Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why President Obama Ordered 300 Special Forces Personnel to Iraq

Three hundred Spartans held off thousands of Persians for three days at the Battle of Thermopylae in summer 480 BC to buy time for Greeks to mobilize their defense against Persia.  Perhaps the 300 U.S. Special Forces all descend from Sparta and they, too, will hold the line against ISIS (ISIL) 40 miles north of Baghdad to allow the main forces opposing ISIS to mobilize (but not pay the ultimate price of the Spartans).

Themistocles, Athen's naval commander, subsequently defeated the Persian navy in late 480 BC at the Battle of Salamis, followed by a Greek army thrashing the Persians at the Battle of Plataea in 479 BC.  The main forces opposing ISIS--Iraqi militias, Syrian air and ground forces, Iranian Revolutionary Guards, U.S. air forces, and other anti-ISIS military--can counterattack, recover all territory held by ISIS, and end the global threat from these ultra-jihadist rebels.

Makes sense?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy

They first make mad with delusions of democracy in the Middle East (save for Israel).

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Memo to Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren

You had Hillary Clinton at your disposal for 30 minutes overlapping your shows on June 17, 2014.  Neither of you asked the one question that Hillary has never answered.

Where were you and what were you doing between 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM the night of the attack on the U.S. Benghazi consulate that killed our Ambassador and three other Americans?

Was it because that if you did, and if Hillary Clinton becomes the next U.S. president, she will cut off Fox News from any other interviews?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Five More Easy Steps to Government Of, For, and By the People

1.  Any federal government official who does not obey a court order (save for an appeal) within 30 days shall be removed from office and banned for life from any other federal government employment.

2.  End costly presidential entourages (two jumbo jets, helicopters, limousines, security personnel) to annual international meetings that accomplish little more than photo-ops and lowest common denominator statements of cooperation. These include the G-7, G-8, G-20, G-35, Asia-Pacific Conference, NATO, United Nations General Assembly opening, and so forth.  Lower-level officials can attend meetings at vastly lower cost and work out the details for a joint statement.

3.  Congressional leaders (Speakers, Majority Leaders, Opposition Party Leaders, and Committee Chairs) shall be term limited.

4.  No Member of congress shall chair more than one special hearing a year to prevent the excessive politicization of important matters.

5.  Congressional hearings shall consist solely of questions directed to witnesses by members and their replies.  Members shall not make opening, politically-charged statements.  All testimony shall be submitted in advance and posted on the Committee’s website before hearings begin.  Any violation of these rules shall preclude the Member of Congress from chairing another hearing for the duration of the Session.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Five Easy Steps to a More Open, Transparent, Limited Federal Government

1.  Limit each congressional bill to one subject.  No riders, amendments, or attachments that are not integral to the subject shall be included.  Any member of Congress who attempts to attach a non-integral addition shall lose his/her right to introduce legislation for the remainder of that Session.

2.  Limit each Member of Congress to introducing one bill per session.  Any member who attempts to introduce more than one bill, even if the first bill fails to be passed into law, shall lose the right to introduce legislation in the next Session.

3.  After 10 bills are passed into law in any Session of Congress, every subsequent bill enacted into law shall require the repeal of a law whose costs shall equal that of the estimated costs of the new legislation.

4.  Congress shall enact new penalties for federal government officials.  Any head of a federal agency or department who fails within sixty days to produce documents requested by a congressional committee charged with its oversight shall be removed from office without pay or pension and precluded for life from any other federal employment.  His/her successor, the number two person in the agency shall have 15 days to comply or face similar punishment.  The process shall continue until all political appointments in that agency have been removed from office.

5.  Any government official lying under oath to Congress shall be removed from office without pay or pension and precluded for life from any other federal employment.

6,  All five measures shall be adjudicated within 72 hours by an Independent Panel of seven American adult citizens that excludes all members of Congress, the Executive Branch, the Judicial Branch, and their employees.  Except for reimbursement of expenses, panel members shall serve for a maximum term of three years without pay and thereafter be precluded for a minimum of five years from federal government employment or eligibility for federal contracts.

(Details of the panel’s selection shall be presented in a subsequent post.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

China Grows, America Stagnates, Europe Declines

For the past few years, most Western “China experts” have predicted China’s Imminent Collapse (CIC).  They cite heavy investment, high savings, dependence on exports, rapid credit creation, property bubbles, declining trade surplus, capital controls, corruption, and so on.

While down from 9-10% growth rates in previous decades, China still grows at 7.5-8%.

How can this be?

The recipe consists of  hard work, rigorous study, personal and national ambition, trial-and-error policies, with an overriding emphasis on growth and jobs.  Sound policies coupled with competent leaders have unleashed the productive potential of the Chinese people, which had been suppressed by the ultra-leftist policies of Mao Zedong.

As China grows, America stagnates and Europe declines.  American businesses and individuals are heavily taxed and regulated, and successful individuals and enterprises are denounced for being productive and seeking profit.  Meanwhile, the number of individuals on government disability has passed 10 million and 5% of the adult population has dropped out of the labor force. A third of university graduates live with their parents.  K-12 education shows no improvement.

European prospects are downright depressing.  It’s ironic that Frenchman Thomas Piketty’s book on  “Inequality” has become a global best-seller, surpassing 300,000 sales.  Amazon can barely keep the book in stock.  Piketty calls for 80% marginal tax rates on high-income earners and redistribution of wealth to reduce inequality.  If adopted, these measures will worsen Europe’s failing “social market economy.”  In the European Parliament elections of late May 2014, voters rejected Piketty’s ideas in France, Britain, Denmark, and other European Union countries.  European leaders are mouthing tax cuts and less regulation as solutions to decline.

Europe is a continent of monuments, museums, churches, and castles served by high-priced hotels and restaurants, hardly a foundation for growth and jobs.  Good thing that Chinese tourists are visiting Europe in ever-rising numbers.  (The proprietor of Thoughtful Ideas, who travels frequently to Europe and speaks passable Chinese, has been watching this trend for years.)

At 7% growth, China’s economy will quadruple in 20 years, far surpassing the combined output of America and Europe.  Who would have thought this possible 30 years ago?