Why can’t Europe defend itself?

Why is Russia superior to Europe militarily?  Their technology isn’t better.  They’re outnumbered, and they’re poor, by comparison.  They have no allies to speak of.  So what have the Russians got, that the Europeans don’t?  Why do we need to be involved?

Most European countries spend between 1% and 1.5% of their GDP on defense.  The average for the Euro area is 1.4%.  The U. S. spends 3.3%, and Russia spends 5%.  Europe is far more wealthy than Russia, and has the money to bury it in an arms race.  But they don’t want to spend the money, so we have to do it for them.  What’s wrong with this picture?

And look at the German Army. It’s a national joke.  The Germans are sick of war, and don’t have the stomach for another one.  After their losses in World War One, the once mighty French Army became a shell.  So many young Frenchmen had been slaughtered, the French people had no more use for war.  I think the same thing has happened to the Germans.  They’re afraid to wave their own flag, for Pete’s sake.

But Americans will still fight, so we have to take on the Russians, because nobody else will.  But I don’t think we will fight, not in Europe, against the Russians.  John McCain, and Vice President Pence, for that matter, may say otherwise, but, on this one, I don’t think they speak for the American people.  We don’t want to go to war.  Anywhere.  And President Trump is not going to try and force a war on the American people.  In his gut, he knows we shouldn’t fight the Russians.

We have to be bombed into war, as at Pearl Harbor, and on 9-11.  And Russia is no threat, of any kind, to us.  In point of geopolitical fact, the Russians are our natural allies.  A great Eurasian land power, and a mighty continental island ruling the waves.  No wonder the world is so terrified of a Russian-American Entente.  We could rule the world, if we wanted to.  But we don’t.  In America, we want freedom of the seas, and to be left alone.  If Russia was our friend, we could be a restraining influence on them.

A report has surfaced that the shenanigans in the Texas Legislature last week were part of an elaborate ruse, and were not the doing of the Convention of States.  If that is the case, the accusations I made against that organization were based on a false premise, and are withdrawn.  We’ll get to the bottom of this next week.

If this report is true, it will be a great relief.  Losing Texas would have been close to mortal.

 

 

A stab in the back

Moving quickly and quietly, the Texas State Senate is attempting to sabotage the Balanced Budget Amendment.  This at the behest of the Convention of States organization, (CoS), headed by Mark Meckler.  The BBA Article V campaign has 28 States, with a clear path open to 34.  CoS has 8 States, and a possible path to no more than 15, total.  In the solid Republican States of Arkansas, South Dakota and Wyoming they have lost on floor votes, this year.  If a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention is held, the CoS organization disintegrates, and Mark Meckler will have to find another way to support himself in the lifestyle to which he is accustomed.  For CoS to survive, the BBA must be killed.   To hell with federalism, and to hell with avoiding national bankruptcy.  First things first, and Mark Meckler needs to make a living.

Yesterday in committee, the Senate passed SJR 38, rescinding their BBA Resolution, and then quickly passed the CoS Resolution, SJR 2.  There was little discussion and no debate.  It was wired.  Since the CoS Resolution has a provision specifically devoted to the BBA, this committee action makes no sense, except as a naked political hit job.

The question is:  where is Texas Governor Greg Abbott?  Is he a party to this treachery?   If he thinks he can kill the BBA, and then turn around and pass CoS, he is fundamentally ignorant.  If the BBA dies, the entire Article V movement dies with it.  With the BBA blazing trail, all sorts of possible Article V Amendments are possible.  Without it, the thought of a multi-subject Amendment, such as CoS, is laughable.  It will never happen.  Does Gov. Abbott want that on his record?  Does he want to be the man who killed Ronald Reagan’s dream of forcing Congress to balance its budget?

In the 28 States that have passed the BBA Resolution, there are hundreds of legislative leaders, from Florida to Alaska, who have worked to make President Reagan’s vision a reality.  To these men and women, Greg Abbott will be revealed as a self serving, and foolish, politician.  His name will be mud.

But we don’t know, for sure, that the Governor is a party to this plot.  If he’s not, he needs to make that clear.  There is another possibility, that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is behind this scheme, but not Gov. Abbott.  Whomever is pushing it, they need to realize that they are in the process of making a whole lot of enemies in State Capitols, all across this country.

Including Boise, where a week from today the Senate State Affairs Committee hears our Resolution.  Right now the vote looks close, and the Georgia Peach, David Guldenschuh, will testify and attempt to lock down a majority.  If we get out of committee, the floor votes are there, and Speaker Bedke promises quick action in the House.  While this is taking place, 400 miles to the east in Cheyenne, the Wyoming Senate is scheduled to be taking up our Resolution in third and final reading.  All signs point to #29.  We all need a win, for the sake of our mental health.

 

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on

Even if you don’t like our honey badger President, you’ve got to love the way he abuses the media.  I remember Nixon’s press conferences, and how he loathed the press, but never challenged them.  We’ve never had a President willing to take these puffed up, self reverential lightweights head on.  He seems perfectly candid, telling us how he really feels.  It was genuine, authentic, and a delight to behold.  He’s being honest with the American people, and it’s the best policy.

And everything he said was true.  The elite media is a hive, and the Queen has issued her directive.  Trump must be destroyed.  Nothing else matters.  As long as Trump is in the White House, they will swarm around him, searching for an opening to make a sting.  But forewarned is forearmed, and most people in this country don’t like or trust the media, so he can beat them, just as he did in the general election.  It’s war, for the duration.  He may as well face the facts, and rally the people to his side.  Everyone at the Saturday rally in Florida will encourage him to keep hitting them, and he will,  no doubt.  And the best part is that he enjoys doing it.  He’s got that New York, in your face, attitude, and slapping the media around is a form of recreation.

I’ve been trying to figure out where all this anti-Russian hysteria is coming from.  Russia is no threat to our national security.  They’re not the ones challenging our right to patrol the seas of the world.  That’s China.  Behind our ocean borders, we are protected by our Navy, and as long as we rule the waves no one sets foot on American soil without our permission.  The Russians learned long ago that it was pointless to challenge us on the high seas, so we have nothing to fear from them.

Except, of course, their nuclear arsenal.  But maybe the best way to deter a nuclear attack is to normalize our relations with Moscow.  Russia is a great power, and has legitimate security concerns.  If possible, these concerns should be accommodated.  If that’s not possible, we should demonstrate our good will to the Russian people, and deepen our relationship with them.  They could not have beaten the Nazis without our help, and there is a reservoir of good will between our two peoples.

I think it all comes down to money.  Chamber of Commerce Republicans (and that’s most of them) do the bidding of their contributors, and big business wants the United States to defend Europe.  If we don’t,  it’s bad for business, and if a bunch of American soldiers from the heartland have to die to keep the multinational corporations happy, so be it.

I think that’s contemptible.  And it’s unnecessary.  As Peter Zeihan points out in The Absent Superpower, “As a percentage of GDP, the United States is the most self-sufficient country in the world.”   Only 8.25% of our GDP comes from merchandise exports, and a third of that goes to Canada or Mexico.  We can get by without Europe.

The Task Force’s Mike Stern did a little research on the history of the BBA in Maryland, and made some interesting findings.  Maryland State Senate President “Irish” Mike Miller was the first of ten siblings, is the father of five, and grandfather of fourteen.  As a freshman State Senator in 1975 he vote for one of the first BBA Resolutions.  It was sponsored by a man he greatly respected, Senator Jim Clark.  In 1987 he was elected Senate President, and used his position to help defeat a rescinding Resolution sponsored by Delegate Nancy Kopp.

Miller is still Senate President, after 30 years.  He’s a spry 74, and has all his wits about him.  Kopp is now the Treasurer of Maryland, and is once again pushing a rescinding Resolution.  I’ll hazard a guess that President Miller will not look kindly on this proposal.  When he first voted for the BBA the national debt was $500 billion.  That was 40 years ago, and the debt is now, at $20 trillion, 40 times as large.  I’ll bet even George Soros isn’t going to convince Mike Miller that we don’t need a BBA.

If we can keep Maryland, we won’t need Montana, and our road has one less obstacle.

 

Who’s afraid of the big, bad bear?

The “deep state” is heavily invested in Russophobia.  Establishing good relations with Russia undermines not only its power, but its reason for existence.  Russia has been the greatest threat to our security for 70 years, and if that threat is removed, it’ll put a lot of spies out of work.  The CIA might have to be downsized!   May the saints protect us.

So it is that the most visibly pro-Russian member of the Trump circle, General Flynn, is torpedoed by the intelligence community.  If Trump believes that’s what happened, he’ll want vengeance, and he’ll want heads to roll.  Rather than deflect his drive for normalization of relations with Russia, he’ll double down.  He campaigned, very explicitly, on wanting friendship with Russia  —  it’s part of his electoral mandate.  I remember him asking the audience at one of his rallies, “Wouldn’t it be a good thing to be friends with Russia?”  The audience nodded in approval, and Trump felt validated.

The American people have no grudge against the Russians.  Those of us with long memories remember the Second World War, and the fact that it was the Russians who beat the Wehrmacht, and it was the Russians who paid the price.  Better them than us.  They were our allies then, and could be again.

NATO is not a mutual defense treaty.  We’re not looking for fellow NATO members to protect us from invasion.  As a continental island, we don’t need them.  But they need us, or so they think.  Geopolitically, they get, we give, and get nothing in return.  If you’re a believer in America First, that’s a lousy deal.

Maybe I’m naive, but I don’t think Putin has any intention of starting a European war.  He wants NATO out of his immediate neighborhood, and who can blame him?  It’s an anti-Russian alliance.    Geopolitical guru Peter Zeihan disagrees.  He thinks that war is already underway, in Ukraine, and that Russia will need to invade and occupy all or parts of eleven countries in order to achieve the security it craves.

I don’t believe it.  Under Merkel, the Germans are no threat to Russia, and the Germans are the only people that Russia needs to be worried about.  The Germans are in the process of becoming Swedes.  For hundreds of years, the Swedes were one of the bad asses of Europe, and then they gave up on it.  There was really no point to it.  So they holed up in Sweden, and don’t want to fight anybody.

I don’t think today’s Germans are any more militaristic than the Swedes.  If anybody ought to be anti-war, it should be the Germans, and I think they are.  And I think Putin understands this, and isn’t really worried about the Germans, especially if we’ve left the scene.

And I think that’s the key to peace in Europe  — American withdrawal.  Bring the troops home, and let the Europeans figure things out for themselves.  The Germans beat the Russians in World War One, and the Russians returned the favor in World War Two.  Do they want a rubber match?  If they do, they’re crazy, and we want no part of the insanity.

An American withdrawal from Europe will be a boon to Russia.  Our presence in Europe was provocative, and entirely unnecessary in a post Cold War world.  Everybody should want the Russians to have a sense of security.  It lessens the chance of a European war.

And an American withdrawal allows us to pursue our national interest vis a vis China.  We want the Russians to back us in any confrontation with the Chinese.  If we’re out of Europe, that’s likely to happen.

It seems to me that the Chinese are constructing a stationary aircraft carrier in the South China Sea, and that this aircraft carrier would be a threat to ours.  If that’s the case, counter measures will be required.  If we have to go nose to nose with the Chinese, we want the Russians at our backs, not theirs.

Once we establish cordial relations with Russia, and come to an understanding with China, we’ll be at the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.  An astronomical age lasts 2,160 years, so we should be good until the year 4177.

If there is a war between any of the Great Powers in this century, it will be a monument to human stupidity right up there with World War One.  Are we really that dumb?

The humiliation of the elites

Nobody likes to look like a fool.  I repeatedly told my wife, with complete confidence, based on a lifetime of studying and practicing politics, that Trump could not possibly win the Republican nomination.  I am regularly reminded of these assurances.  I’ve got a lot of company.  I’ve come to terms with my comeuppance.  The ruling class hasn’t.

Right before the election NYT economic guru Paul Krugman gave everyone a stock tip.  Trump was going to destroy the market, and it would be, like, forever, before it came back.  Like a lot of people in the market, I’m up 20% since the election.  I wonder how Krugman’s portfolio is doing.  My God, he’s a Nobel Prize winning economist.  This is embarrassing.  He’s been humiliated, and it’s got to piss him off.

The whole ruling elite has been made fools of.  How many pony tailed poli sci profs told their students what I told Babbie about this election?   With utter and absolute confidence.  How many fancy cocktail parties in the liberal enclaves featured loud and confident predictions of Trump’s demise?   How many jokes were cracked about how sweet it was going to be to see Trump crushed, in a landslide, no less.

To make things even worse, the Orange Dynamo has not changed his ways since the election.  He’s as outrageous as President as he was before.  He says and does things that are outside accustomed political mores.  And he’s getting away with it!  This cannot be.  This cannot stand.

All of which results in Trump Derangement Symptom, a far more lethal strain than its predecessors.  But anger is not a strategy, and the longer the left wallows in impotent rage, the better for Trump team.

We passed out of Wyoming Senate Rules today, 4-0.  A floor vote next week.  #29.  Every one is bigger than the one before.  There has got to be a magical political number, like the real Article V magic number of 34.  It’s when people take you seriously.  I guess it’s #32, or three more.  If we succeed in Arizona, Idaho and Wisconsin, which all look very, very good, we’ll hit #32, with Kentucky, South Carolina, Minnesota, Virginia and Montana still available, to one degree or another.  They’re all controlled by conservative Republicans, who all agree that the debt has the potential to sink this country.

They just don’t understand Article V. It’s like an alien concept.  They can’t figure out how something so fundamental to the federal Constitutional system can be so, well, obscure.  How come they’ve never heard of it before?  Why hasn’t it ever been used, if it’s so safe?

Most of these people can be educated.   But then there’s the Birchers, and you can’t reason with these people.  It’s like they’re in a cult.  And the Koch brothers are the leaders of this cult.   Their father, Fred, was an original Board member of the John Birch Society, and Article V scared him.  At this time, in the mid-50’s, the Republican Party was at a low ebb, other than the White House, and the Birchers even thought Eisenhower was a Communist dupe.   Traditional American conservatives, like Fred Trump, were very afraid we were going to lose it all, that the Constitution was going to be destroyed.  In their extremely weak political position, with the Democrats and liberals having an electoral lock, it made sense to oppose the use of Article V.  I would have opposed its use in the 50’s myself, because if it was going to be used, it would be used by the left.

But times have changed, and we’re in the dominant political position, and conservative opposition to Article V is lunacy.  Some one needs to explain this to the Koch brothers. Maybe Sen. Mike Lee could do it.