Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back in La-La Land and a Reprise

Back in California from eight days back home in Miami. Tired and the Diplowife has me moving furniture in anticipation of the flooring guys coming tomorrow to rip out the disgusting wall-to-wall carpet at the house in So. California. This flooring operation will require me to dismantle my computers and internet for a couple of days. So, therefore, I provide a little repeat from the recent past.

 I noticed that others (here, for example) are finally catching up with the observations made some time back by this little blog that this century will not necessarily be China's Century. There are, in fact, many factors at work that make it increasingly unlikely that China will become the predominant power of the 21st century; the only hope they have, in fact, is if we self-destruct. That's possible, but the way the world is currently structured it would be a suicide-murder (as opposed to a murder-suicide): if we go, we're taking them with us . . .

Anyhow, here is a little piece I wrote almost eight months ago, which, in light of recent developments in the international oil industry, e.g., "fracking," is even more valid now than when I wrote it. By the way, two days after I posted this, my email was hacked, apparently by hackers based in China. Coincidence? I'll find out . . . I promise to write something new in a couple of days . . . back to moving furniture . . . "I used to be somebody . . . "


China's Century? Not if We Don't Give It Away

Years ago in Jakarta, I occasionally would meet, lunch, or dine with a husband-wife team of correspondents for two prominent American newspapers. They were very pleasant, had a sense of humor, and a great deal of experience overseas, mostly in Asia. They were well-educated, wrote well, and had the standard liberal biases of their class--e.g., they hated President Bush, hoped John Kerry would win the 2004 election, and viewed the United States as a seriously flawed country on the way to the dust-bin of history. They saw the 21st century "belonging" to China in the same way that the 20th "belonged" to us. They made the usual arguments about China's manufacturing prowess, well-coordinated and determined political class, social discipline, and education--which is the real kind, not the "women's studies" kind. Their writing reflected these views. This narrative continues today from other purveyors of conventional faux wisdom such as the annoying and boring Thomas Friedman, and the condescending and insufferable Fareed Zakaria.

Don't buy it. The 21st will prove "China's century" only if we destroy ourselves; but, if we do, odds are we're taking China with us--and the Chinese rulers know it (more to follow).

I love Chinese history; been to China several times; and like and respect the Chinese people--they work hard, like Americans, and want to study and live in America. I have dealt with China's very slick, tough, and well-trained diplomats. That said, I have found it impressive over the years to see how China has transformed itself from a poor, brutal, authoritarian police state into a poor, brutal, authoritarian police state with large foreign currency reserves. Sorry, but shoddily-built skyscrapers, and streets clogged with Fords, BMWs, Lexus, and Buicks, and lined with luxury stores and restaurants cannot hide the hard facts.

Confucius's 2500-year old Analects still provides an accurate account of China's philosophy of governance in which every person has an assigned role; failure to keep to it has dire consequences. I saw the repression at work in a visit to Tibet which escaped the control of our handlers. Even outside Tibet the legal system, to put it mildly, remains opaque, capricious, subject to political manipulation, and harsh. Avoid Chinese cops--who seem to be everywhere--and courts. For all the vaunted economic progress, control of the legal-political system remains with an unelected and corrupt Communist Party cadre. These rulers have agreed among themselves that not one will have the total power once wielded so disastrously by Mao. The top jobs rotate; major decisions are not made solo. Progress? I don't know. We saw a similar development in the USSR after Stalin: how is the USSR doing these days? The people remain cut out. The elite decide what's best, the people must comply--see Confucius. This secretive, stale, corrupt, aloof, and repressive system remains a major hindrance for China's development as a true power. Despite ham-handed attempts to block outside influence, word spreads of ways to live which do not involve fear and blind loyalty. We probably will not see a Chinese 21st century, but we will see a "Chinese Spring," and it could get nasty.

We hear a lot of heated nonsense about a GOP "war on women." To see a real war on women, go to China. Thanks to Chinese preference for sons, the one-child dictate means females in China are disappearing: they are being aborted, killed, and given for adoption overseas. This is gendercide, a human rights disaster of major proportions and one almost ignored. Moral issues aside, China is heading for demographic disaster. Marrying age men vastly outnumber women. Among those who can afford it, there is a hunt on for foreign brides. Large groups of young Chinese men charter planes to Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere, and hold "speed dating" sessions at local hotels in the hunt for brides, stoking the anti-Chinese hatred which lies just beneath the surface of many Asian societies.

In East Asia, China is deeply feared and resented. East Asian leaders would much rather deal with the United States, and are big proponents of an active US military and economic presence in the area. They do not want China (and previously Japan) as the undisputed big gorilla in the region. As a senior Vietnamese diplomat once told me, "Everybody wants to be American. Nobody wants to be Chinese. Even the Chinese want to be American." This from a man whose father, he said, died fighting the US Marines in Hue, and whose own son was studying in California. Unless you're wealthy and can isolate yourself from Chinese reality, China is an unpleasant place to live for a foreigner, especially one from another Asian country. It has little in the way of "soft power" or uplifting universal values; it does not welcome immigrants, and views foreigners with the same sort of suspicion and disdain that Chinese citizens themselves find in much of East Asia.

Even in the economic sphere there is less than meets the eye. Most Chinese, the overwhelming number of them, live in crushing rural and urban poverty, work under appalling conditions, and suffer levels of environmental pollution and food contamination that no Western society would tolerate. The mass education system is a disaster. Increasingly foreign firms, which, after all, have fueled China's economic growth, are encountering shortages of skilled and semi-skilled workers, and are no longer quite so eager to set up shop in China.

China's banks are a mystery. They are secretive, corrupt, and work closely with the Party and the government. China pursues a policy which will be coming to the end of its rope soon, that of keeping their currency artificially low to keep exports cheap and try to keep the job creation machine churning. The central bank, which holds the largest foreign currency reserves in the world, must come up with ways ("sterilization") to sop up the currency generated in China by the influx of foreign currency to prevent inflation and prevent the Chinese currency from appreciating against other major currencies. This involves forcing the banks to keep an ever increasing reserve, and forcing them to buy low or no yield government bonds. I am no expert, but the ones whom I know wonder how long that can continue. The experts ignore another aspect to this: the overseas political side of it. China's trading partners, the US and Europe most notably, are reaching the end of their patience with China's currency manipulations. A trade war is not inconceivable; China would have the most to lose.

One of the greatest threats to China's future is President Obama. His administration's reckless spending and conjuring of dollars out of thin air, is ruining us and stretching the Chinese ability to "sterilize" the effects of all these cheap dollars pouring in. It is no wonder that Chinese authorities have been lecturing Obama on the need for fiscal restraint and budgetary responsibility. China is tied to our mast. If we sink, they go with us--their billions and billions of dollars in US bonds, worthless. Let's view it as a backhanded compliment to our silly President.

As stated at the outset, China will have as much power and influence as we let them have. China's future as a superpower will be decided in Washington, not in Beijing. Under the Communists, China has not proven an inventive or innovative society; their technological progress is bought, borrowed, copied, or stolen. The USSR tried that, too. They offer no compelling alternative vision to the West's prosperity and freedom. They can try to become a military bully, but that will go only so far in their very complicated neighborhood and with the serious structural and resource weaknesses they suffer.

China should copy and try one thing from the West it has not so far: it works in Japan, in the Republic of Korea, and, ironically, in the "breakaway" Chinese province of Taiwan. I am talking about freedom, the real kind, not the Communist Party kind.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Surveying the Scene: Chaos

Sitting in my favorite city in the whole world, Miami, Florida. Whenever I get too depressed or downhearted or just need a break, I head back to Miami. That city has played a critical role in my professional life. During my many tours in Latin America, and, of course, with Southern Command, Miami and Florida, in general, including Hurlburt Field where I got to see an AC-130 light up the night, were my safe havens, my places of refuge. Almost regardless of the economic situation in the nation and the world, Miami seems to retain a vitality and cautious optimism that the days ahead will get better. Perhaps that comes from the sun, the heat, and the white beaches, or perhaps it comes from its demographic: people who have seen things get much worse in their countries of origin, and who have patience and still believe that America, in the end, will put things right at home and abroad.

Well, despite the optimistic city, I retain a considerable amount of pessimism, and even disgust with the result of the national elections earlier this month. I find myself distressed not just because a dangerous mediocrity such as Obama could get re-elected, but that a fine, intelligent, a genuinely patriotic man such as Congressman West could not get re-elected, and that another fine, intelligent, and patriotic woman such as Mia Love could not even get elected. I assume that those who voted against West and Love were old time Democratic KKK racists, after all, weren't we told by MSNBC and others that if we failed to vote for Obama we were racists? I assume that the MSNBC formula applies to the goose as well as to the gander . . .

Obamacare and all the other liberal money-fueled delusions are going to come crashing down on the American people in the next few months. I don't have much optimism about the economy. We are in for a rough time of increased taxes, rising deficits, inflation, stagnation and an endless parade of mountebanks, such as the disgraceful Paul Krugman, trying to convince us that more of the same policies that produced all that will somehow produce something different. I can assure you that as things get worse, the Democrat/media lie machine will blame it all on the Republican control of the House. The worse the economy gets, ironically, the worse it might get for the GOP unless the House leadership proves surprisingly adept at keeping the focus on the Obama misadministration.

Developments overseas are following the predictable path blazed by the Obama misadministration's absurd policies of apology, abasement, and accommodation. The Middle East is about as dangerous as it has ever been. Unlike previous major crises in the region, e.g., 1967 and 1973, we now have a welter of totally irrational and unpredictable actors running about on the stage. Nobody really knows what Iran might or might not do; nobody knows how crazed Hezbollah or Hamas might behave; nobody knows what exactly is going on inside Egypt as Morsi launches a pharonic power grab; nobody knows what is going on inside Syria; and we still have no answers as to what happened in Benghazi and why. The Middle East is descending into the sort of chaos eminently foreseeable as Obama dismantled American influence and power in that region. Thanks to the Obama misadministration's open hostility to our developing realistic domestic sources of energy, we remain vulnerable to the whims and manias of the loons in the Middle East. Nuclear-armed Israel stands alone as the sole representative of the West in the Middle East. How much longer before they act?

One last thought before signing off as I get ready to head back to California for a few more weeks. For the first time in about two years I went to the movies. At the urging of old Foreign Service colleagues, I saw "Argo." As you all know, it tells the "true" story of the rescue of six FSOs from Iran. They had managed to get out of the Embassy compound and got taken in by a very brave Canadian Ambassador who hid them for several weeks. The movie is fine, and captures well the 1970s environment in an Embassy. The take over of the Embassy by the Iranian "students" is well done, and most of the film which deals with a CIA plan to rescue these six before the Iranians figure out where they are hiding is good, straight-forward story-telling, with the predictable Hollywood dramatizations.

Even, however, when Hollywood is making a "true" movie, even a somewhat patriotic movie, it cannot resist injecting liberal bias into the story. Nowhere does the movie mention the 1980 elections. Once the six are safely in the air, the movie ends with a long addendum, as the credits roll, that discusses the releasing of the other hostages on January 20, 1981, without ever mentioning Reagan's election and that the hostages were released as Reagan was sworn in as President. It ends with a weird audio interview with President Carter in which he claims credit for the release of the hostages "peacefully" and in manner consistent "with the dignity of our nation." The movie does not mention Carter's botched rescue effort--except tangentially in a conversation at the CIA--and seems to give Carter the credit for freeing the hostages. Those of us in the Foreign Service at the time know the Iranians freed the other hostages out of fear of what Reagan would do to Iran.

More in a few days.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Second Term Blues

Just made it out of LA before the Obama-supporting SEIU labor union decided to thank all the Obama supporters in Los Angeles by shutting down LAX on Thanksgiving, the busiest day of the year for air travel.

I know it shouldn't, but the sight of all those Obama voters having their holiday ruined by Obama's union thugs gives me a little secret "thrill up my leg." That is what you wanted, that is what you got, and we are just getting warmed up! Next up, the fire fighters, the cops, the bus drivers, the prison guards . . . Come to California if you want a good glimpse of what the Obamistas have in mind for the rest of the country.

Welcome to Britain 1971! The same mentality that almost succeeded in turning the UK into a hollowed out offshore slum of Europe is now loose and ruling in America. Not sure if we will have a Maggie Thatcher to rescue us.

And it gets worse.

The Benghazi gate might be shutting. Perhaps some fascinating and relevant stuff is being revealed in the classified hearings, but from what I am hearing, the Obamistas are sidetracking the investigation, stalling, citing spurious national security reasons, and just letting the air go out of the balloon. More or less the same tactics they have used successfully in derailing the Fast and Furious scandal, with added plus in the Benghazi mess they have a salacious angle missing from the F&F scandal.

Obama's America is not a happy place.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Travel and Reprise

I am heading back to Miami for a few days to see what's going on with my house and my kids in college there. I will take the IPad with me, but am absolutely horrible at blogging with it. I'll try. I want to write something about Benghazi and my sinking feeling that Obama has gotten away with it.

Anyhow, just to show you that I am not always wrong, I run a piece here that I wrote in May of 2011, some eighteen months ago, in which I laid out the key difficulty that would face the GOP in the November 2012 elections--note the last paragraph in particular.

Here it is,

Modern Democracy: The Battle Between the Taxpayers and the Voters

Spent a considerable time this weekend reading about the very serious crisis of the Euro. Different analysts grade the severity slightly differently, but all seem in agreement that the Euro, as we know it, is doomed. The most dire scenarios see the whole EMU (Economic Monetary Union) blowing apart, while the most optimistic see Greece, Portugal, perhaps one or two other "Southern" economies separated from the Euro (the numbers, and who exactly gets kicked off the island depend on whom you read), and the currency is reserved for the core "Northern" economies.

This reading then led me to a great deal of reading about the almost equally serious crisis affecting our own dollar. Then, I read about the crisis affecting the British pound. It was an intense amount of very depressing reading: I really need to get out more.

None of the sophisticated and highly technical analyses I read, however, picked up on the real source of the crises facing the major currencies, and, in fact, our core economic well-being. It all comes down to a very simple and basic fact. The western nations have developed societies where those who pay for government services, in general, are not the ones benefitting from the services. In the United States, for example, we have the top one percent of earners paying 38-41% of all Federal income tax. We have nearly half of Americans who pay no income tax, and another large percentage 15-20% who pay minimal income tax (and lets not even get into "Earned Income Tax Credits".) We essentially have a society where some 25% of the income earners pay close to 90% of all Federal income taxes. That 25% does not consume anywhere near 90% of the services provided by the Feds.

You can argue until you're blue in the face that this imbalance is "fair" because those who make more SHOULD pay more. Whether, however, you are "right" or "wrong," in socio-political terms this imbalance has set up a clash between those who pay and those who do not. To varying degrees, it is this clash we see played out in the US and Europe. In Spain, for example, huge crowds of "protestors" take to the streets demanding, well, demanding more from the state. This in a country with an unemployment rate of over 21%, and some of the most generous public benefits anywhere on earth, benefits that do not make it worthwhile to work. So who pays in Spain? Not the protestors, that's for sure. The payers are the ever-shrinking number of Spanish tax-paying wealth producers and, of course, the Germans. Greece, too, has been wracked by massive demonstrations, and even violent and lethal riots, by tens-of-thousands of Greeks objecting to any austerity measures. In other words, the demands are don't pay back the Germans, and let us continue to have a standard of living we have not earned, just because that's what we want and have gotten used to having.

I don't mean to pick on Spain or Greece; we have the same situation developing in the US. Americans are now fully into a political battle waged along new class lines. This is not the old battle of "haves" versus "have nots." This is a battle between "payers" and "pay nots," in other words, between taxpayers and voters.

I listened over the weekend to a parade of Democrats coming on the talk shows, one after another, calling for tax increases on the "wealthy." Some of these calls would push our top rate to some 62%. The Democratic formula is simple. You take the money from the 40% of the people who pay income taxes, and you buy the votes of the 60% who do not--and if there's a gap you borrow from the Chinese and the Japanese. This formula for political success and economic disaster was driven home to me when I was visiting a college campus many months ago. Nearly all the students were voting Democrat. They were full of outrage over some proposed cuts to local government services. None of these students pays income or property tax, few were from the community where they were now voting, and after their college years would move on. The bill would be paid by the local taxpayers; the goods, however, would be consumed by people who were not taxpayers.

We can debate the deficit and entitlement programs all we want. The basic problem is this split between taxpayers and voters. We are going to see that played out big time in the 2012 elections. The Republicans will have a hard sell convincing the voters to cut the benefits they receive from the taxpayers. The Democrats will have a much easier time having the voters give themselves more of the taxpayers money.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Zombies and the Twinkie Defense

Back when I was a useful member of society, I had a real job. I don't refer to my 34 years in the Foreign Service, but to the work that paid my way through school. I was reminded of this while reading about the closing of Hostess Brands, makers, of course, of Hostess Cupcakes--my food of choice while in elementary school and college--Twinkies, and a slew of other classics from the days when we knew that sugar was healthy.

I held two off-campus jobs while an undergrad at UCLA. The first with a small struggling pillow, cushion, and quilt manufacturer barely hanging on in the face, even then, of California's over regulated business environment, high costs, cheap imports, and a relentless unionization drive by the then International Lady Garments Workers Union (ILGWU). I got hired initially to work in the warehouse loading and unloading trucks, and then, when my boss discovered that I spoke fluent Spanish, to serve as a translator between management and the firm's mostly Mexican and Central American employees. The company faced constant efforts by ILGWU to unionize the workforce. The main ILGWU organizer was a self-confessed "former" member of the Communist Party of the USA, a charming, very smart, Spanish-speaking Jewish New Yorker who had worked for years in Chile prior to Allende's overthrow. He would hang around outside the parking lot, talking to the workers as they came and left. Two company guards made sure he did not enter company premises. The ILGWU eventually got a ruling from the courts or the Labor Department that allowed him access to the parking lot where he talked to the employees during lunch and other breaks. In my 18 or so months there, we saw some fist fights and shoving matches; lots of colorful descriptions of various mothers' moral character and employment; vandalizing of cars and trucks; pro- and anti-union threatening phone calls; and the regular presence of cops and immigration agents. The situation grew increasingly tense.

One day representatives from the Department of Labor showed up to supervise a vote on whether to unionize the plant. Management told us that because of the flood of cheap imports it could not pay the wages the union demanded; if the vote went union, the factory would go dark. The ILGWU man said management sought to scare us, and to pay no heed. The vote, as expected, went overwhelmingly pro-union; only two votes cast (one of them mine) against unionizing. Two or three months later, the plant closed, and moved to Mexico--probably employing relatives of the workers who had voted to go with the union. The day management announced to us that the plant would close, the union rep showed up, blamed management and said the ILGWU would fight for us. Never heard from the union again.

Out of work, I found another job with Disneyland working the night shift from 11 pm to 7:30 am. The work was on the grim side: lots of crawling around in the dark, cleaning and fixing things, dealing with a highly anti-semitic American Indian foreman (yes, indeed), and once falling into the water while trying to scrub some green crud off a mechanical elephant in the jungle ride. Disneyland, at least then, had the ultimate in corrupt arrangements with the Teamsters Union which represented the workforce at "The Happiest Place on Earth." Disney would hire a number of college students at sub-union wages, in exchange, we got no union benefits, but STILL HAD TO PAY union dues. Talk about adding insult to injury. With the union dues, and deductions for Social Security, and state and federal income taxes, my check could barely cover my rent and gasoline. I ate a lot of Hostess Cupcakes for lunch and dinner . . . do I know how to segue or what?

Hostess Brands announced on November 16 that because it could not reach a deal with one of its unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), the company will close,
“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.” 
In addition to dozens of baking and distribution facilities around the country, Hostess Brands will sell its popular brands, including Hostess®, Drakes® and Dolly Madison®, which make iconic cake products such as Twinkies®, CupCakes, Ding Dongs®, Ho Ho’s®, Sno Balls® and Donettes®. Bread brands to be sold include Wonder®, Nature’s Pride ®, Merita®, Home Pride®, Butternut®, and Beefsteak®, among others. 
The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.
This, of course, is a disaster for thousands of workers, executives, and investors, and for many communities. It goes back to a theme I have laid out before about the increasing economic illiteracy in the country, and the fact that so many prominent people are far removed from the real economy. To highlight that we only need to read the statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka who blamed the closing on,
“What’s happening with Hostess Brands is a microcosm of what’s wrong with America, as Bain-style Wall Street vultures make themselves rich by making America poor . . . . Crony capitalism and consistently poor management drove Hostess into the ground, but its workers are paying the price.”
Trumka, in effect, blames Mitt Romney for Hostess closing down. He ignores, of course, that the company had been in trouble for a couple of years and that venture capitalists, similar to Bain, had taken a chance and invested in it, and kept it running for those two years. Trumka, of course, will continue to draw his roughly $280,000/year salary

The BCTGM also made a statement,
“Our members decided they were not going to take any more abuse from a company they have given so much to for so many years. They decided that they were not going to agree to another round of outrageous wage and benefit cuts and give up their pension only to see yet another management team fail and Wall Street vulture capitalists and 'restructuring specialists' walk away with untold millions of dollars. 
“Throughout this long and difficult process, BCTGM members showed tremendous courage, solidarity and devotion to principle. They were well aware of the potential consequences of their actions but stood strong for dignity, justice and respect.”
Trumka's rant and the BCTGM statement brought back memories of the words I heard years ago from the ILGWU man in that California parking lot. A lot of empty blather that won't pay the rent. I hope that the members enjoy their "dignity, justice, and respect" and, of course, the benefits that the taxpayers will now have to pay them.

We are seeing the consequences of the Obama war on "the rich" and the turning over of the economy to the zombies bound and determined to ruin it. We are hearing, in effect, the new Twinkies defense.

Zombies and Twinkies: the epitaph of America.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Living with the Zombie Apocalypse

My whole life I have loved science and science fiction especially those old 1950s and early 60s sci-fi flicks. For the most part, they took themselves and their audiences seriously, and assumed some scientific and political literacy among the general population. They were wonderfully paranoid and fed off our fears--legitimate ones, at that--of a nuclear holocaust or, at least, of a Commie take over.

My elementary school years, especially during the Cuban missile crisis, left me strong and fond memories of "duck and cover" exercises, and of wondering whether a school desk, even one solidly built in the USA, would suffice to ward off the effects of the latest Soviet H-bomb. After these exercises, many of us boys would gather and speculate on how the world would look after a nuclear exchange. Each of us had a different vision in accord with the latest sci-fi picture seen. Some saw the end as a variation of "On the Beach," and pondered how they would get to Australia. Others devised a scenario more akin to "The World, the Flesh, and the Devil"--wondering who would get Inger Stevens--or to one of the many grim ends portrayed in "Twilight Zone" or "Outer Limits" episodes. Those with more gore-laden imaginations envisioned a world of zombies, vampires, or mutants on the loose, as, for example, in Vincent Price's very dark rendition of "Last Man on Earth."  

Since the November 6 elections, I have seen what the end will look like: a cross between "Things to Do in Denver when You're Dead," and any number of ultra-bleak walking dead or zombie apocalypse movies. As mentioned before, I am temporarily in southern California. If the old cliche proves true that California is the harbinger of things to come, the end draws nigh, and not because of a Soviet nuclear attack. This is a state devastated by lunatic pro-immigration, education, environmental, and fiscal policies. This is a self-inflicted mortal wound. What's doubly weird is that those who supported this act of collective suicide, given the chance, would do it again. It is amazing how many people leave California for other states but take with them the attitudes and voting patterns that brought disaster to their home state. They are moths to the bright flame of liberalism; they can't figure out why their wings keep catching fire.

Conversations with Obama voters in California leave me stunned. There can be few other persons more ignorant of basic economic facts and processes. They seem oblivious to the collapsing stock market, and the unemployment, poverty, inflation, and taxation tsunamis about to sweep over us all. Many are wealthy, but have gotten so in arenas several levels removed from the real economy: environmental or consumer advocates and lawyers, working for NGOs, consultants, entertainers, etc. They do not see themselves as part of the one percent, despite their $100,000 Fiskar Karmas, BMWs, Lexus, Jags, and the more modest $42,000 environmentally proper Prius. These people are loons; worse, they are the post-apocalyptic vampires and walking dead determined to drag the rest of us with them to their liberal hell.

This is much worse than imagined in my schoolyard lunchtime conversations fifty-plus years ago. I see no way back from this zombie apocalypse, and am frightened, very frightened--and my Kimber 1911 sits in a storage facility three thousand miles away . . . lots of zombies between it and me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"The UN Ambassador had nothing to do with Benghazi" . . . uh, yeah, that's the point . . .

The press continues to follow the hare into Wonderland.

Did you watch that Presidential press conference today? I became so furious and depressed after watching it that I had to go for a long walk around the lake. We all know--well about 50% of us do--that Obama is as dishonest, arrogant, and downright deceitful as the Chicago political machine factory can make 'em.  But the press, the press . . . they just get worse and worse and worse . . .

I can't go through the whole thing; I am too old for that, so let me focus on just one little item.

The quote in this post's heading comes from the President responding in his usual tone of mock outrage to a suggestion that Senators McCain and Graham would oppose any effort to make Susan Rice the next Secretary of State. He acted all manly man protecting his womenfolk, "They should come after me" not her because she "had nothing to do with Benghazi." No follow up from any of those supine journos to that amazing statement? Nobody stood up and said, "Exactly, Mr. President, that's the point. Why was she sent out by the White House to discuss something she knew nothing about? Where was the National Security Advisor, the Secretaries of State and Defense, the CIA Director?"

When Rice took to the airwaves this little blog noted that,
Once the misadministration got its lies lined up, it unleashed the dreadful political hack Susan Rice on the media in a Sunday morning blitz of all the major news shows. Like the dutiful hack she is, Ambassador Rice, a person with no direct knowledge of events in Libya, mind-numblingly repeated the line that the attack was by "folks" outraged over a 14-minute anti-Islam video produced in California by an expatriate Egyptian Christian. She assured the complacent media throughout the day that there was no evidence of premeditation, of planning, of a terror operation, and, of course, relied on the ultimate and very sophisticated-sounding obfuscation that there was no "actionable intelligence." The violence in Benghazi and the murders of four Americans were all an unfortunate result of a "spontaneous" demonstration that got out of control. 
She lied.

Imagine if this had happened under a GOP administration.


Chicago Decapitates the Military

This scandal gets evermore absurd.

As I noted yesterday the Chicago mob currently in charge of our executive branch is fully committed to the Whitewater Defense . . . and on steroids. They seem increasingly desperate to make sure that the media and all of us are overwhelmed with trivia, half-truths, and outrageous leaks to keep us too preoccupied, too confused, and ultimately too disgusted and bored to examine the Benghazi fiasco.

What the FBI is doing is simply outrageous. It has undertaken a massive "investigation" of trivial emailings between consenting adults, and allowed or encouraged selective leaks to slander USMC General John R. Allen. There is no evidence out, so far, that Allen did anything wrong.  There is an old saying among students of warfare that "no battle plan survives first contact." We also should remember that initial press reports about fast-moving events generally have a 95% chance of having a margin of error of plus or minus 99%. Don't accept any of the current press reports on face value.

What is going on? We are being hit with a welter of irrelevant nonsense, and seeing our top military leadership tried by the media and publicly beheaded. I see a deliberate assault on the military by the leftists in charge of the National Command Authority. They have been out to sabotage the military from the start: the ending of "don't ask don't tell"; implying that the military are just a bunch of racist, sexist, xenophobes; unconscionable budget cuts; and now a guerrilla warfare aimed at the most respected military officers, including the use of blackmail. In addition, we are being told that one of the greatest enemies of the US military, the treasonous John Kerry, is being considered for the position of SecDef.

I will not go into all the press nonsense being put out, you all know it as well as I. Suffice it to say that this misadministration will eschew no tactic, no abuse of executive power (e.g, a full blown and very "leaky" FBI forensic investigation into complaints by a dubious and debt-laden socialite about receiving nasty anonymous emails), and no shabby use of the media to get its way. The Obama misadministration is bound and determined to do anything possible to prevent the truth about Benghazi from coming out.

What might be there in this Benghazi fiasco so important that this Chicago crowd is pulling out the stops to make sure the questions are not answered or even asked?

Focus like a laser on Benghazi. We must insist that the Congress not get sidetracked.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Benghazi: Focus, Focus, Focus

I wrote previously that as the Benghazi fiasco, scandal, cover-up chugs along, we would see a war between "Foggy Bottom"(catch-all phrase for the career bureaucracy) and "Chicago" (catch-all phrase for Chicago). Foggy Bottom fights efforts to blame it for disaster with leaks: drip, drip, drip to the press, to Congress, to bloggers. Chicago fights with a variety of tactics, such as blackmail, personal destruction, corrupt media, and very importantly, with what I called before (here and here) the "Whitewater Defense."

The current uproar over l'affaire Petraeus forms part of the battle between Foggy Bottom and Chicago. In the vicious chess game between the two, the Chicago mob has employed the Whitewater Defense which worked so well for the Clintons. Remember the Whitewater scandal? It involved high-level corruption in Arkansas with then Governor Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, who worked for the Rose law firm. Very simply put, Whitewater was a real estate development that needed zoning restrictions modified to go ahead. The Governor named the zoning board. The solution? The developers gave Hillary huge fees for all sorts of nonsensical work, she claimed to make large sums of money in areas where few do, e.g., cattle futures, and she represented the developers before the zoning board. Presto! The board rules in favor of the developers! Hillary served as the cut-out for bribes paid the Governor. The Whitewater defense involved making it sound so complicated, intricate, and technical that the lazy mainstream press, already inclined to give Clinton a pass, would deem it too complicated, too difficult to explain to readers--no easy way to sum it up. Lots of distractions and side issues. It worked so well that even the GOP deemed it too complicated to exploit, and the Clintons got away with it.

Enter Benghazi: Most likely a pretty straightforward story of Islamic terror and incompetence by State, CIA, and the Pentagon, and dereliction of duty by the White House. A true analysis of the Benghazi fiasco would lead to a questioning in the middle of an election campaign of the Obama misadministration's extravagant claims to have killed Al Qaeda; of its disastrous "Arab Spring" policy; and of its mad delusions about turning Libya into a social-democratic wonderland. Ergo the need to make the affair as complicated as possible. First, a torrent of lies and half-truths flung about by Susan Rice about a silly video clip and a flash mob gone bad. Then a steady effort to rewrite history almost as it happened; careful parsing of words; contradictory and nonsensical briefings by different arms of the intelligence community; and, of course, wrapping oneself in the flag, e.g., the Andrews ceremony, taking "offense" at any questioning of motives. Then make sure that the GOP candidate stays quiet about it; for that, nothing better than giving him "classified" briefings with the caveat "be careful what you say about this or you could screw up sensitive and ongoing operations. You don't want to be responsible for that, do you?" Then--Pennies from Heaven!--the ultimate distraction, right on cue, an unforeseen gift from Zeus, a massive hurricane! What paltry media attention had gone to Benghazi, now went to examining storm damage, and portraying Obama as savior of the storm tossed. Obama and Christie, arm-in-arm, surveying and consoling: a modern day Laurel and Hardy act sure to keep the media enthralled and waxing on about the glories of bipartisanship.

With the passing of the election, a new distraction: Sex and the General! The Petraeus sideshow gets underway. Once again, the media responds as predicted. Concentrating on the carefully orchestrated leaks about emails, sex under the desk, a lover scorned, etc. All of this clouding the real issues, and making it all so trivial, so complicated, so intricate, and so difficult to explain that nobody ever will. The Whitewater defense in all its glory.

The Petraeus scandal is a sideshow. Those of us who want to know what happened and why in Benghazi need to focus. Keep asking the basic questions. I have provided some of them and you can peruse the archive log for the many pieces on Benghazi.

Why was it Rice and not Clinton who appeared before the press? Who wrote the talking points for Ambassador Rice? What was the facility in Benghazi? If it was important, why wasn't it protected? Why was the Ambassador there on 9/11? What was the meeting with the Turkish official about? Were we "walking guns" to Syria's rebels? If so, is there any indication of Iranian or Syrian involvement in the attack? What did Secretary Clinton know and when? What did she do about it? What did Petraeus know and when? What did he do about it? What did Panetta know and when? What did he do about it? What did President Obama know and when? What did he tell the military, et al, to do? What did they do?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Joy of Being Uninformed

Mark Twain generally gets credit for, "If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." Predating that piece of century-plus old wisdom by another century or so, we have Thomas Jefferson's observation that, "The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers."

This got me thinking about the joy of living the uninformed life.

My wife followed the twists and turns of our recent, lamented, and lamentable electoral process with a devotion and passion not seen since the days of Joan of Arc. She had electoral maps, polls, and pundits galore queued up on her computer, IPad, IPhone, and DVR. She and I read everything we could about the election, debated everybody we knew, and screamed advice for Romney at the TV set. All to no avail. The result was the result. As my rather blunt-speaking Spanish wife noted, "The morons got what they wanted."

Temporarily in California, I run into Obama voters galore, and occasionally ask them, especially the wealthy ones, why they voted for Obama. The answers prove very mixed. They don't really know why, except, well, he is black, and against the "war on women," etc. They have no remedies for the imploding economy or the collapsing federal government. They only vaguely know of Benghazi, and most haven't heard of "Fast and Furious." They already complain about high taxes--and the election saw yet another state income tax raise passed by voters here--but don't seem very aware of what's bearing down on them in the next few months.

They, in other words, live like H.G. Wells' Eloi, wealthy, happy, healthy, and blissfully unaware of the Morlocks about to eat them. Maybe, however, that's the way to go: Driving your Lexus to the Morlocks' slaughterhouse with a smile on your face.

Down with information! Down with thinking! Down with worry!

P.S. I will probably change my mind tomorrow.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Petraeus Affair Has A Whiff of Chicago

Does this sudden resigning of CIA Director Petraeus strike you as odd?

I hate big conspiracy theories. Having worked in the government for nearly 34 years, I know how the government leaks and creaks and is incapable of massive conspiracies. This, however, has all the smell of a little conspiracy; of a cheap Chicago hood conspiracy. Three days after the elections and a few days before scheduled testimony to Congress on Benghazi, Petraeus suddenly resigns because of an affair with his biographer, and makes it known that he will not testify.

So many questions, so very many questions.

Where to begin? How about why did the FBI have his biographer, Paula Broadwell, under investigation? It appears that she sought access to classified info. Why? Seems like a serous crime, but apparently the government will not file criminal charges. Why not? Did she cut a deal with the FBI to bring down Petraeus?

In the process of that investigation, the FBI found that Broadwell and General Petraeus, now head of the FBI's rival intel organization, had an affair. When did the affair occur? When did the FBI uncover it? They surely discovered it before the November 6 elections.

Did the FBI Director brief the White House about this looming scandal at CIA? When? Who got briefed? Could that have provided the Chicago hoods who run the White House the blackmail ammo to keep Petraeus in line during the Benghazi cover-up and scandal? Note the odd behavior and statements by Petraeus during the whole cover-up effort.

Did Petraeus decide he didn't want to play the game anymore, his sense of honor caught up with him, he confessed and resigned? If so, why apparently does he refuse to come before Congress as a private citizen?

How will this play out in the weeks, months, years ahead?

To paraphrase Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy four years.”

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The State of the Republican Party

The mainstream media and lots of others right, left, and center have begun offering prescriptions for what ails the Republican party. The Democrats, of course, write one to produce a GOP that echoes--wait for it!--the Democrat party. Conventional "wisdom" apparently proposes a return to the "me too" party of the 1960s, when the GOP competed with the Democrats in finding things to give away, and more tasks and power for the government. Don't forget, for example, that EPA, DEA, and price controls were Nixon initiatives, and, much more recently, that G. W. Bush oversaw a significant expansion of federal involvement in education and health care.

So what do they see as the failings of the GOP? It seems it does not appeal to women, youth, blacks, and Hispanics. OK. First, using that criteria I would note that the Democrats have a major problem with white people, especially men, and with business owners. I don't see a lot of analysts worrying about that. Second, I would note that Romney's loss was pretty slim. It will be a while before we get the final vote tallies, but I suspect we will see perhaps a two or three point difference between Obama and Romney. The GOP also has kept control of the House of Representatives, and thirty out of fifty state governors are Republicans. The election, therefore, is not a sweeping rejection of the GOP by the American people. This loss could be attributable to fluke occurrences, e.g., trashing of Romney in the GOP primaries from which he could not recover in time; pernicious effect of media bias; the impact of hurricane Sandy and the bizarre actions of Governor Christie; decision not to raise Benghazi and Fast Furious; and even the historically well-known Democrat penchant for voter fraud in some locations. Who knows? The pundits will be yapping away and making money on this for years.

All that said, however, the historical trend line does appear running against the GOP, at least when it comes to winning the White House. America is a politically centrist and cautious nation; our voters are suspicious of sudden change, whether rightward or leftward. We see, for example, the great suspicion, rightfully so, of Obamacare and the draconian effect it will have on our lives. If, however, Obamacare gets installed, and becomes the new normal, then, as with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the public resists efforts to get rid of it. That means that there is a relatively small window in which to undo vast expansions of government power--the window on Obamacare is still open, but not for long. When, therefore, GOP politicians speak of reforming or otherwise greatly modifying already accepted programs such as Social Security, Medicare, etc., they must do so with great care. In theory, we are all against "free stuff," in practice, however, well . . . hard to resist.

The solution for the GOP, and the way to win voters from thus-far resistant groups, is to become libertarian with an asterisk--in some areas, I admit, a pretty large asterisk. Many libertarian concepts can be repackaged and given a glossy "progressive" sheen. The GOP goal should be a government in which 95%-98% of the time it makes no difference to the average American citizen who is president. The US President should matter more to foreigners than to Americans. Except for foreign policy, national defense, times of national crisis, and providing a very broad economic vision, it should not matter who controls the White House. That means keep the government out of as many areas as possible, and where it has been involved deeply and for a long time, try to push the responsibility and resources out to the states, counties, cities, and people.

The most overlooked Constitutional amendment is the tenth amendment. That amendment is the GOP's friend. The default setting on most issues now brought to the feds, should be to push them back out as close to the people as possible. Some of this will be hard for social conservatives. Why should the President have a position, other than his personal one, on abortion, death penalty, gay marriage? Let each state decide its own policy. Some times there will be an impact on federal policy: gay marriage, for example, has implications for tax policies, survivor benefits, etc., which can be debated at the national level.

We need a party that focuses on freedom and remains faithful to individual rights, and federalist traditions. Low taxes, few regulations, dump big bloated unnecessary bureaucracies such as Labor, Commerce, Education, and Energy; radically cut bureaucracies such as EPA, USDA, State, AID, Veterans Administration, Justice, Interior, and parts of DoD, e.g., the whole domestic PX scam.

Certain sacred cows need to be targeted. Hollywood and universities, for example, get all sorts of preferential treatment. Do away with Hollywood tax breaks. Call in those very well paid university presidents and make them explain why their tuition rates keep going up; make it clear that federal support for tuition hikes is coming to an end. Then we will see, as we have, for example, with lasik eye surgery, how the market pushes prices down.

Along with defense, immigration is a legitimate area for federal action. Here I have a proposal that does not sit well with libertarian friends but seems to be a common sense solution, and one that could be adopted without appearing to target any specific group: a national id card. Every other country has one, the feds already have the data on each of us, and it would almost overnight put an end to the whole nasty issue of illegal aliens working and voting.

My own personal pet peeve, as I have written here many times, is the drug war. I see it as an outrageous expenditure of lives and resources, and a growing threat to freedom. Drug abuse should be an issue for education, medical professionals, and the market. In other words, run our drug "policy" akin to what is now done on tobacco. If you want to use drugs, fine, but you can't be a soldier, teacher, cop, pilot, bus driver, surgeon, etc. That, however, is probably still too far in the distance to spend too much time worrying about now.

The party needs to reform its selection process and reach out to new people, e.g., there must be many more people like Allen West, Marco Rubio, Mia Love, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley, Brian Sandoval, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, and Susana Martinez out there. There is no reason why the GOP should forfeit Hispanic, black, and women voters. I think the GOP can attract them and keep the base with an agenda that supports freedom and individual rights, and opposes unnecessary government involvement in our lives. The primary process is much too long, expensive, destructive, and provides fodder for the Democrats in the general election, e.g., "Vulture capitalism" was a Newt phrase which the Dems picked up and used against Romney.

Just some thoughts as we look over the political panorama for the next four years. More later.

UPDATE: A perceptive comment from reader, Penny
The Dem's "war on women" propaganda worked well for them. You can thank idiots like Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin, cannon fodder for the Obama water MSM carriers, for that. Both were stupid Tea Party darlings. And, it's not that I don't appreciate the Tea Party folks a lot, but, hey, they threw away Richard Lugar too and what did they get for that hissy fit? Look at the election stats - Obama did amazingly well with women.
We will never turn back the cultural clock to the 50's when their was a dad and a single pay check in most homes. America has become much more secular. It's time that the Republicans took a cold hard look at the today's electorate.
I have my moral compass, so do you. My kids know what is acceptable behavior. Many do not. It's fruitless to try to convert them to my moral position.

I guess my point is, how many elections are dedicated fiscal, constitutional and foreign affairs conservatives like myself willing to lose, killing this once great democracy with these lost elections, for the sake of appeasing the Christian evangelical folk's insistence on mandating their morality issues on abortion and gay marriage to others? It's really that simple. 
The next Republican candidate up at bat needs to not get enmeshed in the cultural/social wars and salvage the Constitution and American capitalism.

More "Flexibility" After the Election: Going After the Truth

We all remember the meeting in Seoul last March when President Obama told Vladimir Putin's stunt double, Dmitry Medvedev, that he would "have flexibility" after the elections to sell us out reach a deal with the Russians on missile defense. It is time that the GOP and conservatives, unfortunately not always the same thing, adopt the same principle when dealing with Obama.

Tuesday's elections guarantee a colossal Washington gridlock. The President has a much-diminshed popular base, and only a tenuous control of a Senate that has a Democrat membership sprinkled with some hard-left loons, e.g., Elizabeth "Native Daughter" Warren of Massachusetts, and some conservative sorts, e.g., Joe Manchin, who have, at best, a very loose loyalty to Obama. He relies for control of this unruly body on corruptocrat Harry Reid, a man with only a tenuous grip on reality, himself. The House, of course, will remain under the control of the GOP.

This provides the GOP a golden opportunity to halt the Obamacare disaster which threatens to ruin what is left of our economy, prevent any more whacky leftist initiatives, and, the subject of this post, to get to the bottom of huge scandals which the media have ignored and which apparently, because of their alleged "complexity," did not lend themselves to the campaign. We should insist that the House launch thorough investigations of "Fast and Furious"; Benghazi-gate; Solyndra, Tesla, Fiskar, and other crony capitalism "green investments"; the deplorable handling of relief efforts in the wake of hurricane Sandy; the giving away of Chrysler to FIAT; leaks of sensitive information; and myriad other acts of  corruption and malfeasance at the highest levels of this misadministration. We can all think of many more. Let's get some sweating officials and some indictments. Let's take a page from the Democrat playbook, especially since nothing else will be happening in Washington.

The new Congress should be the "Truth and Transparency" Congress.  Let's all insist on that as the true legacy of November 6, 2012.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Now What? [UPDATE]

A very confused end to a nasty campaign. It appears that Obama has been re-elected. Not clear what has happened with the popular vote at this moment, but I suppose once California comes in completely, he will win that--just barely.

OK. What does Obama do now? We are about to go over a fiscal cliff, and he denies it. Our economy is getting worse, and he denies it. Our poverty rate is getting worse, and he denies it. Our foreign policy has come apart at the seams, and he denies it. Al Qaeda is alive and well, and he denies it. Obamacare is about to ruin every small business in America, and he denies it. Our military is heading for an implosion, and he denies it. Iran is about to go nuclear, and he denies it. Our country has not been so divided in over one hundred years, and he denies it. He bears great responsibility for that division, and he denies it.

Obama has no plan to deal with any of our serious problems other than more taxes, more spending, more borrowing, more dependency on the government, and more glib lies. Obama will face an angry and intransigent House of Representatives that will not be impressed by Obama's "mandate." He will face a House that will be investigating a series of very serious scandals: Benghazi, "Fast and Furious," Solyndra, the miserable response to hurricane Sandy, and who knows what else is out there in the Obama boneyard? He will encounter a revitalized Al Qaeda, and a nasty, vengeful Russia, and have nothing in his quiver with which to ward them off. After a bit, even our hideous and tame mass media will have to acknowledge the disasters and the paralysis, and then what? Ask your friends who voted for Obama: see if they have the answers that their candidate does not.

Yes, the GOP needs to undergo introspection: how could it lose to Obama and dishonest hacks such as Elizabeth Warren and Claire McCaskill? More important, however, as the Obama second term spins into a spiral of disaster, we, the American people, need some introspection. We need to think about how we could elect somebody such as Obama to the White House, not once but twice, and the second time after he had proven his incompetence and danger to the Republic. Have we become a people who want the government to take care of us? Willing to surrender our freedoms for an envelope full of food stamps and an earful of banal speeches from the Oval Office? Is that what we have become?

UPDATE: A very prescient comment from one of our readers, Evilmav2,
Welcome to institutionalized rule by the 47%. Even if Catholics, coal miners, the Jewish community, etc... had voted a little more sanely in this election's battleground states, and given Romney the edge he needed to win there, the blue state political machinery and their fellow travelers in the legal professions, universities, and media would have viciously fought and clawed to steal the narrow victory away, constitution be damned.

As the arteries of Democrat power harden in the capital, and as more and more urban dwelling Americans get used to living off of their $1000 a month in SS disability, subsidized low income housing, Obama phones, Obamacare, and Eat Better Today cards, I'd expect that it is going to become very unlikely that we will soon see another chance as good as we did this year to put an actual old timey, pro-American tradition, pro-Mainstreet Republican in the White House.

In today's divided America, I'd bet Obama's toxic coalition of welfare dependents, privileged coastal manager-class whites, public sector unionists, university grandees, female gender warriors, clientized African Americans, and Hispanics will only grow in political power- giving the ruling coalition all the bread and circuses votes, armed federal police powers, currency printing presses, and governmentally suborned media assistance that any respectable despot and his party could wish for to retain their grip on power.

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Politics of Revenge

Obama's exhortation to his followers to vote out of "revenge" is another unappealing glimpse into the soul of the President. Combine that with his heartfelt "you didn't build that,""the bitter clingers" to guns and religion, his obsession with redistribution of wealth and income, his wife's "never been proud of my country," and the couple's twenty-some years in the pews of Rev. Wright's church, and you have a pretty complete picture of the First Couple, despite their efforts to hide and reshape their past. Obama and his wife are haters. They are the perfect incarnation of the university faculty lounge/Hollywood celebrity culture of contempt, resentment, vanity, and entitlement.

On this the day before election day, we must commit ourselves to getting these haters out of the White House. That will be the first major step in beginning to get our country back to its founding principles and off the road to Greece and irrelevance.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

No Hope Without a Change

I have made no secret of my disgust with Obama since he took office, and see him as the worst President in my lifetime, even worse than Jimmy Carter. By way of full disclosure, that opinion preceded this misadministration's derailing of my Foreign Service career. I voted for McCain in 2008, not because I thought him a great candidate--I thought he wasted Governor Palin--but because I saw in him and the people around him a decency and genuine patriotism missing in the Obama crowd. These past four years have confirmed my initial skepticism about Obama and the people around him.

There are many reasons why Obama must be defeated. The principal one is his delusional liberal ideology from which all else flows. He is a creature of the faculty lounge/Hollywood brand of intolerant leftist cynicism about, contempt for, and ignorance of America and how the world works. These liberals insist on seeing what they believe. They see a world awash in turmoil and poverty because they believe America's success comes at the expense of the rest of the world. We are rich, because they are poor; they are poor because we made them so; we can only be rich if they are poor. From here comes Obama's "apology tour," his disdain for our military--except when it brings him electoral advantage, e.g., killing Osama--and our increasingly absurd foreign policy evermore removed from our real interests. The world is now a much more dangerous place for American interests than it was four years ago. Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and terrorist groups all over the world are emboldened by our failure to develop domestic sources of energy, our half-hearted efforts to halt Iran's nuclear program, the easy manner in which Obama threw away our victory in Iraq, and the disastrous and cowardly handling of the Benghazi attack. Obama's generally cavalier attitude toward American security, interests, and power ensures that we will have more attacks on our people, facilities, and homeland.

That ideology carries over to the domestic scene, as well. Life for Obama consists of problems that need government solutions. The government should expand continually its power to control and regulate to ensure our health and safety. Obama, the community organizer, sees a constant struggle against the rich. The "poor" must be organized, led, taught to hate the "rich," and assured that the "rich" only got so because they rigged the system, and what they have, well, they "didn't build that." That system must get rejiggered to "help the poor" live in stress-free poverty. Wealth, after all, is just a fantasy and not something to be sought by hard work and innovation. The government in the hands of the comfortable and "educated elite" will redistribute wealth and income so that nobody is unfairly "rich." For Obama and his followers the government is the only source of legitimacy, status, and power in society. The government will get you your "revenge." As we see on MSNBC and in endless Hollywood movies and TV shows, the world's evil is caused by rich white CEOs who can be stopped only by gutsy single moms, crusading journalists, and, above all, dedicated public servants.

That view, for example, provides the driving force behind Obamacare. In one stroke, the government takes over one-sixth of the national economy. Our health care gets taken away from "foolish" consumers, and "greedy" drug companies, hospitals, and doctors, and put into the hands of the IRS. Obamacare seeks to push private insurers out of the medical care arena and leave government as the sole health care provider. The same government that cannot provide food and bottled water to flood victims in New York City will decide what medical care you can have, and do it at a budget-breaking cost that ensures our inability to have a credible military.

With another Obama term, the private sector permanently will come under the heel of the government. Production of energy will comprise a government responsibility; the government will select what energy is good and what is bad, and where we should "invest." The government will pick winners and losers--the market be damned. The government will decide what type of cars we drive, and what we feed our children. The government will provide. The government will decide.

If Obama gets re-elected we could face one of those cliched tipping points. There might well be no going back, no undoing the damage he will do to our national identity and character, not to mention to our economy and standing in the world. Once you become a pet dog who depends on his master for food and shelter, then you cannot object when the master puts a collar and a leash on you, ties you to a stake in the backyard, and tells you to stop barking--all for your own good, you understand.

Voting against Obama is made even easier by the fact that the 2012 Republican candidate, Governor Mitt Romney, is the polar opposite of Obama. Romney is a decent person with a record of success in the private sector and in the government sector. Romney is easy to vote for. He understands and appreciates America's uniqueness, and the reasons for our success in the world. Can anybody imagine President Romney going on a global apology tour? Abandoning our people to a howling mob of jihadis in Benghazi? Trying to appease the Russians? Running a "Fast and Furious" operation? Trying to destroy our private sector? Trying to reshape America into some sort of replica of the failed European social-democracies? He understands that saving our economy and our nation is not rocket science; it is common sense; it is returning to our founding principles.

Already having voted for Mitt Romney for President, I very much hope and trust he wins the election next Tuesday, despite the best efforts of the media, dead voters, illegal aliens voting illegally, the Hollywood and university crowd, and Chris Christie. I know there are endless dueling polls and pundits, all making excellent arguments as to why one or the other candidate will win. I don't pretend to know whether the polls, in fact, are as erroneously and heavily skewed in favor of Obama as some Republicans claim--I believe they are but am not an expert. I see that the Vegas odds makers have Obama winning, but do they have any knowledge beyond those polls? I don't know. I do know that for the sake of America, for the sake of freedom, and for the sake of our children Obama must go. I can only hope that there are still enough Americans out there who agree.

For me the choice is obvious: Obama must be defeated for America to win.

Romney 2012.