Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bambi Meets Godzilla 2009; President Bambi and Nukes

Somehow I knew this one was coming.

Notice the observation, “In a first for a U.S. president, Obama presided over the 15-member meeting”. Yep, that’s President Bambi leading the charge to rid the world of nukes. Wattamessiah!!

I mean, it’s a given that no thinking person likes nuclear weapons or wants to contemplate the consequences of even a ‘minor’ nuclear exchange. All leaders in government, religion, or any beneficent social effort would love to see nuclear weapons be removed from the world. So what’s wrong with the U.N. Security Council voting to move towards doing just that?

Reality.

The science behind nuclear weapons is well-established. That’s why, for decades after the U.S. and U.S.S.R. both came to the conclusion that an actual nuclear exchange could never be allowed to happen, both sides not only maintained their nuclear stockpile, but created new weapons and delivery systems for them. Because back when adults were in charge, they understood that deterrence was not only the status quo, but a critical mission. If either side reached a point where it held a commanding advantage in such weapons, the temptation to use them in a first strike to eliminate the threat would rise significantly. And even after the Cold War ended, the U.S. and Russia still maintained nuclear stockpiles, because other nations, some of them unstable and belligerent to civilization, possessed or were pursuing nuclear weapons, and the stockpiles of the greater powers was necessary to dissuade the development programs in many countries who otherwise would see their chance to claim territory and regional influence through the threat of nuclear war. Which brings us, of course, to the flies in the soup for even today’s na├»ve contestants.

North Korea tested a second nuclear weapon this year, and Iran has resisted greater international oversight for its nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes, but the United States and other major powers fear they are a cover for a weapons program.”


Yeah, and the sun came up in the East this morning. Call me cynical, but I worked in electricity for nearly nine years, and it’s just silly to pretend that a breeder reactor in the middle of nowhere, not even connected until very recently to any external delivery grid, much less established step-down distribution stations to industrial factories or metropolitan residential areas, is somehow meant to provide lights and power for ordinary folks. Never mind the fact that heavy-water plants like the ones used by Iran are now used exclusively for weapons-grade plutonium and uranium production. As for North Korea, anyone who thinks Dear Leader would be willing to give up his ambition to possess a nuclear arsenal is in need of a jacket with the sleeves in the back, the kind which tie together to prevent self-injury.

Bambi thinks he can wish the nukes away. He is dangerously wrong in his most recent fallacy.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thin Skin, Thick Head

My wife thinks President Obama is working for Al-Qaida. I kid you not. She brought up this contention while we were watching the news Saturday night. To Mikki, the combined effect of President Obama’s policies, being clearly anti-business (on any business level) anti-entrepreneur, and anti-consumer mean that he is working to destroy the infrastructure of the United States. Bear in mind that my wife is from Hong Kong, and tends to see things from a different perspective than most people. The thing is, Mikki is no Republican, in fact she does not vote much except when she really likes someone, like Mayor Bill White of Houston, or is furious with someone, like Barack Obama. And Obama has really set her off. So far as she is concerned, Obama is directly responsible for just about every problem in America right now, if for no reason beyond the fact that as President, Obama should be setting the example and building optimism and confidence. I do not agree that Obama is trying to undermine America, though. I think the man just has the interests of the United States of America far lower on his list of priorities than his own personal agenda.

The reason I mention that point of view, is that I am hearing it more and more, and from black Americans as often as from white Americans. Obama seems to have exhausted his mojo, and the canned promises sound, well, like canned promises that aren’t worth spit. This happens a lot with politicians, though, so the real question is the way an individual politicossack handles the turbulence. Some, like Harry Truman, tough out the flack, explain their reasoning and push ahead. Some, like Jimmy Carter, go into hiding and let things fall apart. Some, like Bill Clinton, recognize the battles they can’t win, cut their losses and regroup for the next proposal. And some, Like FDR, pull back from a sure loss, embrace the other side’s solution, and build credibility and support from that action in advancing his broader agenda. I mentioned Democrats who were President, because it reminds us that Barack Obama is in no way the first or last President who has had to face an angry public for a misstep, either in the way he delivers his decisions or who just plain gets the call wrong. But in every successful President’s administration, the solution begins with recognizing what is wrong, and why. Barack Obama has been stubborn in holding on to the pretense that his plans are perfect from the go, and if he pushes hard enough he will inevitably win. Given his record in getting to the White House, but the guy is no student of history.

Admitting you are wrong is hard for many people, and flat out impossible for some folks. I personally know some very fine people who have been completely wrong, yet won’t admit their error in the least, much less make necessary changes. It’s not about intellect, but ego. Certainly we’ve seen many debates in politics where the truth came out in an obvious way, but the party in the wrong refused to budge from its position, no matter the cost. This obstinacity is relatively harmless and can even be amusing at the low level debates we see on the blogs, but it’s a bit more serious when the President of the United States, in effect, puts his fingers in his ears and yells “I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”. Not smart, just plain dumb.

The problem comes down to sensitivity. Barack Obama is about as tetchy a POTUS as we’ve had since Richard ”They’re all out to get me” Nixon. Any criticism of the man’s policies and politics is immediately tagged as “racism”, which would just be a crude spin tactic if it were not so obvious that our Narcissist-in-Chief buys into that conspiracy theory himself. Or that President Orwell engages in so much NewSpeak, like telling us that taxing people if they don’t have health insurance would not really be a tax, and certainly not a tax on the poor, even though the people who do not have insurance now and who would be most likely not to have insurance in the future, are the poor. Like telling us that he has personally “created or saved” millions of jobs, in spite of a national unemployment average rising above 10 percent at times, with some urban minorities seeing local unemployment above thirty percent. Like telling us that there is no risk in “investigating” CIA agents through political committees on the assumption that the ‘civil rights’ of foreign terrorists may have been violated by men doing their jobs. The man imagines himself spotless, but that’s only because his moral vision is so poor.

That’s not to demean President Obama. Every President makes mistakes and has areas of weakness. Most of them are aware of their deficiencies and work to improve them and to avoid the worst mistakes. Almost all have to face situations which result from such mistakes. Sooner or later, President Obama is going to have to face the consequences of his mistakes and errors. The delay only means the consequences may be much more serous than he imagines.