We keep hearing about political forces in California trying to mount a movement for secession from the United States. I’m like many, many people in thinking 1) we’d be better off without them, and 2) but even so, you just can’t allow something like that, it’s wrong in principle. Now someone in this blog post has lined out several (if not all) of the reasons it not only shouldn’t happen, but probably couldn’t. (The following is all direct quote, except for the segment in [brackets].)
- Federal land in the state. Almost half of the state’s area is Federally owned; National Forest, BLM [presumably the Bureau of Land Management, not Black Lives Matter], military bases, and so forth. What would become of those Federal lands? Would the new California national government pay the United States fair value for those lands? Or would the state just seize the properties? If so, how? Which brings us to:
- The military. Never mind for a moment that the several military bases in California are Federal property, and that the soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen on those bases work for the Federal government and are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States, not the state of California. Would California start their own military? Their own army, navy, and air force? How would they pay for it? More to the point, who would serve in it? Who would lead it? There is no Lee in California; no Longstreet, no Jackson.
- Water. California doesn’t have enough native water to support its population. Instead, they depend on water from the Colorado river. If California secedes, how will they pay for this water? Rivers can be dammed and/or diverted. Colorado, Nevada and Arizona could certainly find good use for the 4.4 million acre-feet of water that go to California every year.
- Electricity. California imports about 1/3 of its electricity from its neighboring states. Given that the state is not fond of building new power plants — at least, the wealthy coastal elites who effectively run the state are not fond of building new power plants — what will California do for power? Will they continue to pay to suckle at the United States’ power grid? If so, how will they pay for it?
- Currency. Will California start coining money? Who will set monetary and fiscal policy for the new nation — the people who are running California’s economy now? Welcome to the Greece of the West, folks.
- Politics. California is a big, sparsely populated red state dominated by a few densely populated bright blue population centers — primarily Los Angeles and San Francisco. The state’s farmers and tradesmen are ruled, effectively, by a well-off coastal elite. Suppose rural northern California, the Central Valley, and maybe Orange County refuse to go along? What if those areas vote to stay in the United States? Will the new California national government stick to their newly found principles of self-determination and allow those areas to remain? And if they do, how will a tiny coastal nation consisting of a couple of major cities and a few hundred miles of coastline feed itself? Speaking of which:
- Food. California is largely desert. The fertile Central Valley produces less and less food all the time, strangled by excessive rules and regulations from the state and (to be fair) the Imperial government. Should the secession prove acrimonious, could California find the wherewithal to release Central Valley farmers (if there are any left) to start producing grain and truck crops?
- Foreign Affairs. Who would California’s international allies be? The most obvious one is the mother country — the United States — but just as in the first time this was tried, it’s likely there would be some hard feelings. Nations have no permanent friends, only permanent interests; who would serve California’s interests in an alliance? Mexico? China?
There’s also the 1861 question; should California announce their secession, would President Trump send in the Army to force them to remain? If so, California wouldn’t be able to resist the way the old Confederacy did. It’s highly doubtful half the professional U.S. military would defect to fight for California.
Honestly, the folks agitating for a secession of California aren’t thinking this thing through. The one thing California would have to do to make it as a separate nation is to switch political philosophies and adopt personal liberty, free markets, and minimal intervention by government in the economy and the property rights of its citizens — and this, True Believers, is everything that California is not. It would be a matter of decades at the most before California sank into a Venezuelan quagmire. We don’t need that on our western border, and California’s citizens don’t need it in their bank accounts.
I can understand the base sentiment of the movement, since some people in Texas (no, I don’t live in Texas, but I did for several years) were making some of the same arguments back when the constant tide of oppressive progressivism seemed on the brink of becoming unbearable. But a nation simply can’t allow portions of itself to opt out — it can’t, and hope to remain a nation instead of an endlessly subdividing collection of Balkan enclaves — and the preceding points show why, in this particular case, it’s not a good idea for the people in the state in question.
Life is tough. Sometimes (as in, pretty much most of the time) you just have to deal with things you don’t like.
Welcome, Mister President.
Many people responded to your electoral victory with exuberant optimism, others with horror and despair. I belong to neither group. You weren’t the candidate I wanted, and you’re not the president I wanted. My emotional response, when the results were clear on election night, was decidedly … mixed: I couldn’t take any real pleasure in your victory, but I took HUGE pleasure in your opponent’s defeat.
Nonetheless, you are the leader of this nation now. And, as I did at the advent of your predecessor, I am listing my hopes for your tenure in office.
I hope that you will put the good of the country ahead of the demands of your own ego, and (even if you are a liberal New York Democrat) that your notion of what constitutes the good of the country has some basis in reality.
I hope you retain your gleeful, unapologetic disdain for political correctness, but as a means of accomplishing things rather than simply as a way to show off.
I hope you understand on a visceral level the difference between those tactics and behaviors necessary to win the presidency, and those necessary to properly serve as President. Your habitual irreverence was a welcome treat when you used it to continually roast the media in their own pretensions; now that you speak for the nation, that needs to be tempered, because you have responsibilities now that you did not then.
You spent your entire career accomplishing things and doing it on a grand scale, even if the ‘things’ and the means used in achieving them were not always entirely admirable. I hope you can bring the same energy, ingenuity, and determination to the tasks facing you now, accompanied by a level of integrity that simply wasn’t necessary in your past life.
I hope you continue doing your best to speak for and champion the people who carried you to victory, but not that you ever begin pandering to the masses.
In essence, I hope you will be every bit as diligent and successful in fulfilling your present responsibilities as you were in acquiring them.
You replaced a terrible President, and prevented an even worse one. For those things alone, you start off with a certain leeway in my estimation. I hope you don’t squander it in ego and arrogance and short-
Above all, I hope the next four years — or more — can be a time of recovery from the damage done to the United States by your predecessor and those carrying his water. For that matter, I hope recovery is possible. America is strong, but has never before been led by someone determined to destroy it (even if he called that destruction by a different name). If the only thing you accomplish is to expunge and eradicate everything that twerp did while in office, you will have my deep and earnest gratitude.
[Advance warning to prospective commenters: I don’t forbid disagreement, but I have no taste right now for being lectured. Mess with me beyond my patience, and I’ll just delete whatever you say that annoys me.]
I’ve said this before, but the offense against which I said it continues to occur, so it’s worth saying again:
When gangsters, or terrorists, or unaffiliated criminals, or lone individuals, kill someone? That’s not an execution. An execution is a legal act, carried out by a government. It may be a bad government, engaged in doing bad things, operating under bad laws, the execution itself may be a farce … but it’s still a legal act.
When you kill someone without legality? that’s a murder.
The ISIS-pledging pair in San Bernardino didn’t execute anyone. They murdered 14 people.
Doubtless shouting “Allahu akbar” all the while. Because that’s what you expect from adherents of the Religion of Peace.
Purely by coincidence, the release of the Planned Parenthood videos came about at roughly the same time as the birth of my granddaughter.
I hear the reports of the things said by the people in these videos. I look at pictures and videos of Amber, study her face and her motions, and the thought comes to me unbidden:
I would kill anybody who threatened her.
When I say “anybody”, it isn’t hyperbole.
When I say “kill”, it isn’t a figure of speech.
No, this isn’t a threat. Those people have no way of reaching her. But if they did …
… if they did, well, that wouldn’t be a good idea at all.
Thirteen years ago, the world changed, and America charged forward to meet that change, with power and determination and an army our enemies could not hope to withstand. For eleven of those years I was in uniform, serving — and training to serve, and helping to train others to serve — in the prosecution of the war that had been declared against us. I’m no longer allowed to serve, but the war goes on … except that, under our present leadership, America has retreated from the battlefront.
That was a disgrace, a malignant composite of arrogance, ignorance, and indifference. I was in Iraq in 2009-10, and the national level of violence had dropped ninety per cent from what I had seen in my first deployment, the 2003 invasion and the year of consolidation that followed. (Yes, by 2009 Barack Obama was running things, but he hadn’t yet set on a course to run them into the ground.) Those achievements, built over seven hard-fought years, are what he pissed away in the blithe conviction that he knew better than anyone else. Pulling out all American troops, with no remaining force and no status-of-forces agreement, was done purely so he could say he had ‘ended’ the Iraq war. Does that look, now, like it’s ended? Nor was the current disaster in Iraq the result only of his mishandling of Iraq itself; no, he had to bring his massive incompetence — and that of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — to bear in Iraq and Syria and Libya to produce the loathsome mess we now see.
America as a nation deserves the contempt with which we’re now regarded, and the losses of prestige, power and authority which we have suffered; we elected our current Idiot-in-Chief, after all, and then even more appallingly re-elected him after he had spent four full years demonstrating his ineptitude and absence of character. Those of us who did the actual fighting, however, DID NOT deserve to see all we had accomplished thrown away by a fool ineradicably convinced of his own brilliance.
(I didn’t watch much of his speech today, seeing only excerpts; frankly, I can’t stand to listen to him for more than a few seconds at a time. That having been established, the plans he announced aren’t necessarily bad in themselves; the problem is, he has so continuously demonstrated his inability to do anything right, I have no faith in his capacity to carry through even an excellent plan, much less that he actually has a plan worthy of the name. This is a man who clearly believes his ringing decrees qualify as taking action. Following through, turning policy into fact, making it work — making anything work — is utterly outside his skill-set, and the medieval barbarians rampaging across the battlefield he deserted are well aware of how little substance there is behind the quasi-forceful speech.)
Two more years of this nonsense, before we have even the chance of getting an actual adult in the Oval Office. The nation can survive that long … but, whether it can survive the damage he may yet manage to inflict on us, has yet to be determined.
This is probably going to be the last year I post my ‘traditional’ 9/11 retrospective. There are different reasons for that, but the two most prominent would be the changes in 1) my personal situation, and 2) our national condition.
Three days from now will be my last drill with my Army Reserve unit. Five days after that, I’ll be out of the Reserve for good. Except in the event of a national emergency so great I can’t even think of wishing for it, I’ll never be eligible for service again.
I still believe all the things I’ve believed since September 11, 2001. Between then and now, however, I’ve been personally involved in the attendant issues. Eight days from now, it will simply be a matter of opinion, with my stake no greater than that of any other civilian. Bellicose language seemed more justified when I was (or would be) one of those taking part in combat operations on at least an intermittent basis. Very soon, I will no longer have that privilege.
We’ve fallen so far, and with so little need for it. Stupidity, timidity, and incompetence in American leadership allow the people of other nations to conclude that Americans themselves are witless cowards. I do not, and did not, defend every decision and action of George W. Bush and his administration … but I could, at least, honestly believe that he was pursuing America’s interests to the best of his ability. Obama … God ONLY knows what Obama’s motives are, because they surely seem to have nothing to do with American pride, American security, American honor, or anything of benefit to the American nation. In less than five years he’s thrown away essentially all the Middle East gains of the previous seven years; the region is more dangerous now, more volatile, more shot through with enemies of America in positions of control, more contemptuous of us (with considerable justification), and more dismissive of the penalties of taking aggressive action against us.
A dozen years ago, nineteen murderous fanatics crashed four airliners, knocked down two buildings, and murdered nearly 3,000 people. We responded with military reprisals that made it clear that attacking America comes with a horrendous price tag. There were still plenty of folks who didn’t like us, but they knew to be wary of us if they knew nothing else. We invaded and occupied two nations — and made considerable improvements to them, during the occupation, even with the inevitable missteps and waste and blind alleys and costly learning curve — and pursued our goals with a single-mindedness that told potential enemies to stay the hell out of our way. Some of them denied that lesson, and came after us, and died in such ridiculous numbers that the jihadi mainstream quickly switched to murdering their own countrymen to show how tough they were, because going against Americans was a sure loser.
Turned out there was a very simple counter to American military superiority and the dedication of American soldiers: wait for the election of a Democrat president. It took time for that to happen, and more time for it to have its full effect, but in the end it worked for them. Definitely not for us.
America was attacked twelve years ago. It will be attacked again … because, long-term, that has proven profitable to those whose prestige is tied to our destruction, and they can always count on an effective fifth column inside the American political establishment.
I wish I weren’t so pessimistic. I wish I weren’t so heartsick.
I wish I didn’t have so much reason for both.
Quote from an article I read today:
Conservatives are living fossils, trapped in a time when lying was considered a bad thing, taking other people’s property was a sin, spending money that doesn’t exist was a self-destructive folly, and believing you could “build that” was a sign of adulthood.
Today’s liberals —
(Oh, excuse me, they call themselves ‘progressives’ now, since decades of bad policy turned ‘liberal’ into an insult … which is funny, since the use of ‘liberal’ came about precisely because the Progressives of the early 20th century gave the label such a bad name.)
— today’s ‘progressives’ are so far advanced now beyond such antiquated notions.
On the day of Barack Obama’s first presidential inauguration, four years ago, I made this post expressing my hopes for the future. Now that he’s been sworn in a second time, I’ll take this time to look back on those hopes and see how well they’ve worked out.
So, harking back to my 2008 “Welcome, Mister President”:
I hope you’re even one-tenth as special as your most enraptured supporters appear to believe.
No evidence for that, sorry. If anything, he seems to have been bent on proving the opposite, while giving every indication that he’s a complete believer in his own hype.
I hope you’re every bit as idealistic as you’ve presented yourself as being, and at the same time cynically calculating as to which campaign promises you intend to keep (and how), because winning a campaign and running a country are entirely different tasks, not to be carried out in the same way.
Yeah, right. He certainly delivered on the cynicism … and the idealism, too, if one accepts ‘full-blown socialism’, with all power invested in the overarching state, as an ideal to be pursued. As far as running the country rather than campaigning, who could have expected that he would attempt to use permanent campaign as a WAY of governing?
I hope there is solid substance underlying the magnificent style, resulting in years of impressive performance to (finally) fulfill all that perceived potential.
No substance, and the style itself turns out to have been all surface flash. It appears that his major — perhaps only — talent was in convincing everyone that he HAD so much potential.
I hope that, having won largely on the basis of race — while presenting yourself as post-racial — you can actually move this country beyond the dogmatic straitjacket of racial politics.
The bitterest of all disappointments. The man who was supposed to cure our racial ills has governed as a dedicated racialist demagogue, a one-note purveyor of racial grievances. Worse, his entire party, and the mainstream media that voluntarily act as the action wing of the Democrat party, have universally condemned any policy disagreements with the Anointed One as motivated by nothing but racism. Can anyone deny that racial tension and racial hostility were lower in the much-maligned Bush years than they are now?
I hope you can inspire both parties, but especially your own, to more idealism and less ideological posturing.
Not even close.
I hope you will actively resist the desires of some on your side of the aisle to attempt the ex post facto criminalization of policy differences. This is a sword that cuts both ways, and would do incalculable harm to the nation for decades to come, regardless of which side happens to be in power.
The only one of my hopes that wasn’t directly contravened. If it’s happened at all — and I can think of no instances — it hasn’t been at any greater level than exhibited at other times Democrats were in power. Which is to say, too much, but nothing new.
I hope the man who turned the national imagination toward the future will avoid falling back on those past nostrums (particularly socialism and New-Deal-style big-government interventionism) that not only aren’t new but were consistent failures in their own heyday.
Nope. Again, ideology trumps reality. John Maynard Keynes had himself, by his death, repudiated the policies now known as ‘Keynesianism’, but liberals are never willing to give up on ANYTHING that involves government getting bigger and its power more pervasive, regardless of how continually or how badly such policies have always failed.
I hope “the smartest guy in every room he’s ever occupied” will have the wisdom to surround himself by people who know more than he does, and listen carefully to them before making his decisions.
Winston Churchill is supposed to have said about a political opponent, “He is a humble man, but then he has much to be humble about.” Barack Obama is the precise opposite: a stupendously arrogant man, with nothing at all to justify such an overweeningly high opinion of himself. He has stated, repeatedly and in multiple areas, that he knows more than the experts advising him, and apparently believes it. Anywhere but Washington or Hollywood, such pathological narcissism would disqualify a man for any position of trust or responsibility … but we’re stuck with him nonetheless, and he seems to have learned precisely NOTHING between then and now.
Above all, I hope the next four years — or more — will be a time of actual growth in this country, rather than something that simply has to be survived.
Now, I just hope the next four years CAN be survived.
This isn’t a matter of “I really wanted to be proven wrong,” because I didn’t make any predictions there, I put aside my reservations (for the day) and expressed genuine hopes. What we got instead was as if my list had been taken as a blueprint to do the precise opposite for four years.
I have disagreed with many presidents (all the ones I’ve known, in one way or another, though of course I disagreed more with some than with others), but have only despised two. The first was Bill Clinton, who I see as a smirking sociopath and genuinely evil man. The second (who I do not see as evil, but am certainly not willing to call a good man) is Barack Obama, who has successfully amalgamated the unadulterated self-worship of Bill Clinton, the clueless incompetence of Jimmy Carter, the arrogant elitism of Woodrow Wilson, the disastrous social engineering of New-Deal-FDR (who was a terrible president, while World-War-Two-FDR was a great president until he folded the game at Yalta), the unapologetic corruption of Lyndon Johnson, the unbridled racism (but reversed black-to-white) of Andrew Johnson, and even — in a somewhat different way and to an admittedly lesser degree, so far — the paranoid self-isolation of Richard Nixon.
I wanted better than this. The country deserved better. Heck, black Americans deserved better. So, okay, we’ve had our history-making first black president. Maybe sometime in the future we can manage to elect our first qualified black president.
Because this one is a dud. Worse than a failure, worse than a disaster: a man who gives every sign of wanting disaster, working with all his energy and imagination to bring it about, because he can only see the wonderfulness of his intentions rather than the awfulness of the results. And feels nothing but contempt for anyone who doesn’t share his vision, or recognize his (self-announced) greatness.
Like Tevye, I have a certain regard for tradition. One tradition is that of assessing the year to come and the goals to be addressed during that year. (Also, other people on my FList have already done it, which serves as a prompt.) So, here goes.
( Personal plans )
( Family plans )
( Military plans )
2013 will be significant year for me, for a number of different reasons. I have plans, and I have hopes. I don’t have certainties. I’ll do what I can, but some things will just be whatever they are. So, here’s to seeing what those things will be, and how I respond to them.
I didn’t like it four years ago, but I could understand it. There was too much still unknown about the man (aggressively abetted by the complicit media), a national weariness with one party and set of politics, and a sense of making history. Unjustifiable, in my opinion, but understandable.
This is something else.
Those who chose to vote for a second time for a man who has spent four years endlessly demonstrating his utter lack of qualification — by either capability or character — for the office of President, deserve everything they get as a result.
It’s just a shame that they had the power to impose the same fate on those of us who know better.
As we now know that there were American drones over the area, sending streaming video back to the White House Situation Room in real time,
As we now know that there were military forces in the area, which could have come to the aid of the besieged embassy staff in relatively short order (planes within an hour, commandos within three hours, whereas the entire attack stretched out over seven hours),
As we now know that military men repeatedly requested permission to intervene, and were repeatedly denied that permission (and two of the four fatalities were men who finally defied the ‘stand-down’ order and went out on their own initiative to try and do whatever they could for fellow Americans),
As we now know that our Commander-in-Chief, still without taking action or allowing anyone else to do so, finally went to bed with the situation still unresolved because he had to be at a Las Vegas fundraiser the next day,
(Oh, and he skipped his security briefing the following morning, but he does that about 60% of the time anyway)
As we now know all these things, there is only one possible conclusion.
Mister President: Resign. Now.
If you had any shred of honor, you would have resigned already. (Of course, that same shred would have moved you to do something, anything, while your own people were being murdered.) If you have any desire to imitate the appearance of honor, you must resign.
You’re not fit to lead this nation. You’re not fit to lead anything.
We’re going to kick your ass out of office anyway. Go ahead and get it over with.
… and slamming back Bloody Marys. Because that makes it so much easier.
- Obama isn’t as bad as in the first debate. That doesn’t mean he’s good.
- Romney isn’t as much better than Obama as he was in the first debate. That doesn’t mean he’s bad.
- Obama is (as everyone on Planet Earth knew he needed to be) more engaged and aggressive in the second debate than in the first. None of that changes the fact that he’s sitting on three and a half years of failed policies, and insisting that we give him another four years to do more of the same.
- Romney is talking about what he wants to do. What he wants to do is theoretical; the proof is in the doing. Nonetheless, Romney has a track record of setting goals and meeting them, whereas Obama has a track record of talking big and accomplishing precisely dick.
- Benghazi just came up. And, predictable as the rising of the sun, Obama tried to criticize Romney for ‘playing politics’ by criticizing the administration’s actions and responses. NEWS FLASH, OBAMA: YOUR CHOICES AND ACTIONS WERE POLITICAL EVENTS. The results were political results. The failures thus become political issues. If you don’t want to deal with the political fallout from your political actions, don’t go into politics.
- Candy Crowley (the moderator) appears to be interrupting Romney about five times as often as she interrupts Obama. Once that’s been set aside, however, her conduct does not reach the level that would demand that she be tarred and feathered and launched by air cannon to Iran (where modern American liberalism can be properly appreciated). She wasn’t entirely, precisely fair and objective, but she wasn’t grotesquely, undeniably UNfair. Miracle of miracles.
- I’m not an uncommitted voter. People who are committed on either side are unlikely to have their minds changed by the debate (they may be disappointed by their candidate’s performance, but that’s a different matter). The partisans are already decided, which means the ‘independents’ are the ones who will swing the election one way or the other: not because they’re anywhere near a majority — there are fewer independents than self-designated conservatives OR liberals — but because their vote, added to either side, is enough to tilt the balance. What will uncommitted voters conclude from this debate? I can’t really guess. I’m not objective, and I know it. Every time Obama opens his mouth, I start shouting at the screen. (And frequently cursing. His blathering, and his politics, really do offend me that much.) But I absolutely can’t tell how this debate will affect anyone who hasn’t yet made up his/her mind.
- Once again, Obama got four more minutes of speaking time than Romney did. And, once again, it didn’t actually make him look that much better.
- In the final analysis, two candidates are standing in front of the cameras. Both are saying, Vote for me, and things will get better. The difference is, one of them hasn’t actually done anything on the national stage yet (which means his claims are theoretical, which is another way of saying ‘hopeful’); the other has spent 3½ years implementing policies about which the best that can be said is, Well, they haven’t destroyed the country YET.
The actual result will become clear three weeks from now, on Election Day.
Regarding the anti-Muhammad movie reputed to be the excuse for anti-American riots in multiple countries:
When you provoke a mad dog in the middle of a bunch of people, you do, in fact, bear some responsibility for what happens to those people.
On the other hand, someone, sometime, will eventually have to do something about the mad dog.
Preferably something final.