Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday's Random Thoughts

The week flew by and I can't keep straight in my mind what happened this week and what happened last week. I'm not sure what that means for my personal big picture, but maybe I've been taking anti-depressants for too long and they've affected my brain. I mean in a way they're not supposed to. On the other hand, almost nothing gets me worried these days.

Movie Reviews!

Iron Man - Man, this movie totally rocks! Robert Downey Jr. is GREAT in it. Gwineth Paltrow is sweetly alluring as his capable assistant, a sort of combination of Miss Moneypenny, Dr. Watson, Albert, and Agent 99. And Jeff Bridges is perfect. The plot's even good. And timely. Sneak a couple of beers into the theater and see it. Not for kids though. Too violent.

Kung Fu Panda - This one the kids absolutely loved. And my wife and I enjoyed it, too. An inspiring "Rocky" type tale of a chubby Panda who gets his chance to be a real life hero, and struggles to make himself ready.

Sports Update

I'm sorry, but I'm not ready to embrace the NBA even though the Celts are back in the finals, as long as lowlifes like Kobe Bryant are served up as the league's stars. Despite what they say, they are role models.

Big Brown ends his career in a pile of big brown. Last place? Really? How can that even happen?

But the big question about sports I have these days is why our Federal Government is spending my tax dollars investigating professional sports "scandals." Like whether or not NBA referees threw games. OK, maybe that's important to a lot of people, mostly professional gamblers and the "gaming industry. But I don't think it's something for the US government to be wasting time on. Since when did our government become the muscle for professional gamblers? Same point on baseball or football players taking steroids. What the hell do I care? I don't! It's a private sector matter. Suddenly our pols have no faith in the power of the market?
The feds should be spending their time and money finding Osama bin Laden, and stop fucking around with the likes of Barry Bonds. They've probably already spent more money chasing Barry Bonds that you and I paid in taxes last year. Do any of the federal prosecutors stop and ask themselves why their talents and abilities are being spent on such foolishness? Is that really what they signed up for? Or is getting their names in the paper any way they can the name of the game here?

Good for Dennis Kucinich in his Don Quixote attempt to bring accountability to our government by submitting articles of impeachment against George Bush. Wars of aggression are illegal. These articles of impeachment will go nowhere now, because of the lack of moral courage of our leading Democrats in Congress, and of course the blatant hypocrisy that we politely call "political partisanship" by Republicans. But he has set an historical record that will indict these dickheads in history for abusing our soldiers.

Looking to the Past for What the Future Holds

Pat Buchanan has a new book about the 2 world wars that reminds us of George Washington's admonition against foreign entanglements and Dwight D. Eisenhower's warnings of the military-industrial complex. The US is over-committed abroad today, and the conservative Ron Paul is correct on this, despite the attempts by Republicans who try to portray him as a laughingstock. For instance, would we really go to war with China if it invaded Taiwan? China, unlike Iraq or Iran, really could both attack us and invade the US mainland. Would we risk that for Taiwan?

Free Advice For Obama

Get the GI's on your side

Promise to raise military pay and support the proposed new GI Bill. Say that our service people are our greatest asset in our lines of defense, and they deserve to be treated as such. Improve military medicine, including providing mental health benefits for military children. Learn, acknowledge, and pay tribute to the very different culture that lifelong military members belong to. Allow "homesteading" where service families are allowed to serve from the same base for many years. This will earn the support of military families who suffer the disruption of the military policy of moving them every 3 or 4 years.

Re-evaluate and re-define our military posture in the world

Reduce the number of foreign bases. 700 is too many. This will save money, reduce resentment of foreign citizens, and improve military retention.

Take the position that we've already won the second Iraq War. Saddam is dead, there are no WMD's, and Iraq is not a military threat to anybody. There is no reason to stay.

Show leadership in moving toward new policies for new challenges

LEAD the democrats into accepting the necessity for an aggressive energy independence policy that will include increased oil drilling in the US, building 100 new nuclear power plants, "clean" coal plants, wind farms, and special mortgage programs for small, energy efficient homes. Geodesic domes. anyone? FYI, Jimmy Carter had a plan like this about 30 plus years ago.

LEAD us away from a "consumer economy" to an "infrastructure economy." An economy based on buying junk that we cannot personally afford is just silly.

Redefine the debates on social problems

Acknowledge that 1 million abortions a year is a social problem. Find solutions that don't involve the police or the courts looking into women's vaginas. Whatever happened to homes for unwed mothers? Break the logjam on the debate on this issue or it will cost you social conservatives.

Court the libertarian vote. These are the 25% of Republicans who, after John McCain won the nomination, still continued to get out of bed to go stand in line to fruitlessly vote against him. You can get these people. Liberty used to be a Democratic party line. Reclaim it.

Acknowledge that many people view their right to bear arms as a civil right. Taking away a person's right to self preservation is not right.

Get the doctors and the clergy onboard your universal healthcare program. It's a natural fit for both.

Count the votes

You've got to get the Jews on your side. Consider Bloomberg for VP. Visit Israel.

Show that you can use your own brand to restore America's standing in the world

Use the excitement of your nomination in the Mid-East to improve relations there now with the Arab nations. Push Bush out of the spotlight, take a fact finding trip, and start to act as the de-facto President. Show that you will be able to cool off the US - Arab tensions to get a fresh start and re-assert America's influence in the region peacefully.

When signing foreign aid treaties or weapons sales agreements, make it a condition that the counter-country add English to their school curriculum and protect the rights of Christian churches and missionaries. The only way the US will survive and thrive for centuries to come is to export our culture worldwide, like Rome did. And this doesn't mean having McDonalds and KFC restaurants in Beijing.

Don't spend our money

Don't raise taxes. We can't afford it now.

If we've gone global, talk about "Team America"

Don't go after big American companies. In a global economy, Exxon Mobil is our team. They are already minuscule compared to PetroChina and Aramco. We need American companies to be big and strong to compete in a world economy.

Attack Hugo Chavez as America's newest enemy. Everybody hates him, especially the Cubans and expat Venezualians. Paint him as the new Castro.

Call out McCain

Make McCain angry. He'll expose himself for the intemperate lunatic he is, and the press will turn against him. Yes, he was a POW, but that doesn't mean he's not a jerk.
Good luck.


Bill McC said...

Protect Christian churches and missionaries?!? I'm not too comfortable with that. Would you be satisfied with ensuring freedom of religion and combating religious persecution, or is it really a Christian thing?

And about not raising taxes, I kind of agree, because I certainly can't afford to pay more. However, I'm not sure I can afford out of control deficits, either.

WV said...

Well, first, as Reagan said, the deficit is big enough to take care of itself.

But to your larger point, yes, I believe it is a Christian thing. Christianity is the religion of western civilation, and is the vehicle that preserves our fundamental cultural values. If you believe that America is about humanity's higher ideals, and not just an extension of white European tribalism, then take a hard look at what organizations are really exporting these ideals around the world today. When it comes to "boots on the ground" it is our Christian missionary churches that take on the brunt of this work. Not that you'll see my fat ass out there, but I respect the folks who do it.

Bill McC said...

First of all, while I guess I understand what you're saying when you say that Christianity is the religion of western civilization, I'm not sure I totally agree with it. I certainly wouldn't agree if you tried to make the more precise and more relevant point that Christianity is the religion of the United States (after all, you're talking about actions to be taken by the government of this particular country). Sure, it's true that Christianity is the most commonly practiced religion in this country, but so what? And you may like Christianity more than other religions, or conclude that its practitioners are doing more good than the practitioners of other religions (an arguable conclusion, but not one I'd want to argue about), but again, so what? I think it's fairly basic that the government isn't supposed to promote any particular religion. That our government would adopt and implement a policy of promoting Christianity on a worldwide basis seems inappropriate and inconsistent with American values.

WV said...

Bill, (or should I say "Satan?),

Well, I'm really meaning to say that an open religious policy should be promoted in our foreign policy. Why? Because America is losing the advantages we've enjoyed over other nations for the past 70 years, so we need to develop new advantages if we are to retain our leading standing in the world. I think that the really best way to do that is to turn the rest of the world's people into "Americans" of the heart and mind, if not the passport. And while there are many institutions that willingly and effectively export our culture and beliefs to other nations, a variety of Christian churches have been the most visible to my eye. They do it with volunteers and at no cost to the government, and they really aim at the hearts and minds of the people. Maybe there are lots of American Buddhists, Hindus, Zoroastrians, Wiccans, Presbyterians, and other non-Christian churches doing missionary work. Well, good for them and they should all be included. I specified Christian churches only because I see them doing a ton of this work already.

I'll admit I sound somewhat xenophobic here. But that doesn't mean that people aren't really out to get us. Here we separate state, church, business, and individuals, but other countries that are competing with us globally don't make these distinctions as clearly. So, in America we let Chinese businesses buy up important American assets, but American companies in China face much more restricive market access. And here in America Islamic mosques are free to set up wherever they please, but try building a new catholic school in Riyadh or Tehran. In those countries, the distinction between religious authority and government authority is ambiguous at best. So who are we really letting set up these institutions here?

Cultural exchanges, including religious excahnges, need to be on a level playing field, and my perception, from the media, is that it is not. If it's all freedom of religion, then fine. But "our" religious institutions are not getting the same freedoms in many Arab and Asian nations that we give "their" religious institutions here.

In the meantime, don't worry. Jesus will forgive you no matter what.

BTW, how come you don't have a picutre?