Ron Paul has an intriguing story…

February 6, 2012

I’m not on the Ron Paul bandwagon by any means. I’m relatively sure he does not stand a chance of ever becoming president either.

But his story is intriguing. I don’t know how much is left out, though.

But I just read a piece in the New York Times about where his political principles came from and how he has held to them through the years.

He’s all for bringing back the gold standard and of course against the Fed. According to the story he’s done quite nicely, made millions by investing in gold and silver and mining companies.

And he has sound advice for young people: learn a trade. It’s your best protection. Your skill will be needed even in a totalitarian society. His skill is that of a medical doctor and he maintains his license, even though his job these days is a U.S. congressman (and has been for a long time) and a candidate for president.

My dilemma in going along with him altogether in foreign affairs (and maybe I do, or could, even so) is that while it would be good for us to concentrate on things back home and not fight other people’s wars, the fact is we are the world’s super power — do we want to give that up? Do we dare?

But anyway, if you have not read it, you should read this story out of the New York Times site:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/us/politics/for-ron-paul-a-distinctive-worldview-of-long-standing.html?_r=1&src=twrhp


The U.S. needs to return to the happy medium between the welfare state and the one per centers vs. the 99 per centers…

February 5, 2012

A lot of people might think that down-home simple folks, such as the kind always pictured enduring the Great Depression — hey buddy can you spare me a dime?– have to be leftist or liberal or at least Democrat in their outlook, with Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the traitor to his rich brethren) being the Great Savior.

But maybe this is not new, but  a lot of the lower segment of society — I don’t mean low lifes, I just mean not in the upper middle or even middle class — decry leftists and liberals and Democrats as Godless and against American values and as being traitors and taxers.

I want to make this simple (but of course I can’t). Probably a long time ago when things were desperate people were looking for anything to pull them out of their misery. We do know that a lot of folks way back when — the desperate 30s — flirted with things like communism, but if alive today would or will not admit it.

But things got better, as they always do, just not always soon enough.

A lot of people of all political and ideological persuasions since those desperate times have taken advantage of  government social programs — Social Security (the biggie), student aid, food stamps, free or reduced school lunches, Medicare, Medicaid, government loans or even grants to business (some would not call that a social program, but really…), public education, unemployment compensation (that’s a popular one), government-funded disability benefits (another big one), aid to families with dependent children, and so on. And I should add most people take advantage of consumer protection rules and clean water rules, and safety at the work place rules — all things conservatives seem to abhor, at least in their rhetoric.

But a lot of people who have abandoned liberalism or progressivism or just the Democratic Party, will take any benefit available and say, “I worked for it; I deserve it”. They may have or may not and a lot depends on how one defines all that.

Meantime, upstanding hardworking people see not upstanding and not hardworking people take advantage of all manner of handouts. In any well-meaning program, there will always be people who take advantage. Some people shrug this off and just say, unfortunately that is the cost of doing the right thing. You try to control it, but people are clever and it costs a lot to control it. My late wife worked for a time as a food stamp eligibility worker. At first she actually went out and made home visits. That was cut out, to save money of course. Some would argue, though, that the money saved would be offset by the cheaters now free to cheat away.

The people who probably resent social programs and those who support them (usually Democrats in the greatest numbers) the most are those caught in the middle, often referred to as the “working poor”. They have a large enough income to not be considered eligible for help, but may well need it just the same.

I know the stories of the welfare queens, first begun I think by Ronald Reagan when he got into politics, are often exaggerated, making it sound as if that were the norm, but they do exist. Cheating the system exists on a large scale. Anyone who has their eyes and ears open knows this — well maybe not some who live in an insulated class and I am not putting them down by saying that, I’m just saying…

So I said all that to explain the phenomenon of people seemingly voting against their own interests by supporting Republicans who in fact really do not represent their interests generally.

There must be a happy medium between the welfare state, which eventually sucks the life out of an economy and a society, witness the problems in Europe, and a society of the one per centers versus the 99 per centers, between the extremely rich and the poor, with a severely eroded middle class.

I believe history shows that way back when, way back even before the U.S. existed, it was an industrious middle class who replaced the feudal system and who brought us the kind of democracy we enjoy today here in America.

A society without a middle class or a large enough one and where wealth is concentrated among a minority results in strife like we see (or ignore) in Mexico today. In some ways the drug war there may be a kind of proxy war between the haves and have nots, even though in reality the multitude of people just want peaceful lives (but they are conflicted because of all the corruption and all the money flowing upwards).

The United States needs to return to that happy medium.

The argument for no taxes at all is no more valid than the one for getting all the taxes out of the wealthy.

P.s.

Political correctness, pushed by many in the liberal camp (not all), is another thing that has given progressivism a bad name. Yes it is nice that telling racist jokes at the work place has become an official taboo, but simply stating fact or stating one’s opinion, or reading or writing true literature (which includes the best and worst of a society and all its warts) should not be prohibited if we are to have a free and thinking society. And we don’t need any Orwellian Newspeak to channel or limit our thinking either, thank you.


We need to quit our nation building now, but we also need to act in self defense in preventing Iran from producing nuclear weapons…

February 3, 2012

It looks as though Iran is getting some pressure to abandon its project to create nuclear weapons (Iran denies it is for weapons, claiming it is for electricity generation only — few if any believe that).

The Israeli defense minister let it be known that time is running short, in the Israeli’s opinion, to do something. The word is, come spring if Iran has not backed off, Israel will strike.

And it seems as if the Obama administration is in on the pressure game, with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirming to a news reporter that the Israelis have said as much. The U.S. it is said tried unsuccessfully to get the Israelis to agree to give the economic sanctions more time — they replied there is little time left.

The U.S. will be blamed whether it is involved or directly involved or not.

You will note the Obama administration does not seem to be telling Israel no (even though we probably could not stop Israel from acting, certainly we have some fair amount of leverage over that nation).

I had begun to write a post about being against our nation-building efforts in the Middle East. But stopping Iran from getting the bomb, so to speak, has nothing to do with nation building and everything to do with self defense of the U.S. and the free world.

There had been a joint military exercise in Israel between their forces and ours planned but it was cancelled. Many speculate that is because Israel had more pressing matters to take care of and did not need the complication of American troops being in the way.

It is a difficult situation or problem, that is, telling another nation it cannot have nuclear weapons when we along with other nations have them. But we cannot let the proliferation of nuclear weapons continue. We survived the nuclear saber rattling of the Cold War, probably because our adversary the Soviet Union did not want a nuclear exchange any more than we did — an accident could have easily happened, though.

Iran is run by religious zealots and political mad men who might do anything. It must be stopped.

I have often written that I think the warnings ought to be done in secret to let Iran save face and allow it to abandon the nuclear weapons program on its own. But this public display of pressure may be needed too.

I would like to see the president of the United States make a speech and say that the U.S. will not allow the proliferation of nuclear weapons and leave it at that, no specific threat, you decide what we mean Iran.

Actions will eventually speak louder than words, and Iran needs to know action may come soon.

I changed my mind about how I would lead into this blog piece after hearing about the latest prediction on a strike on Iran, as I understand it, first reported by the Washington Post and picked up by other outlets, and used as the lead into the CBS Evening News, at least on the broadcast I heard on radio.

And now back to what I had originally intended to put forth:

Just began reading a story on the New York Times site about a Marine unit penetrating deep into the Afghan hinterlands where no NATO forces had ventured before, where the Taliban has had complete control. In the process, one Marine was seriously injured while trying to dismantle and IED and another injured as well. But bringing along some of the native government troops with them, they managed to plant the Afghan national flag.

Well, that’s all well and good, but I would call that “nation building”.

And that is one place where I am in entire agreement with Ron Paul. Under our constitution or at least under our constitution combined with the clear intentions of our founding fathers, we, the United States of America, have no business building nations other than our own. It is far too costly in blood and treasure and not our business anyway.

We feel compelled to hold on in Afghanistan, even though the Obama administration has made it known that it plans to essentially turn the brunt of the effort over to the Afghans come 2013 — but still have U.S. troops remain as backup, I guess —  because we feel we have to finish what we started, otherwise the effort, to include thousands dead and wounded, will have been in vain.

Before I go into 20/20 hindsight, I want to say it is my opinion that we should turn it all over to the Afghan government now and rid ourselves of the burden. If the Taliban take it all back, so be it. If the Taliban start threatening us somehow, we should go directly after them in what ever way feasible.

Now back to the 20/20 hindsight:

The 9/11 attack on the United States, the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, was essentially launched from Afghanistan where the late Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda force received aid and comfort from the Taliban who ran Afghanistan at the time. We made the decision to invade Afghanistan after it refused to turn over Bin Laden and continued to protect Al Qaeda.

We should have gone in full bore, rounded up Bin Laden and all the Al Qaeda we could, took over for a time and supervised the setting up of a new government — yes nation building to a degree — and then at the appropriate time left. And I would not have suggested too long of a time — probably far less time than we, along with allied forces, spent supervising things in Japan and Germany. The populations and cultures of those two nations seemed to take to the forming of democratic and non-belligerent governments. This is not the case in Afghanistan. It is hostile territory with a backwards, tribal culture. Some things are not worth the bother — Afghanistan is not.

I say keep the aircraft carriers and the troops ready to respond where need be for the defense of the United States and its true interests (the free flow of goods, to include oil, being among them), but let us not get bogged down in trying to recreate another people’s culture and government.

If the presidential campaign were a one-issue event I might well vote for Ron Paul.

Neither Democratic president Obama nor any of the Republicans likely to become president are apt to change the status quo, although to his credit, Obama does seem to ever-so-slowly be winding down the costly and for the most part futile efforts in the Middle East.

Like I say, if electing a president was composed of just one issue, I might vote for Ron Paul.

But life is complex, whether the Republicans understand that or not.


Romney on the very poor: Let them eat cake (not his exact words)…

February 1, 2012

THE DAY AFTER FLORIDA:

“Finish the sentence Soledad”, Mitt Romney admonishes CNN interviewer Soledad O’Brien after she remarked on what he had just said. Romney had rather awkwardly explained that he is focusing on the Middle Class, so he is not concerned about the very poor or even the very rich. When you analyze what all he said it probably makes some sense in that the very poor are the ones most likely to qualify for government social programs usually called the “social safety net”, and obviously the rich can take care of themselves (they know well how to make government work for them, for one thing).

But it was awkward and so unnecessary to talk like that and makes a great sound bite for the Democrats and even his Republican opponents (kind of like: “let them eat cake”), as well.

So many people are so close to falling into the category of the “very poor” or have fallen into it that there may well be an increased level of sensitivity to the plight of that class nowadays.

Romney is uncomfortable bringing himself down to the level of the everyday voter or at least people who have not managed to make a whole lot of money, but he’s trying, I guess.

Personally I am not all that comfortable with a candidate who claims that he wants to help the Middle Class almost exclusively. For one thing, who are the Middle Class? Hard to define, I would say.

Most people in power, such as perhaps your big boss at work, have this prickly persona, where just under the surface they seem ready to reprimand or lash out all the time wearing that uneasy or fake smile. Even Barack Obama is probably like that at times. I know he got into a tussle with Arizona governor Jan Brewer out on the airport tarmac.

But I think Obama is more capable of turning on the charm than the cold, calculating Romney (wished I would come up with a different phrase to describe him, but that seems to work).

As I have said before, desperation over the economy, which seems to be improving, would be the only reason I would see for the general electorate to go for Romney and as for the rest of what is left of the GOP pack, I would say: save your time and money.

Things can change quickly, though.

Romney’s remark: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/01/mitt-romney-very-poor_n_1246557.html

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CORRECTION:

In the original draft of my post yesterday I erroneously referred to columnist Richard Cohen as being with the New York Times — he writes for the Washington Post.

——————–

What follows is my post and update from yesterday:

So now that Mitt Romney has won the Florida primary rather decisively and with his money, which can finance beaucoup more negative campaign ads all over the nation, and with the fact, that despite his personality faults (one being a lack of personality), he may be the only electable candidate the Republicans have, he remains the presumptive nominee.

But my question is: will Republican voters rally around him? What with the apparent splintering of the Republican ranks into various factions (as if they have become Democrats), it seems questionable that he can garner the support he needs to win in the general election.

Romney has had to pander so much to the nutty section of what we usually refer to as the right wing, that he may have alienated independent, but thinking voters.

I’m thinking things are looking up for President Barack Obama.

There are various indications that the economy is improving — albeit ever so slowly. And I even just heard a report (did not hear or see the interview myself) that Romney actually admitted as such, that is the economy is improving even under Obama’s leadership (I think in an interview with Laura Ingram). If things are looking more positive, voters are not likely to resort to a change in administration.

Also, I don’t know what it is, but Romney seems to have no soul. I made a joke talking to my brother that Obama is at least half soul brother, but seriously, Romney seems to be missing something.

Some say that Obama lacks something in that regard as well — I think he seems different since he became president. Before he was going to do this and going to do that and stand up for the Middle Class or the average American (as well as all Americans) and show Wall Street what is . But once he became president he was a little too cooperative with Wall Street and the Republicans in congress, and too much into compromise (not that compromise is always a bad thing). On the other hand, it seems to me he has given the opposition every opportunity to play ball and it has refused — I’m talking primarily economic issues.

As far as foreign policy, while I myself might do it far differently, Obama has done about the same thing any Republican would do, as far as I can see. He did not turn tail and run from the wars int he Middle East. In fact, he dispatched Osama Bin Laden, among other things.

He’s played a fairly cautious hand in the Arab Spring. He even managed to get us involved in the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya without committing us to still another costly and futile ground war (and I thought it could not be done).

I not long ago almost thought that the presidential election 2012 was the Republicans’ to lose — now I think they may well be in danger of losing.

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Watching the spectacle that is the race for the nomination for presidential candidate for the Republican Party one has to wonder: just what happened to that party?

For one thing, why is it that the slate has been for the most part a bunch of narrow-mined (if they had minds) loony tunes? Even their once moderate and presumptive candidate Mitt Romney seems at times to have been sucked into the loony bin, veering into right wing-nut territory — doing anything to get that nomination. Newt Gingrich, while not so much a loony, is somewhat unstable, to say the least, and is liable to say and do anything — not someone you would want to be president in this dangerous world.

Romney is projected to win the Florida primary today and at this time seems unstoppable, but I am not at all sure that the Republican electorate will gather around him — he’s not crazy enough.

But really, this is all a lead in to me asking you to read a piece by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, if you have not already.

Sometimes someone just says everything and more than I could say myself. (I think he is pretty much 98 or 99 or even 100 percent spot on.)

The link to the column:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/establishment-republicans-have-only-themselves-to-blame/2012/01/30/gIQAmECOdQ_story.html?tid=pm_pop

P.s.

Yes, I realize it is easy to dismiss those with whom you disagree as being loony, but c‘mon, could anyone who has the ability to weigh opposing views with objectivity and make rational decisions based on that type of analysis really come to any other conclusion?