Saturday, November 22, 2008
Towards a Solution to Piracy
Attacks Daily in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean
1. Justification: Piracy as practiced now is kidnapping and theft, with loss of lives in some instances. It is an international crime, and deserves an international solution.
2. Needs: The entire coastline of East Africa and the entire Indian Ocean is the operating area for pirates, who are mostly based in Somalia. The needs are many:
a. Put pressure on the Somalia government to rein in the pirates in their territory. No valid government to pressure.
b. Send warships to the area to patrol. This is being done.
c. Use the US Navy capability to coordinate between all of the ships and aircraft to generate a composite surface picture or CSP. This is being done.
d. Track all vessels in the area of interest. Combine all reporting and sightings into the picture, and focus on vessels that appear to be on an intercept course with merchantmen. We know how to do this from our long experience in the Atlantic and Pacific theaters. This is being done partially, lacking full coverage.
e. Use high altitude reconnaissance vehicles to maintain the CSP over 120,000 square mile areas. Augment the CSP with satellite surveillance where possible.
f. Use towed-array sonar to perform surveillance, identification, and tracking of vessels in the passive sonar range of warships. Add this input to the CSP. Pirate vessels can ultimately be identified by their propeller signatures, which will aid the tracking of suspicious vessels. Possibly being done in some cases.
g. Focus upon the developing encounters between suspected pirate ships and merchantmen, in order to be able to warn the merchantmen of the threat, and to commit to counter action before the pirates can board the merchantman.
h. Arm the Merchantmen sufficiently that they can delay or thwart the pirates. Place a contingent of trained soldiers aboard to operate the weapons, help to stand 24/7 watch, and to use the usual military gear—night vision glasses, GPS location, and laser designators for targets—to help fight off the attackers. The right combination of weapons is needed to be able to defeat both the speedboats and their ‘Mother Ship.”
To defeat the speedboats, at least a number of 50 caliber machine guns, perhaps two to four on a side would be needed for close in defense. One of a number of relatively inexpensive anti-tank missile systems would be effective against the Mother ship, as well as the speedboats, with TOW as the first possibility to come to mind. Even Stinger would be useful.
i. Ensure that the Captains of merchant vessels have knowledge of effective evasion techniques against the speedboat boarding parties. With earlier warning of a possible attack, and from what direction, the merchant vessel can be better prepared, and can increase speed in directions that make the pirate attack more difficult. Ships radar should be used 24/7, and upgraded if it is obsolete. It appears that some Captains have successfully maneuvered away from the pirates.
j. Employ high altitude drones in the role of surveillance and counterattack or “Hunter/Killer type of operation. The MQ-9 Reaper seems fitted out best for this role at the moment, and the weapon of choice would be the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), GBU-39/GBU-40. This winged bomb has a range from high altitude, 30-to-50 thousand feet, of 60 nautical miles, and an accuracy of a few meters. The newer versions of this weapon will have terminal seeker capability and mid-course correction capability. A Reaper can carry quite a number of SDBs, perhaps 14 or more. No reported instance of a drone being employed as of today.
With these provisions in place, the pirates would have a far tougher time to bring off a capture. At 150 million dollars of losses this year, it will soon be evident to all that a joint solution by many nations would share costs and soon rid the area of pirates.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Today's Conservative--Liberal Light?
What Kind of Conservative are You?
Life gets very complicated at times. There seem now to be many varieties of Conservatism; so many that I am having trouble defining the label for just where I stand. How naïve I was to think that a majority of Conservatives had the same ideas and objectives!
Today, quite a number of conservatives have bought into the liberal idea of “total non-discrimination” (TND). This equates to being non-judgmental, accepting of all groups and their ideas as equal, whether they be Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, Ra worshipers, or Mafia, or so it seems. The Liberal idea of Non-discrimination applies to race, color, sex, sexual preference, party affiliation (?), creed, group aspirations and more.
Furthermore, this TND fetish is a direct corollary to moral relativism, which is the essence of rejection of Christian morality, and the beginnings of nihilism. That alone makes me oppose TND.
There is another view of discrimination that does not involve moral relativism. Simple equality of all our citizens before the law, and equality of opportunity for all means non-discrimination in those two sectors, which is right and proper. Beyond that, we would be extending the concept of TND into the social sector by law which to me is totally improper.
So everyone has a voice in our Democracy: whether it is beneficial or devastating to our well-being, no one is excluded! This is fine up to the point where my social decisions are dictated by law. Now, I have been utterly opposed to quite a number of groups with social ideas that are inimical to our society, namely: liberals, socialists, communists, Muslims, and atheists, to name the main groups. Not that these individuals should have their rights as citizens taken away, but that their views of the path America should go in should be simply ignored--discriminated against if you will--for the good of the nation, when those views are meant to be the basis of social law, followed by fiscal laws that support the social laws.
This position makes me a right wing, social and fiscal conservative, I suppose. Perhaps I am a Traditional Conservative, who does not agree with an evolving social hedonism, nor do I agree with the diminution of the Christian religion and secularization of the government, nor do I agree with a leveling process that robs one set of people and uses the proceeds to disincentivise the other set from ever exercising individual responsibility. There is something radically wrong when over 40% of our citizens do not pay taxes, which may be increased to 60% under the next president.
Then, too, I do not agree with the “no first strike” idea of Libertarians, either, since preemptive action is necessary for our survival in many serious scenarios. It is hard for me to understand why the federal government should be into education to the tune of billions of dollars, with ever greater supervision and prescription in our school systems. The States should bear this responsibility. This goes for abortion as well. Each State should control how the abortion issue is handled within its borders.
In this rant, I will throw in just one more major objection I have of the left’s agenda: amnesty for illegal immigrants. By what calculus should we open our nation to all immigrants, and also forgive those that sneaked in against the law? Yes, there is a humanity question here, but that could be handled without general amnesty.
If being a conservative means preserving our values, our way of life, our culture, our way of governing, our morals and our religious beliefs, then that is what I sign up for. I am willing to fight for these tenets if it comes to that.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
The American Solutions Approach
How to Achieve Consensus, Conservative Government
Under the general guidance of Newt Gingrich, a dedicated group of concerned, non-partisan citizens is composing a “Platform of the American People” that is receiving 80%-90% acceptance from rank and file Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike. The Platform, so far, covers many topics of vital interest to our citizens, and it is growing rapidly to encompass most topics of concern for America, from Defense, to Health, to Education, to Energy, and so on. The hope is that the main parties will include the findings of this Platform into their party platforms in the next election cycle to the benefit of all Americans. The following link to American solutions will provide an in-depth view of the work to date:
I strongly recommend this approach.
Labels: Citizenship USA
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Left or Right, America?
Is the Public Turning Left?
It would appear that with the population aging, we should see a long-term trend to the right, not the left. This election, while an interesting interlude, does not portend any long-term move leftward, but, rather, it reflects a public dissatisfaction with "the way things are".
Much of how things are is not attributable solely to the right wing, or to the president, although one can see the pundits attempting to reinforce that idea in the minds of the electorate. In my opinion, the majority of Americans are indeed center-right in their outlook and in their hearts. I believe that many citizens have felt betrayed by the incumbent right, and hence voted against them, as opposed to voting for Obama and the left.
I also believe that some citizens felt it time to shake up the established rightist legislators, administrators, and judiciary by putting power to the left--temporarily, in their minds (which may well turn out to be a disaster for them and for the US). A year or so as underdogs just might bring Republicans and their conservative constituents to heel, so to speak, it is thought by some.
Many believe that the GOP itself has been moving leftward as well, which requires drastic correction to hold the right.
The undecideds, the independents, or whoever sits officially uncommitted to a party, were even more willing to vote Democratic, for the same change reasons, plus the Obama-factor, the Messiah factor, which has been very palpable to the public.
In my opinion, it is also true that the public is tired of the Iraqi war, with its loss of life, crippled men, and hundreds of billions of dollars spent on an obviously dubious, although noble, idea: a free and stable Islamic Iraq that aligns itself with the US after we withdraw. The bad decisions and strategies in getting where we are now in that process have extended the time and resources needed beyond conventional reason, and with the Iraqi government showing its independence from our ideas now, we are not moving forward. To top it off, we seem to be going backwards in Afghanistan. Something needs to change here, the success of the "surge" notwithstanding.
Then comes the meltdown of our market, and the hard impacts it has had on every man's retirement funds and other prospects. Fortuitous, perhaps, but quite devastating to Republican chances in the election. Now here is a crisis of the first order, that was not foreseen, and was not headed off by the incumbents. The current administration is to blame in the eyes of the public, I suggest, which has driven many voters to the left by default. More of the same was not a good bet.
These factors support my contention that the public is not veering leftward in any permanent sense, but has been forced there by the current circumstances and the prospects for the near term. They will return when they see the leadership, the plans, the goals, and the issues and solutions that they approve of unmasked for their vote.
The beginnings of that are in Newt's American Solutions; which seems to be trying to become a non-partisan movement.
Will it be under the Conservative flag sooner or later? It would appear so, but with heavy bipartisan support.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Ending the Curse of Tax Socialism
I recently came across this article from James Dorn of the Cato Institute. The essential position he has taken on ending tax socialism is an outstanding clarification of the tax trap we are currently in, and will undoubtedly be far further into in the near term. I include the beginning and ending here, but the entire piece is worth the effort to read:
James A. Dorn is vice president for academic affairs at the Cato Institute.
This article appeared on cato.org on September 13, 1996. Read it here!
"It's time to expose the pretense of morality that is inherent in progressive taxation and to end the system of tax socialism that has eroded economic and personal liberties in the United States. Progressive income taxation should be abolished and replaced with a flat-rate tax on income or consumption -- not just to enhance efficiency but to protect our rights to life, liberty and property.
In 1848 Marx and Engels proposed that progressive taxation be used "to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeois, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state." Although communism has failed, the idea of progressive taxation, as a means of achieving "social justice," remains ingrained in the modern liberal psyche.
If we let constitutional principles be eroded by majority rule, in the name of social justice, then both freedom and true justice will be lost. Progressive taxation is not a virtue but a vice. It presumes that the property rights of the wealthy are not as sacred as the property rights of the poor and that the values of the majority are superior to the rights of the minority.
Those who support progressive taxation pretend to be on the moral high ground but, in fact, they have no ground to stand on. Envy, not justice, is at the root of the argument for discriminatory taxation. That is why those who most strongly advocate progressive taxation are in favor of the welfare state. "Law is the bond of civil society, and justice is equality under the law," wrote Cicero. If we are to restore civil society and move from tax socialism to tax justice, we need to abolish progressive taxation, institute a fair flat tax and limit the size of government. Otherwise, class warfare and welfare will prevail."
This position on our current tax system and the need for change to a flat tax I can heartily endorse.
Friday, November 07, 2008
The Demise of Racism?
The Vote was by and large Partisan
Regarding the demise of racism as a direct result of this election, I believe that is a far, far too optimistic a position. Yes, many voted for Obama–a black. The same people, by and large, would have voted for him if he were white, blue or pink, I assert, since he was a Democrat, and not Republican, GWB or a surrogate. If the only reason someone voted for Obama was that he is black is a sad commentary on the intelligence of the voter.
Real racial progress hinges on the assimilation of all ethnic groups into an America Culture that is by definition law-abiding, responsible to their families and children, productive, and fully literate in the English language. This assimilation or conversion has to be done from well within these ethnic groups, not from without.
Thus, this election of Obama is, for one thing, a one-off recognition of such a conversion having taken place by himself and his family, and no one else in the world.
So it is true that racism is still very much with us.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
What is Conservatism--Revised
What is Conservatism? An Outline of Key Ideas (as of: 11/6/08)
The two questions I have addressed in this outline are: 1) What is conservatism? and, 2) What ideas are at the heart of conservative thinking? This outline will in turn be a guide to further expansion of the topics identified in a systematic manner. It is apparent that each idea identified here is worthy of immense treatment, even a series of books and articles--many of which already exist, of course. Of special importance is the connectivity between these ideas that, when integrated into a whole, lead to conservatism as a full, working political philosophy.
A major connectivity is through the education that children receive. A second connectivity is their experiences in life that confirm the teachings of conservatism. Many of these ideas are found in the US Constitution, or are an integral element of the Christian way of life that permeates conservative thought. Participation in our political life is yet another connectivity path.
A definition of conservatism that I support is: The preservation of those principles, ideas, ethics, morality, laws, religion and institutions that are considered to be sound and sacred in the US, as proved over time, while also recognizing that there is a need for changes or evolutions as inconsistencies and new problems surface.
This does not mean acceptance of the idea of our Constitution being a "living document", but rather, acceptance that changes are inevitable but infrequent, and they should be evaluated carefully in a just process of amendment before incorporating the change.
So what are the ideas? There are nine major divisions of the conservative approach:
1. God and Transcendentalism,
2. Natural Law and Rights,
4. Principles, Institutions, Traditions and Customs,
5. Freedom of Commerce and Intellectual Pursuits,
6. Right-Sized Federal Government,
7. Right-Sized State, County and Local Governments,
Each of these divisions will be expanded in outline form in what follows.
1. God, Transcendentalism
(Why does the Universe, Life and Man Exist At All? -C. S. Lewis) (Basics born in the far past that are still valid)
a. Existence of Sin and Evil, Imperfect Man,
b. Tribalism (Ethnocentric, Kinship, Survival, Customs, Rules, Worship of their Gods, Life Rhythms, Rituals, Conflicts...)(Language factor),
c. Simple, Practical Morality (Thou shalt not: murder; steal; commit adultery; covet; or lie),
d. Territorial Imperatives: and the notion of property ownership,
e. Revelation of One God,
f. Instruction of Children,
g. Judeo-Christian Religion, Dogmas and Morality,
h. Church Worship, Religious and Moral Instruction,
i. Envy-Free Motivation,
j. Virtue and its rewards,
k. Careful, watchful tolerance of other religions and non-religion religions such as atheism, agnosticism, Islam, and others, especially those that are a direct threat to our society.
2. Natural Law and Rights ( Rights given by God to man, and confirmed in our founding documents, especially the Declaration of Independence)
a. Equality in the Sight of God,
b. Life, Survival,
c. Freedom, Liberty,
d. Pursuit of Happiness,
e. Ensure Property Rights Remain Inviolate--Physical and Intellectual,
f. Equality of Opportunity,
g. The Golden Rule,
h. The Need for Order
(that preserves a way of life),
i. Equality before the Law,
j. Environmental Stewardship by All Citizens.
3. Justice (Essentially the protection of man under natural and civil law)
a. Freedom of Speech, Religion, Assembly, Press,
b. Rule of Just and Principled Law,
c. Equality Under the Law,
d. Trial by Jury,
e. Right of Self-Defense,
f. Your Home is Your Castle,
g. Penalties—Imprisonment, Death,
h. Common Law, Codifying Social Institutions,
i. Effective and Honest Law Enforcement.
4. Principles, Institutions, Traditions and Customs (Mediating and educating principles, maxims, organizations, churches, and parties that support natural law and justice in the nation)
a. Top level principles
1. Realism, not Relativism*,
2. Skepticism, not Progressivism ,*
3. Evolved Order, not Constructivism, *
4. Federalism, not Statism,*
5. Capitalism, not Collectivism, *
6. Theism, not Secularism, *
7. Sovereignty, not Internationalism,
8. Personal Responsibility, not Central Solutions to All Problems.
b. Mediating Structures
1. Marriage, Family, Education of Children,
2. Church, Education of Followers and Children,
3. Schools and Education of Children,
4. Neighborhood, City, County, State,
5. Individualism and individual responsibility,
6. Existence of Inequality in Men,
7. Responsibilities of Citizenship,
8. Groups, Associations, Orders, Think Tanks,
9. Particularly American Culture and Ways of Life.
c. Organization of Government and Guidance
1. Tripartite Governments,
2. Checks and Balances,
3. Contracts, and one's Word,
4. Subsidiarity—make decisions at the lowest level,
5. Simple and Fair Taxes,
7. Laissez Faire Economics,
8. Change when proved to be effective, not faddist experimentation,
9. A Written Constitution and Bill of Rights: original intent,
10. The Declaration of Independence,
11. Assimilation of Immigrants,
12. Bringing Good Science to Global Warming,
13. Halting the Politics of Envy,
14. Firm Solutions to Illegal Immigration, including border control,
15. Reduction of Multiculturalism and Diversity for their own sake in favor of a strong, central American Culture.
5. Freedom of Commerce and Intellectual Pursuits
(Extending freedom and liberty to business and trade)
b. Free Markets,
c. Research, Study, Experimentation Invention, Development,
d. Protection of material and intellectual Rights: Patents and Copyrights.
6. “Right-Sized” Federal Government
(Let the business of government be Liberty, and let it remain minimal to that task.)
e. Foreign Affairs,
f. Regulation of Commerce,
i. Nationwide Services (transportation, postal, roads, disease control, Border Patrol, etc.),
j. Rejection of all forms of Liberalism, Socialism, Pacifism, and Communism.
7. "Right-Sized" State, County, and Local Governments
(States have Rights to be exercised instead of the Federal government. See the 10th Amendment. Extending freedom and liberty to the states and localities.)
e. Public Services,
f. Regulation of Commerce,
(Charitable contributions should not increase the national debt. Welfare-ism has blunted the individual's obligation to perform charitable works, which is a central factor and one of the greatest virtues in Christianity)
a. Individual Contributions,
b. Group and Church Contributions,
c. Business and Corporate Contributions
d. Local Government and State Contributions,
e. National and International Contributions.
(Redirecting government to the conservative way)
Far from being change-adverse, conservatives desperately want changes in a number of areas:
a. Congress---Rules, Terms, Committees, Earmarks, Ethics, Lobbying,
b. Campaign Financing, Especially from Foreign Sources,
c. Revise and Restrict Tort Law,
d. Fix the Health System without Destroying Market Freedom,
e. Education System Needs to be Overhauled and Remove the Federal Government Entirely,
f. Proscribe Unions and Strengthen Right-to-Work Laws,
g. Tax System--Total Revamp, Flat or Fair Tax (but not both!),
h. Better and Larger Military Organization and Equipment,
i. Drill and Pump! Energy Production (Oil, Coal, Nuclear, Wind, Tides, Hydrogen),
j. Consider National Service for All High School Graduates--two years,
k. Return Laws to the Original Intent of the Constitution,
l. Prevent Justices from Legislating from the Bench (instead, they must interpret the law),
m. Reduce the National Debt,
n. Reduce Overall Spending,
o. Fix Social Security (Private Accounts, etc),
p. Departments--Revamp and Streamline all Government Departments, especially State, Labor, Agriculture, Intelligence, Homeland Security, and Interior,
q. Agencies, Boards, Committees, and Commissions--Revamp All 1,177, and force all of them to justify their existence, budget, and manpower,
r. Break the hold of government unions. Secret ballots,
s. Rescind Roe versus Wade, and devolve abortion to State control (it is not a federal issue),
t. Define Marriage as being between a Man and a Woman and bar same-sex marriages,
u. Consider how best to qualify candidates for President and Congress (a Quality Test?) What must a candidate know before running for office?
v. Convene a Constitutional Convention to clarify the ideas of: absolutely no separation of state and religion; close loopholes that allow Justices to reinterpret the law, and other matters providing loopholes for clever lawyers to exploit.
The objective of these changes would be to either eliminate unneeded or obsolete operations, improve those that remain, and remove duplication of efforts, while at the same time relieving the burden of over-regulation from small businesses. A new nuclear power plant proposal currently has to be vetted by no less than 24 different bureaucracies, for example.
These elements of conservatism cannot be achieved in a short time, but they must stand as the real goals of the conservative movement, and should be brought to bear on all legislation, taxation, budgeting, and spending in our nation, year in and year out. Make these elements objectives to be met 5, 10, 20 or more years hence, depending on the level of difficulty there is in realizing them. All things are possible to those who strive!
Those who do not believe that these changes can be realized have lost faith. There are many external movements in the world that could well lead us to rein in the laissez faire social policies of the present, simply because there may not be sufficient funds available to pay for the massive benefits being contemplated by some liberal politicians.
One could cite China as a potential financial enemy, if only because they may lose faith in the US Dollar, and begin to sell off their trillions of banked dollars. Then too, there is the combination of Social Security and Medicare entitlements that will currently be exhausted by mid century without substantial repair. It is certain that we need changes, but they must be of the belt tightening variety, not profligate spending.
* Adapted from Brad Miner in The Concise Conservatism Encyclopedia, 1996.
To the President-Elect
The Horde will be watching!
We, The Horde, will not harass you with unfounded statements, only the truths of your governance. We will not invent conspiracies, or dark motives for your decisions, but we will let those decisions be expounded upon to where the average person can see the impact on himself, and the nation.
Many of your ideas expressed during the year are highly objectionable to The Horde. We will fight against them, hopefully to defeat them, because they are not constitutionally correct in word or spirit. First among these ideas is that of sharing the wealth by means of excess taxation of some individuals in order to give the money away to others. I will not repeat other bad ideas here now, but you will hear from us about them—often!
We wish you well, and hope for a governance we can be satisfied with from you. You will have our support when it is American values that are at stake. We simply hope that you know what those values are, and govern by them.