Thursday, April 17, 2014

A World-Famous Philosopher Has Never Stopped Spinning in His Grave

...why on Earth should he have? It is difficult to understand how
world leaders can continue to react in the same dangerously,
murderously tired ways they have always done--knee jerks
BY JERKS. George Santayana cautioned that those not
learning the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them:
so here we go again...the armed skirmishes in the Ukraine
have devolved into violent clashes with deaths, about three
so far, but it's early days.

There are two solutions that might make sense I'll offer here:

(1) Let the Ukraine become two states, divided by the
Dnieper River which does cut the country in half, call them
East Ukraine and West Ukraine. Let the East U align itself
with Russia, which seems to be what that region wants,
let West U line up with Western factions like the European
Union.  Not NATO, however: I don't see the Ukraine
anywhere near the Atlantic.

(2) Perhaps Russia could remove its troops in a face-
saving manner, all in charge could begin to relax,
and allow the Ukraine to line up with BOTH
Russian-related interests and European ones, as it is
literally located  between both.

Geography is destiny, someone said once. Being
mindful of such situational realities, can't we all
just get along? (so right, Rodney King). If we
can't, more murders, mayhem and destruction are
inevitable in a world that lost approximately 40%
of its financial worth during the Great Recession
2007 and counting.

Meanwhile, George Santayana continues his
graveyard spins....

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Heap O' Hubris (-and apparently, ignorance!)

U.S. sailors are suing Japan because they were
exposed to radiation during a rescue mission
to the stricken Fukushima disaster area. SURE,
why not kick a dog when it's down, WOW,
wotta brave move...so who do the sailors
suppose CAUSED this disaster?  Why, the
USA's GE Mark I and II reactor designs, sold
to a not quite up to speed technical society,
our former enemies, the Japanese--sold to an
island people subject to numerous earthquakes 
and tsunamis...

If the Japanese were really smart, they would
countersue re: being sold a pig in a poke,
faulty reactor designs by GE. Smart people
all around the world AND here at home
know/have known the GE Mark series are
flawed--GE engineers knew it in the
SEVENTIES when most reactors were
being built. Certain Japanese engineers
realized it as well, but ego and big-business
thrills often outweigh good sense; good,
innocent people are actually killed when
dangers are dismissed/overlooked.

Our sailors should sue the U.S. government,
but wouldn't dare, as employees; probably
some federal law exists to forbid such a
lawsuit...

A heapin' helpin' o' hubris (aka willfull
stupidity) going back to the late 60s and
the seventies are at work here, to the
detriment of all.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

USA/USAID, Stay Out of Cuba! We Can't Control the World...

and we'd better stop trying. Cuba is an independent
nation, deal with it; 1962's Cuban Soviet missile threat
is not a current issue, so stay outta there--do you want
more problems like those we have with our not-quite-a
state, Puerto Rico? If this nation were so on top of the
many myriad concerns we've had here, why did it take
sooo long for Washington DC's residents to get full voting
rights? --Come ON. Democrats and Liberals, why aren't
you (figuratively) baying for blood as your peers with the
same philosophical inclinations did during Reagan's little
adventure (actually Ollie North's) in 1980s'
Central America?

Cowardice married to presumption has trumped good
sense yet again: USAID, authorized by -?someone?-
has been broadcasting a Twitter-like program called
ZunZuneo to Cuba--COVERTLY. Just as anonymous
screedsters can say whatever they wish, because there
are presumably no accountability repercussions attached
to withholding one's identity, some in  authority want
to control Cubans and their political destiny by secretly
propagandizing....shame! Go through the Voice of
America, my dad's old employer, for any honest,
practical power of persuasion.

Check out the Platt Amendment; decide objectively,
if any American can, whether we have our collective
heads screwed on correctly regarding Cuba. For
those who don't know, 70 and more years ago Cuba
was near enough, yet far enough away for philandering
U.S. Senators and other "big shots" to escape their
dumpy, out of shape wives, having affairs with young
Cuban females...disgusting. (If you require sexual
variety, don't marry!)

I'm a Brazilian-Cuban American; I was in Havana
for several weeks in 1955 before Castro took the
island, follow events there and the antics of the
Miami Cubans as well. Because of the Spanish
American War (1898) we became occupiers
of the place...can't we let it go?? The scenario
is pathetic, reminding me sharply of Putin with
the Crimea, using his old KGB mindset.

Two shaky world powers, Russia and the USA,
with lack of control internally must externally
bully two little places in proximity. Memo
to Obama and Putin: this is NOT the way to
maintain super power status, count on it.

USA/USAID, stay out of Cuba, we are not
the world;

Russia, leave the Ukraine alone,
aren't you big enough right now?

--YOU aren't the world EITHER.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Illinois Is Ill Indeed: Quinn, Madigan and Cullerton Ignore Our State Constitution

No court case or informed objections from the public stayed the
illegal hands of the top three Illinois Democrats with respect to the
Illinois Constitution's STIPULATED requirements for content
in the yearly governor's projected budget for the next year:

Quinn proposed a five year plan (-borrowing from the old
Soviet Union's five year plan budget projections, perhaps,
which failed, by the way?) for 2015 and beyond. Consulting
our state's constitution,  Article VIII--Finance, Section 2.,
State Finance, Subsection (a) yields the following important
imperatives:

o The budget address to the General Assembly must be for the
   next budget year ONLY, (-2015).
o The sitting governor must provide estimated revenue receipts.
o Said governor must detail the plans for expenditures and
   obligations for EVERY DEPARTMENT, authority, public
   corporation, etc.
o Proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds estimated to
   be available by the General Assembly during that year.  

The Illinois Budget Speech on March 26th, 2014 fulfilled
NONE of these legally mandated requirements. Instead,
Quinn trotted out our commonly-felt fears about education,
needed services, etc. It was only a pleading, pathetic
political speech.  That is a no-go theorem for anyone
interested in obeying the law...which the top three
democrats clearly demonstrated they were NOT.

Harking back to the televised Joe McCarthy (R) hearings
of old, a lone, past voice of reason accused:
"Have you no shame, sir, none at all?"  That this is now
an illegal democrat rather than a republican underscores
how universal and deep the desire is to remain in
the spotlight--graceless and problematic though
such wishes often prove to be.

Pat wants to be remain governor; I understand. But
Quinn's quite able to give this exact speech on the
campaign trail, which is what he should have done...

SO WHERE IS OUR ACTUAL BUDGET?

Illinois is ill indeed: parse the state name, and
what do we find? Ill in noise. Can we never
overcome such seeming sad destiny?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No One Gains as Ukraine's Pain Continues:

Crimeans want to return to Russia's hegemony; apparently
have succeeded, for the moment; the "interim" Ukrainian
government in Kiev is demonstrably shaky; Russian troops,
many thousands strong, purportedly are massed on Ukraine's
eastern border with Russia; Putin says he has no plans to
go in, unless "Russian speakers in Ukraine request it".
(--Sounds a lot like Pres. Kennedy and Ngo Dinh Diem,
early '60s, no?  We all know how THAT turned out....)

We do, luckily, seem to have some conciliatory negotiators
in the persons of Russia's Lavrov and the USA's Kerry, still
meeting and talking in places like "neutral" Paris. (I fervently
hope this is not just window dressing or the usual dog and
pony show...)  

We're in an extremely delicate, internationally involved moment,
including energy distribution across many European national
borders, supposed competition for allying Ukraine with either
Russia or NATO, posturing by the two greatest nuclear weapons
powers, etc. Since I don't really believe much actually ever lands
atop the dustbin of history permanently, I fear the "Cold" War
is returning, Putin's KGB background being what it is, and
Obama's "exceptionalism" comments being what they are.
(-A pity: in his first term, our president did what he could,
traveled to mend fences; now he seems more like Bush II,
"we are the world, the rest of y'all are jest onlookers".)

The Russians have some points against us on their side, sadly.
How has The Monroe Doctrine ever stood scrutiny as morally
just policy? Absolutely available to anyone with computer
access and history books  is the sorry saga of United Fruit in
Central America, the whole western coast of which the USA
practically owned...look up General Walker and the Panama
Canal as well. So again, why our outraged sensibilities over
the Crimea, Ukraine's allegiances, and Russian putative
power expansions/extensions? --As if we really have any
control what happens beyond our own borders, even
within them, at times.

If any nation's leaders WERE honest, they would admit
publicly that their countries have shameful entries in pages
of their own history books.  No one will profit from Ukraine's
present painful moment, absent extraordinarily deft diplomatic
moves.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Newton Minow, Former Intellectual Big Fish, Becomes an Aged, Illogical Little Fingerling

March 20th, 2014 CBS Radio 780 AM Chicago: Minow
supports Rauner for IL governor in November. Can he really
believe a man who made millions through his hedge fund
business is right for Illinois? Hedge funds aren't regulated;
their managers (owners) pay little in taxes relative to other
enterprises. A governor must be able to respect/obey laws
(i.e., regs), understand the proper roles taxation plays in
an orderly, caring and civilized society.
(--Police and firemen, anyone??)

For most of my adult life I've respected Mr. Minow, a giant
of thoughtful, incisive and insightful communication. An
attorney and former head of the FCC, he gained fame 50+
years back deriding TV as a "vast wasteland", which it was
and still is, excellent, exceptional programming not to the
contrary, infrequent as it is.

--But now? Mr. Minow, rightly observing  Illinois' grave,
even desperate, financial condition, wrongly concludes an
extreme right wing super rich executive who publicly stated
his desire to lower the state's minimum wage, then denies it, is
just what we need. He could have supported Kirk Dillard, a
consensus-minded republican with experience and the necessary
gravitas.

Newton Minow now carries out the meaning of his name:
just another little fish in reality's chaotic gale-tossed oceans
where we want whales with uncommon sense and sound
judgment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dillard vs. Rauner: Money Isn't Everything, as the 2014 Illinois Primary Proved

...Yes, Bruce Rauner ran a rich campaign, and he has secured the
Republican nomination for Illinois' next governor in November,
but by a landslide, as the talking heads and pollsters predicted?
No indeed, it was a three percent squeaker, proving yet again
that, while money is very important, it doesn't quite account for
everything. Watch for Mr. Dillard to nail higher office down
the road, as he intimated in his concession remarks.

Pesonal disclosure is in order here: I was one of the many
independent crossover voters who wished to influence the
Republican Party's outcome last night (-and did!). I voted
for Dillard, Cross and Topinka, as I have watched them over
the years and observed that they can civilly negotiate across
the aisle. Like it or not, those who disagree with us must be
dealt with, simply because they exist and ideal policies are
usually far from certainly known or proven. These three
Illinois politicians appear aware of such basic realities
where/when others are not. The Republican Party in our
state will rise and become more powerful when republicans
behave more like former Governor Edgar, Kirk Dillard and
Mark Kirk.

I'm praying for more RINOS and DINOS to get elected
nationwide--why not?  A steep ideological divide during
decades recently here at home has not produced policies
which reflect truly constitutional aims, namely, that all, rich,
poor and in between have rights, privileges and problems...

Let's get to it; let's prove even more effectively, resoundingly
that money isn't everything; effort, intelligence and concern have
occasionally trumped $$$ signs.

[Signed by a long-time DINO-RINO]