[personal profile] drscott
Morning reading. I have tended to avoid political commentary since most people aren't ready to hear anything that doesn't agree with their morally superior, Daily Show-viewing, bien pensant groupthink, but we're reaching an interesting juncture here, with the Syrian situation possibly being the last straw that loosens the grip of the Democrat-Republican machine on federal power.

In this situation, we have a president who while a Senator railed against executive use of military force unless the US or its interests was directly threatened. The hypocrisy of his plan to use force in Syria was so obvious he crumbled and asked for Congressional authorization (which would have been a good idea if it had happened *before* he moved forces into place and stated his intentions.) His loose talk about moral red lines - as if he leads the world government - makes backing up his words a matter of US credibility. Or is it?

Stepping way way back, we see a state that got itself and its population in the habit of thinking of themselves as responsible for the entire world when we had half the world's economy and other powers were reduced by war, so that only the US could stand up to an expansionist Soviet Union. The Soviets are gone, replaced by a still-dangerous but much less threatening Russia, the Chinese have gone capitalist and cooperate in the world economy. Uncle Sam is like Wile E Coyote, legs pumping the air before realizing the long drop below. This reduction in our relative power is nothing to panic over - by helping to build a multilateral world and bringing billions of people out of poverty through free trade and our security umbrella, the US did a great good for the world. But there's no need for large numbers of obsolete ground troops to be stationed in now-wealthy places like Germany, Korea, and Japan that can afford to defend themselves. They have been free-riding on our failure to recognize how the world has changed.

But this mentally lazy habit of thinking of ourselves as world governors has to stop. The major parties are owned by vested interests, unions, defense contractors, porkbarrel spending on bases and welfare; no reform of the major sectors of healthcare, education, prisons, or defense is possible until the current power structures are reduced by younger reps and public understanding of the corruption that binds us.

The money has all been spent. Not only the obvious debt of the federal and state governments, but the pension and health obligations are so large that there is no way the smaller cohorts of young people coming can bear the costs without major restructuring. Everything must be examined, and the "programs to solve problems" approach of the last 50 years which has resulted in millions of state and federal employees shuffling papers back and forth in duplicative programs that have proven to do little for the supposed beneficiaries have to be streamlined and reduced (examples: Head Start, inner-city failing schools, defense systems boondoggles, overlapping welfare programs, militarized police and SWAT teams for every agency, huge prison populations, the ever-increasing costs of the war on drugsā€¦)

We as citizens need to stop thinking our local representative is just great while those other guys in Congress suck. Collectively they suck, and looking for independent thought that shows some signs of being grounded in the real world of business and real defense against real threats will require lifting up people who know more than how to fundraise using the Internet. The Syrian situation exposes who the true weasels and dinosaurs are, and moving them out of their careers in "public service" (which, strangely, leaves them wealthy when they move on to private lobbying) can't happen fast enough.

http://reason.com/blog/2013/09/04/john-kerrys-morally-linguistically-and-h

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/05/saving-obama-from-himself/

http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2013/09/05/the-american-people-tell-washington-a-few-things/

http://www.althouse.blogspot.com/2013/09/wheres-bruce-springsteen-he-helped.html

http://reason.com/blog/2013/09/05/rolling-stone-on-jerry-brown-best-govern

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/us/drug-agents-use-vast-phone-trove-eclipsing-nsas.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
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drscott

November 2013

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