Sunday, April 10, 2016

Parody of Boston Globe Headlines if Hillary wins Presidency:

March 15, 2017 - Boston Globe - Current Events
"White House welcomes 500,000 refugees from Middle East." Mostly young men seeking     asylum from Iranian/Saudi conflict." 
"Drug epidemic worsens; Rio Grande being crossed at will by smugglers. Sheriff shot."
"President sending more troops to Syria, Russia warns against Yankee aggression."
"Goldman Sachs' chief-executive appointed to head Treasury Department"
"Hospital ER's overflowing; three month wait for most surgeries."
"National debt limit increased;  soaring interest rates cause huge budget shortfall."
"Chicago airports closed; racial rioting continues; arsonists destroy south side of city."
"New multi-billion dollar mosque planned for Washington DC"
NY Attorney General  prosecutes Climate Change deniers; top scientist jailed for refusing to recant."
"Bill Clinton found in Lincoln bedroom with 16 year old intern."
Secretary of State Kerry meeting with Hamas leaders, offering financial assistance for peace"
Department of Education mandates Global Warming courses in all schools"
"Hillary found in bed with her long-time Muslim assistant; denies wrongdoing; asks 'What difference does it make?'"
"Disability rolls grow, while unemployment numbers improve."
"New Ford plant in Tennessee shut down over environmental concerns. Rare tri-color lizard habitat restored"
North Dakota Rally for Trump/Cruz "losers" closed down by federal swat team. Washington Post reports Lady holding an "I told You So" sign was thrown to the ground and incarcerated"

Monday, March 28, 2016

How Does Muslim Immigration Help America?

FBI veteran Don Borelli appeared on MSNBC last week to speak about the recent terrorist massacres in Paris and Brussels. Borelli pointed out that no number of police at the airport could have stopped the carnage. He suggested we needed better intelligence. However, most of the terrorists involved had been on our watch lists--it seems that neither our intelligence efforts or police on the ground can stop an act of terrorism-if they're in the country! Perhaps keeping them out of the country would be a better way of stopping domestic terrorism?
The terrorists are currently able to live inside Muslim neighborhoods which are expanding throughout Europe and America. Residents of these ethnic strongholds have resisted any intrusion into their safe zones and many in the West, fearful of being called bigots and racists, have left them to their own devices. However, when the police eventually captured the terrorists who had conducted the Paris massacre and the Belgian airport bombings, they were found hiding in just such neighborhoods, living with "peaceful" Muslim families. 
Ted Cruz reacted to this threat by calling for regular police patrols inside Muslim neighborhoods in America to guard against terrorists and prevent the residents from being radicalized. England's Prime Minister had already announced that they would monitor their Muslim neighborhoods. The lesson from all this is that while all Muslims are not terrorists, many are sympathetic to them, will offer them protection and support, and will certainly not call them out or report them to authorities.   
There are three approaches being offered to deal with this danger. Mr. Cruz wants to expand surveillance within Muslim neighborhoods. Ms Clinton opposes that as racial profiling and wants to admit more Muslim immigrants and grant them access to immediate welfare benefits and free medical care. Mr Trump wants to exclude Muslim immigrants, perhaps all immigrants, until they can be properly vetted.
With hindsight, one must wonder why European nations allowed so many Islamic immigrants to establish large enclaves that retain their cultural traditions and jihadist attitudes. Even the "peaceful' ones allow the most radical killers to hide within their neighborhoods. Culturally, they will probably never assimilate into their adopted lands. How does such added "diversity" help the European countries that host these mostly angry young men? 
With similar hindsight, why do we allow them to enter our country and establish whole neighborhoods that we must support but can't effectively police? We have no obligation to inflict this burden on our country. Clearly President Obama and Ms Clinton are pursuing suicidal policies that endanger America and its people.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Nazi type Protesters Bused in to Disrupt Candidate's Speech

A headline in today's Standard Times highlights a "change" in American culture- a change for the worse. It reads:

     "Police Calls up at Keith School. Mayor, school committee say concerns over violence at middle school must be addressed."

The article goes on to say that the school atmosphere "is mired in a lack of discipline and violence among the students" and has seen 40 calls for the police to quell disturbances in the school during the current school year.
The administration has called for meetings among the staff to discuss the problems. But that won't help-this disruptive behavior has been going on for years, the meetings have been held for years, the turmoil continues, the number of employees paid to control the misbehavior keeps increasing, and this is all for twelve-thirteen year olds in a middle school! And this school is run by "education experts" and administrators with college degrees in education!
Undoubtedly the teachers are handicapped by fear of lawsuits, political correctness, and difficult parents-but, maybe someone should do something--this is not just a New Bedford problem. Too many of the nation's students are out of control. Think about what they will be like when they have grown up!
The latter thought made me reflect on the protesting and riotous behavior inside a Chicago college auditorium last night that dominated the evening news-gangs of protesters had been bused in and organized to close down a scheduled political speech by Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate in the presidential primaries. The protest resembled those of the brown and black shirt thugs that Mussolini and Hitler used to take over Germany and Italy in the 1930's. Those Nazi gangs' primary purpose was the same-to disrupt the meetings of opposing parties. Last night, however, our news media, were suggesting that the candidate was the one at fault because he had allegedly used "disruptive" language in the past. Thus, the victim was painted as the wrong-doer and the perpetrators were declared innocent! To hear the newscasters, the disruptive gangs, like Hitler's black shirts, were merely exercising their free speech rights. Give me a break! 


Take Your Pick- More Downward Drift or Disruption?

Anyone watching the news lately might believe that America's political candidates have lost their senses. Hardly a day goes by without the talking heads on TV reporting that one of the candidates said something simply awful-and then suggesting that the indiscreet candidate should just drop out of the race. But what's wrong with speaking the truth, unvarnished, and disrupting the power brokers in Washington?
I understand that in these days of stifling political correctness you have to guard your tongue carefully. It is difficult to voice an opinion without being charged you're sexist, or racist, or anti-this-or-anti-that! Our president won't even refer to the terrorists killers as radical Muslims. Some of this Orwellian fear of mere words comes from our Leftist elites who tell us our country stinks and all religions and cultures are equally praiseworthy-therefore you cannot criticize Honor Killings, throat slitting, sacred cows, or illegal immigrants. And you have to love diversity and immigrants no matter how awful some of the diverse elements may be!
Any candidate who says it like it is and decries the corruption and compromise that has soiled out nation's capitol is labeled "disruptive" and "divisive."  The establishment figures who rule Washington and our media do not want any "disruption" of their cozy posts. 

But with America in the doldrums, impotent abroad, broke at home, stuck in partisan gridlock, and the Middle Class suffering from declining income, isn't it time someone was disruptive? If we keep sending back cautious and compromising characters to Washington will anything get fixed? Won't that just continue the downward "drift" of our fortunes? Isn't it about time we disrupted this incompetent mess that holds our nation in a death-grip? You have to break some eggs to make an omelette! 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

America-- Fractured and Fracked to Death

The subject of "Income Inequality" has become a hot topic. Even Mitt Romney recently tried his hand at advocating methods to help the poor and end poverty. This topic is one America must face because, for far too long now, our leaders have sought to benefit themselves by alleviating the pain of poverty instead of removing the underlying causes. As a result, the population living below the poverty line has remained constant at 15% for the last 30 years. The so-called War on Poverty has raged for 50 years with no victory in sight; instead inequality has spiraled to where the top 1% have accumulated a record slice of the nation's wealth!

To make sense of where we are today you must recognize that "we" are a huge and diverse conglomeration of souls. Finland and other small homogeneous nations in Europe are obviously going to display less violence, higher student scores, and more equal income, than we see in America. Their small congenial cities have an advantage: they are blessed with a small population of very similar and well educated citizens, while we are fractured into widely different classes.

Political history, for thousands of years back, is largely a record of elites manipulating and stealing from those they govern. But in the last 50 years America's elites have redefined this lust for power and money. Those in Washington and Wall Street have conspired to enrich themselves while turning  all other classes against each other. Our leaders condemn our past, ridicule our institutions and religions, and claim to be transforming America for the better! But, they stand idly by as new beliefs destroy our family structures; while bankers steal us blind, and they ignore the fact that almost half our children are illegitimate, and half the kids in urban areas do not finish high school! The elites, you see, want to create an expanding underclass that accepts, even demands, their entitlements, accept their dependency, and give up any dreams of moving up the socio-economic ladder.

Since 1970, while work places have become safer and less physically demanding, there has been a six-fold increase in claims for Social Security Disability Insurance. In the last 50 years,  the fraction of civilian men ages 25-34 who were neither working nor looking for work, approximately quadrupled. In 2012, more than half the recipients of poverty programs were not classified as "poor" but accepted being treated as needy. We no longer just provide a "safety net" for the truly deserving, but a free ride for any who can find a way to qualify for an ever increasing menu of benefits. This is what our elites want--a divided and dependent mass of voters to accept their place at the far end of the table.

In a recent editorial by George Will, he recalls Senator Moynihan's warning of a few decades ago: "The issue of welfare is not what it costs those who provide it, but what it costs those who receive it." As a growing portion of the population  succumbs to the entitlement temptation, we see a transformation of the nation's culture and a weakening of America's distinctive conception of self-reliance, personal responsibility, and self advancement. This rending of our traditional social fabric, Will asserts, is undermining the history of American exceptionalism. And it undermines our national character, our finances, and our peoples' faith in themselves.

 Those in the middle who do work find that they make no progress--inflation, taxes, regulations, and stagnant wages hold them locked in place. And everyone watches as the top .1%, joined at the hip to Washington pols, play dice with the American economy--heads they win, tails the public loses! The bankers run the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the SEC, and the economy for their personal gain. And no one in the White House or Congress wants to stop them because the financiers pay for their re-election campaigns! Can you blame the needy for grabbing whatever they can when they see the president, the media, Hollywood celebrities, and the Wall Street bankers reveling in their extraordinary affluence?   

It has been this way for decades and it is hard to imagine it changing. Almost half the people now are dependent on government programs, and many of the rest are afraid to rock the boat or make any serious reforms. The Occupy Wall Street and Tea Party advocates are ridiculed, and none of their suggestions considered for a minute. The teachers and news reporters seem to like the present system, and they "teach" their readers and students to resist change. But, without an unprecedented change of direction, the fractures in our society will deepen and income inequality will become a permanent feature of American life. And, a house divided against itself will soon fall, weakened from within, and other nations will rise on its ashes. If there is a moral here, it is that Islamic terrorism and Global Warming won't ever kill us if we commit suicide first--and it looks like that is what we are doing!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Syria Today Is Not Germany in 1939

When it comes to foreign policy, President Obama can't seem to win. Critics correctly point to how his efforts to draw red lines have become an international joke. And even his success at toppling dictators, or his efforts to help the "reformists," whoever they are, have all had adverse unintended consequences. Indeed, the Arab Spring he helped nurture has witnessed widespread violence on an unprecedented scale. Chaos now reigns!

However, the fact that many of Obama's political opponents call for more boots on the ground and a concerted effort to "eradicate" ISIS shows that the president is not alone in his advocacy of irrational policies.  George Bush's ground war in the Middle East proved, if nothing else, that we can't "nation build" in the Middle East. The Muslim culture, their institutions, and even the people themselves, educated in religious schools to hate all Infidels, are not able to develop the ordered society needed for peace and prosperity. History proves this--their culture and their nations have stagnated, strangled by the Inman's adherence to Sharia law, backward-looking observers for the last 1,000 years, while the West grew prosperous and free.  They are still in a tribal culture, something Europeans left behind thousands of years ago.

Our continued meddling is based on the concept that we have a strategic interest in the region, or that we have a duty to stand up for human rights. Hawks compare our failure to solve the crises disrupting the Middle East to Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler that led to WWII.  But, this is not 1939 when Hitler and a modern militarized Germany threatened Europe. Perhaps there was a need to deter Germany then--before they ravaged Europe. However today the Middle East presents a very different situation. None of the countries are advanced industrial nations and none have the Blitzkrieg strength, aircraft, and armored forces that can run over their neighbors--let alone land on the shores of North America. Plus they are fractured into at least a dozen warring, tribal sects all set on dominating each other. Germany and Japan were led by a single leader who could marshal their forces along a consistent and malignant objective. In the Middle East, tribal and religious factions render national boundaries irrelevant and create constant insurgencies and horrific terrorist disruptions. Significantly, they are totally dependent on foreign nations for their arms and sustenance. They pose little threat to the nations outside the Middle East. If they have a nuclear factory it can be destroyed by missiles and bombs. Indeed, a true embargo would have them back fighting each other with clubs and sharpened stones!

It is curious that virtually all American politicians and pundits argue for some degree of force to wipe out the terrorist menace. Where are the Doves when you need them? Let's look at what's happened--all our efforts have failed to bring stability to the region. It seems that our presence impairs even what internal strength these countries possess. Most of the Muslim leaders are motivated to do nothing in the hopes we will solve their problems, and yet they enjoy our failures and resent our interference. It is a culture we fail to understand. It is very possible that if we disengaged they would begin to address their own problems. Even if they don't, it's not our problem!

As an inveterate contrarian, I suggest the best answer is that we should simply get out--totally--remove all Americans, close the Embassies and let them have at it. Give Israel a free hand to protect themselves. We have no strategic interest there. It's a hornet nest, the graveyard of civilizations, and our presence only muddles their conflicts. We don't even know who to help, who are the good guys, nor how to help them if we did. For over 60 years America has poured sweat, money, and blood into the Middle East with nothing to show for it. Hundreds of diplomatic meetings and billions of dollars of hand-outs have left a consistent record of failure. To continue such a failed effort is insanity.

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Truth Hurts--especially those with closed ideological minds

Yesterday I noted that there was a lot of critical comments aimed at Rupert Murdoch's tweet about the Malaysian plane crash. (He suggested that it was probably a terrorist act.) The common theme in the vast majority of the posted comments was that Murdock is evil and Fox News is worse. It made me wonder: Are the people making these vitriolic posts paid by some "vast left wing conspiracy group" or do they just adhere to today's PC dictum that we must not disparage jihadists--who tend strongly to be Muslim fanatics and thereby come under the blanket protection of multiculturalism?

Note that this was a personal tweet by Murdoch--not imposing his personal supposition on his  news outlets. He merely suggested what everyone is suspecting--planes rarely spontaneously disintegrate! With several suspect passengers, and no mayday reports, and the reports that the plane changed course, his conclusion is well founded. If I was a betting man I would bet on some form of suicide bombing plot as the cause of this disaster. So why the harsh attacks?

One answer may be that:  The reigning PC need to prove that Obama has the terrorists "on the run" is the only thing keeping most everyone in the media from agreeing with Murdoch, or at least conceding that he may very well have a point. The violent objections made by most posters on their comments, and their kneejerk attacks on Fox News, indicates that they are Leftists,  Obama supporters, the useful idiot types that supported Stalin and Communism for so many decades. Such people have a passionate zeal, a deep ideological need, and a personal stake approaching religious fervor, to attack and bring down anyone who expresses an opinion different from their own. They are the enemy of free speech, a free press, a free country, and sound logic.

The most interesting part of Murdoch's tweet was the suggestion that we could in the future find a shred of common ground with China and a wedge against Russia from this terrorist plague that infects so much of the world. In view of Putin's recent advances, such constructive suggestions are worth considering by anyone with an open and rational mind.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Character Counts!

I recently had lunch with a couple whose company my wife and I have enjoyed for many years even though we are poles apart on most political and social issues. When the conversation got to current events, they became quite agitated and recounted a fear that had engulfed them the night before when watching the evening news; and the rapidly falling favorability rating of President Obama over the on-going health care debacle. It wasn't the problem itself that disturbed them, but their reaction and the dark question that immediately came into their minds: "What's to stop the administration from choreographing some major disaster to avert the news away from ObamaCare?"  They had even imagined that planting a car bomb in Times Square might conceivably be contemplated!
I suggested that such a faked act of terrorism would be a little beyond anyone's wildest imaginings; that it would be much safer and easier to engineer another foreign policy crisis, which would accomplish the same result. I went on to explain a similar conspiracy theory of my own:  how a few months ago, when the IRS scandals, the Benghazi cover-up, and the NSA surveillance programs were damaging the administration's image, the President had successfully diverted the news coverage by threatening to send some cruise missiles into Syria. The timing of that threat raised the question, "Why Now?"   We had stood by for two years while atrocities were committed by both Assad's regime and their opponents. We didn't even know which side was our enemy!  Now that threat by Obama had met with worldwide opposition, and forced an awkward retreat by the administration, but the scandals were driven from the headlines.
The alarming thing about such suspicions for my friends, lifelong Democrats that they were, was that such doubts concerning the integrity of our leaders was a new fear, one they had never entertained before:  What has happened to America when we have to doubt the honesty of our leaders? How can we actually believe we have elected people who would manufacture crises, situations where innocent lives could be lost, billions spent, merely to "manage" the news and maintain their popularity rankings? But the evidence is clear--just look at Wall Street, with the huge collapse, bailouts, and how as a result the banks got bigger, richer, and no one went to jail; and the Treasury Department is still run by Goldman Sachs executives, covering for their cronies in the biggest financial institutions in the land! That coordinated rip-off, enriching the wealthiest one tenth of 1%, is the biggest scandal of the century, and the perps are still running the nation's finances.
The clear message of all this is that Character Counts! In the 1990's the media and political elites argued that what counts is good intentions and  management ability, not personal pecadillos, or moral and ethical lapses. The Clinton presidency was defended, its main character admired, and falsehoods over-looked. And that is still the case today. We can only lament the new mentality, as James P. Owen does in Cowboy Ethics: "Imagine what could happen if Wall Street firms looked back to a simpler time when right and wrong were as clear as black and white?" Of course that's a false hope as long as we elect leaders who are in bed with those they regulate. I am not sure how to reverse the downward spiral, but some advice from the past illustrates the need for a correction in our attitudes and behavior:
            Thomas Jefferson: "No government can continue good but under the control of the people; and ... their minds are to be informed by education what is right and what wrong; to be encouraged in habits of virtue and to be deterred from those of vice... These are the inculcations necessary to render the people a sure basis for the structure and order of government."

John Adams: "
"We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams, to the Officers of the First Brigade, Third Division, Massachusetts Militia, October 11, 1798. "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams, to the Officers of the First Brigade, Third Division, Massachusetts Militia, October 11, 1798. "We have no government armed with the power capable of contending with human passions, unbridled by morality and true religion. Our constitution is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." John Adams, to the Officers of the First Brigade, Third Division, Massachusetts Militia, October 11, 1798.Our government is made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."

Stanford University professor William Damon: "Our disregard of civic and moral virtue as an educational priority is having a tangible effect on the attitudes, understanding and behavior of large portions of the youth population in the United States today."
Historians have searched for explanations for the Rise and Fall of nations, but certainly widespread corruption at the top is one of the best explanations for Decline. The corrupt attitudes trickle down, infecting the populace, which loses its pride, its sense of community, and its willingness to contribute to shared goals. Clearly, civilizations that lose their underlying values, encourage gambling and deceit, and disdain virtue will wither and die.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Is Economics a Real Science or a Pseudo-Science?


As a contrarian by nature, I have to wonder if it makes sense for our government to spend trillions of dollars to "stimulate" the economy. In short, do the ex-Goldman Sachs execs and their banker buddies who run the Federal Reserve System and the U. S. Treasury Department really know what they are doing? Another way of stating this is to ask "Is Economics a true science?"


We have seen in recent years (actually centuries) the coming and going of different abstract economic theories and the failed nature of most "modeling" attempts. And the profession's efforts during the last 100 years to "fine-tune" the economy have certainly failed--the cyclical booms and busts have increased in both intensity and frequency. During the past 40 years, while top economists debated the money supply, inflation, fiscal and monetary policy, a series of monstrous financial debacles recurred over and over again. The savings lost by Americans during the recent mortgage melt-down was a monumental failure on the part of the nation's economists.


Admittedly, the melt-down was primarily caused by a misguided political policy to grant loans to borrowers who were not credit worthy on properties with inflated values. But why did economists support those policies? Many worked for financial organizations that profited from the large volume of dubious transactions so were influenced by a bias of self-interest. But many did not benefit directly from the bubble. They just went along with the crowd--the politically correct path. If this analysis is correct, economics is either a fraud or its experts are intellectually dishonest.


Thomas Sowell has pointed out that there are the "hard" physical sciences like math, physics, and chemistry; and there are the soft sciences like political science, sociology, and anthropology. Sowell's distinction indicates that when you are dealing with inanimate objects, like atoms, numbers, and planetary motion, there are certain "laws" that govern activity. But, when dealing with human beings, there is little certainty about anything. So where do we place "economics?" The basis of all economics is what the individual citizens are  from time to time doing, so it has to be a "soft" science! Nothing is more erratic than human activity!


If we admit to this inadequacy, we can see that postulating universal axioms for economic activity is, if not futile, at least subject to wide ranges of predictability. Compared to astronomy, an economic model would be akin to knowing that the earth revolves around the sun somewhere between one and ten times a year, depending on a variety of unknown forces that vary every few months!


Nevertheless, the noted Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman believes that he can manipulate economic activity based on his knowledge of human behavior. In his Introduction to the Folio Society's recent publication of Isaac Asimov's "The Foundation Trilogy," Krugman recalls how as a young man the series inspired him to study economics:  "I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behavior to save civilization." A true ivory-tower academic, Krugman thus reveals his intellectual arrogance, a preference for abstract theory over scientifically observable results, and an almost Messianic wish to save the world! Please God, keep us safe from such noble intentions!


Krugman may actually have sufficient hubris to believe that he has "The Power" to control the economy, and to understand the "mathematics of human behavior." But does any sane person believe him? Isn't he just a useful tool for the bankers that run the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve? They are the major financiers of Wall Street. They are playing for keeps and always seem to come out a few billion dollars ahead of everyone else. Aren't they just using all the economic mumbo-jumbo of the Krugman's to line their own pockets? Are all the economists in tacit league with the bankers just to keep their jobs? Do the politicians usually support Keynesian policies merely to justify their position and increase their regulatory power?  If you answered "yes" for all go to the head of the class!


If there is a mathematical formula to human behavior it is best evidenced by the recurring efforts of leaders to administer economic controls, jiggle monetary policy, and apply fiscal/tax incentives to manage their nation's economies. This mathematically predictable hubris on the part of leadership elites has proven to be, unfortunately, a reason to disbelieve all such claims! Robert L. Schuettinger and Eamon F. Butler's book, "Forty Centuries of Wage and Price Controls," documents how such efforts have consistently failed since Hammurabi attempted it about 4,000 years ago! Of course, such predictable behavior, repeating policies that have always failed, and hoping for better results, is a form of insanity. Fortunately, such predictably bad behavior is limited primarily to abstract-thinking intellectuals who are more fascinated with elegant theory than actual results.


It is this elevation of theory over practice that renders economics a "soft" science. In engineering, a machine must function efficiently to be used, regardless of the beauty of its design. To the extent that economic theories have been tested in practice they have never proven useful. No attempt was ever made to measure their effectiveness, nor can such measurement be accurately made.  Without accurate measurement no pursuit can be called scientific.  The economic health of a society is the sum total of its inhabitants' activity and, humans being as unpredictable as they are, most governmental efforts to direct their energy serve more as a suppressant than a stimulus. In fact, economics, although a soft science, has proven to give us mostly hard financial landings.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Need To Revisit Our Foreign Policy -- This One Isn't Working Well!


The current fiasco over Syria has highlighted the confusion and inconsistency of America's foreign policy.  Secretary of State John Kerry" attempts to explain each new twist and reversal in the failed policy of his President has made a laughing stock of this administration.  Ironically, the general policy during the last six years has been a continuation of the George W. Bush policies that Obama campaigned against and promised to reverse. But today we are still enmeshed in the Middle East conflicts. The number of Americans killed in Afghanistan under Obama now exceed those killed under the Bush presidency. Camp Gitmo remains open, and the Muslim extremists are gradually taking over one more country after another. The subversion of relatively stable regimes in Libya and Egypt was supported by American force only to increase the influence of our enemies. The president's recent threat to bomb Syrian government bases would have also helped the extremists take over one more nation. That such folly was avoided only by the intervention of Russia and Iran indicates the extent to which American leadership has fallen.

American liberals and most Democrats opposed the Iraq war because, among other things, they argued that nation building was not the responsibility of America. However, after WWII we did make decent and viable democracies out of Germany, Japan, and South Korea. Our resident generals were not limited by today's politically correct "rules of engagement," and working with industrious and educated populations, those three countries responded positively.  However, we have discovered that the Muslim nations in the Middle East are a different kettle of fish--they are torn by religious fanaticism, divided by the mutual hatred of ancient tribal grievances, and segregated into diverse religious sects that are devoted to wiping out all other groups. And the populations are primarily uneducated and unemployed, living off the flow of oil money that can only be produced by the expertise and initiative of foreign companies and workers. If the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts did nothing, they at least showed that we cannot repeat the Japanese miracle in the Middle East. Unfortunately, the diplomats in Foggy Bottom, and the President, have not learned this fact.  Why, when it is now so obvious, have they failed to see this point?

We are suffering from an excess of internationalism. This dates back to the defeat of isolationism during the last century when the original founding principle of America to avoid foreign entanglements was dominant.  As with most "isms," there seems to be no happy medium. The cure for today's excessive foreign interventions is to seek such a happy medium, but the thousands of government employees in the State Department, and many of our political leaders, have nothing else to do and believe it necessary "to lead" by action and talk to justify their positions.  The result is that America is always sticking its nose into the affairs of other nations. A recent egregious case was Obama's lecturing Russia's leader, Putin, about gay rights. So much for knowing how to win friends and influence people!

It is useful to recognize how the world has changed when devising foreign policy. The Cold War is over, world commerce is thriving and connecting more and more nations and their people, and we need not worry so much about so-called "strategic interests" in every corner of the globe. We do not have to "control" the Middle East to get oil because there are plenty of other sources and the nations there will want to sell it on the world market anyway. And, if China or Russia want to try their hand at controlling the Middle East, let them--after all that region is known as "the graveyard of civilizations." Finally, if we were to disengage, there would be less reason for foreign people to hate us.

It is also useful to recognize that America's multi-national corporations have been much more successful in "foreign affairs" than our government has been. You don't read about it in the mainstream media, but Kellogg, Intel, Exxon, Microsoft, and hundreds of others have elaborate investments and manufacturing operations in virtually every country on earth, including  some of the most unstable nations, and they are doing well. They build factories, employ local residents, follow their laws, pay taxes, and thrive. Why is it just our government that is always in trouble everywhere? Two reasons: 1.) Our government has no legitimate interest or reason to bother other nations, and 2.) Governments tend to do most things poorly, as overwhelminly proven by our recent efforts in the Middle East.

While it has been a noble idea for America to be a beacon of freedom, and to stand up for human rights, the best way to do that is by setting the example--not by preaching to others. Our objective should be to restore our own house to optimum financial order, eliminate corruption, fix our schools, and maintain our military might. The constant urge to intervene everywhere on earth has us overextended and earned the ill-will of many nations. The best medicine for our foreign policy would be to stop all foreign aid payments, return all our troops to America, completely close every endangered embassy, and let the State Department rolls be cut in half through attrition--then they could only do half the mischief they currently inflict on us.