13 November 2007

And now the view on the other side

For some reason most folks do tend to consider me to be 'conservative' when, really, I have little to do with that overall part of the spectrum in-depth or detail, just as I have little to do with the 'liberal' part of it. There are some good things in each side, but neither gives a good outlook to my view of the world. While I do castigate those on the Leftist side for being unable to stand up for liberty, freedom and democracy so as to build a better society and give demonstration of such to the world, so, too, does the Right not get free pass on their strange views on economics, trade and a variety of other topics.

As this Presidential season is coming hard upon the two parties, those on the D side of things I find wanting throughout: pacifist, negativist and transnationalist are the credos there. Anything to throw at the other side, no matter how vile you become in doing so! Thus associating with international organized crime, terrorists, and giving credence and legitimacy to 'armed political organizations' abroad turns the world into a worse place in such association and encouragement. On the R side I hear words from the free trade school of religion, that has yet to demonstrate its worth in over 90 years, plus strange ideas that government should step in where the States and the People have power and their rights and just let the federal government decide things for you. By that diminishment of the common good, removal of accountability to foreign Nations via the means of commerce and through this lovely concept of providing well to those picking up arms against liberty and democracy, the world, too, is not made a better place.

To be fair, I do pick overly much upon the D party, but they WERE the party of Jackson before they decided to go all out Socialist and pacifist and anti-West. There are still, to this day, stalwarts of Jackson soldiering on inside the D party, but the walk out of so many during the 1970's has left it threadbare. One man would cash in on that, who could, indeed, get a majority by being one, decent man... but his limits and that of his party left the without the ability to *keep* the disaffected and they wandered further off after him. That man, of course, is Ronald Reagan, and he would run a nearly perfect candidacy in 1980 to win the White House, and then dash the dreams of the disaffected he spoke to so well.

Those looking at the demographics of that era are startled by how quickly the D party went from iron control of both Houses of Congress to actually having them contested and well contested. Forty years of on-going majority rule were broken, but it was in the repudiation of a Democratic President that the disaffection spoke the loudest and clearest. In Congress it is not a factor of people turning from D to R but of individuals so turned off by the system that the D party was hurt worse than the R party, thus giving it parity. There were some cross-over voters, no doubt, and many today have just switched sides if not loyalties. Ronald Reagan would have the message for them of American strength and vitality, of less government and more opportunity: it was a message or Theodore Roosevelt or Andrew Jackson. That promise to halt and reverse the trends of over forty years were considered to be good ones, and the Democratic majority eroded, and even faded in the Senate.

When the R party wishes to put forth that a candidate is strong, they put forth Reagan. Unfortunately he was strong in the ways that those he attracted didn't care for on economic policy, although very vital on National Security and Defense. Make no doubt about it: Ronald Reagan's stalwart confrontation with the USSR and investment in the armed forces were winning cards he played. A pair beats nothing and the USSR had *nothing* when they left Afghanistan, and found that the world was not like chess, but poker. Ronald Reagan won a necessary hand for the survival of the US and mankind.

It was only one hand of many, and he lost the rest.

I do not idolize Ronald Reagan, and when I speak of his term in office it is those two achievements on National Defense and Security causing the final erosion of the USSR that I give him credit for. He kept to the Truman Doctrine when the D party was running from it. It worked! The Nation was not so lucky on other counts.

Consider the activity in Beirut in 1983-84, where the US Embassy was bombed as part of the civil war in Lebanon that was turbocharged by Iranian funds going into an exterior entity known as Hezbollah. With the aid of Syria, Hezbollah would start to kill its way to power not only by guns and bombs, but via kidnapping of nearly anyone that would get them headlines and cash. The USMC was sent in and, along with a contingent from France, they were blown up by simultaneous truck bombs one early morning. While promising to find the culprits and bring peace, President Reagan, instead, retreated and left more and worse conflict behind him. Our thanks would be a second bombing of the US Embassy, to let us know we were not well liked there.

To this day the miscreants have not been brought to any justice, although we know the name behind the immediate work is the terrorist Imad Mugniyah. This is a man who hates the West and the US, has no love for Israel and little love for much else beyond killing from what we have seen of his handiwork. With all the military might of the US available, and a leadership in the USSR that had problems with Syria already, the chances of starting a global confrontation there was *nil*. I have looked at that and marvel that for all the things that those who lionize Ronald Reagan, they cannot see this simple failing of actually understanding that protecting America means just that: protecting her from *all enemies* not just those of the red banner. While many berate the Left today for blindness of ideology, they do not like to look at the same blindness during the Cold War of the 'Cold Warriors'. America needed defenders who could stop her foes, not just those of the glacial sort, and we were and are left the poorer for not having that basic understanding which went and continues to go far past simplistic ideology.

Consider the Iran/Contra Affair, which would see rogue operatives in the White House help one of the most notorious criminals and terrorist supporters the world would ever know make the connections which would make America less well off and bring a high body toll in many lands: Monzer al-Kassar. It is a very strange thing that someone with the ties to Hezbollah, Iran and Syria is seen as someone that the US would want to *help* even after his antipathy of the US is known. Kassar had helped the French get some of their kidnap victims freed by sending cash and equipment payments to Iran, and he would do the same with the US and get roped in to helping expand the arming of the Contras! Just the thing you want to do with an individual with ties to organized crime, one of the highest opium export controlling groups and arms merchants of the world: introduce him to Central and South America with a gold plated 'trusted by America' card! Beyond the asinine and childish view of Ollie North & Co., so that funds could be laundered to hide the US involvement in the deal, the funding, equipment and narcotics trading avenues this would open up led directly to the sprawling narco-terrorist organizations that now infest S. America, Central America, Africa and SE Asia. They existed before, yes, but without operatives given legitimacy by the US, there would have been much slower growth of them over time.

That was starting to be seen even before the end of the Administration, with the Cali and Medellin cartels working out a trade system of cocaine exchanged to Syria for heroin and arms. By the time the Bush (41) Administration was in office, this had blossomed into a full-fledged form of Hezbollah taking root in Argentina and Imad Mugniyah showing up after Monzer al-Kassar had cemented ties with then President Carlos Menem. The Reagan Administration would get the trade between Syria and Argentina for nuclear equipment and long range missile development halted, but that would not have been necessary if Kassar was not already down there. It is a chilling thought to have that Syria could have gained both a good nuclear reactor and advanced long range missile technology if the Reagan and Bush Administrations were just a bit less attentive to things. Such is the fallout of having a 'neat idea' that puts America in such situations.

The actual effects of the expansion of the triangular trade and market sharing agreements between Syria, the S. American drug cartels, various East European Mafias and African organized crime outfits cannot be underestimated. That trade started the production of heroin in S. America and expanded the proliferation of explosives and automatic weapons not only in S. America but back into the Balkans. Kassar and his US based compatriot, Jean-Bernard Lasnaud (aka. Francois Lasnosky), would be happily shipping arms to the Balkans to supply Iran there by the time President Clinton was dithering on what to do about the area. From 1983 Hezbollah went from a near nothing as an organization, able to kidnap high profile Westerners (including the CIA bureau chief in Lebanon) and blowing up a few hundred US soldiers and their French compatriots to having attacked the Israeli Embassy in Argentina (1992), blown up the AMIA Jewish cultural center in Argentina (1994) to having a few thousand fighters down in Bosnia and other parts of the Balkans (1994). The very same organization that President Reagan promised to hold accountable. Remember that?

Worked so well that it would be a feature of Osama bin Laden's speeches against the West and how the US wouldn't stand up to anyone who confronted them.

Next up is the international bank of crime du jour: BCCI - Bank of Credit and Commerce International. What a laundry list of people that operation served! By the time it would be fully brought down in 1992, with the last part of it in Hong Kong finally going under, it would be responsible for billions of dollars laundered from tyrannical regimes, organized crime figures, narcotics organizations, arms dealers, gray market goods dealers, human traffickers and just plain, ordinary dictators. The Reagan Administration helped that entire thing along by trying to expand the farm credit program to allow Saddam Hussein to get his hands on commodities at less than market price, resell them at market price and pocket the difference. An entire swindling operation around BNL and its work to launder the funds going to and from Saddam and his attempts to buy arms, high tech goods and equipment would point out massive corruption in BNL and such lovely deals as entire, multi-million dollar shipments of 'farm equipment' just going missing and needing to be re-shipped to Saddam. All paid for with taxpayer funds!

All of that going on, mind you, while Ollie North & Co. were getting anti-tank and other weapons to Iran in exchange for hostages and some cash, and then taking other cash to buy overseas arms (or even US arms) to ship to the Contras. As Henry Kissinger said about the Iran/Iraq war, which all of this circled around: 'it is too bad both sides can't lose'. Well, not for lack of the Reagan Administration *trying* to achieve that! Really, instead of trying to do all of this under the table and through pork spending, if that had just been the stated objective of the Reagan Administration's foreign policy, we would have saved a LOT of heartache! A policy of: we aren't going to supply *new* weapons, but the ammunition market is open to *both*. That would have gotten the political cast going in a tizzy!

'Lets you and him fight!'

Instead we get the support of underworld arms dealers, terrorists, drug runners and money laundering... much of this going through BNL and BCCI. The rogue's gallery of BCCI is amazing: John Keating (of the S&L scandal and having John McCain helping that along), Saddam Hussein, billionaire Jackson Stephens (so helpful to both the R and D party over time that neither wants to talk about him and his connections to North, the Riady's, Hwang, Lippo Bank, Bert Lance, and even, if memory serves, a sports team in Texas and the current President), Monzer al-Kassar, the 'Ollie North Enterprise', Carlos Menem, the Cardoen company (which got advanced US cluster bomb technology that somehow wound up in Iraq way back in the 80's), Abu Nidal, Marc Rich (later to come to infamy in the wild, wild east of Russian industry and finance), Clark Clifford, Robert Altman, President Manuel Noriega (Panama), Pablo Escobar & Rodriguez Gacha & several members of the Ochoa family (Medellin drug cartel), General Zia (Pakistan), Carlos Andres Perez (Venezuela), President Jimmy Carter, Andrew Young, Bert Lance, British Prime Minister James Callahan, United Nations Secretary General Javier Perez de Cueller, and Jesse Jackson. Really, anyone who was anyone had to have an account there and help in moving funds around through its various paper banks. The CIA would only have a little idea of what was going on in 1987 with BCCI, which was only the largest single money laundering and criminal funds transfer system on the planet having compromised First American Bank, BNL, a number of Central banks throughout Latin America, South America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency didn't have much intelligence about BCCI, either in the actual knowledge of it or in what it did.

It would take a decade until a more complex set-up run by Simon Reuben, Chernoy brothers, Semion Mogilevich and Vyacheslav Ivankov through the Bank of New York with the help of Peter Berlin and Lucy Edwards. That, too, would fly under the CIA radar screen.

Isn't it nice to know that US Federal Farm Credits were shifting into a system of illegal funds transfers, arms deals, equipment procurement, fraud and support of dictators and terrorists globally? Wouldn't an upfront foreign policy have stopped at least *that* part of the operation from prospering and gaining a blind eye from the Administration because of its apparent utility to do the one thing it wanted, while having to ignore the rest because of that and the Administration's own connections to said entity?

I haven't even *gotten* to domestic policy, tax policy and such, and already I see a number of major problems with the Reagan Administration and I *still* appreciate the couple of good things it did!

And since this heads us into domestic policy, lets start with the size of government that President Reagan promised to address on the campaign trail. Remember that? The nefarious octopus of government getting its tentacles into everything and doing so much with waste, fraud and abuse that simply cleaning *that* up would balance the budget? So, what, exactly happened?

Did President Reagan move hard and fast to get rid of the newly minted Dept. of Education?


How about the Dept. of Energy, seen as superfluous?


Was the Dept. of Agriculture cleaned up of Waste, Fraud and Abuse?

No, and just the opposite with the funds going through there to BNL, BCCI, Saddam Hussein and who knows where else. That Department was put on the multi-billion dollar feeding cycle for years, and anywhere Congress tried to stop it, funds got shifted to something else and more got fed into it. Taking a look at the historical US federal budget, in the year Ronald Reagan was elected, the outlays for the budget were roughly $591 billion, which would translate to $848.5 billion in 1988 if there were NO other growth to the federal budget and it is only adjusted for inflation and such. In 1988 the actual outlays were $1.064 trillion, or a 25% real growth in the size of the federal government just in cash spent *alone* and the federal deficit (the annual spending shortfall) doubled over that period, again not only outpacing inflation but expanding to cover the added girth put on by President Reagan.

So the talk of 'smaller government' and Ronald Reagan being a 'small government conservative' is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Those of us who understood that more would need to be spent on National Security and Defense expected that *other* parts of government, like those mentioned above, would take the hit and large sections of them if not entire Departments chopped off, permanently. That would not only reduce the size of government by shifting funds into areas of capital procurement (ships, aircraft, weapons systems) and away from those of high labor with no Constitutional mandate. That did not happen.

To put it very bluntly: Ronald Reagan talked deceitfully about 'small government' on the campaign trail, but governed as a Big Government Conservative.

For those leaving the D party over their inability to see any need to curb government, to get great talk and NO action from the R party really, and for true, puts one off of wanting to associate with them. The lovely 'Big Tent' also contains a huge wallet vacuum cleaner that one must open up and then have bureaucrats examine to make sure that no bills got stuck in the crevices. To get in the 'Big Tent' one has to have lots of wallets sitting around to be able to pay your way. And the expansion of federal government and debt only got a little bit of pay down when the largest bubble economy of the US ran through the high tech sector in the 1990's, actually allowing for taxes to be cut in a meaningful way. Those remain hard fought for cuts, as the D party shows, and is the LAST STAND of the R party to try and put any restraint, whatsoever, on government. Because they sure, as hell, were not put in under Ronald Reagan.

Then there is the expansion of the internal classification procedures for the government, particularly the Intelligence and Defense Communities. A thing that got so encompassing that the steering wheel specifications to the Jeep were classified. Along with the specifications for the $400 hammer which the D party would bash the R party with in the 1992 election. Coming from a part of the government under DoD, I can say that the time spent in reviewing, cataloging and tracking all that classified material cost untold man hours and billions of dollars. Which is why the declassification regulations got put in place to start automatically getting the less necessary *junk* taken out of that system and handed over to the National Archives. That expansion of the use of the classification stamp was, in and of itself, Waste, Fraud and Abuse - Waste of time to cover Fraudulent needs and Abused to cover anything else 'just in case'. The taxpayer pays for a secure government, not a paranoid one, and the paranoia to move nearly everything on the IC and DoD to the classified side was ludicrous. Entire systems were procured under the Black Budget that never got proper GAO or Congressional oversight, and expended billions of dollars in pure waste for systems and equipment that was outdated when it was delivered.

That paranoia was due to President Reagan and the urge to keep *anything* from the hands of the Soviet Union. Even what kind of hammers and toilet seats we bought.

It was also under President Reagan's term that the first analysis of the budget busting ability of Social Security due to demographics was put forth. Ever hear of that little 'entitlement'? The lovely concept of trying to retire out the older part of the workforce on government stipend paid for by the younger part of the workforce? Put in to try and do *something* with the economy during the Great Depression, but wouldn't actually take hold until we NEEDED an older work force to do this thing known as 'work' during WWII? The program with a huge demographic bubble that is caused by the 'baby boom' so that there will soon be very few folks working to pay for all the oldsters on the golf courses, sky diving, bungee jumping, skiing and riding their Harleys all over the place. The one that also gets a lovely medical benefit around the same age that allows for all sorts of extra and unnecessary medical work to be done 'just in case' something gets missed? Heard of them?

Did President Reagan propose ending the system?

Of course NOT, that is political suicide to cut off PAYMENTS to VOTERS. The D party thrashes that about the head and shoulders of the R party until NEITHER will practice any long-term fiscal oversight. This is not a 'social security' this is a BRIBE to get older folks to VOTE for YOUR PARTY. Because people feel ENTITLED to federal funds for their very own needs. That is why it is called an 'entitlement'. The Romans had a name for this: Breads and Circuses. Things to pay the masses that they don't deserve so that they keep docile. So we get a system where money is taken away from those that should be investing in their futures and handed to those who should have planned for their own futures. Many of them *have* done so and are quite well off.

Social Security is stealing from the poor and working and handing it to the well off and retired.

That does not sound like any form of 'conservative values' I have ever heard of, and yet it continues on to this day with lovely little 'tweaks' around the edges trying to get young folks to have money taken from the by the federal government and be GLAD that with any they have left they can invest it. Isn't that lovely? A ponzi scheme endorsed by the R party AND conservatives because they cannot find a good basis to argue against taking money from the poor and handing it to the wealthy by the fiat of Big Government. That is kind of the opposite of fiscal conservatism: take money from those who need it for the future, waste some of it on government overhead which turns out to be 35-45% overhead, and then take what is left to hand it to those who should have demonstrated some competence about planning for things in their lives.

Rewarding incompetence!

Such a grand thing for government to do, isn't it?

Then there is this entire 'free trade' religion that the R party has gotten. I will not get on that *again*, as I really have beaten that about a bit. To put it simply: having unencumbered trade with those under despotic regimes rewards those regimes with trinkets to keep their population docile while the regime holds all authority to take such away if the government needs it. This is NOT rewarding liberty or freedom, but giving bribes to keep tyranny and despotic governments in place without ANY cost to trading with the US. This 'free trade' allows the stuff that went on with BCCI to happen, so that terrorist organizations can be guaranteed to get as much as they can pay for in the way of arms and explosives anywhere on the planet. Part of the current fun in Iraq is seeing that al Qaeda had tens of millions to spend on such things, but couldn't find enough people to entice to GUARD the stuff. Apparently people are far more expensive than the equipment they use, which is a basic fact of life anyone running a business can tell you about. Human capital is far more expensive than goods, which is why 'free trade' should be kept to those who are free and restrained from those who are under tyrannical regimes to deprive those regimes of any advancement in their work force.

When the fruits of liberty are spent handing more chains to those that are not free, so that those who are can make a profit, then you are putting your own liberty at risk. That is why the Middle East, which has been exposed to 90 years of this doctrine, is in the state it is today: the trade has let the regimes go on unopposed save for those elements that have radicalized to make things worse and live on the lovely things we hand out cheaply to them. 30 years of that in China has only made them free in comparison to the absolute despotic state as it was under Mao, but the average liberty and freedom is no better than it was under an individual like Stalin in the USSR or places like Venezuela as of late. When will we stop making a profit off of the oppressed and start encouraging them to seek liberty so they can benefit from the fruits of freedom, rather than handing them those fruits and having us gain the benefit in cash, while paying for it in oppression?

President Reagan obviously had no qualms about US companies making money off of the oppressed. There is a difference between foreign aid to save lives and encourage folks to stand up on their own, and foreign trade meant to make a profit for companies while impoverishing those that have no liberty to *compete* so as to gain the full fruits of their labor without oppressive government to remove those from them. When the US would not cut off aid or trade to China when it spilled blood to end a student rebellion for freedom, we could see in the bloody streets just what the US supported in its foreign policy. It obviously wasn't freedom. And that, too, was a holdover of the Reagan Administration to the Bush follow-on. Today no one even thinks about that nor about the lack of freedom in China... they have so much to buy!!

Except their souls. We are getting paid to keep those right where they are.

Today when I hear someone from the Republican Party lauding this or that candidate as 'just like Reagan', I know what they are talking about... but this, apparently, has a different meaning to me than to them. Ronald Reagan was a good and big hearted fellow, really! I can easily imagine hiking with him or going fishing and having a great time under the sun, and chatting around a campfire. It is not the goodness of the spirit I have problems with.

It is the results of his handiwork that trouble me the most.

He did get a few things *right* and was the final one to help end the USSR and remove the threat of sudden, global, thermonuclear war.

He also started a process of erosion of support for Western values by not confronting lesser evils so that they would grow stronger and bolder as time went on. So that sudden immolation would look *good* compared to eternal enslavement under those that would bring an age of barbarism back to us, by making unaccountable war upon civilization with the help of our system of trade. I would prefer that we not hand over the easy power of weapons at low cost to those seeking to impose their will upon the world and shift it to their views.

President Reagan could have gone after them and hard in 1983, and start forcing that back even before it found a hard foothold in the world.

He did not do that.

And I sincerely hope we never see his likes again in the Oval Office as the world cannot afford an America that will shirk from defending herself from wolves and hold such accountable for their actions by ending them.

May I suggest ending the plaudits and comparisons and start addressing those that have attacked us without retribution for decades?

Or is keeping the *word* of President Reagan too difficult?

It was for him, that is for certain.

Can we find someone better to do that job and not flinch from it?

Someone to keep the word of a good man, who was incapable of doing so, himself.


Ron C said...

I'm surprised to see all comments at zero... but, then again, perhaps not, because these days few can articulate in writing - anything much beyond their 'feelings.'

But, I'll hazard a comment nonetheless - particularly regarding Reagan, though not so much about him and more about the ignorance of the general public about how federal government functions. That ignorance is vast beyond belief.

First, remember if you will, Reagan began what he claimed he would do - and began slashing federal government agencies shortly after gaining office. Media cried, wailed and pounded their chests - Reagan was creating an atrocity in the eyes of the socialist MSM.

Then Reagan was shot. Then all attempts to reduce the size of the federal government ended - instantly. Not one more came under review, much less question.

People believe the president of the US is all-powerful - he is not. He is subject to the 'system' - and that system is far greater and far more powerful than the president. The executive department of the federal government employs nearly 1.5 million people - they are the permanent government.

It is a member of the permanent government that meets the newly elected representative, or senator, at the airport on arrival. They insert a ring in the nose of that individual, and they control every move, thought and action of that elected 'Member of Congress' virtually without exception, for their entire political life.

No less so any president - every move is scripted - not by the president, but by the permanent government using the 'elected' puppets Americans naively send, believing they can actually make a difference in what happens in DC.

Want change? Demand a return to the days when all government was disbanded at the end of the admin-cycle, and election of new representatives - who HAD to bring their own staff from their own home state - and take them home again when their term ended.

Want to ensure that nothing changes - keep the current sham-system that guarantees nothing essential to gradually increasing socialism will ever be threatened.

It is laughable that the American people believe that tens of thousands of permanent 'employees' of the federal government have no effect on the performance of those they send to Washington - be they members of Congress or the President.

It is equally laughable that voters frequently elect men and women to high office that have never had even one day of legislative experience, have never even heard the term Roberts Rules of Order - much less understand and be able to use them.

With such public ignorance, you can understand why I'm not impressed with so much punditry about the performance of any elected member of either party in any office - because none of them act independent of the system they step into. Nay, they are slaves to it, and if they go astray - the system quickly dispenses with them - sometimes with a bullet.

A Jacksonian said...

Ron - Thank you, and much so!

I do, indeed, appreciate the powers of the Executive as manifest in the President. There are ways that a President can make his outlook manifest in the bureaucracy and nullify the ability of government agencies to act: do not appoint the upper staff. The SES/SIS is fully amenable to the President firing same as they are on one-year renewable contracts (1 yr + 4 option years is standard), but the government has a T4C capability - terminate for convenience of the government. For those with cabinet heads, the idea is simple, also, don't appoint any. Those two, on their own, effectively moves guidance, authority and ability to operate beyond minimal capability and when the President then has an agency without direction and sees no use in appointing same, he then goes to Congress to end it. The President does have various ways to make an agency unpopular, unworkable and generally unsustainable, especially if Congressional mandate is vague - like the Dept. of Education. That is a hard way to go and unlikely to work in four years and possibly not even eight, although the FDR Congresses did end some of his programs at a good clip. I did an article on that here and it points to something the computer world calls 'cruft' - the excess junk that so inhabts a computer system that it slows down.

Other major events did take place in the Reagan administration, no doubt, but for the President to turn around so completely from cutting government to adding to it is something that needs to be contended with. You cannot be for 'small government' and then add on to it forevermore, by asking for more positions, more programs and more money.

The problem of Incumbistanian Politics and its relation to the vassal state of Electistan are well known: we keep throwing the bums back in. What has happened, however, is the drive by such moribund political outlook to disenchant the people of the Nation from voting. We forget that history is not inevitable with regards to democracy and, indeed, we are only nearing the historical limits of ancient democracies AND republics for length of continuous time. They have all failed, democracies and republics both and combined, and when democracies lose backing by the public, they quickly decay and sefl-destruct in various ways that are less than pleasant. America, now dipping into the lower reaches of that and, indeed, being below that of Germany 1932-33 for popular support from the overall population to a governing party, now puts this Nation at peril. The slide from republic and democracy can be very fast and the US is not immune to this.

For me the vitality in democracy is seen by the founders: highly representative with low ratios of representatives to their population. You do not need artificial things like 'term limits' if the turmoil of a Nation on the move can shift the demographics of hundreds of Representatives in less than two congressional terms. There is stability in that as it offers outlet to the common man to represent his fellow man, and make Congress so large that getting through 'pork' is an impossibility, using the Open Source concept of 'many eyes produce better code'.

It isn't that we add things in to government: it is that we never end those extra parts. And I do notice that the R party had many years in the majority and did nothing on this score, either.

On foreign affairs, especially in exacting retribution when attacked: the President's powers are sancrosanct and the last word. When attacked the Nation is, de facto, at war. We are too nice to say so... and that will get us killed as a people and a Nation, and then as individuals. The American People understand a President exacting justice when our military is attacked and, in not doing so, we have been left in danger and worsening danger year on year. A legacy that must be ended and soon... or we will all pay the price.