Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What Animates a Kid

In lieu of a polemic, my opinion, on "It' Cold Outside" and this yearly fiasco of a "War on Christmas"  I accepted this story as worthy alternative.

First of all,  I just shake my head.  Why should I care?

One of the most profound realizations of my political life is that stoicism is applicable in every case.  If I can't control it, why worry about it.

Second,  this is adolescent behavior.  Its has always been and will always be.  Young people protest.   That doesn't mean we give in, or rewrite the institutions and hierarchies of power on THEIR whims.   Give them a couple months and they will be on to another issue.

Third, and most practical is that getting angry or disgusted at these kids is not worth your time or energy because that emotional response trains and leads the mind for want of more.   More angry responses.  More absurdities.   It's the carbohydrates of the political world.  The demand for more is a powerful urge.

There are highly trained professionals on the task I'm sure.   People talk about this over sensitivity on those same university settings all the time.   Let them handle it, and if they can't,  get back to me in 30 days.  If this is still an issue in 30 days,  it just may rise to my level of caring.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

R.I.P. George H.W. Bush

Earlier today I put on my list to say something about the passing of G.H.W. Bush, but before I did that I was reminded of his pardon of Casper Weinberger and the whole Iran - Contra Affair.

But after some thought, and not to speak ill of the dead, I'm back to making a personal note about Mr. Bush.

In 1991 I was a student at one of America's finer Universities, the University of Pittsburgh and if I give the impression that I am embroiled in politics now, you should of avoided me in 1991.

At that time I was coming to terms with the fact that my teenage hero, Donald Trump was nothing more than a con man, and I was also campaigning locally and in other states for the GOP primary opponent of Bush, one Patrick J. Buchanan.

While then I did not have too elevated an impression of Bush, today I consider him the most underrated President of my life, if not in our history of a nation.

His steady hand at the end of the cold war, and his determination to expel Iraq from Kuwait are remarkable historical accomplishments.

I've come to learn since those early 1990's that Mr. Bush and his wife were exceptionally decent people of power.

I can't attest that personally, but it rings true from all my readings.

I had the ironic pleasure of shaking his hand, his wife's, and his chief of staff John Sununu in Nashua New Hampshire as they made their way through a sportmen convention prior to that state's Primary which ended with Mr. Buchanan stunningly polling in the 30%s.

It was a heady time for me, but also a reminder to never set your opinions of famous people in stone. During that same weekend visit to New Hampshire I was part of a group of students who spoke with Pat Buchanan on a street corner for a short time, but as fate would have it, by the early 2000's I had come to realize what a con Buchanan was too.

Now Trump and Buchanan are in the same camp, and Bush is dead. Rest in peace Mr. Bush, although I contributed in some small measure to your defeat, I must admit you were better than I gave you credit for.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Inside My Head cont.

A meme I shared sums up my inner dialog and disposition very nicely.

It's a quiet morning, and I don't write very often, so I thought I'd share some thoughts.

I don't write very often because I determined a very long time ago that the opportunity cost of writing more often is less non political thoughts coursing though my brain. Or in other words, I have enough politics in my life, and to write more often would crowd out what is non political in the pursuit of more content to share an opinion on.

We all look for signs in life to validate, reward, or indicate that the path we have chosen is the correct path to be on, for me the reality of Donald Trump posing as a conservative Republican is the clearest sign I've ever received in politics that I am on the right side.

I don't think of myself as a prophet crying out in the wilderness, nor do I fancy myself an original thinker, but I do know I put the time in, the hard work, and the willingness to expose myself to all points of view on the political spectrum.

In real life my disposition toward this era, beyond what the simple meme conveys is that elections have consequences, but also peoples choices have consequences.

Through common courtesy, and acceptance of random influences, I've made much effort to follow through on suggestions to better inform my world view. More often have I invested this time and effort with opinions and views that I initially don't agree with -- that's how to learn, in my opinion.

In the process I learned and understood friends and strangers better.

At the same time, I've suggested many, many times sources of information to people, for the same reason -- to better inform.

Let me be frank. While I come to understand that most people don't think like me, I do however weigh future investments of my time against the past performance of the effort I know that my conversationalist puts in to being informed.

Or in other words, I judge the use of my time debating or conversing with someone who doesn't share my value of education on political matters as sub optimal.

One clear indicator of that disposition toward education is whether or not they read what I offer.

Its not that hard to read an article, and it doesn't take hours. Conversely, T.V. programs and radio shows consume a lot of time.

When I bond with people over politics anymore, its more to do with acknowledging a shared commitment to ascertaining the truth of matters, than it is tribal.

If the loyalty to a tribe is evidently placed above a commitment to better understanding, that's where I'm walking away.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Kavanaugh again and again.

Impeach Kavanaugh

I intentionally wrote that headline so that anyone who only reads headlines will think I'm for impeaching Kavanaugh.

Anyways, I'm riding this wave of creativity, writing because I don't buy either side of this continuing story, and I think I have something to point out.

Tidying up my previous comments, let me quickly speak of how I've approached this confirmation process. For me it was all about Kavanaugh. How did he respond and how did professionals view him.

Ford, the accuser, had no bearing on my opinion what so ever.

Why should she? She could of accused the judge of murder, and it still lays with Brett to show his mettle.

He failed, IMO, and I was joined by a number of groups with whom I'm satisfied with.

However, just a note on the methods, but not the accuser, of the Democrats.

Sen. Feinstein pulled this ancient play out of a book so old, it must of been handed down on stone tablets.

Let's remember Ford, or correct me, did not want this made an issue. That's my understanding and so I defaulted to not chastising the accuser. Again, it was all about Kavanaugh anyways.

But Feinstein created this debacle even more so than Trump. Trump went off script, his judgement is horrible, and his pick turned out to be embarrassing, but he can't control everything.

Certainly the play was more contrived than it merited from both sides, but Kavanaugh still handled it poorly.

So the method failed in the end, and there is a large impression that it was a dirty trick by the democrats, and the Trumpers are outraged!

Spare me.

How anyone can take serious this recent discovery of ethical and good faith conduct from the Trump cult is a position that doesn't need explaining to me, it needs to be practiced to be believed and then I can take it serious.

I've been preaching about how important certain characteristics are for years now, and I don't think I've had one Trumper recognize the need for good and decent conduct from him, instead I got silly memes sent my way. Many expressing a devotion that I simply can't comprehend.

Oh, we all know the dirty trick business and the turning away from good faith with lies and false allegations but no one executes the genre better than Donald Trump.

I'm afraid I'm being redundant, but its what's making this a fun past time for me, though.

Tomorrow will be a new outrage, will the devotion to those old terms like honesty, ethics, and modesty persist in the Trump crowd, or will it fade like the bank accounts of all the marks before them?

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Kavanaugh again.

No Loyalty Badge This Time Either

I think I did job of staying out of the Kavanaugh debacle. One opinion and three shares through it all, a couple real life conversations and a few hours of podcast time.

That's not bad. I was about to write loyalty has consequences, when I mean to write elections have consequences. But in either event it is what it is to a man in my station in life.

I can't see getting worked up about this either way.

To me it's just another example of Trump screwing things up. (Books have been written about this, "Everything Trump Touches Dies" by a Republican no less!)

Trump has such poor judgement that that is the constant glaring dummy light on the dashboard through all these fiascoes.

This supports my contention for this issue, Kavanaugh was not on the initial list Trump, as a candidate, offered to the country. Regardless of any other lists, for me Trump went off script...and in the process people live's have been turn inside out.

As for Kavanaugh himself, for me again, he failed. The act he pulled on that Friday was sufficient for me then, and since then my thinking has been validated by a quite a number of professionals from the law community, law community organizations, one retired Supreme Court Justice, and even *gasp* the largest christian organization of churches.

That's a company I'm happy to keep with on this issue.

Frankly, its hard to not laugh out loud to hear righteousness out of the same corners when Trump has done so much worse than testifying before a senate committee about an act decades ago.

He's done a lot worse in terms of dirty tricks. So lets not try to pass that whole dirty democrats scheme on me. Get your own house in order before you try to clean mine.

Of course I have about a chapter more to write, I'll save it. It's just not worth the aggravation.

Friday, September 28, 2018


The following commentary is to make the time I spent on the still on-going Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process worth the while.

If you already know what I'm going to write,  and don't want to hear any more,  I know the feeling.  Maybe my cathartic moment can help in some measure, but it will probably be a little judgmental, but based on some of the meme's and comments I've seen, I think we'll live.

I got a few fragmentary thoughts, maybe I'll get to voice them all, or just a few, but I begin with the introduction of the very real aspect of government called law making.

I can get into the kooky conspiratorial theories later, but yes,  there are parts of the government that can actually make a law, and if the other part of the government, the courts, rule a current law is wrong, then a new law can be written.

Over and over and over again.

Makes all the fuss about one judge a little bit dramatic, in my opinion anyways.

By the way, this understanding of government attracts me to the idea of sticking with judges who only feel compelled to do that one little thing...decide if a law is wrong.   Not that a law is wrong, and it should be {left blank;  to be filled in by judges}.

That's conservatism in jurisprudence.  Which is not synonymous with big corporation or oligarchy, yet. I naively hope.

But that doesn't condone a Christian cause(r), like the pro-life movement is,  to mutely stand by when a woman is threatened out of her home and otherwise slandered beyond reason.

For her cathartic moment?

Seems sinful to me, on these Christians,   but I'm not moralizing here.  Just reading their law,  the bible, and doing a little deciding myself.  And if I missed the memes full of christian charity, I apologize up front.  I can't see everything.

Don't get me wrong,  I don't think a Supreme Court nominee should be shielded from this moment, or tactic. Though I do expect the  FBI to investigate.    Look it,  you can have the FBI do it, or you can only have the news' journalists do it.

So yes,  lets get the FBI to do it.

(Just realizing that I got a slew of opinions I could note, but for the time and sake of brevity.)

Wouldn't the smart play, all around, be to just chill out and let this play out?

If the blue wave is coming,  law and politics will sway back before too long,  wouldn't prudence suggest be the wiser and cooler head,  win over with your patience and understanding.

Conversely, it doesn't look good to run a lady from her home either.

But its not always the means that are given thought to.  Playing within the structure of good faith and ethics is sorely lacking from both sides.  I don't understand why certain voices who have been giving pass to historic unethical and bad faith behaviors, would now have their moment.  But they are.

What would be more destabilizing than what is going on in this forum right now?

Oh I know,  civil war!   I get the idea from some of the memes being shared around that use those words in various agitations  -- "civil war."

Do me a favor and don't count me in, in this war between tribes.

Someone who is not an ancestors of mine, because mine came over in a boat about 125 years ago, secured me rights and freedoms and established a government over 200 years ago that is better than its citizens of today grasp, and I don't want to mess that up because Democrats and Republicans, opposing tribes, can't be civil to each other.

Monday, September 17, 2018

"Fear" Bob Woodward

This would be the space where I write my review of "Fear" by legendary Washington Post investigative journalist Bob Woodward.  If there was only one thing I could look forward to after the swearing in, it would be what Woodward would write.  He's been at this longer than I've been alive, he's covered every era since Nixon.

But the value of this book to me maybe different than another reader's, because  this book went beyond an expose of the President's managerial skill,  it also aligned the players within the administration in ways that would be unremarkable, if it were not for the non-conformist in charge.

What this book revealed, beyond the dysfunction and dishonesty, which everyone should know by now, is how Trump's cabinet and administration barely resembled a team of advisers who were believers akin to the believers who voted for Trump in the first place.

For a man revered due to the perception that his competence and judgement  allow him to recognize our nations flaws like no other has, therefore a singular hope to fix them,   one could argue his first round of selections to join his team were anything but confirmation of this skill set.

His cabinet would look like my cabinet if I were making selections based on the greatness I already knew this country was basking in, and I wanted to continue that tract.

SPOILER ALERT:  Most of those cabinet members are gone now.  Which actually is a condemnation in and of itself...what kind of genius would select so many at odds with himself in the first place anyways? 

Perversely,  and why not perversely, the revelation that many members of Trump's administration and Cabinet were so proactively against their boss, it has forced me to temper a certain criticism I have had with Trump!

I just haven't decided if I'm happy with that or not.

The criticism that I have to amend is over the timing of the tariffs.   I admit,  I used the timing of the tariffs as evidence that trump was not that great negotiator that he would have me believe he is.  I argued that he promised these tariffs during the campaign, but it took him well over a year to enact them.  Long enough a delay to allow China, for example, to pin point reciprocal tariffs where they would hurt the most  --  the American farmer.   As well as make other arrangements for their agriculture goods, to our long term detriment.

Turns out that Trump wanted to slap tariffs on from the get go, but the newly revealed 'Steady State' kept him from doing so.  But like I said,  many of those actors are gone, with the ultimate affect that Trump is now getting his own way.

Is that good or bad?   It's a deeper question than that,  ask yourself is it good or bad that Trump had this sabotage, is that treasonous?

Again, what kind of genius would hire these type of people in the first place?

Aside from that personal revelation, this book was a tremendous and quick read.   A real page turner,  a look inside the Trump White House, and the perceptions that the closest people to him, have of him.

Those perceptions too are closer to what I had in mind, than say your average Trump supporter.  I'll let the words of his cabinet speak for themselves.  But I won't put them in print here,  too much vulgarity and besides,  most of those descriptions  were revealed already in the press.

Evidently Rex Tillerson did call Trump a,  'f*&^%$# moron' but he wasn't alone.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Point about the Details

I have a point to make about the Mueller investigation that as obvious as it is, I think needs explaining. The point is simply that for so much of what Mueller will ultimately report, it will already of been known to the public, and the world.

Well, in fact a lot of disparate facts come from all over the world, and all we are waiting for is the finishing touches on the compilation of facts. Facts that again, are mostly well known.

The facts that are known can be had for the price of a book, or on the web for free! What we are waiting for is the disclosure of the facts not readily available, information that only can be had by authorities. When all that is needed to know is known, then Mr. Mueller should release his report.

Why argue against that? To whose benefit?

I'm not really conjecturing here, I don't know what the ultimate narrative will hold, but I have a pretty strong impression. Never the less, suggestions that a lack of leaks equates to a lack of facts is wrong. There are a lot of facts, and no leaks mean only that there are no leaks.

Yet no leaks shouldn't be a surprise either. The expectations of leaks, which I grant is a rational expectation in most instances, but not during this investigation headed up by Robert Mueller. That expectation suggest only that another failure to investigate people has been made, Mueller doesn't leak.

A big failure to vet was on Trump's part, that is without a doubt. How far it was intentional is something we may find out.

By the way, if I failed to mention it, all the facts that are publicly known have come predominately via a diligent and free press here in the States, and around the world.

Adopting the position Trump trumpets in that the Press is the enemy is perhaps one of the biggest failure of anyone's judgement. Never has it been considered wise counsel for a leader to advocate that the people support him in suppressing the free press.

It is something that I could not of conceived prior to its voicing and tweeting.

Let that soak in, I don't need a free press to hear the President, he has a platform to get straight to the people -- social media. What we wouldn't have if Trump had his way, is a way to ascertain the truth. Prior to the release of the Mueller investigation and in so much more.

It's certainly not in my best interest for the press to be attacked the way it is by Trump, why would it be in anyone's but Trump, in this particular instance at least?

How do Patriots rank HIM higher than the First Amendment?

My parting thought is imagining a constituency that protects the rights we have is an accomplishment; taking pride in what Thomas Jefferson or James Madison wrote is nothing. You and I didn't do that, they did. We however elected a President our founders meant to protect us from.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

One of the Challenges

The challenge of the Trump Presidency for me is that I've always said that the office holder can't possibly make so many decisions in the normal course of events and always be wrong, or right for that matter. Its just statistically improbable. There fore the challenge is to be realistic and try not to fall into the trap of finding wrong or right at all turns.

Following Trump is, more than any other President in my day, challenging me to do just that. No, it's not because I hate the man. That may be true for some, and I've read many a comment from people who profess as much, but it is not true for me. I don't let myself go there with much of anyone or anything. To hate leads to anger, and anger leads to a lot of negativity. He who angers you, controls you. Keep that in mind, next time a pundit is interpreting events on t.v. or the radio!

Trump is challenging because its all to easy to find fault with what he is doing, because what he is doing is often contrary to wise counsel and historical norms. Elections have consequences, and Trump has obtained the privilege to make the decisions that will shape the now and the future, that's not in dispute, however his ceaseless attempts to contradict the past is leaving little opportunity to agree with him. Because the past isn't always wrong, despite what Trump says.

Take this idea of a Space Force he proposed recently. One can easily conclude that this would be a decision hard to find fault with, or that the axiom that elections have consequences should hold, or beg me to refrain from comment. And it mostly had, until today.

There is another reason that makes it challenging not to always be critical of Trump, and that is he channels simplistic one liners as a sort of verbal finishing maneuver. These debate finishers have a way of boomeranging back to bite him in the arse, and those who promulgate them.

You can't change history. That's a recent one.

Let's just understand that space has been devoid of military presence because our past Presidents decided to keep it devoid of military presence. The wisdom held that having already the ultimate weapon in the "bomb", perhaps space can be spared the need to be armed to the teeth, like the rest of humanities spheres of influence.

There has never been an arms race in space, just a race, and that's indisputably a good thing. Why ruin that?

In fact, if we got the inkling that some other nation would want to infiltrate space first with arms, the U.S. could handle the situation then, however there doesn't appear to be much threat, or I'm missing the reports. Honorable mention to our own Ronald Reagan.

That history can not be changed is highly debatable, and I don't believe it for a minute. Robert E. Lee statues be damn, but if Trump goes through with this Space Force, and ushers in a new era of military expansion into peaceful space, history will be immutable on this, Trump hasn't always been right.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

"War on Peace" Ronan Farrow

When I first came across the book "War on Peace" by Ronan Farrow I was drawn by its subtitle, "The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence"  which suggest it is the type of book that I look for --  political, on foreign policy, and presumably smart.  But I have a general rule, I don't buy political books by people not, or haven't been in government.  It's my way of avoiding people like me,  opinionated but removed.

Well,  after just a little research I came to understand that the author,  Ronan Farrow, had indeed been a part of government, and that he served in the State Department under Richard Holbrooke.  Which satisfied my vetting process.   ( The only deviations to this rule of avoiding outsider's opinion/rants in recent memory was when I bought two books partial to Donald Trump, as  he just came into office, I thought it would be fair to read what was expected of him, and how he operates from people who new him better than me.)

The title, "War on Peace", established a cynical tone to the book, perhaps his views were similar to mine as it pertains to all the previous political "wars," such as on poverty,  drugs, Christmas, or men.  So why not have a war on peace as well?  I knew I felt the bond when I saw that the last section was labeled  "Present at the Destruction."  The same play on words, but this time an echo of Dean Acheson's legendary book, "Present at the Creation"  which is a personal account of the dawn of the post WWII era from one of the architects of a peace that has lasted in the Western and First World for 70 years.

A quick run down of its sections and chapters suggested it was going to be a really valuable book, chalk full of particulars that would support Farrow's argument,  and it did not disappoint.   Afghanistan, Africa, the Middle East, Latin and South America all set locations of specific cause and effects due to America's own meddling in foreign affairs and subsequently our waning meddling in foreign affairs.

As diplomacy would have it, we've made with many a strange bed fellows, including a war lord in Afghanistan whose high ranking government palace now includes real grass so that his pets can graze on it indoors, and unfortunately both sides of a few civil wars.

Yes, sometimes we found ourselves fighting our own selves, if millions and billions in aid serve to represent our interest in diverse and remote conflicts throughout the world.

But evidently all that is going away,  according to the text, due to State Department budget cuts and a general devaluing of the role of diplomacy and state craft in the United States.  But if you think this book is a Trojan horse to merely slam Donald Trump, you would be mistaken.   While you don't expect much praise thrown toward our current President in an account like this,  you may not of expected the history that previous Presidents have done to undermine our achievements, institutions, and abilities to date either.

The Generals that serve the Trump Administration today may be an amplification of the usual representation of military in  previous administrations, but the trend toward deferring to the military in matters of peace has been gaining momentum for about 20 years, and so it may not be so shocking after all. 

Except that it is.

According to the account,  the U.S. diplomatic corp has been sliding backward for so long, and by so much, that we are playing second and third stringers against the world,  and that our position will and has suffered.

This is an area of great interest to me on a personal level,  I read on matters of state on a regular basis.  I have autobiographies written by many former Secretaries of State including more than a handful by Kissinger,  Acheson, and James Baker.   Farrow sprinkles advice and wisdom from Rice, Kerry, Christopher, and more -- he claims to have spoken to every living former Secretary of State, and I believe they all have been quoted here.  That's why I know I can accept this book as an honest attempt to expose the scene behind the curtain of international relations as they exist today.  Its not good, but keep your eye on the military, because the State Department has been in decline and nature abhors a vacuum.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.

1 Corinthians 15:33

Sunday, May 13, 2018

House Cleaning

The House Cleaning Episode.

I've been learning a lot of new words lately, sometimes I feel like I'm back in school, but this time I'm more appreciative, rather thirsty, and liberal, lol.

I've come across the term 'tribe' so often in recent weeks, that it has taken root in my psyche and crowded out 'party' in my vernacular.   As it should.

'Post Truth' is another one,  but you may want to find your own tribe endorsed meaning of it.  For me,  I want nothing to do with it.   I understand honestly is tough in politics,  but to assign validity based on affiliation to tribe?  pfft.  I'm non-aligned and I'm much maligned.

Who do I side with?  Anyone with a smart idea I'll listen to, then we'll see.   The arc of progress lays flat sans new ideas.  When in 1992 I was listening to Pat Buchanan and thinking these are some great new ideas,  even then they weren't.  So I understand how it happens to be caught up, and thinking how avant garde I am.

North Korea makes me text-less.   Speechless for the oral conversationalist in me.  I wouldn't be house cleaning though, without sharing a thought or two on perhaps the most abrupt change in international relations since Hitler double crossed  Stalin. (Shout out to Swede, R.I.P)

Sometimes it takes a village,  this time it took a whole mountain.   Which leads me to acknowledge and then question the credit Donald Trump rightly deserves.   Hey, I am fully committed to giving the devil his due, and him being there as fact alone still assigns him credit, as long as the attitude of NK and Kim hold fast to their promises. 

Trump does deserve credit for playing the strongman bit to the nth degree.   How ever it may be argued that no U.S. President needs much acting to pull of a strong man role,  Trump did differentiate himself from his predecessors.

But right now, its a lot of pats on the back for nothing lasting yet.  Let's all be patient,  the Kim's have reneged before,  Hitler turned on Stalin, and that mountain collapsed.

Quote of the era(as declared by me):

 Michael V. Hayden in the book "The Assault on Intelligence"

"We noted to one another that Russia really wasn't fighting ISIS  in Syria; that American alliances were a national competitive advantage, which Russia and China, which didn't have any friends that mattered much, actually envied; that defending Latvia or Estonia wasn't just a matter of their having paid their bills; that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) was really an alignment of twelve nations bordering the Pacific (non of them named China) in an American-facing rules-based order, not a rip-off of American workers."