Tag Archives: Europe

BRexit from the Bayou

What will become of the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom in coming months and years?

What will become of the funds in peoples varied accounts and peoples varied investments in America and the world?

What will become of the European Union?

These are all questions brought to the fore by the recent event called the BRexit Referendum.  They are important questions and will only be slightly ventured into within this post but it is possible that some more insight may be forthcoming from other portions of this site past, present and future.

This blog is a place in the wide world where very ambitious plans (which to many would seem absurdly ambitious and very unusual) are put forward. But the reason that I do put forth such plans is in part because the economy does not just respond to purely economic forces and purely economic plans made by typical economists are not likely to steer it all that well. Nor do I believe that conservatism — which I lay claim to here repeatedly –means having no plans at all. In fact I believe both planning and a limited socialist and communitarian element belong in any  healthy conservative economic philosophy. Among many plans in this blog is a desire expressed to bring the United States to a floating quatrimetalism which is something like the gold standard. As I type this many are rushing to gold. Compared to either panic or the pure gold standard this standard might actually seem moderate. But in recent years it would usually have seemed very bearish and conservative indeed.

 

The Current Queen of England and Scotland's United Kingdom with Eisenhower

I don’t think any two constitutional changes are the same. The British Monarchy is not our target here in the problems I as an American and a Cajun may point out.  But it was among the targets of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

Do you come to this blog to get a sense of what stock market and financial  trends are urgently important? Perhaps you should. I seldom discuss market volatility or warn of impending short term risk in that aspect of life but prior to one of the biggest crashes in my lifetime my humble blog warned of the possibility in time for a handful of readers to have called their brokers and accountants if they were inclined to do so . But I make no claim to being unique in pointing out the risk, nor to having given specific advice. Nonetheless, the overall pattern of advice here seems to have been better than that being offered in some other quarters.

 

Britain Exits — the United Kingdom is finding a path forward without EU membership. Company will not be kept by the same countries in the same way ant longer — or so it all would seem. The news which has been developing includes a seeming set of contradictory signals from various places as to how fast this split should be. Voices are urging speed in the EU, as seen in detail here. But there have been voices from Spain, the UK and several other countries that have emphasized the need to proceed at a measured and not overly hasty pace.  The question on the most minds these days seems to be how severe the financial and economic impacts will be. Alan Greenspan. former Federal Reserve Chairman of the United States of America  has been a voice warning that there could be extensive and extended effects. TIME has been able to put together an article that is much more optimistic, that is linked here.

France one would think is still France, Germany is still Germany, the UK is still the UK. Italy may even be Italy and so forth. One feels when a severe corrections sets in that there were reasons in the market for panic. One suddenly sees Europe, the U.K.,  stock markets and financial markets as well as other institutions in a different way than one saw them before. During the Chinese crisis a while back I urged a more moderate view of the crisis than was then in vogue but I did not produce any large autonomous piece on the subject which I can now locate. However in the case of BRexit I posted on this subject just a day before the historic vote. That post is here.

I began with these words:

 

The British who it seems are by far America’s closest association in the world — even if to me it is not obvious that this must or even should be the case or deciding whether of not to leave the European Union.  NATO is surely in decline and is troubled despite being very big and victorious. As a Cajun I would like to see better relations between the US, France, Belgium,  Spain and the UK especially. But realistically those relationships may be as good as they are going to get.  the Brits who want to stay in the EU fall into those who see Europe as a country and say the sooner it becomes a superpower nation state the better and those who believe it is better for British interest to stay in the EU.  Those who want to leave include people who fear woes of limitless migration, economic collapse and cultural corruption in the new order. But the real thorny issues are not simply resolved into two camps  — but the votes are in tow camps. Some have said the shooting in Orlando helped the leavers most — called Brexit. BRexit can argue that families like the Mateens can arrive anywhere in Europe and strike anywhere else and nobody has a chance to know the risk.  Some who want to stay in believe Europe must change and offer better collective security and that will be best for Britain.

Armed with a few links to various articles, I raised the alarm on a potential Stock Market  Crisis to those among my readers who might not have been prepared.

The lack of certainty this vote has created in the stock market and elsewhere is discussed here.  But this is an analysis mostly of how the markets will react if BRexit beats the Remainers. It is a bit more complicated to decide whether the current process itself is affecting financial markets and other economic indicators, perhaps some of that complexity can be recaptured here.

So BRexit has happened. Why did it happen that Britain left first because there was a referendum. Lord Norton discusses that here. TIME has put together an approach to why there was a referendum as well, a sort of history linked here. But here is a telling quote from Lord Norton in a post linked herein a post linked here:

In the post-war era, the issue of European integration has been a fault line of British politics.  Both main parties have been divided internally  and both have changed their stance on the issue.  However, there has been no formal requirement for a referendum on the issue.  Harold Wilson used a nation-wide referendum, a constitutional innovation, in 1975 in order to resolve conflict within the Labour Party.  David Cameron moved to initiate one in response to conflict within Conservative ranks.  The roots are to be found in the last Parliament.  Details can be found in the chapters by Phil Cowley and me in Seldon and Finn’s The Coalition Effect.

There was no commitment in the Conservative 2010 manifesto to a referendum on continued membership of the EU.  The crucial development was the decision of the newly-formed Backbench Business Committee to schedule a debate, initiated by Conservative MP David Nuttall, in October 2011, calling for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.  Had the Committee not come into existence the previous year, with responsibility for scheduling debates (which it did on the basis of proposals from private Members), there would almost certainly not have been a debate – the Government would not have found time for it.   Despite a heavy whipping operation against the motion, 81 Conservatives voted for it.

The Referendum may or may not have been the right or best thing to do but it was note purely inevitable. Had it not happened the EU and the world would have muddled a long a bit longer on a more similar path. What happened after that is up for debate. I discuss reasons below why I think that things were not so secure as they seemed. But for now let us turn to what did happen.

This is the link to the speech in which David Cameron announced his intention to resign after the BRexit vote.  Cameron invested his very considerable political capital very heavily in this referendum. We may well hear from him again but he is tied to it forever. Tizres a commenter on this blog on occasion has on her own blog posted a while ago a post linking Cameron and the EU over time and this has surely proven her right on that and other scores as well. The BRexit may well see a resurgence of the Commonwealth, a stimulus to improve the EU constitution, the impetus for liberty enshrined in better rules around the world. It may be a very good thing. Whether good or not it may be necessary. But today it is a scary thing for many and the most obvious sign of that is the crash in the stock markets and the worldwide wealth erasures. We shall see where all that leads.   There is a great deal more that can be said about BRexit and that has to be said somewhere and perhaps many places if the current political environment is to be properly understood. Here is one place I have been discussing such things. Lord Norton had already had something to say on all of this issue which has led to BRexit, he tangentially discussed it here and has now said a good bit about the mechanic of the thing here in a brief and early post. The results of all this are likely to be significant for many people.

The European Union has 28 member countries, here is the list from the European Union’s own official website :

On the road to EU membership

Candidate countries

Potential candidates

The list above shows the difficulties compared to the United States of America. In the United States we have the Senate where votes are equal and the House where votes are by population. Then we have an Electoral College where votes are identical to a State’s votes in each of these houses and they elect our President. We have a Supreme Court charged with seeing that the basic system is preserved.  i think our own system is corrupt and this blog is a place where I have spelled out model constitutions for the United States and for Louisiana.  But our Constitution as it was originally approved and as  it exists today has the basic components to make it possible to preserve healthy state identity and a healthy federal union — just barely so in my view. However, the EU is made to work by will and skill without really having anywhere near and adequate constitutional framework. Whether others leave or not that is clearly the case. But it has been a socially and politically cheap arrangement and now it has failed a major test.  The people who paid r it to survive as it as it was were equally the US tax payers and the Soviet and Russian people who kept up a nuclear terro balance that left Europe’s great powers and their vast depository of skilled diplomats and diplomatic resources free to patiently deal with many issues while not being pressured to clearly lead or fight for survival. Would it have been good for them to become a true United States of Europe? People will disagree for good reasons about the answer to that question.  But they never built the structures we have. The comparison was always a misplaced one by any standard. Now what will happen next is a different matter — I am not making predictions in this posting.

 

American Totalitarianism Outlined and Evaluated

During the Cold War Americans were very eager to say they were free and this was the free world.  Since the end of the Cold War that obsession has not been the same. But we all want America to be free. Much of the reason that the memory of slavery in America has so much power as an image for Americans is that Americans prize freedom. Both the Americans fighting in the American Revolution and those fighting on both sides of the Civil War felt largely that they were fighting for their freedom. But we also feel and have concerns about our freedom being diminished.     When there are huge prisons, huge numbers of students more hled in school than eager to be there, huge barriers to starting a small business or saving the family farm — people feel less free. When there are no signs of vast new projects that will create new opportunities and preserve a future people feel less free in American terms. I have written about costly and risky things that could be done to create a freer future here and here.

But we still send people out to fight for our freedom and we want to believe they are really preserving some. I think there is no doubt most people should be grateful to anyone who keeps their country from being invaded and makes it a hard target. But freedom from foreign invasion is not enough for most of us.

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals.

Military expressions are often part of Louisiana funerals. We still value that service as shaping a life.

Obviously there is still some freedom in the United States of America. I am able to write this blog and put it onto the internet. The voting booths are still operating in the good old USA. A variety of houses of worship operate regularly with little interference from the government and I have a gun I don’t have to inform an official about in order to use or move it.  But this post is about the advancing threats to and restrictions of freedom in ways which can and may be significant. Freedom is very important to Americans for a number of good reasons.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

American identity has always evolved and transformed itself over time. In that way it is like all living and active traditions. But there have been some themes that have been continuous and sustained for much of our nation’s journey through history. People sacrificed a great deal as they left Europe to coe tom North America. There were some who came to North America from Africa, the Caribbean and Central America wherever they may have traced their ancestry but the story behind the  founding of this country and its development was and is the story of the  migrations from the Continent of Europe and the British Isles to what is now the United States, Canada, Mexico and a few islands of the Caribbean.  These people had complex interactions with the peoples who were here and the cultures which developed from those interaction and from complicated interactions  between various colonies began to create the framework of a distinct history for this land.    Mixed in with these influences came the  populations of African slaves and then various migrations of slaves, freedmen and freedwomen and who had various mixtures of genetic and cultural background and tied the various colonies together and in time came to significantly divide some societies evolved from colonies the ones from the others on questions of race and slavery

The Civil Rights movement has shaped much of my life experience. I am fifty years old.

The Civil Rights movement has shaped much of my life experience. I am fifty years old.

In this context the self determination of polities, communities, families and individuals developed into a highly prized objective. Americans were deprived of many of the riches of the old world and did not always handle the riches of the new one in a way they themselves could feel entirely good about but they felt the richness of the complex ways and varied choices related to their developing an independent and promising future. It is not entirely clear what was going on in North America before the year 1000 A.D. But we do have a pretty good idea of what happened during historical times. From 1492 there was a vast area of challenging wildernesses, abundant natural resources and small population groups linked by rather vast transportation networks.   One of the traits that was shared by many of the people of North America north of the kingdoms and empires of Mexico was the fact that many of them consisted of people who could and did maintain a society where people could leave and join another band where captives enslaved after warfare could rise to prominence in their new tribes if they first secured their liberty. Many groups were  practitioners of conciliar forms of government in which people could and did opt out of the community if the regime in power was deemed unbearable. this was a very different mirror than European colonists found in their neighbors in Goa, India or Macao or Hong Kong. It was different that the European experience with invaders from Islamic North Africa or the Middle East.  Nor can it really be compared all that well to the Australian experience. The Australian Aborigines had been there for a long time but they still felt like strangers in their ancient land and although they had transformed it they had been through a unique human experience. For Australia really is alien and the Australia that the people th Europeans met had colonized was the most alien environment people have colonized so far. Mesa Verde, the birch bark canoes, the totem poles, the pueblos, the wampum, the burial mounds shaped like animals, the ruins at poverty point, and even ruins of ancient trading posts from abroad met the European colonists of these lands although some were not well reported even those formed a whispering world of  the American possibility and inspired ideas of a different possible society built on skills they knew. We are still struggling to see what will come of those societies  The linguistic, technical and economic diversity among groups of  North American Aboriginal Peoples known as Indians or Native Americans  was not achieved in Australia and the strangeness and distance of Australia itself made it more foreign than North America ever was and in ways that North America never was Europe an North America had in some very ancient past been part of the same super-continent. In that ancient era of super-continents Australia was part of the same very different continent as Antarctica. The whole biology of the place was a kind of alien reality. Those in the early colonies found a great deal in the Americas that they could easily confuse with Europe and children born in the colonies replaced the plants and animals found in the Bibles, poetry and traditional rituals with those nearby whether European imports or their relatively close American cousins. So the bridge was close.

American governments, business and leaders have a special historical obligation to seek out opportunities and preserve freedom of opportunity. This is not just any place this is America and people here lack many things for which their ancestors gained a freedom of opportunity. We feel a totalitarian jackboot when our liberties are curtailed because we have already paid a great deal in the lack of institutions that existed int he world we left behind. It has gotten to the point that nobody can discuss this cost in any public forum. All our myths go against the idea of a cost of being American. But a real free future will have to deal with all of those costs and see that the future holds rewards specific to our situation here…. That will mean teaching history well and being aware of the complexities of our history. It will mean having some sense of the realities I discussed in the last few paragraphs.

Over time with public education, newspapers, the telegraph and a large military we began to achieve an American origin story which was much simpler and more understandable than the complex realities I have alluded to so far.  This narrative in turn has become the battlefield of ideas throughout most of my life and  the life of my parents and grandparents.How has the recent set of trends in American society since World War II interfaced with the larger  framing principles and influences which have shaped America as a land of people who saw the development of society always as measured largely  within the context of human freedom as a very important and much desired treasure. We are still a country with a great deal of  complex cultural heritage and those realities still shape our lives.

Louisiana regional map bold

 

Today we face the future of the country in a state of relative confusion about what our identity is and should be.  My Facebook friend and recently retired Commander-in-Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has recorded an interview here which responds to some of the recent controversy related to the  Confederate flags and other symbols. There is a lot of  reason to fear the energies currently loosed upon the Confederate heritage, legacy and institutions of the United States as it currently exists. But that is not the primary focus of this blog post. I want to put the confederate crisis of the moment in a larger context of American history and culture.

I have been blogging about what has been going on in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. You can read those posts here, here and here. America  has responded to the images of Roof with the Confederate Flag by seeking to renounce a lot of Confederate Imagery.  I have in the past written about  a number of subjects through the lens of my own Confederate Heritage here, here and here in this blog.  I have also sprinkled other references throughout the blog and elsewhere.

But the loss of the Confederate perspective is not the only loss. There is a great deal that is lost which the American right opposes all efforts to preserve in its opposition to multiculturalism and the Left handles by coming up with a kind of multiculturalism that  does not allow for the cultural history and momentum of this society to work its way into the future.

America has to be true to who were are in a variety of ways that we are different from one another as well as in the ways in which we are all one people. The path to a future worth having is never easy for any society and it will not be easy for us.

My mother in front a Confederate monument in New Orleans reminds us of what complexity there is in violence and duty.

My mother in front a Confederate monument in New Orleans reminds us of what complexity there is in violence and duty.

Bobby Jindal the Governor of Louisiana has announced that he is running for President of the United States of America. I wonder if he will win. He did some good things and some bad things . I have met the man and he makes a good impression over all but I cannot ever forgive him for using tht office for monolingualist purposes and his piggish insensitivity and stupidity as regards French and Spanish  linguistic history. Conservative talk radio and many other founts of information are full of nonsense about how societies have never endured that were multilingual. But the level of nonsense that pervades our society on all sides is a very high level. There is far too much to address properly here in this post.

Window in the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans showing the sainted King of France for whom the church is named caring for the sick directly.

Window in the Saint Louis Cathedral in New Orleans showing the sainted King of France for whom the church is named caring for the sick directly.

However, beyond abolishing a competing view of the reality of how our country was meant to be in the Confederate tradition, and abolishing the linguistic heritage to replace it with very  truncated English and besides the fighting of our whole political struggle on a simplified official history — are we losing our freedom?

America has little to connect the Constitution to the way that much of government operates.  I have discussed some of those problems here, here and here.  However, the problems relate to the way laws apply through regulators and officials and courts not operating as the Constitution envisioned. Then there is a reality that craftsmen, free markets like the bazaars, fairs and mercados of much of the world can scarcely exist in much of the United States. The freedom to find a meaningful and sustainable life would have been hard to preserve and I have written a lot about how that might be done. But I do  believe we could get closer than we are getting these days for many Americans.

 

The Acadian Museum was on site I visited with a friend who is discussing starting a tour company.

This is a copy of Queen Elizabeth II’s apology to the Acadian people. The Petitioner was Warren Perrin founder of the Acadian Museum. The Acadian Museum was one site I visited with a friend who is discussing starting a tour company.

We have to move forward in our lives. We have to live in a changing world. We have to secure a national identity. But I believe real freedom must also be rooted in our past and dynamically connected to it. We must find the future which offers American freedom a chance to survive. There will be a lot of challenges along the way. All of them will be demanding. But unless the freedom is a freedom of life and substance Americans will rightly feel particularly cheated and pained.

my great grandmother's painting

my great grandmother’s painting

Peacework and Wargames: The Visions We Share

It may be a sign of megalomania or of a lack of focus. But I do write notes and posts that sort of treat the whole world at a given moment. I am writing this note in that extremely ambitious scope of trying to see roughly where the world is right now. That is of course far too much to do in so few words. In addition to constraints of length it imposes too many demands of other kinds on me and on my readers. Yet I feel drawn and compelled to this attempt to glimpse the current state of the world. Once again I sort of want to set down where the world is just at this moment before Spring in 2013.
This is one of the more shapeless and rambling notes and blog posts which I occasionally write. The unifying theme among the motifs and issues discussed in this Facebook Note and Blog Post is simply that in late February of 2013 there is a relevance to me in each of the things I discuss here. In other words these are the things on my mind which I do not deem too personal, secret or trivial to include in something like this.

I am going to discuss four subjects and also try to interrelate them a little bit. These subjects are:

1. The legacy of Pope Benedict XVI and his role as a retired Pope.
2. The economic future of this country, my state and region and the world as these things relate to a few specific political and social issues.
3. The changing face of military power.
4. The 2013 Academy Awards Presentations and the State of the film industry.

It is perhaps possible to suggest a theme beyond time alone. These questions mostly arise at the same time but I am also looking at all of them from the point of view of awareness of fundamental things. It is not a trivial challenge for any group or institution to keep a correct and vital connection with the real dynamic roots and essential vital energies that keep it alive. I will be looking at how the Catholic Church, Hollywood, the US military and the economy are challenged to remain properly connected to their real energies…

There will be many developments over time which will reveal the real legacy of Pope Benedict XVI more completely than it can be revealed now. However, I think some things can be well understood already. He accomplished something very significant simply by being the second consecutive non-Italian Pope. Alone Pope John Paul II could have been an anomaly but two makes a pattern. There is also the fact that he was able to bring a great deal of experience from a broad sampling of pastoral and doctrinal problems to bear as he sought out the new evangelization and the new ecumenism. However, I think the greatest legacy of the recent pontificate in recent terms will be in the field of liturgy which in turn relates to Christian unity and other matters in a fairly direct way. I think including the Anglican use and the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite of the Mass have made the Church more Catholic and complete in ways that are really significant…
A relevant link to understand the role and significance of the extraordinary form can be found just below.

http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/the-mass/extraordinary-form/

Benedict XVI has reminded the world’s Catholics of the richness of community which exists in the worship of the church. This are the liturgical Rites of the Catholic Church?

It has been no mystery to the Church leadership that three major groupings of Rites exist in the Catholic Church with one of them divided into what constitutes almost two major groupings. All the Cardinals in the Conclave are likely aware that from these four parent rites over twenty liturgical Rites (Western and Eastern) have developed which are in union with the Holy See. But for a large percentage of the majority of Roman Catholics these realites are remote enough. Many have little or no knowledge of worship beyond the Roman Rite. Practical fellowship in the many rites which in turn constitute the Antiochian Rite (Syria) and the Alexandrian Rite (Egypt) rarely occurs for most of them. The Byzantine Rite is only slightly better known and few know it derived derived as a major Rite from the Antiochian, under the influence of St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. More freedom and harmony with these rites and with the Orthodox Christians to which they often relate in many ways was one of the goals of the Second Vatican Council. Things have improved in that regard over the last fifty years and Benedict XVI has made a contribution in that regard but his main effect on these matters has been indirect.

In much of the world the use of particular words in the Catholic mass may not seem very important and even the gathering of 115 men in red hats to elect a Pope may not seem significant. But the ritual is important, the voice is often heard and people know that the Pope is a leader of opinion and ideals for many with whom they currently share the planet. In a bit I will turn to the Academy Awards which also are a compelling ritual and also symbolize a powerful voice in the world and also are very much of interest to many people who would not have to be interested in them. It is easy for certain people to believe that political and economic news is more compelling than it is. Modern people tend to think that all the pageants of royalty and tribal politics were superfluous extras and that the modern era has got it right. But there is quite a bit of evidence that such rituals were vital to maintaining even a minimum of the healthier kind of interest in government. That same general area of evidence leads us to believe huge numbers of the wrong people are alienated and disconnected as regards much of the political and macroeconomic world. There are many among America’s strongest allies and worst enemies who see in the current and concurrently running second terms for Obama in the White House and for Ban Ki-Moon at the UN a season for steady progress for world peace and prosperity as well as opportunity for their own country’s progress. Russia is able to undertake key social and economic reforms as it grows into a new position, China builds up its military, North Korea is perfecting the atomic warhead and the ICBM and Brazil is flexing its regional economic muscle. In the United Kingdom there has emerged strong support from all major political parties for increased funding towards and the official establishment of the External Advisory Service in the EU as well as other initiatives by Europe to act as a single power able to make real progress on promoting peace and development in conflict-affected zones and fragile states.
The efforts of various powers around the world comes out in a context of enthusiasm by Europeans and Asia’s little dragons (the relatively small trading powers for foundations of a better world order. There is a context for such efforts which all nations have agreed to and in which famous Americans of means have played a major role. Ted Turner, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet among others have really made an impact in the efforts to give effect to the agreements which were reached under the term Millennium Development Goals. The millennium is well under way now and 2015 was a benchmark year in this plan so little discussed and reported in this country. About a billion of Earth’s people live in countries where the social, political and economic order is largely defined by repeated cycles of political and criminal violence. The Millennium Development Goals such as halving extreme poverty, providing universal primary (or elementary) school education and stopping the spread of AIDS have proven very difficult to achieve where multiple low grade civil wars are shaping the live of the poor and those seeking to interact with them. Largely because of violence which often has global dimensions the many millions in conflict are making little progress and no fragile state or conflict-affected region is likely to achieve a single Millennium Development Goal. The United Nations, the European Union and many other institutions clearly indicate that for these millions to progress their states must undergo structural change. Many countries with little chance of positive reform must develop more capable civic and state institutions, transform their security and justice sectors and be in a position to deal with various parties and factions long at war of one kind or another to bring about demobilization and reconciliation. These reforms would be necessary before the current world order would breathe life into weak economies and foster new relationships between the citizen and the state in each of these countries and nations. One cannot help but wonder if all the distance between these Goals and reality is just an accident or whether perhaps the order we currently live in does not support these goals at all.

However, the same powers that have sought these reforms sense that they are not succeeding as well as could be hoped. Britain’s Conservative political leaders and Prime Minister can smell and taste the geopolitical winds enough to feel the need for security and will consider spending considerable monies made available by this move for a stabilizing internationalism and an expansion of the UK’s aid budget to be used on more old fashioned kinds of military peacekeeping and even more purely conventional defense-related projects.
The UK which has quite a bit of experience building Empires is both really interested in a better world and really aware it must remain engaged in a world where China, Russia, new organizations and international Islamism or very much engaged. For each of these powers armed humanitarianism is part of the total world strategy Britain will not be left out and is allocating 30% of the UK aid budget to fragile and conflict-affected states. This development will involve some defense profile as well. The Brits have declared that their world strategies and interest are enhanced and their engagement effectiveness is improved when the Ministry of Defense, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development work together, “sharing expertise while co-ordinating policy and strategy.”
In this complex world America has a government that does not draw up budgets, does not understand how to compare debt. Our public indebtedness is about one hundred trillion and not sixteen trillion dollars. It does not understand the international networks that can fuse and separate and has not really allocated sufficient resources to countering the kind of weapons postulated in the film Red Dawn which would take the whole internet off line, fry CPUs and jam communications simultaneously. We see the world adjusting to new patterns of reliance, we know carrier killer missiles with small warheads on mobile launchers can be rained down from space with amazing speed and we see that a new generation of projectiles hunt conventional rocketry more effectively than ever before but largely we do not adjust to these challenges but instead focus only on the lessons of recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We see that our own social cohesion is under strain but really keep increasing the strain and not really securing the future and not thinking of what an American solution ought to be in deep terms.

I believe our models for economics and military projections are flawed badly. If we do not do a lot better soon there will be consequences. The solution does involve being alarmed but does not involve seeing the whole world as made up of full-fledged enemies. That approach would be one of many that would produce the same bad result. The result would be what?

The United States of America is moving towards a series of catastrophic military disasters. The country will awaken sooner or later to a future of having been entirely overrun by its enemies. The time for reform and appropriate action is quickly coming to an end.

Things are going to get a lot rougher than most people are prepared to deal with I fear. There is little else to say about the situation’s overall status and stature. There is a lot to say about what exactly I mean by that. However, for this note the short paragraphs above will have to do…

I now want to discuss the Oscars which I watched with interest on Sunday, February 24, 2013. The struggle for any kind of recognition this year was very intense. The year saw a lot of films that were at least of decent quality and many that had some ideas to work with as well.

I have not posted or written as much about the movies this year as I sometimes do. I did post a status after Dad and I went to see The Impossible in Abbeville one night. I also posted a review of Blood on the Bayou. I indicated similar things about both very different movies. I thought they were (on somewhat different scales) very good, solid picture and sound and well acted throughout. I also thought this was a great year for movies. The films seemed varied & excellent and on a year when I was able to go to more movies than I have in most recent years. It was also a year when I saw more movies than most but not all years of my life.

I have seen quite a few memorable movies in the last twelve months. The biggest one I missed was Amour. Other movies I have enjoyed were: Lincoln, Les Miserables, Zero Dark Thirty, Life of Pi, Silver Linings Playbook, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild (on DVD), Anna Karenina, Parental Guidance, The Cirque de Soleil Movie, Jack Reacher, The Hobbit, Blood on the Bayou, Django Unchained, Dark Knight Rises, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Atlas Shrugged Part Two, Skyfall, Hunger Games and Red Dawn. Then on DVD for previous years I saw for the first time Hugo and My Week with Marilyn. Movies besides Amour which I missed were Flight, The Master, Brave, Wreck-it Ralph and Moonrise Kingdom. However, I did see Moonrise Kingdom on DVD. I also thought the Twilight : Breaking Dawn Part Two did not deserve the Razzies but it was not the best even of that franchise. I was happy to see that Kristen Stewart held her head up at the Oscars and made a stunning presentation of herself after her Razzy as worst actress. The truth is I like The Avengers and the Hobbit and I did really like the Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron work as well as most of the film titles Snow White and the Huntsman. The Twilight film joined with these films in selling a great deal of the popcorn and soda which along with the kids movies sales provide a place for all of us to watch the big screen filled with light.

Hollywood is a huge industry in America and it is our best claim to the kind of influence other people have a hard time stealing in a very competitive world. I support the movies by subscribing to Netflix, going to films and discussing them partly out of patriotic concern for a great American institution. But we all have our limits, I still chose not to see most of the movies that came out and I go to discount day matinees whenever possible. We live in a dangerous and intense world but sometimes the way we spend our leisure matters more than we might think. I thought this was a good year for a film with themes like those of Argo to be featured. I am glad it won best picture and hope we will use it and the other three political nominees Les Miserables, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty to remember that we cannot pretend governance doesn’t matter – it always does in the end.