France: Russia’s reliable partner

Polity: A particular form of political system or government

Did you know that France is going forward with a $1.6 billion sale of two Mistral-class amphibious carriers to the Russian Navy, ignoring objections by NATO allies and the Pentagon and in spite of what is happening in Ukraine? Did you know that France has opposed an effort by the EU’s Eastern European countries to include an arms embargo in the next round of sanction in response Russia’s attack on Ukraine? I cannot help but wonder how long it will be until France appears at the doorstep of NATO and the U.S., hat in hand, asking for protection from the imperialistic adventures of an emboldened Vladimir Putin.

Conducting a humanitarian war

Polity: A political form of political system or government

…Been watching the latest news reports on the Syrian conflict: Important to note that the treaties of the Fourth Geneva convention of 1949, ratified in whole or in part by 195 countries following the end of WWII, established standards for humanitarian treatment in war—an oxymoron, in my book. Earlier, in 1928, the League of Nations accepted the registration of the Hague Protocol, which prohibited the “first use” of chemical and biological weapons in war. Silly me, but I’ve always wondered how these wise men came to the conclusion that it was somehow acceptable to massacre any untold number of innocent people with bullets, bombs and scimitars, but killing those same people with a nerve gas was beyond the pale. Go figure.

[Written in August 2013]

State of the Union – 2014

Polity: A particular form of political system or government

Well, it’s that time of year again when the President of the United States presents his state of the Union speech to the citizens of this great nation. While contemplating what President Obama might tell us Tuesday night, I reflected on the many events we have experienced over the past few years and what we might reasonably expect to see in the future. What first came to mind, of course, is the extended period of economic freefall that began with the bursting of the housing bubble that began in 2005 followed by the financial crisis in October 2008, from all of which we are only now, eight years later, beginning to slowly recover. These events, alone, could be subject to a flag for “piling on” if life were a football game. And then there is the continuing vapor lock among our duly elected representatives in Washington. But, as wrenching as these events were and continue to be, in my view, they are merely the canaries in the coal mine: symptoms of changes to the very core of American society that are truly unsettling to many of us who are paying attention. And a recent article by Matt Towery, a nationally syndicated columnist is on point.

Continue “State of the Union – 2014”

How did we not see that coming?

Polity: A particular form of political system or government

Congress has asked, and President Obama has agreed, to create a special exemption for Congressional members and their staff from the ObamaCare health coverage that everybody else in America is mandated to buy. The action will simply ignore an amendment to the Affordable Care Act (the law) that states “the only health plans that the Federal Government may make available” to Congress are those offered by the Act. (FYI: Members and their staff currently participate in the much more generous Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.)

The Wall Street Journal reports that Congressional members of both parties are “fretting” over the “brain drain” that will occur among staffers if faced with higher healthcare costs. Hmmm…I think that horse has already left the barn.

WSJ editorials: “Congress’s ObamaCare Exemption,” Monday August 5, 2013, page A12; “Members Only,” Thursday, August 8, 2013, page A12.

Harbingers of decline

Polity: A particular form of political system or government

According to an article by David Lieb, Associated Press, about four-fifths of the states have enacted local laws that directly reject or ignore federal laws related to marijuana use, gun control, health care and driver’s license identification. They do so in spite of the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which specifically provides that federal laws are superior to contrary state laws. And so, we witness the continued fraying of the very fabric of our nation.