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Boobs, Bubba, & wrestling

As this school year began, I ran into an old acquaintance and he was nice enough to introduce me to his wife. The intro was unique, but not unexpected. “Brad’s the one that would write letters to the Editor…or you used to…”. So true. Like pressed khakis, dress clothes, crowded parties, wine coolers, bleached jeans, and relying on anyone for financial advice, I’ve given up on productive politics and the hacks & puppeteers who manage thier every move. Public and private airing of opinion has zero impact without a checkbook whipped out for results desired.

I’ve learned this cynical truth in various forms from a majority of elected “leaders”.  The sad reality is local, regional, and, most disappointing, nationwide with our Congress, which is primarily comprised of bullies or lemmings.  Clean house again next year and a new crop of each will emerge. The historic tradition of compromise & reconciliation is dead. The Gipper & Tip must be rolling over these days.  Reagan offered amnesty to 3 million illegal aliens, sense he was a realistic person and bigger  leader. This White House & Congress set up epic annual battles with unrealistic budgets, trillion $+ annual deficits, and inevitable debt-ceiling wrestling matches.  Today’s politics is more like a sport. Winners, losers, and fans cheering on each sideline. But, a football analogy would be too kind.

Today’s politics here in our hometown, in our state house, and in DC resembles professional wrestling more than any sport. Neckties replace masks. Nice suits replace tights. Past that, its the very same egos, testosterone fueled angst, and an endless search for ultimate domination in our politics. Not results. Not greater good. Not sacrafice of any sort. Just re-election. That’s the perpetual goal of most elected officials.

Our federal government hit the mat yesterday and each opponent is blaming the other for throwing the good fight. Sad, but typical.

It’s no wonder why so many other countries look so much more healthy & positive for frustrated Americans and ex-pats.  After a year of research, I’ve realized that there are far more healthy places to call home someday.

This week has proven again why a few banana republics offer greater economic & political stability than our birthright of a country.

Where are our Gippers & Tip O’Neils of today…dead and long gone, it seems. Cheers.


2000 redux. No joke. Sad.

Is this 2012 or 2000? Twelve years wasted by two guys I voted for. I gave up today. No vote. That’s my privilege. My passport is ready…

I’m proud of the fact that I’ve pretty much stopped watching all cable news shows and all the minions that derive from those shows.  I’ve even enjoyed  my own personal ban on watching the political conventions over the summer and presidential debates this fall.  It may just be that I’m tired of the “take our country back” thing.  Are Americans really trying to take this country back from something evil or are we trying to take this country back in time?  It’s another rhetorical question. 

However, I’m going to give the rhetoric a shot.  I won’t give evil any credibility in this blog.  No evil  people rule our country right now. Just people. That’s all. Just human beings. Flawed as they may be.  Thus, let’s take a look at taking America back in time, to a much better time and place.

I can only assume that we want to look at the last 100 years or so and not prior to that. I think that the indoor plumbing, less disease, really good life spans, & lower infant mortality century is probably the best place to start.

Do we want to take America back to the horse and buggy era?  Probably not. Henry Ford knew what he was doing.  What about the Roaring Twenties with that fun, free loving, drinking, just do what feels right time…in other words, the 1990’s.  Both decades experienced great economic times, great fun and faux wealth generated, and a huge bubble that was about to pop in a very big way.  Shall we go there again?  How about the thirty’s and forty’s with the Great Depression and World War 2?  We call those folks the greatest generation for good reason. No joking there. Do we possibly want to take America back to those significant challenges? 

Hey, the 1950’s! That was a time of peace and prosperity the likes we will probably never know again!  Oh, but, let’s think about our children huddled under their school desks trying to fend off a nuclear holocaust.  really?  The Cold War probably did make people shiver just a bit.  No thanks.

Oh, but those swingin’ early JFK 1960’s…love songs and cigarettes and booze…you know, the Rat Pack thing.  classic.  The kind of era that leads to fantastic liver disease, hearty melanoma, lung cancer, and, worst of all, an excess of ex-wives to torture us. No thanks.

Baby Boomer alert!   Do you remember that America of the late 1960’s & early 1970’s and, really, all through the depressing 1970’s?  Failure of real leadership was all around us, plus high interest rates, gas lines, plus terrible economic conditions…and….disco.  Need I go on?   

The next decade was my favorite. Actually, it still is my favorite…if looking backwards is healthy. Ronald Reagan was the grandfather I never had. He was a hero to me as a child and still is as a middle age man today.  That very decade may never be repeated, since we just don’t have any leader right now who can bring opposing sides together for a consensus and actually move America forward in a constructive and fiscally responsible way. 

Much like the 1920’s, the 1990’s came with huge growth, explosion of faux wealth, and then a big ol’ bubble that just had to pop!  But, enough about Monica Lewinsky. Let’s talk about the 2000’s.

“Help is on the way!” That was the sign that was in my yard through the 2000 election process and even through those 42 days or so I remember into December, as we couldn’t figure out who our next  president would be….yikes, what a decade that followed.  Past justifiably blowing up a country that attacked us, we went into a war that really wasn’t necessary. And we’ve lost thousands, if not tens of thousands of lives, in the process of senseless war.  Is that the America we want to take back?

Now, here we are. Hope & Change, part deux.  Re-elect Prez No Hope …or…elect Prez No Change.  That is our choice, it seems.

I do believe that I will take door number 3, Monty!  (1970’s game show reference, y’all).  I simply choose not to vote for either guy. I know. I know. Many men and women have died for my right to vote. However, I see any sacrifice on my behalf as simply offering me the ability to not vote, if I so choose.   That, my friends, is real freedom. 

I have no desire to take America back from anyone, anything, nor any ideal that we imagine was better than where we are today.  I just have a remarkable desire for my kids to grow up happy and healthy…and for anyone, who wants to find their new America,  wherever that be… in Central America, South America, or the America we all know here in North America…to each his or her own.

Rest assured, there’s no taking back of America in any way, shape, or form.  America is always a work in progress. 236 years of remarkable performance, lacking, succeeding, starving, thriving, and whatever else you want to throw at it… and here we are.  No one leader can possibly fix what ails us, as a nation. There are hundreds needed to seek consensus in Washington DC. There are thousands more in state capitals all across America. And millions of Citizens who can make real things happen for real change. It’s not about 1 guy in the White House.  

This first Tuesday in November, 2012, will have no effect on the destiny of America. The Destiny of  America is determined by its people. And its people can find its own America in its own little home towns or somewhere in some country of Central America or whatever America you wanna make wherever you want to make it.  Horace Greeley said “Go West, young man”, way back in the day. But, today, it’s go wherever life takes you, young man. Go find your freedom, wherever it maybe. Go find your success, wherever it maybe. Go find your love, life, and pursuit of happiness for your family wherever it may be, young and not so. 

Let’s not take America back to anything. Let’s just take our own America, whatever that may be, to a much better place.

God’s speed. God’s speed, to you all…wherever He may lead you.

p.s. timely link. Heady read @NYTIMES :


Emancipation….no, really….

Emancipation. That word has almost a singular meaning to most  Americans. You know. That part of our history that we don’t want to think about. That part where President Lincoln emancipated a group of people that shoulda been free to begin with.  This week, that word took on a totally new meaning for me.  A new meaning that almost motivates this guy to drive all the way to a particular state capital and kiss a particular old governor on the lips….but, I digress. 

We really should be free. This country was billed as the “land of the free”.  This week, according to our current vice president, we are headed back to slavery in one form or another if the wrong guy is elected to the White House.  Politics is a really funny thing sometimes. 

To what extent it can be controlled, the election is not about tax returns, who’s better in the White House, who’s more American, etc…this election is truly about who’s facing reality and who’s not. 

Politicians are quick to condemn those who don’t live within their means over the last few years yet will not to face the fact that the government has not lived within its means for 15 years.  Typical politics and hypocrisy go hand in hand right off the fiscal cliff that everyone’s talking about today. 

Mitt Romney doesn’t have to release his tax returns to prove what kind of successful businessman or shrewd ROI guy he is. We all know that. We also know the real hope and change is really hard to come by. So the President has no credibility with his record of little change and very little hope.

In the words of Joe Biden himself, we need to “unchain!!!” America in more ways than one and believe in people to do what they can do to make their lives better… better for their family, better for the community, and better for the country, as a whole.  

As individuals in this country, we need to unchain ourselves from stuff. Stuff.  You never own stuff. Stuff owns you.  That is a fact. 

If we can eventually elect the right people who actually balance rugged individualism with a level of government  only for the most basic safety nets & promises fulfilled… well, we will have a future for this country that’s promising, hopeful, and delivers real change we really need.

That’s the emancipation that every man, woman, child, and business needs in this country very soon.  Alas, I think we’re 4 to 8 years away before any reality check really hits Washington DC. That’s why Panama, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Belize seem so darn attractive to me. 

As for this election in 2012, I’m not holding my breath and you shouldn’t either.  

Find your own emancipation! 

Bedwetters unite! Brilliant.

“The Bedwetter Caucus” via WSJ editorial page today

“That didn’t take long. Much as we predicted last week, the Republican Party’s Bedwetter Caucus has emerged on schedule to explain why Mitt Romney can’t possibly win the election with Paul Ryan on the ticket.

“GOP pros fret over Paul Ryan,” reported Politico, the website with perfect Beltway pitch, on Tuesday: “In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives—old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike—the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election.”

Mr. Romney’s catastrophic blunder, it seems, is that he chose a running mate who does more than talk about reforming government. He’s really tried to do it, and this is simply not done in Presidential politics.

“I think it’s a very bold choice. And an exciting and interesting pick. It’s going to elevate the campaign into a debate over big ideas. It means Romney-Ryan can run on principles and provide some real direction and vision for the Republican Party. And probably lose. Maybe big,” said one of the “pros,” Mark McKinnon.

Since advising George W. Bush, Mr. McKinnon has moved on to co-found “No Labels,” an outfit that claims to promote the Golden Mean in politics. A better name for the group is No Principles, so it’s understandable he’d be uncomfortable with a conviction politician like Mr. Ryan. But give Mr. McKinnon credit for at least going on the record, unlike the other worry-warts.

Republicans who believe in something can console themselves in knowing that these “pros” are reflecting the Washington conventional wisdom. Nearly everyone in the Beltway thinks it’s impossible to reform entitlements like Medicare, and or even to restrain the size of government, so why would a candidate be foolish enough to try?

This crowd is good at forecasting the political future as a repetition of the past and present, but as Irving Kristol used to say, they aren’t very good at predicting the turns. We’ll see if this year is one of those turns.

Meantime, the “pros” willing to shoot their candidate in the back are one more reason that voters have contempt for the political class, and why most Republicans who don’t live in Washington are delighted with the choice of Mr. Ryan.”

A version of this article appeared August 15, 2012, on page A12 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Journal

The war to end all wars…

We watched “The War” from Ken Burns last night on PBS.  The last in the series only he could deliver.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “the greatest generation”, as Tom Brokaw would put it.  That descriptor has offended me.  Not so much anymore.   Honestly, I do think of that generation as the last great generation of America.  No other generation since has sacrificed, suffered, loved, hated, and driven America to be better than any country in the world!  None!  Google it! 

That generation fought world wars, rationed their food, did jobs they never thought they would do, lived and died for America, did things that we cannot imagine today, et cetera et cetera…

That generation also offered a better life for those living in poor houses, protected senior citizens from dying with no dignity at all,  and engineered minimal social welfare for those who needed it the most.  FDR knew what he was doing. 
It was only future generations that screwed the whole thing up. Just a few generations removed and we have a bloated social security tab, a medicare funding nightmare, and every juicy entitlement and nation-building program known under the sun…plus, half of America pays $0 and/or profits from federal taxes each year.

This is not about one President, any Congress, any election, any new law, or a half a dozen of any of those.  It’s simply about the greatest shift from a great generation long gone to the lesser generations, the generations that cannot handle it, the generations of materialism and “what’s in it for me?”

The new war is on. The war to end all wars.  Think about the last 25 years.  One entire generation ago, back in 1996, our unusual President was working with a difficult Congress to balance the budget and even create a surplus for America.  Ahhh, those were the days. 

Since then, we’ve had 2 presidents create wars, fight secret wars, do whatever they wanted to do….wars,  wars,  wars…foreign and domestic…adding trillions of dollars to our national debt that we will never, ever, recover!   Pick Prez Obama or pick Mitt this November and you’ll still have $25,000,000,000,000 in debt by the time his term is up. And, China thanks you.

It’s a new war on liberty that neither the White House, nor CNN,  nor Fox News,  nor MSNBC wants to talk about.   This extreme partisanship that’s crumbling our national infrastructure, totally annihilating any fair tax base, and bloating our entitlement programs beyond belief…the new war is now!

Who are our new generals to fight this war?  My simple, educated guess would be the GenY and latter generations.  No other generations have been victims of the me-generations, divorce epidemics, and “if it feels good, do it” mentality to realize what’s really important in life.  Maybe these generations are America’s salvation?  We shall see. 

I sincerely hope so. God’s speed, young ones. 

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