Wrong Turns on Major Problems at Year end

The news  late in the year seems to be filled with actions which if not handled well could lead to decades of  loss and danger.  Our confusion as to goals and relationships in the middle east highlighted by the Khashoggi murder, a Federal judge declaring Obama Care unconstitutional bringing healthcare front and center and the Harvard discrimination case shining light  on  discrimination against Asians all need close attention.

The dilemma posed by the apparent murder of  the Saudi Journalist
Jamal Khashoggi for the United States was all too predictable.  After all, in our posts SSSHHH! A MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT  and SSSHHH! MORE MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT  we warned committing completely to either the Sunni or Shia blocks in the Middle East was not in our interest.  What was in our interest was letting the Moslem civil war continue to exhaustion.  Neither side shares our values. Both operate in a different world of times gone by.  As we have pointed out, we have important interests in the Middle East, the survival of Israel, prevention of minority genocide, our relationship with the modernizing Kurds and the free flow of oil.  The ascendancy of either side in the Moslem civil war would continue and probably worsen the threat those interests.  While our present arrangement with the Kurds in Syria isn’t quite what we recommended, it shows what could be accomplished by a Kurdish connection. For a small (2,00+troops) contingent, we control nearly  a 1/3 of Syria ,blocking an Iranian land bridge to the Israeli border. This earns us a seat at the table over the future of Syria and by extension the middle east.  Many people have gained a measure of safety. All this is imperiled by the Trump administration. First by tying itself much to close to the Saudi crown prince strongly associates us with his odious policies.  We can back the Saudis against Iran without  condoning the actions of a medieval monarchy.  Instead, Trump wants an immediate withdrawal of all our troops in Syria. This would be disastrous to our now favorable position. It would stab the Kurds in the back and by extension expose minorities such as Christians and Yazidis to genocide by a reconstituted ISIS or other radical Moslems and bring Iran’s Shia coalition right to Israel’s border.  By giving a great victory to Putin, it could well encourage him in other dangerous adventures. This is the direct opposite of what we have advocated. If the administration continues down this road, it will not end well.

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To a More Thoughtful Future

As we approach the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, we hope to introduce a little logic, common sense and a different perspective in dealing with some of our pressing problems real or perceived. Reality however seems to be sorely lacking in so many important policy areas.  Take climate change for instance. Two threads emerged lately from the climate alarmists, we face a dire economic future because of climate change and it’s already too late to do anything about it.  The economic doom forecast is based on the Fourth National Climate assessment.  Its prediction of a reduced GDP in 2090 has been heralded in much of the press as leaving our children and grandchildren with a very gloomy future.  Worse, Steven Mufson the energy correspondent for the Washington Post tells us it’s already too late to do anything about it. To be a successful religion the Church of Mother Earth (Pacha Mama) it must give some hope of redemption, but no we’re doomed.  Redemption and hope for the future will have to be found elsewhere.  Luckily, there is actually reasons for hope.  The theoretical physicist Stevin Koonan, who served as Energy under Secretary in the Obama administration doing the math points out the worse case scenario in the Climate assessment the economy would only put us “two years behind where it would have been absent man-caused climate change.”  Put that way the worse case doesn’t sound all that bad.

Will we really experience the worse case?  Maybe, but it’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow any good.  While governments  much as Canute with the tides have failed to stop climate change, people are adapting on their own to the perceived future.  The Wall Street Journal reports due to a longer growing season farmers in Northern Manitoba, Canada    are switching from wheat to higher yielding corn and soybeans.  Good for them.  Now we want you to go to a globe and see how much of the world’s land mass is above and below the respective 56th parallels.  A map while favoring our point (especially a Mercator Projection) would have distortions.  Increasing arable land is a good thing.  Also what treasures of natural resources will now become recoverable at a reasonable cost?  What is under all that Greenland Ice?  Not only may we have more access to stuff the world needs but for Canada and Alaska and others we will have the long sought Northwest Passage to move it all to the World Markets.  Don’t believe the Passage exists, book one of the 10 Best Northwest Passage Cruises offered by Northwest Passage Cruises and Tours.

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On to 2020

The 2018 midterm election is finally winding down weeks after the event.  As if we needed more reasons to be divided, the incompetence in some areas counting ballots fanned the flames of discord even hotter.  In a country depending on its elections to give government legitimacy, Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Florida replay of 2000 mess is just unacceptable.  Other places across the country such as Maricopa county in Arizona failed to tally in a timely fashion.  We have to do better preserve confidence and avoid the ugliness and lawyers that come from drawn counts and recounts.

Now that we finally have most of the results it’s a good time to ask  what did we get for the $5.2 billion spent? We surely haven’t come together.  We aren’t any closer to solving major problems. If anything with divided government and the 2020 election looming on the horizon we are even worse off.  The few areas where there is any possible agreement between the parties infrastructure and drug prices lean towards an even greater deficits and prices controls.  Even on these will the Democrats in the house be willing to give Trump any victories?  Will Trump give up the chance to run against a “Do nothing resistance congress” for some small agreements?  More likely the gravitational pull in both parties is to greater distance between the two.

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Thoughts 2 Weeks Before the Election

Three things came to mind as we close in on the midterm election.  1.  What must be a Democratic election nightmare, an expose from somewhere showing the women coming forward to tell lurid stories about the young Bret Kavanaugh were a put up job. 2. Healthcare is in the forefront but with no plausible solution from either side. 3. Picking a side in a Moslem religious war wasn’t great idea.

1. Weeks have gone by and zero additional negative claims or info has surfaced about Justice Kavanaugh.  Stranger we know little more about his accusers.  The last two accuser’s stories were so weakly supported even by the accusers themselves they were never taken seriously by most people.  Christine Blesey Ford seems to be in witness protection somewhere.  Yet all three were actively involved in an attempt to bring down a sitting federal judge.  The story has to be big enough to gather interest in how all this came about.  Possibly the fact most of the press was on the wrong side with their constant use of “credible accusation” throughout this spectacle may mean they have no stomach for possible further investigation.  Still among for those on the other side, the prospect  of finding the full story would be just too tempting to not follow-up. This has to be causing night terrors among Democrats and maybe some in the #Me Too Movement.

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A Pox on Both Your Houses

Lest someone think our ire over the Democrat’s actions during the Kavanaugh hearings have now caused us to support Trump’s Republicans let us state nothing could be farther from the truth.  Bad actions by one side doesn’t excuse the thoughtless ones of the other.  We know some Never Trumpers have loudly voiced support for voting Democrat in order to weaken Trump.  Big loses for the Republicans would be seen as a repudiation of Trump and pave the way to their ascendancy.  Just how giving power of any kind to a party where the principles due process and the presumption of innocence are replaced with its more politically expedient to believe an accuser.  Hundreds of years of developing the principles underlining our civil rights tossed aside for possible short-term gains. Joe Biden put it best when he said, “The question is not who Donald Trump is. America knows who he is. The question is, Who are we?’  The abandonment of our basic principles while encouraging mob action isn’t an attractive alternative.

This doesn’t make Trump’s positions on free trade, immigration, entitlements and fiscal sanity any more attractive.  Moreover, his demeanor has only attracted imitation from the other side to the detriment of everyone.  We will always have disagreements, but demeaning others leaves wounds.  At home and abroad long memories will recall slights and name calling damaging us far into the future. Wild unsubstantiated accusations damaging good people’s reputations won’t be soon forgotten either.  As we have said the two major parties are much more alike than they would have us to believe and we now have them competing as to which party can be uglier.

So long as the more extreme wings of the two major parties can control their party’s agendas they can’t help continuing down these dead-end roads. Visible problems will continue to be ignored.  Until a new major party dedicated to real problem solving appears, we fear the situation will only get worse.