Category Archives: Russia

Lent and the Return

This is now fairly deep into Lent and it is also near the time of the time change when we will all spring forward an hour, and most of us will find our waking a bit cruel for a while.. The Wednesday that is the seventh of March I spent  some time working on a gutter system and I have been otherwise preoccupied with a variety of little things but I am also aware that it is Lent — deeply aware that it is Lent although not as deeply as I might like to be. President Donald J. Trump gave his first address to the Joint Session of Congress on Mardi Gras and did not mention that the next day was Ash Wednesday nor that the Louisiana delegation had to neglect a major regional holiday to be present there and absent from Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday commitments at home. It is not that I recommend such recognition as a Federal Duty but then again I do not recommend scheduling such an event on Mardi Gras. So that is how my Lent really began — although I left off watching the speech at my parents house and went to a friend’s house for a last glass of sherry and a last slice of King Cake before midnight. But there was a dissonance between what I wanted and had on my mind and what the national scene was doing.Now the party of carnival season is truly over and my life is Lenten although not in every ideal sense. Perhaps not very holy but very austere in some ways.

Amid the other duties, noise and goings-on of life I am going over one of my unpublished novels. I wrote it online and printed two copies several years ago. So this set of marginalized, copy editors marks and other small and medium size changes are the first writing done on paper. For me writing novels has always been objectively better than self amputation, maintaining street heroin, or robbing convenience stores. But it probably feels much worse and is less rewarding.

However, it keeps my natural effervescent and exuberant qualities in check.  But the point of all this is that if ever one feels unable to control one’s giddy inner child then writing long novels can be excellent therapy…. However, most readers probably are not afflicted with excessive joy.

Nor is is impossible see that Washington faces real and austere challenges. A recent email from the White House says.

It’s been seven years since Obamacare was passed, and now, more than ever, we are seeing the harmful effects of this disastrous law.

Obamacare has led to higher costs and fewer health insurance options for millions of hard-working Americans. Independent analysis found 41 states faced higher average healthcare deductibles last year, with 17 states facing double-digit rate increases. Nearly one in five Americans have only one insurer offering Obamacare exchange plans.

In just the past year, Obamacare premiums have increased by 25 percent on the typical plan and coverage choices have dropped by 28 percent as insurers have left the market.

Things are only getting worse. This past year, nearly 20 million American citizens opted not to get healthcare insurance, with 6.5 million paying the penalty and millions more asking for a hardship exemption from the penalty.

Now, not nearly everyone will agree with Trump’s tone and take on this issue but I am relieved that he is trying to end the individual mandate. We all have sacrifices to make for America to make it and those sacrifices are Lenten enough in nature to deserve some thought in that regard. I think Catholics often have a variety of struggles as regards Lent. But it is a time to try and take our medicine with or without sugar to make it go down. America could use a little Lent just now.

I went to mass the morning of the first day of this Lent and received my ashes for Ash Wednesday. There was quite the crowd at church at St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church.  I am very much aware of all that I am not doing for Lent and all that it might be better for me to do.

In the distant times when elves abounded on Middle Earth….
Actually no that is in no sense descriptive or proper — but a long time ago — I did a lot of penance and then at other times I did a lot during Lent . Then in recent years I have more often than not failed to give up anything for Lent. I have lacked the generosity of spirit necessary to add another sacrifice to the wearisome burdens of my daily life and the lacks I feel so keenly. But I have received the Ashes and kept a decent fast. There was another period in my life when I was often in a blur and sometimes forgot what day it was and violated fasts publicly in a huge way in Catholic towns on a few occasions. My sin there was running around in a chaotic state rather than consciously breaking a fast. But this year I did give up something for Lent — nothing huge and not smoking which anyone who hangs out with me lately would be likely to suggest but I did give up something.

Back in the days when I often prayed for hours alone or in a chapel AND wore a knotted cord that bit my flesh in secret AND gave way more in alms than a normal percentage AND volunteered for lots of ministries that few wanted and some everyone did — Back then I found it easy to add on a Lenten Penance. Lately, as I aim at catching the bottom rung of the safety ladder hanging out of purgatory in the knick of time any sacrifice seems heavy. But I have small ministry in the church and it seems fitting. So as I went for Ashes I decided I would do something. I also have noticed that since Mass was early and I had a priest who is not a real brander and stainer in his approach I once again have fading ash syndrome by the time I get out into the world — that is good and bad. The pros and cons go beyond this little post. But I have Fading Ash Syndrom in both Ash Wednesday pictures here, quite a few years apart. I sometimes envy those with Strong Ash Condition late in the day. But I used to wear a cross a whole lot all the time and it sometimes irked me. Now I am an annual fading ash guy.

A Fading Ash Guy scheduling in his liturgical ministry in a busy week. Life brings us places we did not expect to be posting almost undetectable ash crosses and musing about minor penances. I am not the publican or the pharisee in the famous parable of Jesus. Maybe I am the guy not mentioned in the parable who would like longer phylacteries and a more lawful beard, a little more booze and gold and a little more repentance. Beware of being lukewarm we are warned. Those who know me would say there are parts of my psyche that always run very hot and others very cold. But perhaps the lukewarm has found much of the central region.

While I certainly know that my flesh shall turn to dust it is less clear how much I will repent and believe the Gospel this Lent. But Lent does not depend solely on me. God is God however unworthy or indifferent I may be….

 

 

There is a lot going on in my life and yet not so much as to justify spending a blog only on what is going on in my life. Problems with Mexico, Russia, North Korea and Iran are not figments of our national imagination. We must address real challenges each day as a country — we must sober up from the carnival atmosphere of the election and do some good in the world. That can mean doing some good for ourselves as well. For example,  I think it’s time for everyone to realize that North Korea is able to withstand even the very most brutal diplomatic tongue-lashing. I don’t mean to trivialize the problem but maybe they know we dislike their weapons program by now…. Sobriety and a little fasting from delusion is in order. There is a real fact that our secrets are out in the world and the White House leaks like a sieve and the Academy Awards handed the Best Picture award to the wrong movie first.

I would like to thank the academy, my parents and everyone — but I am not receiving an Oscar. On the other hand, that may not have much to do with getting to give those speeches anymore…
Also not important for determining who is crowned in a huge international pageant. Steve Harvey crowned the wrong woman not long ago. these are little things compared to the open prey our secrets and promises to one another have become but they are not extremely small things. We see a continuity to our national political life. We could use a little Lent.

I have a suggestion for major televised award shows, go ahead and use whatever approach prevented these messes in the 20th century. Maybe don’t just fumble along like idiots on your program’s biggest moment. Just saying….

Then maybe we can run our country with some sobriety as well. I have been remembering two serious older Americans now deceased this week. I have been remembering Justin Jesss Spiehler the grandfather of my nieces and nephew. His obituary from years ago is linked here.  But in the spirit of such memories, I spent a few days this Lent looking for and not finding a report of the decease of Judge Marcus Broussard, known as Buddy Broussard, a jurist and attorney in Abbeville. I hesitate to post his name first although I knew him. He and I were for a few years the only two active, dues-paying members of Mensa in Abbeville. I knew his son as well and he was friends with my maternal grandparents. I look forward to seeing the kind of character I knew in those men come to the fore — they weren’t perfect but they were good solid Americans I admired, are we?

This month I am on schedule for ministry at early morning mass. I hope to keep a holy Lent there in Church but I hope to return from church with a little Lent to bring to my country as well.

Clinton’s Campaign: Does She Have Credibility, a Creed and a Contest ?

Will Secretary and Senator and Former First Lady  Hillary Rodham Clinton be the first female President of the United States? It certainly seems likely. Here you can read my first post when she became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party.  Since the very first version of this post came out the Washington Post has run an article saying that her credibility is damaged, that article is here and it may or may not represent political reality. But the contention made here in all versions of this post so far is that there appears to be a small chance that she will be indicted, arrested and charged in the email scandal or in any matter to do with Benghazi. By small of course I mean that there is not a large chance. There appears to be a miniscule chance that Bernie Sanders will mount a successful revolt or set up a powerful third party challenge which would derail her path to the presidency. There is more or less no realistic chance that she will be stopped from being elected except by the victory of Donald Trump as the Republican Nominee over her as the Democratic Nominee in the general election. Almost no chance is not the same as no chance. Any number of things could happen including death of physical impairment. But the odds seem to be better than fifty percents that she will be the next POTUS. Few people have ever had more relevant work or official experience when approaching the highest office in the land. To be a Senator is a lot, to be Secretary of State is a lot, to be First Lady is a lot — to be all three is a staggering degree of experience. Of course I physically stagger more easily than some more physically gifted readers and so I go to that adjective and the related adverb more readily than they might. But if one does not stagger one at least must take notice of the degree to which she embodies tremendous experience. Compared to her:

  1. Donald Trump has never held elected office,
  2. he has never lived in the White House,
  3. he has never lived in the executive mansion of a State,
  4. he has never held an office appointed by a President,
  5. he has never led a sustained policy discussion as Clinton did with healthcare,
  6. he has never been officially invited to sit at the table to negotiate  a formal treaty on behalf of the United States.
To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

To safeguard liberty we must be able to adapt to the changing times.

On the other hand they do have some lack of experience in common:

  1. Neither on has held a major post in a religious institution,
  2. neither has served in the military,
  3. neither has served in the workaday world of the intelligence community,
  4. neither has lived on our borders or in border towns for any length of time,
  5. neither speaks Spanish of French well, official languages of our neighbors,
  6.  neither has lived and worked as a citizen in the way business people, missionaries, journalists and  volunteers do every day across this world as they forge an American identity abroad.

Ambassador Stevens was an unusually high ranking victim of violence abroad. In the last few days other Americans have lost their lives around the world but a glimpse into the kinds of decisions he faced is also a glimpse into kinds of decisions that Americans who believe in what they are doing abroad face every day.  The following excerpt is from the recent report on the Benghazi incident:

While the end of the fiscal year funding deadline was looming, the Diplomatic Security Agent in charge at the Embassy in Tripoli was, nonetheless,
concerned about Stevens’ trip to Benghazi. Although his first planned trip to Benghazi in the beginning of August 2012 had to be canceled because of security,14 Stevens was adamant, however, about going in September.15 The Diplomatic Security Agent testified:
Previous to this—to his decisions to going up there, there was— we would meet weekly to discuss the security situation in Libya.…[
T]here was a specific meeting regarding what was happening in Benghazi. In that meeting, we reviewed incidents and  probable causes, what’s initiating it. And a lot of discussion was that it was the conflict or the incidents up there were, you know, local population against local population and that that they weren’t specifically targeting Americans … up there. I expressed my concerns about the incidents that did involve us. And the basic response was that they … were anomalies.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Romney was a missionary in France during anti-American times, Bill Clinton visited Russia as a student in the Cold War years and there are other connections to tat least the same world Chris Stevens lived in that can be found in other political lives outside the military but not in the lives of Hillary Clinton or Donald trump so far as I know. Both have traveled a great deal. both have been at some risk but the proportion of risk to resources has never been equal in my opinion to the baseline many Americans abroad have experienced every day all of my life.

The other thing that they have in common is access to fame, fortune, privilege and the people in power. This is not an even contest between the two of them but neither does it really matter who has had more of such opportunity. These opportunities have defined both of their lives for a long time. One big difference of course is that Trump like all previous American Presidents is a man and Clinton is a woman. I visited that in the post where her candidacy was all but assured but I am not going to deal with it much in this post.

There are issues related to Clinton that have very little to do with the fact that she is a woman. Trump recently said he just knew very little about her religion and she responded by declaring her self emphatically enough to be a Methodist. My own take on some of the discussion of Clinton’s religion has been posted in this blog before and can be seen here. Of course there may be more to say as time goes on.  One fact about the election of the first Clinton to the Presidency is that the result was likely determined by the most credible third party candidate in presidential politics in my lifetime — Ross Perot. He made it more than possible for Bill Clinton to defeat George Bush Senior. Thus Clinton did not face the kind of intense contest he would have otherwise.  This kind of splitting is well established in British politics and may have been fostered in some way or another by the Rhodes Scholar, Bill Clinton as the biggest take home lesson from his time in Oxford. Some may see Trump as Ross Perot on steroids. He is the third party candidate who became the  candidate of a major party and the main obstacle to Clinton’s election. that would still be true even if Romney or someone becomes a real third party candidate somehow. So how does trump match Clinton on matters of faith?

To see Clinton’s faith in political terms this season means to examine Donald Trump’s faith as well. He seems to be a person, like Clinton, about whom one could say a great many contradictory things based on pretty good evidence. That is not necessarily because he is deceptive or a hypocrite but may be because of the place he comes from in his life context. Interestingly enough he has made it clear that he supports Christmas as a national holiday and seeks to preserve it. That was the narrow subject of my original blog post about Clinton’s faith and the faith of other candidates.    Christmas was of course never my only interest in the religious identity of candidates. I love Christmas very much and the Christian observance of it by this country is a tradition I think worth striving for and worth some sacrifice. However, it is interesting that the ugliest rumors and suspicions about Donald Trump involve the ways in which he reminds people of the NSDAP or Nazis and the Third Reich. While many Christians nothing like the Hitlerites have rallied around Christmas, there is also no doubt that the Nazis made Christmas and especially the control of Christmas tree sales and early focus of political activity.  In further clarification, it is interesting to note that the list of candidates in the Democrats poll I posted in that article did include Biden but did not include Sanders. Even more interesting is that Trump does not appear among the six Republican candidates who appear in the poll I posted and reviewed in terms of the religion of the candidates. Huckabee was the leader in the poll and he was of course a Baptist minister who claimed the same hometown as President William Jefferson Clinton — Hope, Arkansas. So where does that leave the discussion of religion as I saw it back in 2014? It is not a perfectly relevant post in every way  then.  But here is the principal quotation from that blog post as it pertains to understanding Clinton’s faith in very general political terms. The first paragraph below deals with how Americans likely to vote Republican were thinking about Republican candidates in 2014 and how that related to Christmas and it observance by the Christians of this nation . However the remaining paragraphs  relate to what Clinton’s religious identity is likely to be. It is perhaps best to look at the text:

There is a lot of shaking out to do if these numbers mean any thing before any Republican can claim the nomination.  But it does indicate perhaps the streams of thought that are shaping the country as regards finding a religious root for values expressed by America’s  “right” in politics.

What then about the left? Where does the other side of American  political energy come down on our connecting with the roots of Christianity.  Unlike the possible GOP nominees, Hillary Clinton has tended to tower over her challengers for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Some people are saying that candidates like Elizabeth Warren are poised to show explosive growth but it would take a lot of growth to challenge  Clinton in the primary.

Joe Lieberman who ran with Al Gore was not a Christian but a Jew who seemed to tolerate a good deal of public Christmas. Mitt Romney belonged to what most scholars consider to be a post-Christian religion but it is one that celebrates Christmas as an American holiday and the birth festival of Jesus Christ. Many presidents have been devout Christians: Washington, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, John Kennedy and half a dozen others are clearly men who in my opinion must be seen as Christians entirely. Whatever they did not achieve of the Christian ideal is not because they did not adhere to that faith and religion. Richard Nixon was reared as a Quaker and (though many American Quakers seem pretty much to be Christians) Quakers as a whole are not a Christian faith but one which grew up among Christians.  It is hard to say what Nixon was when he was President. With men like Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and  a few others it hard to say where they stood in terms of religious classification and identity.

So that brings me to Clinton. She is a favorite enemy of the Christian Right and other religious people in American politics and she may well deserve it. She has a background which is mostly verifiable: Clinton was reared a Methodist Protestant Christian, belonged to a Senate Prayer Group and has spoken at Prayer Breakfasts.  Her profile may seem different to American atheists than to most other people. Here is an atheist site evaluating Clinton’s background and religious values.  It is hard to know how  she would deal with Christmas.

I have just finished observing the Independence Day  holiday in a minimal sort of way. It is always a time that I like to think about what it means to be an American and posts about those thoughts can be seen here. But although those ideas have been posted here they have more often been shared in other places and my thoughts about America have been posted here on other holidays. Those holiday thoughts on Memorial Day have been  here and on Veterans day have been here. While I have in common with Clinton and Trump that I have not a day of service in the military in my past it seems to be the military holidays that most inspire my patriotism. My observation of the Independence Day holiday was not entirely minimal by every standard and I did post quite a few notes and the lyrics of the National Anthem on my Facebook profile but minimal my observance  certainly was  in some measures. Neither Trump nor Clinton were very visible in my own perusal of our nation’s birthday. But one of them will likely be the American Head of State by next Independence Day. Unlike Christmas these holidays are not specifically Christian. I am a Christian and for me Christian prayer is part of these national holidays. I am not sure how the faith of either major candidate informs  their celebration of these days.  But faith and the most gung ho kinds of patriotism are linked by many as can be seen at links here and here. What else does  America expect from a leader and does Clinton have it?

Clinton has a lot of government experience, but the range is not infinite. One of the big achievements of this week has been the placement of the Juno observatory in position as a satellite of Jupiter. Some of the reason many people around the world are interested in this project can be gleaned here.  Neither Clinton nor Trump seems to be the kind to play an extraordinary role in blazing a pioneering trail into space.  These kinds of brave explorations may shape the future or not but they do not seem to define the vision of either Clinton or Trump.

One question many people have about religion is whether or not someone who prays for help should be President. Perhaps prayer means one cannot do the job. But some contend Clinton had private emails because she did not want to disclose the degree to which she could not do her job. That story can be seen here. It is to be noted that this not entirely clear story comes from a publication as biased in favor of Clinton and against Trump as one can get. But the point is here only that Buzz Aldrin, a rocket scientist, astronaut and space planner is a noted public prayer promoter in his own life and not being known for religious acts makes nobody a scientist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Election in the Days of Advent and Christmas 2014

Happy Advent! Christmas is approaching and today as the final election between Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu takes place both politics and liturgical seasons are on my mind.  There is a lot of Christmas and Advent in this post and also some politics.  This post is mostly written and prepared before the final results are in and I predict Cassidy will win. Landrieu beat him in the primary and I voted for her, I voted for Cassidy in this election and sent him some money after first explaining in a post in a campaign site some of my concerns.  I did not want Cassidy to win in the Primary but I do want him to win now. He should do so because Maness was mostly to his right and Maness voters will vote far more for him than Landrieu. The wonder of Christmas and Advent’s time leading up to it have a place in my thinking about everything including today’s election.  I live my life in the context of these seasons of the Church, life and culture. Notwithstanding the nature of this blog, it might serve me well to devote this post solely to  the election. We all know that we elect people into office in a certain time and place but maybe we do not think religious seasons have much to do with it. Advent and its target — Christmas remind us of the importance of parts of life that do not vary as much as electoral politics. Goals like peace on Earth, Goodwill to mankind, Glory to God, Justice and truth in human affairs and charity to the needy.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

Mom with a Christmas tree in a previous year. Today she is scheduled to buy a tree.

There is so much to cover in current events today. It is not a slow news day. Today, Luke Somers whose name sounds like mine and who like me has sometimes made his living with words and photographs was killed. Long in captivity with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula he was killed during a failed rescue attempt. That story deserves attention and you can learn some facts here. This happened after his family pleaded publicly for his life in a stirring video message.  NASA has returned to real heavy lift rocketry and that is very important in this blog.  The landfall of Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines affects a country with importance to me, my family and the United States of America.  Beyond all that there is the race itself between Cassidy and Landrieu.  This race may well deserve a book and certainly the overall election cycle could use a lot of analysis. Knowing who voted for whom and why can shape our future.  Racial demographics alone could demand several good blog posts.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

The voting booth remains a powerful part of our society.

 

With all of that to do I should probably either ignore the current events of the day or pick a few of them or certainly leave out comments on Advent. But this is another . There are riots and protests sweeping the nation over Brown, Garner and police relations with the Black community. I have dealt with the issues of this election cycle  in previous posts found here, here and here. So here I can maybe afford to take a bit of a different view.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

We all have images of what leadership should look like which are not simple portrayals of reality.

Last night I was at a large gathering made up of mostly voters and the election was never discussed. Advent was discussed, the Philippines, China, India and many other places. But not electoral politics. It was the Family Missions Company 18th Annual Members and Donors Dinner. I took some pictures and had one taken of me in front of the venue.  I know some people in the group are active in their parties.  But last night dealt with the issues that we all must face in different terms and in a different way. It was more the spiritual than the temporal side of our lives.

Me in a shoy by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner.

Me in a shot by one of the proprietors on my phone as I walked into the Donors Dinner at Magdalene Place.

In the coming days there will be  more to blog about in the political world. But one notable fact about this election of the next United States Senator from Louisiana is that the election is  being held on December 6. The sixth of December fall square into Advent.  Lord Hylton my sometimes correspondent, wrote a post on Advent in the House of Lords blog and my comments on it can be found here. Lord Hylton serves in the upper house of the British legislature which is Parliament. Our election is for the upper house of our legislature which is Congress. Where is America to find the answers to the struggles it faces? I am fairly sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be a big part of the foundation for a useful discussion in this country even if not in every country.  But this idea is increasingly out of sync with our laws and procedures as a society. The Senate ought not be a Church but neither should it be a faith-free institution.

America faces many challenges in this its own country and in the world. It faces huge challenges over time. How will those challenges be met. In the observance of Advent we remember in abbreviated symbols each of the challenges  of the Old Covenant before the coming of Christ. We ought then to be prepared to face our own challenges better and to better celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ. One of the things that emerges in my comment on Lord Hylton’s post is the shift of power and wealth from the Eastern Mediterranean to the West. These issues and facts across history continue to affect us in many ways beyond Advent or even religion. An example of some of those issues can be seen here for those who wish to think about the issues.

But of course most of our lives are sufficiently challenged with current problems we need not look through much of a historical lens to feel that we can understand. we confront these issues in charitable ventures, private enterprises, family and in politics.  It is the same world where all these things are working and aspects of our lives connect. So it is Advent as we elect this Senator. Part of my experience this Advent was attending the Family Missions Company Donors Dinner on the evening of the fifth of December. I have discussed this briefly and could say more.

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

A picture I took of my table at the Donors Dinner

Today Family Missions had a Swamp Games Celebration. I got a few pics of that but did not participate directly. Like a lot of other things this event is a celebration which may evolve into something more in future years. It has a bouncy castle for children this year and a course laid out with available objects inspired by The experience of my brother Joseph, my brother-in-law Kevin and others in participating in the Warrior Dash this year. It seemed  like a pretty cool event. There are also barbecues and Advent prayers going on.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The course and the racers were visible from most sides of my home. This is across the back fence and some family land.

The home team of my brother, brother -in- law and nephew among others seem to have defended their honor and turf fairly well against all comers in this friendly competition among various parts of the company. We call an election a race and there are similarities between the two things.  How hostile should an election be?  What is the line between political conflict and civil war? This is a big shift in Congress. America’s future is not so clear in various respects. Cassidy will probably win. But whoever wins the Senator will have to face the Lame Duck  Congress in their old job and then a whole new set of challenges in the time after this Christmas.  I hope all my readers who can vote will. But I also hope we will remember that there is more to this time of the year than our politics.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

The Church near the Donors Dinner last night.

We all have struggles ahead of us to keep a good Christmas. They vary from person to person.  But these lifelong concerns matter just as much as the political events of this time and this set of issues. O come Emmanuel! May you all soon have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year! But for now may you find life a bit more reflective and worth waiting for than usual. I hope the values of patience and reflection fins some good place in our Senate as well.

 

 

Strength, Security and the Future

Is the crisis in Ukraine and Crimea largely a show of strength? Who is showing strength to whom? Does Syria matter intensely and greatly in all this are is that just another small piece of a world wide puzzle which is likely never to be completely assembled? Our security in the United States and the security of many others around the world depends on many questions besides these. There are so many reasons to be concerned that I will not discuss in this blog. I just spent much of the week dealing with a death of the grandfather of two of my nieces and a nephew. Another former colleague and friend in a limited sense is in the hospital having lost most of her physical functions in a sudden injury. I never lack for reminders of how fragile human strength is in the individual.  It is far from everlasting in nations and states.

This is the author of this blog. I am standing beside the stone boat in the Summer Palace in Beijing.

This is the author of this blog. I am standing beside the stone boat in the Summer Palace in Beijing.

I am more aware than usual of the limits of my own strength. My father is lying abed with a painful foot and ankle  now and my only living grandfather (or grandparent for that matter) is bedridden and has been for years.  But this post is not about my own struggles with my health or those of my ancestors. This post is more about the strength of the United States of America in 2014. Strength is a fairly broad term to use to describe a set of qualities in a man, community, corporation, athlete or country. The quality of strength desired and measured differs from on type of strong being which is measured to another.

My immediate  family vacationing on False River before my cousin Severin W. Summers III was killed in Afghanistan. That was the site of the last long conversation we had about war, honor and family and peace.

My immediate family vacationing on False River before my cousin Severin W. Summers III was killed in Afghanistan. That was the site of the last long conversation we had about war, honor and family and peace.

It also differs in a variety of ways that depend mostly on who is doing the measuring. What is the truth about American strength right now? What is the truth about other problems we might face? What is the truth about whatever my own views of a way forward might be? These are questions I might try to raise in this blog that relate to more specific questions about our role in Ukraine and Crimea for example.

What can be done to help the Ukrainians who seek to move forward the process of transforming their society into an ever more positive and prosperous regime without creating impossible conditions for Russia? Can America admit that there is questionable legitimacy in the rump parliament and revolution government? Can the US admit Russia cannot place Crimea in such uncertain hands and most Crimeans may well want a Russian Crimea?

Yes secession of Crimea for a real independent Ukraine perhaps more federal than this one could be the answer. They will have to work with Russia on the issue of natural gas pipelines to Europe.  But America needs to protect its borders and solvency as well as to maintain its military heritage. I am not sure how much we can do in Ukraine. We must do something but  be honest with Ukraine that the more they want ties with us the less that can be done for Crimea. Truthfully this applies to the EU and it is the EU more than the USA that Ukraine is now courting.

I have in this blog many proposals to change America. But war with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula is not in any plan I have. I believe there is a role for America. But it is a dangerous game and nobody will come out looking like a superhero. The more Western we make Ukraine the more Russian Crimea must be because at some point we have to stop pretending international law is something we always observe and obey. Because some fairness is necessary.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

The seal of the Confederacy ties the Lost Cause to the Revolution and the past long before that war.

This is not an easy time but it is a good time to promise oneself and commit oneself to the cause of a strong secure America with a future. To some degree we all face the facts of living in an age where strength in nuclear warheads deters less than some thought it would. Yet we also face the fact that our country must survive each challenge along the way — even as we seek to reach heights of excellence.

Strength requires wisdom to manage. I myself have both strength and weaknesses and each have caused me their own sets of problems. America has many problems past this one. But this is a serious issue. We are trying to really impose our views on the borders of Russia in a very open and confrontational style. I hope that all of this is being handled well.

Crimea and the Moment

I certainly think many people are doing the right thing to act early in trying to define the limits of Russian authority over Ukraine as being something that cannot be total. Little is ever gained by mere capitulation or hoping problems will go away.  Many commentators  make some good points about the Syrian crisis and by analogy and inference about other places in the world where Russia can play a role different than almost any other country. I commented on a post by prominent Labor party figure Clive Lord Soley as regards some of those comments he shaped and passed on in The Lords of the Blog. Russia is a striking alternative to the West both because of its view of itself as an alternative to Europe and the USA and also as a society which nonetheless has a history of Christianity, a large white population, huge shared literary and artistic conventions  with the West. There are also not only ties to nearby regimes but the recent memory of leading world Communism with only China coming anywhere close to being a competitor.

I am inclined to want very much to help Western Ukraine to a secure future and see their sense of the need to act. But I would not try to dislodge Russia from the Crimea. I am perhaps more of this view than many in Europe given the relatively recent past Britain joined the Turks in fighting the Crimean War against Russia as I recall. That surely shapes one’s point of view. The Germans followed a man committed to building a new order on a destroyed Russian state more recently still. Hitler mapped that out in Mein Kampf. Whether Napoleon, Hitler or the Turks Crimea is a key to beating down Russia. The time may come when I will wish we had beaten down Russia starting with the Crimea but that is not how I feel just now. Russia plays a key role in geopolitics. No ready substitutes are available and Russia is one of several great super societies.

If the US enter armed conflict with Russia I will mostly try to support my country and remember Russia’s many iniquities while behind the scenes perhaps expressing some other points of view. However, I do not think seizing the Crimea is the right reason to be drawn into conflict with Russia I do not even think it seems all that assertive to everyone. Most people feel the need to defend Ukrainian self determination, in some way — I do as well, and perhaps more than most. Many informed people feel the need to try to support the cultural rights and decent aspirations of Western Ukrainians in the next generation– I do probably pass the average person in desire to do that as well. But if Russia really and truly has no right to hold the Crimea in a friendly position then the world is unrecognizably bizarre.

I am aware that much of human history and current geopolitics seems different from different points of view. But to say Russia must commit suicide is to declare the end of this era in a very real way. In my personal life I have not hidden in the shadows but I do believe there is so much that needs resolving and doing besides war. This blog of mine is full of other priorities which I support and uphold. My life is full of distractions. I suffer from threats to life in my own health and have a friend in the hospital with a cerebral hemorrhage and the grandfather of two of my nieces and one nephew has just died of heart disease today.  My own schedule and the tourist economy of the region are  disrupted by unseasonable ice storms.

Bleak in Acadiana

Bleak in Acadiana

 

trees wrapped in ice in the afternoon in March near Acadiana's coast

trees wrapped in ice in the afternoon in March near Acadiana’s coast

I want to support those who would broker a better deal for Western Ukraine above all. However I also have a full set of distractions to keep me from Russia’s periphery. That is the nature of spheres of influence.

Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht

Our ritual foods of Mardi Gras are on my mind more than Borscht

The world has many problems and Crimea is more important to Russia than it is to anyone else except possibly Ukraine. Really losing Crimea mean Russia must fight a major war sooner than later. We may squeeze them out peacefully and humiliate them and in the end it may lead to a post Russian civilization but somewhere before they check out they will fight a big war. A Russian dominated Crimea is essential to peace. I do not believe in peace at any cost. I do not think Russia and the US are pals. I do not believe I am a coward. But Russia has to control or be the largest and accepted foreign influence in Crimea for their to be peace, of that there is no doubt in my mind. So as I sit here trying to manage many other concerns and even to survive myself in the less than perfect health I enjoy I hope for peace in the Crimea.

Of course I live in intolerable situations and perhaps Russia can as well. But it would be intolerable for them to lose Crimea. What will they do if they concede this loss?

It is Mardi Gras. Tomorrow Lent begins and today is the day to celebrate the end of Carnival season

We have no way of knowing whether or not when asked about Russian troops in Ukraine Putin told Western diplomats “Crimea river”, Cry me a river” or none of the above. The Germans took the Crimea from Russia, so did the joint forces of the British, Turkish and French. Could the US do so? Certainly it is possible. with the support of the European Union and others but there is no doubt that those campaigns were fought over a very long time and at a high level of intensity. It is also arguable whether other powers had really achieved a peaceful status in which Russia was not in the end the dominant world power in the Crimea. I hope there will be a good resolution here.

Real Politics, the Politics of Reality and Me

It is an interesting time for politics for those who have time and energy to keep up their interest in politics. This may include me sometimes more than others. What could be more compelling than watching the news and expatiating on is implications? Well quite a few things in point of fact. For me just now my father’s cancer has me well distracted from the problems with Obamacare, same sex marriage, the Afghanistan situation, the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the ongoing BP leak situation, the nightmare of water management in the country, the escalating tensions with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), the North Korean missile tests, the downsizing of the U. S. Army and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues.

My father has received results of a biopsy from an area where he had a previous cancer that there is cancer, that cancer has recurred or that it is present. I am sure Mom will post some news eventually. This afternoon he will meet with an oncologist and Mom will be with him.My father has had at least two full-fledged cancer surgeries and some treatments for each. My grandfather Chief Justice Frank W. Summers, his father died of cancer as did one of his two brothers and the other might well have done so had he not succumbed to other maladies of the same organs in which some have said cancer was starting. Many of our relatives and some of his siblings have had cancer.

My father has been blessed in the years since his first cancer to see his mission company and legacy grow and he is still deeply devoted to following the progress of both. He and my mother have celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. His mother was born in a hospital and he was close to his grandfather who was a physician. I have often heard him express gratitude for the medical and allied treatments and care he has received. For him there is no doubt that his work and family life have been extended by the efforts of his professional care community.

I hope that all will remember him in thoughts and prayers and if you see him or my mother will offer such sympathy and encouragement as you can find to offer. I went with my father to New Orleans several times when he was first sick with prostate cancer and since then my direct involvement has diminished over time. My father has also recently been diagnosed with a different health condition which may complicate all of this. He and Mom may choose to disclose more about all this at different times but those who know me know of his health struggles to some degree and it would not be right for me not mention it and pretend this is in any way my life. Nor is it a secret that he has struggled for a good number of years in the cancer arena with remissions etc. I am attaching a post I put on my blog when he went for the biopsy. The picture doesn’t frame well on FB but is better at the other site.

http://franksummers3ba.com/2014/02/21/the-future-of-this-blog/

But although I am not holding a placard nor able to do what I might think fitting the problems with Obamacare but I am aware of the crises people are experiencing. All of the social, constitutional and political issues raised by  same sex marriage and the trigger happy federal courts in this country  are on my mind  — at leas most of the issues are on my mind. I am well aware of all the many blows to morale which are accumulating so that the next 9/11 attack would have vastly more impact on the USA. I am aware of all the obstacles to readiness and  recruiting in a crisis which are accumulating. It is in that context that I view the sense of surrender that can frame the evolving  Afghanistan situation. I am deeply aware of the dangerously the low rates of labor force participation in the United States, the fact that minimum wage and Obamacare and social policy and migration patterns all feed this crisis. I am well aware of ten different trends I regard as potential threats revealed by or evident in the evolution of the ongoing BP leak situation.  The BP mess has me also more aware of the nightmare of water management in the country with issues form Eastern flooding to Western droughts, industrial abuses and the horror of the Bayou Corne/ Assumption Parish Sink Hole and Texas Brine.

http://www.assumptionla.com/bayoucorne

I am well aware of the world we live in every day of our lives. I am aware of the North Korean missile tests,and the vast resources connected to that small part of the force they represent. It is a serious concern not in itself but as a symbol rallying many other forces. It concerns me.  So does the sense of strain I detect in many of our institutions and the vast unrest joined to isolated misanthropy which is gripping our country. Sure there are always bad times but they are also always threatening. Once must overcome them to survive.

But all of these real political concerns are not the most important factors we face. I hope to devote a whole post soon to the escalating tensions of the USA with Russia (related to Ukraine, Snowden, Syria, the EU, East Asia and other matters), .It is a reality that we can really mess this up. It is not a joke. There are in fact ten wrong answers for every passable one. Yes it is a good time for political speculation but it is not the only thing worth thinking about. Nor is all speculation created equal. My solutions seem radical to many but they are moderate in my view. We must chart a sound course and do so very soon or there will be bad and serious consequences.  In fact it is true that most Americans have little connection to many of these political issues. But America has the resources to handle its crises — but not the luxury of a huge margin for error.

Again there will be more later. . . I hope.

Union and Secession and Identity

Almost nothing is ever permanently resolved in politics. Scotland may soon leave the United Kingdom (it may also not do so) that has been one of the most settled unions in modern and late medieval history .In the South of the United States of America one of the issues one grows up with is what to call the war fought between 1860ish and 1864ish. There is a spectrum of answers: The War of the Rebellion, The Civil War, The War Between the States, The War for Southern Independence and The War of Northern Aggression are the chief choices. I am proud of an in touch with my own Confederate heritage and I seek to honor it in many ways. However, while I seek constitutional change my ancestors were secessionists and I am not I seek to preserve the Union. Secession is not the part of the past I want to make alive today. Scots currently feel it more and more likely that independence is necessary. I commented on “The Lords of the Blog” about this and other issues:

http://lordsoftheblog.net/2014/02/02/leaving-a-union/#comments

“franksummers3ba
10/02/2014 at 3:57 am
Lord Soley,

It would be a tedious process difficult to prove to your readers or yourself to show my family connections over millennia to a sizable number of crucial uniting and dividing number of processes of creating and dissolving unions. I think clearly there can be unintended consequences. While it does not seem likely Europe and a separate UK would go to war in a generation it might happen in bit longer time. Clearly the UK benefits from the ties to the great diversity of human and other resources in Europe and the UK.

Perhaps your compatriots who want to leave wish it for many reasons. However, the chief may be a concern about where this is all headed. Clearly the European Common Market has evolved a great deal and is headed in certain direction. My Acadian ancestors migrated to the New World and abandoned their deep network of roots as an existing society around La Rochelle because the modern era was destroying the union of Languedoc–”Paix(s) des Coutumes” and Languedeouil –”Paix(s) des Lois” which was how they saw France. After much bloodshed it seemed the way to preserve who they were into the future. They and my ancestors who may or may not have been qualified to be in the Cincinnati sought independence from a British Empire which was centralizing after a great victory in the previous world struggle against France. The failed attempt to achieve an independent Confederate States of America attracted my ancestors and their friends because it seemed the only way to preserve a recognizable facsimile of the future they intended when they joined the Union. In my case this theme goes much further back in time.

You are I believe of a party and ideology which seeks broad and global change and adaptation most of all. I do not mean you are always reckless or ill-advised. But if you wish to communicate with those who wish to leave seek to answer how the changes they foresee can be true to the reasons their ancestors in ideas, beliefs and blood agreed to the unions in the first place.

Whether I could have been a great success if I had behaved very differently I do not know. But at nearly fifty I seem to have paid a high cost for certain choices of priority but feel I had little choice. I would imagine the relevant groups you are addressing feel much the same way. For them a real risk of ceasing to be Scot or British is not endurable if they can do anything to stop it.”

Greece is a tiny shadow of what it once was for centuries but it emerged from total eclipse as a political unit. Israel with Hebrew as an official language is another such miracle. The world evolves continually and its maps evolve continuously. I cited the Ukrainian revolution in an earlier status update and wish that nation the best as it struggles forward. The truth is that Western Ukraine has a larger portion of its heritage who are of old Greek diaspora stock from the Byzantine Empire mixed with Slavs than the Eastern Ukraine. But Ukraine’s western people are more likely to be Greek Catholic Uniates with Rome or Roman Catholics while the East is more Orthodox in Union with what is left of Christian Byzantium through Russian Orthodoxy or elsewhere. But they are more Ukrainian than anything else and have a nation together. On my Facebook list I am honored to have had (and still seem to have thought there names do not tag here) some of the leadership of the Sons of Confederate Veterans such as Michael Givens, Chandler Givens, Tom Hiter and Frank Powell III. They have a fraternity which allows differing views on how independence relates to current Confederate heritage and I do not know what their personal view are, but members do support the USA while it endures. The Scots would keep the British Monarch as Queen of Scotland which she already holds as a title.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/26/us-scotland-independence-salmond-idUSBRE9AP0CL20131126

So what would the issues be? Well, here are some raised rather well.

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/lords-select/constitution-committee/news/scottish-independence-lord-hope-and-prof-mclean/

“Likely questions
Areas the Committee are likely to cover with the witnesses include:

What legal principles should govern negotiations for Scottish independence in the event of a “yes” vote?
Is the timetable of independence by March 2016 realistic? What impact will the timing of the UK general election in May 2015 have on this timetable?
What legal measures would be needed to allow negotiations to take place?
Who would negotiate for the remainder of the UK and to whom should they be accountable?
What would happen if the two negotiating teams could not agree on an issue?
What would be the status of the 59 MPs for Scottish constituencies in 2015–16?
What impact would Scottish independence have on the work and membership of the UK Supreme Court?”

I post this rambling discussion to stimulate thought and inform. But not to make too much any single part of it.

Worrying About American Safety at the Olympics

I am concerned this morning about the safety of American athletes in Russia. The Olympics is a great symbolic gathering for sport and international dialog. I feel that there is risk of it becoming a venue for assault on Americans at the last part of these games. It seems the games are poorly attended despite great expense by Russia in providing them. There are two reasons fro this which Russians are likely to be aware of in every hour. One is Islamic terrorism and militancy and the other is the US led denunciation of their domestic policies about sex.

Today is a special day for symbols of a happy kind. Happy Valentine’s Day! I cheer and salute the love, romance, betrothals, special friendships and marriage in the world. I want that to stand alone and so I have made it my thought in a status update below. However, It is also the case that on this Valentine’s Day besides sexy gifts, flowers and for a few the memory of a Bishop and martyr who helped poor girls find dowries to be able to marry — the world is spinning around. We have our customs related to these things and we have a lot of problems of our own with sex in America. Right now there is a lawsuit in my hometown by a student expelled for sexual misconduct. He is suing the school and alleging racial discrimination and the whole thing is a microcosm of all the the tensions and many of the absurdities of our society. Even I can find fault with myself here as I once wrote along list of complaints about schools in which I listed condoms at schools as one sign of too loose of a view of sex for adolescents. I never have opposed kids receiving information about condoms nor having access to them but simply putting them out like a kind of textbook when kids ought to be encouraged to wait. But in the absurdity of our society (others are absurd in other ways) it is easy to say the young man who impregnated two girls (allegedly) should never have been allowed anywhere without condoms. He should also have been expelled from the school earlier but that does not deal with the school’s faults in all of this. The truth is thousands of American instances of sexual dysfunction occur every day. In the Olympic charter and elsewhere it is pretty clear that this is not the venue for attacking the domestic policy of host countries.

So the question emerges whether some part of the security framework in Russia will allow Islamists to penetrate the ring of steel to kill Americans? I think it is not impossible. I think Obama has not made American security and success here his top priority. The next question is what is the threat?

The threat is that in Pakistan we see sophisticated drilling with large numbers of suicide bombers with fake ID cards and models for planning, In Afghanistan experienced fighters have been released from prison, in Iraq masses of suicide bombers are being trained in a way which strains their trainers capacities. That is all the current applicable risk. The conditions are that Islamic secessionist forces in Dagestan and Chechnya are eager to provide a conduit of support and avenue of attack for Islamist assailants against the Olympics. The overall climate is that European and Russian intelligence are more resentful and less eager to cooperate with America than usual. I am not sure President Obama is on our side and does not want to provoke an incident with Russia but whatever he wants this may still happen in a really horrible way. I will breathe easier after the closing ceremonies end peacefully than I ever have for any other Olympics. This is not a small risk.

Monarchy and Royalist Culture in America: Past, Present and Future/ Part One

I wish to outline the subject of monarchy and royalism in the United States of America. It has to be a significant part of the total discussion of the changes I am advocating in this long series of posts advocating an American Revolution. This time returning to mixed government from something which is tyrannical derivation of republican democracy whereas before we returned to mixed government from a corrupt royalist monarchy. In both cases seeking an equilibrium of the three forms of good governance which are monarchy, aristocracy and democracy. However, in this case moving from a republican to a royalist context. In a world where very long but entirely simplistic analysis is common we would need a bit of concise but complex analysis.In these brief posts I have tried to provide some of that.  We had a republican mixed government at the federal level with the President as the republican Monarch, the Senate and the Supreme Court  represent the republican Aristocracy and the House of Representatives  comprising the Democracy. That is the ideal government of many old forms of government. The President was elected by electors variously chosen, the Senators were elected by  the States legislatures. We now live in a dictatorship of the masses which is tyranny modified and complicated but still a majority tyranny at heart. The mixed government equilibrium is lost. I have proposed restoring mixed government this time Revolving into a royalist system.

This is not an easy thing to discuss and in fact is an entirely enticing thing to flee from discussing as rapidly as one possibly can and never look at again.  Yet I feel that I should discuss these issues here. I am afraid some of my dreadful lists may be coming up soon in an effort to address these matters. The changing of a from of government is always difficult and a bit traumatic under any circumstances but is even more difficult if on ie trying to establish a royalist regime like this one in this country. That is because the specifics of this case are altogether very challenging. It is important to make clear that this is not being proposed in abject blindness and disregard as concerns the strong factors related to the frustration of these plans.

We do have some royalist cultural elements so lets list some of them in no particular order:

1. Many of the Mardi Gras traditions of the Gulf Coast

2.The Kingdom of Hawaii and the role of Royal Hawaiian culture

3.The little known and appreciated but not inconsequential Acadian royal tradition.

4. The many ties with the Bourbon monarchy and aristocracy in the Revolution and Louisiana.

5. The heritage of the Napoleonic Empire  and its aristocrats with Louisiana, the Louisiana Purchase and the Confederacy.

6. The British ,French, Spanish, Dutch and Russian colonial heritage of many and varied regions of the USA.

7. Mexico’s failed European based  empire launched under Napoleon and ending in the execution of Emperor Maximilian is tied to our history.

8.Mexico’s Aborignal  American Empire of the Aztecs and the Mayan kingdoms (much less so) have ties towards our land’s populations and history.

9. The Bible and many of our religions which are influential have a strong royalist component and affect people’s thoughts and lives.

This is not nearly an exhaustive list. Also if (and that is nearly inevitable) there are some of these models that you particularly despise and reject for some reason  remember that Hitler’s Third Reich, the French Reign of Terror andmore than  half the failed states you ever heard of were republican systems. Yet surely we do not believe that everyone who founds a republic is going to end up where they were in those republics. Our examples given would be the sort of supermarket from which we could shop for precedents and patterns with the greatest legitimacy.

My posts are being written in a sense of just doing something that cannot be said to make an enormous amount of sense in terms of political logic.  I am doing what seems right more than what seems expedient. That is something many people do, attempt to do or think they are doing. However, when it comes to promoting a royalist revolution in the twenty-first century United States the improbabilities are so great that all other aspects of the quest are overshadowed by the low probability of success.

What  about the very heart of the matter. If there were an Emperor and Supreme President what would that accomplish and what would that be worth? Well first let’s consider the context of our situation. There are other forces out there seeking to create an empire in this area in the near future.

The Premiere of Libya addressed the United nations for the first time in many years after President Obama was elected. He also go the terrorist mastermind who took down the flight over Lockerbie Scotland released at about the same time. His speech did not get very good analysis and it got marginal coverage. Libya’s President Qadhafi attempted to simultaneously adopt the President, proclaim him President-for-Life  and President forever of the United States and to collect over seven trillion dollars in reparations. Obama may not have been ready at that time to support the idea of proclaiming himself African Emperor of the USA or even the moderate step proposed by Libya. The folks at Harvard might not like the way it came across, I do not know.  I am sure many honest people could argue that he had been teasing about the Emperor although Qadhafi did seem to suggest the nonroyalist dictatorship known  to have replaced the Republic of Rome before it adopted some royalist traditions as an Empire. Libya was part of the Roman Empire and the Premiere of Libya seemed eager to bring those facts to light. So all other possibilities should be interpreted in the light of the fact there may be real machinations going on to establish an African Emperor of America.  A primary value in making the Arcadian-Acadian Basileus Emperor is that he would take up that space and answer its calls and threats directly.

I have posted a great deal on royalism and its implications in this blog.  I have posted agreat deal about Acadian and American political, cultural and social traditions as well. Anyone reading this post who is really interested could search the blog and find parts of the subject discussed or ask me a question in the comments and have me direct them to those passages which discuss much of this.

But Obama is getting rid of our nuclear arsenal wholesale, committing us to use Russian capacity to get to space, spending us into oblivion and doing all he can do to raise every suspicion that he will utterly destroy this country. He is part of a deeply sick and disordered social context. We are running quickly out of time.

There are differences between dynasty and dynasty, king and king, regime and regime but any royalist monarch has the effect of joining the interest of an entire society into one personal interest. Part of being a royalist monarch is to be selfish and deprive others of certain kinds of selfishness. Commonly under many different religions and cultures a good king will allow individuals in the realm to accumulate power and wealth in many ways but still to be ruthless in denying them the powers and economic opportunities which are most likely to endanger the realm.

I will go into more details later but the structure of the proposed Royal and Imperial House will be essential to the other aspects of the Empire fitting together properly and the type of monarch here envisioned. However, it will be disturbing to the rest of the society to some substantial degree.  The next post may have to be longer. The point of this first post is simply to show that creating such a regime as I have described more or less right now is not impossible or unthinkable. It would simply have to be done — that is all.

Positioning America for the Future We Face

I have listed, described and written about making very significant changes in America. That is what this series of posts is mostly all about.  There is no realistic reason in the world write all these things but some things are worth doing which are not realistic. We have to look around the world and see how America will fit into the future as it ties into the present. How will we find the world no matter what we do? In addition, in the context of my rather extensive and complex model of change and revolution described here how would America interact with the world after having undergone this transformation?

Anyone who really proposes revolutionary change must propose some things which would not be possible without some kind of revolution. If such a proponent does not then he is really some kind of a looter. The risk of revolution is not worth taking unless the results one needs to achieve are more substantial than can be gotten from ordinary political maneuvering.  I am exhorting America to recommit to a survivable future and one that could lead to what I would consider good places.  The chances of my living to see our society and the world get anything that I would consider a passing grade is almost negligible. However, there is a chance of moving from an almost completely dysfunctional student to one making low D grades and headed towards a B average after some tutoring. That would be a very good result.

I do not think there have been very many societies in history more intrinsically difficult to set on a sustainable path than the United States. On the other hand, besides sustainability there is another measure of a society’s success and viability. That measure is decency and the quality of progress or “progressiveness”.  I think that America is fairly near the top on that second measure of a society’s greatness. There have been many that were more decent and progressive but most of them were small and unambitious. We are one of the most generally decent and progressive  great societies in history. I say that being well aware of many horrors and inhumanities in our past and present.

We have to deal with recent geopolitical changes, with the limits of our own society and culture and also with the enduring and endless problems of  both the Earth and the human condition. That is in a sense a struggle that can never be entirely successful. However, it is true that it makes a great deal of difference whether or not one struggles. The mess we will end up with if we struggle well is much better than the mess we will be in if we struggle poorly or not at all.

If America makes the changes I am suggesting then it will be going down a path which will certainly be lonely at first and may not ever become much less lonely. First of all, many human societies (and most at many times) are fundamentally self-destructive and insane. America will become a society on the path of sanity.  Secondly, America will become even more committed to a moral sensibility. Thirdly, within the context  of sane and avowedly moral societies it will be a modern heir to the traditions of Western civilization in a North American context. Added to all of that, it will remain a great power. We will have to move forward with our own sense of what is real and right. Add to all of that the fact that we have our own dark side which I and others who might become key players would believe we have to deal with and you would surely have a country which nobody can find to be very much like any other country nor any less than a profoundly forward step for this country.

The science of calculating risk is very old and has been approached by many very clever and some very wise people from countless angles over a very long time. Nonetheless it is a vast distance from being perfectly systematized.  Only in formal games can we even get close to showing what would have happened if a set of complicated human decisions and actions had been substituted for another set of complicated decisions and actions. America is living in a world where many bad things and many good things will come its way regardless of whether or not the changes I suggest are made. There is a whole set of possibilities in which the changes would be attempted but basically fail. Then there are unforeseen changes which could come from anywhere and rewrite the course of future events. We face a great deal of possible tragedy that is hard to exactly predict.

I have come to writing these posts after a life in which I have done many active and open things  but in which there are many open and active things that I almost never do.  I am committed to writing for a readership with which I have little organized connection.  I respond to comments that sort of come in over the transom. But this is very different from giving speeches in a public square, leading parades, putting pamphlets out or writing newspaper articles. These are all things that I have done in the past. I do very little now compared to what I would ever have believed I would be doing for such a sustained period of time.  But I believe there is much that I must attempt to do before the worst trends become inevitable. What those trends are has been discussed in earlier posts and will be discussed  in later posts more than it is discussed here.

I personally have had over the years a number of contacts and correspondents both in post-Soviet Russia and in the Soviet Union.  On the other hand I have never been there, do not speak the language and have run into a good number of  Russians in the many places that I have visited and I do not believe our relationship with them is good overall. It has gotten much better but we squandered a very big opportunity during the Gorbachev and Yeltsin eras. I think that even had Putin become the player he has become he would have been a different Putin had we acted differently. However, while I think Putin is a ruthless, homicidal, devious puppet master (who must prove he was innocent of the blood of the ninety-eight Polish leaders recently killed in the aircraft crash) I think he is basically a good man. Yes, I am serious and not sarcastic. He is willing to be a monster to save Russia from complete collapse but he has shown real interest in being something besides a Monster. He promotes the Russian Orthodox Church, tolerates other Christians, limits antisemitism and maintains a quasi-atheistic secularist power bloc in politics. That is a real work of  religious tolerance. He has invested himself in preserving parliament. If he faced a strong and dangerous President here who might exercise the positive pressures he might still be a better man and leader. However, earlier he might have turned out better. Russia is still devoted to Putin mostly because he is still devoted to Russia. That is how things are supposed to be. We are likely to be adversaries over the medium term but I do not believe that was inevitable.  

Of course one of the things about the system I have outlined (among many things) which is very notable is that  the system is a complex racially aware system and that will certainly complicate many geopolitical relationships.  However our current color blind system and our past of Jim Crow madness complicated foreign relationships as well. I will specifically say that our relationship with India would be among the most problematic.  Indian (not Aboriginal American Indians) would be presumed to be the types of people who live in the Colored Districts of the States or the Mixed Race Districts of the Territories. However, the Racial Codes of each State would need in some way or another to allow Indian families to file a particular form and have it verified that they are consistently and predominantly made up of a lineage of one or more of the following Indian Bloodlines (one form for all admixtures of the three) Moguls, the Old Northeast Asian Colonies of North Indians and Portuguese. Indian families certified as such would be eligible to vote in the North East Asian Districts of the States. America would pursue distinctions like this regardless of how they were received in home countries of populations. Portuguese found to be Portuguese families from India would eligible to choose Northeast Asian or ordinary status. No country will be quite as unique as India but many will have complex issues. 

Relationships with Britain, France and Spain, Mexico, Holland and Russia will be formalized to include their direct participation with areas they colonized. In the case of France, Britain, Mexico and Spain they should have formal relationships with a Compact each which are recognized by the US and limited by the overall society and yet are really direct to the Compacts. All of this will have a cost. These countries will play to their interests in areas we allow. There will be costs with ties to the constituted, armed and territorial Black community in a society that is formally white supremacist. The costs in money and blood are inevitable. But American institutions which are now not allowed to build our society would be given every help in doing so in the future.

The new era would be very difficult and would invest in the future. But not acting somewhere in ways akin to this plan will have serious costs as well.  I am urging us to take the medicines we need to take now and be a little but hopeful that things won’t go completely wrong. We could hope a little bit that hard work and courage will lead to a good result.