. You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group in America has not yet become an American, and the man who goes among you to trade upon your nationality is no worthy son to live under the Stars and Stripes.

RADM Charles A. Rainey 2012
It’s the organization, not the individual or the personality, that is enduring.

Sen Daniel P. Moynihan
You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

John Lennon:
Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.