cancel culture

To recap last week, a plastic potato was neutered and Dr. Suess was declared a racist. On the plus side President Biden did take action on the Iranian proxy militias that attacked US interests in Iraq. Let’s return however to the first items and discuss cancel culture. Let us define, according to Wikipedia: 

Cancel culture (or call-out culture) is a modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media, or in person. Those who are subject to this ostracism are said to be “cancelled”. Merriam-Webster notes that to “cancel”, as used in this context, means “to stop giving support to that person” while, in its pop-culture dictionary, defines cancel culture as “withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive.” The expression “cancel culture” has mostly negative connotations and is commonly used in debates on free speech and censorship… Former US President Barack Obama warned against social media call-out culture saying “People who do really good stuff have flaws. People who you are fighting may love their kids and, you know, share certain things with you.” Former US President Donald Trump also criticized cancel culture in a speech in July 2020, comparing it to totalitarianism and claiming that it is a political weapon used to punish and shame dissenters by driving them from their jobs and demanding submission.

Cancel culture today goes far beyond ostracism and censorship, it can go as far as physical violence has manifested itself from what is known as postmodernism. Postmodernism is a recent addition to western philosophy. Postmodernism is seen in artistic thought, architectural design and social criticism. The first two are not a concern it is the last.  I will let you look up postmodernism on your own, but a short intro in to the basic concept is ignore all that is know, teardown anything from the past and rebuild from scratch. Which brings us back to cancel culture.

What we have seen over the past decades has been an attack on the very foundations of our civilization. A true attempt to cancel the American and other western cultures. Many of those in the front line of this war call themselves “Social Justice Warriors.” What is wrong with fighting for social justice, nothing, unless your are not and just using the term. Most past philosophies have contributed to the growth of society from the classics to modern time. Around 1500AD (CE if you like) modern philosophy brought us through the enlightenment to today, constantly adapting and moving forward.

We are subjected daily to the consequences of believing in such ideas as White Privilege and Critical Race Theory. To go along with this nonsense you have to believe that every white person in the world is racist and that all actions taken are designed to deny people of color a fair chance. Most recently a group in Washington State demanded that the bicycle helmet law be repeal because it is racist. The reason is that all people of color are poor and cannot afford helmets. Another aspect of tearing down society is to maintain that there has been no progress in racial equality and therefore we must reduce the country to ash and start over.

I am not saying racism does not exist, if does of course all over the world. The House just passed what they call the Equality Act meant to protect LGBTQ+ citizens. The problem is a misunderstand, intentional or not, that total and unquestioned equality is a good idea, it is not. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of God, in the eyes of the law and in political action. Not everyone is equal to every one else. The Idea that transgender males should be allowed to compete with biological females is absurd. I hate to tell the left that there is a difference between the genders that cannot be overcome by legislation.

This argument can go on forever , I just wanted to begin the process of having everyone PLEASEThink about what is going on. More to follow.   

BIden response to Iranian attack on U.s. bases

Is it to little to late

Yesterday President Biden finally acted regarding the recent attacks on US interests in Iraq by Iranian backed militias in SYRIA. While I congratulate the President for acting, I question the what and wherefore of the attack. According to reports there were several options presented to the president and the one chosen was the smallest target. This would not be a problem provided there was a political or military reason for the target selection. The only political reason seems to be domestic consumption. The other reason for target selection is the impact it will make and the message it will send.

The stated purpose was to launch a measured and proportional attack that would send a message but not lead to any escalation. This explanation shows that the new administration knows nothing about the politics or culture of the region. The hatred for the west is deep and profound.  There are conflicting reports as to the results of the attack. They go from only infrastructure was attacked up to 17 people killed. In any case attacking these militias will always result in retaliation and escalation.

In 1993 then President Clinton ordered retaliatory attacks into Baghdad aimed at punishing Iraqi intelligence for their part in a plot to assassinate former President Bush, and Afghanistan and Sudan in response to the bombing if US Embassies in Africa. For the most part the buildings attacked in Baghdad were damaged but since it was done in the early morning. In Afghanistan and Sudan mush the same, in Afghanistan the camps targeted were empty. The reasons given were once again, to send a message. The effect of these messages was stepped up terror attacks in Europe and the US with the 9/11 grand finally.

Internally prominent republicans have applauded the move while several democrat law makers called it an illegal move. Internationally the Russians complained they were not informed in time to deconflict the battle space, Syria called it a violation of their sovereignty. Iraq was informed as well prior to the mission and likely informed the militias in time for them to vacate the area, at least most.

It is unlikely that this attack will do more than heighten tensions in the region and Iran will likely put Biden on notice that this will only delay the process to reestablishing the Iran deal. As said, I am happy Biden did something and hope it is successful but feel it will not be. It was the wrong action in the wrong area. Biden will learn it will take more force to impact terrorist.

Dr. Pelosi or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Take Control of the Bomb

After the January 6th riots House Speaker Pelosi asked the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to have the nuclear launch codes removed from President Trump. To his great credit General Milley explained to her that it could not be done but that there were safeguards in place to ensure that any lunch could not be ordered on a whim. To let everyone, know the president does not have a launch button on his desk that he can push anytime he would like. He has access to the launch codes that will authorize the military to attack preset targets. Should he call for the codes there will be a number of people that will follow the “football” in, and they will have the authority to not follow the president’s orders if they feel it to be capricious or unlawful.

Recently 30 democrat members of congress authored a letter with the intent of changing the system that would remove the president from being the sole authority in issuing the launch codes.  What could cause these members of congress to take up this request in unknown. They either have no idea has the system works or do know and are trying to make political hay. I do not believe that this would ever get far but if it were to, we need to understand the second and third order effect this would have on national security.

Should a counterstrike, or even a first strike, ever become necessary the current chain of command contains cool heads and experience in what would be required and to what degree. Compare this with a partisan congressional committee trying to make a split-second decision. So far congress has not been able to come up with a budget or a workable plan to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the accepted doctrines of the time that kept the cold war cold was MAD “Mutually Assured Destruction.” The doctrine held that if any one side launched an attack the other would respond immediately assure both sides would be destroyed. Now imagine that a future enemy, say Iran or North Korea, developed the capacity to launch a nuclear strike on the US or more likely in the short-term China. If they assessed that a US counterstrike would be delayed or maybe never happen then there is no deterrence. All because a partisan group made a power grab owing to their political philosophy that all power resides in the collective rather than the individual.

When next we get a chance to vote PLEASEThink about the individual candidate, regardless of party, and vote for that person’s ability to represent you not some ideology.

Pearl Harbor Dec 7th 1941, Washington DC Jan 6th 2021

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor several investigations followed that always ended up blaming lack of intelligence for the fact that the military was not prepared. In fact several reports indicated that the Japanize intended to attack there. One in particular, the Martin-Bellinger report, issue in March of 1941 was a virtual copy of the actual Japanese plan. This along with other reports and indications fell on deaf ears since it was assume Hawaii was too far from Japan to be a target and that the Japanese forces were not capable of launching such an attack. Lack of adequate intelligence was cited as the reason the military was not prepared.

On January 6, 2021 the US Capitol building was attacked by an out of control mob attempting to stop the certification vote for Biden. The Capitol police were overwhelmed as they appeared to be totally unprepared for the assault. We now know that there was at least one FBI report that indicated violence. We also know that Speaker Pelosi had been offered re-enforcement the night before but turned the down, the House Speaker has authority over security. We also know that based on the numbers and types of people entering DC that something was likely to happen. The leader of the proud boys, Enrique Tarrio, had been stopped the day before the riot and denied access to the city. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) had told his staff to stay home and only had his Chief of Staff with him that day, citing fear of violence. Yet the Senate hearing highlighted intelligence failures for the lack of adequate protection.     

I do not mean to compare Pearl Harbor with the riot at the Capitol, but to point out how those in charge always come up with the same excuse.  Intelligence failure is the most prominent excuse in for military failure and can be used anywhere when intelligence is ignored (can you tell I am a retired intel guy).

The point I am trying to make is that it is time we stop trying to come-up with excuses and work to fix problems. One constant with past investigations into “intelligence failures” is lack of communications between responsible agencies. This includes the Pearl Harbor commission report, the Church Commision report (Vietnam), the 9/11 Commission report and now it is being set to b a problem with the Jan. 6th riot. On the front page of the Washington Post under the headline it reads “EX-SECURITY CHIEFS TESTIFY ON BREACH – Warnings missed, threat underestimated, they say.”

In the Article of Impeachment passed by the house, with no real investigation or hearing, they said the President should have known his words would cause the riot. We can now say that law enforcement should have known there was a problem coming and been better prepared. PLEASEThink about what happened and how it should have been handled. Lets hold those in leadership positions to account.

Iran vs. Biden

Welcome to our brave new world, which is starting to look like the bad old world. In the last week Iranian backed militias have launched three rocket attacks at American forces and positions including the American embassy, killing a US contractor, and injuring US service personnel. The reaction of the Biden administration has been to label the attacks an “Outrage” but that the US will not lash out, but consider options, Come on man. Iran has in the past tested the resolve of the United States, recently under Trump. The result with Trump was withdrawal from the JCPOA, the Iran deal, which cost them billions due to renewed sanctions. When they attempted to force their point once again by staging an attack on our embassy in Baghdad, their lead terrorist was killed by a drone strike. In June of 2019 Iran shoot down a US Drone over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz. The US responded by a cyber attack which shut down the Iranian Air Defense Grid. Last year the number of attacks increased but the number of rockets fired in each attack decreased.  The attacks also were of very little effect since they mostly missed hitting anything of value with no US casualties.

Today we see death and casualty causing impacts as well as an increase in accuracy. The good news is they are not using their more sophisticated weapons and not using the mass barrage technique of the past. How long will it be before they use larger more sophisticated missiles and aim to cause mass death. If there is no response, it will not be too long. Our allies I am sure are cautioning against the cowboy diplomacy of the past and the Biden administration is more then happy to oblige. While claiming to be assessing and contemplating they can continue to just sit back and do nothing. How will this work out?

In the past, during the cold war there was a military doctrine known as Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) that was thought to keep the US and the Soviet Union from using nuclear force. We may not be talking about stopping a nuclear war (yet), but the concept of deterrence is valid. An excellent book from those days is “Arms and Influence” by Thomas C. Schelling. The first chapter in his book is titled “The Diplomacy of Violence.” Schelling speaks of the difference between compelling a foe or coercing them. Joe Biden is familiar with compelling someone as we saw with his threat to Ukraine to fire a prosecutor or lose US aid. Coercion is different, since it is making someone do what they do not want to do under threat of violence. Compelling Iran to stop supporting militias in Iran or to stop exporting terrorism in the region is a futile quest. Coercing them with threats of violence has limited effect but can still be effective if the amount of hurt inflected or perceived to be coming is sufficient to slow down an action. Claiming they were in Iranian waters the boats and crew were taken captive. Secretary of State Kerry apologized for the incident and thanked Iran for releasing the crew. Obama pointe the incident out as a success for diplomacy. Iran continued to size tankers in the gulf and demanding ransom. Most recently they sized a Korean tanker in January claiming it was polluting the gulf. Iran just announced it was releasing the tanker after South Korea released 1 Billion dollars in assets frozen by US sanctions.

The Biden administration must learn how to deal with terrorist regimes, or the violence will increase and consume the region and the world. One teaching of life comes from William F. Buckley who said, “Idealism is fine but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.”  No government or political institution can stand if it is based solely on ideology that makes no room for change.

Trump taxes

Just a quick thought on the recent Supreme Court ruling to allow NY Prosecutors access to Trumps tax returns. I will agree that law enforcement has a right to gather evidence when investigating a crime. What I would object to is if they use the law to go on a fishing expedition to see if a crime has been committed. If there is probable cause to pursue an investigation so be it. If you just want to rip into someone past because you don’t like them, then who is the criminal.

Is liberalism the Dark Side of the Political Force?

There has been a lot of talk about why the left keeps winning. The question is, do they? Today most people get their information from the web or cable news networks. The Newspapers, which have been in decline for years, have returned to the days of yellow journalism with sensationalized headlines and front-page reports designed to provide editorial content above actual news events. In this way the left is winning since for most people this is the quickest, easiest, and most seductive way to be “informed.” We have also seen this in our educational system. There is no doubt that in primary and elementary schools it is necessary to work on basics, the 3Rs. But what has been lost, if it was truly ever there, is teaching how to think. This should be part of middle and high school education. Lean to question what is being said and to search out information.

Recent examples of failure to think occurred in a CNN town hall meeting with President Biden. According to Biden in the town hall there was no Covid-19 vaccine before he entered office, which we know is not true. That there was no distribution plan for the vaccine, which we know is not true. He further went on to say that with his plan there will be 100 million people vaccinated in the next three months, or 1.07 million a day. Before Trump left office, they were vaccinating 1 million per day. It did not take long to figure these numbers out, just a quick check on Google. Without the education to question there is no need to look this up, it just quicker and easier to accept. The news media was no help since, as was done in the Washington Post it was dismissed as it is difficult to speak on live TV, his childhood stutter or just a typical Joe Biden Gaffe. Nothing to see here so stop looking.

Lack of civics teaching is also a problem. The drum beat from the left is continuous, the courts have found no proof of fraud in the elections. The truth is that the courts, as they historically do, have found procedural reasons not to hear the cases, mostly lack of standing by the plaintiff. The most recent headline, today, is that the Supreme Court decided against Trump. What in fact happened is what I had predicted, the case is moot since the election is over.  

What has protected us in the past is open discussions and somewhat far journalism. Today we are under the control of what could only be called propaganda. We need to toughen up and learn to think as individuals. Perhaps we need to increase the number of private schools and demand quality education from the public schools. Parents need to demand collages and universities stop denying free speech on campus. Students must be taught that they are students and not in charge. They must be given a level of freedom and liberty but must be made to understand they are not equal to professors, administrators, or their parents.

PLEASEThink what we have lost by being quiet and what we need to do to regain or liberty.

saturday thoughts

Just a couple of quick Items for the weekend. First, Sen Ted Cruz, who cares. It is a PR disaster but not a major mistake. He is a US Senator and would have very little power to do anything but make phone calls to FEMA to ask how things are going. It is not like he is a Governor of a state whose actions may have killed thousands, but let’s keep Cruz in the news to keep Cuomo out.

The new all Democrat congress, which the media has judged centrist, assigned Sen. Bernie Sanders to be Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. He is now scheduling high-profile hearings that highlight the socialist agenda he has pushed for his 30 years on the hill. The first is titled “Why Should Taxpayers Subsidize Poverty Wages at Large Profitable Corporations?” Future hearings are on such subjects as “making corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share,” as well as the cost of climate change. I am sure these will be fair and open meetings. I will soon be discussing the concept of the wealthy paying their fair share and what that means.

Biden has returned the US to the Paris Climate Accords, by the way the US has meet or exceeded the benchmarks set before this decision.

Biden has recently overturned several Trump executive orders, two were designed to lower the cost of insulin and increase support for apprenticeships.

Have a good weekend and PLEASEThink about what is happening around you.  

Should the minimum wage go Up

With the Democrat party controlling both houses of Congress and the White House there is a good chance that the federal minimum wage will be raised from $7.50/hr.  to $15.00/hr. The drumbeat argument from the left has been no one should work for less then a living wage. I agree that all people should be given the opportunity to earn a living wage and the statistics prove that most do. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) approximately 1.9% of hourly wage earners make at or below the federal minimum wage. Another argument being made is that it disproportionately impacts minorities, again looking at the statistics we see this is not true. According to the BLS White represent 72.6% at or below, 49% are women. Black or African Americans represent 17.9%, women are 11.4%.

Is there an argument for raising the minimum wage, yes. The minimum wage has not been raised since 2009 and there should be some increase. The problem is that, like everything else they do, the federal government tends to discount tomorrow. The current bill will slowly raise the rate to $15.00/hr. over time, then what. The rate should have a built-in escalation provision that is tied to inflation, or the cost of living, or something.

The next area we must explore in the numbers is who is being impacted. To be exact those listed by the BLS by age shows that the majority, 43.1% are 16-to-24-year old’s, follow by 25% who are between 25 to 34 years old. Another way to look at this is that most of those who would benefit from an increase are those still in high school or just post-secondary education. Those with occupational education make up the least at 3.6%. Remember this is based on those paid hourly not the total working population.

The answer to low wage jobs is not to force an increase on business owners who can little afford it but to encourage an economy that will, through competition, pay higher rates. Stop trying to force a system that does not help those seeking to live a better life but to set the conditions where people have opportunity and a clear path to success on their terms.

Should there be a third party

Much is being said and written about advancing a third major political party. Many parties have existed in the United States since its beginning. The early parties are no longer with us, having outlived their usefulness or morphed overtime into what we have today. Recently there have been attempts to start viable third parties but all have failed. Even movements within the parties, such as the Tea Party, used to push toward an extreme view have ended badly. For good or ill the US is a two-party country and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. To determine the way forward for the republican/conservative movement we will take a page out of resent home improvement shows. Couples on these shows are given the option of keeping their current home with upgrades or moving to a new home. We must determine if we want to keep our party with upgrades or move on to an unknown.

Obviously, my recommendation is to upgrade and rebrand. We got a good start from President Trump and need to build on that. Trump acting in the interest of the country as a whole and fought for the individual. We need to find a way to shed the image of racism and the party of the one percenter. This will not be easy since the left owns the news media and will not allow for any positive reports about the right, to get much coverage. We need to work around this obstacle. Local organizations must be recruited to spread the word. The word must also be moderate and less extreme than some may wish. Most of what the republican party is about is moderate action to problems and reasonable solution that work overtime. This is anathema to the left who respond to everything with kneejerk reactions and a need for instantaneous gratification. We need to push back on the radical ideas that have no basis in fact and stop fearing popular reactions to unpopular statements.

Identity politics has driven the concept of differing views to the point that there can be only one why of looking at any situation. In a recent interview on CNN Freshman Representative Sara Jacobs (D-CA) called for a truth commission to root out and combat extremism. She is not the first and I have not heard much from the right. This type of ideology, that puts itself above the constitution, needs to be confronted. We have heard from the new Secretary of Defense that he is ordering a 60-day standdown to confront extremism in the military, while most recently the acting chief of police in Washington DC said they are exploring ways to investigate police officers who may hold extremist views. What no one has defined is what is extremism. Will visiting a Proud Boys web site cost you a career or a promotion? Will there be equal examination for Black Lives Matter or Antifa?  The right should be standing up and screaming about this, but so far nothing. Where do these type of big brother investigations end?

The Republican party needs to return to the roots of American thought and culture. We must push the ideas of freedom and liberty. We must continue to push the concept of the individual above the collective state. It must be understood that America is unique in the world. Solutions that have worked or perceived to have worked elsewhere may not work here. At the same time, we must understand that we cannot export American culture.

We have reached a time in which too many of our citizens are ashamed of being American for reasons they cannot explain. We must get everyone to PLEASEThink about how great our country is and how we can work together to make it work.