Tag Archives: President Obama

Inauguration Day: Donald J. Trump –45!

Although named Inauguration Day, this is a post for before the Inauguration Day.  Once it happens I will have some comments on it as well. But it appears that it will happen and that this blog which has commented on the Barack Hussein Obama Administration many times will now survive to comment on the Donald J. Trump Administration as well. I may sometimes tellingly cal him Donald John Trump. His Wikipedia page is available here. Tomorrow is the day he will take office and here is a link to his announced leadership activity related to the Inauguration. One has to wonder what a difference a day can make… We shall soon see.

The Inauguration Day schedule is variously reported here, here and here. All are close enough to one another — there will be a lot of media covering the events.  The last of the three links in that first sentence is to an official U.S. Government site.  I suppose that makes it more official than the others.  President Obama has transitioned from an electronic presence at the White House website to a presence at this link for the emerging Obama Foundation.

President-Elect Donald Trump’s recent Tweets include:

  1.  the American people. I have no doubt that we will, together, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!
  2. Getting ready to leave for Washington, D.C. The journey begins and I will be working and fighting very hard to make it a great journey for..
  3. “It wasn’t Donald Trump that divided this country, this country has been divided for a long time!” Stated today by Reverend Franklin Graham.
  4. Thank you to our amazing Wounded Warriors for their service. It was an honor to be with them tonight in D.C.
  5. Looking forward to a speedy recovery for George and Barbara Bush, both hospitalized. Thank you for your wonderful letter!
  6. Writing my inaugural address at the Winter White House, Mar-a-Lago, three weeks ago. Looking forward to Friday.

The process is ongoing as the Union prepares for a change. One of the blogs on which I have been a commenter since its inception is The Norton View. It has a post here about the Inauguration by the sole posting contributor (up to now) Philip Lord Norton of Louth.  That post, on which I have some comments, appears here.

I am aware of the constitutional and other large issues involved in this process but also aware that my own personal causes of frustration with the Federal government need a post of their own. But that can wait till after tomorrow.

Advertisements

Presidential Politics and the Crises Shaping American Life

I am writing this blog post in a fairly low energy state in my own life to borrow a phrase from Donald Trump’s discussion of JEB (or Jeb Bush).  I have a certain amount of accumulated wear and tear that is getting me down just now.  In my blog and in other writing I have done I have dealt with and discussed issues that are troubling and involve the serious troubles of the world. I have been careful never to evoke specific acts of violence or to encourage people to take violent means to address their problems. I have argued for armed vigilance, for scrutiny and support for the military and law enforcement and I have told the tales of violence in the past. I live an often fairly solitary personal life now. However, I have lived among many people who were  prone to say things like “we ought to kill those bastards until the rest of them get the message”, others who said “the only good (fill in enemy here) is probably still a dead (repeat descriptor)” and many people have as far as words go threatened to kill me. I have also seen a lot of real violence but I could always believe that I could usually tell the difference between, on the one hand, someone warning that eventually the current course would leader to bloody conflict with me or some other specific group or person and on the other hand someone advocating homicide. That has been one of the luxuries of Americanism and American life. We remember Reagan’s joke on the microphone about abolishing the Soviet Union. We also know that not everyone around the world who screams “Death to America!” really means it in the worst way. Yet we are sure that none of them mean it in a way we could possible call good. Today as a clerk sits in jail for not issuing marriage license to same sex couples, the feds sue the Governor of Louisiana for defunding Planned Parenthood and there are other signs of American cultural transformation we know that  people are feeling aware that while they really feel threatened it may be riskier than ever to have ever tried to oppose or threaten in return any of the forces rolling across American society. This is a set of feelings related to evidence and fact but it remains a matter mostly of feelings. A lot of Americans are feeling both pressured and depressed.  I certainly feel some of the those feelings myself. Like a lot of Americans and other people I feel that every year for a long time my life has gotten worse, a little or a lot worse. Year ago among other things I led a worldwide discussion on what it would take to colonize the Moon and Mars. It was a serious and patient discussion and it is hard to imagine leading that kind of discussion today.

Today the Moon is a remote place I merely photograph with my phone at home...

Today the Moon is a remote place I merely photograph with my phone at home…

There no doubt are people who are doing a lot better than before but many feel alienated and stressed about the place things are and the place they will be.  Little seems certain except that they do not fit in to the world emerging around them and their plans and dreams are not relevant to what is actually happening. Obama’s Dreamers are the children of migrants who have not been born here but have grown up in this country and have human needs and aspirations. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream Speech” has struck different chords with the audiences over the decades and hardworking Americans believe still in the lure of the American dream that is a little better than any life they have actually known but is related to it as an ideal is related to a decent approximation. I recently discussed how there is a luxury in coolly discussing political ideas. You can see that post here. The environment on the campaign trail has not really gotten all that hostile so far and yet there are signs that many sources of stress are turning the dreams that frame our national dialog into a framing set of wake-up calls, nightmares and sleepless nights.  I certainly feel close to that state of mind.

The popular mass street politics of the left may yet be telling ...

The popular mass street politics of the left may yet be telling …

There are lots of little factors in creating my case of the blues that I will not include in this post. I do believe that we are in a complex situation as a society, as the United States of America. Catholics in the United States see the Pope coming to the United States, they wonder about the collision of Hispanic Catholics  and the movement to control migration which is finding a voice in Donald Trump and they worry about what the fallout from the Gay Marriage laws will be. You can see some of the commentary about migration here. But this is in the context not so much of a great trial for American Catholicism but a time which tries many American souls and consciences in a variety of ways.  Jewish Americans have less of a unified voice or even organized quarrel than Catholic Americans but they are troubled by disagreements in their ranks over moral issues, new and transforming threats to Israel, potential threats in the growing Christian Identity aspect of the Conservative movement and political spectrum in this country and a number of other issues that seem to affect them deeply. Law enforcement officers and their friends and families are troubled by the framing of organized deadly assaults on police officers across the nation. There does seem to be a diverse and widespread response of people, groups and governments getting together to show support for the police as well. One example of that is right here.   But there is a St. Martin Parish Friends of Law Enforcement rally going on as well  near me and many other things.  This is all to the good but does not change the fact that there are real problems with policing in this country and that some of the chaos and violence stems in large part from real fears, frustration and chaos for which various parts of our law enforcement institutions share some responsibility.  When I was younger I both supported the police in various ways in some of the hotspots where they lived and supported the inmates and their families. What has happened to the idealism, charity and energy that could do both things? Perhaps it is just one more example of how I like many others have grown tired. The police get tired as well and there is plenty to tire us all.

Grand  Theater Shooting police presence  days later

Grand Theater Shooting police presence days later

I provide a link in this paragraph to what is an article by a young man who has been my eldest niece’s boyfriend since they were in high school together. It seems to me to be the kind of thing a young man ought to be writing. He enthusiastically profiles the work of an academic in the university he attends. I wrote for my college paper too but didn’t have a piece like this there, but the writing reminds me of other pieces I wrote about 30 years ago.
I wrote and acted in pursuit of ideals similar to the set he espouses when I was young. I still care about torture. However, I am in a different place now. I can’t help questioning the results of the new professional standards but as I am now I remain very glad new young men find the pursuit of public decency as compelling now as I once did. You can see Aaron Credeur’s article here.

 

We presume that there will be a new President of the United States elected in 2016. The Constitution requires this and there seems to be no way that it can be amended in time for any other result. So if that is the case then it seems that the new President will be faced with a good number of serious challenges. These are unusual times with a high degree of uncertainty. It may well be that the forces behind groups like Black Lives Matter, Occupy Democrats, Black Block, The New Black Panther Party, and less obvious groups have not come behind a successor to Obama and do not have a plan for his succession.  They have come to believe in power on the streets and  may plan to really try to draft Obama directly for a third term. These group alone are a tiny sliver of the electorate but what would the impact be if they sparked a real crisis demanding that Obama stay in office?

This year is a crucial year for the United States in a number of ways. I believe that we will find more and more evidence of the dangers and opportunities of the current moment as the Presidential year unfolds. I am impressed already at the number of shakes and jolts our society is experiencing in all sorts of different directions. The number of protests, mass shooting, police shootings demonstrations of open carry organizations and calls for gun control have al reached heights that are impressive. The availability of two dollar gasoline at pumps in the nation’s cities and towns and the great state visit of the King of Saudi Arabia combine to cast an interesting light on things. The crisis in the Chinese stock markets and especially the Shanghai Stock Exchange form our perceptions of America’s situation in the world. The escape of El Chapo Guzman and the fact that he is still at large with billions of dollars and hundreds of armed men combines with the images of the refugees flooding into Europe to frame the questions related to borders and migration in a somewhat different context than would otherwise be true. The fact that so much has changed in the country and the fact that Biden is not yet running for President makes some people listen more attentively to those who have said that Obama intends to manipulate a crisis to seek an additional term in office under emergency powers.

Would that constitute that kind of lasting change Obama promised? Is that part of what he suggested as a possibility of lasting change all along? See his vision here.  I know that I am easily convinced we could face real emergencies and am really sure Americans are not unified around a love of constitutional legitimacy right now.

The Congress is deeply unpopular and it is hard to see how they could effectively oppose such a bid for unconstitutional power if it was properly initiated. The Republicans present what is arguably the most institutionally divided image in their party’s history. If Obama’s administration were to provoke and declare a state of emergency to  remain in power then who would stop such a thing from succeeding? I am not saying here that a third term crisis will in fact be the crisis that sweeps the nation. But I do expect more crises to come and soon enough. In my own life I feel the strain and threat of change and rising challenges from many directions.

This is a time when many of us turn to our faith, political ideals desperate need and fears and all of those are legitimate places to turn. But electing a President as we have done from the time of Washington comes from another place. It comes not from a sense of crises or unified crisis but from a sense of belief in constitutional process. I hope that the months remaining will not diminish that aspect of our nation very much. I am still writing and still not doing more than writing as the changes sweeping our country develop. There is a lot more that could be written. The refugees pouring into Europe and those not pouring in affect us. The heroes on the French train affect us. The crisis in understanding the merging geopolitical situation affects us. The question is whether any of these will lead to a stampeding crisis that will remake America and if that does happen how will America be remade?

Royal Visits, Lame Ducks and My Own Advent

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge out and about

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge out and about

Prince William and Princess Catherine are visiting these United States on behalf of the United Kingdom as I type these lines. There is little to do with me in all of this. This blog has of course been a place in which I and my readers have taken an interest the British Royal family and the lives and times of other royal families around the world. In fact there is a great deal to cover in such matters and most of it is not much covered in our news media. To get an idea of the importance of Spanish royalty one can take a long peek here. Feliipe VI  was sworn in as King on June 19, 2014 and the event was duly marked .  His proclamation was also duly celebrated and is visible in large part here. The role of the crowned heads of Europe does not become entirely clear to the average outside in just a few days, months or even years of observation. This all occurs more clearly to one who has watched events unfold over decades. This blog is not mostly about those people but mostly about my own life in much humbler circumstances most of the time.

Just another selfie ...

Just another selfie …

The United States of America is in a phase in its history where it is determining what its image will be in the world and what its future direction will be. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are living symbols and embodiments of the future central and unified meaning and direction of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth which was once the British Empire. Cambridge is a university town where the royal couple who met at St. Andrew’s University have the title of their Ducal deisgnations.

IMG000029

My Tulane sweatshirt hails from the days when I studied there.

 

 

But as we face the future as a nation we also face the challenge of integrating our hopes and plans for our country with the necessary commitment we all have to our own families, our own occupations and our own ideals.  In these days Obama must doe the same — he must do both needful things at once. The visit is one of those aspects of this living out of change and continuity..

IMG_20141208_092235_714

A picture of my mother which I took at Hub City Diner when we spent much of the day together on Monday December 8th of 2014.

 

Certainly, the Harlem visit, the basketball game and the first family all brought home the qualities of the Afro-American world order in which we live. Certainly there was a need for something more than mere pain in race relations and their visit is a labor in that particular vineyard in deed. I am already burdened with many other things on my mind and I can’t say that the visit floods me with joy. Whatever one thinks of the final role Prince William is preparing to play he is preparing to play it after his grandmother and father are through with their bit and likely have died. The couple already has a certain aplomb and presence that is based in skill.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge out and about

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge out and about

The questions about continuity are more present in our minds than usual in this lame duck month of Congress and two last years of the Obama Presidency. In my last post I mentioned how Advent celebrates themes that endure across time. That is part of the joy of Christianity. The British royals and other royals represent an in-between  timeframe less than the eternal Kingship of Christ and more than the four years of a US Presidential term.  We can remember this by seeing the current Queen of the UK and other realms with President Eisenhower.

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.

So whatever America is doing and will be doing we will likely be dealing with royal heads of state.  I hope that as far as these issues may seem from many daily lives we will take some time look at the future and see what we want it to look like for this country. Asking ourselves if we are where the Founders were hoping to get is part of the process although not the only or most important part.

We have a responsibility to understand the words we use to shape our live and society. This is a picture of the Declarators committee.

We have a responsibility to understand the words we use to shape our live and society. This is a picture of the Declarators committee.

My own political views are viewable in part here, here and here. I am well aware this is a proposal a long way from the mainstream as of yet. But that does not mean I do not take it seriously.

 

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.

Guns, Violence and Policy in the USA and Abroad: A recopied Facebook Note

by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 11:19am ·
President Barack Hussein Obama has come out with his gun policy intiatives. There is no doubt that former US Representative Gabby Giffords, Vice President Joe Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will find many opportunites to say, write aand support a wide variety of people who will discuss the future of the country and the role guns will play in that future. There will be many experts discussing the current situation. This has been a time with many high profile shootings since President Obama came into office and there were already many high profile shootings.

I have written of gun policy before. I would support a regime that allowed federal licensing of transport of guns acorss State and other jurisdictional lines except by licensed wholesalers. Any retail or personal transit would require a not too expepensive federal license and be recorded. Jurisdictions could then also make rules for themselves. Beyond that I have proposed a whole new constitution. Howver, I will leave aside my own radical vision for now and eal with what we have. Some states may fortify schools, some have extensive gun control. The feds could tax all guns and ammo with a single 10% value added addition to all other taxes and prices. Half of this woulod go to the records and policing of the new law by the ATF. The rest would go to the general treasury. I think the national registry of not nice people is a really horrible idea. It is both eveil and idiotic. those are its good points.

This is a time when many Americans are concerned about the killing of Americans with handguns. I feel that I must weigh in on the issues related to handguns, AR-15 rifles and the numbers involved in killings in this country. I also feel that I must weigh in on policy concerns. America is certainly a nation with many firearms. Their is little more to it than that which almost all Americans will agree about. We do not agree about how many guns there ought to be or anything else along those lines.

The truth is that the President of the United States has ties to people in the Weather Underground, has supported the Occupy Wall Street and the larger Occupy Movement and has been silent about the role of the Black Block Anarachists and others in this whole world of people who make trouble for a living when there is such work to be had. I respect more people in that world than perhaps many people in my readership do. It has been years since I had any real prospertity or a mortgage, I know lots of people who have been bankrupt, in jail or otherwise in trouble. I kinow some really wretched people who live in nice homes and have many financial assets and in many cases they know I despise them. But it is this vast mob which has so much increasing influnce under President Obama who are most deterred by guns. They will be free to remake the country into their own image when the guns are more limited and be much more bold in undertaking that national transformation.

Popular questions in the media and the public today are focused on how to stop people shooting up schools. There are few wondering how to stop the destruction of a society in which schools are possibly worth attending. I think things are pretty horrible already but they certainly can and likely will get worse.

“Why Do Riots Occur?” may be a hard question. But there is no doubt that a heavily armed populace is a deterrent to the pursuit of mob rule across a society.

Remember what happened after the Rodney King beating? That did not spread far beyond the neighborhoods in South Central Los Angels in large part because large numbers of people in the frenzied mobs were aware that other people with different points of view were well armed at home. The plague of angry idiocy which has been the downfall of many civilizations was contained then and has often been contained thus. Britain has countless more cultural resources to deter riots than we have relative to the threat. However since disarming the populace the role of riots has greatly increased. That violent riots are part of the discourse in Britain is evident when one discusses the 2011 United Kingdom anti-austerity protests which connected with the sometimes violent student protests of November and December 2010, and was prompted by cuts and changes to the welfare like and unsustainable realtively new system funding various forms of higher and further education in England. Significant in the UK was that a student protest included a violent protest when students attacked the automobile in which Charles, Prince of Wales and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall were riding. This is a symbolic attack equal to only a handful of possible symbolic acts in the United States.

But overall these anti-austerity protests were nothing compared to the 2011 England Riots proper. Are any Americans remembering images of England’s firefighters blasting water hoses on a shop and flats destroyed by arson during the initial rioting in Tottenham?

Across large parts of London from the 6th to 10th of August 2011 as well as in Birmingham, the West Midlands, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Bristol and elsewhere there was a wave and network of rioting, looting, arson, mugging, assault, and murder. The numbers killed were fewer than in one mass shooting but the effect on life and culture and the message to those in society was very strong. After such events it hard to trust other reports because people do not report violence. Code fo this problem in the UK is that anti-social events occurred under Blair but crime went down. That simply means that the honest live in perpetuial terror. Low-grade and limited terror but terror nonethless.

Those who want only the Police to be armed would do well to remember that the British disturbances I am discussing here began on August 6, 2011 after a protest in Tottenham, following the death of Mark Duggan, a local man who was shot and killed by police on 4 August 2011. The protestors became angry after police attacked a sixteen-year old who provoked them. Several violent clashes with police, along with the destruction of police vehicles, magistrates’ court and a double-decker bus. The complete loss of many and severe damage to more civilian homes and businesses occupied by the disarmed British citizen-subjects of this era was likely nothing compared to what will happen here. This is completely forgotten now though it did get some attention from the media then . Before the wave of unrest ended a very conservative estimate of £200 million worth of property damage was incurred, and local economic activity was significantly compromised. The riots have occasioned debate among Brits of varied political, social and academic backgrounds regarding the causes and context in which they happened but have not brought back the hidden and polite British guns society which prevented total social upheaval of this kind. Well spoken people discuss the rioters’ behavior in terms of structural factors such as racism, classism, and economic decline, as well as cultural factors like criminality, hooliganism, breakdown of social morality, and gang culture. The absences of a gun-toting law abiding element is not discussed. The struggle is over and the future is determined. President Obama cannot get the country he wants with guns allowed to those depressed and not always able to keep the rules in a society sunk under rules. Most of those rules are badly thought out, badly written and ill-advised. The nannie-staters, the thugs and the cowards will have their unholy alliance to run our country. The honest tough, the mildy misanthropic and the law-abiding who deals openly with imperfection will become a legal underclass. None of us will survive this as a culture but we will be individually dead (most of us of old age or other such causes) before the final transformation occurs.

General Elena Kagan Confirmed to the US Supreme Court

The Solicitor General of the United States has been named to the US Supreme Court by President Barack Obama. Her nomination has been confirmed by the United States Senate. She will be the first third woman on the court if you take my meaning. There have never been three before. There was O’Connor, then O’Connor and Bader-Ginsburg, then Bader-Ginsburg and Sotomayor. But now there are three female justices.

Elena Kagan was Solicitor General and I have to believe she picked up some valuable skills in that job. She was Dean of Harvard Law School and that was probably useful as well. I do not think three women is excessive and I do not pretend for one second to seek a gender blind society. I think a third of the US Supreme Court could be a good place for women to be operating who are willing to engage in and capable of performing top-level public service .  I do believe that it is kind of scary and unfortunate that there are now no Protestants on the court but I do think that Jews are rightly found more often on courts than a random person of average or unknown ethnicity. They bring millenia of cultural conditioning suitable to the task.

I think Kagan brings some real limits and weaknesses to the court but that is true of all the Justices and all those they beat off the short lists to get there. Her main issues of concern are that she is beholden to an outside figure and his swept-in administration for support and lacks court experience that ties her to other unrelated positions.  She has a reputation for strong commitment to the homosexual lobby’s agenda and she is coming in just as a case written the most socially destructive terms imaginable will be coming up from California.  She is suspect as regards the US military  and we are in a position where things already seem very troubled in that regard. I sincerely hope that things will work out well for both soon-to-be Justice Kagan and for the Union of these American States.

Happy Birthday to the US Head of State

I wish Barack Hussein Obama a happy birthday. We may not agree on a lot of key things in addition to my objections to his presidency that are not related to ideas. However, he is currently the President of the United States and therefore I wish him a happy birthday. I hope has a good day doing good thins well with people he finds agreeable.

The Mental Ferment for Men (and Women) who Might Foment an American Revolution: Part One

In the United States today well over ten percent and something less than a quarter of likely voters currently identify themselves when asked about party membership as members of the Tea (or TEA, i.e. “Taxed Enough Already”) Party.  These people include some decently high number of folks who are willing to speak about an American Revolution such as the one we had two hundred years ago. There are tours going across the country as the Tea Party Express. There are rallies, conventions and town hall meetings. While many discount the potential of this movement in this country they represent the largest and most potent movement of their kind in a long time. I am doing a four part posting on the potential American Revolution as it might be abd as I would like to see it.

Revolutionary Iconography is part of the TEA Party experience...

There are not two constitutional transitions or transformations which are or ought to be about the same things.  Whatever the greivances and causes may be which are to lead to a real set of basic changes they should both honor the heritage of  the eighteenth century and recognize the differences between the current situation and the situation that confronted the revolutionary generation, the strivers for American Independence and the founding fathers framing the Constitution.  I do not think many of hthink the British Monarchy is on the top of our target list as foes of our development now whereas that is how things ended up in those days.  America will have and does have it troubles with the UK but that is a relationship worth trying to improve at this point. The same analysis would have been entirely defeatist in the first revolution.
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.

 There are  in addition to these people I think of Americans like my old college buddy Andy who ran for governor of a state other than mine in 2008 as a Libertarian. His principal slogan was “reboot the government”  I believe.  Andy is of course a computer guy — one of the real ones.  Glen Beck is featuring a regular segment in his show called “Refounding America”.  Mr. Beck’s show is really quite popular and successfull. Of course President Obama himself was elected on the slogan of  “Change You Can Believe In!” There is the fact that Massachussettes elected its first Republican Senator in a very long time. It might be the case that America is ready to look at real change as a possibility.  It is always at least  a little scary when a large and powerful country reaches the point where real change is perceived as necessary. That is even more true when the geopolitical order and social order of the times is such as ours is today.   Sometimes it is very scary indeed.

I am also aware of the huge crowds of Hispanics who not so long ago marched in the streets protesting imigration policy and the sense of persecution growing among Mexican Americans as they perceive the policies of the United States.   If one factors in our vast national debt, huge production of waste, decaying infrastructure,  rates of incaceration, porous borders, fiscal crises in so many places and many other woes it seems clear that we are in a place of real crisis and that some sort of revolutionary transformation may well be necessary.  I think that this change will have to come from other places than what is the mainstream of our current social order or else it will only make things much worse.

Above all there cannot simply be a struggle between shrinking government  and more entitlements of all residents to all kinds of government services. America is soul-sick and not on a path that can lead to the places America needs to reach to have a real chance of socio-political survival and the level of progress needed to support the survival of its people over the moderately long term. With a society such as hours there is a bloating and softening of the social fabric before the really big shocks to the state and the national structure take place.

I thin that America has begun to take notice of its social decay in movies like “The Blind Side” and “Precious, Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire” which have attracted an audience and will be discussed at the Academy Awards tomorrow night. It is possible  for America top address many of its problems while still honoring its traditions and not tearing itself apart. But the time to act keeps running out and the chances of choosing the path we need to choose is not a very likely chance.

What will not work is the color blind, impersonal, nondiscriminating, cowardly and crime-loving concept of justice which our courts have imposed on the nation and the States over the last several decades. I believe that relatively radical action very soon can produce a real chance of justice.  This reconstitution of America should create family associations with many privileges asssured by law. Such  associations will take over some of the responsibilities of a federal budget with greater austerity measures than have been seen for a long time. These associations will also support autonomy and wellbeing for women who want to support and build the strong families that make society strong.  There shall also be a transfer of lands into new jurisdictions and a reworking of the system of apportionment and representation. We can stop pretending that Guam and American Samoa and Puerto Rico have representative governance when they don’t. We can stop pretending that millions of ilegal aliens are not both unfairly treated and a grave threat to this society. They need not be our enemies for us to make that admission.  We also need to create compacts between groups of States and other jurisdictions which are similar to the the Tennessee Valley Authority in some ways but are larger and are able to do more to promote regional welfare and interests. Then there some facts about military reservations and the District of Columbia which need to be addressed. We will need to rework the Congress and redraw the map a little bit. That will include a viable and vital constitutional future for existing American Indian nations.   All of this will be made much harder by years and ecades of pushing a destructive and poisoonous obsession with calculator democracy in its simplest form on to a world that has often suffered from it. The military in the US is not perfect but it is one of our greatest assets. We have to find more of a constitutional role for this social institution in our socio-political regime. WE HAVE TO ADDRESS MANY VERY SERIOUS PROBLEMS.

Right now we still have resources to deal with these problems. That will not always be the case. Soon there will be no chance to solve them. Part Two of this posting will deal withhow we have to try to understand our constitutional and revolutionary heritage more clearly and effectively. Part Three of this posting (should I get to it) will discuss how we might make those changes which can at least address all of our major problems and preserve the best of our revolutionary heritage.

President Obama visiting Louisiana today

President Obama will be visiting Louisiana including a school in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans which was utterly devastated by Hurricane Katrina. I am not sure what he will do there but he will be there and I do not object to that.
After all he has been elected President of the United States, has won the Nobel Peace Prize, has been Editor of Harvard Law Review and so he can be an example to the kids there who are mostly African American I guess.

He can talk about the struggle of his own African ancestors in this country. He can talk about his father waiting to get through customs and maybe misplacing his luggage at the airport. He can talk about how his father stubbed his toe once on the way to the university’s bank. He can talk about how it took several years before his father gave up on the whole American thing and went back to Africa. He can talk about how if not for this man nobody would think he was an African American. He can share how his african ancestors came to this continent and and struggled through long lines at lunch to see their ( well his) child become President. He can talk about how the color of his skin has been his source of power and how he embodies the triumph of reace over all else in American politics.

It should be inspiring!

Pesimistic Political Poem Pretended “America In Trouble Today”

America, we are so sure of ourselves when we are and say so loudly.

Michigan, California and other statehouses immigrants hold proudly.

Even in the White House and old Louisiana two generations gets to the top.

Righteously we praise forbidding care to brazero’s kids with wetback Pop.  

I hear of trillions here and there for reasons a Lichtenstein could doubt.

California is deep in debt and can’t print money, so feds may print it out.

America consuming so very much of the world’s mine, sweat and crop.

 

Is it time we had change not from Harvard-going takers who don’t build

Not from billionaire beggars and the most undeserving of our poor?

 

The Mormon mustn’t marry much but Dick can marry Rob I hear.

Rob can’t fight because his sex life is our biggest enemy and greatest fear.

Olympics in Atlanta bombed and we think the world must forget.

Unions in Europe will squeeze us out each day but are buddies we bet.

Big treaties and tough laws could make drugs legal and protect us here,

Leaving Taliban, FARC and Mexican blood streets lesser lords of fear.

Except the debate is free drug use or war hard on peasants yet.

 

Truly, this is not a super country folks.  Hate me if you wish .

Our country is cause of and victim of many woes today.

Day by day we move farther from the way to fill a dish.

And if we do not wise up we will have to really pay.

Yes and innocents suffer here and abroad so we can play.