Sunday, December 1, 2013

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

It is a logical position to oppose ANY compromise with progressives on fiscal matters that apply to additional government spending and tax increases. It is also logical to worry about the nation’s $1.x Trillion deficit which is of course the amount of money we spend as a nation each year in excess of what is collected in tax revenue. Each year it gets added to the national debt which now stands above $17 Trillion, which is in turn dwarfed by our unfunded liabilities (promises we have made to pay in the future) which now are approaching or exceed $120 Trillion ( It’s hard to keep up). Additional government spending and taxes simply takes money out of the private sector where it could find its most efficient use and puts it in the hands of government bureaucrats who first take out the government cut and then spend the rest on whatever THEY think would be best. The list of beneficiaries always seems to be topped by the “Friends Of The Party In Power Benevolent Association”. Funny how that seems to work. But back to fiscal compromise.

Fiscal compromise is one reason why the world economy is in the shape it’s in. For many decades the path to success in the U.S. congress was to “go along and get along”. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. The secret to a long career was to bring home the bacon for your constituents so that when election time rolled around there would be no room for an opponent to criticize. This was done by agreeing to help your colleagues take home their own bacon. We’ve all seen “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington”. We all know how it works, but we also know that there isn’t really a crooked politician out there with the sense of decency to put a gun to his or her head.

But what’s the harm? A Billion dollars here a Billion dollars there. The government spends a Billion dollars every two hours and fifteen minutes. Who’s going to miss another Billion? Only they don’t get spent in single Billions generally. Generally they get spent by the hundreds of Billions and not for one time purchases….. but ongoing programs that now have managers who have a personal interest in continuing and growing the expenditure. Did you ever hear of a federal bureaucrat who advocated for the dissolution of his or her department?

So the spending and debt go up and up and everything seems cool. Everyone seems to be having a good time, and then something unexpected happens: Unexpected, but predictable, AND predicted. A policy of increasingly easy home mortgage financing promoted and then aggressively pushed by the federal government created the “housing bubble” which finally burst and crashed the whole world economy.

Compromise reaches its frenzied climax during the assembly of “Omnibus”, and “Comprehensive” legislation.

Omnibus legislation is just a hodgepodge of measures that legislators didn’t have time to deal with or didn’t want to talk about openly and so they wait until the very end of the session and throw them all into one big “anthology of pork”. Everybody gets something. Sort of like the Christmas party at school, only at this party there isn’t any limit to the amount of money that can be spent. The bills will contain legitimate amendments to existing law and other bureaucratic necessities, but way back in the back, neatly tucked in between substantive matters there will be more fiscal hijinks than you can possibly imagine. All of the things that legislators would be embarrassed to stand and openly argue for, or support are here, and the reason they’re here is because it’s where everyone is allowed a pass for voting in favor of all of their colleague’s corruption. The bills are long, and hard to read. Who’s going to know? And if someone does find out next year, who’s going to care? It’s a win/win.

Comprehensive legislation at least has a stated purpose which is to take a large general problem which is the sum of several, or many related problems and solve them all in one fell swoop. A problem with comprehensive legislation is that it requires a fair measure of arrogance to believe that one fully understands all of the moving parts of a situation and how they interact with one another. Yesterday’s comprehensive legislation was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We’ll be digging our way out from under that pile of rubble for a long time. Another problem with this sort of legislation is that it allows the executive authority the option of non-enforcement of parts of the law it deems unnecessary.

Today’s comprehensive legislation is “Immigration Reform”, which is only one of the three major problems that it purports to solve, the other two being border security, and what to do with the 12 to 14 million immigrants who are already here illegally. Tied together, these three separate but interacting problems will generate another 1500 page monstrosity of a bill, the exact contents of which no one will know until the provisions begin to be selectively administered. It will not be an attempt to solve a pressing national problem, but a means to an end, that end being an open border policy and liberal dispensation of social benefits and Constitutional rights to extralegals. The attempt to combine the solution in one piece of legislation will result in at least one, and perhaps all three of the problems going unsolved and perhaps made even worse. And there will be the requisite lies. If you liked “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” you’ll LOVE “this bill does not give blanket amnesty to 14 Million illegals”.

The solution to the immigration problem is simple and can be accomplished by separate action. First) Secure the border. Everyone else does it, including all of those industrialized nations progressives like to trot out when speaking about nationalized health care. Securing the borders is not a small thing, but we landed a man on the moon in 1969. We can secure the borders. And those attempting border violation need to be immediately deported to the country that they just came from, not given a bus ticket to the U.S. city of their choice, and released on their own recognizance pending a hearing in six months. Simple. Except smugglers of course. They can stay. In prison, and THEN deported.

Next) While the borders are being secured, we can be reforming the immigration system to efficiently handle the volumes of applicants expected, and establish a status for guest workers who have no intention or desire to becoming Americans. We, as a nation, have a right, and responsibility to know who is coming to and leaving our country.

And Finally) Deal with the 12 to 14 Million “extralegals” already in the country. Separately, the issue is just as simple as the other two. With the borders secure the problem practically solves itself. People live their lives and eventually die. People move away. If no more illegals arrive then the number present will decrease all by itself. In the mean time some legal status can be given. No logistically minded serious person suggests the involuntary deportation of 12 Million people. It won’t be necessary to establish a special PATHWAY to citizenship. Immigrants can apply for permanent resident status and then for citizenship, just as they always could have, and once they have satisfied the requirements they can stand in front of a judge, raise their right hand, and recite the pledge of allegiance.

In separate pieces of legislation these three steps are straight forward and simple to execute. Trying to connect them would create a sort of Rube Goldberg contraption with so many moving parts that it would from the outset become impossible to operate or maintain. Our continuing experience with should have red flags going up on every pole.

Comprehensive legislation of ANY kind is the enemy of average Americans.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Beginnings of Deceit

It began inauspiciously enough. Not even three weeks after the new President was inaugurated the democrat controlled congress passed a five hundred and fifty billion dollar economic stimulus package and named it the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

It must be quite a feeling for a college professor, or a real estate developer or a former minor government functionary or community organizer to participate in the borrowing and then spending of half a Trillion dollars of other peoples money. This is, of course, an example of the last of the four ways we spend money: spending other people’s money on other people. In this mode, cost is of no concern (because the money will come from others) and neither are the results. For them it was all an abstraction and no matter what the result, there would be no consequences.

But my main thought for the moment are the “shovel ready” projects that were touted as one of the reasons for the rushed process that included no time for detailed examination and discussion of the bill’s contents. The President would later jokingly comment that the “shovel ready” projects were not as shovel ready as they had expected. Really?

If you give these executive neophytes the benefit of the doubt, if you accept, for a moment, that they didn’t know that before the golden shovels are polished up and brought out for show many months are spent in the promotion of ideas, feasibility studies, site selection studies, environmental studies, property acquisition, engineering and design, permitting, and that none of that happens until AFTER the money has been turned on then the best you can say about them is that they were inexperienced, incompetent, naïve, or all of the above. Or you can add deceitful to the list, and say that they knew it perfectly well and simply used the phrase “shovel ready projects” as an easy way to justify the hasty approval of a hundred Billion dollars in borrowing and expenditure.

My own feeling is that they were indeed inexperienced, incompetent, naïve, AND deceitful. Not exactly the traits you might want to look for when selecting national leaders.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Why Are Universities Hotbeds of Progressivism

It may have begun before the war in Indo China but that was certainly when it became most notable. Suddenly it was fashionable to be anti government specifically, and then anti American in general. Even in places as out of the way as Manhattan, Kansas, home to the Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science, students, or someone, became agitated enough that a fire was set against the front doors of the building that housed the ROTC offices resulting in a blaze that gutted the historic old field house in 1968.

Then the war was over, but the animas remained. But it was the 70s. It was, perhaps, not easy to be angry while wearing those collars and platform shoes. Double knit. Ban-Lon. But the people who believed in the evil nature of the United States… those who longed for the success and primacy of communal philosophy… like those carrying out butchery and barbarous acts in China, Cuba, Cambodia, and the Soviet Union, took a long view. Realizing they were up against a well developed legal system that would capture and prosecute them, a young population tired of sticking it to the man, and that was more interested in shaking its groove thing than in “social justice’ they simply went back to school and did the work required to put them in a position to take over the nation. They became educatiors. It was a great gig. They got to exercise their arrogant paternalism for a living, and they only had to work nine months a year. And work they did.

The sixties and seventies were times when the founders of the Confederacy, the Ku Klux Klan and the perpetrators of the horrific racial violence we had seen and read about for years, the very architects of the system of racial segregation that permeated American culture (the democrat party) began to change. The founders and the practitioners of abolition (the republicans) were suddenly portrayed as the villains of the story and the true villains, the ones with blood on their hands became soft a cuddly.

It was also in this time frame when a new age dawned. Not the age of Aquarius, which was simply a pop culture phenomenon, but the age of victimhood. The first order of business was to convince the voting public that the government needed to do more to help the poor. There seemed to be plenty of tax revenue to go around. Why not? And then minorities were convinced that they were owed the assistance because they had been victims of centuries of abuse, and that due to circumstances beyond their control they couldn’t make it without help. And then the story was changed yet again. Majority (white) voters were told that not only should they assist minority populations, but that they were responsible for their condition in the first place. And this is how it’s been, for forty years, or more.

Fast forward to the 2010s. Students…. the children of privilege are transitioning into the oppressed. Never having to have worked for anything and always the oppressors they are eager for relief. They no longer feel the religious guilt for the death of Christ that sustained their parents and grand parents and they yearn for the absolution that follows confession. Today’s educators are more than willing, in fact it was their purpose, to instill that guilt and to provide the relief. If you could listen in on the exchange in a university confessional, it might sound like this.

“Do you accept the sins of America, and take them as your own?”
“I do”
“And do you vow to accept and hold sacrosanct the teachings that have been imparted to you here, never questioning?”
“I do”
“Then go my child and sin no more”.

Or something like that.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

Okay, so here goes.

It’s all over the news. Income disparity. Bad and getting worse. So I’m thinking “really?”. We all have so much. We have multiple cell phones per family costing hundreds of dollars per month. We have flat screen TVs, and home theatres with sub woofers. Not just woofers mind you, we have subwoofers. We have cable and high speed internet and WiFi for our computers. Our cars last longer than they ever did before, our school districts spend twice as much money (in constant dollars) per student than they did just 40 years ago. Now you can take this or leave it, but from my point of view: not ever having anything that I didn’t really have to have just to get by, not having anything now, and not really figuring on having anything in the future, I don’t see that things are really much different than they ever were. Sure, sure, times are tough right now and I have proof, but that was the making of 50 years of “do good” government spending money it didn’t have, wasn’t going to have and making economic decisions that couldn’t be safely implemented by the private sector economy that is our heart and soul.

And the line is that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. If the phrase didn’t appear in popular song lyrics decades old one might be tempted to think it was a new concept, and it actually traces it’s origins to a speech made by William Henry Harrison in 1840. You’d think the tread would have worn off that old tire some time ago.

In any event, the case is being made again, and there are “NEW” “SOBERING” statistics to back it up. After 170 years. Finally. Something new. But while I’m not an economist I CAN read and I’ve noticed a few things that might make it seem to some degree as if wealth were concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer hands. Referring of course to the evil 1%.

Let’s begin.

First we have to agree on some things as a basis for discussion. We must agree that younger workers have fewer skills, and less experience in the job market and that because of this they will have less wealth than their parents and grandparents. So. If you break the population into two age groups: 18-44 and 45-74 what you see is that from 1980 to 2010 the younger part of the work force declined from 41% to 36% while the older fraction increased from 27% to 33%. Now. How significant are those percentages? I don’t know. I’m not an economist. However, it’s pretty plain that the shift in age breakdown alone is going to make it appear that wealth is moving away from younger less skilled workers.

Next. In 1980 (according to Census data) 20% of all households were of the single parent persuasion. Three decades later in 2008 the number was 30%. Now, you might say “so what”, “there’s less money in the house”, and that would be true, but this is something that people decide to do. They choose to get divorced, or they don’t get married in the first place. No one cares anymore about stuff like that. It only means that your kids grow up poorer, but you’ll be eligible for food stamps and free lunches so what’s the diff? AND, this simple thing makes it look as if families are becoming poorer when at least a significant fraction choose this for themselves. They don’t actually choose to have less, but they make the decisions that lead to it.

This next sort of goes hand in hand with the last: In 1980 60% of all households were occupied by a married couple. In 2010 the figure was 48%. What this means is that because people are choosing not to form traditional families household income and thus accrued wealth will be lower. Doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, but it will look like it. The statistics will show it, but another saying that traces it’s roots to the mid 1800s is that “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. People know this, but frequently forget that two analysts can look at the same statistic and draw completely opposite conclusions. So the next time you hear someone saying how bad things are indicated by such and such a number take a few minutes and have some fun trying to think up what else that number could mean.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Career Civil Servant.

What does it mean when someone involved in a political scandal is described as being a “career civil servant”? Have these people undergone some sort of cranial procedure? Are they politically the equivalent of eunuchs?, having had their political organs removed thus making them incapable of political operation? I hardly think so.

Civil service at the Post Office Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Food and Drug Agency (FDA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) is not a higher calling. It’s a job working for the largest employer in the United States, an employer that’s always hiring. One that offers compensation packages equal to or better than you find in the private sector with the added benefit of almost armor plated job security. In an era when the disappearance of the 40 year plus career with a single employer is mourned, the possibility is alive and well in the civil service. To be sure, there are non-military civil assignments with danger attached, but to be equally as sure, the IRS isn’t one of them.

Career “civil servants” have played the game correctly. They’ve filled out the multi-page questionnaires and applications and waited months for the response. Having been successful, the climbers have correctly judged the environment in which they existed and behaved accordingly. They wrote their reports in language that couldn’t be read as offensive to anyone’s sensibilities, they have been scrupulously politically correct, and have been duly promoted. Those who chaffed at the requirement of total surrender to diversity, inclusiveness, and correctness have been winnowed out and moved to the private sector.

So, to say that someone is a career public servant is, in general, just about the farthest thing in the world from saying that they are apolitical with no axe to grind.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Comprehensive Legislation

Comprehensive legislation of ANY kind is the enemy of the American people.

To fully realize this you must first understand that the federal government of the United States is incapable of effectively administering even the most simple program imaginable. The reason for this is quite simple: Thanks to the 17th amendment (close kin to the 18th) members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate are selected by popular election. This means that both bodies of congress are subject to the intense lobbying efforts of the same special interest groups, and those aren’t just corporate fat cats. They run the gamut from the Boy Scouts of America to the AARP. From the SEIU to the NRA, and every alphabet soup trade organization with a dues paying membership you can think of. They are ALL trying to look out for the best interests of their members….. people like you and me, and the devil take the hindmost.

And so when they put “Comprehensive” legislation together it must necessarily contain something for everyone, or at least not seem to favor one group over another. These bills are often very large and VERY complex with inner workings that no one (especially not the voting members of the bodies themselves) understands or has even read. It’s only a matter of what did they have to agree to in order to get their little bit inserted back there in the back, somewhere after page one thousand where there’s no chance at all that anyone will see it.

Today’s “Comprehensive” legislation concerns immigration. One side wants a complete amnesty for those who have come here illegally and open boarders so no one will ever have to come here illegally again. The other wants to control and monitor who comes in and for those already here illegally to face some consequence for violation of the law before they can avail themselves of the naturalization process. This is a vast oversimplification to be sure, because the existing machinery of legal immigration is woefully out of date and for practical purposes worthless. Foreign “students” come and go as they please, some occasionally taking time out to plot the nation’s downfall and kill as many of us as they can. Living on government payments and student loans they travel around the country and back home as freely as someone with an assured and generous income, seemingly not having to worry about things as simple as going to work every day, or abiding by the terms of their visas.

But we are told yet again not to worry. All of this will be taken care of in the “Comprehensive” legislation. We are asked to believe yet again that the federal government, which is arguably run by diverse special interest groups, is capable of designing, implementing, and then administering what it takes over a thousand pages of written text to even describe. The reality is a cruel joke. The economist Milton Friedman has rightly said that “if you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand”. Everyone knows that it’s a joke, but everyone also knows that it’s true. And yet we are asked again, even in the wake of the administration’s now confirmed lies about the Affordable Care Act, the IRS computer crashes, NSA spying and the disastrous roll out to believe that they can build it. “Trust us” we’re told. “We’re from the government”. “It’s the right thing to do”.

The reality is that once the complex “Comprehensive” Frankenstein monster is agreed to and passed the administration in power will simply enforce whichever parts are in the interests of THEIR particular special interest sponsors and leave the rest. Bits and pieces will be quietly amended out of existence once the stage lights have turned to focus on some other issue. “Yes”. “We believe in border security, but we can’t let that stand in the way of progress”. You can see how it will happen already because it’s already being said.

“Comprehensive” legislation is your enemy. “Ala carte”, single function legislation that you can read and understand is your friend, and a friend to your nation.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Used Everything

Not too long ago I was shopping for an electric guitar and as luck would have it, I’m now the owner of THE single, most beautiful electric guitar on the planet. Not to get too technical, when new it was a mid priced Epiphone semi solid body electric. No matter, I just wanted to brag on it a little.

However, in my search I noticed the prominence of many “Road Tested” models. These are new guitars whose finish has been distressed by who knows what means to look like the instruments have spent years on the road with grizzled, or bluesy, or drug addled musicians.

I’m not sure I understand this phenomenon, although it’s not too far out of common practice since aged, acid washed, stone washed, pre soiled, distressed jeans have become common apparel. I guess. I can see why an aspiring young garage musician might opt for an inexpensive “copy” (as I did), to make himself look more experienced but it mystifies me as to why someone with two or three thousand dollars to spend would buy a guitar that looked as if it had been owned by someone who was unappreciative of the quality and value that they held in their hands.

But in keeping with the trend, I have a few suggestions to make if you can imagine that.

1) Cars: I’m sure that the big three auto makers in Detroit can produce models that are brand new and mechanically perfect, but that look as if they’ve been driven by teens for 10 years. Broken tail lights and fogged headlight lenses would be a standard feature, body rust a much sought after option. Nothing makes you feel good about your life quite like the smell of spilled milk in the trunk of a new car.

2) Women: It could become en vogue for young women to get cosmetic surgery to wrinkle their faces and put little cellulite moguls on their hips. Sagging breasts and arm flaps could add a certain something to today’s ingénue . And body hair…… oh, the body hair.

3) Men: Take the libido and important equipment of 20 year old and put it in a body that looks like that of his 50 year old father…… balding, with a lot of abdominal fat, back, nose, and ear hair, and man boobs. Whoooo – Eeeeee.

I’m on to something here, and you know I am.

And that’s what an average guy thinks.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Personalized Costs

So I remember some discussion a while back where someone was accusing someone else of wanting to privatize gains while socializing risks. I’m pretty sure it was about banks, but it holds for what I was thinking about recently.

A lot of the discussion lately has been of gun violence, and how to stop it. Chicago is often held up as a good example of how very restrictive gun laws don’t have their intended effect. Of course progressive control minded types like to say that the guns are coming in from out of state, which I suppose they must be, but I have to wonder: since it’s so much easier to buy guns in other states, why isn’t the murder rate high there? Why isn’t the gun homicide rate universally high? Why is it only in the large metro areas? Gangs? Drugs? Gangsta Rap? Welfare mentality? Single moms? Absent dads? Chem trails? Who knows, but here we are. We don’t know why it happens, but the statistical proof is almost beyond denying that the more you restrict lawful gun ownership (which is the only gun ownership that you CAN restrict) the more helpless common citizens are. Criminals may be dumb, but on the whole, they know how and when to exploit an advantage.

The framers of the Constitution, which is the blueprint for our government, the authors of our very way of life, were distrustful governmental power, some of them so much so that that they insisted on the inclusion of the first ten amendments (the Bill of Rights) so as to make it very clear what the rights of citizens were and what the government could not take away unless the citizenry got together and OFFICIALLY took a right away from themselves. The 18th amendment is a perfect example of this procedure. 1) Stern, bossy woman gets people all riled up. 2) Convinces them that they themselves are not to be trusted. 3) Convinces them to amend the Constitution and deny themselves the right to self determination. 4) People sober up and realize they made a terrible mistake. 5) They again amend the Constitution reinstating the very right that they had taken from themselves previously. It’s not hard to do. But it’s like the Hokey Pokey….. there are rules. There’s a procedure. You just can’t start shaking your right hand all about. There’s an order of operations that has to be followed.

So what do we do about gun violence? There ARE laws but certain types of people (criminals mainly) don’t seem to be obeying them. So let’s use speeding in an automobile as an example. What works there? Let’s say there’s a stretch of road and the speed limit on that road is…… oh, say 70 mph. But a certain percentage of the people don’t want to drive 70, they want to drive 80. Does it make sense to change the speed limit to 60 mph? The same bunch of people are still going to want to drive 80, so the only people really effected are the law abiders. Okay change the speed limit to 50 miles per hour. But the 80 club is still going to be prone to drive 80 and the rest of the people have now become law breakers because they don’t want to and won’t drive 50.

So the question is: why don’t we simply enforce the laws we already have on the books? Or apply harsher penalties? Increase the fines for speeding to the point where the 80s club just can’t justify the risk or the cost of the fines any longer?

It’s the same with guns. By not adequately enforcing, or punishing violation of current gun laws, the government, through the courts is subsidizing gun violence, and in so doing is socializing the costs of that criminal behavior when what it should be doing is PERSONALIZING the costs. Instead of illegally restricting rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment it should be strengthening and enforcing gun laws to the point where criminals would know, and FEEL the true cost of their criminality. “Use a gun to commit a crime, go to jail for a long time”. “Do it again and you’ll live to wish you hadn’t”. And of course then you have to make prison a place to be avoided with some earnestness. Difficult, but doable.

And of course you can’t stop crazy. About the first time someone drives through a fence wreaks havoc on a crowded playground there’ll be an attempt to outlaw four wheel drive trucks because no responsible driver really needs one.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


Listen up peeps. What I’m about ready to say leans toward the profound.

A couple of years ago when the DoD flew a Hell Fire missile up Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki’s exhaust pipe blowing him and his 16 year old son to bits I didn’t really give the topic of killing an American citizen without any due process much thought. He deserved what he got, and the fact that he exposed his son to the hell of warfare at such a young age is unfortunate, but it was his choice. I was wrong not to have given it more thought. Not the killing itself, (I still think he got what he had coming) but the lack of process.

I oppose capital punishment. I don’t think the possibility of being put to death twenty years in the future works as much of a deterrent to criminals and psychotics so inclined and I have serious problems with the ability of our criminal justice system to administer such a punishment. Not “justly”, or “fairly”, but accurately. There are simply too many cases of wrongful execution and near misses on the books to allow such a program to continue. Over zealous, lazy, or corrupt prosecutors or law enforcement personnel and, or bad luck and circumstance can conspire against a person who then finds him or herself at the end of a rope…… so to speak. “Well”, I’m asked, “how often does that really happen”? to which I reply “how often does it have to happen”? How often are we willing to murder innocent men and women in order to maintain our self image of fairness?

That is not to say that I don’t think the perpetrators of capital crimes don’t deserve to die. They do. Horribly. But the laws are not made to apply only to the guilty. They have to apply equally to us all. We can’t honestly say to ourselves that we only execute those whose guilt we’re certain of….. because it’s a prosecutors job to be certain of the guilt of the accused. How could he, in good faith, try any case if he weren’t convinced of the guilt of the accused? A prosecutor’s job is not to look for the truth. A prosecutor’s job is to convince a jury (at any cost sometimes) of the correctness of his accusations. We are human. Humans make mistakes. I feel that it is unjust for human failings to result in the deliberate taking of a life.

Back to the drone strikes.

I am also not opposed (in general) to the use of drones in circumstances where it’s nearly impossible or too risky to engage an enemy operative, but I believe that this administration has another motivation that influences them in the direction of drone use. The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was (famously) to be closed one year from president Obama taking office. The prisoners were to be moved to US soil and tried in US civilian criminal courts. This movement and civilizing of (men who are in effect) prisoners of war was widely, and wisely resisted. But the administration’s desire to close Guantanamo has not lessened. So they have simply decided to close it by attrition. By trying the few prisoners that they must and repatriating the rest to the battlefields where they can THEN simply kill them with missiles. They are taking no new prisoners. No new prisoners…. no need for interrogation…. no need for a prison. One of the trade offs, of course, is that we receive no new human intelligence of the type which led to the detection of and operation against Osama bin Laden.

So to further its own plans to close the detention facility at Guantanamo bay and to reduce the size of the military, the administration has hired lawyers to tell them that it’s legal and wise to kill American citizens without any due process at all. With no paper trail of responsibility. No lawyer to make a defense… no judge to make a decision and a decree. Only a nameless, faceless, unelected bureaucrat with no legal responsibility sitting in some “Star Chamber” making decisions of life and death. A mortal man…. or woman reading a report, making a check mark in a box and passing a form on to the DoD for targeting…. much the same way the president does now.

A power given is a power used. This power WILL be used, and as witnessed by the resent usurpation of congressional prerogative by the administration it will be expanded. If the administration can make the claim, straight faced, that it’s “legal and wise” to kill American citizens abroad without any due process what’s the barrier to them claiming that it’s legal and wise to kill Americans in remote areas of Mexico, or Canada, or Arizona?

The killing of American citizens with drones makes a mockery of the Miranda decision and helps to push us off on the bobsled run to hell.

But that’s just what an average guy thinks.