Monday, April 29, 2013

They Still Don't Get It!

Maybe there was a time when the United States was so preeminent that the world would do our bidding and we had the power to control events overseas.  Maybe.  But even if that were so, perhaps in the years immediately following World War II, that was a long time ago and it sure as hell ain’t true today.

Recent examples are easy to find.  We would get rid of the bad guys and put Iraq on the road to democracy.  Reality:  Iraq is in the early stages of a bloody Shi’a/Sunni civil war and we are helpless to do anything about it.  We would do the same for Afghanistan and get rid of terrorists in the process.  Reality:  When we leave in 2014 our legacy will be a corrupt, violent, divided country with the Taliban in the ascendency and we are helpless to do anything about it.

Now there is a clamor from hawks on the right to step in and control events in Syria.  Do something, they say.  Anything.  Just stop doing nothing.  Their assumption is that if we just flex our muscles or say the right things we can turn the situation around.  Reality:  We still don’t get it.  The rebels who would be peaceful democrats are in the minority.  More and more the rebels lean to an Al-Qaeda approach.

Pressure and support from the outside is still possible.  But to think that if only the United States would lead the way others would follow is a pipedream.  It will take a collaborative effort by the Arab League, the European Union, Turkey, Russia and others to change the dynamics in Syria.  And even then it may not work.  In the end it will be the Syrians who decide what their future is going to be.

My hope is that Obama’s unwillingness to jump into the fray in a public and bellicose way does not mean nothing is happening.  Helping to orchestrate a joint and meaningful response is a role we can play.  But the underlying assumption being promoted by the anti-Obama crowd that if only the big, powerful Americans would snap their fingers everyone would get in line is just more proof that they still don’t get it!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Champion's League!

Semifinals – First Leg

Bayern Munich – 4
Barcelona – 0

Borussia Dortmund – 4
Real Madrid – 1

The reign of Spain is mainly down the drain!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Repeal the 2nd Amendment!

The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

As long as this is the law of the land there is no way any meaningful gun control legislation will be passed.

This is not a rational conversation.  This is not a rational argument.  Those of us who aren’t wedded to the view that the 17th and 18th century arguments about bearing arms are valid and meaningful in the 21st century can never win.  We can rant, rave, fulminate, grieve over the senseless killings that guns cause every day, but it will do no good. 

If we needed any proof we need only look at Newtown.  If the slaughter of so many innocents wasn’t enough to make the case, nothing will.

Guns are a cherished part of American history.  Guns are a cherished part of the American psyche.  This isn’t going to change.  Opponents of gun control are afraid that even the slightest abridgement of 2nd amendment rights will lead to a full-scale assault on the right to bear arms.  They are probably right.  Therefore, there will be no nose of the camel getting under this tent.

The only real answer would be to repeal the 2nd amendment – and that isn’t going to happen.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Tao Wisdom!

When there is nothing to do
There is nothing not done

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Half Full!

Today I’ll look for steps forward rather than the usual.  It’s hard to believe, but:

A bipartisan group of Senators say they have agreed on an immigration reform package.
A bipartisan group of two Senators say they have agreed on background checks for gun control.
Obama’s budget proposals are upsetting both the left and the right, so there must be something positive about what he’s proposing.
The Senate didn’t succumb to a filibuster and agreed to let gun control come to the floor for debate and a vote.
Some positive mental health measures are included in new gun control legislation.
A bipartisan bill has been introduced that will protect marijuana users from federal prosecution when they are following state laws.
Farm labor unions and growers have agreed on immigration reform measures.

Finally, and apropos of nothing, former classmates of the North Pond Hermit, who spent the last 27 years alone in the Maine woods recall him as quiet, smart and nerdy.  That seems about right.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Death Dominates the News!

Go to an online news source or read a newspaper or watch one of the TV news channels and what do you get?  Death Dominates!

A building collapses and kills dozens.
A drone strike takes out 1 bad guy and 8 children.
Teenage suicide bombers blow up a police station.
An angry ex-employee uses two assault weapons to get even.
A hit-and-run driver leaves a mother and baby dead at a busy intersection.
Texas executes another convicted killer.
The son of a well-known minister commits suicide.
An ex-football player dies an early death because of brain trauma.
Jealous boyfriend slaughters his girlfriend and her family.

And on it goes.  Am I surprised?  No.  Is this stuff really what people want to know about?  Yes for maybe the most dramatic bad news, but not when it dominates.  Will it change anytime soon?  Not a chance.

Have a nice day!