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.
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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.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Self Determination In Russia

The Obama Administration and main stream media continue to babble on about Russian aggression and international law in Crimea. It is followed up by a discussion about Russian military build-up on the Ukrainian border. Few actually take the time to explain the political history of Crimea, how self-determination in Crimea by the majority Russians may apply, the implications of the language and culture in eastern Ukraine, and the value of the natural  resources and roll of economics in eastern Ukraine.

Putin has clearly demonstrated he has little to worry about from the Obama Administration, the US Congress and NATO. Sanctions on a few Russians amount to little more than a scolding by an absentee parent.

However, self-determination is a two-edge sword, except in Russia. Putin clearly is showing his ideology of a greater Russia, if not a reconstituted USSR. But when it comes to self-determination in autonomous regions within current Russia, he has a different stance.

There are 22 autonomous regions in Russia. They have their borders, language and culture. Putin has no interest in allowing for greater autonomy in these Republics or any krais (territories) and oblasts (provinces). He trumps this with the supremacy of the Russian constitution.

So America and NATO ought to be turning Putin's Russian independence story for those Russians in ex-Soviet states back on him. They ought to be promoting independence and self-determination for those regions in Russia that may opt for more independence, away from Russia; e.g., Dagestan, Ingushetia, Ossetia, Tatarstan and Chechnya.

History has shown that greater autonomy for internal Russian geopolitical entities will not be tolerated and will be met with sever force.

When it comes to foreign policy and clear principles, Russia's are clear. Sadly so are America's and NATO's apologetic and do-little ones.