El Gringoqueño

All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Category: Politics (page 2 of 3)

Whatever politics, Puerto Rican, American. I might praise, but if you know politics, I’m probably more apt to complain. Beware!

Obama Was Not Right from Day One

I was surprised to find out today that Barack Obama isn’t being truthful about his Iraq War Voting record.  I know I know, I’m bummed.  I liked the guy.  Up until today I would have supported him.  Maybe I still do.  But I’m not so sure anymore.  How can people be so disingenuous about such big issues?  And why has no one else mentioned this.

Barack Obama may have opposed the war in 2003, but he never voted against it.  What?!  You heard me right.  He never actually voted against it.  Why?  How? Wha?

He didn’t vote against the war, because he didn’t become a senator until 2005, that’s why.  When the debate and vote on whether or not there were weapons of mass destruction, or whether or not we would go to war with Iraq, Barack Obama was a state representative (local state politician, not national), for the 13th District of Illinois.  He wasn’t there.  He was just a twinkle in his Senate seat’s pants.

What!?  How could this be?  Haven’t we heard about how he was right from day one.  What was day one for him?  How can you be right from day one when your day one didn’t start until January of 2005? 

If we are going to elect people on their ability to be "right" then elect me.  I said in 2002 there were no weapons of mass destruction.  I said we shouldn’t have gone in.  Check this post. I wrote that back in March of 2003.  I knew it was wrong.  Props for Obama as an armchair foreign policy quarterback, but it sure as hell isn’t anything upon which to base your complete campaign.

I like the guy, but if he wasn’t a member of Congress, he had nothing to lose by taking that position.  I had nothing to lose.  I had no authority.  He had no authority.  I had no access to classified intelligence.  He had no access to classified intelligence.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, Obama based his opposition to the war on a hunch.

Sounds remarkably like our current president, doesn’t it?

Do you, in fact, have any nukes at all?

A short skit to read in the style of Monty Python’s Cheese Shop

Bush:  As a member of the axis of evil and state sponsor of terrorism, Iran is actively seeking nuculer weapons.  

Press: Do you have proof?

Bush: Why of course we have proof.  It’s how this administration operates.  We operate in the realm of truth. Truth is – well – truth.  If it wasn’t truth, it would be lies, and we do not lie.

Press: May we see it?  This proof?

Bush: Well, it’s classified, but trust me.  We have it.

Press:  Well, I have here in my hand an intelligence report which details that Iran stopped its nuclear program in 2003.

Bush: Ah, I see.  Well, there is that, I suppose.  But I’m afraid it’s a bit overstated.  You see.  They WERE actively seeking weapons of mass destruction and may do so again.  If they restart, which is probable, they could have them in a few years.  They could then use them to attack.

Press:  You just told us that they were actively engaged in a program to build nuclear weapons.  We now find out that they stopped and are not seeking to build nuclear weapons.  How is that truth?

Bush:  Ah, well, I did say that, didn’t I.  Look, this President defines "thinking about building nuclear weapons" as part of the process of obtaining nuclear weapons.  You see, you have to think about it. That’s research.  Some of that research could go on in the heads of scientists.  Who am I to say that they are not thinking about it actively right now?  Can you say what they are thinking about?  They could be thinking about it.  And that’s enough for me.  It could be a threat to the US or our interests if the Iranians are thinking about building a nuclear weapon.

Press: …

Bush:  You see.  Thought leads to action.  If you are thinking about something, then you are actively engaged in the process of doing it.  It is my job as Commander in Chief to head off these programs of thought that exist to destroy the United States.  Would you rather that we go about our business while they think their dirty little terrorist thoughts?  I don’t think so.  That is why I reserve the right to think about attacking Iran for their dirty little thoughts.

What if it’s not just incompetence?

Recent changes in the tax code of Puerto Rico have caused me to rethink a long held opinion about the nature of our politicians. The Jenius, over at his blog, rightly predicts that the underground economy in Puerto Rico will perfect itself as taxation wriggles into all legitimate economic transactions. Small micro companies will just take what little business they have further underground away from the grabbing hands of government, and more of them will do it better.

Medium-sized brick and mortar shops will either shoulder the burden or pass the cost on to the customer. Either way with rising prices, already pinched consumers will be forced to buy from the lowest supplier, those 800 pound gorillas with their cheap global supply chains and volume discounts. If small business owners try to compete on price their already compromised position further erodes to the point of survival mode. They are then either pushed into gray areas of the underground economy or out of business entirely.

The big global players are already earning money hand over fist, and if their position is eroded only slightly by rising consumption taxes, they have a number of options. They can negotiate tax breaks for their local hiring, get government handouts to build new facilities, low interest loans, you name it. They have the clout and the cash to get what they want, whether it be cheap goods, cheaper labor, or cheap government.

So where does that leave us?

I always thought that bad government policies through incompetence or malice had an effect to drive out entrepreneurial spirit, to foment low level corruption, and give unfair advantage to large imported global players (pharmaceutical manufacturers, retailers, fast food, national chains etc). But now I’m notso sure it’s incompetence or even malice.

What if their aim is to kill off the last of the local companies for us, as a favor to pacify us and give us jobs, to give us what we want, to work for the man, and play on the weekends, to be kept, taken care of, and have no responsibilities? Maybe these politicians know something we don’t want to admit or care to face:

We want to be kept and taken care of.

We would rather work for Wal-mart than try to start our own business, and the best to which we can hope to rise, the pinnacle, the ultimate, is to be a general manager in someone else’s plant, to be validated by the higher power the foreign national, the colonial overlord.

I hope it’s just incompetence… although at this point I’d even take malice.

Please tell me I’m wrong, please Puerto Rico?  Tell me it’s not what we want.

The Last “War” of the United States

Ha! I was looking for information to clear up just what my status is as a veteran, having been mobilized for Iraqi Freedom in March of 2003.  We were on active duty for 89 days before Bush declared victory and sent everyone home.  Ahem.

So, because I’d like to know, I’m looking around for information about benefits (if any) to which I am entitled for my obviously worthless 89 days of active duty service in time of war.  I was wrong, dead wrong, it turns out. 

War it is not, never been.  Funny, it tastes like war, though.  I smack my lips.  It’s kinda bitter with a smokey flavor.  They call it a war, use it to justify "wartime" suppression of civil liberty and routine ass-wiping with the Constitution, but let’s not fight over little words, shall we.  We’ve got a war to fight.  WTF?! There you go again with the "W" word.  Geez!

Then I found this on the Office of Personal Management for the US Federal Government:

War Service Creditable for Veterans Preference.  In the absence of statutory definition for "war" and "campaign or expedition," OPM considers to be "wars" only those armed conflicts for which a declaration of war was issued by Congress.  The title 38, U.S.C., definition of "period of war," which is used in determining benefits administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, includes the Vietnam Era and other armed conflicts.  That title 38 definition is NOT applicable for civil service purposes.

Thus the last "war" for which active duty is qualifying for Veterans preference is World War II.  The inclusive dates for World War II service are December 7, 1941, through April 28, 1952.

I blinked.  I read it twice.  So, the OPM for purposes of preference, only considers those that fought in WWII (The last declared war) to be veterans.  Those ranks are getting pretty thin, I’d say.

I read it again.  So what this is saying is that the last armed conflict for which the people of the United States had a say was WWII (I always knew that, but to see it put so bluntly was startling).  Put another way, the last time our duly elected representatives in Congress declared war was 1941.

Doesn’t that seem funny to anyone?  Funny, not in the "ha ha" sense, but funny in the "we’ve lost complete control of our country" sense.  From Truman, to Lyndon B, to Reagan to Bush Sr. to Bush Jr.  we have engaged in one "conflict" after another, all of which were deemed to be of "utmost" national importance, but not quite enough to get the endorsement of the American people with an official declaration of war.  These conflicts were important, we were told – important to whom?  Obviously though, they were not important enough for the failsafe vote in Congress to sanctify the "war."  Don’t worry your puny little minds with these big and complicated issues of "national security" we were/are told. 

We will protect you.

And don’t worry about the messy little details like Americans dying and being maimed.  It’s all for a good and noble cause, just not good and noble enough for a vote of the representatives of the people of the United States of America.  Details details.

How Many Articles Can I Begin with “Oh holy shit, they’re at it again”?

Imagine if you will a place where the boundaries between Legislative and Executive where blurred, wrapped, and crossed with the Judicial – a place of sound, a place of fury, and place signifying nothing.  You have just stepped off the boat one thousand miles southeast of Florida… somewhere into the Twilight Zone.

Tomorrow, in the semi-autonomous territory and commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a referendum will be held.  Imagine if you will in our parallel sister Twilight Zone where odd and bizarre things occur, if president of the United States, decided to hold a nationwide referendum.  At stake was the decision to change Congress to a unicameral assembly or change the form of government to a parliamentary system. 

Imagine it!  NOW!

What do you mean you can’t? 

What’s that?  You say that the president has only some limited powers over the Legislative Branch?  You mean he has veto power, which can be overridden by a 2/3 majority. You say he can set executive policy, govern the military, and write the budget?  Well, I guess.  Bush has overstepped his bounds on occasion, but even he has not tried to void the Constitution (well, without a good reason… okay, I’ll concede that too… sheesh).

So how would one go about changing the structure of the legislative branch of government?

First, the Congress would have to propose, debate, and vote on the change (2/3 majority in both houses).  Next step would be for 3/4 of the states’ legislatures to ratify that change.

I can’t imagine it’s too much different in Puerto Rico, but tomorrow, there is a referendum on changing the legislature from bicameral to unicameral.  Huh?  Wouldn’t it just be great that if every time the president didn’t like what Congress was doing he could call a nationwide vote and threaten to disband it?  What the?

Well the short of it is that in Puerto Rico the governor can’t do it either, but what he can do is propose to spend $4 million tax of tax payers’ money to execute what amounts to a poll.  If the people were to favor a unicameral legislature, the next step would be for the legislature to vote on it, then do whatever process is required to amend the Puerto Rican constitution.  Oh, yeah, but we have one more step here.  All changes to our constitution must be approved by the United States Congress.

The only reason for a vote tomorrow on this issue is pure and simple intimidation of the legislature.  It is nothing more than executive branch thuggery.  Personally, I couldn’t care less what system the legislature runs.  It couldn’t get any worse. 

But don’t kid yourself.  If anyone votes either yay or nay, it is a vote for the governor, a vote for intimidation, and a waste of money.  Don’t for one second think you’re deciding anything.  You’re just playing into the governor’s hands, perpetuating the folly, the circus, and furthering our decent into a banana republic.

Ah, but everybody loves a show.

Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, oh my!

There is method in the madness that is American politics.  Among all the posturing, partisan rhetoric, back-biting, and power struggles, there are some basic truths that I think have been forgotten through it all.

The US Gubment is broken down into three branches.  The Executive branch executes, that is, enforces laws, makes priorities and sets the tone.  The Legislative branch makes the laws according to the will of the people.  They are a body that represents a cross section of age, class, and culture.  They write the plan so to speak.  The Judicial branch is the final say through it all with the US Constitution and judicial precedent as its authority.

Think of the three branches as the hands on a clock.  The Executive, transient and ever changing with the whim of the people, is the second hand.  The Legislative, more measured less fickle, its movement almost imperceptible, is the ticking of minutes.  The Judiciary, conservative and lumbering is the ever steady indication of hours.

The President can effect change only through executive order or policy insomuch as it doesn’t break any laws.  Executive orders, such as a policy on gays in the military, may be removed with a stroke of one man’s pen.  Policy changes of that type could possibly change every four years.  Gays are in, gays are out.  The President can also decide which laws are important or not.  The business of the Federal Government is such that not all laws are enforceable.  Where are our priorities.  For one President it might be social services.  For another it might be immigration.  They are transient and subject to rapid change.  We have a saying back in Missouri.  If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.  The same goes for Presidents.

Why is the President such an important figure?  One: there is only one.  Two: in the big scheme of things seconds are important because they are the only thing that happens right now.

The Legislative branch is a slower beast.  If you look close enough at it, you can just barely see its movement.  Like VH-1’s retrospectives of the 70’s etc. you can only see how silly you were given the shift of a decade.  So it is with the Legislative branch.  It is made up of young and old, male and female, different cultures, different socio-economic classes, and political ideologies.  It is hard to get them to cooperate, to find an issue upon which they can all agree.  When they do, you can bet with a reasonable amount of certainty that it is the will of the people

And, damnit, I like it that way.  I want my Legislature to be slow, not too efficient, not too unified, not too smart.  I want them to reflect us, and our spirit is pretty constant – at least over the decades.  Change is good, but changing too quickly is disruptive.

The Judiciary has been in the news recently.  Conservatives decry "activist judges" as violating the constitution by forgetting their place as the creeping hours of the day.  I actually agree, but not for the reasons conservatives say.  Conservatives only complain when activist judges are doing things contrary to their wishes.  There are numerous "activist judges" with political and social agendas who run with the conservative posse.  These are the judges who proudly display the Ten Commandments in the courtroom and let religious or cultural values flavor their decisions.  Defendant living in sin?  Well perhaps you will not be looked upon as favorably. 

Frankly, I think most judges do the right thing though.  Teri Shiavo?  Mr. Judge says, "Sorry, doesn’t matter what my personal feelings are on this matter, and for the record, I don’t personally agree with the husband’s decision.  But according to Florida law, upheld by other courts and passed by the Florida legislature, this woman’s fate has already been decided by her legal guardian."  That’s it folks.  There’s no activism there.  I’m just a judge, he would say.  I don’t enforce laws.  I don’t make laws.  But I make sure that when I take that brick and place in in the construction of history it fits and will stand the test of time.  It has to fit with the other bricks.  It has to hold up to the specifications written by the building’s designers.  That’s a lot to do on its own.  I’m not interested in activism.  Leave that to the politicians.  I’m a curator.  I am the slow hand of time, sweeping deliberately ever forward.  You can build on that.  Do we have flaws?  Sure we do.  There where some gaping holes and errors in our decisions throughout the years, some of which took until 1963 to fix, but only because some judges, and I’m not naming names, Taney… ahem, couldn’t stop being activists, beholden to special interests.

Take this example.  This is the opinion and decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in the Scott v. Sandford case.

The Supreme Court dismissed the suit on jurisdictional grounds. Chief Justice Taney explained that the parties were not citizens of different states because the Constitution did not consider blacks to be citizens. The Chief Justice also added that the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude in certain parts of the Louisiana Territory, violated the Fifth Amendment because it deprived slaveowners of their property without the due process of law.

Now that’s activism.  The US Constitution never said blacks weren’t citizens.  That fact is a convenient assumption based on the current values of the day.   He goes further to decide that blacks are not only not citizens, but neither are they people.  They are property, and as such the rights of property owners are protected by the Constitution.  Yikes.  That’s some activism sure enough, activism for slave owners.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."  Eventually slavery as a legal practice with the sanctioning authority of the Judiciary of these United States was abolished.

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The only problem with the 13th Amendment was that it was not a court decision. Maybe if there had been fewer activist judges in the land during the 19th century, we wouldn’t have had to write this thing. Hello? All men are created equal? These are men. Are they equal? End of story.

But I digress.  The judiciary should not be subject to the whims of current thinking.  They must be of studied character, dispassionate, and moreover taken to, at any time and in any situation, question everything they have ever believed or known.  All assumptions must be abolished and the building reconstructed piece by piece slowly and deliberately, like the slow moving hour hand. 

Or I could be wrong.  I dunno.

Why China / Russia / Middle East / Insert-your-boogie-man-here is Not Going to Destroy You and Never Could

Frequently I write up responses to things that interest me or pursue a
thought that pops into my head during the day. More often than not, I
write it up in a hurry, reread it, and discard it. Occassionally, I go
back and check out the drivel that I had written and think, "Hey that’s
not so bad, why did I throw it away. Good thing I saved it." This is
one such occassion, and the theme a recurring one. China’s growing
economic might and progress. Chinese technology

Go ahead and read it. It’ll sound about the same as every other
thinly veiled awestruck/fearstruck warning to the western world, to
"get off yer duff and take these bastards seriously, or they’ll run the
world in a few decades, while you and your familly drown in your own
excrement." You’ll find things like, "There are 300 million cell phone
users in China." "If even 10% of the Chinese population did _blank_
then that would turn the word market for _blank_ on its ear." They
always talk passingly about "our market opportunity" but belie it with
"if only China would open its doors to the west." Sprinkle in "human
rights," "nuclear weapons," and "communism" and you’ve got the makings
of a nice little pseudo cold war in the brewing, a nice sun brewed ice
cold war.

You see, our problem is that we are really afraid of China, but
it’s not just China. Before them (or concurrently) it was Russia.
Before that, it was the Vietnamese, Native-Americans. Before that, it
was the Turks… It’s always somebody, and hindsight has always proven
our fear was all for naught.

So, back to China. What was it about this article that irked me? –
Cell phone users – I got this image in my head of 300 million folks
walking around with little black gadgets stuck to their heads. I see
them, a sea of thin, slight, Chinese people hustling and bustling with
little portable hot-pocket roasters yibber yabbering away about
important stuff concerning world affairs and their plans for global
domination and our own subsequent subjugation.

Unfortunately, their plans are probably more in line with, do you know
who X has a crush on, or did you get the new album by X, or hon, pick
up some rice on the way home from the office, or hi, mom, the phone
company told me that it would be another ten years (or never) before
they extended service to our area, so I just got this cell phone.

So people aren’t doing anything but using these cellphones to perform
the same things that you or I do in the same circumstances. But what if
the Chinese dumped cell phones onto our markets, got a lock on the
global cell phone market, why, they could… hello? These are cell
phones, people!! These are communication devices. Like ALL tech, it
doesn’t have the ability to DO squat by itself. It can’t invent
anything new. It can’t create. It can’t motivate. It can’t thrust. It
is a TOOL, a tool for people, subject to their follies, their
strengths, their weaknesses. A cell phone cannot DO anything to you. It
cannot change your way of life. It cannot subjugate you. Unless…

And that brings me to another point. If technology is essentially
impotent, what CAN China possibly do with it or any other piece of
technology they acquire? The short answer is this: What their president
tells them to do.

We should not fear a people without true freedom, for it is the most
important attribute of success. One person cannot make decisions for 2
billion people. He can’t even begin to comprehend the lives of his
living relatives. The only way China can succeed in any lasting way is
if they are free to pursue their inalienable rights of life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness. Will they pursue folly? Sure. Will they
do great things? Sure. Will they be a threat to us? Surely not.

Why Bush Won

This whole election thing has gotten to me. Here in Puerto Rico,
the sure bet win for the Statehood party (PNP – Partido
Nuevo Progresista
) candidate Pedro Roselló was
basically in the bag… only the bag had a hole in it. The Puerto
Rico Independence party (PIP – Partido
Independentista Puertorriqueño
), fearful of moving
toward statehood for Puerto Rico, whored themselves… err… pooled
their votes and voted for the Commonwealth Party (PPD – Partido
Popular Democrático
) candidate. As of this morning,
the final results are not in, but it’s looking bad for our candidate.
Sigh, it’s got me depressed. Do you people live on the same planet
as I do? Are you blind to the way Puerto Rico has fallen apart in
the last four years?

I did my part though. I did my civic duty. Laura and I were
election officials and we tallied and counted and certified the
results for our voting unit. We were part of the process, and it was
fair as far our little corner was concerned. I trust that it was
equally fair throughout the island as well.

What more could we have done?

As for the national US election, being residents of a US
Commonwealth, I may not vote even though I was born there, lived my
entire life there, and am an officer in the US Army Reserve. If I
lived abroad in any other country, including Israel, Britain, France,
Germany, Brazil etc, I would be able to vote absentee in the last
state in which I resided. This would remain true even if I were
never to return, nor had any intention of returning to the US. But
since I live in Puerto Rico, I have no vote, no voice.

Still, I followed the US election with much interest. Puerto Rico
is still governed by the mainland just as if we were a state… but
we have no vote in Congress or the Senate. Was I Bushie, or was I
for Kerry? I would have been one of the famous undecideds – up
until Monday night, when I decided I would cast a ballot for Kerry if
given the chance. I finally came to the conclusion that Kerry was
just smarter, more prudent, and less of a loose canon than our
current President. Kerry, in my mind, was the more respectful
candidate, the more thoughtful candidate, more of a consensus
builder, more a team player. Bush on the other hand, seemed to
appeal to Americans’ fear, fear of gays, fear of terrorists, fear of
loss of religious values. I am particularly worried by his “Mission
Accomplished” attitude, by his recklessness, his smugness, his
bully pulpit from which he feels ordained to bring religion and
government together, one nation under God. Gives me shivers.

This I decided coldly without hatred, without malice. I decided
it with my mind. I drew it out and calculated pros and cons.

But there was this incongruity, something for which I was not
prepared. As I watched the returns, I kept sub-consciously rooting
for Bush states. There was this little voice that kept saying,
“Whee!” and when a state fell Kerry’s way, I felt a tiny
little twinge of pain. From where do you spring to strike me, I wailed,
thrashing at the dark shadows that assailed me. I have decided with
my rational mind to vote for Kerry, but there was a sweetness from
Bush victories.

I reflected upon my pain and joy, and it brought me back a week, a
week in which the team of my youth, the St. Louis Cardinals faced off
with the hapless Boston Red Sox, a team with a very long dry spell
for world series titles. I said to myself, “I’m a Cardinal,
but I hope the Red Sox win. They deserve it. I hope the curse
ends.” I didn’t really care though, I tried to convince
myself, but I kept checking online and flicking to the channel to see how the Sox were doing. If I
was honest with myself, I could tell my heart was rooting for the
Cardinals. Every time Boston would score a run, I felt the pain, the
disappointment. Come on, let’s get this thing going, I would
secretly hope. When the Sox clinched it in four games, my mouth
said, good, but there was this dry lump there stuck in my throat. It
would have been nice to have made a series out of it, gone to seven
games, but hell – good for them. But my heart was crying, a
little depressed for the loss of the team of my youth.

So it was last night and today with Bush and Kerry. I still say
Kerry would have been a better president, but my heart keeps rooting
for Bush. What the hell is it that has hijacked my subconscious?

Politics is a contest for the Strong-man. I think it secretly
appeals to us. The high gentlemanly road is seldom traveled by the
strong-man. The strong-man consistently beats his chest in the
jungles below, battling tigers, getting bloody, and growling in surly
unintelligible tones (note Bush’s debate performances). He is
beating up on his opponent, hitting him below the belt, attacking,
attacking, attacking. The opponent traveling the high road has been
waylaid by our marauder… and we cheer. Damn that son-of-a-bitch is
tough. Did you see that, we whisper to each other. That fellow
didn’t stand a chance. Sure the low blow was ugly, and we winched
feeling the pain of the high-minded fellow cupping his ‘nads in his
hands.

Bush won because politicos are nothing more than alpha males,
strong-men who rise to the top not for their big ideas, their
compassion, duty, service, high ideals, or academic vision. They get
there because they defeat their opponents with clubs, and sticks, and
rocks, and in any manner with whatever tool or whatever deception.
It’s the ultimate fighting championship in the political arena, a no
holds barred, knock-down drag-out, brawl where the winner is decided
by who pummeled whom into a bloody pulp. Do we kind of fear the
winner a little? Do we like the winner? Does our mind tell us that
this is the person we want leading the country? Or do our little
monkey hearts beat faster with exhilaration as we scream and screech
throwing up our arms and dancing upon the bloodied corpse of John
Kerry?

We love a strong-man, it exhilarates us in ways we can’t control,
can’t reign in, can’t comprehend. And they know it, damn them.

Protection Welfare State

When did the Republican party become the anti-intellectual party, hmmm?

When did we get associated with brain dead policies and never
admitting a mistake, skyrocketting deficits, and religious wacko, quasi
fascist, morons? When did this all happen, because I didn’t get the
memo.

I want to help the poor, but I don’t want to JUST take care of them.
Entitled living can lead to even bigger problems down the line as we’ve
seen. A deep seated sense of entitlement is the biggest soul draining
evil the modern world has ever known… and it sneaks up on ya, get’s
in there slowly, and before you know it you start demanding that your
gub-ment protect you from, Big Macs, dirty cigarettes, rude comments,
and terrorists. Send the poor and lower middle class to shoot the
bastards. I deserve this SUV.

Protect ME, dammit. I deserve it!!

When did this happen? When did EVEN the Republican party become such
a federalist morass of "Don’t worry ’bout nutin’. We’ll take CARE of
them, and we’ll take care of YOU," while we happily shop at Wal-mart
and whine that the government isn’t doing ENOUGH to protect me and my
children.

We need more power to take care of you. We need need more money to
take care of you. We need more wiretapping to take care of you. We need
more bombs to take care of you. We need more government, bigger
government to take care of you.

What happened to "We the People"? I guess it’s now "We the
Government." So instead of shrinking welfare, Bush and crew now have
the whole country on it, a sort of "protection welfare." In fact,
that’s what I’m going to call it. Protection Welfare. Now we’re all in
it, and we think we are entitled to it.

Has anyone stopped to ask if I want those idiots to take care of me?
I don’t need them to take care of me. I don’t expect it. I reject it.
And I reject it because it makes me lazy, robs me of my volition,
steals my thunder.

Do people need a helping hand every once in a while? Sure we do, but
we are not entitled to it. We should be thankful for any help we
receive and try to repay it in kind, because it is a gift from our
fellow citizens.  We don’t deserve anything, except maybe a peaceful eternal rest.

Why Rumsfeld is going Down.

smug_bastard.jpgI watched the testimony and questioning of Secretary Rumsfeld today
and it became crystal clear to me that his people just dropped his
pants. Either he’s not paying attention to what’s going on, or he’s
pissing people off who could be his friends. Somebody leaked this
investigation. Maybe he wasn’t managing the situation closely enough,
and it just "got out", or his people decided that going over his head
to the public would embarrass him. Either way it shows a failure of
leadership and he’s got to go.

When I was mobilized in Puerto Rico there were numerous
problems with the facilities, training, and planning. Even before my
unit had gotten there, there were news stories about the conditions,
strict restrictions on free time, and severe morale problems. After
having had the pleasure of spending a few weeks there, and hearing
about soldiers vandalizing toilets and showers, I became convinced it
was a failure of leadership. Demming said that 85% of your problems are
management and only 15% come from labor. This to me was never clearer
when the commander of the brigade showed up one day to "lay down the
law" to all of the bad little soldiers who weren’t playing nice. He
promptly got back into his car and drove his fat ass home to his cozy
house. My point is this: soldiers will endure the harshest conditions,
the strictest rules, and the worst possible conditions if they know
their leadership cares, is in it with them, and will sacrifice
everything for them.

Good officers know soldiers are the ones who fight, are the
ones who sacrifice, and are the ones who die. They are the point of the
sword. We officers wield it. Would we blame the sword for our pathetic
failures? The sword was too heavy. The sword wasn’t sharp enough. The
sun was in my eyes. I’ve heard it all, and you know what? It’s a poor
officer, Secretary of Defense, or President who blames soldiers for
problems.

It should tatooed on the heads of all leaders: "My
success is due to this fine sword. These is no equal to it in all the
world." and conversely: "My failure is mine alone. I did not do honor
to this sword. In more capable hands it would have yielded victory."

The failures in Iraq go all the way to the top. They go all the
way to the cowboys in charge, who believe a big sword makes them
somebody. It is the unconquerable soul of man, and not nature of the weapon he uses, that ensures victory.

And Secretary Rumsfeld does not understand that the sword HE
wields is a human sword. The sword is not made of metal, Apache’s,
F-16’s, Strykers, or any other technological "magic bullet." He has
forgotten, throughout his rampaging through the defense department, who
he works for, who’s the one fighting the war, who’s the one dying. He’s
forgotten, pissed off, trampled, belittled, and made a mockery of the
entire military.

And they fucked him. They fucked him hard.

Soldier’s will do that to you when you don’t have their respect.
Sure, heads will roll for not, "keeping this in-house,", but you can be
sure there’s an officer worth his salt staring Rumsfeld down saying,
"You can take me down, but I got you, you bastard. I got you!"

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