Tag Archives: Obama

Crimes in Crimea: The Ukrainian Crisis Broadens

21 Mar

Crimea1

Weeks ago, before the initial storming of Crimea by shrouded Russian soldiers not wearing Russian insignia (required by International Law of soldiers from sovereign nations), I wrote on this blog about my fear that the megalomaniac, Vladimir Putin may encroach the Ukrainian borders.  Days later, he did.

In a subsequent post I mentioned my fear that the apparent reprieve Ukraine had gotten from Putin’s aggression (after a belated and tepid response by the U.S. and global community) would be short-lived, possibly resulting in a partial or full Russian invasion.  The reason I expressed this concern is because I have a deep-seated conviction that Vladimir Putin has profound angst over the embarrassment of the USSR’s demise at the end of the 20th Century.  He absolutely loathes that Russia was embarrassed on the world stage and that the empire fell apart economically and politically due to a failed Marxist Communism.  There are some who believe that Putin would like to see that empire restored under his rule.

Crimea has historically been bounced from captor to captor over the centuries due to its strategic importance.  And after Crimea was given by Russia to Ukraine as a gift decades ago, Communist leaders were dumbfounded that it was no longer a part of Russia.  Putin, a former KGB agent under the USSR, was one of those who was frustrated by the inexplicable loss of the Crimea, and he could not resist annexing it once he got the chance.  The civil unrest in Kyiv due to the former Ukrainian President, Viktor F. Yanukovych, being deposed led him to call on Putin for help.  Putin, offered Yanukovych political asylum and a potential return to power (as a Russian puppet government like those of old), and the hook was set.   Days later, Russian troops rolled into Crimea.

Before long, the U.S. administration hobbled together a weak response in a paint-by-numbers foreign policy.  As expected, Putin saw through it, having long before calculated America as an isolationist nation without the moral will nor the conviction to call his bluff.  He knew that the U.S. would bluster about “being on the wrong side of history” and effectively do nothing.  Check mate.

Now, weeks later, after a clumsy attempt at limited sanctions of a handful of Russian billionaires, Putin returns the favor by creating sanctions of his own against the US.  Within two weeks, with nary a bullet fired, the entire Crimean region falls to Putin’s forces and the world’s cartographers get to work redefining geopolitical maps of Europe with a much-enlarged Russia.  Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to flounder and waffle, uncertain of its next move– with Russia not knowing, nor caring what that move might be. The U.S. has already told Vladimiar all that he needs to know– that the U.S. would remain pacifist in the situation and not provide support to a militarily-outmatched Ukraine in genuine danger of once again becoming a Russian imperialist state– the very thing the Ukrainian revolution escaped when the USSR fell.

In the last few hours we have learned that Russia has now lined up troops across Ukrainian borders in a number of areas.  They have also boarded some Ukrainian naval vessels after severe military threats against those ships’ crews.  What happens now is up for grabs, but one thing we know is that there is no compelling reason for Putin to stop his advance, since he now sees that no one will do anything, regardless of what unprovoked action he takes.  At this point, he can literally ‘make up’ an excuse to invade even more of the Ukraine.  At stake? 46 million currently free citizens of Ukraine, most of whom who want to be free.

Though the US has no appetite for military involvement, and though perhaps it should not be entertained– when you have the world’s greatest fighting force, that’s one thing you don’t take off the table– even if you aren’t planning to use it.  The very presence of a strong military can evoke fear into an enemy and make them shrink from emboldened actions.  But now, with our preemptive passivity, they know the most they’ll get from the U.S. is an earful and that’s simply not enough to stop a man whose delusions of grandeur are leading him to become a power-hungry glutton with an insatiable appetite for land and glory.

Take My Poll on the Current Ukrainian Crisis (February 28, 2014)

28 Feb

Image

February 28, 2014 at 9:07am

Here’s My Take on What’s Going on in Ukraine.

Though time will tell, my earlier fear that Yanukovych’s ego might cause him to do the unthinkable– challenge what I think would be an already-ready Putin to intervene ‘militarily’ in Ukraine could come to pass.  If it happened, it would be the bloodiest of wars, to be sure– but we’re now even seeing that Crimea– that constantly war-torn area that has been tossed about over the centuries like a playing chip, is potentially already a front of a possible coming Russian intervention.

Russia is denying it, but others are reporting (since yesterday) that Russian troops (not Ukrainian) can be seen maintaining the airports by armed military personnel.  I think this will develop or defuse rather quickly– but if it develops, then some quick decisions would need to be made by NATO on behalf of Europe, by the UN (which Russia, unlike Obama, could care less), and by the U.S., not to mention the E.U.  The E.U. is a weak state as far as military goes, and my guess is that it doesn’t want to challenge Russia militarily for many reasons– but this “could be” an occasion it might… but I think (what I expect would be) French opposition will win the discussion in favor of pacifism, making them all talk, no action.

That sort of leaves the U.S. to step up (or Britain), but I’m unsure Britain has any compelling interest and the U.S. administration’s resolve on anything other than its obsession with domestic politics on tangential issues of concern to the far left makes me think we’ll grandstand, then do nothing while Ukrainian blood runs down Kyiv streets.  I could be wrong– I hope I’m wrong, but I feel that the U.S. President has no real resolve to deal with the issue of freedom in other nation-states.

This summer I am slated to go teach Ukrainian Pastors and Ministers in Kyiv, and the last thing many Ukrainians want to do is to move further toward their former USSR-like existence.  If full-on revolution were to occur, God forbid, my opportunity to teach and mobilize the church there may be in jeopardy.  The church in Ukraine needs support and our prayers.  What is going on there goes far beyond the political– it’s also intimately spiritual in nature, and because it involves the freedom of Ukrainian countrymen, it could end up having a direct impact on the U.S. and American citizens in our volunteer military. It’s a frightening situation that is becoming even more tenuous.

Did Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert “Restore Sanity” on Saturday?

31 Oct

What a Saturday…

The Mall at Washington became immortalized when MLK Jr. gave his stirring “I Have a Dream” speech decades ago.  On Saturday, October 30, another throng of people bunched to be heard, led this time by Comedy Central gagsters Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. 

Far from the dignity of MLK (and even that of the more recent Restore America rally led by conservative icons Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin) was this charade of political concern led by these two adolescent-acting men.  At the event on Saturday, Colbert was dressed as a type of Captain America character whose get-up looked more like Evel Knievel than the cartoon hero.  Seeing Colbert in the ridiculous costume, one could hardly resist the temptation to imagining the powerful image of Martin Luther King, Jr. who stood and spoke in the same spot.  There is absolutely no comparison.  The Colbert-Stewart presence was farcical and dumbing– an irreverent and irrelevant blip on the radar of time that will cause history to castigate them just as they have castigated history.

Colbert. Keep in mind that these are the same two men who continue to lessen and minimize the stature of the federal government and the body politic of the United States.   Colbert, on the one hand, sat before Congress recently and rather than reading his presented report, made a mockery of the government by appearing in character and demeaning immigrant workers and scandalizing entire people groups for his own self-esteem.  That same act would have one publically shot in some countries– for simply making a mockery of the government. 

Stewart. Then there is Jon Stewart.  A populist hero to the hipster crowd of 20 and 30 somethings still living with their parents while working McJobs, he insulted the President and the office the President holds by referring to Mr. Obama as “dude.”   I’m unsure why Barack Obama would ever lower himself to appear on the Comedy Channel and become the butt of Stewart’s jokes, but it was a new low in U.S. Politics- made lower by Stewart’s lack of decorum and complete distaste and disregard for the man and the office he holds.

The Rally Itself

At the weekend rally, one saw signs of Stewart appearing in a type of “Uncle Sam” poster where the venerated and sobering figure imposes his will on American would-be recruits, saying “I want you” for U.S. Army.  Instead of that stately call to service, Stewart is seen posed with both hands limp and raised in a “Whatever” shrug, simply encouraging Americans to “take it down a notch.”  Sadly, Stewart misses the point by confusing the high volume of dissent in our nation for ‘noise’ that should be silenced. 

On stage, the two men looked more like the Teller-Penn comic duo than men leading several hundreds of thousands of people in a rally.  It was, sort of like the Seinfeld show, a rally about nothing.  Rather than rousing the crowd with “shoulds and oughts” concerning citizenship and duty, the reportedly half-drunk/half-stoned crowd offered only occasional chuckles at the men making mockeries of the institution that stood behind them in the image of the U.S. Capital Building.  In fact, from news clips seen on national television, the strongest messages sent from members of the crowd seemed to be about the legalization of marijuana– not the recession, not unemployment, not the broken financial system, not illegal immigration, and not the mortgage crisis.  No, the primary and pressing issue on many attendees’ minds was their perceived right to possess pot. 

So, though there were no clear and scientific bases on which to judge the success of the Stewart-Colbert rally the day before Reformation Sunday, it seems that they feel woefully short of their intent to “restore sanity” as the gig was billed.

Cardoza on Government Intrusion: Obama’s Bailouts and Regulations

4 Mar

I think a big problem with what is going on in the US Government today is that most people don’t really understand what’s happening.  That’s because it’s complicated and because lots of jargon (technical language from different fields) is used that further complicates things.

One issue that is going on today is that of Government Intrusion– the government getting involved with things in the wrong ways.  I’d like to use the recent financial bailouts in the US and the issue of “deregulation/regulation” to explain why this matters.

Understanding “Regulation” and “Deregulation” (Big Government Intrusion)

Whereas Republicans and Libertarians and many Independent voters are in favor of SMALLER government, Democrats and Socialists are for BIGGER government—that is a crucial distinctive to understand.  Let’s first look at Capitalism.

Capitalism and Deregulation in Plain English

In Free Market Capitalism, the government allows supply-demand (business) to govern whether companies win or lose—whether they succeed or fail.  In other words, in Free Market Capitalism, the government’s job is to create laws that ENABLE businesses to succeed and that “deregulate” them so no artificial barriers cause businesses to fail.  That way, if a business fails it is because the idea was wrong or the leadership was poor, or the timing for the business idea was wrong: They win or lose on their own, and they bear that responsibility for their success or failure.

Socialism and Regulation in Plain English

On the other hand, in a more Socialist approach, Marxist ideas of economics are used.  What happens is a few things.

(Photo: Karl Marx)

First, the Government chooses winners and losers.  Instead of allowing businesses to fail, government decides who fails and who does not. So it chooses who will and who won’t get bailed out.  So, instead of allowing businesses to fail or to force them to make hard decisions to change course and become successful, the government uses tax payer money to bail the business out.  The companies it bails out then essentially become INCAPABLE of failing because they are funded with limitless supplies of printed money.  But other businesses don’t get that bailout money, and are in danger of going under.  That’s the problem with government bailouts.

Second, the Government begins to control private businesses by ‘owning’ them.  When federal financial bailouts occur, businesses become (partially or entirely) publically-owned (owned by taxpayers or the government).  And when government controls them, because a company needs capital/money, the government gets ‘shares’ of that company and may then have a “controlling interest” in the company.  That’s another way of saying they get to call the shots.

One recalls when the US Government bailed out General Motors recently.  Rival companies Ford, Toyota, Honda, and others got no money—and could have failed. But then, since the government bailed GM out, the President of the United States was able to fire the GM C.E.O., set salary limits, and help decide which brands (Buick, Pontiac, Saturn) died—affecting thousands of US Workers.  So the government chose winners and losers. It controlled businesses by owning them. And one wonders—no matter HOW BAD General Motors might perform in the future, now that it is essentially owned by the government, almost without question there is no circumstance under which the government would even ALLOW GM to fail, but no other car companies have that same guarantee.

The Point? Government was never supposed to get into the business of owning private industries.  When it does, it becomes unfair to other private businesses and the government ends up using taxpayers money to help some taxpayers and to hurt others, which affects persons, families and their futures.  That’s not right.

Cardoza on Civics: Understanding What’s Going On In America and Why

4 Mar

Understanding the Relationship Between Politics and Economics

Politics: To have a society, people must live together.  When people live together in relative harmony, it is called a “civilization.”  For civilization to exist, it must be civil (or you have barbarism).  Civility is based on mutual understandings and boundaries of well-being (“civil order”).  “Order” (Civil Society) becomes a reality when compulsory expectations are expected OF everyone and enforced ON everyone—and this is what we call “Law.”  The need for “Law” is what creates Politics.  Politics is designed to establish order and preserve justice and equity.  Government is the collective body or bodies that oversee the political system to ensure civilization.

Economics: When people live together in society, they can either live in a meager, primitive, and simple existence (usually agrarian or nomadic societies) OR they can seek to live in a more sophisticated society where the standard of living (options, choices, comforts, entertainment, etc.) is higher and comfort is increased.  **Because increased comfort and a higher standard of living creates greater civil stability and well-being, governments seek to enable this higher standard of living in order to avoid chaos and the breakdown of civilization and government (anarchy).  A higher standard of living is accomplished to a large degree through economics. Economics, therefore, is the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services that creates the opportunity for a higher standard of living just described.  IN THESE WAYS, politics and economics are intertwined.  And it is government that regulates economics THROUGH politics to help ensure people’s well-being and a higher standard of living in order to build the best society possible.

Understanding Economic Theory and Political Theory

So for government to exist, politics and economics must exist.  But there’s not only “one way” to think about politics and economics.  So different “political theories” (often called Political Science) and different “economic theories” exist.  And it happens that, usually, certain political theories’ goals are best accomplished by corresponding economic theories because they are built on common ideals or goals.

That’s why—as a rule—that Representative Democracy (a “Republic” like the US) generally uses Free-Market Capitalism as its economic theory (since it values entrepreneurism as the way to help raise people’s standard of living). Capitalism places responsibility on individuals, as does Democracy. That’s because Democratic Government and Capitalism believes the individual should be motivated to take personal responsibility for their own well-being and that of their family and fellow man.  And when each person with the ability does the same, that creates a surplus—which meets the needs of those who genuinely cannot help themselves.  But those who refuse to work and do not take responsibility—even though they are able—are allowed to do without.  Only those who genuinely need the help are able to get it in this type of society.

Socialism, on the other hand, de-emphasizes the responsibility of individuals and places that responsibility for the welfare of the individual on the government to produce that higher standard of living for the people.  In this way, the government must provide money for the resources needed by the people.   It does so by compelling people to provide the government with the money to do this—and government receives money through taxes.  Those taxes are paid to the central government in order to hire people to maintain and oversee programs that provide for people.  And in a Socialist government, as Karl Marx said, each person gives “according to his ability” and each person receives “according to his need.”  WHAT THAT MEANS is that those “with more” are compelled to give more to people who need more—so that those who do not have all they want or need will have it.

The Point?

In summary, Capitalists and Marxists disagree on HOW to maintain a civilization and provide for its peoples’ standard of living.  And Democratic-Republic Governments disagree with Socialists on the way to build that society—through compelling people to give to the government so everyone will have ‘about the same’ OR through expecting people to take responsibility (if they are able) for themselves… or to do without.

That is why Democracy-Capitalism is about personal responsibility, low taxes, and small government.  And that’s why Socialism-Marxism is about government responsibility, bigger government, and higher taxes.  They are simply two ways of doing things.

The Choice

These completely opposite approaches on the role of government, politics and economics are what is causing the radical disagreements in the United States right now.   The question is “Do we create a ‘Nanny State’ where people are taken care of by the government, even though corruption, waste, and excessively spending tax-payers’ money occurs OR do we create a ‘Responsibility State’ where people who are able to do so are required to take care of themselves and the fruit of their labor takes care of those who cannot take care of themselves until they are able or indefinitely?”

The Fundamental Problem

The major problem that exists in our nation’s politics today is that Democrats are being driven by the extreme left wing of their political party—and that party (led by the U.S. President) is driven by hard left ideologues who are more SOCIALIST as I have described above.  Prior to this time in history, Democrats and Republicans have disagreed “to a degree” but could compromise BECAUSE THEIR POSITIONS WERE RELATIVELY CLOSE TOGETHER.  Now, because “Progressives” in the Democratic Party are more Socialist in their perspective, we have a culture war—and the MEANS and the ENDS are so radically opposite that there is no middle ground. 

Summary

That is why this is such a fierce battle.  And this entire discussion explains why I feel so deeply about these issues: Because the American way of life is being threatened by changes in these political and economic theories.  And if America practices the political and economic theories of Socialism and Marxism, the outcome will be what it has been in EVERY other such civilization: decline and death of those civilizations.

Note: While America has flourished into the greatest civilization the world has ever known in only 200 years under Capitalism and a Republic, since Marxism/Socialism was introduced in the 1800s, no genuinely Marxist economy in history has survived more than 70 years (Soviet Union).  But today’s Progressives want to ‘progress’ past Capitalism to a doomed system.  There is on earth NO NATION under even a Socialist approach whose society is superior to the United States—and that is why I am so forceful in my opposition to it—because I do not want my children and their children to live in a society in decline or hardship after my sacrifice and the sacrifice of all Americans in the last 200 years.