Saturday, July 30, 2016

Jon Krakauer Disappoints (Part II)

When Bush takes office Krakauer outlines several instances where officials such as Condoleezza Rice refused to heed to warnings from the outgoing Clinton administration that al-Qaida was going to attack the United States. Krakauer assumes that if the Bush administration heeded these warnings then 9/11 could have been prevented. First, the Clinton administration did next to nothing following the al-Qaida attacks against U.S. embassies in Africa and the bombing of the USS Cole. Second, the Clinton administration warnings came with no specific information to follow up on (location, names, methodology, time, etc.). Third, the Clinton administration had several opportunities to takeout bin Laden but failed to do so. Finally, the Bush transition period into office was cut in half by the Florida election fiasco. If liberals and Krakauer had their way the transition period would have been non-existent by continuing to hand count votes using 3 or 4 different definitions of what constitutes the “intent” of a voter (as if a canvassing board really understands the intent of voters John Doe or Jane Doe). Hence, in the haste to change administrations, there is no doubt that the potential for critical information to be lost was magnified.

It is obvious (without saying so) that Krakauer believes that Gore would have done a better job than Bush when it came to fight on terror. This is also a bad assumption. Gore would have acted cowardly, just as the Clinton administration did nothing to stop bin Laden. Gore would not go to war because it would have an adverse effect on the climate (CO2 emissions). But, Krakauer may find this appealing because he is obviously against the War in Iraq. Let’s not forget that a plurality of Democrats voted in favor of a military intervention and Iraq became the first stable Muslim democracy in the Middle East (at least until Obama withdrew troops too fast). Krakauer cites the Iraq war was the Bush mission from the time he took office and it had nothing to do with terrorism (He has no real proof of that). So why is acceptable for Obama to move unilaterally to oust Qaddafi but it is not acceptable to use a coalition to oust Hussein? Let’s not forget that Libya is now a safe haven for terrorists due to Obama’s actions (and Iraq too) because Obama did not have the courage to do it the right way – with troops on the ground. Krakauer falsely believes that the Iraq War was over some other reason such as oil or money. If Iraq had no strategic purpose in the fight on terrorism then why is it of such interest to terrorists such as ISIS? Any dummy can look at a map and see the significance of Iraq in the Middle East (proximity to Iran, Syria, Israel, and Afghanistan etc.). One would think Liberals would be happy to have a friendly country in the Middle East to trade with for oil so the U.S. does not have to carve up federal lands or be forced to use fracking techniques on home soil.

Krakauer conveniently fails to point out the Anthrax attacks that occurred shortly after 9-11 that were tied to Iraq (some time later this would prove to be false). These attacks killed several Americans and forced the administration to act quickly to attack Iraq. Almost any President would have done the same. There was panic and hysteria around the country – My place of business was evacuated several times due to suspicious packages and new heightened security measures were put in place throughout the campus.

Krakauer rails the Bush administration for using propaganda to push his war agenda. For instance, the rescue mission of Jessica Lynch was loaded with misinformation to get Americans behind the war effort. All war efforts use propaganda and misinformation. Without it, we would be speaking German today. In the book, Krakauer even publishes bin Landen misinformation after he escaped Tora Bora. In order to fight evil, you need to play the same game. It is unfortunate, but since war is so unpopular in order to have a fighting chance against enemies, misinformation and propaganda are essential.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Jon Krakauer Disappoints (Part I)

Jon Krakauer is one of my favorite authors. Not only is he talented, but he generally writes about things of interest to me – outdoor adventures. I finally got around to read his biography on Pat Tillman (the NFL player who enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire). The book is entitled “Where Men Win Glory” is a very good book and I recommend it. But I found it disappointing on many levels. First, the reader should not be able to ascertain the political affiliation of the author (Krakauer) since the book is about Tillman. Second, it seems Krakauer only wrote the book since Tillman had similar political beliefs and it was a way for him to push his liberal agenda through Tillman’s unfortunate story (Iraq war is bad, Bush is bad, military is bad, etc). I find this distasteful and disingenuous. Krakauer would have no way written the book had Tillman been conservative – it would have failed to meet his goals and narrative. Let’s go over the Krakauer disappointments in the book:

Krakauer insinuates that the Jimmy Carter foreign policy was ingenious and they laid the groundwork to what led to the fall of the Soviet Union. It is stipulated that the goal of the Carter administration was to lure the Soviet Union into a long (winless) war in Afghanistan. This is exactly what happened and shortly after Russia withdrew its defeated Army from Afghanistan the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall fell. Yes, this is the same inept Carter administration that failed miserably to free American hostages from Iran. But let’s say all of this is true and Carter was a genius. Then I suppose Carter is solely to blame for the creation of the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan. Hence, Carter’s plan was the beginning of 9/11 and our continuous fight against terrorism today. In other words, no matter what angle you view the Carter foreign policy, it was a failure and not a success as Krakauer seems to think.

Krakauer goes into great detail about the 2000 Bush v Gore election. Obviously, he wants Bush to lose the election without actually saying so. He goes into great detail to explain how Gore received more than a half million more votes but lost the Electoral College. This has happened two previous times in history, so it is not that uncommon (Tilden v Hayes and Cleveland v Harrison). He stressed if Ralph Nader was not in the election then Gore would have won Florida and hence the Presidency. Third party candidates have influenced several presidential elections in American history including Ross Perot helping Bill Clinton win two terms where he too did not receive anywhere near a plurality in the popular vote. Then Krakauer blames the Supreme Court for denying the will of the people when they stopped the recount in Florida. He also states that both Scalia and O’Connor should have recused themselves from the vote. Regardless, the media did many studies on the election and found Bush would have a won a statewide recount (not just the 4 major democratic counties that Krakauer and liberals wanted) by more than 1,000 votes (a wider major than the original count). In fact, Krakauer says nothing about the media calling Florida for Gore before the polls closed in the Florida panhandle (A republican stronghold – certainly causing Bush to lose hundreds of votes). This tactic was obviously used by the liberal media to disenfranchise republican voters in the Central time zone. In essence, Krakauer relives the Democratic talking points without being fair and balanced. It comes off as being very bitter.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kasich, Romney, and Bush are Sore Losers

John Kasich and Jeb Bush were not my first choice for President, but I certainly preferred them to Donald Trump. I may not agree with all of Kasich and Bush policies but I always thought them to be persons with the highest integrity. I understand they do not like Donald Trump, but they signed an agreement to support the GOP presidential candidate and unite the Party. However, they have refused to hold up their end of the deal. This has certainly changed my perception of both Bush and Kasich. I now find them as sore losers and cry babies who would be happier if Hillary Clinton would win the White House. Maybe their opinion would change when she selects the most liberal justices to serve on the Supreme Court. I am highly disappointed with their behavior. I remember when handshakes and agreements meant something. That does not seem to be the case anymore.

I also find Mitt Romney’s behavior disgusting. I understand that he does not like Trump, but he does not have to sabotage Trump’s chances by handing the Presidency over to Hillary Clinton.

I do not like Trump, but elections have consequences. If Trump loses this election then the landscape of the Supreme Court will shift for at least one generation if not more. This is what is at stake and people need to suck up their pride, tame their ego, and bite the bullet.

If Romney, Kasich, and Bush ever try to run for office again, I will speak out against their candidacy because they cannot be trusted since they have backed out of their word. This behavior is worse than anything Trump has done while running for office.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Who was the Greatest Founding Father? (Part II)

Madison would compromise as he did in the writing of the Constitution by allowing the Senate to be equally represented by States instead of by population count (as is done in the House). This was the compromise by larger states to keep smaller states in the fold of creating a union. Madison would flip flop on issues such as the need for a large military. He ridiculed John Adams for pushing for a strong military, but found during the War of 1812 it was necessary to preserve the union. He even pushed for a Second National Bank to help pay off war time loans. And Madison was a hypocrite especially on the issue of slavery. Madison thought slavery was horrid but yet he and his family owned slaves. Madison joined anti-slavery organizations who not only opposed slavery but wanted to send slaves back to Africa after they were freed. Madison did not feel that even free slaves in the United States had a fair shot at true freedom. For instance, non-slave states had “Black Code” laws to limit the freedoms that free slaves or blacks could endure. Although Madison was on the wrong side of history, he was ahead of his time in the slave state of Virginia. No, Madison was not perfect.

The real reason I find Madison the greatest founding father is his interpretation of the Constitution – since he wrote the document. In the Constitution statement “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States”, Madison clearly argues that the “general welfare” clause pertains to items outlined in the Constitution and is not inserted for the government to find new items it can regulate. Madison relied on John Quincy Adams for working out treaties with foreign nations, but once Adams became president, Madison spoke out about his willingness to push for government intervention to improve infrastructures such as roads and canals. Madison called out Alexander Hamilton for wanting to create a national bank and said what is next the “federal government taking over education”. Madison also called out Chief Justice John Marshall for evoking the Necessary and Proper’s clause in the McCulloch v. Maryland decision. Madison felt the states were protected by the 10th amendment and that the Federal government could only create laws that were “absolutely essential” to carry out its enumerated powers. Obviously, Marshall who was a federalist disagreed, he saw the Necessary and Proper clause as a means for the federal government to intervene on any matter they merely thought important – not essential.

So what would Madison think of the government he created today? I doubt he could be too pleased that the federal government controls things like education, healthcare, and the environment. In one argument for a federal government in the Federalist papers, Madison felt a strong federal government could protect citizens’ property rights. Once again, in today’s world Madison is wrong. Today, our federal government uses eminent domain to infringe on property rights. The EPA tells families they cannot built on property they own because it is a wetland. The EPA protects the rights of fish instead of letting farmers irrigate their lands. Ranchers are imprisoned when they burn public lands to protect their property and more public lands from a wildfire. Madison would not be impressed by how our liberties and freedoms are violated at the cost of big government.

Most of all, Madison was a man of civility. He befriended people that disagreed with and even threatened him. He did not see a war of devolving arguments and words as a solution to a problem. Madison not only wrote the Constitution, he lived it. He lived his life through the tolerance of religion and the first amendment. Unlike many others that signed the Constitution, Madison was the only person who lived his life through the constitution. For this reason, I value Madison’s view of the meaning of the Constitution over other founding fathers.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Radicalism and Extremism Trump Reason and Commonsense

Today, it is basically impossible to have a conversation over race or any other controversial topic. Why? Because extreme and radical views of a few trumps reason and commonsense of the many. We live in a divided country mostly polarized by politics that is fueled by 24/7 opinion shows on news stations. We live in a country that is incapable of having debates over controversial issues because many are brainwashed through propaganda garbage conveyed in our media outlets. Most individuals are too sensitive to have a rational discussion. Political correctness is a good example of this behavior and now everyone gets offended way too easily. We live in a country where we spend more time and energy trying to silence critics and adversaries first amendment rights than trying to have reasonable conversation.

When the President of the United States talks negatively about the police and only points out White on Black crime what is the result: Unreasonable groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM). Is anyone surprised that police officers are targeted and being murdered around the country? I am not since that is often the message portrayed by BLM!

Is it hard to grow up in the United States as a minority? Without a doubt, I know it is (I grew up in poverty). However, I do not know what it is like to be Black and face racism and discrimination by bigots. Do the police target minorities more so then Whites? I am sure they do. I know discrimination exists, but anger and violence are not the answers.

Our government has destroyed races: Native Americans and now Blacks. Both are segregated on reservations or in inner cities. They live in poverty dependent on welfare from the government to exist. They are dependent on alcohol and drugs. They do not have a good education and have no prospects of any kind of work. They are more likely to have come from broken homes (especially without fathers). They resort to a life of crime and that is the reason there are more minorities in prison (based on percentages of the total population) and they are more likely to be targeted.

Yet, what is our solution to the problem: Diversity, affirmative action and other ways to discriminate against another group of people (which creates more anger). Black Lives Matter wants to eliminate the police department. Politicians want more gun control to stop crime or want to make prison sentences more lenient. Really? If this the answer to our race relations problem then we are totally missing the point. Unfortunately, these radical and extreme views will trump reason and commonsense to provide Blacks a better education and to wean them off welfare.

Unfortunately, with the poor leadership we have, the new norm is increased crime – especially hate crimes (including attacks from bigoted terrorists). When brain dead opinionated media types such as Anderson Cooper believe the Florida attorney general cannot have compassion for those that lost their lives in the Orlando terrorist attack because she does not agree with gay marriage, there is no way any conversation in this country will be productive. Hence, in Cooper’s view, if you are not in favor of Gay Marriage you must be a bigot. And that is the problem with how most people think today. They see bigotry where none exists. For instance, some police shootings, broadcast on the news, against Blacks were warranted. And folks wanting a “temporary” ban on Muslim immigration until the system is fixed are not all bigots.

Society is much too sensitive, brainwashed, angry, and radicalized to solve our race questions. Therefore, I expect things to get worse before they get better. Especially since neither Clinton or Trump will provide the right leadership (hopefully not as bad as Obama).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Who Was the Greatest Founding Father? (Part I)

Who was the greatest founding father? This is a very difficult question to answer because there is certainly no right answer, there are many choices who had a great impact on creating our great nation. George Washington was the commander in chief leading the colonies to a revolutionary win over Great Britain and became our first president. Washington was great, but my issue with him was he was a Federalist. He believed in a strong central government that can control state governments. This was most evident when Washington sent troops to squash the “Whiskey Rebellion” in 1791. The rebellion was merely a protest over a tax on whiskey. But Washington’s first intention was to use federal force to silence people’s first amendment rights. Washington, also followed the advice of his Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, to push Constitutional bounds by creating a National Bank citing the “General Welfare” clause of Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The next president, John Adams, another great founding father (also a federalist) passed the Alien and Sedition Act in 1791 that fined and imprisoned citizens who spoke poorly of the administration. The law also deported foreigners and made it difficult for immigrants to vote.

Thomas Jefferson would also be a solid candidate. Jefferson, a Republican (not similar to our current day Republican) believed in a small federal government yielding more power to state governments. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence and was our second president presiding over the largest land purchase in American history (Louisiana Purchase).

However, my choice is James Madison. Madison is largely regarded as the father of the Constitution, a document that has prevailed over the course of centuries. I choose Madison over Jefferson because he was Jefferson’s Secretary of State and was his most influential cabinet member reading over every word written by the president before it was made public. And Madison was the man who influenced the Louisiana Purchase. Madison even wrote many speeches made by President Washington including his inaugural address.

Madison was one of the authors of the famed “Federalist Papers” along with Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay wrote 5 of the essays. These documents were paramount in convincing states to ratify the Constitution. However, Madison will stray from Federalism once the government is formed and create a second political party – Republicans. He felt a political party system was not ideal, but it was the best way to keep checks and balances within the political system. One thing Madison wanted in the Constitution was a means for the federal government to keep state governments in check. He feared under the current system that state governments would become corrupt and powerful. He never got his wish, but would later discover after armies were used to silence protests and the passing of the Alien and Sedition Act that it was the Federal government that was too powerful and should be feared – not the states. Hence, the formation of the Republican Party. Later, the adoption of the 14th amendment following the Civil War would add to the Constitution that check on state governments that Madison originally pushed for.

The biggest issue of the Madison two term presidency was obviously the War of 1812 with Great Britain. Madison wanted peace and the United States tried for years without any success to end British rule over the colonies. The British never left their posts in Western America following the Revolutionary War and during war with France the British would continually capture American trading ships and even indentured American citizens into the British Navy. This went on for decades before Madison convinced Congress to go to war. A 64 year old James Madison was on the front lines of the war when the British attacked Washington DC. The treaty of the war did not favor either side, but America had grown into a world power gaining the respect of both France and England. Victory over the British and their Indian allies in western America opened the American frontier all the way to the western coast.

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Parallels Between Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump (Part III)

Both Trump and Jackson follow what I call “paranoid politics” to some degree. In other words, they feel people are out to get them. For instance, Trump feels he cannot get a fair trial over the “Trump University” case because the judge is Hispanic. Of course nothing was ever proven to defend Trump’s strong words. Jackson felt adversaries attempted to have him assassinated. A deranged and sick man tried to kill Jackson, but Jackson was convinced one of his rivals put him up to it. The incident was investigated and no wrongdoing was uncovered.

Both Trump and Jackson are vindictive. For Jackson it was not uncommon for him to feud and duel with rivals (prior to the White House). Of course, Trump attacks foes with vial comments and conspiracy theories nearly every day on the campaign trail.

Both Trump and Jackson are determined individuals. Jackson showed his determination in not only defeating opponents on the battlefield but as president when he took down the Bank of the United States. Trump is also determined to get his way on policy despite the fact his beliefs hardly match up with GOP ideologies or philosophies. Trump has placed the GOP leadership in a difficult position time and time again and walked away the winner after those conflicts (guns, Planned Parenthood, illegal immigration, etc.).

Jackson’s opponents called him King Jackson because he expanded the power of the executive branch greatly in his two terms. Jackson felt since he was elected by the people it was up to him to carry out the will of the people. Since Senators were elected by state officials (at that time in history), Jackson felt that Senators were part of the “good old boy system” and did not have the will of the people at heart. Hence, Jackson felt the office of the Presidency should be more powerful than Congress. If elected, it remains to be seen how Trump would run the office of the Presidency. But Trump has the same narcissistic personality as Jackson, so it would not surprise anyone if he ruled like other Democrat presidents – Obama, LBJ, and FDR – by expanding the power of the executive.

Jackson was controversial when he denied Americans the right of freedom of speech when it came to issues on slavery or Native-Americans. Trump is not much different in how he tries to silence anyone in the media who asks him a fair question that he does not like or covers him negatively.

Both men are undoubtedly selfish narcissists. This is obvious when we watch clips of Trump on the news bragging about himself continually reminding us how smart he is or how great he is. All politicians are narcissists so this is not that uncommon behavior – they all think they are smarter than everyone else. The most striking example exposing Jackson’s selfishness is when he wanted his secretary to report back to the White House despite the fact his wife was lying on her death bed. Jackson got his way and his secretary never saw his wife alive again. So we can surmise that Jackson’s business as president and his legacy (writing his final inaugural address and expunging his censorship for withdrawing all monies from the Bank of the United States) were more important than life itself.