On the Mattis Resignation

“Power corrupts, an old truism but why does it also make the powerful so stupid?  Their power schemes become unstuck in time, at cruel cost to other; then the powerful put their stupid important heads together and invent the next similar schemes.”
― Martha Gellhorn, The Face of War (1987)

General Mattis’s resignation letter is essentially a position statement on our larger strategy in the Middle East. I think I’ve made it clear that I’m no supporter of Trump, but I’m with him on this one.  I firmly believe that we are mired in a never-ending, no-win conflict in the Middle East. It is no-win, because it is essentially a battle for political power among the inhabitants of the Middle East which has raged for thousands of years. Clearly, there is an undercurrent of religious fanaticism, but aside from the occasional “true believer,” the religious bent merely serves the purposes of those who aspire to political power.

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On the Border Crisis

I am not anti-immigration, and I am certainly not anti-immigrant, but Trump Hate is clouding the position that the media and the Democrats are taking on the Central American “immigrant caravan” and the resulting border crisis.

The position of the Left is going to empower Trump and his supporters.  This is the primary issue he ran on in 2016, and he did it by creating ominous visuals of a crisis that didn’t then exist.  Now it’s real, and it’s spectacular.

Seventy-five hundred immigrants are attempting to enter California and require the State of California and the United States government to house and feed them while they await the outcome of their asylum claims.  At the same time, California is in the midst of its own crisis of recovering from the wildfires and the threat of further damage and displacement from mudslides and other lingering effects of that disaster.

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On Bloomberg’s Donation to Johns Hopkins

‘Noli equi dentes inspicere donati (Do not inspect the teeth of a given horse) – St. Jerome, The Letter to the Ephesians, circa AD 400

Earlier in the week, I came across a Washington Post article about Michael Bloomberg donating $1.8 billion to Johns Hopkins University, his alma mater.  I have been thinking about it all week, and I decided it was an appropriate topic for Thanksgiving Day.  The article discusses what the writer called the “problem” with Bloomberg’s donation.  The gist of the article is that Bloomberg should have given his money elsewhere, or better yet, given even more.  Forget about giving thanks.  Let me tell you how to give!

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On the 2018 Midterm Election

The “deficit hawks” as those opposed to Federal overspending and increasing the national debt are often referred to, seemed to have hung their hopes on a government controlled by the Republican Party over the last two years.  Guess what?  We have still accumulated national debt at an alarming rate with Republicans in charge of everything.  For anyone thinking the answer is something other than making more and spending less — Surprise! — that is the only answer.

I heartily accept the motto, — “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically.

-Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

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On the Kavanaugh Nomination

Our legal system is based on the premise that a person is innocent until proven guilty:  Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat – the burden of the proof lies upon the one who affirms not the one who denies.  This has been a basic tenet of our criminal justice system since the Supreme Court decision in Coffin v. United States, 156 U.S. 432 (1895).  The Court noted the principle dates back to Roman law, quoting Trajan, “better to let the crime of a guilty person go unpunished than to condemn the innocent.”  It is a matter of fairness due to the possibility of false allegations being made.

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On Free Speech

“My friend, for your three dollars a day, you have to listen to everything.” – Juror #7, 12 Angry Men (1957)

I’ve been amused by the statement made by Justice Kagan about Conservatives “weaponizing” the first amendment since I read it in a Vox article about the Janus decision earlier in the week.  The New York Times took up her mantle yesterday in this article.  The shorthand version:  when “we” use it for “our” purposes, we are defending liberty; but when “they” use it for “their” purposes, they are using it as a weapon to destroy liberty.

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On Civil Discourse

“Kids have what I call a built-in hypocrisy antenna that comes up and blocks out what you’re saying when you’re being a hypocrite.” – Ben Carson

So many want to blame President Trump for the lack of civility in society in general.  He is outrageous.  He should represent the office of President of the United States in a more appropriate manner.  But civility died long before he even became a political figure.  Hollywood has long pushed the limits of traditional decency.  Artists and writers have pushed boundaries for centuries.

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