Never run with the crowd. They're probably headed over a cliff.

January 2010 - Posts

Obama Pivots 360, Announces Change in Direction.

How would I sum up last night's State of the Union Speech? He talked about change but gave the same old speech. The problem with politicians is that they believe their own propaganda. The truth is, Mr. Obama and his party don't realize why they lost in Massachusets.  They still think it is because they didn't get their message across well enough. They think they'd become too distant from voters. In other words, the packaging was wrong. So this year we're going to get the same old nasty medicine but he's going to use even more honey. Last night Mr. Obama went back to basics. His basics.

Once again we had to listen to him talk about change. And as usual he didn't mention that change costs money. But just for the record, let's look at what he said in broad strokes: Jobs/stimulus. Healthcare. Cap and Trade. Healthcare. Change. Bipartisanship. And then he went on to chastise the Supreme Court for striking down Campaign Finance Laws and lecture the Republicans for opposing everything he does. Change? Bipartisanship? Pivot? Sounds more like a divot.That's the same old speech he's been giving for three years now. Tell you what change I'd like to see: a new speech!

Another thing I noticed that I haven't heard mentioned. And this is a refrain from his campaign. During the campaign he actually said, "America is the greatest nation on Earth and we need to change it!" He said the same thing last night as he spoke of American virtues. (Interestingly he did go on to talk about the effect of American virtures but never said what they were. Hmm?) So what I'd like to know is, if America is the greatest, why should we change it? It needs some fixing, absolutely. But change? If America is the greatest now, it is the greatest because of what already happened. Not what might happen. And what already happened, happened because of the principles he wants to change. That earthquake in Haiti, I think it was the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

It comes down to this. There are two visions of America. Neither will ever be perfect but at least they are places to aim. In one, hard work, investment in self and those around you, combined with honest business decisions and personal responsibility, supported by a government that neither pushes nor hinders, results in forward progress for yourself and those around you. Like I said, it isn't perfect and there have and continue to be abuses, but in general this economic model creates growth through inspiration. Others see your success and try to emulate it, and since there is nothing blocking them, many succeed.

The other vision is very different. In the other vision, personal responsibility, good decisions, and hard work are useful but only marginally. Success is encouraged but in the end the focus of government is on those who haven't succeeded. And by taking resources from those who have been successful and giving them to those who are not, it is hoped that their boat will float. Like the previous vision, this vision is contagious too. Except in this case people see their neighbors getting free stuff and they want some too. But how long is it before these folks suck so much from the hard workers that the system fails? I'd say it happened some time in the '60s. So, based on when we became a welfare state it seemes to take about 25 years. One generation.

Change. You keep talking about change, Mr. Obama. In the end that must mean the policies you're advancing. What are those policies? Free Healthcare. Affirmative Action. Cap and Trade. Government stimulus. Your entire solution set is based on taking the fruits of hard work to feed those who have no understanding of, or appreciation for, the concept of personal responsibility. And you want the conservatives to stop blocking your every proposal?

Futbol Guru,

Haiti and Wall Street - Two Sides of the Same Coin

Haiti. What a mess. As my father said so brilliantly, "Even before the earthquake it was never anything but a campsite." I would wager that if you'd sent a truck full of free food into Port Au Prince the day before the earthquake the reaction of the city's residents would have been largely the same as what we're seeing now. The earthquake didn't destroy Port Au Prince in any real sense of the word. It just took away the thin veneer of civility of an utterly failed state.

Does this mean we shouldn't help the people living there? Of course not. But it does hilight the fact that even before the earthquake they weren't even trying to help themselves. Sure, you can say all you want about government corruption and misuse of natural resources, but the truth is, even the people living there have no real desire to better themselves. They had nothing but a leaky roof that went unrepaired and a half-day of rations quickly eaten. Nudge that apple cart and the wheels are going to fall off. No, the earthquake didn't destroy Haiti. And why we're being tasked with rebuilding something that was already destroyed is a question I'm sure that a lot of American tax payers are already asking. It really should be allowed to fail but of course we can't have an island-nation the size of Haiti turning into a lawless pit right on our doorstep. I guess it's a good thing there were peacekeepers in Haiti before the earthquake.

Wall Street (and all that word represents). A decade of shakey business deals fueled by the same greed, corruption, and selfishness that keeps Haiti from getting anywhere. If Haiti's people had a half-day of rations before the earthquake, I figure Wall Street's liquidity was down to about thirty seconds. Leveraged far beyond their ability to absorb even the slightest ripple, and paying themselves handsomely for it, the housing crisis revealed a worm-eaten structure every bit as vapid and bereft of personal responsibility as the President's Palace in Port Au Prince. But, they were declared "Too large to fail". So when the aid trucks were ordered in, their behavior was no different, scrambling after cash like a half-starved Hatian family going after a bag of rice. Except in this case they used the money to give themselves bonuses twenty times larger than the salary of the average American worker. Now that's class. The upper-class that is. Unfortunately, the 'peacekeepers' on Wall Street were busy dipping their own hands in the till when the ground started shaking.

Wall Street. Haiti. Two sides of the same worthless coin. Both bailed out by middle and upper-middle class American tax-dollars. I guess we have the Bush-Obama administration to thank for that one. "Thanks guys!" I think I'll go barf on a pile of $1 bills. It's all I have left but they aren't worth anything.

Futbol Guru,

Avatar and the Attack of the Anti-Americans

Environmentalism. Imperialism. Corporatism. Words used by the left to destroy our beloved republic. And James Cameron's Avatar is only the latest in a string of attacks on our freedom and liberty.

Or is it? Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I'm a traditionalist, which means I'm right of center. But they also know that I don't typically fall for political arguments. I recently did a three-part series on the politicization of the global warming argument for the purpose of socializing the West. Or America at the least. If Avatar was patently anti-American I figure it would raise my hackles. So why have I seen it three times now and will probably go again?

The main arguments against Avatar in the blogosphere are that it portrays American soldiers in a negative light, and that it attacks industrialization. Interesting that both of these observations come from people who say they haven't seen Avatar and then go on in the next sentence to predict that the movie will fail. Would it be possible for these people to have been more wrong? I remember the same people criticizing Harry Potter as being pro-witchcraft. Had they read it? NO. Did they look stupid? YES.

The problem here, and the fact that they don't see it, is that environmentalism and other issues have become political footballs - which they should not be. The left uses them to get votes so the right uses them to get votes. Before you know it, preserving our nest is a bad thing.

More specifically, Avatar does not hide the fact that it is strongly against destruction of rainforests and wanton industrialization. At the same time, it says not a single word about global warming. Not one. Now, what kind of fool is against preserving the natural beauty of our planet? In fact, preserving nature for the masses is an American invention. We were the first to do it. And it was a conservative republican (Theodore Roosevelt) who led the way. What was Robin Hood's crime? Hunting in the King's Forest. America preserved natural areas for the common man. And we better damn well take care of this place or it isn't going to be a very good home for our children. I love animals. I love the wonder of nature. How is preserving them, liberal? If you think it is, it is YOU that have become the politicized element. Or maybe I can come cut down the trees in your yard and use them in my fireplace. Yes, we need resources, but the environment MUST be a consideration. If Avatar had used the global warming argument it would have been political. That it didn't is a nod to Cameron that he didn't want to take that route.

Secondly, I have read in a number of blogs that Avatar criticizes the War on Terror and the soldiers fighting in it. This too I have to disagree with on several levels. First, Avatar clearly states in the opening scenes that the soldiers on Pandora are mercs. Mercenaries. Former military that have become hired guns. Blackwater scum machinegunning civilians. Sorry, but this is the case and if it a political statement to you then you need to review your concept of right and wrong. No one is more pro-Military than I. My grandfather flew Wildcats at the Battle of Midway. My father flew Intruders in Vietnam. I spent time on submarines. I love the military. But having been in I also know there are plenty of people in the military who'd gladly leave to do the same thing for a bigger paycheck sans oath.

As far as the War on Terror goes, I've never seen a more botched operation than that mess in Iraq. The soldiers and military performed flawlessly but Sadaam had no nukes. He didn't even have a program. Hell, he didn't even have air conditioning. The evidence was crap. We should have never gone into Iraq. We won but we look like the Romans. Or the Russians. We had more business in Vietnam than we had or have in Iraq. Now Afghanistan is a different story. We should have concentrated our resources there and that one might be finished already. So how is criticizing a botched military operation un-American? In North Korea you can't say anything against the government. You go to jail. In other words, as far as they are concerned, criticizing their government makes you anti-North Korean. But in America, we get to criticize all we want. So really, criticizing a botched military operation isn't anti-American, it is an exercize of our constitutional rights. It is pro-American. Nothing ever gets better in North Korea because there is no dissent. In America, just the opposite is true. So if you maintain that criticism of a botched military operation is anti-American, then maybe you have more in common with a North Korean stooge than you realize.

My advice: Go See Avatar. See it more than once. It is freaking awesome. It is the first movie that did to me what Star Wars did in 1977. First one I've seen in a theater more than twice since then. It is fresh. Unique. Well executed. Powerful. Rich. A technological masterpiece. Possibly the best movie ever made. Could parts of it be called political? If you wanted to, parts of the original Star Wars could be interpreted as political. If you love America, you'll still love America. If you are a lefty, you won't change your mind. If you are a righty, you won't change your mind. And if you've passed judgment before seeing it, don't be such lemming.

Futbol Guru,