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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Minnesota Political Scene 

This post is being delivered about 30 years after many of the events described transpired.  Other events, however, were recent, and therefore are relevant.  Just thought I'd deliver the heads-up so I can't be sued for irrelevant bloggership or something.

I was once a "progressive".  "Progressive" means embracing "progress", am I right?  And who but a knuckle-dragger wants to delay that?  And that's their main weapon.  Whatever feels good or sounds good is the way to go.  That's why Churchill or whoever did the quote about whoever is 20 and isn't a progressive has no heart and whoever is 30 and is a progressive has no brain.  Most of us get that by nature, but Churchill (a great American, even if he wasn't American) put it in a form ready-fit for the masses to understand deeply and at their level.

I grew up in a town bisected by railroad tracks.  Most of the "action" happened north of the tracks and the south side suffered from a not-so-well-deserved reputation of being "the wrong side of the tracks".  But whichever side you grew up on, the mothers of the children knew who you were and where you belonged.  I once crossed the tracks to visit a friend against the expressed wishes of my mother.  I arrived home about 1/2 hour later, and was promptly grounded for the rest of the day for crossing the tracks.  These ladies were not only mean, but they meant what they said.

And that is the point of this post.  The federal government could do well if it only would do what it said and mean what it said.  The tea party movement, for all its flaws, is a movement that says "dammit, spend less and mean it and do it".  Lots of ink has been spilled on how insane they are and how stupid they are.  But I have seen an echo of all our mothers back in Breckenridge, MN circa 1978 in what they have said.  Don't spend more than you have.  If you do, don't come crying to me, because I will publicly shame you if I have to.  I don't want to...I'm proud of you in the whole, but if you do something stupid I will do what I have to.

We have let our political scene get turned upside-down.  The farmers in Breckenridge now are hooked on federal subsidies.  Instead of being the cornerstone of freedom and free enterprise, they are now waiting for their next check from the federal government for leaving certain tracts of land fallow in the spirit of CRP (look it up, but we all know it's crap).  It takes a lawyer to navigate all the legal gobbldygook to even BECOME a farmer or other small business today.  Lots of the people who I most admired back in Breckenridge circa 1978, who contributed the most to the community and who added the most "glue" to that town would be considered to worst kind of enemy of the public today.  Because they did the necessary when it became necessary.  They added a little bit more fertilizer here and there when the federal government today wouldn't allow it, but they with their generations of acquired knowledge felt it was necessary.  They did what had to happen to meet their payroll and get the crop in that would support it.  Screw the feds.

The same with my folks.  They brought my sister and me up to be decent, God-fearing people.  We would, at that time, have been absolutely horrified at the nanny-state regulations that are in place today.  Not once, from the time I can remember until I was 18, did I ever see a person outside of an official race wear a bike helmet.  This morning I saw a child of about 8 wearing one for a ride down the street.  Safe?  Yes.  Stupid beyond belief?  Also yes.  My folks brought us down into the basement for actual threatening events such as possible tornadoes.  They didn't sweat the small stuff.  The one time I did sustain a real injury from riding a bike was when I broke my arm when I was 14.  NOT my head.  No helmet would have helped me then.  And in 18 years of growing up in that helmetless town, I don't recall a head injury to anybody.  In a town of 4000 or so people.  Plus the neighboring town of 8000 or so people.  But some bureaucrat somewhere thought it would be a good idea, so now I have to watch children ride down the street with expensive, non-necessary helmets on their heads instead of the smiles God gave them that I remember so well on my own face.  Thanks, government.

For my own part, I'm NEVER going to require my child to wear a helmet or anything else the government (fed, state, local or otherwise) says they need to.  I'm going to spend my money and effort making sure that she gets the education she should, the common sense she should, and the other things she needs to live a productive, normal life.  Government has left the rails of common sense, and is the enemy of people who want to get things done.  Screw them.  My daughter will have no part of it, nor will I any longer.


Monday, August 08, 2011

Open Letter to Any Chinese People of Good Will 

You've watched quite a spectacle play itself out over the last weeks and months, yes?  The tea party (of which I am not a member but which I support in many particulars), sporting what, 17 house members and no senators, prevailed (mostly) against a president and senate aligned against them.  Not bad.

But have you, as a citizen of our largest creditor nation, really listened to the message of this movement?  Have you stopped to examine carefully our overall fiscal position?  Have you examined the past actions and general moral climate of both major political parties that run our country?  I'm a proud American...but I'm not proud of our political parties or political culture.  The tea party movement is like a breath of fresh air to those of us Americans who have looked on with you in disbelief as our once-frugal-and-responsible country has run up $trillion-plus yearly deficits the last few years (by the exact same people, including our current president, who pretended to be aghast at the several-hundred-billion yearly run up immorally by our last president).

I don't understand your country, and you probably don't understand mine, especially lately.  I think we both should just take a step back and look at what's going on.  Why do you continue to buy our debt?  That's what I really don't understand.  You have the cash to buy gold, which is a much safer bet.  Or silver, or platinum, or palladium, or copper or almost any mineral that will hold its value far better than the US Dollar.  I know you want to prop up your number one export market...but trust me, you won't be able to export to us for much longer.

So if you indeed are a Chinese person of goodwill...please cut us off.  Don't buy another treasury or any other debt instrument of the United States government, including even dollars.  Give our politicians the medicine they so badly deserve.  In the long run, your people and mine will be able to develop a much healthier economic relationship that will benefit us both.  Right now our relationship is very unhealthy and cannot get better with the people we have in charge until they learn a real lesson in economics.  Your country is the only one, in my estimation, that is in any kind of position to teach that lesson peacefully, particularly if you could arrange a concerted action with Japan in this vein.  I know your two countries have bad blood from the past, but the United States is a huge trading partner for you both and our usefulness to either of you will continue to dwindle until painful economic action is taken.

I suspect, but don't know, that such an action would cause far more pain on our side than on yours right now.  That may not be the case for much longer...because I fear that if you take such an action later our political leaders will be even more desperate.  And a careful study of our country's history will show that when we get desperate about something, the guns come out and we go to war.  It doesn't pay to wait too long, if there's a chance things can be done peacefully sooner.  I know you guys have nukes.  We have a LOT of them, and a bunch of them are already aimed at your cities...and unlike yours, ours are the latest stuff and not many of them will fail or miss.  I'm sure many of yours won't fail or miss, either.  So both sides lose if we let it come to that.

So neuter these dogs while they are still puppies.  You have the perfect cover with the recent S&P downgrade of our debt.  Simply declare that you'll hold the debt you currently have, won't be buying any new American debt until our budget is balanced and then only to roll over old debt, and that you will not issue new debt purchases until half of our obscene debt is gone.  It would be a favor to our country and a long-term favor to both our countries, though it would cause pain for both of us short-term.  I've tried to think of a better way to force the issue on the clowns in Washington DC, and come up empty.

Worst case?  You lose your investment in us.  If you keep going the way you have, that investment will only get bigger and the prospects of being repaid will NOT get better.  Consider it.

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