Many Americans perceive President Trump as the Devil himself, incarnate. They call for his impeachment. I’m told that a petition begging that end collected more than a million signatures in less than a week. Well, collect away. I don’t care how many sign. A hundred million. Two hundred million. We don’t decide who will be impeached and who won’t, not even We the People. The law decides and it's clear.
“SECTION 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
-- The United States Constitution
I have often joked about falling off the Earth. During my almost six years in the military service, it seemed that I had. I am a native of Baltimore and the Civil Rights Riots occurred and the Orioles won their first World Series championship while I was attending Infantry School and then serving in Vietnam. Laugh In and Star Trek appeared on TV while I was stationed in Hawaii where broadcasts were aired by tape delay a week later, but no one was watching. Thus, I was disconnected, oblivious to the popular culture of the time. Literally, it was as though I had fallen off the Earth.
Now, I have a new excuse and a new joke. I suffer from Transient Global Amnesia (TGA). The operative word is “Transient”. It passes. It’s temporary and I have no memory of anything that occurs during an episode. The brain loses the capacity to form short term memories. My wife tells me that I keep repeating the same thing, “Something’s wrong”, but I don’t know what. And, if she asks me about anything happening during a TGA episode, I can’t answer correctly. When it’s over, I announce that I was abducted by aliens. That’s my new joke.
Are you celebrating or disappointed in the outcome of Hillary's testimony at the #Benghazi Committee?
You may be celebrating if you support Hillary. She appears to many to have won. Won what?
You may be disappointed that she didn't break down in tears and confess. Confess what?
Let's take a deep breath and think.
The hearings before the House Select Committee on Benghazi is not a trial. There is no jury. There won't be a verdict. Think of it more as a pretrial to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with a trial. In the military, we would have likened it to an Article 32 (Uniform Code of Military Justice) Investigation to determine if a crime has been committed and if so who should be charged?
Did you expect Hillary to trip up and blurt out something incriminating? Why would you think that? Hillary is an accomplished liar. She lied to herself about her husband's philandering for many years so that she wouldn't have to confront the ugly truth of her dysfunctional marriage. She lied as she was caught stealing the silverware and chinaware as she and Bill exited the White House. She lied in countless investigations to avoid being fined and punished for her complicity in the White Water and other scandals. Her tangled web of lies surrounding her mishandling of classified documents while Secretary of State is unraveling with every revelation. Did you seriously think she would confess like the culprit in an episode of the old Perry Mason Show?
The time to deliberate over the testimony and hard evidence won't begin until the hearings end. Anyone leaping to conclusions at this point is driven by opinion rather than truth.
Politicians of every stripe are so focused on becoming and remaining incumbents, that they have little time to worry over the consequences of their actions and decisions. It's easy to see that the economic abyss into which we are descending is the unintended consequence of allowing them to extend their sphere of influence into every aspect of our lives.
It can be argued that the ten plagues visited upon the Egyptians were the unintended consequences of Pharaoh's refusal to let Moses' people go. Even so, unintended consequences didn't receive serious study until Adam Smith introduced consequentialism during the Scottish Enlightenment, then languished in obscurity. The study of unintended consequences returned to public attention in the 20th Century with the publication of “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action”, a paper written by sociologist Robert Merton in 1936. Even so, awareness has brought scant relief.
There are only two arguments that matter in support of granting citizenship to all who have slipped across the borders without permission. Political arguments do not matter. Latin Americans, especially Mexicans, argue that they have more right to occupy the Southwestern territories of the United States than US citizens inasmuch as the land was stolen from them. I addressed this issue in another posting regarding the legitimacy of conquest wherein I argued that the Spanish conquest of these regions is no more legitimate than the US conquest of them. In other words, we only stole what was stolen. Indeed, you would be hard pressed to find a square inch of habitable land on planet earth at any point of history that isn't held by right of conquest. In this posting, I would like to address a far more important issue: The Rule of Law.
Obviously, those who have entered the United States without permission will be bewildered by my obsession with The Rule of Law. Their mere presence is clear evidence that it is of no importance to them. Sadly, many native born US citizens are likewise bereft of any understanding of it. The absence of civic lessons in our public schools, as well as many private schools, has denied them the opportunity of learning its importance.
Chairman Mao wrote the book on guerrilla warfare. He advised insurgents to lose themselves among the population like fish swim in the sea, indistinguishable from any others. It proved to be an excellent strategy. However, today's conflicts require a different strategy for small nations to resist larger ones. Regardless of which state is in the right, small states now adhere to a new mentor, one who successfully flummoxed stronger opponents in the ring – Muhammad Ali.
All stand in awe of Rope-a-Dope. The United States will deliver its punches, massive punches. When it's tired, its stamina drained, the Syrians will crawl out of their holes and resume killing each other just as happened in Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many other places.
Strategic bombing has never gained victory in any conflict. No amount of bombs brought Germany to its knees. In fact, Germany's industrial output rose during the heaviest of allied night and day bombing. Nuclear bombs, arguably the ultimate strategic weapons, failed to defeat Japan. Leaders of the Japanese Imperial armed forces were tempted to continue prosecuting the war even after atomic devices were detonated over two of their major cities. Likewise, strategic bombing of North Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and other small nations accomplished nothing. Dumb bombs. Carpet bombing. Smart bombs. Cruise missiles. Hellfire missiles launched from drones. All may temporarily demoralize an enemy and limit their ability to fight, but only an infantryman armed with a rifle can occupy and dominate enemy territory.
As the debate to win the support of Congress and the American public for bombing Syria advances, keep in mind these three tests: Is it militarily necessary? What is the military value of the proposed targets? Although nonmilitary facilities and personnel will be affected, will their losses be acceptable? Yes, the answers to every one of these questions is subjective. Although a consensus may be achieved, any decision will not be unanimous. However, we must all be prepared to accept the consequences.
Moreover, don't set your expectations too high. Like I said, strategic bombing has never accomplished anything by itself. All the enemy has to do is take a break (just as Ali rested against the ropes) while the United States flails away with its might fists until it tires itself out.
Once upon a time we laughed at people who shouted that “The End Is Near”, or marched with signs to that effect. At the very least, we'd walk across the street to keep clear of them. Today, doomsday predictions have became a valuable tool in the growing industry of social engineering.
I grew up watching westerns. Many of the villains of these morality plays were cattle rustlers. Often, they would sneak up on a sleeping herd and fire their six-shooters into the air to start a stampede. Modern social engineers employ the same tactic. They issue dire warnings about the consequences of our behavior in an effort to stampede the population at large, to redirect them along politically correct paths.
Some of these rustlers of the public weal achieve fame and fortune. Sad. It only encourages others to employ fake science to scare the public. Take, for example, Al Gore. Although the man has a larger “carbon footprint” than a small city, he has won a Nobel Peace Prize and an Academy Award for his exemplary work warning us about Global Warming. Strike that: Global Climate Change. The herd bolts as he shouts from his pulpit even though he is clueless about any scientific subject and the people whose expertise he relies upon have no credentials as climatologists. Please. The man should have appeared in his movie, An Inconvenient Truth, with a black hat and a bandanna tied around the lower half of his face.
Even sadder, public wealth has been wasted financing green energy industries. Not one has produced any significant portion of the world's power requirements nor have any shown any potential for the future. However, that matters little. Solving the world's problems is not on their agenda. No, these rustlers are only interested scaring the herd to alter human behavior. As I said, social engineering. In that, they have been a success.
I'LL ADMIT IT. I'm feeling vulnerable. A man came pounding on my front door the other night. It was about 7 pm. As I approached the door, I could hear him shouting at the next door neighbor who was shouting back. Now, my neighbor is given to speaking in a loud voice. It seems natural to him. Maybe he's hard of hearing. I don't know. But, these two were shouting when I looked out the peep hole to see who it was. I didn't recognize him.
Obviously, I'm not the only one feeling vulnerable
I asked who was there and he replied that he was a new neighbor. Okay, what did he want. Before he could respond, he had another shouting exchange with my neighbor. Apparently there was some unfinished business between them. I couldn't immediately discern what they were saying. My hearing in one ear is impaired and my neighbor's accent (African I believe) wasn't helping.
That brings me to my sense of vulnerability. I have impaired hearing. Its not much of a disability, but I seem to have accumulated a few with age. Age is another source of my sense of vulnerability. I'm not the man at seventy that I was even just a decade ago. Then there's sciatica. That really left me debilitated for several weeks. I'm still getting over it. I'm still carrying a cane, fearful that my left knee will fold with any step, especially if I attempt to change direction without lifting the foot. So, yes, I'm feeling vulnerable. I admit it.
Meanwhile, the stranger at the door finished his shouting match with the neighbor and pounded on my door again. Again I asked what he wanted. He mumbled something. It sounded like mumbling to me. Remember, the hearing loss? I told him it was late. He objected that it was only 7 pm. It was. Even so I refused to open the door for him and he went away, obviously perturbed with me. I haven't seen this “neighbor” since.
I don't like feeling vulnerable. I was a rough and tumble sort of a kid, trained as an infantry officer. I've studied martial arts. I am expert with every sort of weapon placed in my hands: bows and arrows, guns of all types and calibers, I even used a sling effectively to throw snowballs as a kid. I'm not used to feeling vulnerable.
Maybe that's why I'm reacting passionately to the current assault on our Second Amendment rights. Why are they doing this? What is their goal? Make our world safer? Of course not! As any fool can see if they look at the statistics, guns used in crime are down to historically low levels and still dropping. Indeed, those jurisdictions that have the most restrictive laws on gun ownership are suffering the greatest incidence of gun-related crimes. There is no rational excuse for disarming law-abiding citizens. So, we can only assume that the proponents of infringing on our Second Amendment rights have some unnamed, ulterior motive, and it's making me feel even more vulnerable.
I'm not the only one. Women are feeling more vulnerable. So are minorities. Anyone traditionally victimized by bullies, bigots, and criminals is feeling vulnerable and they will be vulnerable if denied their right to defend themselves. Still, the anti-gun proponents wage their unrelenting war on us, the vulnerable ones.
Come to think of it, the anti-gun proponents are clearly demonstrating all the characteristics of bullies and bigots. Furthermore, attempting to infringe on our natural right to defend ourselves, they are making themselves enemies of the Constitution, which should be regarded as criminal activity.
Obviously, the anti-gun proponents are attracting the support of people of good will and good intentions. Just remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. They perceive guns as the “devil” and feel justified in cutting down any laws that stand in their way. However, as the character of Sir Thomas Moore proclaims in the play, A Man For All Seasons, “...what is to protect them when the devil turns round about?”
Regardless of what laws they may pass, I shall regard them as unconstitutional and hang onto my guns. Then I won't feel so vulnerable in the presence of tyrants.
I'm not feeling well. I'm still recovering from sciatica and another ailment has struck. I don't fear death. I simply fear that I won't have a complete set of functioning parts when I reach the grave. They'll just toss what's left into a compost bin and I'll return as a stalk of celery. I suppose that's why I'm feeling less hopeful today. Solve society's problems? I doubt it.
First, the issues are complex, very complex. I suspect all simplistic responses. Proposals such as ban guns and bring back school prayer are emotionally driven in response to horrific acts of violence. Unfortunately, although each proposal may have some validity, none receive rational discussion. People generally divide into two camps, pro and con, and shout at each other until they've vented their spleen. They then retire to neutral territory, grumbling about each other, until the next act occurs.
We need to sit down and apply our energy better instead of wasting it on such feuds.
Secondly, we have greatly diminished our resources to respond. Whatever solution we agree upon will probably languish unfunded because our government has been spending our treasury on useless programs whose only outcome is to insure the continued reelection of incumbents. Indeed, things are going to get worse as cities and counties go bankrupt and can no longer provide police and other emergency services to the same degree with enjoy them today. You can bet that acts of violence will proliferate in such conditions.
Ideology has gotten in the way of education. Even if we are motivated to sit down and discuss these issues rationally, and we have the resources to effect the solutions that we craft, we are quickly losing the ability to think and solve problems effectively because educators are more concerned with indoctrinating our children with their brand of ideology rather than teaching them critical thinking skills. Indeed, critical thinking is the enemy of their indoctrination efforts. Go ahead and argue with me on this one. There is plenty of extant research to support my claim.
I could go on, but suspect that I have already upset or lost most readers by this point. That is why I choose to prepare to defend myself and my family, much like the wild west. I fear that we are descending into lawlessness. Just look at the proof of history. Every nation that has followed the course we have now adopted, has entered periods of economic strife. Scapegoats were identified and persecuted. Guns were seized so that minorities couldn't defend themselves and holocausts ensued.
That, I fear, is where we are headed. Then again, maybe I'll feel better next week, but we still won't be any closer to learning how to think critically, will we?
PRESIDENTS DAY HAS been a great disappointment to me since its inception. We used to acknowledge Lincoln's Birthday, and celebrate Washington's with a day off. Then someone decided that we should celebrate all of our Presidents. Really? How many of them are worthy of celebration? I don't believe that any of the others equaled the accomplishments of Washington and Lincoln. Few even approached them. Yes, many were popular with some segment of the citizenry, but popularity is a poor test of greatness.
George Washington wasn't just the first President. He defined the office. He could have been king, but refused the offer. As a military officer, Washington understood the value and importance of delegation. Thus, he invented the Cabinet. Go ahead and look in the Constitution. You won't find any mention of Secretaries of Defense, Treasury, Commerce, etc. Washington also established the precedent of limited terms of office. He understood that a perpetual president could easily become a tyrant no matter how well-intentioned that person might be. Thus, he limited himself to two four-year terms even though there is no question that he could have remained in office until he died.
Abraham Lincoln preserved the nation. He surrounded himself with the most capable Cabinet of advisors and administrators ever assembled in the Republic's history, largely chosen from his very own rivals for the presidency. Many of them had little respect for Lincoln when his administration began and assumed that they would govern the nation as a committee while Lincoln served only as a figurehead. He quickly disabused them of that notion. Although it was their considered opinion that the South should be allowed to secede, Lincoln chose otherwise, and he held the nation together through nothing more than the force of his character. There are still some who believe that the two halves would have been better off had they split, but the evidence shows that America became an economic and political powerhouse only because it remained united.
A special day for celebrating Presidents is utterly unnecessary. We are celebrating our Presidents far too much all year long. We focus on them constantly. Their comings and goings are reported with breathless anticipation. They are rock stars, celebrities. Some have, in effect, elevated the President to the stature that Washington refused, a sovereign. Barack Obama epitomizes this danger. He openly threatens to take unilateral action by executive fiat if Congress refuses to enact the legislation that he wants. This is the action of a sovereign, a tyrant.
No, I'm not happy with our government, especially our Presidents. I don't want to celebrate them. I believe its time to put an end to Presidents Day. I'll be happy to celebrate George Washington's and Abraham Lincoln's birthdays. They deserve such adulation. However, I will never be among those who blindly follow an American king. Besides, I would like to have a day off each year again, on my birthday, February 22nd.
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