Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

ObamaCare

Obamacare becomes law on 3/22/10

OK. I let this settle for a couple of days as I usually do. One of the problems with Internet news groups is too many people popping off instantly in reaction to another post. A little reflection is better.

Unconstitutional

I think the law is unconstitutional. That is not to predict the U.S. Supreme Court will agree with me. I have no idea about that.

It violates the Tenth Amendment:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The public seems to think the federal government outranks the state governments and the people. No. The opposite is true.

The Dems claim they can pass Obamacare under the “Commerce Clause.” But that says nothing about individual Americans. It states, in Article I, Section 8 that Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.” Its purpose is to prevent states from charging import duties on stuff coming in from other states or countries. It’s a stretch to extend it to forcing citizens to buy a private product or service. But the Supreme Court is famous for stretching the commerce clause in the past.

Ironically, I think the federal government may have the right to establish a single-payer health insurance system, which is somewhat similar to social security, a mandatory pension plan for all workers in the U.S. I actually think social security is unconstitutional, but that question has already gone through the Supreme Court and they upheld it.

There are also provisions that seem to me to violate the Fourteenth Amendment “equal protection” clause. You have to treat everyone the same. NE, FL, and LA do not get a better deal than the other 47 states.

ObamaCare may be a tax on the states that is not permitted by the Constitution. The original Constitution allowed only a head tax. Income taxes were declared unconstitutional as a result. The Sixteenth Amendment allowed Congress to tax“ incomes.” But Southern states have paid lesser Medicaid benefits than Northern states. ObamaCare forces Southern states to pay more for medicaid. As such, it is neither a head tax nor an income tax.

‘The process’

There was much talk in the media about the Dems violating House and Senate rules. That did not happen. The law that was signed was passed by 60 Senators on Christmas eve. The House passed that bill according to their normal majority rule. Deeming was not used. I do not know what they are going to do to “fix” the Senate version to make it more like the House wants. Normally, they go to conference then the resulting compromise has to pass both houses which subjects it to the Senate 60-vote cloture rule.

I surmise they are going to use reconciliation to pass the compromise version to avoid the need for the 60 Senate votes they no longer have. That arguably violates the rules pertaining to reconciliation, but the Vice President can overrule the Senate Parliamentarian and he will. The Constitution says the House and Senate can pass their own rules. The Vice President’s power to overrule the parliamentarian is one of those rules. No unconstitutionality.

All that all of this means is the Dems are darned lucky Harry Reid met one of their arbitrary deadlines on Christmas eve.

Were the bribes to get those 60 votes sleazy? Absolutely. The whole Congress is sleazy. You get in there by winning a best- liar contest back in your district or state.The president is sleazy. He won the best-liar-in-the-country contest.

Hey, the Dems squeaked it through. If the Supreme Court does not overturn it, those who do not like it need to elect a new Congress and President to repeal it. It’s as simple as that. Read the Constitution.

‘Doing nothing was not an option’

Obama kept saying that the Republicans wanted to do nothing. He lied. The Republicans CAN do nothing because they are in the minority and do not control the White House.

Obama also said that health care as now operated in the U.S. is unsustainable.

That is correct. The costs are way too high compared to other countries and the rate of increase has been way too high.

Then Obama said the fact that current costs are unsustainable means we have to do “something.”

“Something?” What does that mean?

To Obama, it seems to mean “anything” as in “Anything is better than nothing.”

That is not correct. The action we need to take is to change the way medical care is purchased and paid for in ways that reduce the costs to more appropriate levels without causing new problems.

It is not clear what that would mean. I would expect we would need to study health care systems around the world and either copy the best one or a least use ideas from the best. I have read that Germany and Singapore have universal health care systems that work pretty well. Germany’s was started by Otto von Bismarck in the late 1800s and has survived two world wars, Weimar Republic hyperinflation, and more than a century. It works through private insurance companies. Basically, Germany helps its citizens buy private insurance. Germany and Singapore also have very successful economies. The rest of Europe is a mess being bankrupted by their versions of ObamaCare.

The premier of Newfoundland, Canada recently came to Florida for medical care rather than use his country’s universal system. I am told the affluent in Canada do that to avoid Soviet-style customer service and lowest-common-denominator, we’re-all-equal treatment of people who are used to going first class. Apparently, one of the unwritten ways Canada pays for its health care is to charge the rich for it, then drive them to pay again for better service in the U.S. like what’s done to those who send their kids to private schools in the U.S. (By the way, did you know Newfoundland used to be its own country. It could not pay its bills so the U.K. annexed it into Canada.That was called gunboat diplomacy. Apparently, they still cannot pay the bill for quality health care service.)

Was Obama’s version of “doing something” better than doing “nothing?

Are you kidding? The “problem” was high costs. What does ObamaCare do to lower costs? Absolutely nothing. Part of it spends billions on attacking waste, fraud, and abuse. They should have attacked waste fraud and abuse in 1965 when Medicare started. The anti-fraud billions raise costs. Whether the money will produce a a net benefit when you achieve savings and subtract the cost of the achieving them remains to be seen. Actually, I do not need to wait. There is not a snowball’s chance in La Jolla that waste, fraud, and abuse will be eliminated or even reduced. It is endemic to all government activity. Indeed, I am certain that the bureaucracy created to stop waste, fraud, and abuse will itself have the usual amount of waste, fraud, and abuse, thereby making the waste, fraud, and abuse worse.

ObamaCare is to fixing the high-cost problem of U.S. health care what shooting gasoline from a fire hose is to putting out a fire.

Socialism?

Is ObamaCare socialism? Yeah, of course. So are Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid. Socialism is not a pass-fail question. It is a matter of degree. Pure socialism is government spending is 100% of GDP. Pure capitalism is 0%. Our spending in 1903 was about 17% of GDP and is now about 45%.

Here is a Web site that says the U.S. spends 19.9% of GDP, 144th out of 160. This is 2006 data. Other major countries on that table come out like this:

Japan 103rd 30.9%
Switzerland 76th 37.8%
Germany 41st 48.8%
U.K. 37th 50%
France 7th 61.1%

Single payer

Obama denies it now, but in the past he said he was a single payer guy. That means total government takeover of health care. All doctors, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and medical equipment manufacturers are paid by a single payer: the federal government. That’s the Soviet, Cuban model.

Here is a YouTube of Obama saying this. I saw him confronted with it by a media interviewer. His response: He claimed he could not hear what he was saying on the video they played for him.

That’s lame and he knows darned well what he said. Transcripts of it are all over and Obama and his advisers have discussed it behind closed doors. “I can’t hear it” is the best they could come up with? “I changed my mind” might, I repeat, might be believable. “I can’t hear it,” is not believable.

In the video, he says, “we may not get there immediately.” ObamaCare 2010 is not getting there immediately. But make no mistake, every single hard- core proponent of ObamaCare regards it as merely the camel nose inside the tent. They are not stopping with ObamaCare. They will push for moving to single payer or closer to it as soon as they think they can get away with it. And they will not stop pushing for single payer until they get it. Shame on the American people who believe the Dems have abandoned their dreams of single payer. 2010 ObamaCare is to the left what Czechoslovakia was to Hitler. The British agreed to let Germany have Czechoslovakia to get an agreement that they would seek no more territory. It was called appeasement. The Peace in Our Time Munich Agreement was signed by the British and Germans on 89/30/38. Germany invaded Poland starting World War II in Europe on 9/1/39. Americans who oppose single payer but who are OK with 2010 ObamaCare are clones of British prime minister Neville Chamberlain who sold out the Czechs for a worthless agreement that Germany would seek no greater territory. The left will pursue single payer until they get it and they will use ObamaCare to get American addicted to government health care so they can later get single payer.

The next step will be leftists using ObamaCare rules and law to drive all health-insurance companies out of business. Then they will say, “See!? We told you those people were no good. We’ll take care of you now. And be sure to vote Democratic in the next election—if you know what’s good for you.”

Effects of government intervention

Socialism doesn’t work. Government intervention makes things worse. Here is what I expect will happen as a result of ObamaCare:

• The best and brightest Americans will stop going to medical school.
• Medical students interns and residents will abandon medical school and medical careers.
• Current American doctors will quit the profession or retire early.
• More hospitals and doctors will refuse to take Medicare patients. The Mayo Clinic refused to take them before ObamaCare.
• Your heath insurance plan, and doctor, whom Obama assured you that you would be able to keep, will shut down and no longer be an option.
• The addition of 32 million new insureds and the reduction in the number of doctors will result in a severe doctor shortage that will be partially taken care of by importing Third World doctors who cannot speak or understand English well enough to adequately understand your symptoms, adequately explain your situation and therapies to you, or establish any sort of cultural or personal rapport with you.
• The same will be true of nurses.
• The U.S., which is the last country to aggressively seek new medicines and medical devices, will stop doing that because of lack of profit incentive. The number of new patents for new medicine and equipment will flat line worldwide. Tenured University personnel will putter around continuing efforts to develop new therapies, but without the profit motive, they will do so only at glacial speed. Recently, the rest of the world has gotten away with not doing medical research cause they could count on us to do it for the whole world. When, we, too, allow a government takeover of all health care, neither we nor the rest of the world will be able to benefit from technological progress.
• All prescription medicine will become generic in about 17 years (patent term)
• Hospitals will deteriorate and age more than in the past. As in rent control, the building owners will have no incentive to rehab or replace them.
• Waiting lines will get unbelievably long. Waits for appointments will get longer.
• Many therapies and diagnostic tests will be rationed because the equipment or medicine is expensive.
• All medical personnel from doctors to nurses to orderlies to janitors to administrators will unionize and seek and get generous benefits like retirement when they are in their 40s, suspiciously high rates of disability, cost-of-living adjustments to pensions, high pensions.
• the best people and managers will leave health insurance companies to be replaced by gum-chewing, union, it’s-not-my-job, bureaucrat drones

Author of Is the Welfare State Justified?

On 3/28/10, I heard a brief interview with Professor Daniel Shapiro of WVU. He wrote the book Is the Welfare State Justified?

Basically he said that those who favor government health care and all that are even wrong when judged on their own priorities. Liberals say their priorities are right and those of the right wrong. Shapiro says, OK, let’s use your priorities. He then shows that the priorities of the liberals—like social justice, fairness, and egalitarianism—are better served by letting the market run health care. His evidence is to show how actual market and government health care systems around the world work. For example, in government-run health care systems, the poor end up at the back of long lines and waiting lists for health care. The rich pull strings, use connections, or spend money to get better health care and better service. Plus, the government-run system costs more so there is less health care for everyone, especially the poor, than in a market system.

Shapiro agrees with me that the proper health care delivery system is the 1970s and before approach. You pay out of your own pocket for routine and semi-routine and moderate cost care—like car insurance. And, as in car insurance, you have major medical insurance that only covers catastrophically high-cost care.

Essentially, that is what we will have, either because we are smart enough to recognize it, or because we act like idiots and bankrupt ourselves in which case we will be forced into the pay-your-own-way plus major medical system because we cannot get anyone to lend us the deficit spending necessary to offer Santa Claus level universal health care with no deductible.

Pre-existing conditions

Both Republicans and Democrats agree that pre-existing conditions have to be covered by health insurers. Good for them, but they’re nuts.

By definition, insurance cannot cover pre-existing conditions. Insurance covers risks. There is no risk in a pre-existing condition.

The answer to pre-existing conditions is pre-existing insurance. My sons were covered from birth. That ought to be the case with everyone.

What about people who for one reason or another did not do that or had gaps in coverage which caused them to be disqualified when they attempted to get new insurance?

1. Pay out of your own net worth for the needed health care. Your pre-existing condition is certainly not any one else’s fault.
2. Seek charity from relatives, friends, organized charities.
3. When you run out of money or private charity, go to Medicaid.

A bigger picture solution is to end government and employer involvement in health insurance. This was sort of done with pensions. It used to be that those who lost their job lost equity they had built up in company pensions. The pension was switched to the person, not the company, with 5401(k)s, IRAs, SEPs, and so on. Good law.

The same should be done with health insurance. You buy it from an insurance agent like car insurance or fire insurance, not through your employer. The stupidity of employers providing health care started during World War II as a way to get around another stupidity called wage and price controls. It was a way to give raises. Employers have better things to do than provide health care or insurance, like employ people. The requirement that they provide health insurance deters starting new businesses and expanding them. Everyone should buy their own health care and health insurance the way they buy food, clothing, housing, and so on. That would fix the high cost and rapid price increases too. Only bureaucrats tolerate high, rapidly rising costs. Consumers would shop around and refuse overly expensive treatments.

Letting people with pre-existing conditions buy health insurance that covers that condition is like letting you buy life insurance on dead people or letting people at the race track bet on races after they are over. It’s stupid on its face. People with pre-existing conditions don’t need insurance. They need to pay for their care themselves or get charity.

Essentially, people with pre-existing conditions have long been covered for health care by Medicaid. The real problem is that middle class and affluent people want someone else to pay for their misfortune. They do not want to have to burn through their net worth until they qualify for Medicaid. I understand the economics of their motivation. What I do not understand is why they do not see the economics and fairness in mine. Sorry about your pre-existing condition, but no you may not bankrupt me, my children, or my country to pay for it. You pay for it until you are bankrupt. Then become a ward of the state.

With ObamaCare, the law will now “cover” them, but only briefly before trying to do that bankrupts the insurance companies and the country.

End lifetime policy limits

Another “we can all agree” provision is prohibiting insurance companies from putting a lifetime cap on health care coverage.

Why don’t we repeal the law of gravity while we are at it? That would eliminate injuries from falls.

We cannot force insurance companies to end limits on the amount of are they will provide. They are not bottomless pits of money. All insurance policies have limits.

Of course, ObamaCare went ahead and outlawed lifetime limits anyway. Enjoy it while it lasts. It will bankrupt the companies then the country.

Bankruptcy of the U.S. government

We have been told for decades that Social Security alone will bankrupt the country. It will. The first of the 78 million Baby Boomers still have not yet started collecting. They have to be 67 to get full benefits that are not reduced by their other income. Social Security went into the red—outlays exceeded inflows— in 2008 for the first time in history. The first Baby Boomers turn 67 on January 1, 2013. You have to be 65 to get Medicare. The first Baby Boomers turn 65 on 1/1/11. The 12/9/09 Daily Paul—Congressman Ron Paul’s web site—says,

The 2009 Social Security and Medicare Trustees Reports show the combined unfunded liability of these two programs has reached nearly $107 trillion in today’s dollars! That is about seven times the size of the U.S. economy and 10 times the size of the outstanding national debt.

Actually, the current national debt is http://defeatthedebt.com/debt-clock/?gclid=CJTN99-U06ACFRlRagodeCcRsw.

An Internet article said his about Medicaid unfunded liabilities:

In the next 50 years, Medicaid, the program for the poor — broadly, sometimes very broadly defined — could become a bigger threat than Medicare to the nation’s prosperity.

Even Barack Obama says current U.S. fiscal behavior (spending, taxing, and borrowing) is “unsustainable.” He’s right. Everyone says that. They are all right.

But no one, I repeat, no one, is doing the slightest thing about it. Obama says ObamaCare will reduce the deficit by $118 billion in the next ten years according to the Congressional Budget Office. If you believe that, you are too dumb to vote. Please stay away from the polls. Second, even if it were true, it is a drop in the bucket. The problem is over $100 trillion. $118 billion is one tenth of one percent of the $100 trillion problem.

Basically, the bond market and/or foreign exchange market will go on strike with regard to the dollar at some point. It’s called a run on the dollar. Anyone who owns dollars or dollar-denominated assets like U.S. government or corporate bonds worldwide will frantically try to sell them. That will drive up interest rates dramatically. It may be that no one will buy dollars or dollar bonds at all. In that case, the Congress and the President will not be able to deficit spend. They will have to raise taxes or cut programs drastically to pay the government’s bills. In fact, they will simply not have the money to pay pensions, bond interest and principal, government employee salaries, government bills for ammunition, fuel, electricity, and so on.

That was going to happen without ObamaCare. ObamaCare greatly accelerates it.

So in the end, the issue is not how Obama Care will hurt health care. The issue is when will ObamaCare and all the prior entitlement programs stretching back to 1933 cause the world financial markets to say “No more.” I saw a Harvard economist get asked when that will happen on Charlie Rose or some similar show in 2009. He thought a moment and said,

Five years—not ten.

In other words, he expects the U.S. to go bankrupt in 2015, 2019 at the latest. It’s really not possible to tell. It depends on events worldwide.

ObamaCare, therefore, is not something that you will experience in a hospital or doctor’s office. It is something you will experience on Fox Business TV, Wall Street, at your bank, your 401(k), your IRA, and, after the bankrupt federal government figures out how to pay the judges and bailiffs, in your recently re-opened local bankruptcy court.

Can the “greatest country in the world” actually go bankrupt?

YES WE CAN.

Third party

People are not discussing a third political party correctly.

We are about to have third-party rule

I predict we will have a victorious third-party presidential candidate and maybe a Congressional majority of that party that year or in the next mid-term election. How will this happen?

Going to hit a financial wall

The U.S. government will finally hit the financial wall that has been predicted for decades with increasing alarm. The American people will, when that happens, finally wake up to the fact that current government spending is a runaway train and that spending cuts in entitlement programs are required—not just one possible solution. Both the Republican and Democrat parties will be totally discredited when it happens. They and the various presidents have been virtually incapable of cutting entitlement programs. The Dems are far more guilty than the Republicans, but the Republicans are not innocent.

When?

When will this happen? I am not sure. I increasingly see big-time economists on TV and in live speeches make predictions along the lines of,

[Pause to think about the question] Five years, not ten.

Can’t borrow anymore

In other words, their best estimate is financial collapse of U.S. government (inability to sell bonds to anyone but the U.S. Federal Reserve who gets the money to buy them by “printing” it) in four (2014), five (2015), maybe six (2016) years, but surely not as long into the future as ten (2020) years. “Printing” that much money causes high inflation or hyperinflation, which will drive the two incumbent parties out of existence. Inability to sell U.S. government bonds means inability to deficit spend and inability to rollover the already existing national debt when the various bonds we sold in the past mature. That, in turn, means the government’s checks will bounce.

The government will be forced to increase taxes and/or cut spending, but neither will be enough to make the government’s check stop bouncing because the debt has grown so large (approaching 100% of the nation’s gross domestic product, that is, all the money made by all the private citizens and businesses in America in a year.)

The politicians will probably try to avoid tax increases and spending cuts by three illegitimate gimmicks, namely,

hyperinflation (all your bank accounts become worth zero—the public will riot)
default on the national debt (announcing your government bonds are worthless and that the government deposit insurance is out of money—which it already is, actually)
financial repression—that is, sort of forcing you to put your money into banks that pay little or no interest then forcing those banks to buy U.S. government bonds for more than they are worth

Dems and Republicans both out

Like I said, all of this nonsense will obliterate the Democrats and Republicans off the face of the earth, and deservedly so. The nation will then be ruled by a third party as a result.

Capitalist or socialist?

Will the third party be capitalist or socialist? It could go either way. Hyperinflation in Germany in 1920 to 1923 arguably led to Adolf Hitler winning election as chancellor in 1933. His party was fascist (same as socialist only they let private business continue to own their companies but tell them how to operate them). 20th century revolutions in various countries led to socialist or communist governments.

Essentially, it will be a more extreme version of the 2008 election where the left said the crisis was caused by not enough government control and the right said it was too much government control. The left won that election, but may not have been able to win a rematch within a year of inauguration of their crowd. Fundamentally, capitalism is the only system that works and the only one that can allow people to live in freedom. Although socialists initially won in places like the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, the fact that socialism does not work ultimately crushed those governments and replaced them with capitalist (Russia) or quasi-capitalist (China, Vietnam) governments. So we may get less government intrusion in the economy after the federal government financial collapses—or more. It took the Soviet Union 69 years to collapse.

It will be a key moment in U.S. history and there will probably be a capitalist third party and a socialist third party vying to take over. The winner will not be decided by who’s the best party. It will be decided by political power. The meek shall not inherit the United States.

Split your side’s votes and thereby elect the guy you hate the most

The typical comment is that third parties elect the opponent of their members because they split their side’s vote. That has happened. Ross Perot took 19% of the 1992 vote, mostly from Republican George H.W. Bush, thereby electing Democrat Bill Clinton. Ralph Nader took 2.74% of the 2000 vote running on the Green Party ticket. Most notably, he took votes away from Al Gore in NH and FL. Gore lost both states by tiny margins. Had he won either, he would have been elected president.

However, it must also be noted that Ross Perot’s sole issue was balancing the budget. And it must be noted that the U.S. government ran a surplus during Clinton’s administration in 1999 and 2000 and in the first year of Republican George W. Bush’s administration, 2001. George W. Bush is the son of the George H.W. Bush who was defeated because he let Perot own the budget-balancing issue. I suspect Clinton ran relatively small deficits and two surpluses in part because he was afraid of losing the voters who voted for Perot.

Wasting your vote

Another knock on third parties is that you are wasting your vote if you ever vote for one. That is almost certainly not true. Take the 2008 election. I voted for the Libertarian. Obama won my state, California, by 8,274,47 to 5,011,781. Nader got 108,381 votes; Libertarian Bob Barr, 67,582. I was one of the 67,582.

Those who say I wasted my vote want me to vote for McCain. In view of the fact that he lost by more than 3 million votes, why would my vote for McCain not have been wasted? The same thing would apply if I had voted for Obama.

Once, my wife and I voted against a local bond issue. After several recounts, it lost by two votes. In that election, my vote was not wasted. But my vote was insignificant in every other government election I ever voted in. Basically, your vote only matters if the election is really close.

By voting for a third-party candidate in a non-close election, you send a message. The message is: this party is more what I want. That is precisely the message sent by Perot voters in 1992, and Clinton got the message with regard to the budget. No politician with a brain ignores the issue that got a presidential candidate 19% of the vote.

The Democrats and Republicans were third parties once

The 1824 presidential election in the U.S. was between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Oddly, both represented a party known as the Democratic-Republican Party. I kid you not. Other major parties in the 1700s and 1800s included the Federalists and the Whigs.

The first Democrat party election was 1828 when Andrew Jackson won. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 by a then kooky fringe group of anti-slavery activists.

So the notion that all third parties are nutcakes perpetually tilting at windmills is wrong. Most are, but the current two major parties were once third parties.

Also, some windmill tilters, like Perot and the Socialist party, never won in the U.S., but they did influence the guy who did win. It has been noted that the FDR New Deal was essentially the Socialist Party platform of 1901. As part of my research for the book I am writing on inflation and deflation, I studied the New Deal. Much of it was the old deal, that is, a continuation of the policies of FDR’s Republican successor Herbert Hoover.

Parties can change and have

When I was a kid, negroes were almost all Republican. The Democrat party, especially their split-off the Dixiecrats, were the party of segregation. Then, in the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and Democrat presidential candidate John F. Kennedy called King in jail. Four years later, Democrat President Johnson got the Civil Rights At of 1964 enacted into law and some other similar laws. Johnson did it because it was the right thing to do, and he was worried about his legacy, but he noted it “will cost us the South,” which it did. During the 1968 campaign for president, Republican Richard Nixon ran in part on a restoration of “law and order.” In 1967, there had been many race riots in U.S. cities. The majority was extremely angry about that. The phrase “law and order” was interpreted as code referring to being anti-black rioters and looters.

Since then, negroes became blacks and very few ever vote Republican. The former Confederacy generally now votes Republican, indeed, in 2008, pundits said the Republicans had become a Southeastern regional party only.

If the Tea Party wants to have a positive effect, they need to do something like what Kennedy and Johnson did to the Democrat party with regard to civil rights.

Another issue is there is too much abstract talk. Talk radio callers and hosts incessantly say that the Republican Party needs to become more conservative.

I don’t know about that. When they get talking to each other, conservative radio callers and hosts can convince themselves that everyone is conservative. They are not. Plus, the word “conservative” rarely appears on a U.S. ballot. Power in U.S. politics goes through candidates, not parties. As soon as the presidential candidate in named, he becomes the leader of the party. And most party-backed candidates think little of abandoning the platform of their party even during the campaign. If the Tea Party wants to take over the Republican party, they need to back a candidate who wins the Republican nomination. Running their mouths and waving signs means nothing.

It may be fun to endlessly talk about abstractions like conservative and liberal, but if you are in the changing-politics business, you need to drop the abstractions and find a candidate. You can’t beat somebody with nobody.

Wait in the wings

The other thing a third party that really wants to effect change, rather than just run their mouths, can do, is prepare for the crisis that causes their agenda to become mainstream. The Libertarian party seems content to be a debating society. The public might be willing to embrace their ideas if and when the U.S. government goes bankrupt. But the Libertarian Party is not prepared to run a true campaign. They are philosophers. They have no real political expertise, no get-out-the-vote machinery, no registration mechanism, no capacity to make commercials, and so on.

The third party that will inherit the nation will be the one that gets ready for the fiscal collapse. When that happens, the mainstream of America will be ready to turn to the third party. Indeed, the third party will actually be the first party and the Republicans and Democrats will overnight become third parties.

Larry King Live

The American people are not quite ready to elect a third-party candidate president. But they are closer than most believe.

In 1992, Ross Perot was the leader in the polls before he suddenly dropped out because he heard a rumor his political enemies were planning to disrupt his daughter’s wedding. Then he got back in and still got 19% of the vote in spite of his dropping out being perceived as nutty.

Furthermore, Perot did not plan to become a candidate. It happened because of a casual question he was asked on Larry King Live. Larry asked Perot if he would run and Perot said he would if there was a popular outcry for him. As a result, a third party formed overnight for the purpose of nominating him. As I said above, Perot was AHEAD IN THE POLLS—ahead of both the ultimate loser in the election, George H.W. Bush—the incumbent president at the time—and ahead of the ultimate winner in the 1992 election: Bill Clinton.

Larry King Live is a pretty famous TV show nowadays, but it wasn’t always. I was the guest on the show on 1/26/87 along with a then get-rich-quick real estate investment guru named Dave DelDotto who used to appear in TV infomercials from the beach in Hawaii. He went bankrupt since. I got the impression the show hurt Del Dotto. He now has a winery in Northern California. (I remember the date because my third son Mike was born three weeks early on that day and I missed the birth because I was down in Hollywood to be on Larry King.)

Larry was so pleased that he wanted us to do the show again and called me to do it. I agreed but predicted DelDotto would decline, which is what happened. Then, on February 22, 1992, long after the 1992 presidential campaign had begun, Larry asked Perot that famous question. Since then, Larry no longer has little people like me on as guests. If you could get a chronological list of his guests, you would see a stark jump in degree of celebrity status after the Perot appearance. Apparently, the TV viewing world was so impressed by his launching of Perot that they tuned in to see what was happening on that show. Larry was Perot’s political meal ticket and Perot was Larry’s big break.

Let me summarize this to make sure you understand it. In late February 1992, as a result of a casual question by Larry King on his TV show, a brand new third party spontaneously erupted and nominated a candidate who was leading all other candidates in the polls until he dropped out of the race!!! And he was more or less a one-issue candidate: balancing the budget.

[Note: My wife and I and a number of other Harvard MBA students had supper with Ross Perot in 1977. I was co-president of the Harvard Business School New Enterprise Club so I sat directly across from him and got a lot of one-on-one conversation. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and I of the U.S. Military Academy. He tried to get me to bet on that year’s Army-Navy Game with him. I told him my heart was with Army on game day but my head, educated on sound investments at Harvard, was not about to bet on a severe underdog for sentimental reasons. At that time, Perot was a billionaire and as far as we knew, the only one in the world. The famous Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the world had not yet been created. In other words, when we had supper with him, he was the Bill Gates of the era.]

Get out of Afghanistan and Iraq; and Germany and Korea while you’re at it

We need to leave Iraq and Afghanistan completely yesterday.

Why?

  • The American people do not want to be in either place.
  • The American people do not want to suffer the casualties that we will suffer if we stay.
  • The American people do not want to spend the amount of money it would take to win.
  • The American people cannot afford to spend the money it would take to win in those countries. We used to be a rich country. But a generation of national politicians have bankrupted us.
  • The government of Afghanistan, like the government of South Vietnam during that war, is a thoroughly corrupt one with little or no public support by the citizens of the country.

All the other issues like the “war on terror,” fighting them there rather than here, stopping Iran influence in the area, and being close to victory (which I doubt) in Iraq are all irrelevant. No support by the American people, no wars.

I graduated from West Point in 1968 and arrived in Vietnam Thanksgiving weekend, 1969. I had a couple of miscellaneous assistant jobs and I was a communications platoon leader in a mixed heavy artillery battalion—all in the III Corps area (Saigon, Parrots Beak, etc.). I left Vietnam on September 6, 1970. Mainly, during my tour in Vietnam, we were supposed to be doing what the Pentagon and White House called Vietnamization.

Vietnamization did not work. When we left, the South Vietnamese lost the war very rapidly—in spite of us training them for more than 15 years and giving them zillions of dollars worth of ammo, equipment, and uniforms.

Americans died for Vietnamization, which was nothing but a political cover for the Nixon Administration trying to put a good face on admitting defeat. They hoped the South Vietnamese would last long enough that the Americans would evade responsibility for the loss. That did not happen. It was a dishonest purpose anyway.

No one should die for Vietnamization or Iraqization or Afghanistanization.

We have to sell the war better

Many pro-war Americans say the problem is the administration has to sell the war better to the American people.

Bullshit!

The U.S. government has been selling wars to the American people since the mid-1960s. Time and again, the American people fell for it. Time and again—EVERY time—the American people got taken. 58,000 of us died in Vietnam for nothing. 247 in Lebanon for nothing. 18 in Mogadishu for nothing. Some 6,000 so far in Iraq and Afghanistan—almost certainly for nothing.

The American people no longer trust their government or military on the subject of whether a war is a good idea or how long it will take to win or whether we will win. We have had 45 years of the U.S. government selling wars that cost too much and took too long to the American people.

The U.S. government and military had their chances to win the public trust and to win wars and they have done neither. The U.S. military now needs to regain its Korean war era and prior credibility. Because of 45 years of lies and overly optimistic forecasts, it will take the U.S. government and military a very long time to regain that credibility. They need to get started and the first step is to come home and start cleaning up their acts.

If necessary, we can go back to these countries—preferably at 50,000 feet or via unmanned missiles and drones. The American people will agree to that and support it if and when the reasons become clear and credible.

The invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were reasonably wise given 9/11. But the occupations were not. We can invade again and again if necessary and keep running the Taliban and al Qaeda out of town. But trying to be the non-Pashto-speaking local police force for a huge nation on the other side of the world is an obvious, very expensive, exercise in futility.

FDR was accused of deliberately letting Pearl Harbor happen to build support for American entry into World War II. I don’t believe that. I read a lot of books about our code breaking and such during that period. I am not a conspiracy theorist. But although he did not do that, a very strong argument could be made for a president to wait until that sort of popular support event occurs. Unfortunately, in the nuclear age, that may be too late. But the stupidity and shortsightedness of the American people are facts, whether they ought to be or not. So is the futility and immorality of asking men to die to avoid the politician in the White House—Bush or Obama—looking bad or giving his political enemies ammunition to use against him.

No more wars unless we are willing to kill enough enemies fast enough to win them in three years or less. Every country that has gone to war against us since the Korean war is glad they did. Germany and Japan are not glad they declared war on us. The next country that goes to war with us—after Iraq and Afghanistan—needs to regret it profoundly, so that the country after that will decide not to even go down that road to begin with.

War is an all or nothing deal. At present, as in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970, we were neither all in nor all out. That state of affairs gives new meaning to the phrase “no man’s land.” No man should be put in that situation.

Americans seem to love the idea of war in the abstract. But once the concrete version gets going, they recoil at the inevitable scandals and the innocent civilian deaths and the collateral damage. Do not support the abstract version if you are not going to also support those engaged in the concrete, messy reality of it.

General Douglas MacArthur said,

There is no substitute for victory.

His words need to be supplemented:

There is no substitute for total victory within three years.

If you look at the history of U.S. wars, the only ones that worked ended in about three years or less. The Afghanistan war is now eight years old; Iraq, six years.

On burdening our kids and grand kids with too much debt

With each passing day, we hear pundits, politicians, and citizens vow not to pass huge debts onto our kids and grand kids. We’re not going to “kick the can down the road.”

• Actions speak louder than words. We are, in fact, doing exactly that, and have been for decades.

• What is the calculation that says the fuse on that time bomb will burn that long before exploding?

Our kids and grand kids are already screwed. So, most likely, are we.

Our vow to protect our kids and grand kids is pure hypocrisy. It’s been hypocrisy for a couple of decades. We have long heard that we cannot afford to pay social security to the Baby Boomers, the first of whom can start collecting in 2014.

We have further been told that Medicare and Medicaid are even worse, that is, more costly than social security and enough to bankrupt the nation all by themselves.

Add to that President’s Bush’s panicky response to the stock market crash in September, 2008 and the ensuing “there’s no time to think about it” bailout or TARP.

Then we had President Obama. He and his Democrat allies in Congress have behaved in such a mind-bogglingly irresponsible manner with regard to deficit spending that no words can express it.

In addition, Obama’s anti-business policies like killing the NAFTA treaty with Mexico; “Buy American” provisions in the “Stimulus” package; letting unions run wild; forcing Detroit to make tiny global-warming, high-mileage, electric cars; taxing all use of fuel; over regulation of business, and so on will prevent the economy from achieving even a normal recovery that could pay off some of the debt.

Obama has raised the national debt to $11 trillion. His own budget says he will raise it by another $1.3 trillion by 2013 (He assumes unprecedented growth.). However, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says there will be no such growth, and the amount by which Obama will raise the national debt is not $1.3 trillion; it’s $5 trillion.

Since the gross domestic product (the gross sales and salaries, etc. of everyone and every business in the U.S.) is only $14 trillion, it appears that the national debt will be $16 trillion ÷ $14 trillion = 114% of the gross domestic product of the U.S. We have only been that high once—at the end of World War II—when we hit 122%.

We must cut back to a Draconian level on all sorts of spending including social security benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, TARP, Obama’s “stimulus,” Obama’s $800 billion of earmarks, and Obama’s budget. All of that insanity needs to be stopped immediately and the insanity of the past few decades must be reversed.

There is, however, no prospect of that. America is marching off the financial cliff behind the Pied Piper of Hyde Park. The notion that our kids and grand kids, not us, will pay this assumes it will not need to be paid for at least another 30 years or so. Ha! The truth is, the bond market may refuse to keep funding America’s mad spending binge next year, next month, or next week. If it does, we will pay, and our kids or grand kids.

The problem is it takes two to Tango, or to deficit spend. Obama and the Democrats cannot spend money like drunken sailors with Treasury Department credit cards unless someone is willing to continue to lend them that money. The Chinese have already begun selling U.S. bonds. They previously bought more and more every year and kept them until maturity. They are the biggest foreign owner of them. If significant numbers of Americans and/or foreigners stop buying the bonds, interest rates will rise and it will become apparent that we have no hope of over paying off that debt and the interest on it.

We were able to survive the 122% of GDP debt in 1946 because the nation had been in a Depression for 17 years at that point. The GDP that the debt was 122% of was a greatly depressed GDP and the nation was about to boom as a result of the end of both the Great Depression and World War II. The current GDP is near the the highest GDP ever in our history. Our current “wars” bear no resemblance to the scale of World War II. Plus there’s no indication they are about to end. 6% of the entire U.S. population was active-duty military in 1945. Today, just one-half of a percent of the population are on active duty in the military.

When we can no longer sell our bonds, the drunken sailors’ credit card will be destroyed and all this insane spending will have to be paid from current tax revenues. In fact, there is no way the American taxpayers will tax themselves enough to pay that bill. The debt will be repudiated or the U.S. government will print money to create high inflation or hyperinflation. Inflation makes it much easier for the government to pay off bonds. Hyperinflation simply reduces the amount owed to essentially zero by making the $16 trillion we owe near worthless.

Unfortunately, that trick also renders worthless the savings accounts of all Americans as well as all types of bonds and mortgages owned by Americans. In 1920s Weimar Republic Germany university endowments (containing bonds) and cash value life insurance, among other things, were rendered worthless by hyperinflation.

There will be massive cut backs in safe government jobs. People who receive checks from the government will stop getting them or will get much smaller checks.

Ask not for whom the national debt bell tolls, parents and grandparents of America. It tolls for thee.

I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions. If there are any errors or omissions in my facts or logic, please tell me about them. If you are correct, I will fix the item in question. If you wish, I will give you credit. Where appropriate, I will apologize for the error. To date, I have been surprised at how few such corrections I have had to make.

On what date has Obama scheduled his Kristallnacht?

I have compared Obama to Hitler, notwithstanding readers telling me that’s over the line. No, it’s not. See my line-by-line comparison in my Obama victory article. The other articles where I saw similarities between Obama and Hitler are:

http://johntreed.com/outlawopposition.html

http://johntreed.com/Obamaflag.html

One similarity is Obama’s efforts to use businesspersons and investors or “speculators” as scapegoats. Hitler used the Jews.

I increasingly see headlines about Obama’s anger at Wall Street and big corporations. It succeeded enough that a Republican Senator, Grassley of Iowa, called on AIG CEO Edward Liddy to commit suicide. The guy has only been in the job since September and gets paid $1 a year for crissake! AIG executives have had their lives threatened.

On 3/19/09, I saw scenes of demonstrators chanting and marching in front of AIG. Congressmen are yelling at business executives at hearings which border on show trials of those executives.

Watching all these denunciations and the stoking of as much anger as possible, I wonder,

When is Obama’s Kristallnacht?

The original Kristallnacht was the night between November 9th and 10th, 1938.

Kristallnacht” is German for “crystal night.” They called it that because the streets of German cities were covered with broken glass. Where did the broken glass come from? Shop windows of shops owned by Jews.

Kristallnacht was a coordinated attack, in the form of seemingly spontaneous riots, on Jews all over Germany. 91 were murdered and 20,000 to 30,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. More than 200 synagogues were destroyed and thousands of homes and businesses were ransacked. All Jews in Germany were forced to pay a collective huge fine (one billion Deutsche marks—$5.5 million 2009 U.S. dollars) for the assassination of the diplomat. The Nazi government collected the fine by confiscating 20% of all Jewish property. The government also confiscated the insurance payments to the shop owners for the riot losses.

This is somewhat similar to the unconstitutional 90% tax on executive bonuses levied almost overnight by the Congress on the pretext of the AIG bonuses. Jews were denounced as “parasites,” not unlike the denunciations of corporations and banks who received bailout money and behaved in their normal ways thereafter.

Hitler also used the Jews as a way to distract the German people from the economic problems that had not been eliminated by the Nazis. Here are two quotes from the Wikipedia write up on the word “scapegoat.”

Scapegoating is an important tool of propaganda; the most famous example in modern history is the singling out in Nazi propaganda of the Jews as the source of Germany’s post-World War I economic woes and political collapse.

Scapegoating is an effective if temporary means of achieving group solidarity, when it cannot be achieved in a more constructive way. It is a turning inward, a diversion of energy away from serving nebulous external purposes toward the deliciously clear, specific goal of ruining a disliked co-worker’s life. … Mobbing can be understood as the stressor to beat all stressors. It is an impassioned, collective campaign by co-workers to exclude, punish, and humiliate a targeted worker. Initiated most often by a person in a position of power or influence, mobbing is a desperate urge to crush and eliminate the target. The urge travels through the workplace like a virus, infecting one person after another. The target comes to be viewed as absolutely abhorrent, with no redeeming qualities, outside the circle of acceptance and respectability, deserving only of contempt. As the campaign proceeds, a steadily larger range of hostile ploys and communications comes to be seen as legitimate.

Who coordinated the original Kristallnacht? The Nazi party which had been in power since 1933.

The pretext of the original Kristallnacht was the assassination of a German diplomat by a German-born Polish Jew. The pretext for Obama’s Kristallnacht is the payment of $165 million in retention bonuses to AIG executives for remaining with the company until a certain date, a common arrangement with Wall Street executives, major college football coaches, and professional athletes. Essentially, the company is willing to pay a guy, say, $5 million. However, they back-end load it—say $2.4 million in regular salary and $2.6 million as a bonus for staying for two years or whatever. They make sure he stays there for a reasonable period of time. Democrats are also stoking anger over other routine events like corporate parties, living up to contracts with foreign counterparties, renovations of corporate executive offices, and so forth.

In fact, there are an endless number of such incidents that Democrats can feign outrage at. Corporate executives are politicians like the Congress. There is also an endless number of politician scandals if you want to look for them.

I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions. If there are any errors or omissions in my facts or logic, please tell me about them. If you are correct, I will fix the item in question. If you wish, I will give you credit. Where appropriate, I will apologize for the error. To date, I have been surprised at how few such corrections I have had to make.

List of those ‘thrown under the bus’ by Obama

I have seen the phrase “threw under the bus” used so many times regarding Barack Obama, Jr. that I decided to Google the combination and compile a list. Such lists and timelines are standard techniques taught by the Investigative Reporters & Editor’s Association, of which I am a member.

Date
Individual, thing, or group thrown under the bus
What Obama said
John T. Reed Comment
1995 IL state Sen. Alice Palmer, the longtime progressive activist from the city’s South Side To my mind, we were just abiding by the rules that had been set up… I gave some thought to … should people be on the ballot even if they didn’t meet the requirements. My conclusion was that if you couldn’t run a successful petition drive, then that raised questions in terms of how effective a representative you were going to be. This is reportedly the first person Obama threw under the bus of his political ambitions. Like Mafia murders, it apparently gets easier after the first one.
3/26/08 his 90-ish maternal grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, a bank vice president, who raised Obama in a two-bedroom apartment and who declined to defend herself against Obama’s comment about her because she said she is “in poor health” I can no more disown (the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.) than I can disown my white grandmother, a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know there’s a reaction that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away and that sometimes come out in the wrong way and that’s just the nature of race in our society.

Actually, he later disowned (a.k.a. threw him under the bus) Reverend Jeremiah Wright

This is the woman who raised him when his biological father and mother abandoned him

Nice guy

2008 Reverend Jeremiah Wright

Yesterday we saw a very different vision of America… I am outraged by the comments that were made, and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday.

The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. His comments were not only divisive and destructive but I believe they ended up giving comfort to those who prey on hate.

See my article on Jeremiah Wright
2008 Father Michael Pfleger As I have traveled this country, I’ve been impressed not by what divides us, but by all that that unites us. That is why I am deeply disappointed in Father Pfleger’s divisive, backward-looking rhetoric, which doesn’t reflect the country I see or the desire of people across America to come together in common cause. See Trinity United Church of Christ below
2008 Trinity United Church of Christ It’s clear that now that I’m a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will be imputed to me, even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles,” Obama joined this nutty, anti-white church and remained in it because he originally assumed the top political office he attain would be Congressman from the 1st District of Illinois, an amoral, moronic ghetto better known as the South Side of Chicago
  Tony Rezko (convicted felon politically active Chicago developer from Syria who contributed to Obama and who did suspicious real estate deal with Obama) I’m saddened by today’s verdict. This isn’t the Tony Rezko I knew, but now he has been convicted by a jury on multiple charges that once again shine a spotlight on the need for reform. I encourage the General Assembly to take whatever steps are necessary to prevent these kinds of abuses in the future. Obama associated with this prominent Chicago criminal because he originally assumed the top political office he attain would be Congressman from the 1st District of Illinois, an amoral, moronic ghetto better known as the South Side of Chicago
  William Ayers (unrepetent, home-grown Weatherman terrorist) who lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood in the South Side of Chicago [T]he notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn’t make much sense. Obama associated with this radical chic Hyde Park neighborhood leader because he originally assumed the top political office he attain would be Congressman from the 1st District of Illinois, an amoral, moronic ghetto better known as the South Side of Chicago
  Bernadine Dohrn (equally unrepetent, home-grown Weatherman terrorist and wife of William Ayers) see William Ayers Obama associated with this radical chic Hyde Park neighborhood leader because he originally assumed the top political office he attain would be Congressman from the 1st District of Illinois, an amoral, moronic ghetto better known as the South Side of Chicago
  Louis Farrakhan Nation of Islam leader who is based in the South Side of Chicago I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan… I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree. Obama went to Farrakhan’s “Million” Man March to curry favor with the amoral morons who vote in the South Side of Chicago
2008 Jim Johnson (former Fannie Mae chief who was head of the committee to help Obama find a vice president) “Jim did not want to distract in any way from the very important task of gathering information about my vice presidential nominee, so he has made a decision to step aside that I accept. We have a very good selection process underway, and I am confident that it will produce a number of highly qualified candidates for me to choose from in the weeks ahead. I remain grateful to Jim for his service and his efforts in this process.  
  Samantha Power (foreign policy advisor who was too candid for Obama when discussing his Israel policy) Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: Senator Obama decries such characterizations which have no place in this campaign…  
  Austan Goolsbee (economic advisor who privately told Canada that Obama was lying to Ohio voters about his intention to abandon or renegotiate NAFTA)    
2008 Wesley Clark For those who have fought under the flag of this nation – for the young veterans I meet when I visit Walter Reed; for those like John McCain who have endured physical torment in service to our country – no further proof of such sacrifice is necessary. And let me also add that no one should ever devalue that service, especially for the sake of a political campaign, and that goes for supporters on both sides. We must always express our profound gratitude for the service of our men and women in uniform. Period. Full stop.  
2008 Wounded U.S. military personnel at Landstuhl Hospital in Germany    
  MoveOn.org    
  small town Pennsylvania voters who like guns and/or Bibles    
  the Clintons    
2008 his pledge to rely only on federal campaign contributions and to comply with federal campaign spending limits    
2007 his flag lapel pin    
  late-term unwanted fetuses Whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a 9-month old — child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.  
2008 primary voters in Michigan and Florida    
2008 Michelle’s and his daughters’ right to speak publicly We wouldn’t do it again, and we won’t be doing it again Obama believes the women in his family, from his grandmother to his wife and daughters, should henceforth be seen but not heard
2006 Obama friend and white reform candidate for Cook County, IL president Forrest Claypool running against black machine pol Todd Stroger    
2008 Ludacris [From the campaign, not Obama himself] As Barack Obama has said many, many times in the past, rap lyrics today too often perpetuate misogyny, materialism, and degrading images that he doesn’t want his daughters or any children exposed to. This song is not only outrageously offensive to Senator Clinton, Reverend Jackson, Senator McCain, and President Bush, it is offensive to all of us who are trying to raise our children with the values we hold dear. While Ludacris is a talented individual he should be ashamed of these lyrics. Obama previously called him a “great businessman.”
2008 Mazen Asbahi, Obama’s chief Muslim advisor for one week    
2008 IL Governor Rod Blagojevich Obama called for his resignation. Someone—Obama would seem to have the most to gain—just started the media story that Blagojevich is mentally ill. Obama endorsed Blagojevich the last time he ran for governor. No explanation as to why he would endorse a mentally-ill person for public office. Or how he could associate with such people for years and not recognize their character. But then that’s true of overyone on this list.
2009 Van Jones, Obama’s green jobs czar    

* Some readers demanded to know how I can criticize the First District of Illinois as an “amoral, moronic ghetto.” Easy question. Here you go.

The leading citizen of that district, elected by the voters of that district, is five-term Congressman Bobby Rush. In one of those elections, 2000, the voters there rejected Rush’s primary opponent, Barack Obama, Jr.

Rush went AWOL from the U.S. Army and was discharged weeks later. He is a convicted felon and ex-convict (illegal firearms possession). He is a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther party which was originally arguably a terrorist organization. Rush recruited Fred Hampton into the Black Pather Party. Hampton was killed in a shootout with police. He is a minister and as such is a peer of other First District ministers like Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, and Father Michael Pflager. Rush’s son was gunned down in the District.

On page 505 of his 2002 Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone calls the district a “ghetto.” Barone says Rush has a safe seat, meaning there is no danger of his ever not being reelected.

Jim Croce wrote about that district in his song “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” which starts like this:

Well the south side of chicago

Is the baddest part of town

And if you go down there

You better just beware

Of a man named leroy brown

That song is written in the language of that neighborhood including phrases like, “all the mens just call him sir.” Like I said, morons.

For evidence that the voters there are morons, watch the people behind Reverend Jeremiah Wright when he makes nutty speeches about Tuskeegee and AIDS. Note also that those people gave so much money to Wright that he was able to buy a million dollar house in a gated 98% white community which is where he now lives. Like I said, morons.

I would welcome demographic data on the SAT scores or IQs or incomes of the people of the First District of Illionois. I would not be surprised if it’s hard to find anyone who can spell SAT in that neighborhood. I expect demographics would solidly support the moronic adjective.

Wikipedia says of the district, “As of 2000, only 38% of the district’s adult residents were married, approximately 30% below the national average of 54.4%.” I don’t think that means it’s a swinging singles scene. More likely, single moms on food stamps. Wikipedia also says, “The 1st District’s median household income as of 2000, $37,222, trailed the national average by 11.4%, the unemployment rate (7.6%) was more than double the national rate, and nearly 20% of district residents were living in poverty.” Here’s a statment about crime there in a blog, “During the first four months of 2008, 134 murders were committed in Chicago. In comparison, according to icasualties.com, a total of 160 Americans were killed in all of Iraq during the same period.” I would add that probably only about 100 of those Iraq casualties were cased by enemy action. The rest were friendly fire and accidents.

Like I said, it’s an “amoral, moronic, ghetto.” Obama has had to throw so many people under the bus because he made the very unwise decision to try to have a political career there and had to befriend the above people to win the votes of the sort of people who think Wright, Farrakhan, Pfleger, Ayers, etc. are neat guys. When Obama thought he needed those guys, they were in his bus. As soon as he concluded he no longer needed them, they were under the bus, along with the amoral, moronic voters of that district.

If I have overlooked an under-the-bus target, please apprise me and I will add the omitted individual, thing, or group. The reason to pay attention to this list is that you may be on it in the future. Obama is about taking care of Number One. If elected, he will have the power to throw us far more of us under the bus whenever he believes it’s in his interest to do so.

Energy Policy

We have a quadrennial ritual and tradition in America since 1973—the first year people had to wait in lines to get gasoline.

The tradition is candidates from the party that is out of power allege that the incumbents have, “no energy policy” and that “we have to end our dependence on foreign oil.” And, of course, they further claim that they have the correct energy policy that’s finally going to end our dependence on foreign oil.

The out-of-power candidates said that in 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, and now again in 2008. They will be saying it in 2012, 2016, 2020, and so on as well.

What bullshit!

No policy, please

The correct government energy policy is no energy policy. We are a democracy. If you want to buy foreign oil. Enjoy. If you want to install solar collectors on your roof. Enjoy. Buy a Prius or Hummer. This is America.

It’s none of the government’s business. More importantly, if the government gets involved in any way, it will make things worse. The market does the best job. The public is rarely thrilled with what the market does. But that same public is guaranteed to be less happy with what the government does.

Gas lines

In 1973 and 1979, we had gas lines all over the U.S. Politicians and ignoramuses blamed the oil companies. There were Congressional investigations. The findings? The gas lines, which did not exist at the same time in countries like Germany and Japan, were caused by the government’s allocation system, not by oil company misbehavior. The gas lines ended overnight when Energy czar William Simon decreed the government allocation system was over.

For those too young to remember, an organization called Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was dominated by Arab countries. Angered over Western support for Israel, they refused to produce the normal amount of oil, called the Oil Embargo. They also refused to sell to the major Western countries, although that is meaningless because once the oil leaves their borders, it’s in the international market and the highest bidder can buy it.

At that time, the biggest oil producer in the world was the United States. Germany and Japan were targets of the Oil Embargo. They produced zero oil. Yet they had no gas lines while every American sat in gas lines. Why? The Germans and Japanese let the market decide the prices and allocations of gasoline. Ultimately, the gas lines ended in the U.S. when Energy czar Bill Simon remembered that we were a capitalist country and let the market decide the prices and allocation of gasoline.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill,

The market is the worst way to set energy policy, except for all the others.

‘Alternative’ energy

Politicians and the ignoramuses to whom they pander want to switch to “alternative” energy sources.

Whenever you hear the word “alternative,” head for the exits and hang on to your wallet. For example, “alternative” life style is a euphemism for hippy.

“Alternative energy” refers to wind, solar, geothermal, bio fuels, ethanol. Based on the actual definition of the word, you would think nuclear power would be an alternative fuel, but it’s not because, politically, liberals hate nuclear. I don’t know why. Seems like they would love it. The French do and liberals love the French. But some commissar decreed that liberals must hate nuclear, so they do.

Alternative energy sources have also been defined as those that do not consume natural resources like oil, coal, or wood.

The best definition of the word “alternative” when it comes to energy is “really expensive.”

The left would have you believe that various energy sources are six of one and a half dozen of the other, that we can power our cars with gasoline or electricity and we only choose gasoline because we are stupid.

No. We choose gasoline because we are NOT stupid.

Wind

Take wind. We could, and some have, used sails to power land wheeled vehicles. Wind, people say, is free. Unfortunately, sails are not. Furthermore, wind tends to blow in one direction, which often is not the direction you want to go. Also, sometimes wind blows too hard like hurricanes or tornadoes. Other times, it blows too soft or not at all. In other words, it’s unreliable.

What about using windmills to generate electricity? It’s being tried. It only makes economic sense where there is lots of wind and public utility lines are too far away to run wires to the site in question. There are a bunch of windmills in the Altamont Pass which is near where I live. They generate electricity which I use in my home, but they have to be subsidized by the taxpayers because wind energy costs too much. Here is a statement from the Wikipedia article on Wind Power:

Cost per unit of energy produced was estimated in 2006 to be comparable to the cost of new generating capacity in the United States for coal and natural gas: wind cost was estimated at $55.80 per MWh, coal at $53.10/MWh and natural gas at $52.50. [emphasis added]

Wind advocates claim the cost is coming down and it will be competitive to coal and gas soon especially if the machinery is mass produced. Maybe so. But there is still the fact that how competitive wind is depends on how windy the locations of the windmills are. There are limited windy locations and they are not always close enough to populated areas. Transmitting electricity long distances costs money, too.

In other words, at best, wind can only provide a small percentage of America’s electricity needs. And that cannot happen until wind becomes competitive with alternatives, if you’ll pardon the expression, like gas, oil, and coal.

Solar

Sun light may be free but solar ain’t. As with wind, it only makes economic sense where there is lots of sunlight and it’s a long way from utility lines. In California, the utilities actually install solar in remote homes that are far from existing power lines. There may be some government subsidy involved but it makes the point that solar only makes sense where it is very expensive to use traditional power lines. Other sensible applications are buoys, satellites in space, and small highway devices like this-is-your-speed signs and emergency telephones.

Here is a list of comparable electricity costs per kilowatt hour from the http://www.solarbuzz.com/StatsCosts.htm photovoltaic cells Web site.

gas 3 to 5¢/KWH
wind 4 to 7¢
biomass 7 to 9¢
small diesel generator 20 to 40¢
solar photovoltaic central plant 20 to 30¢
solar photovoltaic on house 20 to 50¢

In other words, photovoltaic solar would raise your electric bill by about seven to ten times. If you pay, say $200 a month, your bill would go up to $1,400 to $2,000 per month. Tell me again how we should use solar because sunlight is free, and it never runs out. Solar may not ever run out, but your bank account will run out if you power your home with “free” sunlight.

Passive solar (windows, concrete floors, and such) can make sense in cold, sunny climates, but it is unreliable and must be supplemented by traditional energy sources. I am a quasi-engineer (West Point graduate). When we had our house built, I ran the numbers on whether passive solar would make economic sense for us. It did not because there are large trees behind our property and in our neighbors’ yard and because the winter climate is mild where we live in Northern California 30 miles from San Francisco Bay.

Semi-passive solar like running water through solar panels to heat it up or pre-heat it can make sense in some climates. In Vietnam, we did not heat our shower water. We just put it in 55-gallon drums on the roof. The sun made sure it was always pleasantly warm. (Vietnam, on the other hand, was stinking hot.) Our guide in St. Lucia, a caribbean island said they did the same. But this again only would replace a tiny amount of energy currently obtained from fossil fuels and only in a few areas of the U.S.

Ethanol

We can grow corn, so why not burn ethanol in our cars instead of Arab oil? First, we do not burn Arab oil. We burn U.S., Mexican, and Canadian oil mostly. Although that’s a technicality. It has to do with transportation costs. Europeans burn Arab oil.

A Wikipedia article on ethanol says,

It is disputed whether ethanol as an automotive fuel results in a net energy gain or loss. As reported in "The Energy Balance of Corn Ethanol: an Update," the energy returned on energy invested (EROEI) for ethanol made from corn in the U.S. is 1.34 (it yields 34% more energy than it takes to produce it). Input energy includes natural gas based fertilizers, farm equipment, transformation from corn or other materials, and transportation. However, other researchers report that the production of ethanol consumes more energy than it yields.

Environmentalists, livestock farmers, and opponents of subsidies say that increased ethanol production won’t meet energy goals and may damage the environment, while at the same time causing worldwide food prices to soar.

Among the problems of ethanol are that it takes more energy to produce it than it saves so the nation is worse off energy wise if we burn ethanol. Again quoting Wikipedia,

Oil has historically had a much higher EROEI than agriculturally produced ethanol, according to some.

EROEI stands for Energy Returned on Energy Invested.

I was not able to find the figures immediately, but I have read that without subsidies, and taking into account that you need more gallons of ethanol to go a given distance in your car than gasoline, ethanol costs the equivalent of eighteen dollars per gallon.

Time cover story

The 4/7/08 Time cover story said corn-based ethanol drives up food prices and makes global warming worse. I think global warming is a hoax, but if you believe in the global warming religion, you have to be outraged at the use of corn-based ethanol for motor vehicle fuel. If you are not outraged, you are an ignoramus or a hypocrite.

Like I said, the phrase “alternative energy” means really expensive energy.

Nuclear

French officials said they wanted to diminish their reliance on foreign oil and they did—by going nuclear. France now gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power and is the world’s largest exporter of electric power. The French also have the lowest electricity cost in Europe. Since the rest of their juice comes mainly from hydroelectric power, they produce near zero CO2 emissions from electricity generation for those of you who suffer from global warming derangement syndrome.

This was a French government initiative that began in 1974 right after the first Arab Oil Embargo.

I do not like government initiatives like this. Top government bureaucrats arguably should all be incarcerated to atone for the mind-boggling waste, fraud, and abuse they continually commit or tolerate. The last thing we need to is put them in charge of energy and give them billions more to waste not to mention exercising lousy judgment or substituting political consideration for the scientific judgment they are supposed to exercise.

But what I would like to see in the U.S. is lifting restrictions against building nuclear power plants that are not truly necessary for safety. Apparently, nuclear power is viable as France and American nuclear powered submarines and surface ships have shown. When nuclear electric plants were first invented, there was talk of eliminating electric meters and just charging everyone a low flat fee per month. That promise was destroyed by liberal hysteria including movies like China Syndrome and Silkwood by accidents at Chernobyl and Three-Mile-Island.

With reasonable restrictions, the market would cause more nuclear power plants to be built in the U.S. and that would probably be a good thing. It is at least a real way to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil as opposed to the quadrennial lies the politicians spout.

Searching for more oil in the U.S.

It almost goes without saying that our current policy of not allowing oil companies to extract oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve or in most as yet unexplored regions of the U.S. coastal waters is mindless.

Refinery construction

The U.S. has not built an oil refinery in 33 years. This is ridiculous. The U.S. population went up 100 million people in that time.

If a political party is responsible for how screwed America is oil wise, it is undoubtedly the Democrats. They oppose nuclear power, drilling for oil, and refinery construction. If Republicans had the power to implement their solutions to the energy problem, they would be receptive to all of those common-sense steps.

Leftists are only in favor of the stuff that does not work, namely, so-called “alternative energy,” and they oppose the stuff that does work or is far more likely to work, namely, building nuclear plants, searching for oil in the U.S. and its territorial waters, and building new refineries.

Conservation

Leftists also like conservation measures. I write books and a newsletter for real estate investors. I used to own apartment complexes. As an apartment owner and as a writer for rental property owners, I and my readers are quite interested in conservation measures that actually work. Leftists, on the other hand, are suckers for any cockamamie conservation idea including many that do not work cost-effectively, like electric cars.

Here’s the deal. I recommend any energy conservation measure that has a payback period of three years or less. That is, the amount you save per year multiplied by three years will equal or exceed the cost of the conservation device.

Generally, the energy conservation devices that ought to be used are already being used by competent managers. The reason is it is their job to minimize expenses. Same is true for owners of rental properties and other businesses. They implement conservation measures if they are cost-effective and increase the bottom line, not because the leftists or the government say to. You still see more obsolete stuff at government buildings like schools—which are run by the do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do leftists.

At a PTA meeting, the principal of my son’s school asked the audience for suggestions on how to save money. I raised my hand and said, “I am an expert on building management and wrote a book about it. I noticed you have screw-in incadescent light bulbs all over your exterior. They should be replaced by screw-in fluorescents. They use 2/3 less electricity.” He told me I had to call some bureaucrat in charge of bulding supplies or some such. “Why don’t you tell him?” “It’s not my job.” I was there months later and noticed they had not changed the bulbs. And I’ll bet that principal is a really vocal, big booster of alternative energy.

What about energy prices going up and new technology?

Real price changes sometimes cause conservation measures that were not previously cost effective to become cost-effective. But note the word “real.” It means after adjustment for inflation. Manys the time when gasoline or other energy prices go up and the public screams like a stuck pig. Then the media reports that, actually, after you adjust for inflation, energy prices are still lower than they were back in whatever year. In order to tell if energy prices have really gone up, use the cost-of-living index calculator at http://minneapolisfed.org/Research/data/us/calc/.

Also, the advent of new technologies or a drop in cost of existing technologies can also move a conservation measure that previously was not cost-effective into the cost-effective category. Screw-in fluorescent light bulbs are an excellent case in point. When they first came out, I heard they cut electricity consumption by 2/3. I bought some to test them at my Fort Worth apartment complex. At that complex, the exterior flood lights on each building had their own meter with no other electric users. They worked exactly as advertised and I told the readers of my newsletter Real Estate Investor’s Monthly and my book How to Manage Residential Property For Maximum Cash Flow and Resale Value to get screw-in fluorescents. As they have become more popular, screw-in fluorescents have come down in cost so they are now even more cost-effective.

Reportedly, LED type lights are coming and they promise to be even more cost-effective. Fine. Test them. If they work as advertised, replace your existing lights with LEDs.

But you need to be far more skeptical than most people are about purported conservation measures. Test them to make sure they actually save enough money to be cost-effective. Over time, either because of real increases in energy prices or because of new technology or real decreases in the cost conservation devices, additional conservation measures will become cost-effective. Some that often are not cost-effective include insulation, double-pane windows in moderate climate areas, fans that blow hot air out of attics, and so forth. (Do not write to me that I am wrong about those because you have one and you couldn’t possibly be wrong. The issue is decided by arithmetic, not religious debates. As I said, I am a quasi engineer. I ran the numbers. I have zero interest in any religious debates about the value of attic exhaust fans or skylights or other common forms of energy stupidity.)

Obama says he is going to spend $150 billion of taxpayer’s money on clean alternative energy research thereby producing energy independence and good-paying jobs. He fails to admit that the federal government arleady spent $57.5 billion doing just that from 1978 to the present. It all failed. (See Forbes 11/24/08) The money was wasted.

I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions.

John T. Reed

Should America be the policeman of the world?

You often hear Americans say that we are not, or should not, be the policeman of the world.

Let’s think about that.

A world with no policeman?

First, do we want to live in a world with no policeman?

I think not. There are currently a number of countries or sections of countries where outlaws dominate. They include, North Korea, the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, The tribal areas along the Afghan border in Pakistan, Somalia—previously Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. There are a number of other countries who threaten their neighbors with violence like Iran.

In a world with no policeman, these outlaws and belligerents harm innocent people and prosper from doing so thereby encouraging them to expand their bad behavior and encouraging others to imitate them. 70 years ago, the Axis leaders—Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and the Japanese—decided to take over the world. No policeman stopped them.

They did take over much of the world and 62 million people died in the war, twice as many of them civilians as military. And 50,000,000 or 81% of the dead were in the allied countries that “won” the war. Untold property damage was caused. Huge national debts were incurred and are still being paid by succeeding generations. That’s what can happen in a world where no one acts as policeman.

If ever there was a stitch-in-time-saves-nine example, it was World War II. Had there been a policeman who nipped the Axis Powers in the bud, 99% of those losses could have been avoided.

Clearly, the world needs a policeman the same as your local neighborhood needs policemen.

So the question is not whether we need a world policeman, but who it will be.

Should the U.N. be the policeman of the world?

Most people would say the United Nations. Actually, the United Nations was the name of the warring powers who opposed the Axis (Germany, Italy, and Japan) during World War II—also known as the Allies. The United Nations was formed right after World War II ended by the victors.

Has the U.N. been an effective policeman?

No.

It votes to take military action very rarely—far more rarely than is needed. Furthermore, even when it does vote to take military action, members often refuse to provide the needed military personnel and assets, or provide them, but restrict their use to the point where the U.N. force is impotent.

If not the U.N., who?

So we must have a policeman. The U.N. has had 60 years to prove it can do the job and has proven it cannot do the job except in the most clear-cut, extreme cases involving relatively weak aggressors, most notably Iraq invading Kuwait in 1990.

For one thing, it takes a certain amount of size and prosperity to be the policeman of the world. Denmark, for example, is not a candidate. They are too small and have too few people and resources. So which countries have the size and resources to possibly serve as policeman of the world?

Maybe the United States, Russia, China, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, France. The next country on the list would be Italy by gross domestic product. Actually, Italy has a higher GDP than Russia. (Just think how much higher Italy’s or Russia’s GDP would be if they embraced capitalism more completely.) But Russia was a former super power, so I included them.

I think Americans might trust the U.K.—maybe France, two countries who have been our allies going back 200 years. As I will explain below, U.K., Germany, and France will also trust us to be policeman of the world. You will see the evidence of that below. Then there is the question of whether anyone else on that list would trust anyone else on that list.

China, for all its recent use of capitalism to become more prosperous is still a Communist dictatorship that murdered its own people in Tiananmen Square. China is still a country where you cannot click on the Tiananmen Square link I just provided. In China, you get a Tiananment Square search result that treats it solely as an ancient historic plaza with no mention of the democracy demonstrations there in 1989. And while China has the second highest GDP in the world after the U.S. ($13 trillion versus $10 trillion), its GDP per capita is far lower versus ($43,500 versus $7,600). I think the Chinese people would expect one of the countries in the $40,000-plus-GDP-per-capita range to shoulder the responsibilities of world policeman.

We ARE a U.N of sorts

Also, the population of, say, Denmark is almost entirely Danes. The same is true of all the Old World countries. Only the U.S. and Canada have a sort of U.N.-like “melting pot” population. The U.S. is not the U.N., but a platoon of U.S. soldiers may look like the U.N. when you note that there are Asians, Latinos, African-Americans, Caucasians, Filipinos, Vietnamese, and all sorts of other races and mixed-race personnel.

I saw a TV comedy skit once where they made fun of the diversity that American movie makers celebrated in movies made during World War II when we were fighting against two countries—Germany and Japan—whose governments and people looked down on other races. A World War II Hollywood platoon leader would give a command like, “Murphy, take Weinstein, and Swenson and lay down a base of fire on the left side of the hill. Guglielmo, you take Kowalski, McTavish, and Lacroix and move up the right side of the hill. Apostopolos, you and Gomez stay here and direct artillery fire.”

And that “great” diversity was all Western European. America’s Japanese were locked up in internment camps or, like blacks, in separate military units back then. Other Asian-Americans looked like Japanese to most Americans. An equivalent movie scene today would have the U.S. platoon leader barking out names like Nguyen and Hussein and Singh and Wong and so forth.

Furthermore, a lot of our enemies have been here if not emigrated here. One captured Iraqi soldier in Desert Storm immediately asked his U.S. captors in perfect American-accented English whether Kansas State’s football team still sucked. He was a grad of that university and was glad to hear that Kansas State football had greatly improved in the early 90s. You don’t get that sort of inernational rapport if, say, China is the policeman of the world.

What about regional organizations like NATO?

NATO has shown a U.N.-like reticence to use military force. British Field Marshal Lord Vincent described any meeting of NATO about use of military force as “a hotbed of cold feet.”

NATO did send troops effectively to Kosovo. But they pussy-footed around with regard to Afghanistan and other situations where NATO force was proposed.

Also, NATO as world policeman is a more popular idea within the NATO countries than it is outside the NATO countries.

Also, dirty little secret: NATO countries do not have militaries comparable even for their size to the U.S. For example, the U.S. military budget for 2008 is about $623 billion. The combined military budgets of all the European Union countries is less than half of that: $266 billion. This is in spite of the fact that the EU has a combined population of 495 million while the U.S. only has a population of 300 million. On a per-capita basis, the U.S. spends $2,000 per person on military; the EU, $500.

Why do the Europeans spend less than we do? Because they are willing to let us, and can get away with letting us, be the policeman of the world.

Don’t they almost all protest loudly that they hate the way we are handling our policeman of the world duties?

Yep. But actions speak louder than words. Their actions—a military budget that is one-fourth of ours on a per-capita basis—speak far more loudly than their incessant whining. They do not fear us militarily because they trust our character and their military budgets essentially say that the way we carry out the policeman-of-the-world duties, while not totally to their liking, is close enough for government work.

What about the actions of non-EU countries like China, Russia, and India? They indicate even more that they are content to let the U.S. be the policeman of the world. The per-capita military expenditures of those countries are $34; $234; and $22 respectively. They all howl non-stop that they do not like the way we are doing the policeman of the world job, but as you can see, they are not interested in taking the job away from us nor are they afraid we will attack them militarily.

Pax Americana

Since World War II, the world has been living in a condition of Pax Americana. That is, a world peace enforced by American military power and willingness to use it. The phrase comes from Pax Romana, a period of European peace enforced by the Roman empire between 27 BC and 180 AD. Prior to Pax Americana, there was a Pax Britannica between the Napoleonic wars of the early 1800s and World War I in 1914.

These various Paxes have been a hell of a good deal for the countries whose name does not follow the Pax. It lets them avoid military expenditures and military service. If America were suddenly wiped off the face of the Earth—perhaps by Islamic nukes—the rest of the world that has been criticizing us would utter a collective “Oh s—!” and immediately begin spending far more per capita on defense, putting far more people into their militaries, and forming more international military alliances.

If we were not the policeman of the world, the world would find that someone else would have to step up and do the job. Perhaps, no one would, and that would lead to a nouveau Hitler, nouveau Pol Pot, nouveau Saddam Hussein mess. As long as we are the policeman of the world, the rest of the world can do like the 1960’s hippies: call the cops “pigs”—until they need one.

The whole world is free-loading off our policeman services.

To an extent, it is like a marriage where the two spouses have different standards on issues like cleanliness, children discipline, and so forth. The spouse with the highest standards ends up taking care of the department in question because he or she cannot stand to see the lower standards. The U.S. is the policeman of the world because we have the wherewithal to do it and we have higher standards for how much misbehavior we will tolerate in the world. Simply put, Americans cannot stand to wait until the freaking U.N. gets around to doing something about leaders like Saddam Hussein, or until the British figure out that Munich Pacts are not good foreign policy. The rest of the world, knowing that, has relaxed even further knowing they can count on us to police—if not exactly as they would—as least close enough to what they want that they aren’t about to ask to take over the job.

Policeman of the world is a lousy, thankless job, but someone has to do it. That is not to say we should have invaded Iraq. It appears that was a mistake. Probably about half the wars we have gotten into in U.S. history were mistakes. But there is no mistake in our being policeman of the world. We have no choice. One thing I think we should change is the “deductible” that other countries have to pay before they receive our policeman services. That is, we let them suffer for a while, until they are ready to welcome us as liberators as in World War II. Americans should not be dying to defend those who refuse to die to defend themselves. Americans should not be spending thousands per person to defend those who will not spend more than hundreds or even less to defend themselves.

We should renegotiate our military treaties such that the other members are required to spend more and serve more. If they refuse, give them our phone number and tell them to let us know if they change their minds, like if a neighbor’s military is pouring across their borders. France already has the number.

I appreciate informed, well-thought-out constructive criticism and suggestions.

John T. Reed