My Work

Monday, October 28, 2013

Isolationism or Common Sense?

One of the arguments many prefer in challenging libertarian views is calling them isolationist, and I don’t think my views are particularly isolationist.  I have tremendous concerns about our current foreign policies regarding Europe, the near east and the far east, Our standing army in Europe is standing because of … well, because they’ve been there since the start of the cold war, back in 1945.  The argument for keeping them there is to support our aggressive armies in the near east.  Sounds like someone forgot to get off the round-about.

Free trade agreements are far more self serving than militaristic bullying tactics.  Self preservation is very important, obviously, to any nation, and mutual aid agreements such at NATO have that as their basis.  So why did we invade Iraq?  Why did we invade Afghanistan?  If our real purpose was to protect economic interest of American business, think oil, and many believe that, then wouldn’t the proper thing to do would be to establish a government friendly to our concerns?  You know, replace one dictator with one friendly to our economic concerns?

After World War Two, as our armies cleared out the Nazis in Europe, we went out of our way to establish rightful governments in most of the devastated countries and return them to economic and political stability.  The Marshal Plan worked well in most of Europe, and today many of those European countries are economically stable.  Not so in the near east and far east because those areas were dominated by European colonists.

As we chased the Japanese armies out of country after country, we simply turned the areas back over to the original colonizing entities:  Dutch, British, French.  Two completely different foreign policies, one for Europe, one for the far east.  And in the near east?  After World War One, Persia and Arabia became a dozen or more countries based on some British bureaucrat drawing lines on a map.  Complete tribal groups, having control over their homelands for hundreds of generations, dispersed.  This is Iraq now, not Kurdistan.  It became American foreign policy as well.

A bully picks a fight because he knows he can.  He’s bigger, stronger, has an impressive swagger to his walk and never challenges one who might fight back.  Our government is a bully in every sense of the word.  Did you read “The Ugly American”?  Age has not made him adorable.  In foreign efforts to build and protect American economic interests our state department often uses threat more than efforts at free trade agreements.  We often support governments led by deranged fools for economic reasons, then bully those fools to the point they become enemies, then invade. 

This form of foreign policy has stood the test of time, dating back to the years following WWII.  Our treaties with some of our so-called allies need to be examined in detail.  We are committed to defending nations that are in no way committed to defending us.

We attacked Iraq because: _______________________.
We attacked Afghanistan because: ________________________.
We want to attack Syria because: _______________________.

In one thousand words or less probably not one of our last five presidents could answer those questions in such a manner as to convince a majority of Americans to vote for him.

America is the strongest nation in the world at this time, probably will continue to be for another couple of generations, and probably not much past that if we don’t pull in our horns and work toward what made us strong in the first place.  Business, strong business making excellent products, hiring millions of educated and willing workers, producing products that were offered worldwide.

And that business thrived in freedom, our labor force thrived in freedom, our citizens thrived in freedom.  Government snooping into private enterprise wasn’t talked about because it didn’t exist.  Government spies listening in to our telephone conversations?  Come on, be serious.  Presidents telling congress to go jump in the lake, he’ll do whatever he wants, and just try and stop him was rarely a topic of conversation not too many years ago.

We need to put order back in our house, drive out the dust devils, rats, and bugs, use our military to protect the United States and its interests, let those that are not a threat to our lives and livelihood live their own lives, protect our business interests without the use of tanks and bombers, you know, by way of “the art of DIPLOMACY.”

It’s time to put common sense back in our way of dealing with foreign and internal interests.  Common sense tells us that corporations are not individuals, so why should corporations have the political rights that they have been given?  We need to reinterpret how International Corporations are taxed and regulated as opposed to purely local businesses.  If a corporation expects the benefits of being a U.S. corporation, it shouldn’t be allowed to hide its assets overseas.  Simple common sense.

Okay, you’re right, one shouldn’t say common sense in the same dissertation in which politics is discussed.  One shouldn’t suggest something as foreign as common sense when talking about bureaucrats.  Or the current state of the judiciary.  Or congress.  Silly me.

Have a great day, read good books, and stay regular.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Nevada at 149

Nevada Day, the real one, will be on Thursday, October 31, but to have a three day holiday, will be celebrated on Friday, October 25, festivities lasting the entire weekend.  The silver state will be 149-years-old, pretty young when you consider states like Pennsylvania, which came into being following the revolutionary war.  But the old lady has a history that might be considered more than remarkable.  Mines and miners, railroads, periods of bonanza and borrasca, major agricultural interests in what many consider just open desert, one very large dam, that’s a damn dam, as one visitor said one day, don’t forget Bugsy and pals, and the gem of the Sierra Nevada.  There are two national parks, several very high mountain peaks, remains of an ancient, yes, prehistoric lake, and what’s left of one of its inhabitants.

Henry G. Blasdel became governor when Abraham Lincoln signed the statehood bill that created the Silver State, thirty sixth in line, and he served until 1871.  He was a republican and we’ve had democrats in office as well, but one party ruled for several years, the Silver party which later became the Silver-Democrat party.  The first Silver party governor was John E. Jones in 1895 who served just one year, but Silver party and Silver-Democrats served until 1911, Denver S. Dickerson being the last of that party serving from 1907-1911.

Nevada’s Silver State status hasn’t changed much since its first discovery back in 1859.  The first three months of 2013 has converted rock and stone into 1,896,894 ounces of silver at the state’s various mines and mills.  Old Henry T.P. Comstock might even be impressed by that figure.  But, then again, he sold his share of the fabulously rich Comstock Lode for just ten grand.  John Mackay made more than that before breakfast.

Silver created the state but it’s gold that is the big bonanza today.  Nevada is the sixth largest producer of the brilliant metal in the world, the largest producer in North America.  In the first three months of this year, Nevada’s mines produced 39.9 metric tonnes, and believe it or not that is considered a decline from the same period in 2012.  Even old Henry would pick up on that.

It’s because of the tremendous amount of mining activity that took place in just about every imaginable corner of the state that another major industry was started and continues to flourish today; agriculture.  Towns, villages, actual cities sprang up and the population was large by the standards of the mid 1800s in the west.  Somebody had to feed all those hungry men and women. 

Nevada’s topography is actually a boon to agriculture in that most of the internal mountain ranges  run north and south, with rather fertile valleys in between.  The first thing that was learned, put water to that desert floor and you can grow just about anything.  They tell me pineapple doesn’t do that well, but you can bet that corn, beans, squash, melons, and alfalfa does.  It’s the lack of water in many places that make it difficult, the bane of Nevada’s farmers.

Those mountains can get pretty high.  The White Mountains that make up part of the border between Nevada and California has a peak called Boundary Peak, guess where that is, and it tops out at about 13,147 feet, give or take a few.  Driving through Montgomery Pass, that peak stands tall and formal, sheltering a nice little valley on its north side.

What makes Nevada stand our today is the same thing that made it stand out at the time of statehood.  People.  Nevadans are a unique breed brought about through natural selection.  Independent is not a strong enough word.  It’s not recommended to tell a Nevadan he can’t do something because he is sure to prove you wrong.  Towns and camps are built in the strangest places, take for instance, Manhattan, Nevada, sitting in the middle of a narrow canyon.  The heavy monsoon rains of late summer drench the area every year, every year there is major flooding, every year rebuilding projects includes putting the washed out dikes back up.

There’s a reason, believe it or not for the town to be there in the first place, but maybe not still.  The mines were on the sides of the canyon, people walked to work.  Today?  Well, that’s the way we want it.  The hills in Austin are so steep one misstep and you lose 1,000 feet.  The town has to be within walking distance of the mines.  Today?  Well, you know.

There are still vast areas of the state with no public utility service.  No power, no phones, no problem.  Open range is something visitors sometimes learn the hard way.  A six month old steer calf, $0.95 per pound at the auction yard becomes a prize steer worth thousands if you hit it.  Livestock has the right of way.

Watering holes are not always for livestock. Some have large neon signs out front welcoming the tourist and local alike, and after a few years of enjoying this wonderful state one will find himself welcomed by name in some pretty obscure little communities, get your buns out there and enjoy everything that Nevada offers.  It’s been rumored that even a few of those living in the southland are calling themselves Nevadan today.  Welcome to you.  And to those just moving here, there are signs on some vehicles that say, “I don’t care how they do it in California.”

There’s 110,622 square miles waiting for you, and one huge party on October 26 in Nevada’s capital.  See you there.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Libertarian or Socialist?

What we’re looking at right now with the Obama-care debate is a distinct separation between those that believe in a free market society and those that demand their government to be in full control of their lives, i.e. socialism.  The idea of someone being personally responsible for their life simply can’t be understood by those that believe in an all powerful government.

More and more we are seeing examples of this in Washington during this crisis that has been created by the debate, if you can really call it a crisis.  For those that believe in personal responsibility and free enterprise, in business being controlled by a free market, in limited government at best, then this shut down is not really a crisis, rather it’s an opportunity to begin the process of slowing government expansion, of limiting spending, of re-creating free market enterprise, and of lifting the burden of government intrusion.

The debates that are meaningful right now are not between the old school Republicans and the old school Democrats.  They are between those with a more Libertarian outlook and those progressives that look to Canada and Britain for their brand of socialism.  While some may believe that a libertarian viewpoint is actually anarchist in nature, and there might be a bit of validity in that, it’s more a case of personal freedom and liberty, of an ability to chart a personal course and be responsible for that, than pure anarchism.

This debate has become centered on two major components of Washington today.  We have Obama-care on the one hand and government intrusion into personal lives by way of spy networks.  We can include the arguments for and against the use of drones to wage war in countries in which we are not at war, and the arbitrary killing of American citizens because they might be different.  In other words, from a libertarian point of view, this government is completely out of control and needs to be reined in.

Our political system is just as wrong minded as our government according to many that lean toward libertarianism.  Those that are sent to Washington are sent to represent us, not the highest bidder.  When leading industries own the government then we are no longer dealing with a free enterprise system.  It is the people that should own the government, the government should be answerable to the people, and the people should be free and safe from foreign invasion, and that should be the limits to government.

There are two ways to change the way our government operates today.  In 1776 we did it the hard way because Jolly Olde England wouldn’t change.  The better way is for us, the people to put a little thought into the election process.  It’s one thing to “toss the bum out,” and another to replace the bum with someone who has the personal integrity to actually represent us, that is, “We the People.”

Have a great day, read good books and stay regular.