Archive for March, 2007

Who Is Your Big Bad Bogeyman? (March 26, 2007)

Posted in Book Reference, Political Parties, Politics on March 26, 2007 by

In general, at a young age, individuals select, consciously or unconsciously, a Big Bad Bogeyman, either Big Government or Big Business.  All political views emanate from that fundamental decision.  Nock, Van Hayek, M. Friedman and their ilk don’t realize or acknowledge that Big Business can oppress as efficiently and mercilessly as Big Government.  Galbraith, Nader and their ilk don’t realize or acknowledge that Big Government can oppress as efficiently and mercilessly as Big Business.  For all but a few individuals, acknowledging two Big Bogeymen is intellectually and emotionally overwhelming.  F. Scott Fitzgerald is said to have said:  “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.”  In politics, the few first rate intellects must challenge and confront the two Big Bogeymen who are equally dangerous.  John Dos Passos could handle it.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Question Authority, But Ask The Right Questions

World War III Turns Four; How Wars Are Fought; Most Victories Are Pyrrhic Defeats (March 19, 2007)

Posted in Military on March 19, 2007 by

(Today is the four-year anniversary of Bush’s decision to trigger World War III.)

The soldiers in both trenches are invariably brave.  They cover for their companions and their comrades which advances the agenda and careers of their leaders.  The situation is akin to the “invisible hand” in economic theory.  Each individual in a squad pursues his self-interest which is keeping himself and his buddies alive while completing the mission, usually forlorn.  The individual actions aggregate to promote whatever passes for the mission, be it taking the hill or defending the position or increasing the body count. The soldiers are given grades (E-) such as E-3 or E-5.  These soldiers with mettle wear stars (Ag and Cu9Sn1) on their chests and experience combat far more profoundly than those who sport stars on their epaulettes.

Those who have rank (O-) call the shots and decide who gets shot.  The generals (O-7, O-8, etc.) on both sides of the trenches are often either incompetent or unable to control the events, exigencies and other developments that arise.  Those who succeed often succeed because the generals across the field fail even more abjectly.  [See the e-ssay dated March 7, 2005.]  Factories are admittedly a big factor. Civilization has been fortunate that the good guys have had more efficient factories in the last hundred years; America is losing factories daily.  However, in recent military quagmires (Vietnam, World War III/Iraq/Iran/Syria/etc.), the miliary was and is tasked with a hopeless mission.  The mission is not accomplished, it is impossible.  In the Iraq theater, even the generals never had a bloody chance.

The civilian leaders failed and are failing.  The civilian leaders who prosecuted and are prosecuting World War III will never be prosecuted for their ineptitude or their war crimes.  The civilian leaders used the threat of “WeMaD” (Weapons of Mass Destruction) and fooled the general public and the generals into war.  The lies continue unabated.  Bush amassed a cabal of cowards, wimps, draft dodgers, geeks, and chicken hawks and proclaimed them his National Security Team.  These “neo-confidence men” are known generally as “neo-cons.”  Bush sheds them when they disagree.  He stuck his head in a hornet’s nest and does not understand what is going on all around him.  Now he has stuck his head in the sand.

Mix brave soldiers, overwhelmed generals and incompetent civilian leaders, bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer.  The result is not surprising. The notion of a Pyrrhic victory derives from the Greek king Pyrrhus, who, after suffering heavy losses in defeating the Romans in 279 B.C., said to those sent to congratulate him, “Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone.”  America cannot afford another Pyrrhic Defeat.

Bumper sticker of the week:

Land Of The Free Because Of The Brave (despite the civilian leadership)

Investigate, Impeach and Indict? (March 12, 2007)

Posted in Bush, Politics on March 12, 2007 by

The I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby trial and conviction for lying and obstruction of justice provided a glimpse into the corruption and dishonesty in Washington.  The denouement–Bush will pardon him.  Congress should continue investigating the goings-on over the last seven years.  The statements regarding the firing and hiring of U.S. Attorneys are at least unethical if not illegal.  U.S. Attorneys are senior partners of the world’s largest and most powerful law firm and can inflict great violence and grief on the public.  In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is an “on deck circle” if not the “batter’s box” for federal judgeships.  Capture the Offices and control the Judiciary.

Now may be the time for the House of Representatives to consider holding hearings regarding the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.  A prosecutor (or independent prosecutor) should investigate and consider indicting Bush, Cheney, Rove, Gonzalez and others.  Lying is perjury.  Lying to obstruct justice is obstruction of justice.  [See the e-ssay dated February 20, 2006 entitled “Perjury, the American Way”].  Using the passive voice (“Mistake were made.”) is usually an admission that one is actively involved in creating the mistakes.  Enough is enough; more than enough is enough.  Nixon should have been held accountable for Watergate; Reagan should have been accountable for Iran-Contra.  The situation in the world will get worse over the next 22 months under the best of circumstances.  However, the rate of deterioration can be slowed by purposeful action.  Cleaning house now is critical.

Halliburton, Cheney’s old company, is now fleeing the ship, the good ship United States.  The company is cutting and running and will be able to avoid paying what few taxes it is currently paying.  In addition, the company can hide assets and dodge any recoupment efforts for its overbilling of and fraud upon the United States taxpayer.  [See the e-ssay dated April 11, 2005 entitled “The ‘Ownership State’ and ‘Bush, Inc.'”].

Bumper stickers of the week:

Blind Faith In Bad Leaders
Is Not Patriotism

I Never Thought I’d Miss John Mitchell

Congress Should Increase Congressional and Judicial Pay; Shareholders Should Reduce CEO/CFO/COO Pay (March 5, 2007)

Posted in Market Solutions, Spending on March 5, 2007 by

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy recently testified that the salaries of federal judges should be increased to provide some competition with the private sector.  He points to the substantial signing bonuses paid to former Supreme Court judicial law clerks when they go to work with wealthy law firms.  Many young law students plan to retire on the federal bench.  The power and prestige are the most significant draws. However, the pay must be competitive or only the wealth will apply.  Raise their salaries consistent with his request.

Congressional salaries should also be raised.  The public is better off if the hired help is paid by the people rather than by the lobbyists.  Fifty thousand a year is a cheap and prudent investment.

Arguing that Congressional salaries should be increased is never popular.  After passage of a pay raise, every candidate running against an incumbent makes a stink.  To provide political cover, a commission should be established and the findings adopted by voice vote.  Commissions provide cover.

CEOs, CFOs, COOs and their colleagues are paid salaries and bonuses far out of proportion to their contribution to their companies and shareholders.  The contention that the companies must pay big money to attract talent is a chimera because there is no thriving market for the positions.  A small select group simply pays more to their management which provides an excuse for their colleagues/competitors to pay more and thereby to provide an excuse for other companies to pay themselves even more.  When the company makes money, for whatever reason, management issues huge bonuses.  When the company loses money, management continues to draw inflated salaries and/or parachutes out with a bucket of loot. The market is broken beyond redemption.

The government is not the player to challenges the salaries.  Large shareholder groups should simply dictate the pay.  The various state PERSs (Public Employees Retirement Systems) programs in particular should state that they will sell shares and not buy shares unless management sets salaries within a defined range.  All shareholders should vote on all executive compensation at every annual meeting.

Bumper sticker of the week:

We all live downstream