IN MEMORY OF JOHN ELIE (US WEAPON); THE FOUNDER OF SUFA:

USW created this blog to openly explore his misgivings and thoughts about American politics with complete strangers. It did not take long for him to gather together a rather large group of people willing to do the same. Unforeseen by him, or any of us, was that this group would become one big eclectic family.

Those of us who comment each day have changed over time. But the discussions that USW encouraged and participated in will have everlasting impact on the lives of not only those who participated, but those who watched from the gallery. That is because ideas, once released are very hard to hide or ignore. They will affect anyone exposed to them. We will not all react in the same way, but they persist in having an “impact” on us. In short, the family he created with SUFA and thus the lives he touched, numbers in the tens of thousands.

USW first found me at the Huffington Post, doing my absolute best to maintain my good manners in the face of overwhelming head winds. At that time I was exploring the web for much the same reason he started SUFA. He sought me out, as he did with others, because he thought I had something to offer and would appreciate a “less toxic culture”, as he put it. It was in essence an offer to come join his family because he thought I would fit in. As it turned out this little family of his was so diverse that virtually anyone could fit in. Unless, of course, they were obnoxiously rude to others in the group. Civility was the rule, even if it was sometimes very hard to enforce.

Most of SUFA only saw a portion of the discussions USW and I had with a certain Pirate about how his effectiveness would be enhanced with more civility and a less acidic tone. These talks would have some effect, for a time. But as we all know, Pirates will be Pirates. No matter what the color of the flag they fly.

He offered us all a place where diversity of thought, experiences and opinions were welcome. A place where civil discussion, and disagreement, was the rule. This in turn allowed us all to gain greater knowledge and understanding. A place where we could expand our minds and improve our thinking and argumentation skills. I think it was his underlying purpose for SUFA. I do not think he realized the extent to which achieved this goal nor how much he was appreciated by most of us. I think Mathius captured that with his tribute:

“What a tragic loss. He was a man who wanted to do good and who valued kindness. He was open and evenhanded and intellectually honest. This is, as many of you will know, perhaps the highest praise I can offer of a man.

I often disagreed with him – but never once did my respect for him falter in the slightest. I wish his family well in this time of grief.”

His desire to keep this a place for civil discussion of dissenting opinions was noble, timely, greatly appreciated, and needed now more than ever. As you all know, USW left me with the keys to his kingdom when he decided he needed to attend to other priorities. SUFA had grown so big and demanding of his time it was becoming overwhelming. He dropped in from time to time, and I know was often watching from the gallery. In his absence we did pretty well, for awhile. But it has, to say the least, been a challenge for us all, me included, to maintain the culture he built. Frankly, sometimes we have not lived up to his expectations. We identify many reasons for this, but the real point is that no garden may flourish without constant attention and care.

USW’s passing has caused me to reflect on what he hoped to create with SUFA and to commit to trying harder to maintain his legacy. But, no matter how hard I, or anyone else, tries to live up to his expectations for SUFA, none of us will ever be able to reach the standards set by one Mr. John Elie, our very own US Weapon.

In closing I have copied one of the first articles by USWEAPON on the status of the various Political Parties. Oh the irony it being his critique of the Republican Party in 2009. This was soon followed by a series on the Libertarian Party, and was about the time he brought me to the family. The reason I coped it, however, was to remind us of the tenor of his articles and the essence of the man who built SUFA.

The Direction of the Republican Party

FEBRUARY 22, 2009 BY USWEAPON (EDIT)

republican-symbol

By request I have bumped this post back up towards the top of the page. The discussions have been good thus far and I want them to continue. I originally posted this on February 3, but will try to keep it closer to the top as long as people like. As those who have been along for the last four months know, this journey started with my realization that the Republican Party no longer represented to me what the Party used to. I was feeling a bit neglected by my party and embarrassed by their actions. So I left them and began seeking a better way forward because I felt that a better way forward was not what they were interested in. We have explored the Libertarian Platform, which seems pretty solid to me. But I can’t get the Republican disappointments out of my head. The selection of Michael Steele as the new Chairman of the RNC got me thinking…. 

So here is where I am sitting these days. The Republican party for me used to represent the good guys. It was the christian party. Family values and cutting taxes. National Defense and smaller government. Sure the party had its share of bad guys, but the party always seemed to hold just a bit higher moral ground than Ted Kennedy and the Democrats. I was talking to one of the few people I trust to discuss politics intimately with tonight and she reminded me of what I used to like about the party. They weren’t perfect, but they were certainly better than the democrats. 

elephant-shooting-self

That is certainly not the case any more. The party has slipped into the abyss and now find themselves on equal moral ground with the Democrats. Republicans have just as many crooked politicians as their opponents. They seem to find ways to justify expanding government’s role just like the Democrats, only from the opposite end of the spectrum. They vote for the same pork laden bills and take the same kickbacks. Realistically the only thing that makes them better than the Democrats is that they don’t have to admit to having that crazy bitch Nancy Pelosi in their party.

1986-reagan-pointing

The last couple of weeks have found me discussing with my many politically minded friends what the direction of the Republican Party needs to be in order to get better again. Should the Christian Right be given far less say in the party agenda? Should they remove the abortion debate (which they will never win out on) go away and stop polarizing moderates with it? What about gay marriage? There are so many platform issues that are out there for the Republicans. So I am asking all of you for your input and opinion. What should the Republican party change in order to “fix itself” and get back on track with its many disenfranchised voters?

So no issue is off limits here. I want to hear from everyone. If you are reading this you surely have an opinion on at least one thing the party should do differently. What are the issues that you don’t like in the party? Not sharing it would be a neglecting of your purpose for reading this blog in the first place. Most of America is somewhere in between the two party platforms, so let’s here where you think the party should go if they want your vote.

Your service to our country was and remains immeasurable. I look forward to the day we can sit at the table in Valhalla, sharing Tankards of Ale and our thoughts on the musings of the universe. Until then, God Bless You my friend and thank you for all you did. May nothing but peace and loving memories be with your family. JAC

Congressional Blackmail Works Again.

The supposed “Bipartisan” passage of a bill to expand health care to veterans is just one more example of how the blackmail orchestrated by members of Congress works to our disadvantage.

Some Republican members refused to vote for the legislation because…… it contained funding for totally unrelated things. The Democrat Leadership immediately launched a campaign of slander against them. Very much like that old ad accusing them of pushing granny off the cliff. In the end the pressure tactic worked. And the SPINELESS Republicans voted to pass the bill.

The media continues to overplay Mr. Trump’s power over the Republican Party!

I find it very interesting how the media is fixated on those candidates “endorsed” by Mr. Trump. If they lose then Mr. Trump is toast and lacking in influence. Then when the next one wins, Mr. Trump has control over the party and his influence is a sign of an ignorant electorate. The following headline from The Hill is an example:

Primary results reinforce Trump’s power over GOP

BY BRETT SAMUELS08/04/22 5:15 AM ET

Note the use of the word “power” instead of influence or some other descriptor. How can he have no power one day and then great power the next? Does he really have any “power” over a party consisting of hundreds of thousands of members? Could it be that people at the State and Local level simply vote per State and Local issues. And that they are simply continuing to seek out “new blood” instead of siding with the established “leaders”?? I mean, things haven’t been all that great under traditional leadership.

I think there is a serious misunderstanding among our friends on the left side of the teeter totter about those on the other side. The assumption that everyone is just marching to Mr. Trump’s drum is not healthy for the country. When one side can come to discount the other simply due to assumed ignorance, or because they “watch Fox News”, it becomes to easy to dehumanize them. Of course the same can be said of those on the right side who use the same rhetorical device. In either case the outcome can be devastating. Just ask the hundreds of millions killed under various Socialist Regimes who dehumanized them to maintain political power.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMERICA

Let us ALL; Stand Up for America.

That precious land of freedom, liberty and justice for all.

So many today want to focus on divisions, disputes, frustrations and general ill will of our citizenry. I am increasingly convinced that while there is plenty of stress to go around, most of us do not really carry all this animosity around with us every day. We don’t go around howling at the moon, unless someone comes along and provokes us. The vast majority I meet LOVE this country of ours. Yes, they often have different views of what they want it to look like. And of course, some are entirely wrong in their thinking. Heh, heh, heh (joke alert)!

But July 4th should be a time to celebrate our commonality, our shared principles and values, not our petty differences. So lets pray to the Almighty to give we Americans the wisdom to see through the fog of distractions and divisions being purposely sown. May those who seek to divide us find their seed fallen on sterile ground.

Let freedom be our battle cry and may the brotherhood of Liberty warm our hearts.

God Bless America.

A TIME TO CONSIDER THINGS

There are “THINGS” happening in the world around us. Some are big and some are small. But all require our attention to some degree or another. So today I thought we should consider at least one of the BIG THINGS. Something that seems so innocuous yet smells like a skunk.

“THE GREAT RESET”

A shout out to V.H. for reminding us of this thing the other day.

So let’s dive in by checking out an article posted at Mises.org, on the topic. The claim is that The Great Reset is actually an effort to destroy traditional western Liberalism. Despite the claims of those pushing the ideas contained within there “agendas” it certainly looks like it all leads to One World Govt. But that is just me. So take a moment and check out this article:

https://mises.org/wire/backstory-great-reset-or-how-destroy-classical-liberalism

Now for some other “Things”. On this memorial day lets give thanks to for all those who have come before us. Those that paid the ultimate price in defense of this great Nation, and those who sacrificed so that we might have a better life than they had.

INFLATION! That little uncomfortable increase in prices caused by ????????

We have chased this issue around many times. But each day I see stories about inflation which continue to mislead the American public. Deliberately, I believe. The falsehoods come from all sides. Let us address a couple of key facts:

  1. Inflation KILLS the middle and lower classes. The rich have time and means to react more swiftly. The rest, who largely depend on savings and mutual funds, if anything at all, get hammered. If all you have is cash in the bank then it is rotting each day like lettuce sitting in a hot sun.

2. Leadership in both parties and the blue blood academic institutions are complicit in the problem. This includes those “conservative Republicans” such as GW Bush and Mr. Trump. Neither had a problem pumping more money into the economy when their polling numbers looked weak. Mr. Biden is not to blame, by himself. Sorry, but your confirmation bias is not going to get stroked here on this issue.

3. The real cause of inflation is ………………… HINT, HINT, one graph to rule them all, HINT, HINT. It truth it is not just the physical supply. By Austrian definition it is too much money chasing after too few goods.

This is where Mathius would ask me to remind everyone that he told you to buy bitcoins and gold, like two years ago. These are hedges available to everyone. So let us here from SUFA about other ideas which can help protect against the inflationary rot.

Ukraine: What, Where and Why

Why is Ukraine important? We keep asking that question with respect to both the US and Russian viewpoint. It appears many of these questions are really about finding reasons to stay out of some conflict in a far off place. Not on the implementation of some sound principle that was established with long hard thought. “They speak Russian” is one such refrain. Yet surveys of language have shown only a couple provinces in Ukraine where the majority people (more than 50%) identify Russian as their primary language. One of these was Crimea and the other borders Russia on the eastern extreme. The rest of “Eastern Ukraine” varies with percentages ranging from a maximum of 15% to 50%.

So, if language is a determination of ethnicity or some supposed reason to align with one side or the other, we have to ask ourselves: What about the other 50% of the population who don’t view themselves as Russians or even as just primarily Russian speakers. This of course doesn’t address the fact that the presence of Russian as a primary or just major language is largely created by Russia’s invasion and control over this region.

Why would Russia want Ukraine? Another question asked here frequently. Well as you can see from the map, Eastern Ukraine provides broad access to the Black Sea and the already confiscated territory of Crimea. As many have noted, Russia gains an ice free deep sea port by controlling Crimea. The primary transportation system through the region (with a hub at Kharkiv) is linked directly to Russia.

Eastern Ukraine is also a major “bread basket” and would provide Russia with additional food, if needed, as well as expand its export markets. That is giving them something besides oil and weapons. One other thing to consider. Note that if Russia controls Eastern Ukraine it almost completely landlocks the rest of Ukraine.

The next map shows some of the regions of Ukraine, by the time period when they were added to the Country. When people talk about “eastern Ukraine” in context of the Russian goals it is primarily the area in pink. Of course the green area borders Balarus, another Russian friendly Nation.

So why should the US care or get in the mix? Well that comes down to whether we still believe in the principles we adopted as a Nation following WW II. That conflict forced a recognition in the US, and the World, that sitting back and watching while tyrants move to expand their empires has lasting impacts. And that the cost of doing so will be greater in the long run instead of dealing with it at the start. Have we as Citizens changed our views on this problem? Should we change them? Where are the lines between what is acceptable or tolerable and what is not? China invades Tibet, we do nothing substantial.

Do we oppose all such expansions as a matter of hard policy or are there truly nuances to consider. Such rationalizations have been presented in both the Tibetan and Ukrainian cases. Claiming it is none of our business. But what about Taiwan? Is that also none of our business just because those freedom loving people happen to be of Chinese ancestry?

These questions and many more exist when we do not have solid foundations from which to develop policies. That is policies which are consistent with those foundational principles. To claim it is none of our business implies an underlying principle that we only use force when attacked directly. I am not sure that such a principle is widely understood nor accepted by We the People, let alone our elected and bureaucratic officials.

If this is in essence our foundation then what about economic impacts to our country? Is that an attack? If China strangles the shipping in Asia is that an attack on the US? Or is it only a physical invasion that matters? How about the efforts of China, Russia, Iran and others to hack and take down our internet systems? Where is the line in the sand that should come with clear and consistent articulation and enforcement?

I am not offering an opinion on this, for now. I am pointing out that all of this is far more complicated than much of the discussions I see among pundits and opinion leaders. As I almost always do, I am also trying to show that much of this difference or confusion, to some degree, can almost always be tied to lack of clearly articulated, understood and defensible principles.

Let me offer one thought on why we struggle with these questions. Our desire to do what is right greatly exceeds our willingness to do what is required. We gave up half of Germany and all of eastern Europe because we Americans had grown so “tired of War.” We left the North Korean, Vietnamese and Afghan people to tyrants because we were “tired of War.” Here lies a conundrum of huge import. As a Nation of essentially free people a division of political viewpoints naturally develops. These divisions unfortunately become partisan weapons used to “politicize” foreign policies. Especially when if may be necessary to use force. Both major political parties love to use any failure or the fear of “another Vietnam” to tear down the other party if they are in power. In essence, the nature of our politics prevents us from having the very foundational principles we need to form coherent policies. Policies which will be supported by the people, even when the going gets very, very tough.

There is of course much more to discuss and consider on the general topic. That being when, where and why should we, the USA, be willing to draw a line and say “NO”! And of course, then back that up with the full might of the US military if needed.

Coming Soon: The Day Working Americans Wake Up to the Reality of Our Federal Govt.

Credit to unknown creator published at American Thinker

Time for Reflection and Thanks

I think it is time to take a couple of days to reflect. First on the friends, family and acquaintances who make our lives fuller each day. Second on the blessing of having been born into a country that has put such a premium on Liberty. May we keep that blessing alive in the years to come.

Let us all lift a glass and toast to that which has been, that which is and that which is yet to come. May all our friends who have gone before us enjoy the music and dance in Valhalla. Skoal!