Will the World Change Following the Death of Kim Jong-Il?

December 19th, 2011

Kim Jong-Il is dead—his heart failed him.  The country he leaves behind is economically dead, its population is mostly starving, as what resources it didn’t use to support the lavish comfort of the now dead 69 year-old dictator was pumped into maintaining an offensive military and the development of nuclear weapons and delivery systems.  Most likely, Kim Jong-Il’s death won’t end hunger in North Korea, reduce the threat of war, or work towards reuniting the Korean peninsula.

The area we now call North Korea and South Korean was an independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula and ruled with a brutality, which characterized the Japanese Empire of that day.

Historians and a few others know that the Soviets declared war on Japan the day after the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.  In a mad rush to claim territory before it could be liberated, Soviet-sponsored Communists, under the leadership of Kim Il Sung took control of the northern half of Korea.  After the US and the rest of the free world disarmed, the Communist North Korea invaded liberated South Korea but failed to conquer the UN and US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK).

President Kim Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic “self-reliance” as a check against outside influence. They demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang’s control.  In 1994, Kim Il Sung died and Kim Jong Il assumed the dictators position.
After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, North Korea relies heavily on international aid to feed its population. North Korea’s history of regional military provocations, proliferation of military-related items, long-range missile development, WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006 and 2009, and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.

Kim Jong-un, the third son of the dead dictator, is the new “dear leader” and get this—he’s 20 years old.  How will he lead?  But come to think of it, a lot of things were said about Kim Jong-Il which made one wonder how a Hennessey-sipping, sashimi-carving, caviar-chomping, DVD-watching, golf-cheating, people-starving megalomaniac could run an entire country, even one with such limitations as North Korea.  But we know the answer, don’t we?

Since Kim Il-Song heart failed him at 82 years of age, other people have been running the country.  Having a “dear leader” for the people to worship helped them keep the people motivated.  Following Kim-Il Song’s death, many people reportedly “committed suicide” which probably goes to explain the consolidation of power by the winners.  Those folks, with their logical replacements, will continue to pull the strings on their new puppet—Kim Il-un.

Therefore, not much of anything will change.

It just makes sense.

Directional Extremism

June 11th, 2009

By now you’ve heard most of the story about the 88 year-old shooter that killed Stephen Tyrone Johns while he was on duty as a security guard in the Washington DC Holocaust Museum.  If you’re like most people, you’re sadden at the loss of yet another productive American citizen and sickened at the reports of the shooter’s hatred for so many people.  Depending on where you get your news, you might also be confused over some misleading references to the shooter representing right-wing ideology in America.

Adding to the confusion, is a fundamentally flawed statement in the Homeland Security report on alleged “Rightwing Extremism” inside of the United States.  There were 50 uses of the term “rightwing” in the report.  It even used the term as a single word, instead of the the grammatical correct hyphenated term right-wing.   No references were made to “left-wing extremism,” leaving some to wonder if the report might condone that side of the argument.  Of course even suggesting such a thing might be classified as blasphemy in the near future, so I won’t go any further with that line of reasoning.

Are we really to believe neo-Nazism is right-wing?

If so, that would make the Nazi regime of Hitler’s Germany a right-wing government.  If true, then on the extreme right of the concept of government theory, you have Hitler and the SS running everything.  The rest of us would work as slaves in government-owned factories and fields and have to put up with soldiers banging on our doors at night only to be hauled off to the concentration camp–where we’d die.

So what is the opposite of that?  The communists?

If so, on the extreme left of the concept of government theory, you have Stalin and the KGB running everything.   The rest of us would work as slaves in government-owned factories and fields and have to put up with soldiers banging on our doors at night only to be hauled off to the gulag–where we’d die.

I don’t see a nickel’s worth of difference between those two systems, unless you happen to be a member of the small group that is controlling everything and everyone else.  Which means the popular notice of left and right must be flawed, as the two should be in contrast to each other.

Here’s something that makes much more sense.

Government theory is all about how much power the government has.  The more power the government has, the less power or rights the people have.  On one extreme, government has all power.  On the other extreme, government has no power–or doesn’t exist at all.  That’s also called anarchy.

In theory, anarchy could be a nice thing.  No taxes, no police, no rules to get in your way–every man doing what he things is right.  If everyone were just like Jesus, that might work out pretty good.  But humanity is wrought with selfish behavior–striving to advance oneself over others.  In total anarchy, only the strongest men could retain their property, which would soon be countered by less strong people teaming together to take what they wanted.  Eventually the land would be littered with myriad teams or gangs all striving for their collective superiority over the other groups.  Chaos and mayhem–anarchy is a bloody unproductive state in practice.

So with anarchy at the extreme right, what’s at the extreme left?  Government with total power, of course.

If a single person were powerful enough to control everyone else–that would be extreme left–but with millions and billions of people on earth, nobody is that powerful.  It wouldn’t even work with a small region of several thousand people.  No, the king has to have an army.  That army could consist of knights sitting at a round table or goose-stepping storm troopers–but a king without his army is a pathetic sight.

Throughout history, most kings have had some collection of advisors to assist them in their rule of the masses.  They might be family members or just ideological partners–but loyalty is generally the primary selection criteria.  Kings use a variety of job titles: Potentate, Chief, Czar, Leader, Lord, Master, Commander, Seignior, President, Chairman, Chairwoman, Big Cheese, Skipper, or any other of a multitude of “I’m-the-boss-of-you” sounding titles.  All those various titles only serve to confuse people who are trying to make sense of the left and right of things.

When a relatively small group of people control all or even most all of the power over the people it is called an oligarchy.  If you are not part of the oligarchy, you will be most severely punished by those who control the power if you should oppose any decision they make. The irony is, you don’t even have to oppose the seat of power to be oppressed by it–they have the option of abusing you at their whim.

To the right of an oligarchy, is a democracy–rule by the majority.  In theory a democracy sounds pleasant, but in practice that would only be true if you were part of the majority.  The majority can vote to take the minorities possessions or even their lives.  If the only thing that establishes right is a majority–you basically have mob rule, albeit a majority mob.  Democratic principles are good, but a system of laws that protect the rights of all people is necessary if the people are to really enjoy freedom.

Which brings us to a republic, which is more than just a government controlling the people, it is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.  In the great American experiment, the wonderful document called the Constitution spells out just how much power the government is allowed to control.  The rest of the power is supposed to remain with the people.

Some people argue that twenty-first century America is violating certain restrictions of the Constitution, but few people are wanting an America without a central government–the ones who advocate anarchy could correctly be labeled “right-wing extremists.”

The Constitution’s governmental concept is left of anarchy but well right of a direct democracy or an oligarchy.  Some say the Constitution is well right of our current practice and that we’re plunging into socialism.

What’s socialism?

Socialism is the Marxist theory that declares all means of production, distribution, and exchange should be centrally controlled.  The theory is that individuals won’t be able to hoard great wealth if the governing oligarchy has control.  The reality is that the oligarchy hoards the wealth and the people suffer.  You’ve seen the term used in some now defunct oligarchies.

The National Socialists (Nazis) were about a specific people-group’s oligarchy controlling all means of production, distribution, and exchange first in Germany and then hoping to spread across the world.  They were thwarted by America and her allies during World War II.

Remember the USSR (a.k.a Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic)? Soviet Communism was about world conquest by any means, most in order for their oligarchy to control all means of production, distribution, and exchange.  They also were thwarted by America and her allies during the Cold War.

Somehow the Nazis and the Communists were labeled right and left in attempt to suggest you had to go one way of the other.  History shows the two groups didn’t get along very well, but of course each side was fighting for total control.  Unless you were part of their small oligarchy, each of the systems were oppressive–each were extreme leftists.

So what would you call a person, regardless of their age or veteran status, who believes a small group of people should control all power, disregarding the concept that all men are created equal, and also believes he has the right to ignore the Constitution of the United States?

Wouldn’t that be–left-wing extremist?

It just makes sense.

The Solution to the North Korean Nuclear Threat

May 29th, 2009

America’s deterrence-record with North Korea has recently elevated from embarrassing to down-right dangerous.  Even though some form of independent Korean state or collection of states have existed nearly continuously for several millennia, we persist in dealing with them as if they were either children or cavemen.  The reality is North Korea’s nepotistic state possesses nuclear weapons and an effective means of delivering them, which possesses a clear and present danger to all their neighbors, except China and Russia.

The details of how the world arrived at this impending conflagration are obsfucated by historic neglect and revisionists efforts, but the major turning points are clearly visible.  The tenacious people of Koryo, Silla, Paeche, and Chosun built societies that equal all that is impressive in the study of the ancient Chinese and Japanese cultures. Many Koreans believe that those people descended from theirs or at least copied theirs to achieve greatness.  While the “what-ifs” of antiquity fascinate some people, it is obvious that during the last century, Korea was gobbled-up, spit out, and then transformed into a nearly “perfect” example of political Yin and Yang.

About a hundred years ago, all of Korea was formally annexed by Japan–a harsh experience that stirs “racial” strife in some people even today.  As bloody World War II (WWII) ended and Japan was pacified, America and most of the Allies rushed to disarm and revert to a consumer-based society–one that improves the standard of living for everyone.  On the other hand, the USSR sought to press onward with the momentum of their military might–seeking to control the entire world if they could–thereby blurring any differences between them and the totalitarian oligarchies the Allies had just fought so hard to eliminate.

In the conflict of political pressure and military maneuvering that followed WW II, the Korea peninsula was split into two nations, with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored communist control.

Communist North Korea was armed, trained, and then encouraged to invade South Korea.  Though initially unprepared, the United States led the UN effort to drive the brutal invaders back to the north.  But a new era had dawned.

Not understanding how important it was to stop before China was provoked into a military response, WW II tactical zeal carried the Allies all the way to the Chinese border.  Politically denied the option of interdicting the massive forces mustered just north of the Yalu River–General MacArthur could do nothing except wait for the inevitable.

Political contextual elements glowed heavily with American decision makers. The United States no longer had a nuclear monopoly, as the USSR has obtained vital secrets via spies and their own efforts–resulting in communist nuclear test/demonstrations.  The USSR had equipped Mao Zedung’s Chinese communists with captured Japanese military gear, as a 600,000-strong force in Manchuria surrendered to Russian forces following Japan’s capitulation after the nuclear bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  The exhausted forces of Chiang Kai-shek withered under the assault and barely escaped to Taiwan.  The Chinese decision makers were threatened by any thing that might threaten their reformation of their newly established communist state.  The Chinese viewed North Korea has a security buffer preventing a two-pronged attack on them sometime in the future–a southern thrust from Taiwan and a northern thrust from the Korean Peninsula–it didn’t matter if no one in America was thinking about doing that, the Chinese are notorious long-term planners.  Above all, the President Truman feared that narcissistic Joseph Stalin would employ nuclear weapons if China were invaded–requiring another WWII-style effort from a war-weary world to vanquish communism.

So Chinese forces swarmed across the border.  The fighting that followed produced most of what Americans remember as bad about the Korean War.  After much fighting and loss of life, the peninsula was once again divided via a crease-fire agreement in 1953.  The lesser known background of that agreement is that it was reached only after some combined military and political maneuvering designed to convince China to pressure North Korea into acceptance.

In March of 1953, Stalin died–some believe he was poisoned by members of his cabinet who feared yet another purge was imminent.  Regardless of how he died, the internal chaos in the USSR allowed for a window of political and military factoring by the Allies to bring about a ceasefire agreement.  Since the US had no formal way of communicating with the Chinese government–as it was not recognized as a legitimate state then–the American’s leaked information through political connections in India.  the message was basically that the US would destroy sanctuary bases in Manchuria if the fighting continued.  Initially this was hard to believe, as much collateral damage to civilians would accompany such attacks–and they knew the Americans had grown squeamish about such things.

To demonstrate the opposite, a series of previously unmolested dams were bomb, releasing flood waters, which prevented a year’s rice planting.  The suffering caused by the food shortage would far exceed the trauma of the initial flooding.  Only then were the Chinese convinced–those brutal Americans would probably attack, maybe use nuclear weapons, thus weakening China’s military so much it might result in their collapse–so they influenced North Korea to sign the armistice on July 27, 1953.

Since then a precarious state of “stand-off” exists between the dark oligarchy and what has grown into a thriving republic to its south.  South Korea has a GDP nearly 1.3 trillion dollars–equal to Saudi Arabia’s and Taiwan’s combined–much of which is reinvested into their growing economy.  Many of their quality products are purchased by Americans.  North Korea has a GDP of maybe 40 billion dollars–a little more than Uganda’s–much of which is used to maintain a massive military while their population is mostly fed by international aid.  North Korea is a charter member of the “Axis of Evil” and is a real-life characture of an evil nation.

On 27 May 2009, North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the armistice.  They’ve tested nuclear weapons and long-range missiles in a bravado attempt to intimidate the rest of the world.  The are heavily suspected of nuclear proliferation efforts with other nations in the Axis of Evil–mostly likely seeking additional sources of income for their dying economy.  In the wake of the nuclear tests and missile launch demonstrations, they have announced they will respond with military force if another of its ships are boarded by the US-led program to interdict illicit transport of weapons of mass destruction.

What kind of force do you think they are implying?  It’s obvious.

So what’s the solution?  While past performance is no guarantee of future results …

China has to pressure North Korea to behave.  Thus the key to making North Korea behave it to convince China that they stand to lose more than they will gain if they allow North Korea to continue their shenanigans.

The most threatened nations are South Korea, Japan, and the United States.  The US already has ample military power to counter a nuclear attack when it comes to it.  However, Japan and South Korea are precariously empty–historically relying on the US nuclear umbrella to cover them as needed.

Here’s the solution:

In the light of shrinking US resolve and inventory–Japan and South Korea need indigenous nuclear forces.   They have all the necessary technologies and their GDP’s will comfortably support the programs–the only thing that prevents it from happening is their own national laws and leadership.  International law have recently been proven inept at preventing any nation from acquiring weapons of mass destruction.

Thus, the US should encourage Japan and South Korea to develop strong nuclear capabilities to stand against the nuclear threats from North Korea.  And even if the US fails to encourage them, those nations need to consider what they need to do for their own survival–and do it anyway.  Of course, once that happens, Taiwan and Australia would need to belly-up to the nuclear club also–unless they wanted to remain optionless in the face of nuclear threats.

How would China like to be facing nuclear-equipped nations on all their borders?

Not at all, I’m sure.

The long-range planning Chinese leadership would be greatly concerned about this–they have a little history with the Japanese and the folks who live in Taiwan.  And that’s the problem with nuclear proliferation:  Once it gets rolling–how do you stop it?

Stop it early.

“Too late for that,” some might say.

Well, my grandpa used to say, “You can’t start where you were, only you are.”  And where we are is a nuclear equipped North Korea trying to intimidate the world as they seek to spread nuclear weapons to other nations, who also seek to do harm to things we consider valuable.

When it comes to allowing rogue nations to develop or maintain nuclear arsenals–nothing is worse than doing nothing.

It just makes sense.

T.E.A. Party

April 18th, 2009

Tax day. That’s what we’ve learned to call April 15, but we really know that taxes hit us every day. It’s April 15 when those dreaded 1040 are due to the IRS, or it’ll cost us even more money. Our income is taxed and everything we spend our post-tax income on is taxed again through a complex web of visible and hidden taxes. This April 15 a lot of people assembled all over the country to express their concern about out of control taxes.

While the concept of maybe attending a Tea-Party had interested me for a while, it wasn’t until I saw the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that identified a new type of terrorists–the right-wing terrorist–that I knew I needed to go.

Recently the DHS had said they preferred to call terrorism “man-caused disasters” and I satirically suggested that terrorists would then be called “disaster-engineers” in keeping with the kinder words of referring to the most heinous members of the human race. But now I see no restraint in using the T-word.
The report suggests that “right-wing extremists” are potential terrorists. Those people are described as basically anyone who believe abortion kills babies, or that the 2nd Amendment affirms the right to bear arms, and a group of right-wingers that need particular watching are veterans.

Veterans? What the freedom-snatching kind of conclusion is that? Veterans?

Do they mean those men and woman who have offered up their lives to defend the rest of us–those veterans? The same people, whom on November 11 of each year we have a national holiday to honor their service? Those same honorable heros are supposed to be suspected terrorists? All of them?

Why would anyone suggest that?

Could it be because most Americans hold veterans and the military in high esteem? Could it be that the military and it’s veterans need to be taken down a notch or two in the public eye before they begin whatever it is that follows out-of-control tax and spending? I don’t know. Your guess is as good as mine.
But how could anyone draw a connection between veterans and terrorists?

Well, according the DHS report, veterans have received training that would enable them to do something like Timothy James McVeigh did. Remember him?
McVeigh was the guy that was eventually executed for for the bombing that killed 168 people in the Alfred P. Murrah Building in Oklahoma City. He was a veteran. See the connection yet? Me neither.

He did well as a gunner on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but then washed out of Special Forces training in December of the same year. After he left the service he failed at everything else. No girlfriend, no job, and followed the gun show circuit selling white-supremacist literature until he completely slid off the deep end. For some reason he thought it was his calling to violently overthrow the US government.

Does that sound like the typical veteran to you?

All veterans reading this column will immediately feel a bit insulted to be compared with McVeigh. For the folks who didn’t make the cut to become a veteran, that is because all veterans took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which is the document that allows our government to legally exist. And since veterans are not released from their oath to God when they are discharged–it means McVeigh violated his oath.

And there were other veterans. What about Oswald? You know, Lee Harvey Oswald. Yeah he was a veteran and he killed Kennedy. You know, John F. Kennedy, who was a veteran. Oh yeah. Hmmm. Maybe not all veterans are terrorists.

Some veterans might actually be productive Americans. Americans like Alan Alda (Army Reserves), Tony Bennett (Army), Jim Blackwood (Air Force), Andy Bloom (Air Force), Johnny Carson (Navy), Ted Duncan (Air Force), Clint Eastwood (Army), Reed Estrada (Air Force), Malcolm Forbes (Army), Jim Johnson (Air Force), Rocky Marciano (Army), Vern Moore (Air Force), Montel Williams (Navy) Dave Thomas (Army), Chuck Norris (Air Force) Bill Cosby (Navy) Drew Carey (Marine), Ben Quintana (Air Force), Bob Goss (Air Force), Britt Larson (Air Force), Doug Barnard (Air Force), Steve Harper (Air Force), Ed Miller (Air Force), James Obsborne (Air Force), John Mitchell (Air Force), John Farese (Air Force), Dudley Woods (Air Force), Mel Bowen (Air Force), Moses Winston (Air Force), Pat Travnicek (Air Force), Paul Hill (Air Force), Scotty Briscoe (Air Force), Shawn Riff (Air Force), Steve Hollis (Air Force), Mark Maryak (Air Force), Donald Davitz (Air Force), even Charles Sutherland (Air Force) … and millions others.

No. Being a veteran did not transform McVeigh into what he became. It must have been something else.

It seems some people can find similarities and proof where they want to find them. For instance, I noticed on McVeigh’s mug-shot that he was a tall man–over six foot-two. Did you know that his parents were divorced when he was young–only ten years old.
To make the assumption “tall men whose parents were divorced when they were young might be terrorists” would be stupid. Most readers might have heard of people who fit that description–some of those people hold high-level elected office.

It is just as stupid–no, it is more stupid–to declare someone might be a terrorists because they are a veteran.

As a 32-year veteran, I can tell you with reasonable confidence that the soldiers, sailors, Marines, and Airmen who are protecting you while you sleep tonight are not being taught how to make bombs out of rented trucks, fertilizer and motor-fuel. And as far as I know, there is no program anywhere to train tall men, whose parents were divorced at a young age, to do the same.

Military service to our nation does not produce terrorists.

Of course the Tea-Parties across American were not about the DHS report, they were about a out-of-control tax and spend policy and practice. But isn’t it interesting how seemingly unrelated events can produce similar motivations? Anyway, let me tell about the Tea-Party I went to in Bossier City.

Since my taxes were already mailed off to Uncle Sam–after I got off my 10-hour work day on April 15–I headed down to the Bossier City Civic Center’s green. Having never attended a demonstration of any sort, I really didn’t know what was going to happen. It shouldn’t have surprised me that convenient parking was no where to be found as I joined about 5000 small-business owners, working tax-payers, families, and even college students from all around Bossier and Shreveport. They were regular people–white, black, Hispanic, young, old, male, female, tall, and short–who like me, had just finished the working activities of their day and then came out for a couple of hours to show their concern.

In case you didn’t make it to a Tea-Party, I posted a few videos on You Tube for you.
The links are below.

After assembling, we sang the National Anthem. If you view this 2 minute 18 second video, I think you’d agree that everyone there was just regular people. Lots of flags. Seemed more patriotic than anything else.

Following that those assembled recited the Pledge of Allegiance lead by a local 6th grader.

Then State Representative Jane Smith gave the invocation. We all prayed for our elected officials, for our country, along with thanking God for all our blessings.
Many speakers were there to motivate the attendees to lawful pro-active action. One of these speakers was Mr. Royal Alexander, who was defeated in the 2007 general election to District Attorney for the sixth Judicial District. He commented about the illegalities of the government writing checks with no funds to cover them.

The keynote speaker was Congressman John Fleming of the 4th district of Louisiana. He explained some of the reasons the radical tax and spend policies are being passed in Congress.

Since the first round of Tea-Parties have ended, much of the national media has used crude humor and mockery to denigrate the respectable citizens who lawfully assembled that day. How many people are we talking about here?

Nobody really knows, but guesses are everywhere. Somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 showed up in Atlanta, our group was considerably less, about 5000. Some reports say there were less than 350 Tea-Parties, but that conflicts with data I had seen on one web site, which stated that as of early April 15, there were over 2000 Tea-Parties scheduled. If only half of those actually took place, and if only half as many people as we had in little Bossier City attended each one of them, that would add up to 2.5 million concerned citizens assembled across America.

That’s a lot of people to denigrate.

So is this a one-time fling or the beginning of a movement? And if it is a movement, what is supposed to happen?
This is what I think. We don’t need another political party. Americans need to take back the two parties we already have–the Democrat Party and the Republican Party. Those two parties can be used to balance our national policies between the two extremes of our Constitutional Republic’s existence. We do not need to dissolve into anarchy anymore than we need to be oppressed by a self-serving oligarchy.

Anarchy is the extreme right–no government. It’s where everyone does according to what they believe is right. In other words, it’s a riot with no police. At its worse, it looks a lot like the corner of Florence and Normandy on April 29, 1992.

An oligarchy is the extreme left–a government with all the power invested into a dominant class or party. It’s the most common form of government throughout history. Sometimes words like “socialist” or “communists” are used to describe them–but at the heart of things–the interests of a small group take priority over everything else. Even a monarchy quickly transforms into an oligarchy, because a king without his army is lost.

The only choices of government-types in the middle of those extremes are a democracy and a republic. A democracy sounds good, but a majority can quickly become a mob if the majority wants something the minority possesses. A republic is what Americans have lived in since the beginning. It is based on law. The Constitution is designed to protect the people by limiting the power of the people operating the government.

That is the reason why some people get very upset when they perceive that some policies and practices may be violating the Constitution. Once the Constitution becomes null and void, our nation will quickly slide into an oligarchy. Which is either where we’re currently headed or arguably by a few where–we’ve arrived.

In each of the great oligarchies of the past, the ruling party used the power of swords, bayonets, or guns to take-over the business pursuits of the majority of the people. By controlling the economy and then the physical activity of their subjects–the oligarchies’ ruling class maintained their power. Today, we call that nationalization. Under the guise of the government’s sovereignty the ruling party takes what they want and does what they deem best with the fruits of the peoples’ labor. Looking back, it was a bloody mess that simply highlights the evil of their leaders while their subjects suffered. Anybody want to argue that the Communists of the former USSR were good for most people that lived there, or that the Nazis of the Third Reich were well-meaning, or that Khmer Rouge only wanted the best for the people? I didn’t think so.

Today, the power of the dollar is being wielded to take-over banks and manufacturers–the business pursuits of the majority of the people. Out-of-control tax and spend policies threaten to undermine the rights of the people. What would our founding fathers have said about this?

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, an anxious crowd assembled outside awaiting the results. As Benjamin Franklin emerged from the adjourned convention, a woman was reported to have asked him: “Well Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
“A republic, if you can keep it” responded Franklin.

Never before has that prophetic statement rang more true. Some of us might argue that in light of the current national policies and plans that seem to be determined to tax the United States into oblivion–it’s already too late. Maybe if Franklin were alive today, he would say, “You have a republic if you can salvage it.”

Yes, we can. We can salvage our republic by taking back both of our political parties. In 2010 we can replace every representative who has voted for this madness with people who promise to overturn it. Then if they don’t do what they say, we can replace them with new people in 2012. We still have the power of the ballot. As long as our Constitution still stands as the law of land, we can do things in a civilized manner. We’re still citizens and not subjects–at least not yet.

We the People, can do this.

As one sign at the Tea-Party read, “You can’t fix stupid, but you can vote it out.”

It just makes sense.

The End of the GWOT

April 11th, 2009

My personal life is much too depressing to talk about for now … next month should set a new high in panglossian delight … so I’ll just add some political commentary to make you aware of my continued existence–enjoy:

It’s over–well, almost. The Global War on Terror is now called “Overseas Contingency Operations,” which can be a little confusing to some of us. After all, we’ve been using initials to talk about things for a while. Everyone probably already knows about WWI and WWII but what about the O-wars?
The first one was OAF, remember that?

That was Operation Allied Force, where the US provided most of the muscle and all the backbone to stop the murder of Muslims by the Miloshevich-led Serbs. Remember how that ended?

After airpower defeated the Serbian military and was allowed to retreat, Miloshevich wound up being charged with crimes against humanity. However, he died of heart problems before a verdict was delivered.

What vowel comes after A? Here’s a hint–E. OEF was the next O-war.

Operation Enduring Freedom, is where America resisted the temptation to kill everyone after the bold terrorist attacks of 9-11. At first, it was called Operation Infinite Justice but the Bush administration changed the name when they were told it was offensive to Muslims.

Then OEF was subdivided into several sub-OEFs to deal with multi-geographical areas: Afghanistan, Philippines, Horn of Africa, Trans Sahara, Krygyzstan, and Pankisi Gorge (a.k.a. Georgia). The last two ended in 2004, but you don’t hear much about them in the press. Oh, did you think it was only in Afghanistan? I guess the collective press might have been confusing, but it is a global war, remember?

What vowel comes after E? I’m sure you know. I. The third O-war was OIF.

That was Operation Iraqi Freedom, sometimes called the War in Iraq–which just caused more confusion. At the end of it all, Saddam Hussein was tried and hung by his own people. Even with the tyrant dead and gone, a lot of fighting continued inside of Iraq–mostly terrorists killing Iraqis–but many Americans died also–albeit not in toe-to-toe fighting, but from a variety of suicide-terrorist attacks, called “homicide bombers” presumedly not to offend the people who wanted us dead. Anyway, Iraq is doing fairly well after all the American and other folks that have helped them. We’ll be leaving in less than 18 months–except for the 50,000 that will remain behind forever.

So now, Barack Obama has directed everyone to use the term “Overseas Contingency Operation” which I guess could be shortened to OCO. I guess that sounds better than OOF–which would have fit nicely in the series of O-wars–but OCO is what it is. But this is not all that has changed.

Janet Napolitano, our newly appointed Homeland Security Secretary, doesn’t like the word terrorism. She prefers to use “man-caused” disasters. Was the term “terrorism” offensive to the causers of disasters? I don’t know.

So who are the people who cause man-caused disasters? Disaster Engineers?

So we’ve got disaster engineers causing man-caused disasters in the OCO but we are trying our best not to offend anyone or to sound arrogant while we go about winning this war. Someone told me that recently Barack Obama apologized for American arrogance and announced that “America was not a war with Islam.” I must say, I’m a little confused.

Wasn’t OAF about Americans saving Muslims? Hasn’t OEF liberated Muslims in many places? Didn’t OIF result in the removal of a brutal tyrant in Iraq and then giving the country back to the Muslims who live there? Why would Barack Obama’s speech writers think he needed to make such an announcement? I don’t know.

On a completely unrelated note–within a few hours of the North Koreans launching an illegal missile, the US government announced that we’re going to defund our most promising anti-missile technologies. And we’re going to release all the disaster engineers at Gitmo, maybe even inside the US, because their home countries might be mean to them. Wouldn’t want that to happen.

With the advent of OCO, it might mean the GWOT is over. If it is over, what happened?

It’s easy enough to figure out if you look at the facts. We’re disarming, we’re releasing our prisoners, we’re trying not to offend anyone, and we’re not taking action against other countries that violate international law. Have you figured it out yet?

Yep, that’s it–we surrendered.

It just makes sense.

Invasion of the Freedom Snatchers

March 21st, 2009

Do you remember the movie The Invasion of the Body Snatchers?  Based on a novel by Jack Finney, it was a 1956 movie starring Kevin McCarthy and Dyna Winter, and then remade in 1978 starring Donald Sutherland and Brooke Adams.  The classic thriller showed people in a small town being replaced with alien clones that morphed out of plant-like pods while their victims slept.  The aliens were exact physical copies of the unfortunate humans whom they killed and then disposed of.  The three defensive techniques used by the humans included running away, trying not to sleep, and when they could find them–killing the aliens while they were still in the pods.  As the story progressed, due to sheer numbers the pods were increasingly successful.

After the aliens successfully entered society, they worked together in their apparent mission to spread additional pods around the world to supplant the entire human race.  The movie was dark and spooky, mostly because it seemed like the aliens were winning and the movie left us hanging as to the ultimate fate of mankind.

Stranger than fiction, there is another invasion going on right now.

Former member and founder of the Black Panther Party, Rep Bobby Rush (D-IL) has introduced a bill to the House Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Rep John Conyers (D-MI).  If his bill should morph into a law it will supplant enough of the Constitution to alter our way of life forever.

If HR 45 becomes law it will negate the second Amendment by transforming the right to keep and bear arms into a privilege controlled by the government; it will negate the fourth Amendment by permitting government gun hunters to raid any home in search of any unauthorized firearms; it will negate the fifth Amendment by depriving gun-owners of their property without due process of law and without just compensation; and finally, it will further negate the already shredded tenth amendment which at one time limited the powers of the Federal Government.

Can you imagine what will happen when the gun-collection police force goes out to collect everyone’s guns? What will you do?  What will your neighbors do?

Regardless of how you feel about gun-control, you need to understand the threat when Constitutionally subversive bills are introduced into our legislative system.  The Constitution is designed as the supreme law of our land.  Within the margins of that freedom-inspired document is Article V, which spells out the provisions by which amendments can be proposed and ratified.

Yes, it requires serious effort.  Changing the Constitution is a serious business.

To help us understand why we don’t want Congress to make laws that supplant our freedoms and rights affirmed by the Constitution, lets play the same scenario using another right that you might be more fond of, let’s say your right to free speech.

What if some congressman submitted a bill that required all citizens to have a federal license before they could legally own a computer?

The bill could be justified by stating that too many young people are being hurt by hateful words posted on the internet or in emails–an undeniable truth.  Sponsors of the bill could claim that hate-speech kills–we need to protect our children.  To foster public support, they could say that anyone who opposed the bill must want to hurt children.

Once the bill became law, anyone wanting a computer would be investigated by the Attorney General’s office to make sure they weren’t mentally ill or prone to say hateful things.  Their library records, TV viewings, and anything they might have ever posted,  emailed, or read would be reviewed to make sure they met the high standards of the Attorney General.  What would be wrong with that?

Well, to begin with it is prohibited by the Constitution.  You see, the Constitution is supposed to limit the power of the government.  When government gets too powerful you get things like restrictions on owning typewriters as in Hitler’s Germany, the Gulags as in the former USSR and things like, well things like H.R. 45.

If “we the people” believe the Constitution needs to be amended, there is a legal process to do that.  That process is not via a bill. Elected officials are supposed to be stewards of our great nation.  We did not put them in their offices to wage war on our freedoms.  The Freedom Snatchers need to be stopped.  Start today by attacking the pod known as H.R. 45.

Let your congressional representatives know how you feel.  You don’t have to say much, just tell them in your own words that as your representative they need to oppose H.R. 45 (Blair Holt’s Firearm Licensing and Record of Sales Act of 2009).  If your representative doesn’t listen to you, you owe it to yourself and your children’s future to vote them out of a job on the next election.

If you’re not sure how to contact your representative, use this link to help you find them.

Don’t give into these dark and spooky attempts to snatch your freedoms. For the time being, our Constitution is merely shaken and not completely broken, if we all do what we can to preserve, protect, and defend it we won’t be left hanging as to the fate of mankind.

Abraham Lincoln said America was mankind’s last great hope.  H.R. 45 is anti-Constitutional and thus un-American, it must be stopped.

Don’t be caught sleeping this time because when our Constitution is supplanted there will be no place left for any of us to run.

It just makes sense.

Constitutional Quirk or Cheat

February 28th, 2009

Some members of our Congress are once again attempting to override the Constitution of the United States. The argument in their quest to cheat the Constitution is based on what they call a “quirk of constitutional law” which treats Washington, D.C. like it is not a state. Alarmingly, sixty-one of our Senators have agreed that our Constitution is wrong.

Article One of the Constitution allows states to send duly qualified and chosen members to the House of Representatives and the Senate. The District of Columbia was created by territory lawfully ceded from states in order to establish a district under the control of Congress.

As most folks already know, Washington D.C. has never been a state–thus the smart people reading this already know why D.C. does not have Congressmen and Senators voting to change the nation’s laws.

Nevertheless, I will continue before I make my point. I have discovered that it is far easier to write, than it is to speak, with one’s tongue in his cheek.

When James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers that every imaginable objection seems to be obviated, he thought he had explained it well enough. But in a world where everything seems to be subject to redefinition, maybe he was wrong.


Maybe he was wrong. Maybe districts and territories should have the same rights as states. If so, where would that apply?

If Washington D.C. was given States’ rights we would get two new Senators and then Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton would become a full fledged voting Congresswoman.

Washington D.C. already has a Congresswoman? But the Constitution says…

We’re not talking about what the Constitution says or doesn’t say, at least not since the third paragraph above. This entire discussion is assuming the Constitution is wrong. Right?

Okay, here we go again.

If Washington D.C. gets States’ rights, then why not Puerto Rico? Puerto Rico is filled with American’s that fight our wars and do great things. Just because they’re not a state is no reason to deny them Constitutional States’ rights, is it? Once we do that, we’ll add two more senators (making it 104) to help make our nations laws better and more fair for everyone.

And if Puerto Rico gets states’ rights, then why not the Northern Mariana Islands, the United States Virgin Islands, and American Samoa? There would be no reason to deny them states’ right also–thus the number of senators would increase to 110. Seems fair and it’s not too much of a change–only 10%.
But wait, there are other territories: Baker Island, Howland Island, Jarvis Island, Johnston Atoll, Kingman Reef, Baj Nuevo Bank, Serranilla Bank, Midway Islands, Navassa Island, Wake Atole, Palmyra Atoll…

What? Most of those places don’t even have a population, why should they have States’ rights?

But they are territories, and if some territories get state’s rights all of them should have it, right?

Well, maybe not, I don’t know. We can’t get help from the Constitution because we already know it is wrong.

How about if we try using logic?

Because states’ rights is all about people, not necessarily the territory or land associated with it–though that counts for something. We shouldn’t give a lump of dirt States’ rights. Okay, but it seems discriminatory.

Maybe we can look at the Constitution for some help here.

Then let’s go back to Article 1 Section 8 and look at those authorities of Congress:

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;

So that sounds a lot like military bases. Using the same logic, all those Federal properties known as military bases need states’ rights too, right?

Some people might argue against that by saying, “The folks in the military are not allowed to hold public office. None of those military people have a right to states’ rights. The bases were bought and paid for with public money.”

Well, so was Washington D.C. and certainly the wives and families of those military people need their rights too. Using the same logic as we did in passing out States’ rights to all the other non states, each military bases should be given States’ rights. The spouses of the military that live there could be elected to hold offices in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Let’s see that would bring the number of Senators up to … about 750–give or take a few. Most of the new Senators would be the wives and husbands of the brave, the few, the defenders of freedom. I wonder how that will affect the amount of taxes being levied on Americans. Even more, I wonder how that will affect military pay raises and the defense budget.

One thing is for sure, if we do this, we’re going to need a bigger capital.

Or better yet, maybe our elected officials, who have taken a oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, should reconsider any act that will not preserve the Constitution of the United States.

We have a multi-partisan assault on our Constitution. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Joe Liberman (I-Con) and Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev) are only three of the sixty-one Senators who are supporting giving States’ rights to a non-state. If they believe the Constitution is flawed, they should sponsor an amendment to the Constitution to change it. Then, at least, the states get some say in the process that will degrade their exclusive status given to them by the Constitution.

Constitution cheating can’t continue — unless we the people permit it–we’ve got to stop this.

It just makes sense.

Cheap Constitutional Cheat

February 21st, 2009

George stomped his boots on the wooden porch to remove January’s snow and the traces of New Jersey mud he had picked up between the hitching post and the small pub.  The sixty-one year-old mountain of a man was dwarfed only by the legends of his accomplishment.  As he stepped inside, he was greeted with enthusiasm.

“Mr. President!” someone shouted.

“To the President!” shouted another.

“Here here!” echoed the reply as the men held their tankards upward in respect of the man who had done so much to free them from their European monarch.

“Thank you, all.”  George tipped his hat to them, revealing a full head of formerly red hair, which he believed, looked better powdered than the gray to which it had faded.  He hung his three-cornered hat on a post by the door and spoke to the bartender,  “Barbados Rum, if you have it.  And where is Governor Paterson?”

“Over here, Mr. President.  We’ve a good table reserved in the back room.  And don’t worry.  I made sure our fine pub had your favorite rum on hand.”  William Paterson was like most men of the day, shorter than his President.  He also shared the curse of the beginnings of gray hair showing through his once auburn coiffure.  It came with being 48 years old in 1793 as coloring products for men were still years away from being in style.  After exchanging greetings, the men retired to the back room with their drinks in hand.

“You said you had urgent business for me?”

“Yes, William,” George said as his mug thumped against the table.  “I’ll cut to the chase, I need you on the Supreme Court.”

“I’m confused.  Why now?  Why me?”

“The timing is really Thomas Johnson’s fault.  His health inspired him to resign on the sixteen.  I would have preferred him to share his frailties with me back in 1791 before he took the job in the first place, but that didn’t happen.  But it has happened now.  So that leaves our country a Justice short, so we need you.”  George took another sip of rum.  “That’s good stuff.”

“Sorry to hear Thomas’ health is poor.  But I’m afraid I can’t accept the position—I’m not qualified.”

“Ridiculous!  Your credentials are beyond reproach.  You were a patriot throughout the revolution.  You were Attorney General of New Jersey—the most prominent lawyer in the state.  You served at the Constitutional Convention—why you were the one who proposed the solution for equal representation for each state.  You just about wrote the Constitution!  As a Justice, you would make sure our country remains true to the principles in that blessed document.  What do you mean, you’re not qualified?”

“I already hold an office.”

“Being Governor of New Jersey does not disqualify you from accepting a nomination to the Supreme Court.  Of course, I understand if you’d rather remain Governor and forgo being a Justice.”

“Oh no, Mr. President.  I want to be a Supreme Court Justice more than anything.  I believe I’ve been called by God for that specific purpose.”

“William,” said George, who then paused to take another sip of rum.  He hardened his gaze and spoke sternly, “You’re talking in circles.  Explain to me why you can’t accept the position without the ambiguity—lest you try our friendship beyond its limits.”

“Yes, Mr. President.  I was previously elected as a Senator for New Jersey.  Article 1, Section 6 , Clause 2 is quite clear.  No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created …”

“But, William, you left that Senate position to take up service as the Governor of New Jersey.”

“That’s true.  But the Governorship is not a civil office subject to the authority of the United States.  The time I was elected to office of Senator doesn’t end until the third of March of this year, 1793.”

George’s expression softened, as he completely understood William’s objections.  “Oh, so that is a problem.  I did take an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution to the best of my ability.  All oaths are sacred and should never be broken.  But a President’s character should always be above reproach–it would open the door for future problems.  But, I’ve already nominated you to Congress.  What do I do now?”

“Oh dear, that is another problem.  Sir, you need to retract that nomination until after my Senate time has expired—after which, I’ll eagerly report for duty.”

“Yes, that is the only solution.  Certainly, I understand.  But I can’t help but to muse about that clause.  Was it really intended to prevent the most qualified man in the country from assuming his position as a Justice?”

“Not really.  But the godly men who assembled to craft our Constitution knew that we had to have checks and balances throughout the document to prevent future generations from copying the oppressive practices of the ‘royal’ lineages in Europe.  If left unchecked, we could find ourselves with professional public-servants …”

“That is ridiculous.   How could they attend to the businesses that support their families?”

“They could create a level of pay and privileges that would elevate their life styles using the power of taxes on the merchants and producers of the country.”

“Sounds more like a system for highway men than legislatures.”

“Yes, Mr. President.  A republic can be a fragile thing.  Of course, another solid check on such corruption is the second half of that same clause:  ‘or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time,’ thus restricting any Senator or Congressman from ever holding an office that has been created or given a salary or benefits, or even increasing the salary or benefits of an existing office.”

“I see.  I remember some of that discussion.  James Madison was very concerned about people using an elected office as a gateway to enrich their own life, with no regard to national service.  I still don’t completely understand how unethical people could ever manage to win the hearts and minds of the voting people.”

“Certainly not our in generation.  We’ve paid too much for the freedoms we enjoy today to toss them away.  But it is possible that future generations could be enticed by office seekers who might promise them something for nothing, only to loot the taxpayers in the process.”

“I pray you’re wrong.  A person who believes they can have something for nothing is either a criminal or a fool.  America is better than that.”


No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

Article 1, Section 6, Clause 2

As clear as the language is in our Constitution, some administrations have chosen to violate it.

In 1968 William Saxbe was elected to the U.S. Senate.  In 1973—before his time was complete—Richard Nixon appointed him U.S. Attorney General, after firing Elliot Richardson who disagreed with him over the Watergate Scandal.

Whatever motivation Richard Nixon had to have a more cooperative Attorney General in power is open to speculation.  Nixon convinced Congress to assist him in violating Article 6, Section 1, Clause 2 by reducing the salary to the Attorney General to the level it was before Saxbe’s term in the Senate had begun.  This cheap Constitutional cheat has been known ever since as the “Saxbe’s fix.”  President Nixon resigned from office in 1974 to avoid impeachment.

In 1980 Jimmy Carter coped the Saxbe’s fix to appoint then Senator Edmund Muskie as Secretary of State after Cyrus Vance resigned in protest of the failed mission to rescue the American hostages in Iran where eight US servicemen were lost.  Muskie appealed in vain to the UN to save the American hostages and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Jimmy Carter just prior to ending his single term most noteworthy for a record misery index on the America people.

In 1993, Senator Lloyd Benson resigned from his office and became Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury.  An interesting note on this “Saxbe’s fix” is that President George H.W. Bush was somehow convinced to sign the bill as one of his last acts in office—thus sharing partial blame for the Constitutional sin.  Talk about leaving office on a sour note.

Following the 2008 election the “Saxbe’s fix” has become standard procedure to fill Obama’s cabinet:

  1. New York Senator Clinton resigned to become the Secretary of State.
  2. Colorado Senator Salazar resigned to become Secretary of the Interior.
  3. California Representative Solis resigned to become Secretary of Labor.

What would George Washington and William Paterson have said about such activity?

And just how does that oath of office for the President go?  The wording is specified in Article Two, Section One, Clause Eight:

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

That should mean exactly what it says, shouldn’t it?

It just makes sense.

Why Did Israel Fail at Deterrence?

January 17th, 2009

If deterrence is supposed to be about who’s the strongest, why did it fail in the Gaza strip?

The Gaza strip is a densely populated area about twice the size of Washington D.C. on the Mediterranean Sea bordering Egypt and Israel.  Under a series of agreements signed in the mid to late 1990s, Israel transferred its security and civilian responsibility to the Palestinian Authority (PA).  Not so surprisingly, autonomy was short-lived and Israel moved its military back in September 2000.  After much international effort, another “final settlement” was reached and Israel moved its forces and settlers out again, but then Hamas replaced the PA via local elections, and Gaza’s provocation towards its former master has been nearly nonstop.

The most provoking habit the folks running around the Gaza Strip have is their addiction to launching missiles into Israel.  Not that one missile isn’t enough to provoke a military response, but the missile launchings have numbered into the hundreds and even thousands.

After Israel had had enough, they initially inflicted punitive strikes on the police and Hamas headquarters throughout Gaza–assuming that even if a government wasn’t actually performing the indiscriminate attacks, they are responsible for policing the people within their border.

In the fighting that followed, it appeared Israel was trying to reduce Hamas’ leadership and their inventory of missiles.  The missiles are called Qassam rockets, which are basically three-foot to seven-foot long rolls of sheet metal (with fins) filled with 1 to 20 pounds of explosives made from fertilizer.  The largest missiles have a range up to ten miles.  Easy to make, easy to launch and run, hard to counter-fire against.

But the ability to launch rockets indiscriminately across the border pales in comparison to Israel’s Defense Force (IDF).

So why didn’t deterrence work?

The answer is fairly simple.  Hamas leadership decided it was worth more to fire the missiles than the price they would pay for firing them.

Sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it?

Hamas’ objective appears to be acceptance and belonging to the community of Islamic governments around the world.  Sometimes it seems the only thing they completely agree on is that Israel needs to be destroyed.  Of course Hamas doesn’t have the power to push Israel into the sea, so they launch crude terror weapons to terrorize the Jews and to inspire those who hate the Jews. They’ve got enough sheet metal and fertilizer to keep building rockets for a long while.  The folks who launch the missiles require little training and support, thus they’re well inventoried to continue.

They probably feel quite good about themselves when they launch the missiles.  In addition, it appears that no contextual elements (population, legalities, economic, environmental, or diplomatic factors) work towards dissuading them at all.

Israel has plenty of military means and will to punish the Hamas-led Gaza Strip for their missile attacks– nobody believes Hamas could out fight the IDF.  Hobby-shop missiles can kill regular people going about their normal lives but they can’t stop a column of tanks.   But the attacks did increase Israel’s population and government support enough to persuade the IDF to strike back.

Almost immediately, journalist began to feed Americans and others stories about how disproportionate the use of force was.  Someone even said it wasn’t a fair fight.  Imagine that.   Does anyone really believe pirates should be fought with fishing boats, or a thug with a knife should be fought with a knife, or thieves should have their stuff stolen as punishment for their crimes?

No.  The forces that seek to stop pirates, thugs, thieves, or missile launching neighbors will always go in better armed, seeking to use overwhelming force to stop the activity.  That tactic is actually better for everyone.  When the sides are close to being evenly matched, the historically proven results is a protracted war of attrition–shades of Rome and Carthage or the American Civil War or World War II–thus bloodshed is greater.

So, knowing that Israel was so much more powerful than Hamas, why didn’t deterrence work?

Deterrence is a value-based decision equation, where the perceptions of the antagonist decide if deterrence will work or not.  The protagonist has to adjust the factors of the equation enough to tilt the value towards their desired outcome.

The equation looks like this:  If PV(cA/xA) > OV(e∆/x∆) then Σ∆ = a∆ = D

I know. It seems kind of complicated.

If you want to know all the details, you can read my book on line–or even buy a copy if you want to impress the folks you work with.  But for the sake of this specific situation, let me simplify it even more.

Basically everything–except the two objectives (PV and OV)–were the same values.  The unacceptable behavior (e∆) wasn’t just expected–it was on-going.  Some Hamas leaders have said the behavior was about security, but it seems more likely the actions were meant to insult or provoke Israel to military action with the firing of missiles in the quest of Hamas’ objective (OV), which is to belong  to the exclusive club of Islamic nations that hate the Jews, even more than they hate everyone else.
The advertised threat (PV) from Israel was a military response to punish Hamas.  Which was limited to showing the world that Hamas is weak–which would reduce their esteem.  Israel has never tried to maximize death or destruction when they wage war. Their enemies know that.

Since “loss of esteem” is less valuable than “belonging to the club” the deterrence equation tipped to the right and the antagonist (Hamas) was not motivated to alter their behavior.  Thus deterrence failed.

When Israel executed the predictable punishment, Hamas defiantly continued to launch missiles.  So Israel was forced to attack other factors in the deterrence equation–they went after the will and the means of the antagonist to fire missiles at them.  Even though Hamas has lost some of its leadership and its fielded forces, it still has enough means to generate some missile attacks.  So they continued to fire missiles even after Israel declared a cease fire.
So did Israel’s actions solve anything?

Yes–a little–it reduced the means of the attacks but did not eliminate it.  So it has not solved the problem, its just made it more tolerable.

In order for the Israeli deterrence strategy to have worked with Hamas, they needed to reduce Hamas’s ability to produce and launch the cheap rockets down to zero.  Not very easy.

The Gaza strip area would have to be reduced nearly back to the stone age to make that possible.  For now, not even Israel is ready to extract that price from the people who live there.

Does that mean Israel can’t deter the firing of missiles at them?

No.  Deterrence can work, but the factors of Israel’s deterrence strategy must change.  Before they can have successful deterrence, Israel has to up the ante.
When the certainty of success is congruent on both sides of the deterrence equation, the precious possession has to be more valuable than the value of the antagonists objective.   Possessions are myriad but can be placed in one of five main categories:

Category of Values       Relative Values
Survival                            Highest
Security                            High
Belonging                        Middle
Esteem                             Low
Actualization                  Lowest

Israel’s deterrence planners need to select an objective that has a value at least equal to the category of “belonging” or of a higher value, and the value standard has to be according to the value-set of the antagonist decision-makers.  Then Israel needs the antagonist to be certain that they will follow through with divesting Hamas of that particular precious possession unless they alter their behavior.  Only then, will deterrence be successful.
Deterrence is a little like a dance. It takes two to tango. The protagonist must lead by providing the motivation.  The antagonist follows by deciding if the motivation is sufficient for deterrence.

It just makes sense.

Who’s Your Ruler

December 11th, 2008

Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Team, Valerie Jarrett said, “Obama is prepared to take power and rule on day one.”

Did you hear that?  It could have been a slip of the lip.  It could have been confusion on the part of the speaker.  It could have been, but probably wasn’t.  Let’s suppose it wasn’t.  What’s wrong with the statement?

Who is America’s ruler?

Is “President” just a another word Americas say to mean king, emperor or dictator?

No, of course not.  We know who the supreme law of the land is, don’t we?  Come on, who says “the President” has any power at all?  No!  It’s not the military.  It’s not the police.  It’s not the courts.  You know who’s supreme.

It’s the Constitution.  The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  It defines the limited power of all offices of the United States.  For instance, Article II covers everything about the office of the President.  Did you know that before a person can be the President, he has to take an oath to the Constitution?

“Before he enters on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

While the Constitution explains the limits of the President’s powers, even a casual observer of the oath should be able to understand that the President is required to obey the Constitution.  The Constitution rules the President.

Article VI explains how powerful the Constitution is:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

So who’s your ruler?
If you said, “The Constitution,” you can give yourself full credit.  But if you quoted the first three words of the Constitution you get an extra 10 points.  It is there that you find the author and true sovereign of America.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

A win is a win.  Elections have results, as they should.  But don’t let anyone tell you that you have a new ruler.

I will pray for the new President as I have for the previous ones, maybe more.  But the President has never been our ruler.  He’s not our king, emperor, or dictator.  He’s not above the law.  His limited authority is granted to him for a limited time by the Constitution.  He works for us.

It just makes sense.