Oh, I Have Slipped the Surly Bonds of Earth…

February 24, 2010
Flight of the Valkyries

...and Danced the Skies on Laughter Silvered Wings.

A friend, reader, and one of my rare post responders asked me to read the below article and opine on it at his request.  Ask and ye shall receive!  The article’s link is:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703444804575071870881168264.html

The author, Mark Helprin looks to have written a good number of books and have served randomly in various country’s armed services.  This itself speaks to him patently not being a fighter pilot nor educated on air power doctrine and the larger picture of how the Air Force projects power around the world.  I sympathize with his sentiments in the article, but I don’t agree.

I have to give my credentials upfront – while I admit I am not expert, I feel my opinion needs to count just as much if not more than this WSJ opinionator.  I am an graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, honorably discharged officer of the Air Force, and I was a pilot in the Air Force.  I however was NOT a fighter pilot.  I received extensive air power education to include formal training on doctrine, theory, and application both in military classes at the Air Force Academy and as a Lieutenant pilot and graduate of the Air Force’s ASBC – their ‘LT school’ located at Maxwell AFB.  Billy Mitchell and Claire Chennault were before their times, and we should have had linebacker III, IV, and V until we were blasting big pieces of Vietnamese ruins into smaller pieces of ruins.  I sound like Curtis LeMay, don’t I?

I like how Haplrin starts off.  He’s got it right.  It is a damn shame that we’re cancelling the F-22 after only a 180-some planes.  Even worse, we are bankrupting ourselves, losing our American ‘can-do’ spirit, and falling into a moral morass based on being PC, appealing to the lowest common denominator, and the popularity of the TV show ‘The Bachelor’.

   What I can’t abide by though is his assumption that the F-22 in all of its expense and basic single-purpose usage is the end all and be all of our force projection around the world and the key to our national defense as his article suggests.

   Let me hit some of the highlights of his article before I recap with my single point.  Be forewarned, I agree with him in some points and point them out, but I also disagree.  I actually give you some history behind my side of things and I try not to jump to conclusions.

His arguments:

1) We can’t forego our conventional forces.  Amen!  I agree.  But how does our focus on small elite forces and predator drones sharpen the Chinese training regimen?  As he states when he says: ‘…the penalty for this (holiday of military power) will be Chinese military parity, Russia again a threat to Europe, a nuclear-armed Iran…  He goes on.
   This assumption is borne by the fact that somehow our conventional force is diminished by having greater capabilities in elite units and that we need to have all these extra divisions just standing around waiting to defend ourselves from foreign agression and then to counter-attack and to invade the Fulda gap and Tiananmen Square.  The world doesn’t work that way anymore.  I wouln’t call these countries our friends by any stretch, but at the same time what do they have to gain by attacking us?  Everything is interconnected.  They have more to lose than we do by attacking us – its beyond just politics and embargoes, but with money and economics.  Those are the real things that keep everyone playing nice.  If anything, I see ourselves falling under some Chinese yolk economically because of the dollar-pegging game we allow them to play with the yuan, their export surplus with us, and all their ownership of our debt (and our wasteful debt service on it).  That is the real threat.
 
As for Iran, it does threaten violence, but it is a Middle-Eastern destabilizing kind of violence if they get a nuke.  Everyone knows and fears this, no-one more than the Israelis.  I fear them doing to Iran what they did to Saddam and his nuclear program if they get wind Iran is getting close to having a bomb.  That scenario is what should worry you.  How do you think the arab world will feel when Israel does what it has to do for its own security by repeating their exprience with Iraq in the 80s and sending in a four ship of F-16s to go below Iranian radar and drop some daisy-cutters on Iran’s nuclear facilities?

2) Control of Panama Canal – what?

3) Less ships doesn’t mean less capability.  What can one carrier group do today compared to what 5 WWII era groups could do?  What about planes?  I promise you, those 4 F-22s in that pictures could amass more kills than a whole squadron of F-15s – and that is our next best air to air fighter (which is still better than anything China makes – I’ll get to that one though)

4)  Missile defense shield – good point, but do we really need to spend the money and piss off the Russians?  Israel will unfortunately do everyone’s job for them if we’re worried about a couple of nuclear tipped rockets.  See the end of #1 above if you need a re-cap.

5)  We still have plenty of nuclear weapons to irradiate the world a couple dozen times over.  How many times do you have to sterilize the world and kill the global warming debate with a nuclear winter?

6) 150 Planes in Europe does not equal roman foot-soldiers in Europe.  That was a lot further for them back then.  Besides, we shouldn’t have to defend the Europeans anymore from the Soviets.  The Marshall Plan worked and now they’re on their own two feet.  They’re also our ALLIES not the conquered distant regions of our empire.

7) We spent and wasted a lot of money on new planes during the Cold War because  it was faster and cheaper back then.  We also had a real threat from a real, conventional enemy.  Technology also wasn’t as good and thus breakthroughs came faster.  Each of those meant newer, better designs.  Finally, we won the Cold War by bankrupting the Soviets.  We didn’t do it through having bake-sales and fund-raisers.  The soviets could not build bombers AND feed ther people in their centrally controlled economy.  It simply could not keep up with our capitalist system and its ability to build bombers among other things.  We could feed our people AND make our weapons of war.   Its is oversimplified, but tThe Soviets had to pick, and they chose not to feed their people.  The people get pissed and foment revolution when you do that long enough – hence its collapse.

8 ) A flight of F-22s IS a wall of death.  Now that those pilots have been training in these birds for a while, they don’t get shot down in the simulations.  I’m surprised he doesn’t have more recent data.

9)  The F-22 program has been decades in the making, since the late 70s.  Hence it is a product of the cold war.  That original number of 750 is actually down from a larger orginal number, I want to say closer to 1300 or so.  They imagined them replacing every F-15, which just starting coming off the line at the time.

10)  China’s 5th generation fighter.  What does their 4th gen fighter look like?  Its either an F-16 or something bought from the Russians.  Either way, its not as good as even our F-15s, like I’ve said.  China is not known for its aeronautical know-how.

11) The F-35 or the ‘Joint Strike Fighter’ (JSF) is designed to be the multi-role plane that we can make a lot of and sell to our allies.  It is part of a high-low concept.  It being the ‘low’ plane and the F-22 being the ‘high’ plane.  Its capabilies and our pilots still far outshine ANYTHING out there short of the F-22.  I actually worry about its production being cut much more so than the F-22 since  by design, it is supposed to be the work-horse of our air forces.

12) We won’t send out pilots into combat with a plane that doesn’t work.  The design and testing of the JSF isn’t complete.  To characterize the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as being incompetent enough to not know what they’re doing and go into production with a rushed plane is insulting.  That is in part why you hear about cost over-runs and set backs.  Development is never perfect, but the guys at Boeing, Lockheed, General Dynamics, and the rest want to get it right.  They know they owe it to their customers – our troops and the tax-payer. 

13)  The Air Army Air Corps established air superiority over the skies of Europe during WWII.  It is how we helped the boys on the ground.  We didn’t own every stretch of the sky, but we owned most of it – which let us dictate the terms to Hitler in the air instead of the other way around.  Today, the US Air Force has air dominance or some call it air supremacy.  We even own the birds that are flying around.  Nothing moves in the air unless we give it the say so.  Everyone knows its a wasted effort to go up against the US in the air.   Saddam knew that by the end of the Desert Storm and started burying his planes to save them!
    The training of our pilots, the capabilities of our weapons systems (planes and missiles), and the level of aerial refueling and inter-communication ensures that no-one can compete with the US.  These are things that are built on the backs of many planes in the sky not just the one that gets all the glory.  Planes that do all the hard work, the KC-135s, KC-10s, J-STARS, AWACS.  They keep the air war together and going.

    The F-22 doesn’t do squat for this besides be the tip of the spear (if used).  What I mean by this is that the F-22 was designed to replace the F-15C.  Do you know what F-15C do day in and day out?  They are an ‘air superiority tactical fighter’ – meaning they are built for dog-fighting.  Since no-one can match us in the air, they burn holes in the sky all day long.  Maybe they get tasked with dropping a random JDAM or two, but that is not what the plane was designed for.  It is a testament to our force that we can train and equip a single-role fighter into a multi-role fighter.  When they do fight, like in the Desert Storm, they wipe the board with the competition.  As a footnote to this point, the Air Force knew that opponents of the F-22 would have similar concerns.  Hence, they made it the F/A-22.  The ‘A’ stands for attack.  That means that the plane can do more than dog-fight.  We knew this already as flexibility is the key to air power, but this nuance is a twist for politicians to sell the funding for the program.   

15)  I agree with Mr. Helprin that we must defend our country, but we must do it in a fiscally intelligent matter.  Government, to include military expenditures is fraught with waste.  Congressmen give support to military programs because it means they can go back to their voters and claim that they got their district jobs.  That means that the F-22 is no joke, built in something like 47 states.  How cost inefficient is that?  I am not against defense at all, but its how we spend our money that is the underlying problem.  Fix that and we can have more hardware for less.

14)  Piggy-backing on my previous point, no other country in the world can project air power like we can.  No nation, and I mean no nation can project their air forces across continents and oceans on the level that we can.   It is an art and science that takes time and know-how to master.  We have bases around the world and have been deploying our flying assets overseas for over half a century.  Any nation that would be a genuine threat to the United States would have to significantly bolster their capability and we’d easily know what they were up to and we could react accordingly.  

    The bottom line from me is that I hear Mr. Helprin, but I believe he over simplified the matter.  Our best military assets are its people.  We see this when our experience and training in Iraq and Afghanistan in nation building helps us with relief efforts in Haiti.  Our troops are finally getting good at nation building (we’ve always been good at nation-leveling).  That distinction is what could have won us the Vietnam War.  I digress, but the point is that our pilots are better trained and prepared for aerial combat.  When we last flew against the Chinese as proxies in Vietnam, we had learned from our experience against them as proxies in the Korean War.  In Korea, our kill ratio had fallen to 6 to 1.  Pretty good – especially when our F-86 Sabre WAS outclassed by the Mig-15.  For every pilot of ours shot down, we shot down 6 of theirs. 
   Actually, it wasn’t good enough.  We trained and honed our edge and got our kill ratio up to 12 to 1 by the end of the war and increased that ratio in every air war since.  Even if the Chinese  bought Russian stealth-fighters we’d shoot them out of the sky, we have such better pilots because we have the budget and numbers to train them that way.  Hence we’d still own the skies.

   Who is Mr. Helprin to say that if we got into a conventional WWIII with a country like China that we wouldn’t rally around the flag?  Other countries roll their eyes at our patriotism.  They do it partly out of how much we do it, but they also do it because they know that we truly love our country more than they love theirs.  I don’t apologize.  Most Americans don’t.  We have the most advanced military and military industrial complex the world has even known – but it pales in comparison to the total mobilization during WWII.  Imagine the whole modern economy bent to military production and winning a war like it was in WWII.  Its unimaginable, but I believe if we had to, we could do it again.

    Remember – The US, its citizens, and the can-do spirit brought forth by that combination invented the  nuclear bomb, stealth technology, the airplane, laser guided munitions, night vision, bunker busters, cluster bombs, kevlar, armored warships, the MOAB, the repeating rifle, and the US Marine Corps.  Woe to those on the other end.

  You are always going to need a good soldier with a rifle.  Our professional military leaders know this and they have the correct focus despte Mr. Helprin’s concerns.

No war was ever won without boots on the ground.

– G.S.

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Yes, I AM an Angry White Man

February 18, 2010

a lot of angry white men...

Urban Dictionary (www.urbandictionary.com) is a hilarious and irreverent site that defines common words and phrases in our society in slang terms.  You’ve probably heard about it.

I was told today that I am just another angry white man.  I told my liberal antagonizer that was the first thing that we could agree on in our 20 minute conversation.  It was a tense but still polite enough moment.  I told her to go look up ‘Angry White Man’ in the urban dictionary online.

That got me thinking to a mock comment (and only comment) thus far on this blog where the commenter posted about my self-description of being an angry white man.  Its in my introduction piece/about me piece if you want to read it.  I wrote that because I had recently read a humorous and  pretty-spot on definition on what an angry white man really is from Urban Dictionary.  There are others defintions for the term as well, but this one takes the cake by far.  I thought I’d share it with you since its rather insightful and articulate.  The link is below, but I’ve also copied the entry here.

 http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Angry%20White%20Man&defid=2873083

From the above link in its entirety:

  Angry White Man  
 
The Angry White Man comes from all economic backgrounds, from dirt-poor to filthy rich. He represents all geographic areas in America, from urban sophisticate to rural redneck, deep South to mountain West, left Coast to Eastern Seaboard.

His common traits are that he isn’t looking for anything from anyone — just the promise to be able to make his own way on a level playing field. In many cases, he is an independent businessman and employs several people. He pays more than his share of taxes and works hard.

The victimhood syndrome buzzwords — “disenfranchised,” “marginalized” and “voiceless” — don’t resonate with him. “Press ‘one’ for English” is a curse-word to him. He’s used to picking up the tab, whether it’s the company Christmas party, three sets of braces, three college educations or a beautiful wedding.

He believes the Constitution is to be interpreted literally, not as a “living document” open to the whims and vagaries of a panel of judges who have never worked an honest day in their lives.

The Angry White Man owns firearms, and he’s willing to pick up a gun to defend his home and his country. He is willing to lay down his life to defend the freedom and safety of others, and the thought of killing someone who needs killing really doesn’t bother him.

The Angry White Man is not a metrosexual, a homosexual or a victim. Nobody like him drowned in Hurricane Katrina — he got his people together and got the hell out, then went back in to rescue those too helpless and stupid to help themselves, often as a police officer, a National Guard soldier or a volunteer firefighter.

His last name and religion don’t matter. His background might be Italian, English, Polish, German, Slavic, Irish, or Russian, and he might have Cherokee, Mexican, or Puerto Rican mixed in, but he considers himself a white American.

He’s a man’s man, the kind of guy who likes to play poker, watch football, hunt white-tailed deer, call turkeys, play golf, spend a few bucks at a strip club once in a blue moon, change his own oil and build things. He coaches baseball, soccer and football teams and doesn’t ask for a penny. He’s the kind of guy who can put an addition on his house with a couple of friends, drill an oil well, weld a new bumper for his truck, design a factory and publish books. He can fill a train with 100,000 tons of coal and get it to the power plant on time so that you keep the lights on and never know what it took to flip that light switch.

Women either love him or hate him, but they know he’s a man, not a dishrag. If they’re looking for someone to walk all over, they’ve got the wrong guy. He stands up straight, opens doors for women and says “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am.”

He might be a Republican and he might be a Democrat; he might be a Libertarian or a Green. He knows that his wife is more emotional than rational, and he guides the family in a rational manner.

He’s not a racist, but he is annoyed and disappointed when people of certain backgrounds exhibit behavior that typifies the worst stereotypes of their race. He’s willing to give everybody a fair chance if they work hard, play by the rules and learn English.

Most important, the Angry White Man is pissed off. When his job site becomes flooded with illegal workers who don’t pay taxes and his wages drop like a stone, he gets righteously angry. When his job gets shipped overseas, and he has to speak to some incomprehensible idiot in India for tech support, he simmers. When Al Sharpton comes on TV, leading some rally for reparations for slavery or some such nonsense, he bites his tongue and he remembers. When a child gets charged with carrying a concealed weapon for mistakenly bringing a penknife to school, he takes note of who the local idiots are in education and law enforcement.

In a sentence:  Four million Angry White Man are members of the National Rifle Association.

I like it.  Thanks Urban Dictionary.  Nothing yells flattery like  a bold-faced copying and pasting from some angry white guy’s blog!!!

-G.S.


Run For Cover

February 15, 2010

Do we look that intimidating?

  I think I am most amused by the commentary some months back that the Tea Party movement was ‘astro-turf’.  Astro turf meaning that the conservative discontent that was organized into tax day and September 12th rallies was fake.

They’re not saying it now.  The Tea Party movement, which I consider myself to be a part of, and all its trapping (both laudable and questionable) are a force to consider.

   Case in point.  Look at all the Democratic (and Republican) Congressmen who are throwing in the towel.  Most notably Senator Bayh (IN) who says that he has no doubt that he could get elected again, especially with the cool $13 million he already has stashed away in his re-election war chest.  He’s quitting because he hates how the Senate works and that he can contribute to society in other ways.  I’ll get back to that sentiment and the war chest in a second.

   Bayh is the fifth Democratic Senator not seeking re-election. He joins Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Ted Kaufman (Del.) and Roland Burris (Ill.) on the sidelines. Six Republicans are retiring: Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), George Lemieux (Fla.), Judd Gregg (N.H.), George Voinovich (Ohio), Sam Brownback (Kans.) and Jim Bunning (Ky.)

  I will admit, I  haven’t done all of my research for me to opine on which is quitting because they want to and which are quitting because they’re going to lose.  The point is, 11% of the Senate is not looking for another term.  They know what the climate is.  They know the public is unhappy with their performance.  Their ‘do-nothingness’ through bitter partisanship is probably a huge factor.    Their inability to do things as procedure as confirm Presidential appointees or form binding committees to fix real problems (the budget) shows how warped things have become.  The People have wised up, and these guys either know they’re going to be tossed out on their ass so they’re leaving on their terms (Dodd is the best example) OR maybe they are truly are sick of what Washington has become and they want to do something else.

   I believe Bayh falls into this category.  However, if  a popular, powerful, and successful Senator with clout truly believes he can’t make a difference on the inside, then who can? 

   The People don’t want to hear excuses, they want to be represented and to see logical results that represents the country’s best interests.  They can’t stand when a specific Senator’s vote is bought via deals for his constituency (ahem, ahem, did you say Ben Nelson and the Corn-Husker kickback?) or special interests giving their thumbs up to legislation ($80 billion back room deals to big pharma).  When do I need Pfizer or Ben Nelson’s constituency to dictate a national health-care policy to me?  Especially so when I know that after looking at it for 5 minutes its a lousy bill.  Where’s the tort reform?  Where the elimination of bureauracy and excessive costs?  I could go on, but you get the picture.

   You know there are more examples beyond Nelson and Big Pharma – but even these two are unacceptable.   That is why the Tea Party crowd has sprung into existence – to throw the bums out who participate and are even complicit and let this stuff happen.

   Be you a Democrat, Republican, or even a politically convenient Independent, you are on notice.  Your seat is not yours even with the national machine behind you (thank you for proving me right Martha Coakley) or your boat-loads of campaign money

I said I would get to that.

    I don’t care if the politician has $13 million or or 13 dollars to for his campaign.  They want and need all of that money for tv commercials.  You dear reader, need to know what you stand for and what your potential elected representative stands for.  You have to educate yourself and go beyond what you are promised in a comercial.  You see how well trusting the sound bites and 30 second commercials have done.  Its time for something else and you have the responsibility to make the change.  You can whine about the bad politicians or policies, but until you educate yourself on the issues and your potential representatives, we are going to get more of the same.

    We see this through the terrible representation and terrible policies on a national level that are destroying our country’s strength.  Beside all the ‘Hope and Change’ rhetoric, things are still the same.  Does the economy really feel any better?  Have you felt the economic uptick yet?  Even if you have, was $13 – 15 trillion in promises of more debt really worth it.  You, your children, your grandchildren, and all future generations will have to pay for it in interest to nations like China – who don’t really have the same value system that we do.  Things like personal  liberty, free speech, or Democracy…well, the Chinese don’t do those so well.  And you still think its okay for our elected leaders to let such a nation be our economic master without something having to give.  Things will not be able to go on like this forever, but do we always have to be reactionary and change direction AFTER a catastrophe?  Nope!  Your elected officials at all levels are generally failing you and you need to recognize the lousy job they’re doing.   

    That is what the Tea Party guys are about.  We are a diverse group that has some extremes, but our extremes are not the mainstream of who we are.  Part of the Tea Party’ss identity is not having any particular identity or concern.  It is a general conservative slant that recognizes that Republican and especially Democratic solutions are actually not solutions, but part of a worsening problem.  Hence it being a third party.

    Even if you don’t like or trust the Tea Party, recognize what it is doing.  It is a group of people voting for representation and accountability from our elected officials.  Their concerns are just as much a referendum on Democracy itself as it is on giving voice to the center-right politics that make-up the dominant ideology of most of this great nation.

 If nothing else, we ask that you better understand The Founder’s intentions.  Their teachings, their revolution, and the formative documents that they made – The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.  All you need to know, from your rights to our American can-do spirit and need for liberty are found therein.

-G.S.


Take This Shovel…

February 2, 2010

...Because We Can't Help Ourselves!!!

Happy Ground Hog Day.  Just like the movie, I feel like the government keeps making the same mistakes and empty promises over and over again.  Yesterday the White House revealed a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011.  Approximately $1.3 trillion of that is going to be deficit spending.  I don’t think I have railed about big government and its form of budgeting yet, so I think you’ll be in for a treat.

The article I refer you to is located here:

http://host.madison.com/ct/news/article_5617a774-0f4f-11df-a5ca-001cc4c03286.html

  I couldn’t find the orginal source from the Washington Post, but the author of the website gives Lori Montgomery the credit for her piece.  Suffice to say, I am dismayed by every line I read.  The one that gets me the most is this utterance about government spending in the bureaucrat dialect a-la Dan Pfeifer.

“This is a budget that makes tough choices while investing in initiatives to create jobs and help reduce the economic pressures facing the middle class.”

BALONEY.  They don’t get it.  $282 billion for economic recovery and job creation through 2012?  And where was that in the past stimulus packages?  Where was the money for jobs creation, small banks, and business incentives for the first 18 months or so of the crisis.  A big reason that got included is because Scott Brown’s election screamed at the legislators that ITS THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!  JOBS, JOBS, AND MORE JOBS.  The problem here is that we know government is a poor steward of funds and the incentives I see will not get to the root of the problem.

Examples?  Okay…A continuation of  Obama’s “signature” initiative (their words) of the Making Work Pay tax credit of $400 per working individual.  A continuation of unemployment benefits, a $5,000 incentive for small companies to hire someone.   I could go on.  All of those programs strike me as rather uninspiring and certainly not revolutionary.  That $400 is nothing.  Unemployment benefits just keeps a bad situation from getting worse.  I have heard that the $5,000 could be gamed by employers (I bet that language will get amended) and besides, what sane businessman is going to hire someone just because he gets a $5,000 tax break when he  doesn’t need a larger roster and can’t afford one if he did.  Just about any salaray costs more than $5,000.  Sure, it helps take away a bit of the sting of an employer’s costs, but it alone isn’t enough.

That is a lot of money just spent on stuff that won’t make things any better – we might float along, but all we are collectively doing is helping to dig a deeper hole for our debt.

I then see the current budget proposal cuts, it was like $250 billion saved over 10 years?  That is it?  That is a less than 3% of the 9 TRILLION DOLLARS of deficits we would rack up in that time.  That is ON TOP OF the hole we’re in now.

Here is my proposal to the government.  Look at government involvement as a problem, not a solution.  Everyone knows that government is inefficient.  Remove their involvement in programs where possible.  Replace the money funded there to grants and direct investments in sectors/technology/etc.  Then, look at all the craptastic programs of the Bush era.   You obviously can’t replace national security work with a private company, but you sure can make it better and more cost effective.  My personal pet-peeve…

The Department of Homeland Security.  Ugh..DHS and TSA are dirty words to me.  Why would you talk about budget controls in one sentence and in the next talk about giving DHS more money in the next?!?  Are you kidding me?  One failed terrorist plot and you’re going to simply waste more public funds on 1,000 more fancy machines that will be able to look at you without clothes, but still won’t prove to be foolproof.  You are putting all your faith in technology, when training, technique, and policy are what needs to change (and those are cost-effective solutions).  Technology-only solutions, like everyone seems to be okay with, is a terrible solution to stop plane-based terrorism.  Instead, CUT their budget and make them work smarter, harder, and lay off 6 of the 8 TSA agents who sit around and play grab ass with each other as I go through the security line at the airport.  Those are our tax dollars playing grab-ass.   While you do this, enable and train the remaining TSA personnel to profile, screen, and NOT extend the rights of US citizens to aliens.  Cut through the BS and you will have a cheaper and more effective TSA – which will improve the DHS budget and stem the tide of always giving  organizations like it more money – like government is doing this year and next!

Take that mentality and extend it to all forms of government.  Government workers are terribly inefficient.  They have an accurate sense that they can’t be fired and that they can not work and get away with it.  I have a friend who has other close friends (who I don’t know and they are glad I don’t know them) who work for the government.  The stories she tells me about them not doing real work, studying for their master’s degree, and watching ‘The Office’  at work turns my stomach.  We are paying them to take advantage of the system and implicitly encourage it by letting such behavior be the standard.  Hold people accountable.  Separate the wheat from the chaffe and fire some folks.  Lay people off.  If private business ran like the government, just imagine how things would be.  And people think government is the solution?

Lastly, we all need to take a hard look at ourselves.  We do not hold ourselves to a high enough standard.  We repeatedly elect the same  poor politicians.  We admire the same tired, largely terrible examples of human beings…and we call them celebrities.  There is too much ‘me’ and not enough ‘us’ or community in our daily lives.  If short-sighted selfishness, excess, and immoral behavior are the things we value, I don’t feel sorry for us letting things get this way.

  I don’t like paying taxes or health insurance any more than the next guy, especially when I see what I pay, what I actually take, and then what I give back through my volunteer work.  I have been a good investment for society.  I pay out more than I take and I make good decisions.  However, my good choices are not encouraged while other people’s bad choices in life have been rewarded.  Be it bailouts for homeowners or an expanded budget for HUD, it is that thinking that enable the Clinton-era initiatives that push home-ownership on those who truly couldn’t afford it and in large part, brought this financial crisis about.

 That $400 tax credit I get  – don’t give it to me!  $400 over the course of a year doesn’t make a difference.  Its not enough money.  Keep it .  I don’t need the government’s help and I don’t want my kids to have to pay for it.

The public option for health-care – keep it!   Government can’t run anything as well as the private sector and you haven’t addressed the root problems and issues with health-care.  They have more to do with tort reform, bureaucracy, and a tainted Congress more than any procedure’s cost.  In this case, the private sector is part of the problem because healthcare doesn’t operate in a truly free market.

Bailing out the big banks in my name.  LIAR!  I watch those around me lose their jobs while the fat cats know they’ve become too big to fail as their tentacles extend further in Congress while their ‘top performers’ get billions of bonuses because of their ‘value’ to the company.  Show me their value to the economic collapse of the past two years then.  I don’t want them to get an extra cent in ‘bonuses’ until that whole cost is repaid – and I talk about more than just TARP or other handouts.

I recognize that these are a series of broad, sweeping statement.  Reality is not going to let the solutions be so easy – but I think you catch my drift.  Government is detached from reality.  Its spending is out of control, and we are hitting the point where something has to give.  This country will soon be between a rock and a hard place.  The economy is too weak for the Fed to raise rates; the devaluation of our money can only go on for so long until we look like post-World War I Germany (it took a wheelbarrow’s worth of money to buy a loaf of bread); and we simply become further indebted to the Chinese to finance our reckless behavior because of government’s disfunction and the American populace’s implicit okay to have all the services government offers without having to pay for it.  Nothing is free folks.  You eventually pay for it, especially when the largest portion of the economy is becoming a sector that doesn’t produce anything besides beauracracy and laws!!!

 I’ve said it in earlier posts, so I won’t belabor the post, but the government needs to enact:

A) Tort Reform

B) Energy Investment – Infrastructure & Independence

C) Effectively Educating All of Our Children

And we as a people need to embrace:

D) Personal Responsibility

E) Fiscal Disciplne (linked to personal responsibility)

F) A Sense of Community / Non-Selfishness

G) Rejection of Apathy with Government and Democracy

Believing in the ideals of our founders, following their example, and following The Constitution will set us free.  We need to truly invest in America and put away the shovel; because we’re in a hole folks and we only continue to dig.  Getting out of that hole isn’t just government’s responsibility because when you leave it in their hands, well, you see what you get.

– G.S.


Like A Phoenix…

February 2, 2010

 

Friends,

  As you know, I often cite various journalistic sources as the root of my commentary/rage.  Today, I had a freind forward me a letter that is at least 6 months old from a distressed fellow citizen.  I had not heard about it.   So, I wanted to go beyond just posting a link and  forward the actual letter along.  Please read, comment, and think about what she says.  The letter follows:

“I’m a home grown American citizen, 53, registered Democrat all my life. Before the last presidential election I registered as a Republican because I no longer felt the Democratic Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. Now I no longer feel the Republican Party represents my views or works to pursue issues important to me. The fact is I no longer feel any political party or representative in Washington represents my views or works to pursue the issues important to me. There must be someone. Please tell me who you are. Please stand up and tell me that you are there and that you’re willing to fight for our Constitution as it was written. Please stand up now. You might ask yourself what my views and issues are that I would horribly feel so disenfranchised by both major political parties. What kind of nut job am I? Will you please tell me?

Well, these are briefly my views and issues for which I seek representation:

1. Illegal immigration. I want you to stop coddling illegal immigrants and secure our borders. Close the underground tunnels. Stop the violence and the trafficking in drugs and people. No amnesty, not again. Been there, done that, no resolution. P.S., I’m not a racist. This isn’t to be confused with legal immigration.

2.  The TARP bill, I want it repealed and I want no further funding supplied to it. We told you no, but you did it anyway. I want the remaining unfunded 95% repealed. Freeze, repeal.

3. Czars, I want the circumvention of our checks and balances stopped immediately. Fire the czars. No more czars. Government officials answer to the process, not to the president. Stop trampling on our Constitution and honor it.

4.  Cap and trade. The debate on global warming is not over. There is more to say.

5.  Universal healthcare. I will not be rushed into another expensive decision. Don’t you dare try to pass this in the middle of the night and then go on break. Slow down!

6.  Growing government control. I want states rights and sovereignty fully restored. I want less government in my life, not more. Shrink it down. Mind your own business. You have enough to take care of with your real obligations. Why don’t you start there.

7.  ACORN. I do not want ACORN and its affiliates in charge of our 2010 census. I want them investigated. I also do not want mandatory escrow fees contributed to them every time on every real estate deal that closes. Stop the funding to ACORN and its affiliates pending impartial audits and investigations. I do not trust them with taking the census over with our taxpayer money. I don’t trust them with our taxpayer money. Face up to the allegations against them and get it resolved before taxpayers get any more involved with them. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, hello. Stop protecting your political buddies. You work for us, the people. Investigate.

8.  Redistribution of wealth. No, no, no. I work for my money. It is mine. I have always worked for people with more money than I have because they gave me jobs. That is the only redistribution of wealth that I will support. I never got a job from a poor person. Why do you want me to hate my employers? Why ‑‑ what do you have against shareholders making a profit?

9.  Charitable contributions. Although I never got a job from a poor person, I have helped many in need. Charity belongs in our local communities, where we know our needs best and can use our local talent and our local resources. Butt out, please. We want to do it ourselves.

10.  Corporate bailouts. Knock it off. Sink or swim like the rest of us. If there are hard times ahead, we’ll be better off just getting into it and letting the strong survive. Quick and painful. Have you ever ripped off a Band‑Aid? We will pull together. Great things happen in America under great hardship. Give us the chance to innovate. We cannot disappoint you more than you have disappointed us.

11.  Transparency and accountability. How about it? No, really, how about it? Let’s have it. Let’s say we give the buzzwords a rest and have some straight honest talk. Please try ‑‑ please stop manipulating and trying to appease me with clever wording. I am not the idiot you obviously take me for. Stop sneaking around and meeting in back rooms making deals with your friends. It will only be a prelude to your criminal investigation. Stop hiding things from me.

12.  Unprecedented quick spending. Stop it now. Take a breath. Listen to the people. Let’s just slow down and get some input from some nonpoliticians on the subject. Stop making everything an emergency. Stop speed reading our bills into law. I am not an activist. I am not a community organizer. Nor am I a terrorist, a militant or a violent person. I am a parent and a grandparent. I work. I’m busy. I’m busy. I am busy, and I am tired. I thought we elected competent people to take care of the business of government so that we could work, raise our families, pay our bills, have a little recreation, complain about taxes, endure our hardships, pursue our personal goals, cut our lawn, wash our cars on the weekends and be responsible contributing members of society and teach our children to be the same all while living in the home of the free and land of the brave.

I entrusted you with upholding the Constitution. I believed in the checks and balances to keep from getting far off course. What happened? You are very far off course. Do you really think I find humor in the hiring of a speed reader to unintelligently ramble all through a bill that you signed into law without knowing what it contained? I do not. It is a mockery of the responsibility I have entrusted to you. It is a slap in the face. I am not laughing at your arrogance. Why is it that I feel as if you would not trust me to make a single decision about my own life and how I would live it but you should expect that I should trust you with the debt that you have laid on all of us and our children. We did not want the TARP bill. We said no. We would repeal it if we could. I am sure that we still cannot. There is such urgency and recklessness in all of the recent spending.

From my perspective, it seems that all of you have gone insane. I also know that I am far from alone in these feelings. Do you honestly feel that your current pursuits have merit to patriotic Americans? We want it to stop. We want to put the brakes on everything that is being rushed by us and forced upon us. We want our voice back. You have forced us to put our lives on hold to straighten out the mess that you are making. We will have to give up our vacations, our time spent with our children, any relaxation time we may have had and money we cannot afford to spend on you to bring our concerns to Washington. Our president often knows all the right buzzword is unsustainable. Well, no kidding. How many tens of thousands of dollars did the focus group cost to come up with that word? We don’t want your overpriced words. Stop treating us like we’re morons.

We want all of you to stop focusing on your reelection and do the job we want done, not the job you want done or the job your party wants done. You work for us and at this rate I guarantee you not for long because we are coming. We will be heard and we will be represented. You think we’re so busy with our lives that we will never come for you? We are the formerly silent majority, all of us who quietly work , pay taxes, obey the law, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone and we are now looking up at you. You have awakened us, the patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful that it had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far. Our numbers are great. They may surprise you. For every one of us who will be there, there will be hundreds more that could not come. Unlike you, we have their trust. We will represent them honestly, rest assured. They will be at the polls on voting day to usher you out of office. We have cancelled vacations. We will use our last few dollars saved. We will find the representation among us and a grassroots campaign will flourish. We didn’t ask for this fight. But the gloves are coming off. We do not come in violence, but we are angry. You will represent us or you will be replaced with someone who will. There are candidates among us when hewill rise like a Phoenix from the ashes that you have made of our constitution.

Democrat, Republican, independent, libertarian. Understand this. We don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us. Patriotic Americans are willing to do right by us and our Constitution and that is all that matters to us now. We are going to fire all of you who abuse power and seek more. It is not your power. It is ours and we want it back. We entrusted you with it and you abused it. You are dishonorable. You are dishonest. As Americans we are ashamed of you. You have brought shame to us. If you are not representing the wants and needs of your constituency loudly and consistently, in spite of the objections of your party, you will be fired. Did you hear? We no longer care about your political parties. You need to be loyal to us, not to them. Because we will get you fired and they will not save you. If you do or can represent me, my issues, my views, please stand up. Make your identity known. You need to make some noise about it. Speak up. I need to know who you are. If you do not speak up, you will be herded out with the rest of the sheep and we will replace the whole damn congress if need be one by one. We are coming. Are we coming for you? Who do you represent? What do you represent? Listen, because we are coming. WE THE PEOPLE ARE COMING.”

– Unnamed writer from AZ  who submitted this letter to the Glenn Beck Show, June 29th, 2009.

That’s the end of the letter.  I do not emphasize nor agree with exactly everything  the writer has to say, but in simplified terms I agree with her sentiment 100%.  She does not like non-representative, bad government.  I rail against it too sister.  So, for you my fellow patriotic American, I want to forward your letter on – on the same day we see a budget for 2011 with a $1.27 TRILLON deficit.  Of a budget of 3.83 Trillion, that is 33% of a budget that we don’t have the money for…and that is only the starting figure folks…but that deserves its own blog entry.

– G.S.

(my Thanks to Phoenixrises – R.O.H.A.N for the image – a great drawing)