Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Roots of constitutional government

Elsewhere I have two posts on this topic (part I, part II) taking a look at where the US Constitution gets some of its roots.  Those roots are much further back than just the Enlightenment Era and the post-Westphalian conception of how a State is to be run so as to allow individual liberty of religious freedom.  That in and of itself is a great advance in that the State as conceived in the post-Westphalian West is something that while it can have a general religious direction, it is not seen as a benefit to promulgate worship at a religion directed by the State.  With that said, post-1648 thought is built on preceding lines of thought and the direction Continental Europe would take between the slow retreat of the Western Roman Empire (ca. 500AD) and the 30 Years War is not the main thread that was followed by the old Roman Province of Britannia.

If the swapping of Roman rule for local rule happened anywhere the fastest it was at the outskirts of the Empire, which was Britannia in the North and up to the Rhine river and Germanic peoples to the North East.  The Germanic peoples and their close Scandinavian cousins (excepting the Laplanders in Finland who have a language closer to the Bosque in Spain) had territory under their domain that stretched as far as the Upper Volga river, as far south as the Danube, and then westward towards what we would call Switzerland and then north up to Denmark and Norway.  The retreat of Roman rule meant territory going back to local concerns and smaller tribes in this larger cohort of Germanic and Viking populations could then see such territory as ripe for plunder or trade.  The Roman Catholic Church tended to represent concentrations of local wealth when the Empire receded and those outposts became focal points for raiding due to the accumulated wealth.  Two peoples of what we would call Denmark, the Angles and the Saxons, saw the East of Britannia as being similar to their lands in climate and far larger for spreading out in expanse.  By the investing of local populations in moving to these new lands (as Vikings were doing in the area of Northumbria and York) permanent settlements of a new type and legal view got planted in that territory.

These Anglo-Saxons retained a Viking system of authority in government which rested not upon a King to make law, but a King to govern the law and be a part of the body of the governed.  Unlike Kings in Continental Europe, the Kings of Viking peoples were held accountable to the Thing, which is a once to twice annual gathering of local Law Givers to administer justice, settle disputes and then receive local problems to be taken up to the next realm of government at what we would call a 'county' level.  These ill-defined regions tended to have local governors that were Jarls or Earls, and amongst their gatherings of Law Givers one or two would go to the largest assembly of the Thing that would then present multi-county problems to the King and also tell of how the law was being administered.  Law was not so much handed down by the King as settled upon by this group and the King, and then it had to be administered at the more local levels which had representation at the highest level via the Law Givers.  As a later Swedish King would put it: No King is above the law.

The Anglo-Saxon tradition of local law administration also had a relatively unique piece to it that is one that we would recognize today.  Trials, as such, had a law giver but the actual judgment of guilt or innocence was performed by peers with no interest in the dispute.  Thus law was judged by a jury and administered by a Law Giver and to be convicted one had to be convicted by a jury of his peers.  This system of law had proven to be durable over time and allowed for local management of affairs in a diverse Kingdom and was also one that scaled well downwards until there was only one local governing area or shire, and upwards until it encompassed many disparate geographic regions (as under King Canute).

One major record for this consolidation of what would become Angla-Land in old Britannia, was The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (seen textually at the Online Medieval and Classical Library), sponsored by King Alfred the Great of Wessex.  It is of note that between ca. 500 AD and the rule of Alfred (871-899 AD) that the Anglo-Saxons now differentiated themselves as a different peoples from the Vikings and the Germanic peoples.  Linguistically and genetically they do source from those peoples, but through a process of inter-marriage with local tribes that survived and amalgamation with those tribes via the extensible shire and borough system (a burr or burg or borough being a small unit within a town that self-governs) the Anglalanders now had a National perspective.  King Alfred cemented this by commissioning The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle which would be kept in the common tongue (not in Latin) which would do two things: confirm that government was to be understood widely amongst the governed, and, more importantly, solidify what would become the English language in use and spelling.

National identity via commonly held government that is administered locally and having even the highest reaches of the government under the power of the law are all important and vital concepts in the formulation of constitutional government.  While constitutional government can often be 'in name only' and a sham used by a ruling organization that puts itself above the law, it contains the germinal seed of governing that goes quite beyond those who abuse it and remains as a reference point for the ideal that government is, indeed, something that is done in accordance to the people and in a way the people of a Nation understand.

With the expansion of English rule over the older Kingdoms such as Sussex, Kent and Mercia, and the absorbing of Viking groups in the regions of Northumbria and York, then into Scotland, the new system of government served at once to break down larger territorial blocks (into shires and newly placed fortified towns with boroughs) and yet retain Earls who would oversee these more local territories that used to be Kingdoms in their own right.  That would place tension within the English system all the way to Ethelred II, and would even see Kingdoms temporarily resurrected when one Earl or another would gain enough power to try and upset the current ruling order.

Even though this stuff gets written down, it is merely agreements that are renewed by Kings with their Earls who are locally powerful aristocrats but are accountable to local law.  The written form of constitution had not been put fully in place, save as these agreements, so that when Alfred agrees to have taxation that is only amenable to his Earls, he forms a limit to the power of the King (that is the State) in that realm.  Taxation, from that, must be something that is amenable to the representative aristocracy for a given region and, what would follow to the displeasure or some Kings, would that for there to be such taxation there must be representation.  The Monarch would have some areas of taxation left solely to the State under his control, such as admiralty taxes and port taxes, meant for use and maintenance of ports, protection of them and even raising a navy.  Over time and abuse those would also move into the purely representative realm as the precedent had been established early on under Alfred.

In our Constitution it is interesting that the Supreme Court with the case of US v Wiltberger (1820) (which I looked at in the context for piracy) establishes that the extent of reach for US maritime law via the admiralty goes to a time prior to King Richard II and (if memory serves) goes back to King William.  William of Hastings comes in at a point where there is strife between Ethelred II and his Earls, due to changes in taxation, raising of troops and other actions being taken that were seen as not holding to the agreements between the Earls and the King since Alfred.  Ethelred II had the unfortunate problem of being on the throne when one of the strongest Viking Kings, King Sweyn of Denmark, had set his sights on Angla-Land as the best place to expand Viking rule.  King Sweyn went far beyond prior Viking raiders of the prior two to three centuries, and actually established military encampments and localized rule in surrounding areas.  At the Battle of Maldon a diverse Kingdom under Ethelred II was represented to try and halt the expansion of King Sweyn's Vikings.  For all the glory and songs about Maldon, Ethelred II lost the battle and was on the way to losing his Kingdom unless he could come to some agreement with his Earls. King Sweyn took the day in 1013, the Kingdom and early in 1014 he died. That defeat and subsequent retreat to the Isle of Wight, meant that Ethelred II had to send his son Edward as part of the agreement to pull in his tax policies and otherwise moderate his imposition on the Earls.  Edward was, in other words, hostage to the agreement of 1014:

A.D. 1014. This year King Sweyne ended his days at Candlemas, the third day before the nones of February; and the same year Elfwy, Bishop of York, was consecrated in London, on the festival of St. Juliana. The fleet all chose Knute for king; whereupon advised all the counsellors of England, clergy and laity, that they should send after King Ethelred; saying, that no sovereign was dearer to them than their natural lord, if he would govern them better than he did before. Then sent the king hither his son Edward, with his messengers; who had orders to greet all his people, saying that he would be their faithful lord -- would better each of those things that they disliked -- and that each of the things should be forgiven which had been either done or said against him; provided they all unanimously, without treachery, turned to him. Then was full friendship established, in word and in deed and in compact, on either side. And every Danish king they proclaimed an outlaw for ever from England. Then came King Ethelred home, in Lent, to his own people; and he was gladly received by them all. Meanwhile, after the death of Sweyne, sat Knute with his army in Gainsborough until Easter; and it was agreed between him and the people of Lindsey, that they should supply him with horses, and afterwards go out all together and plunder. But King Ethelred with his full force came to Lindsey before they were ready; and they plundered and burned, and slew all the men that they could reach. Knute, the son of Sweyne, went out with his fleet (so were the wretched people deluded by him), and proceeded southward until he came to Sandwich. There he landed the hostages that were given to his father, and cut off their hands and ears and their noses. Besides all these evils, the king ordered a tribute to the army that lay at Greenwich, of 21,000 pounds. This year, on the eve of St. Michael's day, came the great sea-flood, which spread wide over this land, and ran so far up as it never did before, overwhelming many towns, and an innumerable multitude of people.

This would not be the first time nor the last time that the Earls would hold the King to account to them, and the Earls would also demonstrate that while a powerful Earl could reign in the King, other Earls would not necessarily let that Earl then drag the Nation into a civil war.

King Sweyn was capable, competent and ready to make local agreements to start chipping away at England.  King Canute, however, would go for everything and, in 1016, actually do that.  Even with the replacement of so many English Earls with Danish Jarls, often with the expediency of killing of aristocrats and nobles, King Canute would then do something upon ascending the throne in England and agree to the prior compacts between the King and the Earls.  Yes he did garner a lot of booty and outright cash from this, but he put a guarantee on the continuity of government which, with a number of his own people in place, would assure a relative calm for England.  Canute had the great fortune to do all of that before he was 20.  He would also hold Norway, Denmark, Brittany and almost every other Viking land and become the last King of the Vikings.  In doing that he sought to allow local law prevail in each place as a uniform code of laws was unsuited to such vast and disparate holdings by any Monarch.

So, why would King Canute agree to have limits on the power he could exert over taxation, raising of men at arms and such?

The answer is simple and it is what drew his father, King Sweyn, to England: it is rich.

All of that raiding, tribute, and the rest of it had a point and that point was that the internal trade system of England afforded a prosperous economy.  From the time of Vikings holding York at least until Alfred if not after, York was the second largest trading city in Europe and it was situated in what was England.  That put it right after Constantinople in trade wealth.  Trade wealth, however, is transactional in nature not put into monuments or into vast storehouses of gold, but moving from hand to hand in exchange for goods and services.  Taxation on such wealth can garner large amounts of funds for a State but that also puts the very trade, itself, at the peril of over-taxation.  If Vikings understood one thing, it was that while local people must trade, the place of trade could move and today's central trading spot could become a ghost-town if over-taxed.  Thus keeping in the traditional agreements, traditional tax rates and traditional restrictions on the power of the King was agreeable to Canute due to the wealth it assured via continuity of trade.

Prior to William the Conqueror the system of England is one that, while largely not adhering to the written law standards of Roman law, is something comprehensible to the modern reader.  In fact we begin to see the outlines of a number of vital features embodied in the US Constitution showing up as common practice agreements in England.

- Representative government and holding the governors accountable to the law.  If there is any feature of US law it is that those administering law are held accountable to the same law and the same standards of it.  That is a strongly egalitarian principle that seems to evade many other revolutions that claim to be about egalitarianism and yet put a ruling class that is unaccountable to the law into a governing role.

- Trial by jury is ancient in the Anglo-Saxon lineage and pre-dates the migration of the Angles and Saxons to Britannia.

- Limited State power via a representative class in the governing role is a form of republicanism.  Not called republican by name, but the essence of breaking down the power structure of a Nation State into separate realms of power to a judiciary, legislative and executive is, inherently, republican in nature.  While the roles of these areas were malleable and remain malleable, that they are present and distinct is easy to discern with the earliest of written agreements between King and Earls.

- Another vital concept showing up is federalism, although not named as such, the ability of local government to hold the next higher form accountable to it is one that is clearly demonstrated by Ethelred II.  In fact the power to raise armies is directly related to the agreement of those local parts of government to agree to their part of the agreement between King and Earls.  That is not a conflict between the Earls as legislative group (moderating taxes) but in a direct power relation in support of the Nation State from the sub-National level.  That and having local law givers and juries figure out if they like higher level law then puts a distinctly federal cast into a republican system, yet neither is named as such as this is just common practice of government.

These are powerful and potent concepts that the Framers of the US Constitution could rely on because they had been time-tested by 1787 having been in practice for over 600 years by then in England.  Far from being new, these were old ideas that were put into a constitutional and written framework which at once both regularizes and solidifies the practices.

What followed King Canute is the son of King  Ethelred II, King Edward the Confessor.  With the return of Edward came rising conflict between him and Godwin, Earl of Wessex, which would put England into turmoil but not open civil war.  In a matter of months the Earls would hold the King to account for the conflict between the two of them, and yet, when Godwin gets the upper hand, the Earls would then side with the King to put Godwin in check.  The idea was to keep a continuity of peace within England and to put the Earls in the position of being able to veto the strongest amongst them and the King as well.  These conflicts left the Kingdom weakened internally, even after the death of Godwin, with problems between the sons of Godwin with the earl of Mercia (which had been a Kingdom prior to its absorption into England).  Harold would have to deal with not just Tostig (Godwin's son in Northumbria), but in the year after his father's death in 1066 the agreement he had with William in Brittany and a Viking incursion near York.

Of these things only dealing with William at Hastings would prove to be too much and some of that brought on by a prior agreement with William after Harold had been shipwrecked traveling between Brittany and England.  The agreement to have William in power after the death of Edward the Confessor put into motion what would be known as the Norman Conquest under King William.

King William attempted to put a ducal system of nobility on top of the Earl/shire system that was then currently in place in England and even utilized the past agreements system to attempt a reconciliation amongst the Earls.  Although a few Earls did sign on to backing William, many did not and they found themselves chased down, executed or went into self-exile and lost power.  The Harrowing of Northumbria would be one of the worst parts of this and it would lead to a devastated region in England that would be later recorded in the Domesday book commissioned by William.  This is one of the great books that accounts for all property in England down to the last horse, cow and pig and is done so that King William can get an idea of just what sort of tax base he is dealing with.

By force of arms the Earldoms went down and the ducal system established military strongpoints under Dukes from William's extended family in Brittany.  With the ducal system also comes a different system of law enforcement, that being the position of sheriff who is also the tax collector for a given area under a Duke.  Along with these new systems would come the concept of the King's Land which would have different laws over it than the rest of the lands of England.  The King's Land laws would expand under William's son, William Rufus, so that even scaring a deer in the Royal Forest had a relatively nasty punishment attached to it.  During the reign of King William II the amount of land held in the King's name went up to 25% of all the land in England.

Under William II there would also be strife between the Church and the King as the King had the power to appoint Bishops and Arch-Bishops and when he decided not to fill a position, then the land and wealth fell into the hands of the King.  This was not the only concern of the Church as William II also kept close company with a male friend, produced no heirs and for all his martial skill appeared to be homosexual.

Thus amongst the common people and even yeoman class, there were problems with William II that started with the changes to the tax system via sheriffs and the encroachment of the King's Land via the Forestry Laws that were making life difficult for many.  Amongst the aristocrats and lesser nobility, the taste of what William I had done coupled with the evident land grab of William II put them ill at ease and an uncertain succession was in no one's interest.  And the Church had problems both on spiritual and practical grounds.  These were all problems which, no matter how well run other affairs of State were run, pointed to near-term problems that were not being addressed and some few were being made worse.  The death of William Rufus during a hunting accident left only his brother, Henry son of William I, as the closest claimant to the throne, although other cousins in Europe could also lay claim via kinship to William I and his wife.

If you were Henry faced with this, what would you do?

Would you continue the path of William II, your brother who had his problems put on display and was gaining ire amongst many classes in the populace?  This was the European path and it wasn't working that well in England.  Yet a stern and capable new King might just be able to solidify those gains and try to change the centuries old culture of England in two generations.

Would you try to put a cap on things and let an able relative take the throne (and the blame) for the turmoil that was coming and try to stand aside to save your own skin and, perhaps, offer a return to things only a bit less bad than they were under your brother's reign?

Would you take to the throne, and abase yourself before the Church (thereby crippling the treasury, or what was left of it at any rate) and then try to persuade it to be your interlocutor with the people?

Would you try to pull a Canute, re-affirm the power base amongst the nobles, withdraw much of the Forestry Law and coverage, assert the traditional role of the Church and undo what could be undone of the tax system your father put in place?

The time to act on any of these was short as even a relatively good sized war meant that the closest relative with a claim would be no less than a month away (with good travel) and no more than 6 months away (with major problems).  What Henry did was not only pull a Canute, but actually print up copies of what he was going to do and sent those to be read out in every town and village in England.  This would become The Charter of Liberties of Henry I and it would not only repeal many laws and tax systems, but also ensure the rights of the minor nobles and aristocracy for inheritance.  By re-establishing the seignorage on coin minting (if you brought in an ounce of gold you typically had to pay a certain part for the minting, or the King took that up as part of the cost of running things via taxation), assuring coinage, and re-establishing much of the traditional governing system, King Henry would, at a single stroke, win over everyone from the commoners to the Dukes and by utilizing the Church during his confirmation ceremonies and moving to restore Church lands and nominate Bishops and Arch-Bishops, put himself in good graces with the Church.  All of that meant that any other claimants to the throne faced a unified England under King Henry.

The Charter of Liberties of Henry I became heavily reprinted and later Kings would assure everyone that they held to that Charter which protected the liberties of conscience for worship, regular coinage, protection of property at least down to the level of Baron, and the local application of law to which all the aristocrats and nobles were also held accountable.  The framework that The Charter of Liberties of Henry I established became the template for the Magna Carta and for all later coronations of Kings and Queens of England and Great Britain.  It holds key pieces that would be put into the US Constitution and are recognizable as such.

One of the first is uniform coinage, which is a traditional way to assure a population that their trade is well regulated via consistent weights and measures.  That power was given to the US Mint and to a bureau of standards, and while part of many other legal systems, it remains a touchstone for the US especially now that the currency is no longer tied to precious metals.  A traditional way to re-establish a solid economy is to lay fears of devaluation to rest and that remains as true today as it did in the time of Henry I.

Another is the enshrining of the law above all people in the land, including the King.  Due process of law for inheritance and becoming penniless are given as powers to the US Congress via the Constitution and the concept of regularity of the law in its drafting and consistent application would become a major point in the centuries to follow in England.

Traditional, that is to say consensual, taxation is restored giving local government a say in the overall amount that could be taxed in the Nation.

Withdrawal of much of the Forestry Law becomes a major relief for the common man in England so that spooking deer did not cause one to be maimed, and was a major lesson to the Framers of the US Constitution in the necessary limits of land held by the Nation's State to require asking for its use and to enshrine that the land of an individual State actually belonged to it as it had to consent for usage for the common good by the National government.  It is an example of restriction of government from becoming onerous and abusive via confiscation of land by fiat and one that was worth regularizing in the US Constitution.

The Charter of Liberties of Henry I is not an actual constitution so much as it is a written agreement to a contract.  The people, as represented through their local and regional government, sets forth grounds for which they will be governed and restrictions on actions by the King, and the King then must agree to those terms so as to govern the people in the way they wish to be governed.  In fact all constitutions written by the people and proclaimed by them in overwhelming majority is just that:  a contract that any who wish to govern must abide by.  There are sham constitutions, those foisted upon a population by a ruling elite that then have no intention of abiding by it, or of having written themselves so many powers that the people of a Nation have no representation in government.  That is par for the course with human nature, after all.  What the US Constitution, in particular, has is a depth of understanding of just where the power for such a government comes from and that those who would govern are ultimately held accountable for their adhering to the contract by the people and their representatives.    The recourse for abuses and excesses is to find those that will stop such abuses and excesses and go back to the core basis of the constitution and re-affirm it not just in word but in substance.

The lesson of Henry and even Canute is that this is best done quickly, major portions of the abuses ripped out as fast as possible and as sharply as possible, re-affirm continuity of government so that those left out in the cold by the changes know that they don't have a recourse to change the system back, and then stick to that and pass it on as a durable lesson.  A once working government that has moved to excesses is found by trimming off the excess even if that means huge branches of the government, itself.  In return the continuity of the very basics of government tend to ensure stability, not chaos, which allows for further reforms and pruning to happen so as to get a well run and restricted government once more.  The other path, that of overthrowing the arrangement and trying to put a new constitution in place, is fraught with danger and, as Oliver Cromwell found, you often find your brand, new system emulating the old system you wished to end.  That points out that the actual requirement for continuity by a people of a Nation may actually be stronger than any new governing group or cabal may wish to think about.   Which brings into question just what it is that such revolutionaries are actually trying to do when what they end up with is little different than what they started with... wouldn't long-term reform have been a better path with less bloodshed?  And for those returning from a time of excess, there is much in the English tradition that points to less bloodshed, not more, from re-establishing a reformed government with sound and understood basis than trying to do something brand new from scratch.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Abolish the DNI

There are now news reports (Source: The Blaze citing CBS) that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) altered CIA information on the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack to remove references to terrorism.

As a member of the INTEL Community (IC) when the DNI was proposed, myself and my colleagues understood that it was a path to failure, not success.  Why?

Whenever a bureaucracy is put over a set of bureaucracies there are new fiefdoms for individuals to control (that is, areas of responsibility that get divvied up and individuals then begin turf wars for resources).  This is true of ANY bureaucracy, not just the DNI.

Why was the DNI formed?

In response to a Blue Ribbon Commission investigating the 9/11/01 attacks to find out how so much INTEL could not be coordinated between Agencies within the IC. 

The solution was NOT to remove barriers between common work areas across Agencies. 

The solution was NOT to spin up a cross-agency task sharking system so that INTEL could be shared at the Analyst level and work assignments done utilizing specialists across Agencies.

The solution was not to pare down an obviously inefficient set of bureaucracies to both make them more efficient and to punish such Agencies that had continually asked for more personnel to 'get the job done'.

These were NOT the solutions put into place.

Instead the DNI, a bureaucracy above other bureaucracies, each of those sub-pieces that would now need additional manpower to interface with the new bureaucracy, was created.  This is understood as a path to failure.

There is or should be an Iron Law of Bureaucratic Size for Oversight.  It would simply read:

Any bureaucracy that is increased with the goal to enhance oversight and efficiency instead reduces oversight, efficiency and accountability by requiring more bureaucracy between individuals and more individuals to point the finger at when something goes wrong.

That is what has happened with the DNI.

It failed, as an Office created to discern indications of terrorism, to correctly ID a terror attack after it happened with resources telling it that this was, unmistakably, a terror attack.

On 9/11.

The irony would be mirthful if there were not 4 Americans dead in the streets of Benghazi.

By the reason it was created, by the standards to which it was set to adhere to, the DNI has failed completely and utterly in its mission.

If you want a better working IC get rid of the DNI, strip out bureaucratic staffing at the GS-13 to GS-15 levels, and have the IC get together as working units to determine how best to address information gathering, processing, analysis and draw conclusions by removing fiefdoms and ownership over resources now bestowed upon Agencies.  What is needed to get a job done is best determined at the working level of the Analyst.  Agencies should have as their mandate the requirement to identify key skills and then SUPPORT THEM and recruit individuals to meet REQUIRED SKILLSETS to properly work through INTEL.

Make project heads accountable for their work product and grade analysts directly on the quality of it as seen by their USERS, not by their BOSSES.

Reward good work, efficiency and actually getting the job done correctly and to the end-user's satisfaction.

But above all else, if nothing else is done, get rid of the DNI as we are LESS able to ID terrorism NOW than on 9/10/01.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The deals, fiscal cliff and Weimar

When the Weimar Republic went into a tailspin it was due to outstanding debt (war debt from WWI) that it couldn't repay coupled with a hoarding binge set off by the need to actually feed returning soldiers.  Hoarding of food started the German Mark going on an inflationary spiral as the amount of food dwindled the price of the remaining food skyrocketed.  As costs rose the German government tried to cover that by printing more money, thereby devaluing their currency which then caused foreign debt holders to doubt the value of their debt assets as they were getting paid in money worth less and less because it was not pegged to the gold standard.  When that happened hyper-inflation set in to the point where you had to spend a paycheck when you got it just to get anything of value from your work.

Money is an exchange value of work put in to perceived value for final goods, after all, so when any government starts to print money they are saying: your work is worth less to you because we can't manage the value of the currency.  Because there is an inherent work valuation in finished products delivered to market, when more money is printed the goods are worth more, as well, which is inflation: it is more money trying to chase a set intrinsic value of work investment in goods production and when the currency is devalued then more of it is needed to get that intrinsic value.

When the foreign creditors came knocking the German economy imploded with hyper-inflation as the government tried printing more money to the point where you needed carts and wheelbarrows to get money to a store on the hour you were paid... yes you were paid by the hour at that point and the government had set up rationing of how much you were allowed to get, but that was meaningless when you couldn't buy anything.  Finally the German Mark was worthless and everything ground to a halt in Germany: the banks shut down, the industries imploded and stopped manufacturing, and the agricultural sector only got by if they could barter actual food for work.  Thus you had barter.

Welcome to the land of the US 'fiscal cliff' brought on to you by the debt given to you by the US federal government which went off the gold standard under Richard Nixon!

The US debt by our government is $16 trillion and growing at a phenomenal rate.  The annual deficit, per year, of the federal government is heading north of $1.5 trillion/year.  The Federal Reserve (that set of private banks the US government allows to handle our debt servicing for a fee, lucky them! and the printers of cash) are now inflating the US dollar under the guise of 'Quantative Easing' I, I II and a limitless III, with worthless cash now sitting in reserve to cover the US federal government's spending because, surprise!, no one overseas wants to buy it.  The largest holder of the US federal debt is the Federal Reserve.

What is the 'fiscal cliff'?  The inability of the US federal government to get spending under control and wanting to turn the US economy into the Weimar Republic by being unable to stop the red spread of ink to cover the stuff that can't be covered by taxes.  This was approached just after the prior election cycle and a deal was made to keep the economy going: raise the debt ceiling for more deficit spending in exchange for keeping tax rates where they were under what became the Bush/Obama tax cuts.  Now the debt ceiling is approaching, the deal is about to end and the tax rates are about to skyrocket taking another chunk out of the US economy to go into the federal bottomless pit.  Capital gains taxes will rise from 15% to 20%.  The Alternative Minimum Tax, set up to hit 'the rich' way back when, is not indexed to inflation and will go up to take in about 30 million citizens who are far and away just in the upper middle class to rich category.  Because everyone, to some extent, has money in the equity markets and capital gains are utilized to garner money from the growth of companies, all Americans will suffer.  Once the taxes are in place there will be less incentive to gain money from capital growth and less reason to increase wages and earnings due to the cost of running companies rising due to the Quantative Easing.

The rich get this hit, the poor get this hit, everyone gets this hit.  Income tax goes up in each bracket so the lowest bracket goes up from 10% to 15%, the middle class goes from 33% to 36%,  and the highest bracket  goes up from 35% to about 40%.  Some other cuts expiring are the child tax credit, some higher education expenses tax credits and FICA goes up 2% on every wage earner.  Added tax for Medicare goes up by 3.8% as well as the brandy-new Obamacare. The Estate Tax goes up.  You see?  Fairness!  Everyone suffers.

Net amount gained?  $440 billion

Because of the deal there are also some spending cuts, mostly to the military, which are a figurative 'drop in the bucket'.  The entire US military could drop out of the budget and you would still have over $1 trillion in deficit spending without 'the deal'.  The 99 weeks of unemployment goes back to 26 weeks... and good luck in finding a job, eh?

So while the US economy locks up, there is that other thing coming around again: the debt ceiling.

For the $2 trillion plus $440 billion and change the US government gets in tax revenue, it spends $3.5 trillion per year.   And if you did make the military magically go away as the Left keeps on wanting it to do, you would only have... $3 trillion in spending.  Needless to say there needs to be some military to protect the Nation and we can start shutting down bases wholesale overseas to trim just a bit more out of structural costs.  In other words due to the amount the Obama Administration has asked for in structurally increased spending, the expiring tax cuts would only lower deficit spending from $1.5 trillion to $1.1 trillion per year.

Now what are the major line items that the federal government will have to rack up?  First is servicing that $16 trillion debt:

Debt Service: $250 billion

After that the military.  Now lets take a 20% across the board hit plus a bit more and give every Leftists a wet dream just to paint the rosiest of rosy pictures for them and they can't say I didn't give them what they asked for:

DoD: $400 billion

Say that leaves $1.75 trillion per year!  Say did you know that Social Security (FICA tax) and the Medicare tax don't cover the cost of those programs?  They are both running in the red with SSA cashing out 'special bonds' which will increase the cost of our Debt Service line... but lets say that it doesn't just to keep things simple.  Now you would think that ANY GOVERNMENT should be able to do basic functions on that remaining haul, right?

First up paying up on SSA:

SSA: $880 billion

Ok, you are down to having a total of $870 billion of revenue to spend!  Geeze, can't we get by on that?  Next up are the M&M's, Medicare and Medicaid (sans Obamacare), which aren't bad but aren't all that hot, either:

M&Ms: $800 billion, approx. no one can give exacting figures due to Obamacare cuts and changes

For $70 billion you can now fund the rest of the federal budget.

Now to be fair, Obamacare rightly belongs with the M&Ms, making them the MMO, so lets add in that to get the actual cost change to the system:

MMO: $920 billion (again inexact as NO ONE has an idea of the TRUE COST of Obamacare)

Your $70 billion to spend now goes into a $50 billion deficit, red ink in other words.

The rest of the federal government has not been funded at this point.  Here are some relatively mandatory agencies based on what their functions are (although do regard them with a huge grain of salt as they are summaries and, unfortunately, the actual functions tend to be small parts of a bureaucratic morass):

Homeland Security:  $40 billion

VA:  $61 billion

State Dept: $48 billion

INTEL Community: $0.5 billion

HHS: $78 billion (the overhead cost in personnel and such  to run MMO)

Interior:  $11 billion (but they want to close the parks!!!)

Treasury: $4.7 billion (remember the Federal Reserve is a quasi-governmentally chartered organization, NOT the Treasury)

SSA: $9 billion (the overhead cost of personnel and such to run SSA)

Cost to run these parts that are Constitutionally required (in whole or in part) or to keep discretionary wealth transfer payments going is thus

Cats & Dogs: $255 billion

To fund the C&Ds with Obamacare gets a $305 billion deficit, and without it a $185 billion deficit.

Everything else (EPA, Education, Justice, Labor, HUD, Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Corps. of Engineers, NSF, SBA, all of this stuff) gets zeroed out and eliminated from the US federal government.  The big goose-egg for funding, but the property can be sold off to get a bit of revenue, which doesn't matter a lot, but gets you something.  Also the regulatory behemoth gets it right in the heart and topples over dead as a doornail.

If the agreement made post-2010 is actually kept for taxes and then the debt limit is NOT RAISED, then what to fund in the federal government becomes a very interesting proposition.  Take all the truly mandatory (as in specified in the US Constitution) stuff and you get, in spending:

Debt Service: $250 billion

DoD: $400 billion (unrealistic, but fun to tweak the Left with on their wet dreams)

Cats & Dogs: $255 billion

Absolutely mandatory, by the US Constitution required spending: $0.905 trillion

That isn't bad.

Cost of voluntary spending:

SSA: $880 billion

MMO: $920 billion (again inexact as NO ONE has an idea of the TRUE COST of Obamacare)

Total spending on Entitlements: $1.8 trillion

Total spending: $2.705 trillion (but probably more as these things go)

Total revenue from all sources: $2.44 trillion

Total deficit in 2013:  $300 billion (approx.)

And no other parts of the US federal government left outside the mandatory Cats & Dogs.

This is the sort of math that gets done if you don't raise the debt ceiling: you make hard choices of what to cut, and something else outside of DoD (which I gave the Leftists a wet dream on) and more taxes is the issue as that voluntary or discretionary portion of the budget is set to be the long-term budget buster as no one forecasts those outlays to go DOWN as a structural portion of the budget, but only UP and sharply upwards.  Remember that before Obamacare was factored in you had a $70 billion surplus before you got to other mandatory spending and that other mandatory spending would have given you a deficit of $800 billion without Obamacare.  There is no way to run any of the math on Obamacare and have it come out cost neutral or actually cut the cost of the government because it RAISES the cost of government.  That one CBO report was so rigged, so based on non-adjusted numbers and static (meaning it didn't take into considerations responses to the law) that it was a lie, pure and outright.  It just doesn't work that way.

So if you cap off spending you then have areas you must cut.  You can save a bit trimming at mandatory spending, but that is not the problem in this budget: 'entitlements' are.

Let's say that everything was capped and, say, Obamacare not funded, a bit of trimming at State, HHS (unfunded Obamacare), unnecessary functions at DHS (like the TSA) and Interior (like handing back land to the States to get rid of overhead functions) and you get a deficit neutral budget.  What happens, firstly, is the regulatory overburden from the rest of the government, plus the subsidies to do inefficient things (like corn based ethanol and 'green' energy) go away.  So does DoJ, which includes the FBI, BATFE, and a number of other functions all blow into dust and Eric Holder is out of a job.  Labor goes away as an agency, and so does OSHA and all the federal overhead with it.  The EPA becomes dry gulch of unsustainable regulations no one will enforce at the federal level.  After that the Cost of Living Adjustments for SSA and M&Ms might be frozen for a few years and harsh means testing put in place to get the upper middle class off of the M&Ms.

Basically it is saying to the States: you are on your own.

It also gives a major signal to the credit markets: the US is now serious about paying off its debt and can be considered a secure place to invest as we are no longer in the red at the federal level.

The Federal Reserve to liquidate its worthless cash then starts to jack up interest rates to, say, 25-30% for 4-6 years which has a two-fold effect of making loans for a number of banks nearly impossible to make, but also draws in external capital and cash to start funding companies in the US that are now unshackled from the federal regulatory monster (although the tax problem is a major one, still, that regulatory overburden will allow companies to free up their own capital to invest).  Unemployment goes up for 2-5 years as the job market expands and new entrants try to find positions in it and labor participation rates increase, and this is a GOOD THING, unlike now where labor participation rate is dropping which is a BAD THING.

The worst of all scenarios is just agreeing on anything like the path we are on.

A half-way decent agreement would be one to scrap Obamacare and all the stuff Obama has put in, for an exchange of another debt ceiling limit raise which will also be the LAST time and that will be made clear to everyone.  This gets a couple of years to restructure entitlements, roll back government slowly, and get the Federal Reserve to stop filling up the swimming pool sized punch bowl for us to drown in and pull out the plug on the monetary Debt Star.

The best of all scenarios is for the House to hold out that Obama asked for the cliff in exchange for a one-time ceiling hike, and now that he has gotten all the taxes he wanted, he should be smart enough to figure out how to fund the government with $2.44 trillion.  He asked for it, so give it to him.  If this is what all these bozos got elected on (and that is what the Left is saying for taxes) then the agreement MUST be good.  Hard medicine to go cold turkey on spending, yes.  But it is, after all, what was agreed-upon: the deficit addict goes cold turkey after one last hit on taxes and then balances the budget in one year.  The Left wanted, with a vengeance, the 'Clinton Era Tax Rates' so GIVE IT TO THEM and demand a return to CLINTON ERA SPENDING RATES and the CLINTON SIZE OF GOVERNMENT to boot.  They loved the Clinton era so much, then tell them to bring it ALL BACK on both taxes and spending.   You can formulate your own approach, but the basics are to get spending in line, kill regulations, put the States on their own and let them all know: no bailouts for you.

These idiots Upon The Hill I expect to be the worst of all possible people.



Debt Junkies.

And they HATE that your WORK is worth something to YOU and want to PUNISH you for being PRODUCTIVE.  They want to CONTROL YOUR LIFE from cradle to grave, take all you own and then have you THANK THEM for being so nice to you.

When you hear the words 'Grand Bargain' and it doesn't include any rollback, then you will have your answer if we are going Weimar or not.

No rollback: Weimar.

Rollback and government accountable to citizens: America.

I'm preparing for Weimar.

I am hoping for America, but hope is not a strategy, preparation is and sends a message all its own that is unmistakable.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Anomie and you

n 1: personal state of isolation and anxiety resulting from a lack of social control and regulation
2: lack of moral standards in a society
Source: WordNet (r) 1.7
an·o·mie [an-uh-mee]
noun Sociology.
a state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values, as in the case of uprooted people.
Source: Dictionary.com
This concept of anomie is one that is targeted at individuals who are the basis for society. Social isolation, societal removal of norms, and the result of them create a more isolated set of individuals that no longer work as a cohesive society. This trend pre-dates the internet and was worrying sociologists for decades long before you ever get to Facebook, Myspace or 'social media'. One of the causes for concern in those days was the concept of 'media' being an isolation system that left the individual with few tools to reach out on the problems of society. The telephone is person-to-person, the television, radio and film are one-to-many and neither of these offered the capacity to actually get mass interaction amongst individuals. What these shared were an isolating interposition of technology turning individuals into passive viewers of information or at least being able to deal with a single other person from the comfort of your kitchen or bedroom while talking.

Movies, while seen together in a theater, were only a 'social' event if you actually were able to socialize with others afterwards, and that was limited to art house venues or similar small venues that gathered like-minded viewers together and then had a post-viewing experience to actually share the experience and find out what others thought about that shared experience. Big Box Multiplexes, the multi-screen venue, and even the large and ostentatious theaters of the 1920's and 1930's, while having lovely settings, did not offer the ability to interact and even discouraged it by having the ushering of audiences out so the next one could then see the film.

Media, be it newspaper, radio, television, film, or any other process of presentation of information to a mass audience lacked the ability to bring individuals together to actually discuss topics: media is anomic to the individual by definition as it only presents information in a relatively static way and even the interaction with a known other on a telephone is not the same as being together physically.

Being INTP

INTP is a personality type derived from using the descriptive Myers-Briggs test(s) and is one of the earliest attempts to do this to help individuals understand just why they act, think and feel in the way that they do, and there is The Myers & Briggs Foundation dedicated to this task and resources to help you find out about what your personality type actually is. Actually there are lots and lots of MBPT tests out there, from quick and easy to the multi-session ones that take a few days. What you get are Type Indicators (MBTI) for your personality, which are rough outlines of what the basis for your personality actually is. This does not mean you adhere to it in all instances, in fact no one does because personality has many different modes of expression because of individuation, so that you have a unique personality type that is individual to you. While identical twins will often have many of the same personality characteristics, because they are individuated they will have slightly different responses via their personality that are distinct to them, even when having a high degree of similarity.

The rough basis of the MBTI is based upon dichotomies of personality preferences as expressed by individuals (that is not only expressed as in 'taking the test' but as how traits drive certain responses) that serve as the basic four letter encapsulation of one's personality. There are refinements to the test, yes, but they are refinements to the rough outline of one's MBTI. They are as follows:

Extraversion/Introversion (E/I) – Extraversion is outward turning, while Introversion are inward turning personality types. This set is first and primary and helps to determine the main social outlook of individuals via the MBTI.

Sensing/Intuition (S/N) – How do you perceive the world and gather information about it? The Sensing (S) person takes in what is around them via their senses and trusts that as this data has meaning in a concrete way. The Intuition (N) person takes in data and then abstract it and associate it with other information to find out how current information fits into a larger scale of information.

Thinking/Feeling (T/F) – These are judgmental functions of personality. Thinking for judgment allows for decisions to be made based on the rational factors presented by such data utilizing an understanding of interactions between events by rules such as causation and consistency within a given framework of known information. Feeling for judgment utilize empathy and internal weighting to attempt to get a harmonization of what has happened and consider such things within the framework of how it affects other people.

Judging/Perception (J/P) – These two are lifestyle determinates and they serve in reference to the other functions. Judging personality determinates have a preference to settle matters and for Extraverts can be the dominant mode of personality, while for Introverts it is an auxiliary to their personality to seek conclusion only after introspection. Perceptive types utilize the framework of keeping options open and that what is set today may not be the best way to do things. Again the driver for Extraverts with Perceptive is that openness to keep understanding open as a dominant function, while for Introverts it is an auxiliary function. For Introverts either of these can become a driver, but only when the internally understood worldview is unsettled by them.

As an INTP, then, these modes put the Introversion thinking as dominant to the Extraverted type, utilized a dominant Intuition perception over the inferior Sensing type, have a Thinking dominant and Feeling auxiliary judgmental type, and utilize Perception over Judging as an auxiliary to my Introversion personality type. I have a flexible world view that must have not just hard data, but have conformity between such data and known frameworks via abstraction of data for a coherent world structure.

Or, as one of the books looking at how often personality types put it, the INTP appears in less than 5% of the population and appears to be a space alien to everyone else.

Anomie and Personality

The vast majority of the population is of basic Extraversion type: gregarious, able to get along with each other, socially needing other people and generally those having a better time working with people than working alone.

Our media enforces just the opposite of that. As I see it (P) that is not in accordance with social norms (T) which creates a disassociation amongst individuals who are not temperamentally suited to such activities (N) and no good for anyone in such a situation (I). That is a worldview expression based on the information and derived abstraction of it utilizing observations of society and individuals to derive an end view that is open to change but serves as a foundational piece for then putting forth that something is horribly out of whack.

No good shall come of that.

The G.O.D. Theorem

The G.O.D. Theorem (as I call it, there are other names for it) is pretty simple: everything was better in the Good Old Days. If you watch any of Bill O'Reilly raging against the machines, you know exactly what I'm talking about, and his tirades against the use of modern technology is both deplorable and comedic, simultaneously. All this technology is killing society, is the short of the BOR rant, and it has been heard for ages about pool halls, pinball arcades, that decadent artwork that actually put perspective into paintings and the Waltz. All of that has been driving the morally upright society downhill, forever and this modern technology will be the end of us all.

Hey! I'm the guy who just said that no good will come of technology, right?

Yes, yes I am, but I am telling you in a bit more refined mode than BOR and NOT telling you pithy little tips of the day nor bemoaning about the harmful crudities of society caught on YouTube, not fit for children, save the teasers which show the worst of it and aren't fit for children, but you don't tell anyone about those. That is a bit on the hypocritical side utilized to build audiences. Building an audience that sits isolated in their homes, watching the program... on a machine... which is evil in the BOR mindset. Don't ask me how that works, I am clueless.

No, what I am pointing out is from my prior bit on the media as a dissociative factor as it is meant for passive or at most response only interaction. Both of these put individuals in isolation and passive response, very much like the educational system that emphasizes 'learning' (passive intake of information) instead of critical thinking (analyzing information to put it into a contextual framework). That dates back to the 1920's and the Progressive movement's March Through the Institutions where Progressive thought would be pushed out at every venue available to disrupt the coherent society and reform it into a passive edifice under hierarchical control. The modern schooling movement of the late 19th and early 20th century helped to foster this as did the Dewey Decimal system which attempted to order information and teaching along strict 'scientific' lines (that is to say lines that Progressives liked, instead of lines towards creative analytical thought).

The main institution for this societal change would be via politics and that meant having to break up the old internal party structure and put in a Boss (top-down) based system. This would be utilized to slowly remove the easy association of individuals to their local party system and seek to support apparatchiks over true representatives at all times in all political venues in each political party. By utilizing governmental power granted to it by the people, government would then begin remolding the people and society to the ends of those who controlled government, who saw themselves as 'enlightened' and you as ignorant. These were the idea put forward by Edward Bernays via the conceptualization of Propaganda which he gained from his advertising background. If you want the man to blame for getting women to smoke, it is Mr. Bernays.

Edward Bernays saw that the subversion of choice preferences for goods could be translated into politics. In politics advertising would be utilized to 'shape' opinion and form it within society to the benefit of those benevolent know-it-alls that should be the ones ruling over you and making decisions for you. He worked with Woodrow Wilson and others and only came to realize what he had actually created after WWII and the explicit use of internal Propaganda by the Nazi Party to have passive social distancing of society from the death camps be put in place after years of advertising against Jews as a whole. And yet that end is not out of the normal course of events when society has individuals get a feeling of isolation, powerlessness and a morally perverted sense pushed at them as 'normal'.

That is anomie.

And it is pushed by the passivity of the educational system, the power structure of the political parties and sustained by socially anomic media that discourages physical interaction save for the most base sort of sexual distraction. This enforced isolation and lack of external social contacts in a real, physical way leaves those using Extraversion with few outlets and those that are left are the most base sort and encourage no thinking whatsoever.

If you have a personality type with an E at the beginning, then you are the target and you are not temperamentally suited by your personality to handle enforced Introversion. This is done with malice aforethought since the late 19th century and the goal is to reshape society but its actual outcome is to liquidate society and remove moral and firmly rooted concepts for the basis of society from individual support. You are isolated and taught to be docile, to have an imposed exterior mental framework of pre-decided moral relativism fed to you, to have any moral standard run down, to no longer invite critical thinking about societies and their relative value but to put forward that all societies (even those that encourage infanticide) as being 'equal' and that you are powerless and should only entertain the most base thoughts towards your fellow man.

I am an Introvert and know how to handle my own internal world domain and situation. Self-imposed isolation and having few friends is not a problem to me and gives me leeway to decide just who is and isn't a friend and doesn't leave me grasping at any 'Friend' in the cyber-way as a means to uphold my personality needs for Extraversion. Because I have a firm reference basis built up of observation and yet one that is flexible to all of mankind, I can utilize my auxiliary traits to understand just what the goal and object of such things are. I can then utilize an understanding of history and tell you that enslavement is the BEST end scenario for individuals at the end of this and the total decay and collapse of modern civilization the WORST end for this scenario. And I can reference at least 3 'Dark Ages' (pre-Ming Dynasty China after the takeover by non-Chinese creating social isolation, Late Bronze Age with Egypt, the Hittites, Achaean Greeks and arguably all those effected by the Sea People, and the end of the Roman Empire) to demonstrate that enforced isolation (social or physical) means that individuals are ill-prepared for what comes when their world is reshaped by external events.

Note that this is Perception talking not Judging: the interior framework of world understanding that I have must have a high degree of correlation to the exterior world so that I can survive. I am willing to do the hard work, hunt down sources no one is even willing to talk about to find answers and I share them with you and encourage you to seek them out, read them, and then examine your own internal worldview to see if where we are in the modern world can come to ANY good end. What I do that is more than BOR is to hand you alternatives, outlets and other means to deal with things, although I also encourage you to get out to coffee shops, go out to see real, physical friends and to really think long and hard about your social valuation structure.

Family, Friends, Associates

My basic structure for social needs and interaction on a personal level are simple and stated above.

Family, first – these are the closest associates you have and biology is only a part of it, as this also includes those others that you have mutual agreement with to share the most personal aspects of your life. If Marriage is the basis for the Nation, then Family is the first social structure of the Nation we make. You can't help the family you were born into, but you can help who it is you pull in close to you in your life. If you value your online 'Friends' that you have never met, that you have never physically associated with, that you have not shook hands with face to face, then, not in a Judging way but in a Perceiving way, you have a problem. I am not here to Judge you, I am here to say that you social structure and Extraverted nature is being used to isolate you and this will cause you to be dependent on the first thing offered to you. It is intentional, malicious and means no good end for you... that is the framework and pattern you get when you passively allow these things to happen to you. You are in extreme danger, personally, and by not being an active part of the physical society, you are part of the destructive Progressive methodology to control even you cyber 'Friends'. I'm sorry if I'm the one that has to break this to you. There is good in having such 'Friends', but only if you actually invest time, effort and real physical location displacement to meet them and understand them directly, physically, as individuals.

Friends, second – the real thing, the ones where you get in a horrible accident, the family is on vacation and have just one or two people to turn to for help. The person who will get to the hospital to see you. The person that will bail you out of jail, give you a ride home, and tell you that you don't have to pay them, just do your duty to show up and they will stand by your side. That person is a FRIEND. And as someone who has gone friendless most of his life, I can tell you that such a person isn't to be passed off lightly. If you ignore this person (or if damned lucky a handful of them) for your cyber 'Friends' you are asking for a world of hurt even if you are interacting with these people as cyber 'Friends' because only the physical bonds of common projects sustain friendship. Trust me on that if you can't figure it out for yourself. Because I am Introverted and self-reliant, I damn well do my best to avoid such situations: you can't. Being basically friendless by choice is one thing, disdaining that person that will get to the hospital to make sure you are OK is lethal. If you lose that person, you have lost your back-up and if you aren't thinking ahead of time to get other back-up in place, then you will be dead in that crisis. Physically spend time with your friends, especially those close friends as an Extravert you need it and deserve it and so do they. Even those Introverts who are your friends... especially them as they are more likely to show up when NO ONE ELSE WILL. Just let them know they are your back-up, OK?

Associates, third – The people you meet up with in your life on a relatively frequent basis at work or at school. You have little choice but to have such associates unless you are: an author, run a sole proprietor business, or are in a cave living off of investment income. Authors who work alone get much say in how their works get distributed, and thus have the ability to choose who they will work with to a great extent. Running your own business and being your own boss and employee means you do have work contacts, yes, but they tend to be commerce related and not a daily recurring physical meeting situation. Then there is Ted Kaczinski, Howard Hughes and the totally bugged out that are self-sufficient and are rarely seen. If you aren't any of those, and do have daily contacts in business or school, then you have associates: those people you associate with frequently. This also includes church organizations, charitable work, helping to run a scout troop, and a whole host of activities from sports to games to reading circles and everything in between that you do for a social life. Your co-workers are those people you may go out and blow off steam after work, fulfilling a good social function and decompressing from the day to be sociable in the rest of your life. These also tend to be cyber 'Friends' that you may interact with via video, instant messaging or text messaging with or without images. This is by no means an unimportant category of people in your life, but they are in that next shell out and the least tied to you even when you physically meet up on a regular basis.

All of these people, plus the casual acquaintances, are a necessary and vital part of staving off anomie in one's life and help to gain some social grounding for you in this life. And while you may be in the situation where you have no choice but to spend time with Associates as a majority of your time, they in no way make up for Family and Friends. All three are critical to all humans, save the Kaczinski types, of course, but everyone needs them in different amounts and spending too much time with groups of people can even be stress inducing to Introverts, who tend to take the rest of humanity in smaller and measured doses. As humans grew up and got acculturated to each other through history, from pre-historic times to present, there are strong bonds that all people form to emotionally sustain them and give them moral and ethical roots in society. I stress physical meeting because there is no substitute for them: actually being in someone's direct presence has physical, psychological and emotional feedback into your psyche that is, generally, positive.

Just don't save up negative feelings for Thanskgiving and Christmas time with your family. Having positive time together as a family with friends is one of the most important things that can be done: let the preachers do the preaching that everyone wants to hear, not what you need to get off your chest or pontificate about. You are better than that. If you have bothered to learn self-restraint, that is.

The Body Politic

You participate in the Body Politic even if you haven't registered to vote, disdain the political system, and generally decry it at all turns. You are a member of society and are to be considered part of the Body Politic no matter how little you want to have to do with it.

Using the G.O.D. Theorem, I can state that there used to be a different era of politics that were not centered on elections, not centered on candidates, and were centered on the positive social impact of being in a political party that met up as smaller units for social gatherings. There are very, very, very few positives in growing up in a socialist leaning family, let me tell you that right off. In fact the only great aspect was seeing how the traditional, old-line socialists actually ran their political lives together at party meetings. Party meetings were things like: barbecues, a day at the beach, spending a day to celebrate one of the respected people in the party chapter on their birthday, stuff like that. Maybe 3 meetings a year, tops. The total time spent on politics at a typical 5-7 hour meeting was 1 hour or less, usually with a speech or two. You have to give the old line socialists credit for continuing on a tradition that had been lost in the late 1960's and early 1970's by the mainstream parties. But then the old-line, First International Socialist types had speeches on actual political outlook, dogma and not about plans or policy, by and large. Really, what sane person would attend a nice day at the beach to talk about the intricacies of tax policy or which programs are actually doing any good? Those get shuffled off to meeting rooms, run by party apparatchiks... and that is in the mainstream political parties as well as the old line socialists. No one wants to see how political sausage is made, these days.

With the shift in party power in the mainstream parties from wards, precincts and districts to the higher level offices until the National offices came to run the party, also came the distancing of people from actually discussing politics as a moral, ethical and popular matter. Political parties used to be about ideals and moral viewpoints, not about getting a slice of the power pie. The Body Politic only works well when there is a healthy discourse and intercourse amongst individuals and parties based on ideology, dogma, and arguing the basics of each to see how viewpoints that differ lead to different conclusions. It is society that creates the requirement for government by having a commonality of understood law amongst all members of society, and Nations are formed to differentiate societies due to the ideological, ethnic, religious and moral differences between them.

To unmoor individuals from this connection, those connections must be devalued, slowly removed and the ability of individuals to have say over the Body Politic and the organ of society we call 'government' must also be distanced. This is generally not a fast process and takes much time to degrade and demoralize society via other organs of education, church and the law. Government is created not to think for society, but to be a Punisher and ensure that those that would attack society are punished. It is given power to do those things, but they are safeguarding powers, not productive powers. For all the great edifices put up by government, they come at the expense of human liberty and freedom and the larger the edifice the greater the expenditure in lost productivity to gain it. Necessary infrastructure is to be created and safeguarded as directed by society through government for the benefit of all members of society and the welfare of society as a whole. This requires active participation in the political process to ensure that government only safeguards society and does not think that it is the determinative organ of society.

When government assumes that latter role we have various names for it: tyrannical, authoritarian, and imperial. Those individuals that wish to remove differences across all society are putting forward an imperial dogma as the ones doing the pushing are also the ones doing the deciding on what, really, you need in the way of liberty and freedom. Similarly those trying to liquidate national boundaries are trying to homogenize mankind to end its differences and reduce mankind to the lowest common moral denominator which, when done across cultures, is called savagery. The very worst components of all cultures, taken as the base of all human culture, is a savage thing and it is the conscious effort to move away from infanticide, slavery and so on, that gives a higher moral standing to those who eliminate such things in their own society. Yet this is diminished in 'moral relativism' that says that all good things are only good on a sliding scale and not a positive good in and of themselves.

This end is reached by starting to alienate individual from government by utilizing government's punitive powers against individuals of a certain group or class. Income tax was put into place on a class basis to 'tax the rich' and would 'never go above 7%'. Yet within 7 years it went to 70%, and still the insatiable appetite of government was not assuaged. Also demonized were the 'fat cat' tycoons of the trusts: Carnegie, Rockefeller, and those who sought to purchase corrupt politicians to their cause. While the anti-trust act was passed to break up the large trusts, the large banks counter-attacked because of the problem government had in funding itself. JP Morgan floated loans to the US government and prior to WWI the largest bankers in the US got together to put together legislation to put a Federal Reserve run by them into legal form, via the Progressive banner. The very types of trusts Progressives decried in industry, were most amenable to them in banking and their reach, to this day, is much larger than any or all of the tycoons in business combined. But you will not hear their modern day counterparts talking about breaking such an establishment or member banks up as they are 'too big to fail'. If the public had gotten any word of this legislation, at the time, it would not have passed. The public was not consulted, however, because the new Progressives didn't want the public to know of the deal that went down. Really, parties are only for passing legislation, not representing people, right?

With the Anti-Trust Acts, Federal Reserve and Income Tax, the Progressives had already changed the basis of government to exclude popular oversight and distance government from the Body Politic and society as a whole. It was an intentional set of acts to start creating anomie and isolate the individual by class, by economic status and to then punitively utilize the tax code to further isolate those that politicians didn't like. The media played its role as purveyor of information from government, but rarely, if ever, serves as a feedback instrument past that era of partisan newspapers that populated all sides of the political spectrum. By choosing who is and is not worthy to propagate information, government chooses the propagandists who then change their tune to better suit what government wants purveyed. You have little to no say in this, it is taken from your hands intentionally and you are no longer taught about your right to publish as part of your freedom of speech. It is implied that the freedom of the press is held by the press, not by the people, and yet it is the people who set up the organs that create the press, not the other way around.

The goal of this agenda, started over a century ago, is to install a small group of Elites as those who will dictate your life to you via government. If you depend on government for 'retirement', medical care, and even something like surviving a disaster, then you are no longer doing the basics necessary to secure your own life and survival. Such programs are sold as one thing, that is being a positive good, but they come at a cost of productivity, lost investment opportunity and having you as a thinking, vital member of society. Instead the individual becomes a mere cluster of group overlaps where any single group might be demonized to distract from the work and lacks of the Elites. When you group together to 'protest' against 'banksters' you are no longer holding government to account for it NOT allowing the process of justice work its ends on them. A bailed out company is one that is inefficient, poorly run and no matter how big it is, deserves to go through hard and deep restructuring of all of its elements just to survive. When allowed to tell people what energy is good and what energy is bad, then the most efficient and economical forms of energy can be marginalized so as to jack up the cost of actually having a modern life until the economy grinds to a halt and the dissociative media can soothe you by letting you know that this was the fault of this or that evil company, not your fault for helping to foster such government which wishes to impoverish you after driving you apart from your fellow man and making you dependent upon an authoritarian government that changes how you learn, what you learn and diminishes the ability to think critically.

As an individual I do not sit in judgment of you but tell you of what I perceive and the changes in the course of the world due to the structure of how society works and what part in it you play or do not play. When you hand over government by not even participating in its functioning, then you are giving the assent of apathy to have your life dictated to you by others. You could have a say, you could create a vibrant society that is rich in thought and discussion, and you could hold government to account to yourself and your fellow citizens by actually being a citizen and doing the job of a citizen. That job requires thinking and not just superficially but the deep and profound thinking of what it actually means to be you beyond distractions from media and seeking an easy life of doing what you are told by a set of Elites you do not elect but assent to by being passive. This passivity creates a frail society, a weak society and one that then gains fewer and less robust points of failure, until only a few are left that have no back-up, no capacity to respond to any failure because they all must do those things which you no longer do. And then there is a failure that cascades and your world disappears as the complex systems have gained simplistic governance that has a reach that is vast and a grasp of very little at all. That governance will seek to vilify and displace blame from itself so that you will be angry at anything, anyone, any group but those who have claimed so much and now can perform nothing and fail.

In anomie the individual becomes dependent, all moral decisions including that of which to sustain, life or death, becomes equal as all morals are rendered to have no value. That cannot sustain a society. That cannot sustain a government of any sort as you no longer self-govern. And those who fostered this have forgotten that they sit atop this set of vast and complex systems and for all they say they do not understand that complexity one whit better than those they are trying to control. When such vast societies fail they fail for the rich and poor alike, and while the rich might gain a cushion from their wealth, their very lives have the exact, same value as the very poorest who bear the brunt of their decisions. Soon there are fewer wealthy, fewer poor, and society is reduced by fire and iron to base survival where those who think and can plan are left to pick up the pieces to try and create a better world out of ruins. That is how such plans end as raw power is not competent in anything, save savagery. In that it excels because it is loosed from the bounds of having to weigh and judge towards civilized ends and is no longer held in check by citizens, but is used over mere subjects who are just subject to power, forgetting that they are its very author.

You cannot forget what you have not been taught. Sadly the Elites suffer this as badly in their quest for power. Once your life becomes all about you, then you are the absent author of power, the absent creator of society and the present instigator of your impoverishment by doing nothing to stop it on your own behalf. One cannot be sustained without work and without fear of outcomes: these two things do not go together and allow survival of society.

I prepare and plan for the failure of my fellow man writ large.

I do my part in warning and in letting you know that thinking, while difficult, is worth it as it is the creative process necessary to have a society that upholds your right to think. I see the destructive ends of anomie applied to my fellow man and what its effects are over time and point them out. That is my duty as a citizen to my fellow countrymen and as someone who loves his fellow man globally. I can still do that even with what I see happening around me because judgment is open-ended, adaptable and what is as it is can change. If you believe that being civilized is easy, then I ask that you look at where such ease ends and point out that those ends are savagery. I will, however, not step on the path of savagery with my fellow man and must point out the better, harder, tougher, nastier and yet more fulfilling way that allows you to be the great author in the hardest work of all: civilization.

You have been lied to not just as an individual, but your parents and grandparents and great-grandparents as well. Fed a belief that is destructive to self and society for generations, we are now near the end of that anomie that it has fostered. You have not been taught the basics and, instead, learn only to be dependent upon power held by the Punisher which is authored by us all, and it is base and raw in every instance, at every turn, and in every way. Power is a slavering beast inside us and manifests in that one organ of society that must process the rough and harsh people who forget what it means to be civilized. That is not the brain of society, but that most base organ that is yet so essential to the health of society. It grows cancerous through inattention, spreads its cancer when unchecked and when it claims to be the author of itself, then its true author is reduced to subjugation to it. Thus are the Elites turned into the savages they so desire you to become. That takes work to stop with your fellow man, and it cannot be done without you. For you are also the author of Hope. Unfortunately she got stuck at the bottom of the box and someone has to reach in and help her out after all the demons of savagery have been loosed upon the world and this task cannot be done alone. You must change to get hope, not ask for hope and change inverted for it does not and cannot work that way.

Hope is not bestowed, it is reached for.

Hope does not arrive upon a litter borne up by vast multitudes, but alone, unclothed and shivering when she must be helped up from the box of terrors.

Hope is not released but must be set free by those who change their viewpoint and will to no longer indulge themselves but to offer a hand of kindness to her with their fellow man.

Hope is many things.

Hope is not a strategy.

Hope is not delivered it is built.

Hope is not the product of government, but its dearest enemy for she offers to hold it accountable for its deeds.

You are the author of Hope.

I hold my hand out to you to help you out of the box of terrors.

There is a better way and you are the light of your own life and of our own world once out of that box of horrors and to love those around you and not demonize them for not being you.

I say that not in judgment of you but for the simple fact that it is true.

It takes effort to step out of that warm, dark, and lethal box and a lifetime of work to stay out of it as it is so warm, so dark, so cozy, and if you stay too long the horrors then put the top back on the box and then you are dead and Hope extinguished.

I ask you unleash the power of Hope in yourself, to hold the Hope enslavers to their deeds, to free yourself from the shackles of dark comfort and ill ends and to transform the world together by holding a hand out to the oppressed and a shield against the savage.

You cannot fail me.

You can only fail yourself.

And in my deepest love of you I do not want to see that happen.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Thoughts for the future post-election

My views on the past election are simple and clear, or so I hope.  Taken from my commentary at Hot Air:

The next four years has a set of problems that remain unchanged, and they are due to a century of turning away from a fiscally responsible course and never working to pull back programs and hold institutions accountable for what they do. This does not change in 2 years of a Tea Party.

The ‘fiscal cliff’ of higher taxes, unsustainable debt, and the resulting low investment into the economy which gives lower jobs cannot be avoided no matter who is in office. Over-regulation of society and institutions by government was always going to be a hard job and will be harder because of who is elected, but the problem, itself, remains. The lowered productivity is a result of this, as well as an increasing cost to everything as central management fails as it has done since the beginning of time and only absolute poverty of thought and pocket have allowed such conditions to spiral into Iron Times.

As a Nation we see insolvent States about to go belly-up: CA, IL, NY to name but three. Yet Obama winning does not detract from the fact that at the State level the movement is away from ‘just accepting’ dictation from above. With 30 States with Governors who do not necessarily follow the federal government’s lead and Statehouses tasked with survival of their States likewise aligned, the coming problems of a few States going insolvent will point out that the Constitution is not a suicide pact: no State is ‘too big to fail’. That decision isn’t made at the federal level, but the State level and when the good and thrifty States put forth that their people did not vote for pensions in CA, IL, NY and elsewhere, then the second level of accountability comes into play along with its checks and balances.

These things were on the agenda no matter who won last night, and the American people are not giving a solid message but one that is nuanced with an innate understanding of what federalism is, even if it is not talked about. The fight now moves from the failed National institutions to the State and local level just where so many have said it would be and should be since the rise of the Tea Party. In that realm is the hardest fight for those who would correct the problems of society as the federal government will no longer be able or ready to help as it becomes insolvent in its own right. We will have a devalued currency, soaring prices for everything, and a bankrupt educational system from K-12 through to the University level that cannot be sustained and will, due to its own weight, collapse as it has already started to do.

Hard times are ahead and they always were. Mitt Romney promised to put pressure on the wound to at least allow it to clot up and perhaps limp along until something a bit better could be done. Now comes the next path, the harder path, the unpleasant path, the painful path and as we see our Nation devolve at the federal level it is up to the States to bring it back in line. We have grown overly fond of the 20th century Nation State and yet, driven by 19th century dogma against eternal 18th century understandings, it is up to us in the 21st century to apply the thing that is left to us: cauterize the wound. Our fellow citizens won’t want to face that now, but when they are slapped silly by having to pay for what others have promised and cannot deliver, when what they have been promised cannot be delivered, when their straits grow so dire because of unwise governmental choices then what other end is there?

Hold the Left to their lovely promises and continually ask how they can pay for it without killing people. Because medical rationing is the State deciding who should die and when – it is killing people via the element of the State. Taking from the rich does not make the poor wealthy as the economy declines, and that, too is the State deciding winners and losers and extending and deepening poverty for all which will kill those at the lowest part of society. This is the mirror that now must be held up to the gloating, smirking, finger-pointing, condescending Left and point to the blood on their hands and pooling around their feet. If all their lovely ideas are so grand, then why is such misery required and such impoverishment guaranteed? For this does not work out no matter when it was tried or by whom: it cannot be done ‘right’ because of the required misery that none on the Left dare to acknowledge and always decry as ‘someone else’s fault’ never their own.

That is your job: educate those who will listen, warn those who can hear, work with your fellow man to insure his safety, point out that the ills of the many are not solved by making the few worse off and killing the old, the poor, the young and the enfeebled. Help the educational system to implode and be prepared to take its place in your neighborhood so that the young can learn of our folly and that of their grand-parents and great-grandparents. Be an example to others, lead a good life, uphold your ideals, and prepare as many as you can for what comes next for it will be awful in ways we cannot conceive. Winning an election is not the same as surviving the victory, and an election is not a war but a battle.

As Breitbart said, we are at WAR.

I’ve been preparing for the long haul no matter who wins or loses a battle.

Have you?

ajacksonian on November 7, 2012 at 9:10 AM

What institutions are about to fail?

- Medicare and Medicaid, the M&Ms, aided and abetted by Obamacare.  These are no longer vital and insolvent and show the folly of government trying to figure out medicine and, with Obamacare, just decide who lives and who dies.  Just like with cronies in business, the government seeks to make newborns a crony to the ruling government via having to thank it for being allowed to live.  Yet this is fiscally and morally irresponsible, and those two go hand-in-hand.  And these hands drip with blood.

- Social Security is in the red and after a few years of getting paid off with inflated dollars in their bonds, it will soon be insolvent.  The government has attempted to set a retirement age while demographics has been pushing the upper limit of human healthy old age for decades.  Luckily with the Obamacare death panels, government might try to make SSA solvent by killing the old, the sick, the infirm.  That will be YOU because ideology and politics will be involved, and getting SSA will soon get not means tested but compliance tested as this is how tyrants secure power to their government.

- Education – As a 13th century institution it has run its course, and has varied from the best route of teaching one how to think and replaced it with rote learning.  The first gets you a vibrant and constantly questioning citizenry, while the latter gets you a compliant one.  Yet to perform this there must be more bureaucrats than educators, more overburden and less to sustain it, which causes the institution to become brittle, frail, and to implode due to the move to sustain ever growing revenue to ever more bureaucrats, and far less capable teachers who can no longer think on their feet.  This one is coming hard and fast at the post-secondary level, but even at the lowest level these institutions have been crumbling and no amount of money will sustain them.

- Banking at the National Scale has enabled and empowered deficit spending which can only be paid for by one of two routes: inflation of the currency to pay off past debt in devalued currency, meaning you are deprived of wealth as more money is in circulation without work to back it, or, high interest rates so that excess currency can be removed from circulation which lowers the tax base by having people paid less in more valuable currency and the taxes set up for a low valuation currency cannot adjust downwards fast enough to cover the delta.  With lowered tax revenue there is a call to increase taxation, but what does one do when the hard and fast poverty line is numerated in inflated currency?  Taxing the new 'poor' doesn't sell and the old 'rich' are paying less because of a stronger currency as well.  Neither of these will make the bankers to be nice people, and for not doing their duty a decade and more ago of taking the punch bowl away when the party was starting to roar, we will find ourselves truly questioning why we have a National Banking System known as the Federal Reserve as they will be shown to be clear currency manipulators doing the bidding of spendthrift politicians.

- Insolvent States – 'Too big to fail' will be attempted to apply to States like CA, IL, NY and any others that have over-obligated their tax base to pensions and pay-offs to retirees.  This now drives the debt burden up to these States to the point they cannot be sustained.  The States, as signatories to the US Constitution, do have the power to negate and change contracts, to put forward that contracts done with ill intention or just absent-mindedness can be dissolved.  The other States will be pointing this out to those insolvent States and that the power to re-organize is well within the legislative process inside the States.  Other States will refuse to accept the burden of 'too bit to fail' for other States and point out that THEIR taxpayers had no say in the debt incurred and obligated by States they DO NOT LIVE IN.  This will not 'break' the Union, but put up the mirror that it is upon those who obligate such debt to deal with it.

Then there is the backdrop to all of this on the Global level as crony systems fail and become insolvent globally.  The EU is unlikely to last out another decade and it may only have months to live at this point.  Unless you want to see Germany put in charge of it, which would be the equivalent of winning WWII and losing it a generation later.  Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and now France all teeter on the brink of chaos due to Left politics and social policies that can't be sustained by anyone, not even Germany.  Germany might be able to cushion a collapse of that international monstrosity, but it will not be tied to it as their people did not agree to the debt incurred by other European Nations.  See how that works?  It is a mirror of America a few months ahead of us at this point.

China  has spent capital and wealth for cities none can afford to live in and impoverished their people and inflated their currency by stealth.  Already the rumblings of problems from east to west, from polluted and failing industrial provinces to the rise of radical Islam are hammering at that Nation.  Communism has failed.  Corrupt and crony National Socialism has failed which is what China moved to in the post-Mao world.  China has been used to bloody solutions in the past but never had a population educated enough to actually formulate resistance to it.  For the first time ever in Chinese history its government will have to face an industrialized Nation being impoverished that is just educated enough to know what is being done to it and with 21st century electronic and social media tools to talk with each other about their plight.  When all of the Western debt holding move to lower value either via Nation State insolvency or inflation (or both) China's economy will implode and has already started that in seeing low cost labor jobs moving via Chinese companies outside of China.  China is not the last bastion of cheap labor: SE Asia and Africa are and now China will reap what it has sown.

India has grown by leaps and bounds, yet its infrastructure has not followed suit and its ability to uplift the poor has only incrementally improved.  With global problems comes threats to the modern infrastructure of electricity, sewage conditioning and potable water (where they are available).  Technologically India has taken vast strides in the late 20th century with the fall of the USSR and having never fully vested in its backwards economic system, India has allowed areas for growth internally.  Yet those, too, rely on debt and foreign sources for materials and finished goods, along with food.  Unrest due to lack of food has hit not just India but other Nations as well, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, and these will only grow as Western food sources decline in productivity due to backwards government spending.

The Middle East is in the midst of upheaval due to Radical Islam and broken, crony infrastructure that is used to repress peoples.  The elements of Radical Islam do not have any modern notion of economics and will cause further strife, chaos, disorder and starvation in their wake.  Starving masses usually don't provide for competent military machines, however, and utilizing jihadi self-destructive violence only makes problems worse for those Nations supplying such as productive and young individuals are removed from the workforce.  The human bomb of demographic domination is built on a house of cards sustained by Western agriculture and productivity, and once those disappear the problem becomes a demographic one internally to those Nations of the 'Arab Spring'.  North Africa will export foment and jihadism, yes, and the population crash will redouble the devastation upon that weary continent.

In the sub-Saharan southern Africa there are few good and viable Nations outside of South Africa, and even there social turmoil due to ethnic strife is not unknown.  If South Africa cannot assure its food supply then the problems about to beset the rest of the sub-Saharan region will come its way as well.  Outside of South Africa things are not so bright and the list of Nations undergoing social strife, ethnic cleansing, kleptocratic governments, and all with a backdrop of AIDS removing most of a generation is sobering.  It may well be that only the morally and socially upright populations and sub-populations survive to any great extent in 50 years due to the horror besetting their part of the world.

S. America is only meta-stable due to resource industries, which will collapse once Europe and North America no longer have industrial capacity nor demand to utilize them.  Nor will China in recession going far beyond anything we know as modern recession, be able to sustain internal demand (by building cities) to keep industries going.  Without industrialization spread deeply into S. America the opportunity to create vibrant economies is limited.  Chavez has pointed out that the end of socialist doctrines is internal lack of productive capacity and that indenturing people to the State (even if it is competently run) means lowering of living standards for all, not just the rich.  Argentina has had cash problems for more than a decade and its currency is suspect.  Brazil's crony socialism is about to see the end of ready cash flow, which means that without heavy industry and shifting away from agriculture, the Nation will be at extreme peril for internal problems.

Mexico had unwisely signed on to NAFTA, which exposed its backwards agrarian sector to the modernized US agribusiness.  Rural Mexico was deeply harmed as young men moved north to find jobs (first in transplanted US production facilities and, later, as illegal migrants seeking work) now find that those jobs are gone.  Organized crime and the foreign jihadi element helping the criminals now seeps into Mexico via standard means of corruption and through outright murder, often on a scale that dwarfs current wars.  Mexico had signed on to 'Green' ideas and limited marginal expansion of oil and natural gas, meaning that it is now bereft of those sectors to sustain the economy.  Mexico used to be able to feed its own people (albeit poorly) prior to NAFTA, and now that form of agriculture has been decimated by 20 years of NAFTA and those skills and knowledge of local farming, once lost, will not come back easily if at all.

Australia has been a relative bright spot for the world outside of Israel, as it had started to undo some of its socialist policies on retirement and put a relative amount of freedom back into the hands of its people.  Agriculture has done well in Australia and it is serving as the supplemental breadbasket of the world.  The internal problems of Australia are unique to it, including jihadists exporting problems to its shores.  As the British Commonwealth falters, it is Australia and Canada that will become those places trying to repeal the most onerous and financially lethal government policies the fastest.  The rest of the Anglo-sphere had best take note of this as these two Nations have resources, arable land, water, and relatively high productive capacity for the near term.  Longer term issues of global market collapse will hit these Nations, as well, but they will be able to weather these storms by having their people understand that the problems of government trying to control their economies (and their very lives) is the cause of the world's problems, not its solution.  Both Nations have had backwards laws on firearms and preservation of freedom, but nothing like Great Britain itself now has.

That these problems were all known before the election is troubling.  That the American people have not factored them into the Nation State federal government is more troubling, still.  Yet the US wellspring of revitalization starts at the bottom, not the top, which is why so many States moving to get responsible and responsive governments in place is heartening.  As the States are signatories to the US Constitution after in-State ratification by the people, it is these set of governments that hold the major key to renewal along with the people of the Nation as a whole.  If the socialist movements of the 20th century was to put more power into the hands of Nation State governments, America holds the card of that Nation State actually being formulated by the States and must serve all of their needs, not just any one of them or collection of them.  America was instituted on the self-evident observation that governments are instituted amongst men to preserve freedom and liberty and that it is very hard to give up any government even when it becomes contrary to the needs of its people.  The people will undergo great harm, even tyranny, before they finally have enough to change or abolish such government and to renew the tenets that government is given few things to do and must, actually, do them and leave the people to figure out the rest on their own.  First we must do all the stupid things, the good feeling things, the bass ackward things until we finally realize that we are far better with little government than with much of it.  Let us hope that we survive the troubled times ahead.

You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.

-Winston Churchill