Sunday, October 07, 2018

Blog name change

When I started this blog many years ago, I used the name "Mormon On Politics." But with recent changes to the Church's reference to the name "Mormon" as a nickname, I have removed the reference. I replaced "Mormon" with "Hayes," my surname.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Russia's Hacked DNC, How Did it Influence the Election

Secrecy versus democracy collide in our modern, interconnected era. During our recent presidential election, it was revealed Russia was at the heart of a directed attack on the DNC. Schneier wrote in January:
The constellation of evidence attributing the attacks against the DNC, and subsequent release of information, is comprehensive. It's possible that there was more than one attack. It's possible that someone not associated with Russia leaked the information to WikiLeaks, although we have no idea where that someone else would have obtained the information. We know that the Russian actors who hacked the DNC -- both the FSB, Russia's principal security agency, and the GRU, Russia's military intelligence unit -- are also attacking other political networks around the world.
Beside the electronic trespassing, what did Russia do that swayed the election Trumps way? About all that has been said is that Putin did not like Clinton mainly due to her Secretary of State positions, and that he has had some business dealings with Trump, perhaps liking his chances with him over her. There's talk of fake news created by the Russians, which apparently is different than fake news created by the USA's main stream media.

There is no real evidence that the DNC hack by the Russian government contributed in any decisive way to Trump’s win over Clinton. The election did show us a number of things:

  1. We do a crappy jobs a information security; attackers can get into any system, not just the DNCs.
  2. Whatever the DNC lost from a hacked server was more than compensated for for the internal fake news and Democratic biased reporting by most of the media.
  3. The polls missed the voter dislike for Clinton, preferring to take a chance on a political outsider.
  4. When a favorite loses, those behind the scene try everything they can to assign blame, from campaign staff to the MSM.
  5. If the America people felt that Trump was in collusion with the Russian, he would have lost in a landslide. The evidence must not have been that compelling because Obama elected to hold off reporting it until after the election. He was not taking the "higher ground" -- if he thought it would have pushed Clinton ahead or discredited Trump, he would have done it.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Elections Have Consequences: Travel Ban on Seven Nations

Wow, what a decisive issue we have seen with the 27 January Executive Order:  Protecting the Nation from Foreign terrorist Entry into the United States. It orders a temporary halt on all refugee admissions (120 days); visa suspensions (90 days) of individuals from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen; an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees; and introduces a cap of 50,000 refugees to be accepted in 2017 (versus a limit of 110,000 set by Obama.)

The travel ban was a sensible idea hobbled by flaws, especially regarding green card holders and dual citizens. The roll-out was clumsy; the communication terrible. It temporarily inconvenienced hundreds of foreign nationals (versus Obamacare that impacted millions of Americans.)

For two weeks, there were some protests, from peaceful to mildly violent. The Washington (and Minnesota) law suit against the ban placed a temporary stoppage to the Order. On a 3-0 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the government’s argument that suspension of the order should be lifted immediately for national security reasons.

The federal government; i.e., President Trump, believes it is not a Muslim ban, as the opponents claim. The seven countries sited lack normal governments and are weak on assisting with thorough vetting processes. There are over 40 different countries worldwide that are majority Muslim that are not affected by this order.

The opponents claim they are making a Constitutional check against a President. Perhaps. But this reeks of political maneuvering by the traditional left's tactic of losing at the ballot box but winning in court.

What is the president’s authority in the matter of protecting the borders and keeping out those he sees as potentially dangerous? Do non-citizens' rights trump citizens'? Will a wall on our southern border be similarly viewed?

America has an illegal immigration problem. It has a national security problem. Trump's presidential victory was based on this to a great degree. We clearly see the left and MSM vitriolic tactics, believing their opinions are the only ones that matter. It is only going to get worse. The public discourse is beyond cordial; this is pre-civil war language.

Friday, January 20, 2017

America First Is A Win-Win

President Trump's inauguration speech was everything those that voted for him hoped for, everything contrary to Obama and Clinton.

The Left's has always been pro-special interest; and has decades of failed policies from education, war of poverty, and economic development. Trump's message has always been pro-America. It is the core of his plan.
  • "We are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People."
  • "What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people."
  • "A nation exists to serve its citizens."
  • "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."
  • "We’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry; subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military; defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own; spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay."
  • "It’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families."
  • "Protect our borders."
  • "Get our people off of welfare and back to work."
  • "Buy American and Hire American."
This is populism at its finest. This does not mean we embark on xenophobia policies. All lasting agreements, contracts, and treaties need to benefit both parties. For too long, Americas policies have been weighed in favor of "the other guy." Democrats and Republicans too often are apologetic for America's leadership and wealth. Obama's policies tended to provided virtual and economic reparation for what he believed was unwarranted imperialism.

Like him or not, Trump's focus on the "we" is a welcome reprise from eight years of Obama's self-aggrandizing "I."
  • Trump mentioned himself just three times in is inauguration speech while referring to “we” the American people 45 times.
  • Obama referred to himself 75 times in his farewell speech.
This changing of the guard is the most significant in most Americans' lifetimes. The demarcations could not be more obvious. "It's still 'We the people', right?"...
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Politics of Hate: Fringe vs Core

For a couple of years, I worked for a web content filtering company. The nature of this business is to categorize web sites and to allow administrators to use the software and set policies to allow or not allow access to certain sites. The most common is to prohibit access to "pornography" sites. But there are plenty of organizations that will disallow access to "hate" sites.

Hate sites are mainly defined as extremists sites such as groups espousing racial supremacy and separation, anti-LGBT groups, anti-Muslim groups, Holocaust denial groups, anti-Semitic groups, black supremacy groups. Extremists exist on the political right and left. For the most part, these are fringe groups. These groups are not espoused by Republicans or Democrats, at least outwardly.

Lately, the politics of hate has morphed to take on more main stream opinions. The election of Trump has brought this to the forefront.

Ever since Trump was declared the winner over Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, the left cannot leave it it alone -- before he's began to govern. When Obama won in 2008 and again in 2012, those opposed to him behaved civilly. The right does not necessarily hate Obama, they merely disagree with his policies. That is the beauty of American politics and our two-party political system. We agree to disagree. Hopefully we meet somewhere in the middle and America is better-off. Unfortunately, today's middle is significantly left than it was 20-40 years ago.

The extremists left are becoming more mainstream Democrat. Most have hate at the core of their beliefs -- hate of Christianity, capitalism, and freedom of speech, regardless of the point of view.

If Clinton won, Republicans would not be planning aggressive presidential inauguration protests. Let's hope cooler heads prevail. Let's agree to disagree. Congress is elected every 2 years, president every four and senators every six. Nothing is permanent.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Russia External Enemy; MSM Internal Enemy

For months, the FBI has suspected the Russians were behind the hacking of the DNC.  The 13-page joint FBI and GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity, provides their confirmation and it details the why and how.
DHS report: 

Russia certainly favored Trump over Clinton. The reasons might deal with bribery and extortion potential on one hand or pro-energy and pro-business policies on the other. Putin may just not like the Clinton's and wanted to be done with them finally. Regardless, state-sponsored hacking of governments including elections is not a good thing.

Information security defenses are never good enough, down right bad in many cases. State-sponsored hacking is done by all, including the USA. Russia got caught.

The MSM only cares about this because its candidate lost. If it would have happen in Clinton's favor, we all know what the reaction would have been.

The fact that the MSM spent its efforts digging up as much dirt as it could against Trump during the election cycle and ever since is okay because a) the MSM has not been caught and b) the MSM is comprised of Americans. The Russian hacking incident is the MSM's way of helping to push blame and to continue its constant attack against Trump.

What's worse:  the external enemy (Russia or any other country) or the enemy within (US citizen under the guise of the MSM, elected politicians from both parties, government bureaucrats, and lobbyists for hire?)

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Trump's First News Conference, A Breadth of Fresh Air

Not a Republican (I did not vote for Trump), definitely not a Democrat (definitely did not vote for Clinton), I certainly appreciated President-Elect Trump's first new conference -- the on-point messages, the tone, and the theater, especially involving the main-stream media (MSM.)

For as long as I can remember, presidential news conferences, especially when the president is a Democrat, has been a tea party. The questions are underhand softball tosses. The normal cast of MSM outlets are present, at the exclusion of those that might be less favorable to the president. A gathering like-minded, self-aggrandizing "professionals."

The good 'ol boys are now viewed unfavorably by the President-Elect. Many may have lost their standing invitation and must bid their turns with the "less-important others" in what should be a media rotation. Can you blame Trump? It is one thing to hammer him, which they should (they should hammer all politicians regardless of party), but their one-sided biased has forced him to react sternly.

Fake news has all but ended any credibility the MSM may have had. Only the elderly and half-wits listen to and watch the MSM. The nightly national news is a bygone era; the local news isn't too far behind. And I even question who watches CNN, Fox News or MSNBC. Who even has paid-TV? (I cannot even receive the free, over-the-air networks because of their poorly designed digital networks.)

Hate rules the left and the the MSM. One way to fight them is to ignore them and to not give them a seat at the table. They hate Trump so why should he engage them in a favorable manner? From the press conference transcript:
  • BuzzFeed:  "...a failing pile of garbage..."
  • CNN:  "...your organization is are fake news."
Rude? Certainly. Fitting? Most definitely.

Trump won because of the arrogance of the left including its communication outlets -- the MSM. The MSM did Clinton's bidding. Perhaps Russia did some of his. What's worse: the enemy within or the enemy abroad? Both are bad.

The next four years are going to be different, hopefully entertaining and damaging to the ridiculous left.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Professional Sport Teams Moving to Two Team Areas

The San Diego Chargers NFL franchise has elected to move to Los Angeles for the 2017 football season. For the next two years, they will play as the Los Angeles Chargers in the 30,000-seat StubHub Center (a soccer stadium) on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA. After years of trying to get a taxpayer-supported stadium, Chargers owner Dean Spanos, other investors and the NFL feel there is a better chance of business success in LA than San Diego. The Chargers will share the 80,000 seat Los Angeles Stadium at Hollywood Park with the LA Rams starting in 2019.

For twenty years, LA did fine without an NFL team; now it has two.

Where is the Charger fan base going to come from? Its fan base is weak as it is. A few years ago, I attended a game between the Chargers and Vikings in Qualcomm Stadium. About 1/3 of the fans were in purple, not baby blue and gold. Many, if not most, of the spurned Charger fans will quit the team; plenty will quit the NFL. Couple this with the general consensus that San Diego inhabitants have negative feelings about LA. The only thing the Chargers have going for them is that the Rams, although it started in LA, just returned after a twenty year stint in Saint Louis. Its fans base is in its own infancy. So younger people that may not have an NFL team will have a chance to pick "its team."

I wonder why the powers-that-be believe large metro areas -- Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Bay Area -- should accommodate two or more teams? The LA Clippers (who moved from San Diego) is subservient to the Lakers; the White Sox second to the Cubs; the Angels second to the Dodgers, the Nets second to the Knicks; the Islanders second to the Rangers; and the Raiders (who may move to Las Vegas) second to the 49ers (who recently moved to the San Jose area.)

I'd rather see consolidation or elimination of teams rather than adding a second team to a currently served metro area.

Taxpayer-funded stadiums primarily benefit the team owner(s) and some politicians; only secondary benefits are realized by others. For many, especially those who care nothing about sports, receive little. Even though I am a huge sports fans, I support those communities, like those in San Diego, that vote down bonds to build sports stadiums or complexes. It is a rip-off and poor investment.

Professional sports need to stand on their own, without massive taxpayer subsidizing.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Democrats Rely on a Permanent Underclass and Dependancies

Historically, a Democrat favors a greater role of government in the lives of its citizens; a Republican less. Unfortunately both have diverted from the Constitution which clearly delineates the role of the federal government. Hence the terms "Republicrat" or "Democrican," there's little real differences today.

It is the evil and/or misguided, self-serving politicians and their underwriters that run politics. Americans are every bit as bad as the banana republics/dictators in Africa, Latin America and Asia, and the socialists throughout Europe and APAC.

Democrats have a history of sticking up for the underprivileged. If they are successful, these individuals become self-deterministic and no longer require the constant care of the government. The Democrats require a permanent underclass in order to maintain its block of voters. It is their very policies that keep these dependencies in check. Democrats have done an excellent job of keeping African-Americans down. They hope to build their ranks by opening the borders to a new class of dependencies. They care nothing about the rule of law if it will further their cause -- meaning to allow them to remain in power.

The American dream of moving up from a lower class to a higher one is not part of the Democrat playbook. It can't be for its survivability.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Vote for Hillary Clinton is a Vote for Graft

The United States of America is clearly past the point of no return as a constitutional republic. Besides the corrupt Democrat Party leaders "anointing" Hillary Clinton as Barack Obama's heir, her level of graft is beyond reproach. To mention just a few..

  • Clinton Foundation's pay to play
  • Emailgate 
  • Benghazi
  • "Quieting" Bill's adultery partners
  • Travelgate
  • Whitewater
  • Filegate
  • Vince Foster 
Our two-party systems has failed us. Traditional Democrats claim to vote for her because they dislike and disapprove of Donal Trump. (Traditional Republicans are voting for him because he is not her.)  If Stalin was the Democrat and Hitler the Republican candidates, would be be "forced' to vote for one of them -- the lesser of two evils?

Hillary is pure evil, created by choice by greed and power. Trump does not appear to be evil but has been able to say whatever he wanted throughout life without recourse. He's untrustworthy.

In the state of Utah, there are eight other candidates on the ballot for President. The argument is that a vote for a third-party is a throw-away vote. How can we in good confidence vote for either Clinton or Trump? Both will be disasters. I lean Republican because I agree with 50% of its platform but I cannot in good conscience vote for Trump. I will never vote for a Democrat because I disagree with 90% of its political platform.

I always vote for the platform, provided the candidate is not evil or insane. In most presidential elections, I vote for the Constitution Party, and this year, that is Darrell Castle. Most of my family members and neighbors voted for Evan McMullian.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Price of Crude Oil vs. Prices at the Pump

The oil companies do play games and collude to increase the prices we pay at the pumps.

I live in Utah. When the price of crude oil as around $105 a barrel, we have never paid more than $4 for a gallon of regular gasoline. When the price of crude oil was down in the low $40s a barrel, we saw our price for a gallon of gas at about $2. The price of a barrel of crude oil is around $60 but a gallon  of gasoline is $3.

So when the price of crude goes back up to the $75 range, and it will, we will be paying more for a gallon of gas than when the price of crude was over $100.

Because of the stagnant nature of the Obama economy -- which can be considered the new norm given onerous government restrictions and anti-capitalist policies -- we earn less, pay more in taxes, and pay more for goods and services.

Oil and gas are critical to the global economy. Renewable energy is gaining in attractiveness but is dwarfed by non-renewables. The current supply and demand quadrangular with oil and gas may stagger the oil and gas corporations, but they will get their money one way or another. If the price of oil goes back over  $100, we will be paying substantially more than we did in 2014, and it cannot be explained by inflation, etc.

Friday, February 06, 2015

The Anti-Christian, Anti-Semite, Pro-Islamic Leader of the Free World

Barack Obama is the first American president that is an Islamic apologist. He is unable to correlate history with religion.

This week at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, Obama singled out the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the terrorist attacks in Paris, and deadly assault on a school in Pakistan. But he quickly becomes the apologist he is known for:

"Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ,"

The difference is that the Bible does not promote those "terrible deeds." Those were deeds committed by evil political and religious rulers. Islamic clerics and militants repeatedly justify their acts are supported by the Quran.

There is a direct correlation between Islamic terrorism and its religion. This does not exist in Judeo-Christian doctrine.

Obama went on to say "in our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ."

Obama again makes an erroneous comparison. Evil men did evil things whatever their motivation. But they are not supported by Christian doctrine. It was the Christians that were the strongest abolitionists. And the facts are that Republicans were the larger part of that movement.

This president is not the man of compassion and empathy that he claims to be. He is fundamentally transforming America, and by his actions and inactions, transforming the world. Tyranny is on the rise. Genocide is on the rise. American stands for nothing. It cannot be counted on by its allies.

America voted for this demagogue twice. His leadership continues to take us down the wrong road, a path that America (and the world) may never be able to recover from.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Obama 2015 State of the Union Continues Class Warfare Politics

The law review editor and community organizer is certainly true to his liberal ideology. His 2015 State of the Union speech was nothing new:  more government programs, more spending and more tax-the-rich diatribe.

The tried and true populist "Robin Hood" notion that the rich are too rich and they must be made to pay more has been core to his and most Democrat agendas. Add to this the false belief that higher capital gains taxes is one way to penalize the rich.

Obama is laying the ground work for 2016. He knows that 100 percent of the "ideas" in his one plus hour speech will not be implemented. It is because they are bad ideas for government and for the American people.

Tax breaks for child care and free community college all sound great but they cannot be funded. Free is never free in so many ways. Government paying for this and for that does nothing but tie people to ... government. This is core to why I can never support Democrat ideas. When people oppose this in its government, the rebuttal is non-compassion. It is the opposite that is true.

There are plenty of things the government can and should do. But Obama's list does none of these. None of his ideas actually do anything to create jobs, motivate industry, spur risk, and create real wealth. He only cares about wealth redistribution, not the role of government.

For the next two years, everything he and the media will discuss will have at its core wealth redistribution and class warfare.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It Is A Rare Day When Your Team Wins a Major Championship

Immediately after Ohio State won the first CFP National Championship, Buckeye Nation was able to bask in the moment. Winning a major championship for YOUR TEAM is a rare thing.

Passionate sports fans know this awe too painfully.

  • College:  Ohio State, Utah (I'd pick OSU over a head-to-head)
  • MLB:  Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians (I'd pick the Reds over a head-to-head)
  • NFL:  Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings (I'd pick the Browns over a head-to-head)
  • NBA:  Utah Jazz
  • NHL:  Detroit Red Wings
  • Soccer:  Liverpool, RSL (I'd pick Liverpool over a head-to-head)

Each has had its moments, some more so than other. This win for OSU was its sixth national title; Utah has never won one. In NCAA Men's Basketball, OSU and Utah have each won one, but neither in my lifetime. The Browns have never been to a Super Bowl; the Vikings have lost four. The Reds have won five World Series' the last being in 1990; the Indians have won two, the last one being in 1948. The Jazz have lost two NBA finals. Liverpool has won the European Cup / UEFA Champions League five time, the FA Cup seven times, and the English top tier league 18 times but never the Premier League; RSL won the MLS Cup once. Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cups (only four in my lifetime).

In sports, in one way or another, after the dust settles and the season comes to an end, every team is a loser except one. For sports fan, there's always next year. But for this Buckeye fan, I am savoring the moment. This is one of the sweeter championships.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

"Go To the Movies," Obama Wrong Again

Sony did not make a mistake pulling "The Interview" film. President Obama is wrong.

The Christmas Day terrorist threat on movie theaters, real or not, was a huge risk for Sony and Hollywood. What if 10% of potential theater goers did not show up? 20%? 50%? What if one bomb went off in one theater? The risk is too great.

Sony's mistake was its poor information security systems. That's where the law suits will focus. I'd also refrain from claiming North Korean guilt for this hack.

Sony, local theaters and other Hollywood firms are for-profit businesses. If they want to make movies that insult a group of people that have very different views of freedom that most Americans, they can. But they must realize the potential for strong opposition.

As has been explained, if one leaves his keys in the ignition of his unlocked car and wallet on the seat, and someone steal them, although this is a crime, it is unlikely the insurance company will compensate.

Make your so-called free-speech films but don't be surprised if  others with a different opinion react harshly.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Obama and Free Speech -- All Messed Up

Obama on Sony hack: ‘Go to the movies’
Today President Obama does what he does best:  flip-flop on positions when it is politically beneficial. He and his writers assume the American people cannot remember what he has stated previously.

Today he is all about free speech, wishing Sony would have shown "The Interview" as originally planned and not have cancelled it.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest stated “The president and the administration stand squarely on the side of artists and other private citizens who seek to freely express their views.” Except when he isn't.

Recall the Administration's uproar over the homespun, hardly-viewed YouTube video dealing with Mohammad and some anti-Muslim material. Obama and his UN Ambassador Susan Rice claimed that the Benghazi attack were triggered by this video. Obama condemned the video and the message.

Globally, freedom of speech is more like Obama's view:  you are free to say what you want as long as the appointed or elected leader agrees.

Obama again shows his hypocrisy.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Political Policies Toward the Younger, Poorer, More Diverse, Less Educated

The famous line in Lazarus' New Colossus sonnet "...give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." is something all Americans believe in. Most strive to overcome, to excel, to hope that our children prosper beyond us. America has always been a land of immigrants and opportunities. But many government policies, political parties and politicians were created to discourage this.

A divided America -- red and blue -- is less of a true classification of the America people, rather more of an indictment of the political policies of the ruling class.

The Democrats have always tried to appeal to the younger, poorer, more diverse, and less educated. Undeniably, these groups need their voices to be heard. But Democrats have no incentive to listen and incite this change. Real change would be to provide economic opportunities, to integrate individuals into America's culture, and to provide real education.

For over sixty years, the Democrats' policies have been to talk-the-talk but to do everything in their power to stifle this change. Democrats win and gain power by keeping people poor, thwarting opportunities, perpetuating a failed education system, and expanding government dependency.

Democrats attempt to deride older, richer, whiter, and better educated people -- groups they have effectively tied to the Republicans. We all age. We all desire to earn more this year than last year. We all realize that education is the pathway to prosperity. Race is something we have no control over, yet Democrats use race as its ace-in-the-hole. Talk of racism appeals to the tired, poor and huddled masses. The flames of racism are kept alive by liberal policies, poor education, and economic disparity.

This year's mid-term election is finally a vote against six years of Obama and liberal Democrat policies. (We did not learn this after four years, it took us six.) We are poorer, more diverse, more divided, and less educated than we were six years ago.

Time will tell if a Republican House and Senate will provide greater opportunities for wealth creation and personal freedoms. I personally doubt it. I see it just slowing the pace toward statism and the fall of America. The land of America has morphed into a Godless society. The people that will prosper here must be God fearing. When they are not, they will suffer His wrath.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

MLB World Series...Another Season-Ending Tournament

Baseball is my favorite sport. The World Series is my favorite season-ending sporting event. This year's MLB post season play was engaging. Nothing like a game seven (except maybe in the NHL). Neither of my favorite teams were playing (Reds in the NL, Indians in the AL), so I could just watch and enjoy the game for what it is, removing favoritism emotion.

Watching Madison Baumgartner return as a relief pitcher in the fifth inning (after pitching a complete game shut-up on Sunday and a seven-inning, three-hit, one-run performance in game one), and give up zero runs on only two hits, was for the ages. The Giant's 3-2 victory over the Royals last night have shown the Giants to be a great team, winning three championships in five years. But it got me thinking...

Both Kansas City and San Francisco were decent during the regular season, both qualifying for the post season through the wild card option. Kansas City was 89-73, a game behind Detroit, who won the AL Central. San Francisco was 88-74, six games behind the NL West winning Dodgers.

The wild card option, popular in most American college and professional sports -- NFL, NCAA, NBA, NHL -- makes for an exciting season-ending tournament. But the unattended consequence is that the regular season becomes nothing more than a qualification window. The goal is to qualify and get hot at the right time...anyone can win.

So why are we all paying gobs of money for season tickets when the regular season is diminished in importance? So we get first dibs on post season tickets?

The World Series use to be the American League Champion versus the National League Champion in a best of seven event. It matched the best team in each league over 154 (162) games.

MLB will probably go the way of other major American sports by adding additional wild card teams, giving more teams a chance; i.e., more money. The World Series has become just another season-ending tournament. The best team is not the World Series Champion, rather the team that got hot at the right time.

So with expanded post-season play, do us all a favor, go back to 154 regular season games.

Friday, September 12, 2014

U.S. Direct Involvement in Fighting ISIS Is Flawed

This week, President Obama spoke to the American people, laying out his plan for defeating ISIS in the Middle East.
  1. U.S. airstrikes: Obama said such attacks have already been successful against al-Qaeda in Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
  2. Support to foreign ground forces: He vowed to send 475 more U.S. troops to Iraq to support local security forces as well as provide military equipment and training to Syrian rebels.
  3. Counterterrorism: The U.S. will work with allies on intelligence and programs to prevent foreign fighters from joining ISIS.
  4. Humanitarian assistance: Aid will go to Muslim, Christian and religious minorities in danger of being driven out of their homes by ISIS.

Same old warmongering rhetoric -- leveraging the underlying belief that it is America's responsibility to save one group of Arabs from another.
The Iraqi government and Syrian no-government do not have the will, organization, funds or ability to defeat their fellow Arabs. ISIS is growing like a plague. The CIA has said that ISIS has 20,000-31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria. How many in Iraq and Syria will rise up an fight against them, with the same motivation?
Few people had heard of ISIS six months ago, albeit an off-shoot of Al Qaeda.
The US-based opposition will not have staying power. We will bomb -- kill terrorists and non-terrorists. America (and it anti-ISIS alliance) will lose the propaganda war in the Middle East. We always do, helped in part by western (including American) media. We will spend billions of tax-payers dollars on military actions and ordinance. We will loose American lives. But we will be told this is not a war -- not a third Iraq war. 
Killing them -- terrorist and their leaders -- will do little to moderate their efforts. The number of fighters have increased, not decreased, in Yemen and Somalia since the US attacks started there. Whether it is young ideologues or unemployed with nothing better to do, recruiting hate-America-and-the-West people is not too difficult. 
This newest foe is a continuation of decades of discontent in the Middle East. It will go on for years if not decades -- long after Obama has played his 10,000th round of golf. We have wasted billions of dollar, thousands of lives and disrupted millions of lives in our so-called war against terror. America's nation-building efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan have been for naught. Part three will go about like parts one and two.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Let's Play Ball

Again we find ourselves at the start of another baseball season. MLB Opening Day is one of my favorite days of the year. Hope spring eternal for many teams and their fans, certainly not for Houston, Minnesota or Miami.

My two teams, Cincinnati and Cleveland, both wild card teams from last year, could do better but most likely will do worse due to pitching shortcomings, boneheaded base-running, and a weaker lot of younger players.

In preparation, I attended five games (ten teams) this month in the Cactus League. Spring training has become big business. It might be my last time attending due to high prices and mainly minor league players.

But I am excited about the season. So excited that I paid the $130 for the MLB.TV package. We'll see if Verizon and Comcast are up to the task of smooth streaming.