Ed's Blog

"Some people know everything, but that's all they know."

WHY AMERICANS ARE FED UP WITH GOVERNMENT; AND WHY THEY’RE TURNING TO DONALD TRUMP

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If you follow politics and the presidential election campaigns at all, you’ve read or glanced through dozens of articles about why Americans are dissatisfied with the government in Washington, D.C.. As someone who worked in the military and government in our nation’s capital for nearly 30 years, let me give it to you succinctly. The U.S. Government, whether run by Republicans or Democrats (but worse under Democrats) has come to see itself as above the American people and not a servant of them.

The plain and simple reason for this is money. There is so much money swashing around the Nation’s capitol that practically everyone who is elected to federal office soon realizes that their mission is to gain control of as much of it as possible. To do that they need to be reelected and to be reelected they need lots of donor money from people who want control of the government’s money by proxy. This above all is the principal reason Donald Trump is likely to win the Republican nomination and go on to become the 45th President of the United States.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not enemy of Wall Street or lobbyists or the big banks. Money is what they are all about and what they are supposed to be concerned about. I blame government for this problem. It’s people in government that let them get away with the highway robbery that are so often accused of. Money is power, and the aggregation of power is how political ideologies achieve their agendas. The reason government is worse under Democrats is because, unlike Republicans, Democrats tend toward totalitarianism. They want to control everything all the time.

An issue secondary to the money problem is competence. The amount of incompetence among politicians reaches biblical proportions. With a few exceptions, almost everything the federal government does cost twice as much as it should, is inefficient, and enormously wasteful. Despite all this, few are rarely held accountable. How many people have been fired over the rollout of Obamacare or abuses at VA hospitals?

I said there were exceptions. Often criticized and admittedly imperfect, U.S. foreign aid is one program that benefits the U.S. enormously at modest cost. It helped contain the Soviet Union, kept us out of numerous wars, won friends and influenced leaders in world capitals around the world. Why is it so criticized by many senators and representatives? Because the money doesn’t line the pockets of the donor class. The meager few billion dollars spread across the world don’t make defense contractors rich. Defense spending is a mixed bag. The weapons systems we have produced and fielded are what make the U.S. a superpower. Nevertheless, the Defense acquisition system is seriously broken.

Democrat and Republican voters ostensibly have different reasons for being fed up with the federal government, but they all center on the same problem—money. Democrats believe the federal government doesn’t take enough of it. Republicans voters believe the federal government takes to much. Democrats believe Republicans have blocked the President on spending and other issues. Republicans believe their elected representatives have given in too much to President Obama on Obamacare, spending, unconstitutional executive orders.

Along comes Donald Trump. He’s a multi billionaire and he’s never been elected to government office of any kind. Perhaps he’s immune to the money disease corrupting America? Perhaps not; but Americans have had enough of government that places it’s elected officials self-interest above the American people’s.

Filed under: Politics, , , ,

JUST WHAT DOES BARACK OBAMA BELIEVE?

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I’m not one of those people who believes that Barack Obama is a Muslim, but I don’t think he’s much of a Christian either. Judging him by his words and actions, he comes across more as an agnostic—a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God. President Obama has expressed an affinity for the Muslim call to prayer he heard as a child growing up in Indonesia, but that doesn’t make him a Muslim nor does it demonstrate a belief in Allah.

I cite three points, which you may or may not accept, in support of my argument.

Barack Obama sat in Rev. Jerimiah Wright’s church on and off for 20 years, more for political expedience rather that a deep faith in Jesus Christ or a belief in the teachings of the Bible, one can argue. President Obama needed a way to relate to the African American community in Chicago, because his own background was that of an atypical African American. The activist Trinity United Church of Christ provided him the credibility he needed to become active in the black community and Chicago politics. The fact that he claimed that he never heard all the outrageous, racists comments Rev. Wright made about White America is wholly believable. We don’t know how often Barack Obama and his family went to Trinity United on Sunday, but if we did, my guess is that he went a lot less that you would have expected him to.

During his campaign for the Presidency in 2008, Obama’s went to church occasionally, but after the election the President and his family rarely saw the inside of a church. This is not that unusual, as many U.S. presidents have avoided going to church on Sunday. Also failure to attend church regularly doesn’t mean you’re not a Christian. By itself, this argument doesn’t mean much. When taken into consideration with my other two points, however, it is revealing.

Finally, President’s Obama’s decision not to attend Justice Scalia’s funereal Mass speaks volumes. What possible legitimate excuse could the President have for not attending the funeral of a sitting Supreme Court Justice other than a national emergency. My guess is that the President placed little value on the institution of the Catholic Church, the ceremony or the person it was held to memorialize and honor. As the President of the United States, I believe Barack Obama had an obligation to represent all the people of America by attending the funeral. Why should the U.S. Congress consider the President’s nominee to replace Justice Scalia when President Obama has so little respect for the Supreme Court and those who disagree with him that serve on the Court?

Traditionally, we give Presidents broad leeway in deciding what ceremonies and events they chose to attend or participate in, and the media has largely given President Obama a pass on his refusal to attend Scalia’s funeral. Furthermore, in America we accept at face value whatever faith people claim to profess. If President Obama says he’s a Christian, we accept him as a Christian. Nevertheless, it would behoove the President to provide more evidence to demonstrate he is what he claims he is—a Christian. It also would behoove Hillary Clinton to do the same thing.

Filed under: Religion, The Presidency, , , , , , ,

HOW BAD IS IT?

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So many people are bloviating about politics these days on cable television, the radio and on the internet that Americans tend to pay attention only to viewpoints they agree with or they tune out completely. To make things even worse, the American higher-education system is turning out political dunces who don’t know what every eight-grader in public school knew 50 years ago. But now, however, our presidential candidates all agree things are really bad. That must mean they really are.

To attract attention, professional and amateur political commentators increasingly have resorted to extreme language. The left has accused the right of sins the Nazis and the fascists became famous for. The right has accused the left of totalitarian tendencies communists are known for. So when either side makes an extreme accusation, even when they’re true, they often get lost in the background noise.

The ongoing presidential campaigns, however, appear to be rising above the clammer of the crowed. Republicans and Democrats are telling us that the fate of the nation rests on the outcome of the November election. Little is new in this except for the fact that it appears truer now than any time since the Civil War. Although Democrats have been running the Federal government for the past seven plus years, they want us to believe that every ill that’s befallen the country is the fault of Republicans. Republicans tell us that President Obama set out to transform America, he’s almost done it, all we need is another Democrat in the White House to complete what he began. America will be done for. Don’t get me started on climate change.

Listening to the respective presidential debates this year should be eye opening. Bernie Sanders and Hillary outdid Republicans at Thursday evenings debate, portraying the United States in the direst terms. Sanders says, “Almost everyone is getting poorer.” “Ordinary Americans are worried to death about the future of their kids.” “There is massive despair all over this country.” “Seniors are cutting their pills in half…don’t have decent nutrition…can’t heat their homes in the wintertime.” “A rigged economic system and a corrupt political system have created a moment of serious crises.”

Clinton repeatedly agreed with Sanders that too many Americans are getting left behind. “‘Yes, the economy is rigged in favor of those at the top.” Her main critique of the Sanders critique was that it lacked identity-politics specificity, that it didn’t recognize the unique challenges of “really systemic racism” against blacks, of “hardworking immigrant families living in fear,” of women’s rights that are “under tremendous attack,” of “discrimination against the LGBT community,” even of the struggles in coal country and other downtrodden white communities “where we are seeing an increase in alcoholism, addiction, earlier deaths.’”

So how bad is it, really? Like everything else in life, that much depends on your perspective. Not everyone in America is suffering; and Americans have faced extreme adversity in the past (The Civil War, WWII, The Great Depression) and rebounded. What’s so bad this time is that the America most of us knew and loved growing up already has disappeared and likely is unrecoverable. Demographic diversity, pervasive technological change, political correctness and a culture of victimization have overtaken traditional American values and replaced them with values we do not yet fully understand.

Certainly, change frequently is a good thing. America was better after the Civil war when slavery was abolished. It’s taking 150 years and more to adapt to that change, but still we’re better off. The world is better off since World War II, and the US economy blossomed tremendously after the Great Depression. These changes have led us to believe that no matter what befalls America we will always bounce back better and stronger. What scares us now is that it looks more and more as if this time we won’t.

This election is a seminal one. There is a huge difference between Republicans and Democrats. Your country and your life will change for better or worse. It’s time to get out your bullshit detector and vote. Remember, we get the government we deserve.

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MY THOUGHTS ON THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

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Donald Trump: Those who believed/hoped that Donald Trump would self-implode or that another candidate would surpass him in gathering delegates for the Republican National Convention should snap out of it. Trump is a legitimate, winning candidate, and it will take more that wishful thinking to defeat him. The remaining Republican candidates have to understand Trump’s appeal and address it’s roots as strongly as Trump has. Republican and most Independent voters are fed up with the Republican establishments failure to stand up to President Obama and his destructive policies. Most have done this to a lesser extent, but not with the force and believability Trump has. Cruz has made this the backbone of his campaign, but not as convincingly as Trump. Until his poor performance in the New Hampshire debate, Rubio had been doing this almost as well as Cruz, but now has to dig himself out of the the hole he dug for himself.

John Kasich did well in New Hampshire because of the time and attention he paid to New Hampshire voters and his good ground game. Like Bush, however, Kasich is unlikely to turn his second place showing in New Hampshire into a trend. If the Trump / Sanders victories demonstrate anything they demonstrate that this is not the year for establishment candidates, and Kasich doesn’t have the organization beyond New Hampshire to pull off a repeat.

Ted Cruz has the benefit of being a non-establishment candidate and a strong conservative, and he is likely to remain in the top three as the primaries progress. Nevertheless, he has to fight to get out of Trumps shadow, and after New Hampshire, that has become more difficult.

Jeb Bush turned in his best debate and vote-getting performance in New Hampshire, but he still has an up-hill climb he may not have the strength for.  He was the principle beneficiary of Rubio’s stumble and likely would have finished behind Rubio had that not occurred. Still Bush, more than any other Republican candidate, represents the establishment now so reviled by Republican voters. To paraphrase Rush Limbaugh, Republicans want their party to be a true opposition party and it has ceased being that.

Marco Rubio’s still hangs on by his fingernails and if he does well in South Carolina, he could make a comeback. Even if he does, however, Trump would have to stumble big time for the race for the nomination to become a two-man race between Rubio and Cruz

Chris Christies’ suicide attack on Marco Rubio was effective, but it ruined his chances of finishing in the top four or five. Before the New Hampshire Republican debate Christie made the strategic decision to go after Rubio hard as a way of advancing his own candidacy. That strategy failed partially because of the meanness in which he executed his attack on Rubio and partially because of his incessant bragging about it during interviews after the debate. His behavior came across as un-presidential and downright nasty. As a result, he is out of the race.

Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson: Both are good people, but they did not do well in New Hampshire for different reasons. Carly, in my view, didn’t catch on because Republican voters didn’t buy into her electability in a general election against Hillary Clinton. Memories of devastating personal attacks on conservative women have left cars on Republican voters. Carson was too weak on foreign affairs and too meek as a candidate. This year Republican’s want a fighter. Carly dropped out today and how much longer Carson will stay in the race, I don’t know, but neither stood any chance of becoming the party’s nominee.

Bernie Sanders/Hillary Clinton:  The conventional wisdom is that from here on out it’s Hillary’s show. She will do better in states where blacks and other minorities make up significant portion of Democratic primary voters. True; however, Clinton is a seriously damaged candidate, and even if she wins the nomination as most pundits on both sides predict, odds of her winning a general election against Trump or any of the other top republican candidate are not good. Hillary has proven a poor, un-energetic campaigner, mired in the past and hobbled by scandals past and present. Today’s young Democratic voters lack the forgiving attitudes their counterparts had 20-years ago; and Bill Clinton is not the adroit politician campaigning on behalf of his wife he was as a younger man. Hillary’s attacks on the the women in her husbands “bimbo eruptions” has her now viewed no so much a victim as an enabler. Comparisons of Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby make the point. Most damaging is Hillary’s email scandal which will likely come to a head before the November election. The FBI already has begun to drop breadcrumbs suggesting the referral of a criminal case to the Department of Justice. The attorney general and President Obama likely will do everything they can to stonewall, but the accusations of cover-up will become deafening and damaging.

Bottom Line: Right now a Trump-Clinton match up in the November election appears most likely. Of course, anything can happen between now and then. The vicious, dirty Democratic campaign, like those we’ve witnessed in the past is about to begin, first on Bernie Sanders then on Donald Trump. Presidential politics is about to become very dirty–again. Hillary’s next book may be titled “Guess What Happened to Me on the Way to the Coronation?”

 

 

Filed under: Politics, , , , , , , , , , ,

HOW MANY CARS HAVE YOU OWNED?

We have owned 19 cars and one motorcycle. The shortest we’ve owned a car was the VW Beetle (less than 1 year). The longest we’ve owned one is the 1989 BMW 525i (15 years). My worst car experience was trying to restore an old TR2. Never try to restore an old car unless you have plenty of money and free time. My favorite car is my 2007 BMW 335i, followed by my 1967 Jaguar XKE. Seventy one Thunderbird got the worst gas milage, around 11 miles to the gallon, right in the middle President Carter’s gas crisis. Owned 3 Z cars. Fun to drive. Sold the 240Z after 3 years for more than I paid for it. Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited caught fire while my daughter was driving down the road. Policeman saw the flames and pulled her over in time for her to get out of the car before enveloped in flames. The fastest I’ve ever driven in a car was 151 mph in the XKE. When the Missouri State Patrolman pulled me over and asked me “Do you know how fast you were going?” I replied “Yes, but I’m not going to tell you.” When he found out I had just returned from Vietnam he let me go without a ticket.

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15 PHOTOS: VIETNAM 1966-1967

It is hard to believe all this took place 50 years ago..

http://ewross.com/A_Soldiers_Journey.htm

Filed under: Military, , , ,

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