Happy Independence Day to Americans, wherever they may be found today. I wonder how many remain who understand the significance of the concept of independence? Discuss.

Related concepts include life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

Beer, picnics, fireworks, hot dogs and holidays from work just don’t seem to be enough anymore, as tasty and fun as those fine things may be. Is there more?

Quick And Dirty Election Campaign

Canadians will elect a national government on October 19th.

While the country does not go in for the protracted campaigning of its US neighbor nor directly elect its top executive, it emulates the US in other ways politically.

All partisan politics is dirty business but it seems that Canadians have lowered themselves culturally over several decades to simply copy the Americans at their worst.

After Barack Obama was anointed in 2008 in a populist campaign that appealed to both the old radical socialists and the young left on a platform of “hope and change” the Democrats replaced George W. Bush and the Republicans.

Canadians actually celebrated along with the American left on the joyous occasion of electing the first President from the so-called black minority. Nearly everyone completely overlooked the fact that the man had no clue about an assertive foreign policy nor any understanding of simple economics.

The kind of destruction wrought on America by the policies of a principled socialist who hates the America represented by its Constitution is emerging into full view, if Americans still have the sense of life to look at it.

Canadians are poised to make a similar mistake. There is a loathing in this country for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, fomented in part by the publicly funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and a conventional media that has institutionalized superficial news coverage. There is little information for the independent consumer of it. Alternative sources must be searched for to combat mainstream bias, subtle though it often may be.

The primary challengers to Harper and the Conservatives are Thomas Mulcair, New Democratic Party and Justin Trudeau, Liberal Party. Elizabeth May of the Green Party is granted far more attention than is justified.

Mulcair is a socialist. Many of us are growing weary of vilifying the rich and successful in life while simultaneously bleeding them with coercive taxation to pay for needless social programs demanded by lobbyists of every stripe. Mulcair will raise taxes rather than lowering them and this will affect more people than his targets of the richest one percent and the corporate tax rate.

Trudeau is a Trudeau. This is as close as Canadians come to considering dynasties in politics. More importantly, Justin Trudeau is a neophyte in so many ways. He speaks of investing in jobs, manufacturing, public transit and blah, blah, blah. Governments don’t invest. They spend. When they spend too much the tax revenue is not sufficient and deficits result. Trudeau is okay with that and rather than aiming at reducing deficits his naïve economic solution is to run them as long as possible.

Harper is an economist and has successfully been Prime Minister since 2006 with a minority government and then winning a majority in 2008 following a dissolution of the government on a vote of non-confidence. He has focussed on balancing budgets, negotiating freer trade relations and improving national defense. His government has been affected by several political scandals, which Harper has always tried to resolve as expeditiously as possible, distancing himself from the particulars.

The campaign appears to be stripped down to a simplistic assumption. There is a need for change according to the leaders of the three parties not in control. The Conservatives under Stephen Harper disagree.

“Hope and Change”. So simple. So similar. So nothing.

What Difference Does Syria Make?

Syrians killed in the ongoing civil war will be just as dead tomorrow whether their lives were extinguished by beheading, bombing, shooting, stabbing, defenestration or gassing with chemical weapons.

“What difference does it make?” is to borrow an infamous question from one of the New Left’s most prominent of sacred cows, Hillary Clinton. Of course she was referring to the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi affair in which four Americans were killed nearly one year ago. Today still there are no reasonable answers to the embarrassing questions some were asking and which led to her hectoring outburst.

Was the US secretly using Libya as a base for smuggling arms to the Syrian rebels as some have suggested? That hardly matters much either until you contrast the closed lips regarding the Benghazi affair with the loose lips concerning the question of whether a military strike should be initiated against the Syrian regime. Suddenly, Obama and his supporters are gung-ho with respect to providing details to the media of all aspects of a possible strike even listing the probable targets.

There is no legitimate moral reason for striking Syria. As horrendous as the situation is for Syrian citizens the US and the rest of the world essentially turn a blind eye to all of the atrocities which are committed daily in other Islamist countries, in China, in North Korea and in several African nations. What makes Syria a special case? What is the US national security interest?

The alleged chemical weapon attack in Syria is just the most conspicuous recent atrocity to have captured the eye of cynical politicians like Barack Obama. The only purpose of a military strike of several days duration is to bolster the political status of the Administration and the Democratic Party in the minds of a very altruistic, emotional and sentimental population.

The desired impact for the Obama legacy—ill-conceived though I think it will prove to be—cannot be underestimated.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske

Dyslogistic Comment on Hugo Chavez

As the eulogies and kind, sensitive language from movie stars and political leaders over the death of the Leftist dictator Hugo Chavez finally start fading into history, it is worth noting again the consistency and fortitude of his ideological opposite, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada. His remarks on Chavez’ s death were deemed “insensitive” by some of Venezuela’s well-connected. In brief, Harper expressed the view and hope that the political economy of Venezuela might now improve (my paraphrasing).

Hugo Chavez was a power luster and violator of the rights of individuals, including property rights, due process and life itself. One need only look at the low standard of living of most Venezuelans and the dearth of political rights to judge the life of the entity that was Hugo Chavez.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske

Dig Hole; Insert Head

After Rand Paul’s marathon filibuster received such notice it seems those at the center of power think it is better to avoid generating news about drone strikes.

Accordingly, the US Air Force will no longer report drone strikes. The public be damned, for there is a war going on.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske

A Killer President

There is inherent immorality in one man wielding enough coercive force to identify, target and execute any individual deemed to be a terrorist threat to the United States. That is the power possessed by Barack Obama and it is currently being expressed through the use of aerial drones in several parts of the world.

I recognize the Commander-In-Chief role held by president Obama in a state of war, but that is a purely legal argument not necessarily a moral one. The nature of the endless War on Terror is a separate topic for examination.

For now there is a curious conundrum related to the use of the drone program to eliminate those identified as terrorists. This seems like a highly inefficient not to mention costly way of killing off terrorists. And after all, the United States central government does have some serious fiscal problems.

This brings me to another whim of Mr. Obama’s: his original desire to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison, which currently houses approximately 166 suspected terrorists.

Mr. Obama could achieve two of his objectives by ordering a drone strike on Guantanamo Bay prison. He would eliminate 166 terrorists in one strike with no need to hunt them down in the backwaters of the world after releasing them.

Second, the Guantanamo Bay issue would be literally closed. The collateral damage in maimed or killed guards and attendants may be the only thing standing in the president’s way.

©Copyright 2013 Edward Podritske

Of Persons and Things

Associated Press has reported that:

Time’s ‘Person of the Year’ is the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and the news during the past year for good or for ill.

The Person

For 2008 and for 2012 Time named Barack Obama. While that is certainly its prerogative I might interpret the selection quite differently, using Time’s own criteria.

First, what exactly has Barack Obama influenced? The culture? Hardly. Obama is an icon. He is the choice of the culture. A nation’s culture is the sum of its intellectual achievement, the dominant ideas generally accepted. Since the dawn of the Progressive era, the dominant ideas of America have gradually descended from individualism to collectivism, from property rights to mercantilism and the welfare state and from representational art to formless and even scatological decoration.

The Thing

The disintegration of a culture may take decades or even centuries. It depends on the choices of unpredictable individuals within the population. Historically, climacteric points may be retroactively designated as emblematic.

Time, as a media constituent, has helped to establish Obama as a possible climacteric icon. For his part, Obama is a collectivist and a statist. His view of the role of the state is quite clear. I withhold any comment on his tastes in art.

So, has Obama influenced the news or has the media canonized Obama? A survey of the 2012 Presidential Election Campaign may provide answers for some. In such instance, perhaps the “Thing of the Year” for 2012 might be the media itself. If Time selects Obama as “Person of the Year” for 2016 then the media should be a lock for the “Thing”.

©Copyright 2012 Edward Podritske