Tag Archives: USA

North Korea, the USA and a few thoughts from me.

This will be a blog post with a few bullet point lists. That is often a sign of not having fully absorbed the material or not being willing to aim it at a very particular audience or readership when one creates such a list. A well written prose paragraph has many advantages. The real lead in this story consists of a seven point bullet list below the big group of pictures. I have my reasons for burying it a little bit. But any reader may skip to it and find the points that I think I most have to offer this discussion of North Korea.

I realize that only the President of the United States can deal with the US foreign policy as regards North Korea. I also know that there have been many surprised by both the ICBM capacities of North Korea among those in intelligence and among media experts reporting on North Korea. Articles discussing this gap in knowledge and it meaning can be found here and here. beyond merely being an ICBM program the North Koreans of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea have demonstrated a mobile ICBM program. Mobile ICBMs are harder to wipe out completely as they can be continuously moved. In addition, North Korea has a network of fortified tunnels as a large part of it defense obsession — probably a tiny percentage of these can accommodate the huge trucks that carry these ICBMs,  but if they have 1,000s of miles of tunnels (and I have heard credible reports and seen images that make my believe that they do then perhaps they have a few hundred or even a hundred mile of key tunnels ready to accommodate these large vehicles and help them move in and out of air attacks and back and forth to different launch sites. Whether they can miniaturize atomic warheads, guide ICBMs to precise targets for small scale nukes and how long it will take them increase the range to affect not only Alaska but the rest of the United States — these are things we cannot now be sure about.

America has strong and historic interests and some or other treaty obligations in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan. None of these countries is in exactly the same state of being nor the same relationship with the United States. But they are real and important interests. President Donald James Trump is facing new challenges with North Korea as manifest in their ICBM test. His tweets on the occasion of the recent test do reveal something about what is on his mind.

 North Korea has just launched another missile. Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea….and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!

I think that there are lots of good reasons to seek to cooperate with China in meeting the North Korean threat, lots of great things about China generally and lots that the U.S.A. and China can do at people to people, business to business, military to military intelligence to intelligence, and  at the highest levels of government. But I also believe that while academic, religious and commercial outreach to China is in the interest of all Americans and of the Chinese we should remember that they see the Korean Peninsula and the Yellow Sea very differently than we do and that they are a very different country.

Yantai where I lived and taught in China was 258 miles from the Capital of North Korea and about 200 miles from the relevant part of the Korean coast for accessing North Korea. It was there that I lived and had a chance to observe the way that North Koreans interacted with their neighbors from China, South Korea and  Russia within the context of Chinese society. It also was a good place to observe how Chinese and China’s government viewed Korea. However, that was in 2004 and 2005 and so many things will have changed.  Most things have changed in ways that are less promising for the kinds of pro-American visions I could see as worth working for at the time. But some underlying conditions are the same.



However, I think that the main thing I learned from interacting with North Koreans and those who knew them when I lived in Yantai, China is that they are stuck in ways and to a degree that virtually non of our rhetoric allows for…
Public rhetoric and internal agency policy may be different but when rhetoric goes on for decades it is policy.
1.North Korea is a racially and ethnically hyper-conscious regime that sees in the mingling allowed in South Korea a kind of defeat that makes their regime superior. This is rooted in Korean history.
2. China and Russia both use North Korea as an actual and potential cat’s paw for confrontation with the United States. They wish a force to balance US interests in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines and North Korea fills that bill.
3.Korea’s economy is crippled in large part because it spends so much on defense — perhaps more as a percentage of GDP than any other country in the world. That is more of a factor than any other aspect of their many problems.
4.Their economic crisis and international sanction regimes which never ends keeps them dependent on private funds from all secret enemies of the USA, aid from China, aid from Russia (mostly employment and covert aid) and involvement in activities not allowed by international law .
5. The ongoing crisis keeps the centralization of power a practical arrangement and China will not easily allow a collapsed state with millions of refugees into China or an American led invasion of the north.
6. They do realize war with the USA could be as close to suicide as one can get but they hope to deter it without losing their position and they have made decades of preparations including very sophisticated worldwide networks of operative of many kinds, cyberwar capacity, a hope to blackmail key players in crucial Asian countries, networks of fortified tunnels, massive artillery arrayed against South Korea, propaganda assets ready to deploy misinformation and the cultivation of huge units prepared for suicide missions.
7. It is certain that we do not hear reporting here on there most unique human assets and whether that is good or bad I am not sure but the absence of such reporting makes those same assets more impressive to those with whom they interact daily. In another way of saying it, they seem like invisible supermen because nobody talks about them and when they show up in any setting that makes them more credible.

We think far too much of North Korea as isolated and its leadership as crazy. That is pleasant for us. But we have to tell our military that they may have to fight, kill and die for a conflict with a less isolated and crazy regime than they have been told they were fighting. Battle commanders can tell young infantry whatever it takes to get them fired up in the field  but North Korea is a regime supported by many in South Korea as an alternative to total American dominance int he region my guess is as many as 25% would rather have North Korea continue to exist than have a Western Dominated Korean Peninsula. The Chinese and the Russians will never really support a Greater South Korea solution. North Korea has support from terrorist networks, despots and isolated states who want their weapons and expertise and are willing to return favors for such help with their own problems. There are also many Koreans who would like to see a new kind of North Korea or united Korea more like the South Korean Republic of Korea but find almost nothing helpful from the West in that decades long struggle. I support with passion a US military presence in the Far East. As corrupt as I find our society to be it still offers some support to Christians, orderly world commerce, women’s institutions,  and Americans traveling abroad. Those are all things worth fighting for. But Korea is deeply rooted in a sense of its own Korean race, culture and tradition on both sides of the DMZ. They also have deep traditions of meaningful ties to China and Japan. Those relationships are ancient and profound and full of chapters of problems we can legitimately exploit to gain Korean support but most Koreans see their country in terms of being between those two countries in lots of meaningful ways.

So there is very little chance of mobilizing a sense of wiping out the crazy North Korean regime. The regime is often able to exploit our very poor understanding of the situation.    Their commitment involves millions of people including skilled linguists with athletic ability and cosmetic surgery planted across the world. It includes hundreds of thousands  perhaps even millions who are by Western standards chronically suicidal. In addition there are things they are right about and we are wrong about. They do some things well and cherish some great values. Yes they have a society of mass killings, brutal slavery, incredible militarism and other horrors but they are a society full of millions who love their country and culture and who see that that they have patiently worked for and waited for a process of peaceful unification. They are real people in a real country whom we will have to interact with as such.

Thoughts on the Papacy of Francis: American Reactions

by Frank Wynerth Summers III ( Facebook Notes) on Saturday, March 16, 2013 at 9:02pm
It is an amazing achievement to have 266 successors to Saint Peter. Part of the joy of a Papal election relates to the sense Catholics have of all this. I am not really sure that I will ever feel the connection to any Papal transition that I felt to the start of John Paul II’s pontificate. Some have drawn comparisons between our current Pope Francis and John Paul I. I hope that nobody feels the shadow of the worst and most obvious aspect of that Pontificate. I want to say that I am writing this note as much about myself as about the Pope in one sense. I am looking at the specific aspects of the papacy which seem particularly relevant to me as a citizen of the USA and as one who is associated with the people I know and relate to in my life. The Pope is in many ways an affirmation of my life: my name, ties to Latina America and experience with the Jesuits. But I will alsomention some unique causes for concern. I have spent lots of time with Jesuits and in Latin America. Ialso have a strong interest in Eastern Christianity and although I cannot get into that aspect of this Pope very well it is one of his strenghts that he is aware of and knowledgeable about the Eastern Catholics with their languages rites and married clergy. But I will not give details here of my own biography I will only give a very few of his biographical notes. I want to look at reactions and feelings as well.

Clearly Pope Francis has the strength and resources necessary for a long and challenging reign if his health and circumstances permit such a thing. I will suggest that as to the nervousness many feel some of it is an unconscious response to some unique qualities of the current situation. Many Catholics may in a rational way feel that it is important for us to recognize that we have an historic opportunity to recognize this new Pope from the Americas and to see the hand of God in all of this and yet there are reasons that while many may rejoice in the humility and informality of manner of the new Pope it is also concerning in a church as large and diverse as this. We must trust and do trust that all is in good order but yet we wonder if the combination of communication between current and former Popes and the manner of the new Pope make it unclear who is the Pope. Yet there are surely many reasons why the average Catholic can proceed with confidence regardless. Nonetheless, one can suggest that while not being all that uncertain, this is the most uncertain trumpet call that the rank and file of Catholics may remember in the Holy See. For we have a Pope whose due and proper election nobody doubts who is still alive and we have another Pope who has foresworn most of the trappings of the taking of command. We all know he has taken command but only with reason and not so much with our subconscious minds.

In my confidence that we do in fact have a new Pope, I am writing a note about my first reaction to the election of Pope Francis. I do not think that there is a simple reaction that covers all the aspects of what I feel and think. But perhaps there is something I might be able write that is both true and insightful. First I want to really welcome to the titles of Supreme Pontiff, First Among Patriarchs and our Vicar of Christ this new man Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio former Archbishop of Buenos Aires and now Pope Francis! A joyous day for the first Jesuit pope, the first of his chosen name, the first from this hemisphere and the first from outside Europe in well over one thousand years. This is a happy and exciting day for me as a Catholic. I am moved and touched and expected to be neither even if a very great man were elected. An old friend asked me why I was moved and I tried to respond as best I could by remarking that I have known many Jesuits they have been my closest friends among the clergy, I mentioned them in my note on the transition, I am pleased to have a Latin American, pleased with much of his resume and although he was not on my very short list of preferred candidates he is one I thought well of overall. But really emotions are not reason, I did not expect to be moved this time mostly because I am in a generally bad mood. But I was wrong, I was moved and feel hopeful. I am also touched because my name is Frank and many of my friends have called me Francisco which is the name he will ask his friends to call him now in the third person. Beyond all that, it relieves on who has long lived present to all the world to have an Italian-American clearly demonstrate that the New World can produce a Pope who is taken seriously by all those European Cardinals and others.

Besides being a Latin American he is most notably a Jesuit. He will be required to distance himself more from his order than would some other order which welcome the fuller participation of those in very high Church office. He is already in that catgory of exclusion as a Cardinal under the Jesuit rule and arguably as a Pope will be more able to bend the rules than before. the Society of Jesus—the Roman Catholic religious order, also known as the Jesuits. As the largest male religious order of the Catholic Church, the Society of Jesus is present in virtually every country in the world, currently organized in roughly 100 Provinces and Regions. However they have a strong tradition of not contending for the Papacy from this unique position and there are countless other obstacles. However, in addition to being present to most local churches and cultures, the Society is an international body, and has always sought ways to strengthen our ministries via international collaboration through the close relationship between two Jesuit Provinces called twinning and the new development by the Society of Jesus of structures called Conferences which bring together Provinces in major geographical areas so that they might work together more effectively. With a huge presence in the Roman Curia and this expertise in dealing with many of the issues facing the Church around the world.

The fact that his father was an imigrant from the same part of Italy as his maternal grandparents hailed from does not change the fact that he was born to a native Argentine mother and is himself a native Argentine. There are certainly priest in Latin America who are deeply influenced by the Marxian and Marxist streams of thought and activity but Pope Francis was not one of those. However, he did grow up and has lived out his life in the great Latin American debate about justice. That is a conversation that has shaped much of my own life and thought as well.United States Americans wonder where this conversation will lead. I think Pope Francis will make us think a great deal more as a church about Justice than we sometimes have but I do not think he will lead us in the mode of a radical Leftist critique. Perfect justice is not attainable here and now on planet Earth and it is certainly a question honest people can debate as to whether it is ever obtainable. But to strive for justice and seek it out is one of the great human ventures. I am very interested in justice and always have been. But I am aware that merely seeking justice in general has a real price.

I am writing this note with more than a little bit of a heavy heart. Yet with a sense of resolve as well…
The truth is that there is only the weariness of long sensing justice denied in one’s own life that distinguishes those who become the most determined resisters of the status quo from many of their neighbors.

There have been many reactions that I have been aware of in this process. I am going to quote a part of two priestly reactions and to be fair both of them move to more deliberately positive and hopeful reflections on the new papacy than what my quotes represent. However, the shared surprise indicated in their responses seems to be worth quoting here. A priest on my Facebook friends list who ministers on the campus of my undergraduate alma mater blogged: “Just like most everyone else, I was shocked when the name surname “Bergoglio” was pronounced by Cardinal Tauran. Like so many, I was expecting to hear Scola, Ouellet, Ravasi, O’Malley, or even Dolan. But obviously, the Holy Spirit had other plans. Indeed, in his choice of fishermen as the first apostles, Christ chose the individuals others would least expect to be leaders of his Church. Christ has a habit of confounding the worldly wise! These other Cardinals seemed to many from both within and without the Church, to be the most “logical” possible successors of John Paul II and Benedict, but the Cardinals were inspired in a different direction. It’s humbling to realize how easy it is for us, even as faithful Catholics, to think we know what is best for the Church. How our ways are not God’s ways! (I will admit I was pulling for Ouellet because he directed my thesis, and I thought it would be neat to be able to say that the Pope directed my thesis.” The word shocked is a strong word and yet it is mirrored in other reactions such as that of another priest in my diocese: “Those who know me know that my actions are not impulsive nor are my thoughts or words rash. And since many have asked what I think about our new Holy Father and perhaps seemed to receive no answer, I offer my thoughts, which can be grouped according to three responses of my mind and heart to the great surprise of Pope Francis’ election:

Nervous. When the announcement was made, I was very nervous just like the crowd’s response in St. Peter’s Square indicated. That nervousness comes from the unknown…knowing little to nothing about Pope Francis. I’m also nervous about him being a Jesuit. They have quite a record in contemporary times…and we’ve never had a Jesuit Pope. One of the main reasons for being nervous is because of my love for the Sacred Liturgy and all that has been done in recent years to reform and restore its reverence and authentic celebration. Finally I think I’m nervous because I am afraid of what could happen in terms of a hijacking…we can already see some folks interpreting his life, teaching, and ministry in a very shallow way and for their own purposes. In the final days of his pontificate, Benedict XVI said that this hijacking of the Second Vatican Council’s authentic teaching happened in the years that followed it because of the media and other certain modern theologians at the time and we’re just now able to see clearly the effects of that rupture.”

There was never any doubt about the fact that many Americans have indicated some shock and surprise and so have some around the world. My Facebook page has already seen me communicating with someone who has been a friend for many years and who informed me that he was Jesuit educated and had a soft place in his heart for the men that taught him and yet felt uncertainty about a Jesuit Pope. He felt that his Jesuit instructors had all been good men who fed his mind and prepared him very well for college but he was not sure that they were raching out effectively to him spiritually at that time. I have heard others say such things but they do not really reflect my own experience. I have known Jesuits in outreach to the disadvantaged, at universities and in the regular silent retreats I have made over the years but also as parish priests and in wider fields of work in the Missions and in growing dioceses. My friend educated by the Jesuits as a youth seems to have come to point of deciding that his feelings were almost all positive, stating: “I am definitely intrigued, he seems the best of both sides, a highly intellectual and committed spiritual man. I am also excited by the name he chose. St. Francis was charged with restoring the church back to its spiritual roots. What a great mission in these times of chaos and spiritual upheaval.”

Each Catholic must feel their way into this transition and much more so the Pope must make his way forward. I am not feeling at all well about my own immediate future and so it is easy to overlook the oromise that may be found in change. However, for American Catholics of the United States and for their neighbors in this country there are some more challenges associated with accepting and embracing the Papacy of the former Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio S. J. He has reminded us along with other things which remind us of the complexity of a world often portrayed in simplistic terms. The Archbishop of Buenos Aires and not the Archbishop of New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago or Miami will be the first Pope and we have to face the challenges of seeing what other sources of influence there are in our hemisphere. We must be able to communicate with the world and that is not always easy. China has never been well understood by the US government and business culture and has been through a great deal of change continuously for over one hundred and fifty years and that makes it harder to understand. An understanding of reiligion in China is not really a possible national goal unless a lot changes. The situation in Russia has changed from Soviet Atheism to a society where parents selct from a menu of religious instruction for their children. Those religious instruction options are Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam or a sort of hybrid course offering a combination of religious history, secular ethics and civic morals. Britain has an official Church in each realm of the United Kingdom, Japan has a divine Emperor, Germany and France have numerous supports to religious frameworks unkown to us and they ones they reject are done so forcefully in socially demanding ways. This Pope is from an order of Catholic educators and has many opinions about them. He also knows that secular education without reference to religion is usually more likely to be of the COmmunist or Nazi totalitarian kind than certainly the very rare historically rare nihilism of American public school curricula. One wonders not only about what American families hear but also about what many parts of the world think about the complete lack of awareness of religious and ethical formation implicit in much of our way of doing things. To quote Obama’s most recent State of the Union Address:
“And that has to start at the earliest possible age. Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than 3 in 10 four year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. So tonight, I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. That’s something we should be able to do.
Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.”

What about addressing the need to form people and families more properly at a level that can only be conceived in religious terms? America has many issues that need addressing. They are religious and familial and as a government advances its claims without real reigion and real family elements it is always destructive (although it may do some good as well). Some Americans are worried about a Pope who comes from the land of the Perrons, a place where Nazis have operated most broadly in the post World War Two Western Hemisphere and a land where ideological struggle has different spectra than it does in our country. I personally believe that Pope Francis is tied to many great ideas and institutions and has the influences even of people like me because of who he is and what he is that mitigate against any bad influences in his world and background. He is also a man with many admirable qualities. However, Americans Catholic and otherwise can rightly regret not having the first Pope from this hemisphere. But somehow we must wake up to the many ways in which we are moving ourselves out of most of the most important games in the world. It is not too late fro us to be truly great but it is getting too late. Too many questions are not even addressed and too many prices are not paid. We will fall behind places like Argentina more and mor eif we keep doing the things that are sapping our energy and strength…

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.


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.

Americans Need not be too Calm I think

from Facebook
Freedom from Paranoia and The Death of Thought: Go Ahead and Panic!
by Frank Wynerth Summers III on Thursday, May 5, 2011 at 11:49am

Now that we have successfully stormed the modest palace of the Resident Hero of the Pakistani Military and Darling of the British Commonwealth in Pakistan. We could ask ourselves some questions.

We could start with:

1. Is there intelligent life in Washington DC?
However, that question seeems nasty and mean-spirited and unpatriotic so let’s skip it and go on to others. Let’s lump in with that question things like:
— Does anyone have any idea what reasonable means?
— What evidence means?
— What credibility means?

So if we cannot ask that question can we ask whether it is reasonable to ask everyone to be happy with as little information as has been given out? Is there no question as to whether the crashed helicopter took remote fire going in? Is there no question whether the real tip-off came because a longlasting program protecting Usama bin Laden got ratted out? Is there no doubt that killing such an elusive and mysterious target and then quickly disposing of him is completely bizarre and goes against all principles of transparent and open government that have developed over the last thousands of years?

Any reasonable person would have to concede that the longer it takes to release images, documentation and accounts the less credible they are. Any reasonable person would have to agree that finding Osama bin Laden where he is means we are in much more danger than we have been told for many years and always have been. But reason is pretty well dead in our policy.

Obama, would feel obliged to have given full and credible account of how he got this man and his household nursing at the breast of the military in a nuclear armed member of the British Commonwealth if he understood or believed in constituional governemnt instead of teaching it. The death of Osama bin Laden, and I assume it has occurred, indicates our danger, weakness and isolation in a bad, bad world far more than almost any other new story of my lifetime. I think there is a healthy version of the kind of uncontrolled tension which people call panic. In the sense of a healthy constructive reaction motivated by intense emotion this is an excellent time to panic. Every day’s reaction underscores it. I am too tired to panic myself. But if anyone has the energy then instead of deciding this is the end of our worries then I highly recommend panic — I can’t think of a better occasion for it in my lifetime.

People are very relaxed in my view. I truly honor those who killed bin Laden. I truly rejoice at seeing the place they say he was. However, for me this is because it is better to know if your house is being broken into and you have cancer than not to know either one of those things. But in either case a little constructive panic is in order.

Model Constitution: Better Page and New Link

I have a better page and a new link. It will continue to change and I will not post the changes. But this one is posted here.


Early Voting in Louisiana Opens Today & goes to the 26th except Sunday

Jay Dardenne and Caroline Fayard compete for the Lieutenant Governor’s post for the remainder of the term vacated by Mitch Landrieu since he became mayor of New Orleans.

Incumbent David Vitter and Congressman Charlie Melancon lead a pack of contenders for the US Senate.

There are constitutional amendments related to public nuisance property, disabled veterans privileges, the waiver of rights to a jury trial, the exemption from taxes for homesteads damaged by disasters, the effective date for pay raises in public office and the share of severance tax revenues that go to each parish.  I recommend one take time to know these proposed amendments.

These are the only statewide issues although others are on many other precinct ballots. I voted early today.