Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Money of it all

Los Angeles, CA – Money is an American value. It shapes the way we live, and how we think. “Rich and powerful” are two words that often go together, interestingly enough, with the rich part first. Many people’s entire lives revolve around their job, where they work to get money. In fact, America was started because of money. First settlers were sent over as an investment by some rich men in London, England, and then we fought the grandsons of those merchants, in the Revolutionary War, because they taxed us too much. In a way, the war was over money.

Many conflicts in the history of the world have been money driven, and with money, won. From the time when the arms sellers in and around Jerusalem had to decide whether to sell arms to the Zealots, the Jewish magistrates, or the Romans, all based on where they would get the most profit, it hasn’t changed still today.
America’s new movements in Iraq have not yet lasted 60 days, and already they have cost us an estimated over 500,000,000 dollars, according to the British paper The Guardian. And that is not all. ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, being hailed as worse and more dangerous than Al Qaeda, are making money fast. By some estimates, their selling of cheap oil is getting them over 2,000,000 dollars a day already. This is a group so violent; Al Qaeda itself refuses to join them.
The new Zealots, albeit for a different religion than the ancient Judas the Galilean, who led a revolt in response to the famous taxing at the time of the birth of Christ, are not something to be toyed with. They, or their allies, have shot hundred if not thousands of innocent and unarmed prisoners.  They are burning indiscriminately, and are so wild, they, Muslims, are considering burning Holy sites in Mecca because the people that come there to pay homage are not radical enough.
The United Kingdom, because of ISIS, some of whose soldiers are former British turned radical, has upgraded the terror threat to their country to “SEVERE.” ISIS certainly is a growing threat, with some of the arms traders unconcerned as to what side they are helping, and so ISIS and its minions continue to upgrade their killing power.
Andrew C. Abbott

Thursday, August 28, 2014

“Peace in our Time”

Los Angeles, CA – In the days immediately following the beginning of World War II, the superpowers of the free world had not yet joined the war, while Germany and its allies were taking over small countries as well as ramping up their rhetoric and their armies, Neville Chamberlin, prime minister of Great Britain, signed a “contract with the devil” making a pact with Germany, instead of declaring war.

When the man, who was famous for carrying an umbrella, stepped back onto British soil, he called out, waving the paper with the deal on it, “peace in our time…Now I recommend you go home, and sleep quietly in your beds.”
Of course, it didn’t work. It never really seems to. It was a bit like the ancient Incas and company giving the Spanish Conquistadors gold, hoping they would leave South America forever. Instead they stayed so long everyone there now speaks Spanish.
As everybody now knows, Russia has taken Crimea from Ukraine, in their great chess game. Nobody stopped them, and there were some small steps, possibly, of attempted appeasement. And now, if the reports that are coming now are true, Russia has given up pretenses of wanting no new territory, and Vladimir Putin has ordered his tanks forward again.
It may not lead to a new war, although of course it always could, but it is certain that Vladimir Putin is certainly, as a former political adviser and consultant told me recently, “the shrewdest man in a long time” in the geographical area.
For a while, it seemed as if the Ukrainians might be able to take their country back, with only a few strongholds still remaining to the rebels. They elected a new president, and seemed to be getting back on track. But now, all that is thrown in doubt, while Russia advances. It certainly is not a time to sleep quietly in our beds.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Man in the Hot Seat

San Diego, CA – The office of the president is highly respected, and the man who holds it is watched, loved, and hated, -by everybody who has a clue. George Washington got every single popular vote when he ran for president. But when he held office, he was still hated by some, -perhaps more so than you might think.

When Jimmy Carter was president, some people called him the worst ever. When Clinton was president, and for a few years after, books were written calling him the worst disaster ever to happen to America. Then people said that about Bush. Hey, they even said that about Adams, Jackson, Jefferson, and even a few pro-Northerners thought that about Lincoln. And now they are saying it about Obama.
People count how many times he plays golf. His tax returns are scrutinized. Pictures of his every move are broadcasted around the world. And what he says is debated from the television studios to the coffee shops. Everyone knows his every imperfection. So it is no surprise that usually, not long after the president takes office, sometimes it seems almost the first time he actually does something, at least some people start screaming.
Being the man in the hot seat can be difficult. Some people don’t react well to stress. I know of people who have quit working at Wendy’s because of the stress, saying they had to make too may decisions while flipping burgers. (You read that right.) It can be understandable if the president’s hair goes gray, as our current one's has, or if he needs a vacation, as our current president just enjoyed an interrupted two weeks of.
But now, even the New York Times is carrying stories about how the president is having difficulty wanting to negotiate, and that he is lacking drive as he enters the backstretch of these eight years in office. According to Indiana Senator Dan Coats said last year that the president was willing to negotiate with Vladimir Putin, but not Republicans, -which is an interesting thing.
Recently Kurtz Media Buzz carried the story of the president bumping into an argument before the Republican and Democratic Leaders of the Senate. The president, rather than sit down and negotiate and try to work out a deal between the feuding couple, told them to work it out themselves. Two of the world’s most powerful leaders, and he walked away, lacking the will to get into it.
The president is coming back just now from his vacation, and he must now retake the hot seat. He has issues in Ukraine to deal with. Russia is misbehaving, and there is unrest near St. Louis. His party is expected to lose the midterm elections, and his own ratings are not doing very well. Much of this has stemmed from his own policies.
Now the title of worst president in history cannot be given in out for a long while yet. Not until the White House is in ruins and a tourist attraction like the Roman Coliseum, and “Ancient America” is something you go to the theatres to see, hopefully by then in 5D by then.
But Barak Obama has issues. Many issues. With all of his problems, one is reminded of the words of Ronald Reagan: “He’s no Thomas Jefferson.”

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nobody Votes Anymore

Los Angeles, CA – In Australia, as I have heard from multiple people living there, there is a governmentally imposed fine for not voting. However, there seems to be some debate about whether or not this is very useful. Some say this makes everyone interested in politics; to be sure their vote is well used. Others say that it is not helpful at all, with everyone just voting randomly to avoid the fine.

Whatever the truth about Australia, what we can say for certain about America is that voting levels are at deplorable lows. Despite all sorts of “Get Out the Vote” campaigns from all sorts of people on both sides, less than sixty percent of registered voters, according to Wikipedia, voted in the last presidential election. And historically those are the years when voter turnout is highest.
In some countries they have an issue with too many votes being cast. Sometimes many more than are registered for a single area, such as in Afghanistan’s current disaster with voter fraud. But in America, the president even mentioned not long ago that, especially in off years, between elections for the White House, it is difficult to get people to vote.
Where I am currently, in Los Angeles, California, there certainly seems to be a difficulty in getting out the vote. It is so bad an idea is floating around, too much debate, about possibly rewarding each person who votes with an entry into a lottery of $ 100,000. Reading the Los Angeles Times yesterday, they had an opinion peace on it, calling it “the worst idea” in a long time.
Getting voters to turn out was certainly not a problem in historically, in places like Greece, where everyone who was anyone voted, as well as early America. Perhaps part of the reason is that people have forgotten the price others had to pay so they could vote. Others might be too busy. As for the idea that your vote doesn’t count, think about this. While in Indianapolis Indiana earlier this year, at the capitol building for an event, I met a man who lost an election by one vote. Another whose election was decided by seven votes. Your vote matters, and so does the other guy’s. If you don’t vote, your ideas won’t win, his will.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Rick Perry: A Man to Watch

I lived in Texas with Rick Perry as governor for three years, but, perhaps because I could barely tell you who vice-president of the United States was at the time, I certainly didn’t know, at nine years old, who my governor was. I didn’t hear about that guy until in 2012, when I had another governor in another state that I heard a handsome man with good values and a full head of hair was running for president that I started paying attention.

Of course Perry lost to the other good looking guy with even better hair and more money in that race, but now the Republican Nominee for 2016 is up for grabs, and Perry is in line with a lot of others who are interested.
He is governor of a state where Democrats have not won anything bigger than a game of tag football since 1994, and has appointed many people in key positions. As Perry reaches for the prize of stepping up, like our last Republican President did, from governor of the Lone Star State to President of the Fifty-Starred Country, he has hit a bit of a snag. Actually, two little snags. Nothing bigger than two felony charges that could land him in prison for over a hundred years.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg had herself too much to drink one night, and still got in her car. After her extremely embarrassing night, she still refused to resign, and, according to the charges, Perry tried to coerce her to do just that.
Of course, at this stage, no one can quite tell what happened with Perry, which is for the courts to decide. Some are saying it is true, others are saying “so what?” According to Politico “I know the Democratic Party died and made him governor, but who died and made him king?”
If Perry was trying to act like a king, he won’t last the two years until president 45 is picked. He will go the way of Chris Christi, across the bridge to where the bad governors go. But for now, Perry will not be issued an arrest warrant, and a court date has not been set. Instead he is still campaigning around the country for the presidency, visiting battle ground states and raising funds.
If Perry committed felonies, he is definitely a man to watch. And if he didn’t, well, there is a political election coming up in a few years, and along with a few others, in 2016, Perry will be the man to watch.

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Spy Games

Blythe, CA – Everybody seems to love spies. From James Bond to Sherlock Holmes, who plays at amateur spy at times, spies with their massive personalities and their cloak and dagger techniques have caught the imaginations of young and old alike ever since Joshua sent two men to Jericho to “spy out the land.”

Last year Edward Snowden revealed to the world a new type of spy, not the one who carries a silenced pistol and a briefcase with hidden pockets for all twenty-seven of his identities, but the one who has a keyboard and “access.” The new big thing is here in spying. Access.
Access to satellites, bugs, cameras, and records. It is how the new spy games are played. The first female chancellor of Germany, Angela Markell, recently found that the American NSA (National Security Agency) had access to her phone. It appears our people may have been listening in when the VIP talked.
She acted outraged, saying the Cold War was over, and America would do well to remember that. Our president Obama stated that most of those who were acting outraged in foreign governments knew full well that everybody did what we were and still are doing. Watching everyone we could, with our “access.”
Now, at least part of the president’s claims seem to have been qualified as true. Der Spiegel, a German magazine, of all things, has reported that a conversation of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton was recorded by the Germans. Although it was supposedly an accident that the particular conversation was recorded, the fact that it was an American Plane shows that the Germans, whether they meant to record that particular conversation or not, had access to the place that the two high profile actors were.
And so the new code word in the Spy Games is access. America seems to have the most of it, but other countries are not far behind.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Wealth of Nations

The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, often considered to be the one of the most, if not the most influential book on economics in history, written during the time of the founding fathers, begins with a chapter, famously, on the division of labor.

Smith speaks of a pin factory, where everyone has their own specific job. He goes on to say that it is only through specialization that any nation can be made rich. He takes a glance at the American Indian, where, he says, every man makes his own house, his own weapons, does his own hunting, and cooks his own food. As opposed to Western Nations such as England, which are of course much more wealthy. One man makes houses, another makes guns, and so on.
Smith worked off of and in a way began the systematic train of thought for capitalism as a system of economics. His opposite number, Carl Marx, had the exact opposite idea of economics. Marx, rather than in believing in nice orderly, and neat ways of doing things, with everyone specializing in something they were good at, and enjoyed, he wanted, according to the famous Manifesto, riots, smashing of the machines and property of the rich, and constant battles between the rich and poor.
Marx and Smith’s ideas were both experimented with in the best of laboratories, the real world. Marx lost badly. His legacy is the now fallen Soviet Union, the country so weak they couldn’t even win a Cold War. Smith has for his legacy the thriving Western World, the inventors of iPads, cars, light bulbs and baseball.
So if there is any question now, in the Great Game between Barak Obama, the Leader of the Free World, and Vladimir Putin, the Strong Man of Russia, about whose side has the moral high ground, and the better ideas, there should not be. The West read The Wealth of Nations, the East seems to have all read Marx’s Capital. One side is rich and getting richer, the other side can’t even pretend to keep up.

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cold War II

The August 4th edition of Time magazine was entitled “Cold War II. The West is losing Putin’s Dangerous Game.” Of course almost everyone is aware by now that many consider Russia a prime suspects for at least indirectly facilitating the loss of Flight 17 over Ukraine. Even as everyone seems to be scrambling to slap sanctions on them, Russia seems to be walking away from the West, and no longer needing them. Saying “you can’t trade with us” only works as long as they care, and Russia, it seems, is moving closer and closer to not caring.

They are creating their own protections and alliances for themselves, and doing all the sorts of things that a former superpower that is struggling currently would need to do to be able to live relatively independently of the established culture of the West.
International Diplomacy can be something like a chess game. Not everyone is very good at chess. (Some people are terrible at it.) We once had a Cold War, and millions of people died. Recently a high ranking Russian official said that we are starting a second Cold War. The First Cold War we managed to get out of without blowing ourselves up. But it seems that in the Great Game this time, the Russians are the White Pieces, and currently have a move up on us.
Some find consolation that we survived before. But then, leading up to World War I there were also quite a few close shaves before the actual firing started. Putin has begun playing a new game, and if a good response is not given we could go from starting Cold War II to beginning Hot War I, and, according to the analysts, there would not be many people around to start a second one.
However, we do not need to go around screaming our heads off and diving under desks in fear of “THE BOMB.” God is still in control, and he promised Noah, when only he and seven others remained, crawling out of their boat after the first apocalypse, that he would never again destroy mankind. That’s comforting. Even more so than bomb shelters.

Andrew C. Abbott

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Rules For Patriots

Camp Maranatha, NE – Saul Alinsky, the influential left-wing author, wrote, in 1971, a book that was to be his final and the most effective in the organizing of the radical left wing ideas. Rules for Radicals. The book’s content, leaning, and philosophy may be guessed by the dedication page. Saul D. Alinsky dedicated his book to Lucifer.

Consecutives currently do not have the White House, and the Democrats are considered the “majority party.” In an effort to combat left-wingism, syndicated radio talk show host, political consultant and activist Steve Deace wrote a book called Rules for Patriots.
I was able to meet the author a couple of weeks ago, and get a signed copy of the book. In it he has “ten commandments” for conservatives winning. Although the book is at too times harsh, and even the author of the forward found it overly so for him, the commandments, at least in the majority, are useful. They are:
·         Never Trust Republicans

·         Never Attack What You’re Not Willing TO Kill

·         Never Accept The Premise Of Your Opponents Argument

·         Never Surrender the Moral High Ground

·         Reverse The Premise Of Your Opponents Argument And Use It Against Him.

·         Never Abandon Your Base (Unless They’re Morally Wrong.)

·         Define Your Opponent Before They Define Themselves, And Define Yourself Before Your Opponent Defines You

·         Always Make Your Opponent Defend Their Record/Belief System.

·         Stay on Message

·         Play Offense

Of all of them, most of which I can agree with at once, I believe the last is most pertinent. Play Offense. You cannot win war very well by doing nothing but defending. Unless of course you are happy where you are. If you are, there is no place on the front lines of anything for you. But if you really feel like doing something, and if you really feel like winning, Play Offense.

Andrew C. Abbott

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Kearney, NE – The famous essayist and writer of satire from Scotland, Thomas Carlyle, sat at a dinner party one day when someone, possibly annoyed, chastised him for talking constantly about books. “Ideas, Mr. Carlyle, ideas, nothing but ideas!” The Satirist in him came out at once. He replied “There once was a man called Rousseau who wrote a book containing nothing but ideas. The second edition was bound in the skins of those who laughed at the first.”
Ideas are powerful things. They make some men rich, and send others to their deaths. Some men put their ideas into books, which are lauded, and they are asked to speak everywhere, because of their ideas. Some men are ran out of town, shouted down and persecuted for even whispering their ideas. Some men, because of their ideas, no matter how good, even how perfect, have in the end been crucified.
Today, in a country halfway around the world from where I am now, two groups, the Israelis, and Hamas, clashed again. Almost fifteen-hundred people have died in the last twenty days from rockets, attacks, and shelling. And all because of a disagreement over ideas.
In the Gaza Strip there was an attempt at brokering a cease fire for seventy-two hours so the civilians that live on the strip could have some much needed relief. It worked well for about two hours, before falling apart. Now more people will die.
Disagreements over ideas are about as old as the world, when Satan disagreed with God who should sit on the throne. They fought a war over that. People are still fighting over their disagreements. In congress it is “should it be this fix to the immigration crises or that one.” In Hamas and Israel there are a dozen things to argue about, including “should the blockade be lifted?”
Often, one side does not know the others ideas. It is a tragedy, but true. Often in America, with all the media noise, the right and left still have no idea what is going on on the other side. I have never heard of a war won by an army that had no idea who they were fighting, and what their weapons were.
Those are there weapons. Those powerful ideas. And yet again and again people keep marching out not knowing what the other side has. And the bad guys usually are not even hiding it. So if you are going to go up against someone, know their ideas first. It can help you win. Don't just laugh at them, you might end up as book binding.

Andrew C. Abbott