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"God Hates Euroranger, Yes INdeed He Does"

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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

WE can’t fix Islamic terrorism…but I know who can

Posted by Euroranger on November 16, 2015


Here we are again…bodies of innocents in the street.  Entirely predictable too.

So, the world suffered yet another terrorist attack a couple of days ago in Paris.  Six separate but coordinated attacks conducted against targets like a soccer match, a concert hall, restaurants and cafes.  They killed 129 people (so far) and wounded over 350 others and the only common denominator amongst the victims was that they were citizens of a western democracy and they were out to have a good time.  In other words, they weren’t attending some anti-Muslim rally or reading a newspaper whose comic section poked fun at some subject militant Muslims get all shooty/stabby/explodey about.  There’s a fair chance, in fact, that some of the dead people were Muslims themselves.  The targeting was deliberate; the slaughter of victims indiscriminate.  As happens in the now wired, always in touch, constantly connected world we live in, when the first news reports started showing up minutes after the attacks started, I reacted in the same way that the vast majority of people did.  I said, “goddamned Muslims again”.  It happened back on 9/11 as well.  First reports of a jet liner hitting the World Trade Center made me think “Osama Bin Laden” but I wasn’t fully there yet.  But when the second one hit, it was cemented.  One plane could be a tragic accident but a second one was an attack and the first person most people immediately thought of was Bin Laden: the leader of the most well known Islamic terrorist organization in the world at the time.  If you were old enough to remember that attack, you’ll probably also be old enough to recall that a second possible perpetrator of that kind of horrific mass murder never even came to mind.  Fast forward to this past Friday and the same thing happened.  First thought to pop into my head: Muslims.  There literally wasn’t a second place runner up finalist and I suspect the vast majority of people reacted exactly the same way.

So, militant Islamic fundamentalist terror has struck yet again.  It’s happened so many times now that it literally defies an accurate accounting of incidents.  France immediately reacted by shutting down international transportation and closed her borders.  That’s how a nation state reacts when it starts to go on a war footing.  Because ISIS (those merry Muslim assholes who are slaughtering and terrorizing their way to a better and brighter Islamic tomorrow in what used to be Syria and Iraq) claimed responsibility for the attacks, France immediately counter punched the only way a nation state can: it launched a military attack against targets in the areas that ISIS controls.  However, we all know that this is merely symbolic and that this response, while absolutely necessary to sate the righteous desire of the French people for some kind of vengeful action, will do absolutely nothing to prevent more such attacks in the future.  NOTHING about this French response makes anyone anywhere actually think “well, we’ve seen the last of THAT kind of murderous madness”.  We all know it’s just a tit for tat response and an ineffective one at that…but it’s the only thing a nation can do…and it’s inadequate.  So today, if you turn on the TV, this issue is morphing from a news flash/current events kind of incident to a catalyst for a debate on “what to do about terrorism” and more properly, “what to do about Islamic terrorism”.  One of the most compelling questions I read (via Facebook) was someone asking (and I’m paraphrasing here) “what can we do about this kind of thing without destroying civil liberties”.  When I read that, it made me really think.  Just asking about the peril to civil liberties suggests why we have, so far, been unable to affect Islamic terrorism.  I think I understand the problem and I think I have an answer.

We (western democracies) can’t fix Islamic terrorism…but I know who can.

Whenever anyone starts to discuss Islamic fundamentalist terrorism the very first thing you’ll hear is how we can’t penalize all Muslims for the actions of a few.  According to the mighty Google, there are nearly 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and anywhere from 15% to 25% of them would be classified as “radical” or “fundamentalist”.  That means there are as many as 400 million people on this planet who support the erasure of western civilization and culture (because that’s what we are to those people…we’re “infidels” or unbelievers and deserving of death and eradication).  That’s more people than the entire population of the United States and Canada combined so it’s a number worth recognizing as posing a serious and continual threat.  Furthermore, those 1.6B and 400M people aren’t confined to a tidy geographic area like a nation with borders.  They’re scattered throughout the world.  Yes, there are roughly 50 nations whose populations are predominantly Muslim but for the most part you can find Muslims and by extension radicalized, militant Muslims all over the world.  As of right now, the number of terrorists who conducted the actual attacks in Paris is EIGHT.  On 9/11, it was NINETEEN and Al Qaeda tried to send TWENTY SIX in total.  That’s it.  Eight attackers in Paris and nineteen on 9/11.  Think on this a moment: less than 30 people actively conducted attacks against the United States and France in those two incidents…and there are FOUR HUNDRED MILLION SUCH PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.  September 11 revealed gaping intelligence holes and since then, our government has gone on a rampage of establishing invasive and onerous intelligence programs designed to get wind of future such attacks so that we can pre-emptively act to thwart them.  Paris itself was attacked less than a year before by Islamic terrorists though and, presumably, France has similar efforts set up to monitor communications and try to identify and neuter such sinister efforts by would be terrorists.  Western governments share information they gather and France would have received such information had national intelligence organs in the UK, US, Germany and other western nations twigged to an upcoming attack.  The fact that France was caught totally unawares says that these terrorists met, plotted and coordinated in a way that was mindful of skirting the intelligence apparatuses of the western democracies.  There was no acquired intelligence that any government was capable of gathering that would have warned French authorities in time to prevent these attacks.  This leads to the conclusion:

Western governments and government in general is not the source for the solution to Islamic terrorism.

Pictured above: doing absolutely jack other than deluding themselves thinking they’re doing something about the problem.

Earlier I identified the civil liberties conundrum: a government cannot pass laws or regulations that target all Muslims in their populations without shredding civil liberties laws.  That said, that WOULD BE THE ONLY EFFECTIVE MEANS FOR A GOVERNMENT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.  It would look something like this: label Islam as a hate group (much like the KKK which has Christian underpinnings), overtly make clear that national intelligence and police organs are actively keeping an eye on Muslims (like the FBI does with white supremacist groups and members), emplace and enforce laws that allow greater police latitude in dealing with such groups and members (relaxing 14th Amendment restrictions against unlawful searches, for example) and so on.  The problem is that to do this, you pretty much have to shred the 1st Amendment’s prohibition about making any laws restricting the free exercise of religion.  This, of course, cannot be done.  So, if government can’t do the job, who can?  Well, think a moment: who stands to lose the most if Islamic terrorism goes unchecked?  Not western democracies because once fundamentalist Islam gets big enough to actually threaten the existence of nations, they get big enough to get dealt with militarily.  Not the suicide terrorists themselves.  They’ve already accepted death as their ultimate reward for their actions.

The real player who must act in their own self interest against fundamentalist Islam…is the rest of Islam itself.

The lack of electronic intelligence that preceded this attack means that the plotters likely met in person, probably many times, to scheme and plan their villainy.  Western intelligence organs already know this (especially the French) but for the rest of society: where can a bunch of Muslims meet, talk, go someplace secluded in our midst where they can exchange ideas for how best to slaughter their neighbors without fear of being detected or leaving a telltale electronic trail?  Their local mosque.  In fact, authorities have already identified a mosque in Belgium where, they say, most attendees were radical, fundamentalist Muslims.  This means that the would be terrorists do a fair amount of their organizing and plotting within the confines of their local mosque…in close proximity to other, non-radical Muslims.  Thinking about your own church (for those of you who go) we all know the “normal” folk and we all know who the quiet, distanced, or angry and strident members are.  We know who are new attendees and who are old familiar faces.  In other words, the rest of the attendees would have a fairly good idea who, in their midst, would be likely to be plotting mayhem and mass murder.  The real issue then is: what can government or society in general do to encourage moderate Muslims to police their own ranks and out these murdering bastards before they strike?  The answer would be: when society in general comes to regard ALL Muslims as criminals and terrorists and shuns them and excludes them accordingly.  In other words, when society begins to discriminate against all Muslims because of the actions of a few of their number.  And this WILL end up happening eventually.  Just because our leaders are so concerned with political correctness that they refuse to identify our foe doesn’t mean that individuals in society who do won’t eventually become the majority.  A Charlie Hebdo cartoonist draw a series of panels on Instagram this past Friday night (same night as the attacks) and he said in part in one panel “Terrorism is not the enemy. Terrorism is a mode of operation. Repeating ‘we are at war’ without finding the courage to name our enemies leads nowhere.”  This is a fundamental truth: we cannot begin to act against those who would deny us our freedoms and our lives if we can’t even collectively scrounge up the testicular fortitude to point at our victimizer.  What needs to be understood is this: there are still too many among us that are willing to trade insipid Tweets or Facebook posts or leave flowers or a teddy bear or a burning candle in a pile on the ground and think that such will do a single damn thing about the problem.  The time for “saying a prayer” or “standing with” the victims or our leaders “deploring” or being “shocked” and every other single inane and ultimately useless statement or gesture needs to come to an end.  Substituting grim and resolute action with inanities and symbolism only says to the terrorists, “you haven’t yet slaughtered enough of us for us to get around to dealing with you effectively”.  It’s us saying “the lives of the victims didn’t matter because we’re not outraged enough to effectively and seriously act”.  More people need to die for us as a collective society to actually act.

The solution, then, is to act individually.

It’s time to quit being cowed by those who would call a person a “racist” or an “Islamophobe” for deciding to shun or avoid the company of Muslims because they (the Muslims being shunned) refuse to collectively act to police their own community.  It’s time for the rest of us to effectively say “if you refuse to scour your community for these assholes and serve them up to our collective societal justice system, then you’re condoning their actions…agreeing with what they’re doing…and in so doing, you’ve decided to side with them against the rest of us”.  For myself, if someone sides against me, they’ve pretty much removed themselves from my social circle and I need have nothing to do with them.  I write this having friends who are Muslims and this troubles me for saying it.  But the point at which society will finally, collectively act will cost too much in the lives of past, and worse future, victims for me to wait.  If you’re Muslim and you’re reading this: I’m sorry.  So very sorry.  But Muslim voices ARE and have been silent on this.  You practically never hear about a terror plot being foiled by other Muslims coming out and reporting the would be killers of innocents.  You know who those people are in your community and your silence is their cloak of anonymity.  They actively use you and yours as shields to their activities…and you allow it.  This is a choice YOU need to make: side with our collective society and act to protect it…or side with them.  You are best positioned to do this.  It’s finally time you stepped up and took responsibility.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

Posted in History, In the news, On the web, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

October-geddon

Posted by Euroranger on October 4, 2013


Oh look…it’s our economy under the leadership of Hopey McChange.

I’m not a self-important man.  I’m not a petty or boastful fellow.  I’m not so convinced of the superiority of my intellect and/or common sense that I disdain others’ opinions automatically.  I can and have been known to be wrong (if you consult the lovely and talented Mrs. Ranger she will enthusiastically confirm this).  I actively police my opinions for such personality flaws.  I do try and “put myself in the other guy’s shoes” and try and discern the merits of opinions I don’t necessarily share.  Because of all that, I’m going to write this post to memorialize something I’m about to say that, I believe, will turn out to be probably (sadly) prophetic:

Obamacare will seriously gut this country’s economy

I’ll keep this brief (and I really mean it this time).  All I’m going to do is to spit out a few facts of my own personal situation and then make a few observations and leave this here so we can all either come back and laugh at it later…or wonder why, if I was so damned prescient, didn’t I play the Powerball.

I am a married father of 2 kids living just outside of Atlanta, GA.  Our ages are 47 (me), less than 47 (Mrs. Ranger), 13 (Ms. Ranger), and 11 (Mini-Ranger).  None of us smoke or are morbidly obese.  We have a health insurance policy that I secured via eHealthinsurance.com that I pay $4665 per year in premiums that features a prescription drug plan and has a 20% co-pay and $3500 individual deductible.  It’s with a reputable highly rated company.  It’s not cheap and the coverage is, by no means, one of those “Cadillac” plans we’ve been hearing the President and his parrots in the mainstream media snorting derisively at.  I’m a middle class guy earning a middle class paycheck and this is the health insurance coverage I can afford.  Obamacare, as pretty much all of you by now have heard, started a few days back (October 1).  I’ve had coverage so I never really concerned myself all that much the dire doom and gloom warnings we’ve all heard about the economic Armageddon we’ll all get cordially invited to when the entirety of the the ACA (the soon-to-be-widely-recognized-for-its-immense-irony named Affordable Care Act, aka: “Obamacare”) kicks in.  That said, I got a letter in the mail from my carrier the other day inviting me to partake of a one time opportunity to reset my current health policy to a December 1 inception date (so that it runs from 12/1/13 to 11/30/14) for a mere monthly premium increase of $40.  I looked at this letter and wondered “why the hell would I volunteer to pay nearly $500 per year more for the same coverage I already have”?  It was then that I came across an online forum wherein a poster (we’ll go ahead and safely and with little real debate refer to him as “f***ing idiot”) was crowing about what a great thing Obamacare is and will become.  To prove what a great thing it is, he helpfully posted a subsidy calculator (check it out here: http://kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/) to tell you how much “free money” you’d qualify for to help pay for your healthcare due to the changes coming with Obamacare.  Needless to say, because I worked hard, went to school, got an education and then actually worked at many and several jobs over the years…my family doesn’t qualify for a subsidy.  Oh well, I thought, that’s hardly surprising.  But what I read further down the page on that site after I entered my details really took me by surprise.  It told me that the predicted cost for an unsubsidized premium for a “silver plan” (read: “worse than the plan I currently have”) would be $9780 per year.  Let me say that again: for worse coverage (in our case, higher deductible and coverages we don’t need, don’t use and don’t want) we can expect to have to pay 109% MORE THAN WE DO NOW!  Even their cheapest plan coverage level, “bronze”, comes in at a predicted $6656 per year or just a 42% increase (and with much, much worse coverage).

It’s almost like he’s talking to every voter who cast a vote for Obama…oh well, the 1%’ers will now be the people with good paying jobs AND healthcare. Way to go you f***ing ignorant illiterate idiots.

Well, after I emptied the outrage-inspired crap out of my trousers, I said “to hell with predictions, let’s go quote a policy and see what I can find”.  So, I went over to eHealthinsurance.com (where I bought our last two policies) to see what I could get for a quote today.  Cheapest that I can quote now is $7104 per year and that’s with the deductible getting jacked up to $6350 per person and going to a 30% copay. That’s a jump of 53% in a single year…and that’s literally the cheapest private option on that site for us for much worse coverage.

Just to summarize: I’ve been “invited” to extend our current coverage and pay an additional $500 per year to do so but because of the absolute crap premiums I’m staring down due to Obamacare, that’s actually a great deal.  The absolute best I can hope from, from what I’ve been able to discern just earlier today, is a jump in my family’s health insurance premiums of at least +40%.  Let me be clear here: this isn’t predictions or estimates or “according to statistics from blablabla”.  This is the actual, no shit reality me and my family is facing as a direct consequence of this country voting for Barack Obama as our president.

That’s the best case scenario…and I get absolutely nothing more for that huge outlay than I’m getting today.  To put it another way: my already tight budget is going to need to squeeze out an additional $2000 in 2014…all so someone else can have what I have but didn’t bother to work for to afford.  And this is merely the best part.  We didn’t even discuss what employers are going to do when this shitstorm hits.  Companies are already turning full time jobs into part time jobs (cutting hours and pay) because the employer mandate says the employer only needs to pay the health care premiums for full time employees.  It’s pretty mercenary of an employer to do that but hey, this isn’t their idea, is it?  Employers do what the economy dictates and this law dictates that full time employment will now become an elitist, status symbol…ironically driving even more people to the public dole than Obama has managed to do in his first 5 years in office.

The American Dream officially died today people…and you have Hopey Hussein McChange to thank for it.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in In the news, On the web, Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Comfort in Wisdom

Posted by Euroranger on September 17, 2013


2012 - 2013 arctic ice sheet

Remember when the Arctic was gonna be ice free soon due to Global Warming? Yeah…about that. Never mind. L to R: Arctic sea ice coverage 2012, 2013. In case yer a GW fanboi, the right pic is what’s known as “more” and not “less”.

If, like me, you were trolling around on the internet within the past 4-5 years you likely ran into an article or forum conversation regarding global warming.  Remember those days?  The world was heating up so drastically that within 30 years the Great Plains would be a desert, Venice would be under 10 feet of water and the Arctic would be a summer paradise?  Droughts, floods, famines, wars, environmental apocalypse was virtually at the door and that we needed to ACT NOW TO SAVE THE PLANET!  Remember all that stuff?  Remember how, if you didn’t simply automatically swallow the “hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies” that proved Global Warming (or “GW” at the time for the in-crowd cool kids) was a thing and that it was undoubtedly linked to increased CO2 emissions by modern human civilization, that you were a global warming denier, didn’t believe in science, was likely some kind of fundamentalist anti-science wingnut?  Remember the “good old days” of being a tree hugging concerned leftist and how absolutely sure you were that anyone who opposed your views on this subject were simply evil, degenerate idiots who lacked the smarts to agree with your views because…”science”?

I hope you remember those days because, well, they’re kind of gone…again.

It all started just a few years ago with actual skeptical people (which apparently didn’t include a whole lot of scientists unfortunately) observing that, hey, it hasn’t gotten warmer where I am.  Those folks were told (you evil, degenerate idiot you) that local conditions vary but, by the-God-we-don’t-believe-exists-but-whose-name-makes-swearing-a-lot-easier, Global Warming Climate Change (the new and improved accepted term because evil, degenerate idiots kept pointing out all the “warming” holes in the theory) was real because SCIENCE (and you’re a stupidhead if you don’t automatically agree).  Then someone who also wasn’t as smart as all the patchouli smelling hipster kids pointed out that the temperatures on Mars was also rising.  Naturally, he too was shouted down as a troglodytic Luddite (even though he was a scientist) because “[h]is views are completely at odds with the mainstream scientific opinion,’said Colin Wilson, a planetary physicist at England’s Oxford University” (because it’s not actual science that determines fact but the consensus of a group of people).  I mean, sure, human produced CO2 emissions MUST be the cause of rising global temperatures (even though there are pretty much zero people on Mars…since Gary Sinise left in the alien spaceship anyway) and definitely NOT because the Sun (the giant ball thermonuclear fire that burns at around 27 million degrees at its core) was in a more active than usual cycle (remember kids: CO2 > enormous ball of nuclear fire next door…when it comes to what makes the planet hotter).

And surely you remember being the fool who was chided for looking smug when the whole “Climategate” scandal broke.  You know…that event where hackers got hold of thousands of emails from scientists who were convinced that GW/Climate Change was occurring as a result of human activity and that, unless we radically changed our entire society (pretty much just western society which actually contributes the minority of the CO2 but hey…don’t get stuck on facts NOW) we were all GOING TO DIE?  Yeah, you recall that.  Remember how prior to that scandal one of the issues skeptical people had with this whole cabal of scientists shrieking from the rooftops of all the ivory towers how this was all going to be one enormous environmental disaster was that they wouldn’t grant access to the data they were collecting, wouldn’t honor freedom of information requests so skeptics could truly look at the raw information to see if these dire predictions were true and how the scandal exposed emails wherein the scientists were worried about how to spin observations that showed their “climate models” that were all apparently forecasting global annihilation weren’t jiving when they should be…and that those findings should simply be ignored or maybe put through a algorithm that would churn out “acceptable” data that would jive better with their models?  Remember how if you pointed at that and said that such activities aren’t those of people on the up and up and that perhaps a less biased, less fueled-by-millions-of-research-dollars studies MIGHT be a better idea…that you were once more pilloried for being a backwards, delusional fool?

Chicken Little press conference.

Pictured above: someone who rational, level-headed people probably wouldn’t trust with a forecast of the future OR the latest demiGod to those on the left who seem to exist solely for the purpose of wringing their hands over the latest manufactured crisis-du-jour. Either or.

Anyway, remember all those good old days of…just 3 years ago?  Yeah, well, turns out, if you were thinking with your own brain and thought that taking the word of a bunch of leftist organizations who seemed a whole lot more interested in how to leverage the scare about Global Warming into a socialist wealth redistribution scheme via “carbon offset credits” wasn’t a sound basis to frantically be doing the scientific community version of Chicken Little…step up to claim your prize.  Turns out that an early report leaked from the IPCC (the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is trying to figure out how to spin revelations that all those peer reviewed studies who were all in lockstep uniformity just 20 years ago that predicted global temperatures would rise by 0.2C (a big number on a global scale)…had only risen 1/4 of that (0.05C).  Yeah, it seems that of those 117 studies who all uniformly foretold climate doom back in the 1990’s…that were the backbone of the entire Global Warming/Climate Change crowd…only 3 were even remotely close and 114 (that’d be a whopping 97.4%) weren’t just wrong but, on average, overestimated the amount of global warming that actually ended up happening by more than 200%.

What does this have to do with wisdom though?  Only this: wise people realize that a new field of study that suddenly gains enormous prominence, the attention of the entire globe and sees hundreds of millions of research dollars being handed out to anyone willing to conduct a global warming study MIGHT be susceptible to influence, bias and corruption because (get this): scientists are people too.  People are subject to the same weaknesses and sins and scientists are no exception and scientists AREN’T machines incapable of mistakes or outright lying…they’re people just like you and me.

Does this settle the idiocy of the ever panicking leftist crowd vis-a-vis Global Warming/Climate Change/the Sky Is Falling?  Of course not.  You’d have to believe that facts and subjective thought have any effect on such thinking and, subjective observation long ago ruled out that theory.  What it does do though is to re-affirm that cooler heads (not an intended pun but an apt one nonetheless) are called for and, in this instance (as in most others), those who say “stay the course, let’s see if this is real or not” turned out, yet again, to be right.

Let’s be entirely clear here for a moment: the globe DID get warmer.  There seems to be a lot less proof now that CO2 or other greenhouse gasses are to blame for the rise than was previously thought but the fact still remains that we did get warmer.  Also, regardless of whether there is a human origin for such a rise it’s still a good idea to move our economies away from a fossil fuel basis for energy supply (and towards cleaner, renewable sources).  This is simply a good idea even minus the typical hysterical climate reasoning.  What skeptics like me have always said is that while we need to move towards those goals, there is no emergency thundering toward us that should stampede us collectively into stupid, half-baked solutions to problems that don’t really exist.  And that’s why wisdom, sometimes, is comfortable.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

Posted in In the news, On the web, Politics, Science, Weather | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The difference between Left and Right

Posted by Euroranger on August 22, 2013


…and just like kid’s shoes, the two sides work better when they’re closer together than when they’re miles apart.

This brief post will be about politics.  Not politics in specific, though, but the political spectrum in general.  We all choose political sides on issues.  Some of us choose them on specific issues and because the sides sometimes switch between topics we like to think of ourselves as “free thinkers” or simply not being entirely aligned to a political “side” for what passes for politics in the United States these days.  Some of us have a “hot button” issue that then directs us to support the opinions of the political party on other issues that champions our view on our dearly held issue.  Regardless, there are two basic sides in America and we all arrive there via some means of thought or value process.  In all fairness, what I’m about to discuss isn’t a new concept and isn’t breaking any new ground but with revelations over the past couple of years, is, to me, a lot more stark example of where the origins of thought are when discussing how people in our single country can be so politically polarized as we appear to be.

I believe the genesis of someone’s leaning in one direction or the other comes down to one value: “confidence“.

In general terms, it is the level of confidence in one’s self to be able to succeed with varying degrees of government “help” to do so.  If you feel that you can be successful without the government lending a hand you tend to lean one way.  If you feel that you need the government to “level the playing field” for you in order to enhance your chances of success then you tend to lean another.  Now, understand, most people don’t hold opinions wholly in one direction or wholly in another…it tends to be a shade of grey somewhere in the middle…but in general terms, I believe a individual’s confidence (in more than just themselves) is what starts the leaning in opinion in one direction or another.  In fact, going back to the first example (the level of confidence in one’s self to be able to succeed with varying degrees of government “help”) it’s also a measure of which do you feel more confident in?  You or the government?  Now, because I, like everyone else, has a political opinion, how I describe that may unintentionally convey a leaning in and of itself.  That’s unavoidable but being aware of it should explain any received bias, if any.  People who identify themselves on the political “right” in this country would probably tend to say they prefer to rely more on themselves and less on the government for their success in life.  People who identify themselves on the political “left” in this country would probably tend to say that not all people are equal but that everyone should have an equal shot for success in life and see the government as the means to enact such “balance”.  In shorter terms, people on the Right tend to trust in themselves overcoming obstacles to success more while people on the Left tend to trust in the government to remove obstacles to success for them.  In even shorter terms than that: people on the Left tend to have confidence in and trust the government more than people on the Right.  With this value in mind, you can look at nearly every political issue in terms of that balance between confidence and trust in yourself and confidence and trust in the government.  Thinking on that theory for a moment, consider some of the news of the past few days and realize that there is a change underway in this country.

One of those news items was this: welfare pays more than a minimum-wage job in 35 states, creating little incentive for Americans to take entry-level work and likely increasing their long-term dependency on government help.  That’s a fairly stark statement and, for this country, has never occurred before on a scale like this.  What it means is that our government is taking so much from those who work and giving so much to those who don’t that the incentive for those who don’t work is to not even consider working in first place.  Wealth (individual as well as collected wealth) in this country is generated by those who work.  Our entire economic system is based on the productivity of the American workforce and the rest of the planet, like it or not, is reliant on the American economy.  This percentage of people in poverty who are living at the pleasure of government entitlements has exploded in the past several years and shows no signs of abating unless radical and drastic changes are made…and those changes would be painful and very controversial.

The other news item is yet another revelation of how our own government views its relationship with its governed populace and how their view appears to be changingTurns out, contrary to each and every statement denying such by the NSA, the White House press secretary and the President himself, the NSA is, has and continues to spy on Americans who have nothing to do with foreign threats or terrorism.  The trouble with the news article in that link I just posted is that it contains so much troubling content.  The government spying on their own people is one thing.  The government outright lying to the only body that stands between them and the people (the FISA court judge) three times in the past three years ought to be even more troubling.  Keep in mind now, when I say “government” in this context it’s actually more like the executive branch and the legions of bureaucrats that the executive controls and not Congress.  This is alongside the other and previous scandals like the bureaucracy of the Justice Department running weapons into a neighboring foreign country, lying about it, getting caught lying about it and nothing happening as well as the bureaucracy of the IRS actively stifling political speech that would likely be contrary to the political views held by the current executive (President Obama) again with no apparent penalty.  Those, of course, aren’t the only three incidents where it would appear our own government executive branch regards itself as separated from the populace and at least appears as though it has a divine right to rule.  That kind of thing has always been the case but it’s only recently that that same executive, at least via it’s actions, seems to regard the rule of law as not applying to it and, what’s worse (if that’s possible), that the populace it governs is contemptible and possibly adversarial.

Look carefully at this image. That building that looks like a fancy grain silo? That’s the Bastille: the very epitome of a repressive regime. Those people on the bottom? That’s the repressed. Those things they’re holding? Weapons including guns. Situations like the one depicted in this image are the very reason we have a right to keep and bear arms…a right that our own executive branch stands opposed to today.

Obama’s own healthcare law was, by law, to go into effect August 1 (about 3 weeks ago)…and Obama simply said “no, I’m delaying that part”.  It’s the law.  How does the president believe that he has the authority to suspend the law whenever it suits his personal or political whim?

People who remember history or have even watched a passably accurate movie about historical events would remember governments who had agencies called things like “the Cheka”, the NKVD and finally the KGB.  They’d remember such government organs like the private Sturmabteilung (SA) which eventually was superceded by the governmental Schutzstaffel (SS) and went hand in hand with that other famous contemporary governmental agency, the Gestapo.  What all such governments had in common was that they were swept into power by a popular revolution of sorts.  In Russia, it was a revolution against the Tsars, followed by a civil war where the Bolsheviks (who were promising their version of Hope and Change) won with the support of the people.  In Germany, it was the National Socialists who were elected as the largest minority group via the very people they’d turn around and cull from their ranks, the homosexuals, the Jews and every other undesirable via death factories like Dachau (a death camp actually on German soil and operating before the war even started).

In both such recent cases and the case of the American and French revolutions further back in history, the government serving the people was either repressive or criminally inept and corrupt…and so a radical change was made by the people.  The point I’m making here is: all governments come to that point.  No government or system of government is eternal.  China, Greece, Rome, the Pharaohs, various emperors, kings and queens…they’ve all ruled and they’ve all eventually fallen.  Were there governments that didn’t fall?  Of course, but they were the ones who weren’t victimizing their own people to the extent that the people revolted.

The ones that did victimize their people had government agencies to excessively seize wealth and property from their people (agencies like the IRS) and agencies to keep an eye on those people because the government realized that with enough confiscation of the peoples’ money and property, they might get mad and turn their anger against that same government (agencies like the NSA).  Is the United States there yet?  No, and not by a long shot.  However, what the government spends isn’t matched by the wealth the IRS seizes from us individuals.  These days they borrow the money…except the point is fast approaching where they won’t be able to do that anymore and they’ll be forced to either cut back drastically on what they spend (which will cause a revolt amongst those who are dependent on the government handout) or they’ll have to take more from the people than they do (which could also cause a revolt).  In either case, you have the executive branch of this government using both instruments (the IRS and the NSA) to act against the people in a manner that exceeds their prior activities…and for that everyone should ask the simple question: why?

If you have confidence in yourself and not as much trust in the government you may answer that question in a way that matches your values.  If you have more confidence and trust in the government you may get an answer to that same question that also comports with your values but will be almost entirely opposite the answer the first group arrived at.  Regardless, the conditions that Americans face today (a repressive IRS and a domestic intelligence gathering effort by the NSA) are both new things…and if you’re not asking “why the change” then maybe you should start.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

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Sesquicentennial-burg

Posted by Euroranger on July 2, 2013


Monument to the fallen at Gettysburg National Battlefield

I’ve mentioned before that I hold a bachelor’s degree in American history and am fairly well versed with the American narrative but few other time periods of my country’s past are as fascinating to me as the two decades that started in 1850.  One thing that particularly saddens and concerns me is how disconnected from our history most Americans are.  As some or perhaps most of you know, tomorrow is the sesquicentennial of the final day of the Battle of Gettysburg.  It’s usually one of the few events that public social studies education even mentions in particular about the Civil War.  It’s been turned into countless books, movies and documentaries.  Because of this it’s not entirely uncommon to encounter people who know about the military aspects of the battle and, presumably, what it meant.  However, more than the immediate advance and retreat of armies and drawing lines on maps, tomorrow is the sesquicentennial of when America changed from what we were founded to be to what we are today and it’s an auspicious event like this that reveals how much we do and do not know about our own national experience and foundation.  So, is this a post about what happened across a few miles of Pennsylvania farmland one hundred fifty years ago?  Kind of, but only inasmuch as it invites a closer examination for the “why” there was even a Civil War in the first place.  The widely held, public school curriculum explanation was that the war was all about slavery…and on a skin deep, superficial level, that’s true.  It’s as true though, as saying the AIDS epidemic is about a virus while ignoring all the societal and behavioral affects the disease touches or relies upon for it to be the globe spanning phenomenon it is.  So, if you hold the opinion that the Civil War was about slavery, allow me to enhance your understanding a little and, in the process, you might become a more astute citizen of our country and your ancestors.

Slaves. Bad right?

More than slavery, the Civil War was about two economic systems competing with one another for political dominance inside a single nation.  Nearly everyone knows that the South was an agrarian society that used a system of legal slavery as part of the workforce that drove that economy.  In more simple terms, the South was overwhelmingly comprised of farmers, some of whom (less than 15% by 1860) owned slaves to perform the work of farming.  Because of the amount of arable land and climate, mass agriculture in the South was much more feasible than could be done in the North.  The North also had farmers, of course, but the land and climate there didn’t lend itself well to large scale agriculture such as was the case in the South.  So, if that’s what formed the basis of the Southern economy (agriculture based on an indentured workforce), and my premise being that two economic systems were competing, what was the Northern economy doing?  Well, in short, the North was hosting the arrival of the Industrial Revolution which is the process by which an agrarian society transforms into an industrial one.  Initially industrialization in the United States used horse-powered machinery to power the earliest factories, but eventually switched to water power, with the consequence that industrialization was essentially limited to New England and the rest of the Northeastern United States, where fast-moving rivers were located.  Industrialization is all about two things though: using machinery and technology to increase productivity and, to be entirely blunt, Capitalism and the pursuit of profits.  Industrialization in the United States started in earnest around 1810 or so (an important date to remember).  So, at this point, we have slaves in the South and workers in the North, right?  Well, yes, but it’s somewhat more complicated than that.  Most people today think of workers in our contemporary sense and apply that notion to what a worker was in the North at the time.  This is simply false.

Not slaves…but better?

Today we have things like minimum wage, health insurance, workers compensation insurance, workplace safety laws, unions, OSHA, the EPA, child labor laws, unemployment insurance and so on.  Not so back then.  In fact, while people are exceptionally ready to refer to the Southern economy as “slavery” comparatively fewer know the term that was used, in both South AND North, to describe the Northern economy: “wage slavery” and “wage slaves”.  Coincident with industrialization in the North, the United States was also experiencing a veritable deluge of mass immigration from Europe that was capped by three potato famines in Europe which drove people to the United States (particularly Scots and Irish) to flee starvation.  Most of those ships carrying immigrants landed in places like Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia and the people who got off those boats often brought nearly zero wealth with them…meaning they had no means to move very far from where they got off the boat.  Luckily for them (or maybe not) there were thousands of newly minted factories that always needed a supply of fresh workers.  However, workers in the North often worked 14-16 hours per day with only half a day off on Sunday, in appalling and unsafe conditions, for very little wages.  Injuries on the job were common and because workers hadn’t yet organized into unions, wages were the minimum of whatever the factory owner could pay.  If you got hurt on the job you were immediately replaced by another of the seemingly endless streams of freshly arrived immigrants and you were unemployed.  Because mass transit didn’t exist, you likely lived in a tenement house or “slum”.  Entire families were jammed into single rooms and if Dad or Mom was hurt on the job and couldn’t work, oftentimes it was the kids that went to work in their stead (and the factory owner would naturally pay less because they were children).  In short, the Northern economy was in many ways just as bad and sometimes worse than the Southern slave economy.  Of course, there is the perception that the Southern slave owner beat and lashed his slaves, raped the women and broke up families.  That did happen but not even remotely as often as was being portrayed by Abolitionists (people who wanted slavery outlawed) and a simple examination of what a slave meant to a slave owner makes it easy to understand why.

Much better.

The reason slaves were owned by so few people in the South was for one salient fact: slaves were expensive.  A healthy young slave could cost, by 1860, as much as $1000 dollars which at the time was about what it would cost to purchase 500 acres of land.  The importation of slaves was banned in 1808 so the only way to perpetuate more slave workers was to breed them.  This meant that keeping families together would eventually result in more children who would grow into productive labor and produce kids of their own and so on.  In short, slave owners looked at their slaves as an investment…much the same way a farmer of today might regard his combine or harvester machinery.  He paid a lot to acquire them and, if he was anything other than an idiot, he didn’t abuse them or diminish their value to him.  For much the same reason, the typical slave owner fed his slaves, clothed them, housed them and provided access to medical care for them when they were sick or injured.  Starving, naked, exposed and diseased slaves did less work and generated less profit so most slave owners took special care of their investment.  By contrast, the Northern factory owner cared only about profit.  He didn’t feed, clothe or provide shelter for his workforce because he didn’t have to.  If anything happened to a worker, he could always toss that damaged worker and get a new one from the vast pool of immigrants.  What was worse: even if you were healthy and working productively, nothing guaranteed that the factory owner wouldn’t replace you with someone who’d do your job for a penny per day less.  You were always in danger of being paid less and less for the same work you’d always done.  This is, in summary, the reality of the two sides of the Abolitionist debate: agrarian slavery or wage slavery…which brings us to a final political reality that caused the Civil War.

Our political system back then was much less cynical and money-driven than it is today.  The president, the House and Senate were all elected the same way then as now except the notion of “states” and “federal government” was radically different than today.  Back then, the federal government was small and had little effect on the day to day lives of Americans.  There was no income tax, the armed forces were small and we weren’t a Superpower…we were just an upstart nation of less than 80 years existence.  The nation truly was a collection of states UNITED for a common association.  One way of understanding it was that before the war, the term “the United States” was a plural and after the war it was a term that signified a singular.  States rights were very much the order of the day and only by amending the Constitution could that be changed.  Slavery was an institution that was up to each state to determine the legality of not the federal government…unless a Constitutional amendment was passed banning slavery.  This is a concept that some people today believe was a driving force behind seccession…but it’s just not true.  The balance in the United States had been nearly even between states that allowed slavery and those where it was banned.  This is important because, in order to amend the Constitution a two thirds majority in both the House and Senate must approve the amendment before it goes to the states where 3/4 of the states must vote in favor.  On the face of it, this seems unlikely and, to people at the time, it wasn’t really the concern.  By 1858, there were 17 free states and 15 slave.  Even had an amendment passed Congress it would never have garnered the support of 3/4 of the states.  So, what was the issue?  In short, it was fueled by the population surge in the North via immigration.  Each state gets 2 Senators and there is only one president who is elected via the electoral congress meaning that the winner has to “win” states…so on these two counts, the slave states would probably hold their own.  However, the House of Representatives is determined by the number of people that live in a particular area.  Immigration to the North from Europe meant that the census of 1860 would likely shift the number of Representative in the House decidedly to the North.  Back then, bills were introduced almost exclusively in the House which meant, to the South, that any future legislation or compromises that might be proposed to maintain the balance of power between slave and free states would be increasingly likely to be rejected.  In short, mass immigration in the North fueled by industrialization was tilting that balance irreversibly in favor of Abolition.  To most though, this might seem like a reasonable progression.  Since there was a vocal social element that wouldn’t allow slavery to exist un-decried and since the Bible itself (a consideration of monumentally greater affect then) spoke against slavery, it was unlikely that the two economic systems could continue to exist side by side within the same nation.  To many, the South needed only to give up their slaves and embrace capitalism and all would be good.  Except that, for the conditions in the South, capitalism was nearly impossible.

Freeing an entire population of around 3 million people who would then be forced to adopt a lifestyle none of them ever experienced was, even then, recognized as an unmitigated disaster waiting to happen.  People who had never had to search for and retain a job, deal with money, provide for a family, and in many cases even lacked fundamental educational skills such as reading and simple math could never acclimate in the immediacy of the moment that an enactment of Abolition would demand.  To make matters worse, even the Northern states who advocated Abolition in the South cynically put laws in place to bar internal immigration by freed blacks to their territories.  Entire blocks of counties in some Northern states had settlement bans for freed blacks.  Indeed, the average wage slave in the North had no interest in adding to the downward pressure on wages by European immigrants by adding 3 million newly freed African slaves to the mix (who would surely work for less than any white man).  Add to that that banking in the South was sparse and not nearly as accessible as it was in the North.  This meant that even if a potential factory owner in the South wanted to build a new plant and employ people for wages, he lacked ready access to capital to get it done.  Capitalism in the South simply wasn’t possible…and yet, to the South, it seemed the political realities of 1860 were about to force them into an expectedly disastrous transition to capitalism and that the states forcing them to do so wouldn’t even share the burden of the ensuing disruption.  Something that was supposed to be a right of each individual state to decide was ever more appearing to be dictated at the whim of other states who wouldn’t feel the effects of such decisions…which was a radical departure from the system most people regarded the United States at the time as representing.

So yeah, even 150 years ago, we still couldn’t settle political differences without being total dicks to one another.

Secession was literally the only real answer…and in December 1860, South Carolina did just that and left the United States.  The rest of the story is rather well known: other states joined the departure, a new nation was founded, the incoming president decided that the division of the country couldn’t be allowed and so he forced a military incident to spark a war.  For more than 2 years, the Confederacy stayed on the defensive, fighting battles mostly on their own territory against an invading foreign power…until the point came that they realized they needed to punch back while they still had the means to do so and force a final conclusive end on the battlefield in their favor.  And thus, Gettysburg.  General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia had, for more than 2 years, bloodied and stymied the much larger, better equipped but ineptly led Army of the Potomac…with no military resolution in sight.  A swift, hard strike North, capturing a state capitol (Harrisburg), winning a decisive battle and perhaps even capturing the enemy’s national capitol might bring the terrible conflict to an end in favor of the Confederacy.  Lots of history exists detailing just how close the South came to winning at Gettysburg.  Much less known is the waning level of Northern public support for a war they saw few victories in and for a cause many didn’t support (freeing the slaves) and how, perhaps, one more decisive Confederate victory might break the back of the Northern desire to continue the war.  That is what Gettysburg represents: the beginning of the triumph of the North’s system of capitalism over the more populist, agrarian, slavery-based system in the South.

And oh yeah, this is also the 150th anniversary of the fall of Vicksburg which was probably even more important to the ultimate victory of the Union over the Confederacy than Gettysburg was.  Most seem to forget all about Vicksburg because it involved the Union laying siege to not just an army but a city full of civilians and starving them into submission.  Making war on women and children is rarely celebrated though so you can be excused for not being aware of that.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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When winning is actually losing

Posted by Euroranger on June 6, 2013


Hell, he even has three more years…assuming we survive that long, that is.

This will be a very brief post because I figured that many of you may find yourselves in the same boat I found myself in earlier today.

I was reading the latest “scandal du jour” spawned from the magnificent leadership that is our President Barry when it struck me that I’d actually lost count of how many scandals this historical embarrassment of an administration has piled up.  To be entirely fair, lately they’ve been falling out of this administration’s diseased uterus at a rate that practically nobody could keep up with so much so that you almost want to keep a scorecard (or need a program) to make sure the newer ones don’t eclipse the importance of the older ones…lest we forget.

So, anyway, without further ado, let me throw down a list of the scandals that call this administration “home”:

  • The Blagojovokujojevich (or however you spell that walking hairpiece’s name) selling Barry’s Senate seat scandal
  • The Joe Sestak bribery/influence peddling scandal
  • The ignoring the Black Panthers voter intimidation scandal
  • The Solyndra scandal (and all those like it)
  • The Pigford scandal (the Agriculture Department money giveaway to minority farmers)
  • The Fast and Furious, ATF gun-running into Mexico scandal
  • AG Holder perjuring himself about the Fast and Furious scandal
  • The dozens of Obama recess appointments scandal(s)
  • The GSA, VA, HHS and IRS spending money like it was water scandals
  • The Benghazi, abandoning Americans to die so we don’t offend Muslims, scandal (as well as the subsequent lying about it)
  • The IRS suppressing political organizations with agendas contrary to those of the President scandal
  • The Justice Department seizing telephone records of the AP scandal
  • The Justice Department seizing work and personal telephone records for a Fox reporter because he helped publicize a story embarrassing to the administration scandal
  • AG Holder blatantly perjuring himself when he said he knew nothing about the Fox reporter investigation scandal
  • The EPA, Freedom of Information Act preferential-to-liberal-groups record requests scandal
  • …and finally, today’s scandal: the NSA conducting a massive internal surveillance program that would make the KGB nod proudly

This guy has only been in office just over 5 years now and the above list is hardly exhaustive.  I could have included Kathleen Sibelius being found to extort money from companies HHS would administer or her having violated the Hatch Act when she was blatantly campaigned for a Democrat candidate in North Carolina or even Barry’s own habit of executive rule changes, instructing federal agencies not to enforce laws passed by Congress and just, in general, acting like the laws of this country don’t apply to him (or to anyone in his administration, for that matter).  Add to that the coming Obamacare debacle as well as his absolutely disastrous debt spending campaign that have us in the hole to the tune of around $17T by now.

I guess what I’m saying is, for all my study of American history, you’d have to go pretty damned far back in our past to find an administration and president as absolutely corrupt and dismissive of the rule of law as this guy.  The real irony is that in 2008, the mass of young people who poured out of college campuses nationwide to support candidate Obama and vault him into the presidency were doing so because of what they perceived as Bush’s corruption.  Outside of playing it safe and relying on questionable intelligence that was a product of the Clinton years, what scandals can we collectively recall from the Bush years?  Sure as hell not this many.  That all said, while this president’s administration is ever more quickly revealing itself to be the most anti-American, anti-taxpayer and thoroughly corrupt administration in generations, there is one American who casts his gaze on all this shit…and smiles:

If you ever thought you’d live long enough to experience a president who made Jimmy Carter look good…you’re either the world’s best fortune teller or the world’s worst pessimist.

So anyway, there’s your Obama Scandal Scorecard…for those of you playing along at home and trying like hell to keep up.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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Time for “Connect-the-dots”

Posted by Euroranger on May 14, 2013


Billy C. lying his ass off

Smell my finger. Smells like intern with a hint of “fuck your petty laws…I’m the fucking President”.

I’m going to try and keep this one short and to the point.  Yes, I know, I’ve said such before and that normally precedes a rambling soliloquy that probably ought to come with chapters and probably more pictures (for those of you with Attention Deficit Disorder).  I say “short and to the point” on this one because circumstances have, just this week, conspired to pull aside the nearly omnipresent curtain of time diminishment when it comes to apparently disparate issues that are, in fact, joined but that most think are not.  I guess what I’m really saying is that, for some issues, most people simply don’t get why some of us get all worked up about things because they don’t see how or why the issue, by itself, is such a big deal.  And the reason almost always is: because the issue ISN’T “by itself” at all.  For example, remember when Slick Willy got his willy slicked by Ho-monica in the Oral Office and the huge national debate about the impeachment that followed?  There are still, today, many people (the majority, in fact) that believe the entire impeachment process was about President Clinton getting a blowjob from a White House intern…when, in fact, the issue was that he lied to a grand jury when directly asked that question earlier.  That is: the president of the United States, the guy who stands at the pinnacle of American society, committed blatant perjury in front of a federal grand jury.  None of our jobs require us taking an oath when we accept the job offer.  The president’s does and the part of that oath he takes that says “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” actually means something.  If we accept that it’s A-Ok for the president to lie his ass off to a federal grand jury then we pretty much say he’s not subject to ANY laws of the land.  That’s not the way America works and in Clinton’s case it wasn’t about the oral sex but that he LIED ABOUT IT and we as a people cannot let even a single instance of presidential law breaking slide.  This week’s example of issues being connected has kind of the same circuitous, but entirely valid and appropriate, logic involved.

By now, we should all know and accept that President Obama’s most recent attempt to neuter our 2nd Amendment rights has and will continue to fail.  Oh, the debate is still going on and those who want to see all of us disarmed in the absolutely laughably utopian result of no gun violence are still out there trying to shame people into supporting their position by saying that by not supporting them we instead support the mass murder of little children.  To Obama and his ilk in this debate, it’s about people “clinging” to their guns for no reason other that some misplaced aggression, some paranoia about crime busting through your door or even as a replacement for a small penis (I have no idea which body part they pick on if you’re a female 2nd Amendment defender though).  In fact, let’s quote Barry directly.  This is what Barry had to say in April 2008 at a fundraising event in San Francisco:

We’ve got a couple of folks who are heading out to Pennsylvania to go door to door with us. And the question was: What kinds of questions should I expect them to get?…The places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people feel most cynical about government…You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, Ohio—like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years, and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration and the Bush administration. And each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are going to regenerate. And they have not. So it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, and they cling to guns or religion, or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or, you know, anti-trade sentiment [as] a way to explain their frustrations.

It’s only “clinging to your guns and religion” when you’re a Christian American. If you’re Muslim, hey, that’s your “culture” and we should be sensitive to that.

So, just so we’re clear here: the reason some of us want to retain our right to keep and bear arms, to Barack Obama apparently, is because times are bad, jobs have fled and the promised “progress” hasn’t reached these folks so they’re frustrated, racist, Christian, country folk.  THAT’S who wants to keep and bear arms and why…to those on the left.  To them, we don’t wish to keep and bear our arms through any actual thought out, rationally explained reason: we’re just jobless, poor, pissed off, Bible-thumping bumpkins.  Unfortunately though, for the anti-gun crowd, this week’s news pretty much illustrates what most of the rest of us actually believe and that is the 2nd Amendment exists as an ultimate means to address the encroachment of our rights by government when that encroachment goes too far.  In other words, when the government becomes despotic the 2nd Amendment means the people have the option (through force of arms) to overthrow that government.  Now, absent any evidence of the government being despotic, that kind of confirms Obama’s description of such people as “cynical about government”.  But like I said, this week put that whole “oh, you’re just being dramatic…the government isn’t like that” kind of leftist dismissal to the lie that it is.

First off, we had the evolving story of the IRS targeting groups whose political beliefs oppose those of the current administration for harassment via increased scrutiny of their applications for tax exempt status and higher than normal levels of audits and such.  Ever evolving in that initially it was explained as overzealous low level workers in isolated district offices but that turned out to be total bullshit with the revelation that the top guy at the IRS was aware of the activities and had been for more than a couple of years.  In short, the government tried to squelch dissenting political views in what we thought was our free society.  But that entire and ever growing debacle was joined today by the news that this same government demanded and got records listing telephone calls for the work and personal phone numbers of AP (Associated Press) reporters and various AP offices.  This was ostensibly done for a government investigation of a leak that lead to a report by the AP last year of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an Al Qaeda plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.

So, in literally successive days, we have our government actively suppressing free political speech of specific groups it doesn’t like through intimidation via our tax collecting apparatus AND violating the law, free speech, freedom of the press and individual privacy rights by seizing phone records for individuals that might have been associated with publicizing a story the government didn’t want told.  In both these cases, direct violations of the law were made by members of our government acting on instructions from someone higher up in our government…and all to suppress constitutional rights that the government found inconvenient.  In summary, we have government acting against entirely legal organizations solely due to the activities of those organizations being contrary to the pleasure of the existing administration.  This isn’t the first time this has happened.  Back in the 1970’s this identical situation was called Watergate and it lead to the one and only resignation of a sitting president (Richard Nixon).  Back then, the left was up in arms over the government disregarding the law and rights of organizations (like the DNC).  Time to find out if the left was outraged over the actual abuses…or by who committed them.

So, yes gun grabbers, some of us DO see a direct correlation between our 2nd Amendment rights and the fear (now somewhat more justified than before) that our government may one day decide that our rights are superfluous and disposable.  It can’t happen, you said last week?  How about now?  How many examples of our government acting like our individual rights are merely guiding principles and not the very foundation of our country does it take before you agree “we the people” need a means to address that?  Exactly when do these government excesses become enough to acknowledge that our Founding Fathers weren’t misguided idiots when they presumed our (the peoples’) need to protect ourselves one day from our own government?  Guess what, that was a rhetorical question because I don’t care what YOUR opinion is of where that imaginary line is in your head.  I just place my faith in the guys who did the hard and revolutionary work that built our country and not the dismissive assholes that dysfunctionally mismanage it today.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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Ask Your Doctor If Sequesterol® Is Right For You

Posted by Euroranger on March 15, 2013


Godzilla...minus KY.

“Graahhrr!!!”
[“Bite the pillow. I’m going to love you now…vigorously”.]

So, here we are in Sequester-land.  It’s not so bad, right?  I mean, all the advance hype about it from some quarters would have led one to believe it would rate on the enjoyment scale somewhere between being boiled alive and being date raped by Godzilla.  The government hasn’t collapsed.  The world continues to turn.  Western civilization hasn’t collapsed in on itself despite the promised Armageddon that would result when the Air Force wouldn’t be able to purchase $10,000 toilet seats for their aircraft.  Barry did close the White House to tours but almost immediately backpedaled on that idiocy when he realized that closing the People’s House to tours claiming budget strictures (and blaming the Secret Service in the process) was laughable when we were also still spending money on his weekend golf outings (think “commandeered Air Force aircraft”).  In fact, spitting in school groups’ faces (the ones who’d planned months in advance and spent a fair amount of money to travel to Washington D.C.) is just one facet of the president’s plan to make the mandatory budget cuts hurt.  Memos have since surfaced at the Interior Department, the Department of Agriculture and at Homeland Security instructing managers to cut back on services visible to the public, presumably to underscore their point that the government can’t possibly function without a daily exponentially increasing amount of tax money.  It seems kind of obvious, after the first week anyway, that the public won’t tolerate this kind of underhanded political gaming and so the forecasted doom and gloom hasn’t appeared and, even when it does, it likely won’t be nearly as apocalyptic as we were all told it would be.  In the meantime, enjoy crapping on the Air Force Gulfstream on the way to your tee off time Barry.  You’d damn well better use that gold plated pooper perch we paid for.

Anyway, something caught my eye today as I was perusing the news.  Barry wants to fund ways to encourage the United States to wean ourselves entirely off foreign petroleum.  Calling it the Energy Security Trust fund, Barry wants to encourage private industry to develop new ways to lower the cost of vehicles that run on electricity, biofuels, natural gas or other non-oil fuel sources.  He proposes drawing $2 billion over 10 years from royalties the government receives from offshore drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.  Now, those who have read previous post on this blog may recall that I supported not just Barry’s decisive statement about wanting to move America away from a petroleum based energy infrastructure but also Bush’s bold statement during his State of the Union address which is going on…what…12, 13 years ago now?…to move the United States toward a hydrogen based economy.  Both statements turned out to be total politician lies so why does this pronouncement from Barry rate even a comment?  Well, something has changed and that something is that the United States is now nearly off foreign oil or are in a position to be if we decided to do so.  Recent technological leaps and the price of a barrel of crude have made extracting the oil under our own feet a viable activity.  Because of that, the Dakotas these days are booming oil fields and we’re sitting on so much untapped natural gas in this country that some experts suggest that even applying the curve of our ever increasing hunger for energy, we have about 200 years worth of natural gas under our back yards here.  So, Obama’s desire to set up a fund to encourage alternate energy technology sounds great right?  I mean, it’s even revenue neutral (or at least paid for) because it’d come out of the fees the government collects from offshore drilling permits.  Who could be against such a great idea?

All those who remember the Solyndra debacle, for starters.

Cost of White House public tours for one year: $936K
2010 White House state dinner for Mexican president: $970K
You kids wanna see the White House? Go get elected President of Mexico.

Look, as I’ve said before, I’m an American before I’ll accept any other label people like to use to describe their stances on things.  I personally think Obama has been a substandard president and shows the damage that can be done in electing a novice ideologue solely on the basis of race (and yeah, that’s why he’s there folks…unless you think Hope and Change would have worked for a similar white Democrat which we all know it would not have).  But he’s what we have to work with/endure so that’s that.  One of the reasons I dislike him though is that either his naivete about giving public tax dollars to private firms with no strings attached or his bald corruption of giving public tax dollars to private firms with no strings attached who contributed to his campaign as a kickback reward (pick whichever one works for you) is much less effective than simply crafting a tax incentive for such industries.  Why give these firms money we can ill afford to simply give away these days in the midst of Sequesterpalooza when writing a tax refund for successful such firms would be much more likely to, you know, actually produce the results you say you’re after?  The reason why is because Barry is simultaneously locked in an ideological battle with his Republican opponents over how best to form the nation’s financial house such that we don’t end up being Greece or Spain’s bigger idiot bailout brother several years down the road.  Front and center in Barry’s plan to do so is to…raise taxes on corporations.  It’d be kind of hard (even for Barry) to say “raise taxes on corporations” while at the same time saying “give tax breaks to some of them”.  He’s also railed about tax moneys that go to “big petroleum” but it’s those very firms that’d probably be best positioned and knowledgeable about how to create and deploy ways to lower the cost of vehicles that run on alternative energy.

To sum it up: great idea Barry (even if not even a single atom of it is from an original thought) but lousy way to implement it.  Reduce government spending (like maybe demand to know what’s so compelling about lesbians and gay men being fat that the NIH feels compelled to hand out $1.5M in a study to find out), create incentives for private business such that they grow, employ people (maybe even some fat gay ones) and create increased tax revenues…and stand the fuck aside and let America do what it does best: innovate.  Know why we’re nearly energy independent today?  It’s because it now makes good business sense to come up with the new drilling and extraction technologies.  The government had little direct role in encouraging or funding that.  That was nearly all private enterprise doing what it does: serving a need and responding to economic conditions.  Give those companies a tax break for doing the work we want them to do and, by God, they’ll do it.  It’s not like 240 years of history of free enterprise in this country could be mistaken.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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I know how to fix gun violence

Posted by Euroranger on January 16, 2013


Not too many days ago, I went through this blog’s posts over the past couple of years and made an interesting discovery: for the most part, I’m getting too damned serious about shit.  I used to be a less caring (read: “younger”) kinda guy and my attitude was that I’d probably be best served confining my attentions to bettering me and mine and our situation.  Lately, it seems that my previous attitude is running head on into a newer “we better start thinking about saving the country” attitude more often than it did before.  I’m guessing that’s probably because the situation for the country and our future seems a lot less rosy than it did just a few years ago and while I’ll get old eventually and revert to wearing Pampers, my grandkids (should my children ever exercise enough indiscretion to flirt with such disaster) will probably be wearing them too…and they’ll have a lot longer to deal with the mess we’re making right now than I likely will.  Case in point is the recent debate over the role of guns in our nation in the wake of the whack-a-doo who shot up Sandy Hook Elementary School a month back.  The overall knee-jerk reaction has been an increase in support for banning guns, banning certain types of guns, banning some kinds of accessories for guns and other assorted bans and things that look and sound like bans.  New York state snuck a ban past their Senate in the dead of night day before yesterday that, among other things, limits gun magazines to a maximum of 7 shots, and in another provision, a therapist who believes a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally would be required to report it to a mental health director who would have to notify the state.  President Obama, just earlier today said he wants Congress to pass universal background checks and bans on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines and used his executive powers to order federal agencies to make more data available for background checks, appointed a director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and directed the Centers for Disease Control to research gun violence.   Great ideas, right?  I mean, surely these kinds of measures will fix our violence crisis once and for all, right?  Well, to be brutally honest:

They won’t do a damned thing about violence in general and gun violence in particular

And here’s why:

Every single gun comes with one of these. Application of a finger (not shown and not included with gun) is necessary to operate.

1./  The effort that pretty much everyone is talking about is directed at a class of inanimate objects.  In every fatal shooting, mass or otherwise, there are but 3 components involved: the shooter, the victim(s) and the gun(s).  I don’t think anyone is seriously discussing any measures regarding potential victims (well, actually, that’s not at all true but it’s not on the mass media agenda so it gets ignored).  So that leaves the government and pundits to consider the two remaining aspects.  Addressing one has the option of possibly being effective but more difficult to do (and philosophically problematic) while addressing the other, while easier to do, won’t likely be even marginally effective.  Given that it’s our government acting, you probably don’t need a hint to guess that the government is going to focus on the easy but ultimately useless option: the guns.

Well, why won’t banning “assault rifles”, larger magazines and such work?  Because criminals, by their very nature, don’t obey rules, restrictions or laws.  Let’s face it: if your grand plan is to go out in a blaze of glory and waste as many innocent lives around you as possible, you’re pretty much already contemplating breaking much more serious laws…like murder.  Seriously.  Murder is illegal, has been for some time and the penalties for doing it can be quite severe.  If you don’t believe me, look it up for yourself.  Anyway, if you’re planning to murder a whole bunch of people and the illegality and the prospect for the sanctions against murder don’t deter you, what makes anyone think a misdemeanor or minor felony infraction for using a banned weapon or banned magazine is going to effect your decision?  The truth is, and even proponents of these measures mostly admit such, they won’t.  People bent on murder and mayhem won’t give a flying rat turd for some minor weapons law.  What’s more, the same crowd that tends to think that prohibiting guns will cut down on gun violence also tend to have a large Venn diagram convergence zone with those who will tell you that the war on drugs is useless and should be abolished.  Think about that moment: banning drugs is stupid, useless, expensive, ineffective, hasn’t worked and violates the right to do what you wish with your own body…but banning guns will fix everything.

Right.

So, if banning guns, gun accessories and such isn’t the answer, what is?  For a novel approach, how about we address the actual issue, and that is:

Shown here: the proper way to disarm the criminally insane and prevent mass shootings.

2./  Consider addressing the supremacy of personal freedom over community security when it comes to the mentally ill.  Not once, in my recollection, has a gun gotten up, walked over and shot the everloving shit out of some person…all by itself.  In all the uncertainty there is in today’s world there is one thing you can pretty much take to the bank: gun violence always requires a person to be doing the violent part.  What gun laws truly hope to accomplish is to separate certain people from guns.  It’s just that their approach means that ALL OF US get deprived of our rights and separated from guns when it’s only a small fraction of us who actually need to be separated from them.  That small fraction are the people who are mentally unstable.  Now, I mentioned personal freedom versus community security for a reason and it’s this: have you ever seen the movie One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?  In short, it was a movie made in 1975 about a book published in 1962 about the antics of an inmate in a psychiatric ward who wasn’t really mentally unstable.  The movie and book are very sympathetic to the cause of mental patients and helped form a public impetus (we’ll discuss Hollywood’s role in all this in a moment) that resulted in the ACLU filing many suits against states and mental health facilities arguing against involuntary institutionalization (read: “getting sent to the funny farm”) and even greatly weakened measures like AOT (“assisted outpatient treatment”) laws which feature preventative institutionalization and forced medication BEFORE they harm someone or themselves.  Today, it’s nearly impossible to commit someone to a mental institution because they have rights.  This is not altogether bad.  There is indeed a compelling argument that people ought not to be deprived of their liberty if they suffer from a mental condition.  That said, if you’re okay with placing the individual’s rights over the rights of the community for a safer society for all…incidents like Sandy Hook and Columbine are prices that society will pay for such largesse.  However, if you are going to respond to such massacres by discussing a curtailment of a person’s rights, should it not be the rights of the people who are doing wrong that should be discussed?

3./  Our society is a gun oriented and violent one and we should consider reeling that back some.  Listen, I play video games.  I’m a gamer.  And I like playing video games that feature combat, things exploding and, in general, mayhem and unimaginable violence.  I like action movies that feature guns and violence.  That said, I like those things in moderation and don’t mold my life and my actions to comport with a world view that the way characters act in video games and movies is something to be emulated in real life.  However, everywhere you turn these days, especially for children, you see violence.  Now, cartoon violence (like a coyote getting outsmarted by a speedy bird and suffering an anvil to the noggin for his failure) has always been around since the earliest days of both film and television and children that grew up in those circumstances didn’t turn into a bunch of crazed mass murdering psychopaths.  But that was also back in the day when kids got spanked in school, had expectations placed upon them, weren’t coddled and told they’re all winners no matter what they do and so on.  In short, back then, kids were still parented and learned that actions have consequences.  Not so much these days.  Since we as a society have decided to not actually directly raise our kids but sort of let them free range grow up any old which way, it may be that we need to revisit obscenity laws and perhaps some small return to censorship.  This, naturally, would be violently opposed by Hollywood who, in perhaps the biggest recent display of colossal irony this week, came out with a list of celebrities who think that guns should be banned/restricted when the movies and TV shows they themselves make a lavish and privileged living from glorify and exploit the violence that guns can wreak.  You see, taking responsibility for their own actions would be absurd and it’s the rest of us who should have our freedoms curtailed whilst they champion their freedoms of speech and expression.

Looking good here Hollywood! A-OK! In fact, let’s make a movie, TV series and a toy merchandise line to sell to kids! Thank God there’s no guns though, right?

And of course that’s fucking ridiculous and, of course, because Hollywood overwhelming supports liberal and Democrat politics, the president neatly skipped over any measures that might have even hinted that Hollywood scale back their 24/7 diet of violence and guns in the entertainment they churn out for society’s consumption.  So, in short, to truly curb gun violence we need to look at who it is that’s presenting the problem, address that problem and get serious about doing so while the other side blithely demands to know why we should even have a second amendment (the right to keep and bear arms).

If, after what I’ve said above, you’re still one of those people let me ask: were you one of the people who shrieked and moaned about how the Patriot Act trampled your rights? Maybe not but many did. Were you one of the ones who didn’t care for the government ordering banks to report deposits over a certain amount supposedly as a measure to curtail drug activity? Again, maybe not. Maybe you’re one of the ones who don’t care for government defined “free speech zones” for people who wish to protest. Maybe, maybe not. Regardless of how you answer on any of those, do you see the government ever relinquishing any of those restrictions on your rights? Ever seen a government spend LESS in a year than in a previous year? Even when we had the surplus not too many years ago, did you see the government go “whoops, took too much money…we’ll give that back”?

I’m going to go ahead and guess you wouldn’t like the government telling you what you can and cannot say or write. I’ll guess you probably wouldn’t like it if the police decided to pull you over and subject you and yours to a cavity search on the side of the road. Maybe if the police claimed they found you were smuggling 10 pounds of heroin in your rectum that you’d like to actually have a trial before being sentenced to life in prison? Or maybe, rather than prison, they decide to simply sell you into a life of slavery. You’d be okay with that? Maybe if you’re a woman you’d like to have a vote?

See, I’ll go ahead and guess that just because the constitution says you have a right to free speech, to not be subjected to unreasonable search and seizure, to a trial by judge and jury, to not be made a slave and allowing women to vote that you will follow that reasoning blindly and fully demand your constitutional rights.  However, would you be cool giving up THOSE rights that mean little to you personally? I mean, if you’re not saying anything then losing the right to free speech wouldn’t mean anything to you personally right? If you’re not a criminal then you really have nothing to fear from warrantless searches of you and your property, right? You’re not a criminal so the right to a trial won’t affect you…so surely you must be okay with jettisoning the 5th through 8th amendments, right? And hey, since you might not be black or a woman losing the 13th, 15th and 19th amendments won’t even affect you.

But here’s the rub: suppose, one day, our dysfunctional government decides that those rights ARE frivolous and superfluous and you don’t need them. Guess which amendment represents the ultimate means to address the loss of the others. The 2nd Amendment was written at a time that Americans were actively revolting against a government that was taxing them without representation, that would seize personal property to house foreign soldiers (3rd Amendment), that forced a government on them for which the people had no say and other assorted affronts. The 2nd Amendment is the only one that not only states a right but then goes further and explicitly declares that the right “shall not be infringed”. No other right takes that extra statement but the second. That’s because the framers had only a single example of a republic to work from when they were modelling ours: the Roman republic. Know what happened to the Romans?

They knew that even as good a system as a republic could falter and the government could turn against its own people. In Rome’s case, the senate handed over power to a strong man (an emperor) when (see if this sounds familiar) they were so gridlocked and their finances so screwed they couldn’t effect a solution via their existing government. The founding fathers likewise knew that no matter how thoroughly they tried to set it up, our government can and will eventually falter…and when governments go bad it’s the people that suffer and its the people that have to do something about it. Ergo, give the people the right to keep and bear arms so that if/when the situation warrants it, they can effect change.

Just because you’re short sighted enough to want to kiss off the only right that has any chance of guaranteeing the rest of them doesn’t mean your decision is wise or even informed. There are costs to trusting people with the power to change their own government when the government one day decides it doesn’t want to change. You can’t have that ability and have it have no repercussions.

Sandy Hook was a terrible tragedy.  The next Sandy Hook will also be a terrible tragedy.  However, if we’re going to start voluntarily giving up our rights for the illusion of security know in advance that the government almost never relinquishes power once it has taken it.  The way to reduce incidents like Sandy Hook is to identify those people whose mental state makes them more likely to commit such deeds and get them the help (or isolation) they and society both need.  Until we get serious about that then the next Sandy Hook is down the road a ways who knows how near or far.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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No Cure For Stupid

Posted by Euroranger on November 12, 2012


As I mentioned last week, I wanted to take a few days to digest the recent election activity and then comment on it.  I’ll spare you all from a rant and tirade about how the election turned out, who did underhanded what to whom and so on and so forth.  You can find those a dime a dozen on the intarwebz and I strive to deliver a somewhat fresh (or at least different perspective) on not so much what happened but what it will mean to our country.  To that end, after a week of somewhat erratic contemplation, I have come to two conclusive opinions:

Franklin et al

These guys actively modeled our country on the Roman Republic. They even knew that one day, we’d screw it up just like Rome managed to.

1./ The decline of the American Republic is at hand – Well, THAT sounds all doom and gloomy, doesn’t it?  Exactly the kind of bombast you’d expect from some dyed in the wool, hard core conservative, right?  Well, my assertion is based on history and not partisan politics.  I don’t really care who won the election…what I care about is who was elected, what those people have demonstrated over the past several years and what it means to America’s future.  What I’m talking about, of course, is our national debt.  Currently, the national debt stands at (get this) $16,260,696,626,397.55.  I kid you not.  I got that figure from here.  Said in plain English that’s “sixteen trillion, two hundred sixty billion, six hundred ninety six million, six hundred twenty six thousand, three hundred ninety seven dollars and fifty five cents”.  However, by the time you read that number out loud it was already obsolete by nine million additional dollars or so.  Yep, we here in the United States pile up debt by the assload like nobody else.  Anyway, everyone knows (or thinks they do) that the debt is one big ass number, right?  Well, it is and most people think it’s always been this big.  But the word “big” in this context has dramatically changed over the past 5 years.  This year, we’ll add another $1.5T or so in new debt.  Prior to President Obama taking over though, our deficits were more in the neighborhood of 200 to 400 billion per year.  Truly bad numbers back then to be sure…but those numbers are less than 1/3 of what we’re doing these days.  Go back even further to the last time Congress claimed to get serious about controlling the debt and budget deficits and you see deficits of less than $200B per year.  Just so we’re clear: days where we ran deficits around $200B = shit’s serious enough to enact legislation to try and control Congress spending like a drunk sailor on shore leave.  Days where our deficits are more than 6 times that much = meh, who cares (aka: “today”).

Since you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering: how does this equal the decline of the American Republic?  It’s not complicated but it does require understanding how the process for funding our debt works and accepting that history has a tendency to repeat itself.  Our debt is funded by our treasury issuing something called “T-bills” or treasury bills.  The government makes such bills available for purchase and buyers of those bills receive a guaranteed modest amount of interest on their investment.  That means that for every dollar the government borrows, it ends up paying like $1.10 or so which is the original debt plus the t-bill’s interest.  Governments, private firms, banks and individual investors buy t-bills because their return is guaranteed.  However, “guaranteed” is the sticky point here.  Every country issues debt bonds (t-bills) to fund their debts, public works projects, etc.  Every entity that issues such a debt bond receives a debt rating from several international ratings agencies.  This is basically nothing more than an assessment of the risk of that issuing country making good on their guarantee to repay.  For countries that’s called their “credit rating”.  On August 5 of 2011, for the first time in the history of our country, our credit rating was reduced by first one then all the major rating agencies from AAA (outstanding) to AA+ (excellent).  The reason this happened was explained as two main reasons: our debt to revenue ratio and our political gridlock (Dems and Repubs not playing nice together).  In short, what the international ratings agencies said to investors worldwide was “while we still like America as an investment, they’re not as solid as they used to be and they don’t appear to have a plan to improve the situation”.

What does this have to do with the American Republic?  Just this: we just re-elected both a president and a Congress who, collectively, have added somewhere north of SIX TRILLION DOLLARS IN NEW DEBT IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS.  Re-elected.  That means, that despite the fact that we all supposedly knew how bad the debt was, we still returned the same buffoons who have proved they can’t and won’t control their spending.  Alright, you might say, but still…what does that have to do with the health of the Republic?  Just this: the only real parallel we have to historically compare ourselves with is the Roman Republic that disappeared in 27 B.C. when the Roman Senate granted exceptional ruling powers to one man (Octavian) who proclaimed himself Augustus and became, in essence, a Roman emperor.  To understand why this happened and why it’s a parallel to our situation you only need to know the the Roman Republic was experiencing many of the same types of pressures we are today:

– rapid expansion from a small entity to a large, world spanning nation (the United States only really became the world spanning nation in 1945 after the end of WW2)

– both nations maintained large, well funded armies (Rome because they were conquering the world, ours because we can no longer allow Europe the luxury of fighting amongst themselves every other generation now that we have atomic weapons) that placed a drain on the nation’s finances

– both nations polarized into conservative and popular (liberal) factions where the former derived power from the elite class while the latter looked to the lower classes for support, dividing the people and classes into what seemed like warring factions

– both experienced eras of huge social upheaval.  For Rome it was the importation of millions of slaves who took over the menial work of nearly everyone while in the United States we preside over the continual destruction of the traditional family while redefining both societal and gender roles for men, women, adults and children

With society changing at such a rapid pace, the demands of the nations required more and more revenue.  Rome acquired theirs via conquest and higher taxes.  Already in the United States, the call has begun for higher taxes to support lavish social entitlement spending.  In Rome’s case, taxes then were sold as “patriotic” and many people paid them gladly.  However, they eventually discerned that their taxes were being misspent and wasted and many stopped paying their taxes.  In other words, Rome couldn’t fund their debts.  That coupled with the rapid remaking of society, gridlocked politics and no real reasonable solution in sight was when people started thinking that their only salvation was to turn everything over to a single person who would have absolute power.  In the United States, we already have the fiscal hole we’ve dug ourselves and the societal upheaval.  We lack only the rapid shutoff of financial solutions for our spending.  Should our debt and deficit problems remain unaddressed, the rating agencies will have no choice but to downgrade our credit rating yet again.  Do that enough times and suddenly you have a scenario where the United States can no longer find buyers for our t-bills.  If you think this is impossible, you have only to look at Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and a host of others around the world to see the lie.  There is nothing special about the United States that magically insulates us from economical reality.  If we keep on this path we will eventually be truly broke…and then rather than a dictatorship, we’ll have another revolution.  Either way, it’s the end of the American Republic…and our re-affirming election last week means we’re at least another 2 years away from even starting to address the problem responsibly.

White Obama

Don’t tell me this isn’t every Democrat strategist’s wet dream

2/ The Democratic Party may not nominate another white male for president again – There.  I’ve gone ahead and said it.  Democrat white dudes winning the nomination may never happen again.  While to some that may sound racist, I submit that a suspension of social outrage is in order while we examine the election’s demographic breakdown.  That link goes to demographic results that are, well, fairly stark in terms of demographic politics.  To put it bluntly: if you were white you voted for the Republican to the tune of nearly 60%.  White voters in this country made up 72% of all those casting votes and Obama got just 39% of you.  And yet, he won the general election by 3%.  How is that?

He won because he carried blacks by 93%, hispanics by 71% and asians by 73%.  That being the case, what does that mean?  Well, let’s look at the last times Democrats ran white men as their candidate: Kerry in 2004 and Gore in 2000.  Both men ran against Bush who, by all reasonable accounts, was vulnerable in both elections, yet he managed to win.  The numbers though, tell the tale:

In 2000 the non white vote was 19% of the total.  In 2004 it was 23% and in 2008 it was 27%.  In none of the elections (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012) did the Democrat candidate carry the white vote despite it making no less than 72% of all votes cast.  The Democrats lost the elections in 2000 and 2004 by close margins.  In fact, in each year except 2008, the white vote decreased for the Democrats each election.  While Al Gore carried 42% of the white vote in 2000, Obama got just 39% of the vote in 2012.

What it means is this: the Democrats know (or should know) that they cannot win the presidency by counting on the white voter.  That voter has become ever more hostile to their message over the years (albeit gradually as Clinton carried only 44% then 39%)…but the white voter is losing influence in this country to the hispanic voter bloc.  While I was aware of these numbers somewhat (I didn’t know their exact breakdowns), last week I asked myself a fairly straightforward question and didn’t like the honest answer: if Obama had been a white male running on the record of his deficits, poor employment numbers and such, would he have been re-elected?  The answer to that, I believe, is “not a chance in hell”.  I have to say, given that the minority vote in this country (especially black and hispanic) is so skewed by the race of the candidate, that the Democrats will eventually come to realize that they won’t win the presidency unless their candidate is a minority or is female (although no polling back in 2008 showed Hillary doing well should she have won the nomination).  That, to me, is a rather sobering thought.  White voters have split between Democrats and Republicans fairly reliably regardless of the ethnicity of the Democrat candidate.  Not so for blacks and hispanics.  This suggests a low level racial component when campaigning for minority votes would not only be advisable but beneficial.  It also suggests that, for a block representing more than 1/4 of American voters, issues and platforms matter less than the race of the candidate does.  In fact, if these numbers were somehow reversed and showed a race bias on the part of white voters, I shudder to contemplate the volume of the racial protests that would follow.  However, in this current era of media-sponsored political correctness, not only will there not be a protest, the very existence of these numbers won’t even be mentioned and if they are mentioned, they’ll be summarily dismissed.

Except, I expect, by the king makers in the Democratic party who are just as good with such numbers as I or any of you would be…and they look for any edge they can get in the biggest political game on the planet.  Oh, and by the way, for the time it took me to write this post, the United States added an additional $227 million dollars in debt.  Nice, huh?

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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