As we remember the fallen, think about those who may…

May 31, 2010

As we observe Memorial Day, the old Decoration Day, we are supposed to be honoring all the military service people (well maybe even civilians) who died in our many wars.

And I think that is a good thing — as far as it goes.

I’m not the first one to come up with this (I think Andy Rooney mentioned this Sunday evening), but the best way we could honor them is to figure out a way around war so others would not have to die in the future.

War as an instrument of government policy should be outdated by now, except for those instances in which a nation is faced with no other choice because it is directly attacked.  And then only to fend off the attackers or keep them from further attack, but not to remake the world or recreate whole societies.

It seems that in recent times a large number of those who set policy and who seem to support war have never served in the military or fought war (I didn’t say all).

And I’ve touched on this issue before, but I firmly believe that if the military draft were in effect today, we likely would not be in armed conflict anywhere.

Currently there is the threat that the Korean War, which ended as a hot war in the early 50s, could flare up again with the latest provocations from North Korea. I read some articles, though, in the New York Times that indicated South Koreans have mixed emotions on how to respond. There seems to be some reluctance to go to war, although some are starting to feel the dictatorship in the North is pushing too hard.

But the sentence that jumped out at me was this one:

“And in country where all fit young men must spend two years in the military, ‘chicken hawks’ are much harder to come by than in America.”

Noting the ambivalence of many South Koreans on the prospect of going to war, an author of an opinion piece concluded by writing:

“It would be counter productive if Washington were to look more interested in punishing North Korea than the injured party.” (B.R. Myers, director of international studies, Dongseo University, Busan, Korea)

And that’s kind of the way I feel.

But I appreciate the sacrifice of those who did their duty. They did not make the policy that put them in the position of having to do that duty.

We should not only remember those who died in the past, or those who have died recently, but those who face that prospect by the minute as they serve in the Middle East today.

I don’t have much good to say about our modern wars in which there seems to be no clear purpose or strategy to win. But I respect the effort being made by those doing their duty nonetheless.

If it were up to me (and it is not) we would use all force possible and get it done.

The decision to go to war should be one made only after no other course seems possible. Once made there should be no holding back, and the whole nation should sacrifice.

But let’s do take some time to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. And then let’s take even more time to figure out a way of preventing future generations (our children, our grandchildren) from going down the same path.

Advertisements

Mixed messages in the continuing Gulf of Mexico oil disaster; Obama should address American people directily (past news conferences) …

May 29, 2010

UPDATE: So what now? plan C or D? (I can’t keep track) The top kill and junk shot techniques have not worked, so now BP will try once more to cap the underwater well that is spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but that could take up to a week, it was reported Saturday evening. And still no solid feeling that the United States government is really on top of something that should be considered national emergency number one at the current time.

———————

Short of war, the BP Gulf oil disaster may become the longest running news story on record. Just checked the web and the news was that once again efforts to plug the underwater gusher have been halted. It seems that throwing mud and cement and golf balls and everything but the kitchen sink into the hole is not yet doing the trick.

Meanwhile, millions of gallons of oil are polluting thousands of square miles of the Gulf of Mexico and the threat is that it will spread as the result of the BP underwater oil well blowout. And scientists are saying that underwater plumes of oil are posing an invisible or hidden threat as well.

But the messages in all this are mixed (beyond oil and water). Even though residents of the areas affected so far in Louisiana desperately call for help and blame President Obama for not acting quickly and forcefully enough, there are also concerns expressed that a shut down of offshore oil drilling would endanger the area’s economy, just like the oil spill at sea endangers it too.

And while Republicans (well not all) claimed George W. Bush did what was called for during the Katrina incident, and Democrats (and others) claim he did not, now Republicans are criticizing Obama for not doing enough (and so do many Democrats), while Obama claims he has been in charge of the emergency response from day one.

While conservatives rail against big government, some of them now take the opportunity to criticize Obama (whom they see as liberal) for not using all the power of big government to deal with the emergency, and while they are usually against big government interfering with business, many think he ought to take over the emergency effort from BP, which is seen as not acting quickly or effectively enough.

I also read a column by one of those writers who makes it his profession to oppose nearly all things Obama criticizing his moratorium on new offshore drilling. He said that restrictions on offshore drilling closer to the coastlines, but somewhat safer because they are in shallower water, and on-land drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge is what has prompted drilling further out to sea and a mile deep into the ocean where things are harder to control, as BP was doing, and where, indeed, they can’t yet control things.

And while we hear the cries of devastation to beaches (resort areas) and ecologically valuable and sensitive wetlands, we also hear the complaints that while only three beaches on the Gulf are affected right now, all the negative news has discouraged tourists throughout the Gulf region to the detriment of the tourist trade.

And the fishing industry in the Gulf is shut down and in peril of being destroyed forever or for at least a generation.

Although Obama made his second trip to the Gulf Friday, he was immediately criticized by some for not staying longer and still not sounding all that convincing that he is on top of things and is in charge — even though he said he is in charge and is willing to take the blame — the buck stops here and all — in the response.

Meanwhile, BP had stopped the top kill efforts, for 16 hours, as I understand it, to shut down the underwater gusher and no one outside of BP, not even the government, it seemed was aware of it. It was also reported that BP put on a show of white-jump suited for-hire clean up workers on the beach when Obama was present and then sent them home once he had gone (BP subsequently vowed the cleaners would be back in the morning, it was reported).

But from what I am hearing and reading, I get the impression BP is still leading the government around by the nose.

As I blog this, this thing has been going on for more than five weeks and although the top kill and junk shot techniques BP is said to be using now — pouring mud and cement and golf balls and old tires and stuff down the hole — may be working (well I just learned they are not at this time), they may also not be and it might all go on until August when it is said the relief wells could be finished — or it might go on for decades (at least one scientist I heard said).

We’ve all learned a lot. We’ve learned that the governmental agencies, most notably the Minerals and Mining Management Agency (or whatever it is called) is corrupt with inspectors taking payoffs and with personnel going back and forth in employment between the industry and government. We’ve found that BP went out and drilled a mile deep without enough knowledge or even concern as to what to do should it hit a gusher and things got out of control. We’ve found out that no one was in charge and no one knew what to do on that Deep Horizon oil platform (well that’s what the headlines said) on which eleven men were killed. That’s not a criticism of the poor workers (and it’s a dangerous job and accidents will happen). It’s an indictment of BP, notorious for playing fast and loose with safety procedures and environmental concerns over the years.

But let’s get back to the big government thing. Very few people would say they are in favor of “big government”. But in a disaster, suddenly big government becomes desirable, a necessity. But how do you just create big government suddenly when you need it.

And in a world where we still value wealth and comfort and status over everything else, corruption flourishes.

I am fortunate to currently live in a place in Northern California far away from oil spills and to have one of the best views of nature anywhere in the world.

But the money-first pave-everything-over crowd is always ready to destroy it all.

And if they got their way, too many people locally would support them under the mantra: “We must have jobs”.

And one more thing, there are reports that some are getting sick in the cleanup efforts, presumably from the oil and oil mixed with toxic chemical dispersant.

I am not at all convinced that we have to spoil our nest to survive — that seems sort of a contradiction anyway.

P.s.

Just what does it take to get Barack Obama excited? And why doesn’t the leader of the world’s only superpower take it directly to BP (in person)? He should demand that the CEO meet with him (summon him, so to speak) and there should be a photo op of both of them together. And Obama should take that opportunity to say (demonstrate) that he really is in charge. I also think a television address directly to the people (aside from a news conference) on this one would be in order and quite valuable.

P.s. P.s.

I realize there is some reluctance by Obama, probably, to take complete ownership of this thing because then when things go from bad to worse he takes all the blame and it also might leave BP and out in future legal claims — but the facts are plain to see — it is all BP’s fault and liability, but the government has to be there to protect the interests, the life of the people.

OH, AND HAVE A NICE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!


Homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly in the military; they have to behave themselves just as others must…

May 28, 2010

With the prospect of homosexuals, or gays as they are now called, being allowed to serve openly in the military getting closer to a reality as the result of a favorable congressional vote this week (but not in the law yet and more procedures to go through), I have some thoughts on the subject.

It seems to me that the time has come for this. Society as a whole over the past decade in particular has become quite tolerant of the fact that some, well quite a few, in fact, of its members are homosexual. Not just the people themselves, but the whole issue is out of the closet if you will.

You don’t have to be a doctor or have a degree in psychology to make the simple observation that some people are just born with their sexual orientation wired different from the standard boy/girl relationship model.

I know at least two guys who probably think of themselves as macho men. One of them has a gay son and one a gay daughter. Both of them probably tried to deny it at first, but then realized what is what is and accepted it (whether they personally like it or not). They love their own offspring because they are their own blood.

And for those who oppose the whole idea of someone being homosexual on religious grounds, I like the notion that would mean they are questioning God’s own creation. And again, I really think that since the whole idea of admitting that so many people are homosexual around us has come into fashion (like I said, over the past decade), most people now realize from their own observation of family members or friends and acquaintances that people are born that way. As far as being influenced by other gays, I would only think that might have an effect if one had some inborn gay tendencies already.

While back a decade or more for people to be openly gay in the military might have hurt morale (or seem to have)  in what had been essentially a he-man or all boys club with females serving only in support roles and in totally separate units and quarters, things are different today. The military is more integrated with women (they’ve even been okayed to serve on submarines).

So why can’t gays serve openly? It is behavior on the part of individuals that should be watched, and would be regardless of sexual orientation. What I mean is if a soldier or sailor or marine was doing something untoward or improper with or against another individual, disciplinary action, to include involuntary discharge from the service, would be in order.

The recruits of today have grown up in a world where homosexuality is accepted as a fact of life (by the vast majority).

No one would suggest that superiors, or even just individual service members, forcing or urging others to practice a homosexual lifestyle would be proper and in fact anyone would suggest that such would be wrong.

I suppose some might think that there could be improper sexual activity going on in field and combat or in barracks situations. To that I could only say such has been a fact of life forever. Soldiers in and outside war have been involved in illicit sexual behavior and have raped women. There always has to be enforcement against improper and illegal behavior, regardless of the homosexual issue.

The current don’t ask, don’t tell policy in which known or rather obvious homosexuals are allowed to serve just as long as they lie either outright or by omission of the truth about being homosexual but can be booted out at any time if word slips out is both absurd and costly in loss of personnel and training costs.

If it could be proved (and it could not I think) homosexuals actually imperil the services, then they should not be allowed to serve at all.

But the idea that if they simply keep quiet about their sexual orientation others will not realize the truth and will be saved from dangerous influences is also absurd on its face.


Obama makes his case on oil disaster; I set my own record straight…

May 27, 2010

UPDATE:  It’s on again for the top kill technique of dumping mud and cement down the hole to plug the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, it is now being reported (7:21 p.m. PST). It had been halted for some time due to technical reasons. I don’t plan to keep updating this blog post by the hour, but I was surfing the web and saw the news — if you have not read this post, please do. I have some thoughts on the subject:

————————- 

Just watching — still am listening to questions and answers — President Barack Obama’s address to the nation about what he is doing about the BP Gulf oil leak disaster. He presented a pretty good case that the federal government has been in charge and he has been on it from day one and that everything is being done that can be done. And he allowed as how his administration is not perfect and some mistakes were made.

———————–

ADD 1:  I think commentator David Gergen described Obama’s address as a little flat and low keyed. And I have to say it seems that Obama as president tends to be deliberate in his actions and plays the role to some extent as a consensus builder — I’m not sure this works so well in a big time emergency. I’d rather have someone with the attitude (if not the way of thinking) of the late “I’m in charge” Gen. Alexander Haig. Obama the candidate was a little more forceful and single minded.

Obama’s cautiousness and pragmatism may be good for long-range policy making but no so good for immediate action. And despite his claims to the contrary today, it does not seem that the government took full charge from the beginning. But in the end, actions will speak louder than words.

———————————————-

It’s pretty apparent from just following the news day to day — and what are we? a month and a week or more past the beginning of the disaster? that everyone was caught off guard.

—————————-

CORRECTION/CLARIFICATION:  And for anyone who reads this blog regularly, I want to note that I had in a previous blog questioned the legal jurisdiction in the incident and even suggested it was in international waters. More careful checking — which was only a click to Wikipedia away — tells me that it was some 40 miles off shore and in U.S. territorial waters, and clearly the news has indicated from the start that the U.S. assumes jurisdiction. Thank you.

———————-

Obama admitted that there were deep flaws in government environmental and safety oversight, and of course that has been the case long before he took office.

He also said that although he is placing a moratorium on new offshore drilling he still believes the nation has to continue offshore drilling to meet its energy needs, but the disaster points to the fact it needs to work harder on developing alternative energy.

My personal feeling is that offshore drilling should be halted — it’s not worth the environmental risk. But polling shows that feeling is not shared by a majority of the electorate — and maybe they are more practical-minded that I.

It is strange that some on the right who complain about an overbearing government are now calling for bigger and bolder action by the government. It shows how disingenuous they are and what lengths they will go to oppose the middle and the left and Obama.

I’ll blog more on this and other things later today — I hope.


Has Obama met his Katrina? And real political change has to come from outside the establishment…

May 26, 2010

Is Barack Obama offering real change? To some extent, maybe. But his change, especially his inability to handle the Gulf oil spill crisis, is making his change look  too much like the same old same old Bush W methodology — he’s doing a heck of a job.

The measure of a leader is what he can do in a crisis. And in this Gulf oil disaster Obama is not particularly having his finest hour. In some ways it seems like this is his Katrina. I’d have to go back and look at the actual time line, but as I recall, we first heard that there had been an explosion on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf. There were casualties, eleven dead, but the first reports quoting experts assured us all that there was no sign of oil escaping. But maybe there should have been contingency plans in the advent that it was (and it was). Apparently there were not. That of course is primarily the fault of BP, but the federal government certainly should have had plans and realized the potential and immediately took charge and made sure something was done post haste. The response was rather slow (despite Obama administration claims) and the government let BP control the information and action, puting itself and all of us at the giant oil corporation’s mercy.

Of course Obama can’t immediately fix everything wrong in government left over from previous administrations. One big problem is that the agency or agencies that oversee oil and mining and such on land and sea are rife with corruption. We now find out that many of the inspections done on offshore oil rigs were phony — the industry did them itself and the paid-off bureaucrats signed off on them. It’s even been reported that BP took a shortcut in drilling the mile-deep Deep Horizon well by throwing sea water into it instead of mud as it was supposed to (profits before safety) . And this is what we get. But maybe if Obama was not so busy apologizing to our enemies or at least people who don’t like us and trying to rebuild a nation (Afghanistan) that resists rebuilding, he would have more time to take care of things at home.

During the Katrina fiasco, Bush just did not seem to care. It was not worth his time to help a bunch of poor people down in New Orleans who probably did not and would not vote for him and his party. In Obama’s case, I am sure he cares, but there seems to be something missing. The fact is that no one really knows what to do to stop that leak (they were still dithering this morning, more than a month after the thing began), and that is not the president’s fault.

————————————– 

UPDATE: a so-called top kill procedure began at 1 p.m. central time today (5-26-10) in which BP is essentially throwing mud and concrete down the hole in an attempt to plug it up but its CEO was only giving the gambit a 60 percent or so chance to work. Meanwhile I just heard  a report that the oil gushing out (millions of gallons so far) is becoming darker and presumably more toxic. It is said they might not know for days if this is working, and if not, efforts to dig relief wells would not be done until August. There is also talk of using a convoy of tankers to suck up the oil — seems like that would be hard to keep up.

——————–

But Obama needs to be more visible in marshaling the forces that can put their heads together and figure out what to do. He does not need to be anti-business or anti oil but he needs to be pro-American.

This Gulf oil disaster, with the fishery of the Gulf in peril (maybe already ruined), and the coastline and wetlands of Louisiana being devastated and the potential for far wider environmental and economic damage, needs to take priority over things such as Afghanistan where we are currently wasting blood and treasure.

And again, Obama’s change seems like more of the same. While he came in sweet-talking the Islamic world of the Middle East, he’s got the nation mired deeper than ever in the war over there.

He did not do away with torture and he continued the bank bailouts and while health care is listed as his greatest success so far, it really remains to be seen. And the housing crisis continues along with high unemployment.

Real political change may have to come from something other than the establishment.

While I hate to break down all politics to left and right, or liberal (progressive has become the modern euphemism) and conservative, I have to think that while in 2008 we essentially got change (supposedly) from the left in the presidential election, next time around it may come from the right or even more likely from something that is neither.

(And by the way, even though “liberal” has been attached to the Democrats and while liberals nowadays like to call themselves “progressives“, didn’t the “progressive” term start with Republican Teddy Roosevelt? Or at least in that era? Back then the Republicans wanted clean government and instituted civil service to replace the spoils system, while Democrats seemed to prefer machine politics that got votes by handing out jobs).

If the economy does not improve substantially, in the presidential election of 2012 or even the congressional elections next fall we might get real change (though not necessarily change for the better).

There are a lot of other issues other than the economy — defense, war policy, illegal immigration, gay rights (I prefer really to say homosexual rights, but the word gay has been ruined for decades now — it used to just mean happy), the environment (BP spill, a good example), and so on, but the economy or the perception of the economy usually takes center stage in elections.

I thought it was strange Al Gore not only lost due to an electoral college technicality but did not win by a landslide, seeing as how he would have presumably continued the relative prosperity under Bill Clinton — but I guess people did not know the bottom was going to fall out and so they thought they could afford to express their disgust with Clinton’s outrageous lack of judgment and morals (and I can understand their disgust).

But unless my memory fails me, the economy helped George W. Bush, one of our most obviously dull witted presidents, win two terms, even while it had ruined his dad’s (a far brighter bulb) chance for a second term.

I still think the vast majority of the electorate remains essentially middle of the road — it just tends to swing a little left and a little right at times.

But things are so bad (even though there are some signs of economic improvement here and there) and the corruption and ineffectiveness of government so great, that the electorate is liable to swing back to the right or something that is not the traditional right, but is not left.

The tea party movement and its faction of libertarians and the stray bigots and nut cases add another element that does not exactly fit into the familiar liberal/conservative paradigms.

While I doubt the new element can gain much strength in government by itself, I do believe it can have, or has had successes with individual candidates and I really believe it can have a major impact on the actions of the establishment, whose professional politicians are fighting for their survival. Since the tea party still seems to be closer to the Republicans, that party, the GOP, is particularly vulnerable to its influence.

The libertarian element really offers a challenge to the establishment who can only think in left and right terms because it is left and right or right and left at the same time.

In addition, hard-core tea baggers threaten to oppose the entire establishment to include Republicans and Democrats.

Both the Republicans and Democrats, who have had a stranglehold on politics since the Civil War, are facing insurrections within their own parties as well as a challenge from what amounts to a quasi third party, the tea party. In some respects the tea party will remain stronger if it remains tea party lower case instead of becoming an official party with membership and bylaws and a written platform and its name on the ballot, as in Tea Party. It’s hard to fight a challenger you can’t quite identify.

While I think there are regressive and racial overtones and outright idiots within the ranks of the challengers, overall I still feel this new movement of change (different from the Obama change) is a healthy development for our democracy.

Presumably candidates on the national level will still have to appeal to the broader electorate, so that is a safety mechanism.

On the other hand, if the establishment keeps failing and desperation is too acute, extremists could get the upper hand.


As oil gushes underwater all the Energy Secretary knows is what he reads in the papers (he said that)

May 25, 2010

Asked why or whether new offshore drilling permits were being issued even as the Gulf oil spill (leak,underwater gusher) moves into its second month, and more importantly, even after President Obama placed a moratorium on offshore drilling, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu could only answer — “all I know is what I read in the papers”. Well that might have been amusing when Will Rogers said it. But when the Secretary of Energy says it and makes subsequent remarks that indicate he really means it, I think we might be in trouble. The bureaucracy is getting in the way of getting things done or maybe the moratorium was more an exercise in politics and its enforcement is made impossible by devious use of semantics.

I just heard the secretary on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.

He said flat out that he was not aware if permits were still being issued, but that he personally thought they should not be. He admitted to his host that he only found out about the issue of the permits by “reading the same story you did in the New York Times”.

Now quite frankly I did not read that story when I first saw it on the web — I just read the headline. Then after reading the story after I heard them talking about it I found out that part of the problem may be different interpretations within the Interior Department as to what the moratorium includes. There was some indication that the permits were for existing, not new wells.

Also many environmental waivers on offshore drilling, to include in the Gulf, have been issued since the moratorium, according to the story. That does not seem smart to me since everyone admits, and it is obvious, that no one knows what to do in this current disaster.

While there is some pressure for the U.S. government to just take over the operation to plug the leak, the problem it has been brought out is that our own government does not know what to do and does not have the total resources anyway. It is dependent upon the cooperation and resources of BP.  As I blogged before, BP has the government over a barrel on this one — to some extent anyway.

I watch too much TV. But Chris Matthews says we are at the mercy of BP because we have allowed another corporation to get “too big to fail”.

And here’s something that’s bothered me and to which I have not found an answer. This BP rig is in international waters, as I understand it. How is the jurisdiction decided on this?  UPDATE:  (5-27-10)   And though the magic of the computer I can go back in time now and correct and/or clarify those last two sentences. Now as I understand it the leaking underwater well is 41 miles off the U.S. coast and is in U.S. territorial waters. I got a little too much in a hurry to post and a little lazy in my fact checking. 

P.s.

Energy Secretary Chu is highly intelligent, a Nobel Prize winner, and seems like a nice guy dedicated to his job — but gee, saying “all I know is what I read in the papers?” Couldn’t he have inspired a little more confidence?


Tea party a description more than a party; maybe we need an Eisenhower

May 23, 2010

The tea party is not a political party. It’s more of a description of a loose-knit movement of people fed up with government as usual. For sure it seems to spout so-called conservative values, but I imagine a lot of its followers do not necessarily agree with each other on details and, in fact, do not think in details.

But they see the current government as ineffective, or perhaps too effective when it tries to micro-manage human behavior and the conduct of private business.

The economy is in a shambles, taxes are too high (even if we are told they have come down), the national debt spirals further and further out of control even as the public is made to feel shamed because of its profligate ways with the credit cards and mortgages and other forms of borrowing.

The sad part is that the tea party has no plan. Even if it got a whole new slate into office it would likely soon see that the new slate will not have the answers and will not be able to agree with each other.

The tea party will also find that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely — and did I get that right?

But tea party standard bearer and Republican Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul — the real maverick it turns out  —   with his libertarian-type ideas is at least a  breath of fresh air, even if some of what he comes up with sounds a bit outrageous.

Maybe if we put the libertarians in charge we could start all over again.

In an article I read in the Saturday Wall Street Journal, Paul was quoted as saying that the country essentially moved to the socialist way of doing things after 1937 (FDR era). But that same article quoted a spokesman for the libertarian Cato Institute as saying people, to include modern libertarians, have come to take some form of government environmental (water) and consumer safety (children’s toys) protections and civil rights for granted and would not want to return to the pre-1937 world. What professors (on the right and left) argue and how people really live or want to live are two different things.

So even if  the electorate were to follow Paul’s libertarianism, they might eventually realize they did not all grow up to be doctors living off the bills their patients pay via Medicare (the dreaded socialism). They might decide they need things from government and they would throw out the libertarians or ultra conservatives.

Personally I like middle of the road with a dose of libertarianism, particularly when it comes to personal freedom.

But no one seems to get excited by middle of the road. I think New York times columnist David Brooks said something like moderates have failed to have their own agenda so they’ve forced themselves into siding with the right or left. (That’s why there is no such thing as a Republican moderate. The last one (Arlen Specter) turned Democrat and got canned.

I don‘t know if we‘ve had a liberal president since Franklin Roosevelt — well I guess LBJ with his Great Society welfare programs — but Barack Obama will do for now, even though he seems in so many ways to be centrist. I’m not sure we’ve had a true conservative either. Ronald Reagan is said to have been (but not really), and the Bushes tried to be (but I don’t think it was really in their hearts).

But those whom I said were not really conservative voted or worked against a lot of liberal stuff just so they wouldn’t be tagged liberal (something akin to being called communist or socialist).

But once the electorate has had its fill of what it perceives as liberalism and then goes to the opposite extreme and finds that does not work either, the only thing left will be middle of the road.

Was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower middle of the road? Let’s go back to the 50s (unless you are black, or homosexual, or a woman who wants working at the kitchen stove to be an option rather than a foregone conclusion).

But seriously. We need an Eisenhower-like figure at the top and maybe even going down the ladder too. Maybe I mean centrist or maybe I mean statesmanlike or maybe I just mean people who are not too obviously full of themselves and not just out for fame or fortune or just to do the bidding of elite cronies (Reagan? the Bushes?), but who are leaders nonetheless.

P.s.

I heard Rand Paul say in an interview that he was not really the libertarian his Dad is, but from what I have heard him say he seems to believe is some form of libertarianism. And his dad, Ron Paul, although officially a Republican, is Mr. Libertarian.

I’m fascinated with libertarians because while being conservative is fiscal matters and matters of private property, unlike conventional American conservatives, they don’t want to regulate personal behavior and fight foreign wars. But the way Rand Paul reads it, they don’t want government to bug BP for ruining the ecosystem and causing economic havoc. And he also thinks a private business should be able to discriminate. Actually I could see his point to a degree on that one. If I ran, say, a restaurant and I felt a person or persons might cause trouble or upset my regular clientele, I might want to discriminate. But it is not practical in a free society as most envision it today to carry on that way. And I recall that a good number of Republicans voted against the 1964 Civil Rights bill (yes, I realize Rand Paul seems to say he supports the act — just not its outcome??). The Party of Lincoln (Republican) who freed the slaves had found it politically expedient by the 1960s to side with those who wanted a right to not serve blacks (or negroes as they called them then).

But as usual, I digress.

——————

Correction:

To the extent I have regular followers of this blog, a guilty conscience compels me to admit I failed to use or heed my spell check and mangled the word ophthalmologist in a recent post. Hopefully I’ll remember how to spell that word from now on, or at least to look it up.

Clarification:

Since the tea party is not a formal organization (although I guess there are some formalized local groups here and there) I’m having a hard time figuring out whether to capitalize it as a proper noun, as in Tea Party, or lower case it as a common noun, as in tea party. I would think the tea party movement would be lower case, but if it becomes a formal organization or some type of recognized political force (which it might be) it would be Tea Party —   what do you think?