Iraq: Oh the Mess We Have Made

Posted by Frankly Francis on June 20, 2014 under Social Issues/Politics | Be the First to Comment

Let me relay to you a conversation that occurred not long after Iraq War I – Desert Storm, but well before America toppled Saddam Hussein:  This was told to me by a stand-up guy regarding a talk that he had with a Prince of the royal family of Kuwait. He asked the Prince what he thought of Saddam Hussein. The Prince said that he thought Hussein was a very bad man, but the only man that could rule Iraq and keep it in check. My guy was more than a little surprised to get this answer. My guy pointed out that Saddam Hussein had invaded the Prince’s country, raped its people and destroyed many things of value. The Prince acknowledged the heavy price paid at Hussein’s hands, but reiterated that Saddam Hussein was still the best man for the job for all concerned.

Now let’s go forward to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and the others…all of whom could be tried for war crimes in my opinion. They lied about the weapons of mass destruction – there weren’t any. They lied about Muslim Jihadists being supported by Iraq – there were none (at least there weren’t until we showed up). They asked us, the American people, to believe them in this. Most of us did. Our Republican and Democrat representatives told the administration “bombs away.” The Senate voted 77-23 while the House voted 297-133 in favor of the Iraq War Resolution.

 

Hussein Toppled

 

I remember watching Colin Powell present the administration’s case to the United Nations. Powell was a man that I respected, and still would like to respect, but he really looked strained and uncomfortable making his argument…the way people look when they are saying something they do not believe, but feel compelled to say it anyway. Whatever his reasons, he supported the wrong cause.

 

Powell UN

 

We were told if we didn’t want another imminent 9/11 on our hands that America needed to make a pre-emptive strike against Hussein. From my knowledge of history, virtually all pre-emptive strikes are framed in this manner to justify the action, but the underlying reality is sinister and self serving. We, the People, got swindled by our elected representatives. It was a cowardly act of war – one that will probably shame us forever.

 

Mission Accomplished

 

Funny too in that we had unprecedented world support before we turned our guns on Iraq. What a waste of goodwill.

Now I am hearing self righteous sabre rattling from the chicken hawk right. Now I am hearing “we don’t get fooled again” from the progressive left. Now I am hearing we were never fooled and we told you so from the libertarians.

Personally, on the record, I was opposed to our offensive war against Iraq. The subsequent facts reinforced my belief established in the ‘60’s about our government, which is: the only thing I can believe from our government is that I cannot believe our government.

But I am personally troubled because of one pretty significant reality: We did this thing to Iraq. We created this mess. I do not think that this can be disputed.

For your consideration, like it or not, do we have an ethical obligation to clean-up the mess we made even though we were lied to?

 

Iraq War Cost

 

Benjamin Franklin said, “Wars are not paid for during wartime, the bill comes later.” Though I am far from an expert on the sectarian issues in Iraq, whether we own up to what we did or not, we will probably be paying that bill forever… one way or another.

Frankly,

Francis

I, Libertarian

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 9, 2012 under Social Issues/Politics | Be the First to Comment

In the interest of full disclosure, and as a self diagnostic, I must start by saying that I am a pre-disposed individualist, never much of a joiner, always a rebel of the status quo, never politically correct, and always as true to myself as I can be.   And in spite of how my perspective may sound, I do not take myself too seriously.  Dear Reader, you would be well advised to not take me too seriously either.

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect” – Mark Twain

And I must also say that I enjoy freedom of thought and ideas.  I believe that diversity is the thing that makes us the strongest.  So while we may disagree in our beliefs, I welcome discussion that is contrary to my own values.  I am pretty sure that when we interact that way, we are all the better for it.

I was Once a Young Man

While the Vietnam War was going on, I began to suspect that the American ideal I had been trained to believe in was not being practiced.  I took particular interest studying the historical pathway of humanity in learning to live together.  I realized just how revolutionary the Declaration of Independence was.

What a lucky break for me to be born when and where I was!  But when I looked around at my fellow Americans, very few seemed to get it.  And “it” can be best described this way:

“There are those who would say that the liberation of humanity, the freedom of man and mind, is nothing but a dream. They are right.  It is the American dream“- Archibald McLeish

Such a powerful and wonderful thought.  How few of us that have ever revolved around the sun on this planet have had this opportunity?

Instead, I watched America reverting to a centrally controlled government with aspirations of ruling the world, while subjugating its own citizens.

“Don’t it always seem to go, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” – Joni Mitchell

In the midst of this, I stumbled upon the Libertarian Party.

My first formal exposure occurred when I made an exploratory phone call to the office of the NYC Libertarian Party.  It started off this way:

Frankly Francis: “I’m interested in learning about the Libertarian Party.  What can you tell me about it?”

Libertarian Representative: “Basically, we want to do some good before we become corrupt.”

I appreciated the forthright honesty.

Actually, I was Intrigued

I learned that libertarians take the Constitution really seriously.  Seriously…really seriously.

“We may be tossed upon the ocean where we can see no land – nor, perhaps, the sun or stars.  But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey.  That chart is the Constitution” – Daniel Webster

The Libertarian Party motto is:

The Party of Principle: Minimum Government, Maximum Freedom

This suited me well.  Upon further study…

I Became a Libertarian

I remember back, over 25 years ago, when I spoke with people about my libertarian point of view, those little few who knew about libertarian philosophy laughed at me.  Those who didn’t laughed at me when I explained its tenets.

I was a real mirth maker back then, spreading joy to all of those around me.

And there is inherent off-beat humor in being of the libertarian persuasion – the Libertarian Party is an oxymoron.  As libertarians are, by their very core beliefs, individualists, I think that one of the biggest challenges libertarians face is being part of an organized group, even their own political party.

Some Libertarian Perspective:

If I were to apply Occam’s razor to libertarianism, I would describe it thusly:

“My right to throw a punch ends at your nose”

First and foremost, my life is mine to do with as I please, provided that my actions do not infringe upon anyone else’s rights.  Like most of our Founding Fathers, I believe that everyone is better off when the individual is valued over the group.

Government is a Necessary Evil

Libertarians are not as naïve as some claim – I know that there are no utopian solutions, but when government’s purpose is limited to protecting the rights and property of the individual, I believe that humanity will have made the next great leap forward.

“What’s so funny about peace, love, and understanding?” – Elvis Costello

I confess to being an idealist who would rather be considered a resident of planet Earth than an American.  But until such time as that is practical, I believe that our military should be so strong that no one would be stupid enough to attack us on our own soil.

“Let my actions speak so loudly that no one can hear my words” – Marv Levy

I don’t think that we need to evangelize ourselves to the world.  If we have a compelling way of life, our example will be enough for others to want to adopt it.  I suspect that this is where organized religions get it wrong; they spend too much time selling their product rather than living it.

We just need to be what we say we are.

The American Government is the Best Government…That Money Can Buy

We would be so much better off with a free market economy fairly regulated by government.  Don’t be deceived however; America has nothing resembling a free market economy.  And don’t be further deceived, the government does not fairly regulate the economy – it plays within it and gets bribed by big business.

I Love Competition

An even playing field of fair competition brings out the best in each of us and for each of us.  And as a consumer, I love competition because I get the best value for the least price.  It leads to new life improving developments…who isn’t in favor of new life improving developments?

Capitalism is the natural by-product of liberty that allows each of us to be whatever  we choose to be.

Live and Let Live

And we need to grow-up a bit.  While I do not advocate drugs, prostitution or gambling, none of these are criminal acts.  Nor is government the authority over marriage or civil unions.  Let’s get over it.  Government has never been able to legislate morality, nor should it; we each need to do that for ourselves.

More Government?

In recent times, we have endured the “War on Poverty,” “The War on Drugs,” the government’s intervention into healthcare, the bail-outs of government’s good time business buddies, undeclared wars that clearly violate the Constitution, government openly stealing from us by devaluing the dollar, along with foreign policy actions that breed terrorism, enabling the government to strip us of our essential rights.

“I place economy among the first and most important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers to be feared.  To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.  If we run into such debts, we must be taxed in our meat and drink, in our necessities and in our comforts, in our labor and in our amusements.  If we can prevent the government from wasting the labor of the people, under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy” – Thomas Jefferson

I confess that I am stupefied by the prevailing belief that more government is the solution, based on the actual results of government’s actions.

But We Digress…

Our founding was labeled “The Great American Experiment” and it did, for fact, produce the best standard of living in recorded history…until we somehow decided that the experiment was no longer worthwhile.   We chose the intoxication of other ideals.

We let our government take over the spirit and law of our Constitution.  That’s what governments do.  I am not saying that it is right; government can’t help it.  Like all other biological and social organisms, government lives to grow for its own purposes.  Its growth has become cancerous.

Using “The New Deal” of the 1930’s as a baseline, it has taken us about 80 years to clearly devolve from the intent of the Declaration of Independence.

If we could even possibly re-boot America, it might take even longer to dial back what has happened.

But I don’t think that is in the cards for America.  America has gone empire, and I am pretty sure that there is no coming back from that.  No empire ever has before.

Though humanity is becoming more humane, the pathway has not yet been linear.  And it has at times been downright ugly.  But if we do not socially evolve through America, I do believe that humanity will utilize American principles in some other place, in some other time in a better way.

But We Go Forward…

or

“You can say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” – John Lennon

Unlike decades ago, hardly a day goes by when I don’t run into the word “libertarian” in the media.  There are now libertarians hosting national TV and radio talk shows.

Perhaps it’s not too little, too late.  In the past, due to the largess of my vanity, I have said that I look forward to saying that I was a libertarian before it was cool to be a libertarian.  Maybe I will get the chance.  It really doesn’t matter; vanity certainly never does.

So We Close…

But don’t kid yourself, there is a real battle going on right now:  Will we be a centralized corporatist state or the land of the free and the brave?  Will we continue on our empire course or will we be good neighbors to the rest of the planet?  Will the government continue its quest to control every aspect of our lives or will we reclaim our unalienable rights, among these, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

Frankly,

Francis

 

Suggested Reference:

The Declaration of Independence

http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

The Constitution of the United States of America

http://www.constitution.org/constit_.htm

Be careful of this – if you answer the 10 questions you might find out you are a libertarian too.  The World’s Smallest Political Quiz:

http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz

Libertarian Party website:

http://www.lp.org/

Suggested Reading:

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds – Charles Mackay

The March to Folly – Barbara W. Tuchman

For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization – Charles Adams

Free to Choose – Milton & Rose Friedman

How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World – Harry Browne

Libertarianism in One Lesson – David Bergland

Libertarianism: A Primer – David Boaz

The Revolution: A Manifesto – Ron Paul

It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong – Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Why Government Doesn’t Work – Harry Browne

What It Means to Be a Libertarian – Charles Murray

The Libertarian Reader – David Boaz

The Great Libertarian Offer – Harry Browne

(Re) Legalize It

Posted by Frankly Francis on December 3, 2011 under Social Issues/Politics | 4 Comments to Read

OK, it’s time for my periodic plea for us to come to our senses when it comes to our never ending “War on Drugs.”

But before I begin, it is essential to state that my beliefs on this topic stem from the knowledge that the right to my life is mine and mine alone.  Along with that comes the right to make choices for myself, the consequences of which I also bear full responsibility for.

The Declaration of Independence clearly states that I have inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Most, if not all, of the major religions are based on the concept that people have free will and therefore must make decisions for themselves of eternal consequence, which is a pretty heavy responsibility.

I concur with the words of one of my favorite authors:

Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffers, not the state – Mark Twain

Back in the early 1970’s, I thought it only a matter of time before marijuana was re-legalized.  A short matter of time.

A Couple of Serious Facts:

Marijuana has never been proven to be addictive.

There has never been a documented death due to marijuana use.

Could we say the same of widely accepted alcohol use, which is arguably the most dangerous drug of all?

The Social Cost

It has been said that smoking marijuana is a victimless crime.

As I understand criminal acts, there needs to be a perpetrator of the crime and a victim of the crime.  This makes sense, right?

So when a person goes to jail for smoking marijuana, then the person is both the perpetrator and the victim.  This does not make sense, right?

In fact it makes as much sense as the tabloid headline I once saw in a supermarket checkout line:

Siamese Twins to be Executed for Murder – One Says, “But I Didn’t Do It!”

American jails are filled, and many in them are incarcerated for non-violent drug use or possession.

It’s like sending children to live with pedophiles.  They live with and make friends with murderers, rapists, muggers and robbers.  They probably forfeited their personal property to the government in the process.

It’s costly to house an inmate in a jail.

And they come out with knowledge and skills they didn’t have when they went in…

As a society we pay a steep price because trading in drugs, due to demand and its illegality, is very profitable.  This leads to organized crime syndicates and violence in our communities, along with police and government corruption.

The organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) has this to say:

We believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes marijuana worth more than gold, and heroin worth more than uranium – while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

We believe that by eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law enforcement could focus more on crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated assault, child abuse and murder, making our communities much safer. We believe that sending parents to prison for non-violent personal drug use destroys families. We believe that in a regulated and controlled environment, drugs will be safer for adult use and less accessible to our children. And we believe that by placing drug abuse in the hands of medical professionals instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce rates of addiction and overdose deaths.

This comes from an organization of individuals involved in law enforcement…

I suggest you read it again.  And maybe once more.

The Economic Cost

These are tough economic times.  Our government has run up debt that our children and grandchildren will not be able to pay back.  Some gift to our kids.  Cutting expenses and adding income should be of paramount concern.  We could achieve significant budget cuts to law enforcement agencies, the courts and the prison system, not to mention increased tax revenues from users and sellers if marijuana were re-legalized.

What About the Trees and Our Environment?

It has been widely speculated that marijuana became illegal at the behest of big business.  This is not the result of capitalism; it is the result of corporatism where business connives with government for control of a market segment.  I maintain that the American government is the best government…that money can buy.

Jeffrey Blum, an associate professor of law, in response to a request from a federal judge, contends that a significant reason for making marijuana illegal was to protect the interests of the paper and synthetic fiber industries from competition with hemp producers.

It has been calculated that hemp can produce, acre for acre, four times as much paper pulp as trees.

Bye-Bye Trees, Bye-Bye Rain Forests…

Hemp has many uses according to Hemp USA:

Hemp can be used to produce a very large variety of products from clothing to paper to building supplies to cars to fuels to food products to much, much more. Some people have called hemp the plant of 30,000 uses because it combines the utility of the soybean, the cotton plant and the Douglas Fir tree into one green package. Hemp is an environmental, renewable, reusable and recyclable resource.

Notable People Are More Openly in Favor of Re-legalization

While it goes without saying that many in movies, music and the arts, such as Tommy Chong, are publicly calling for the end of pot prohibition, there are a growing number of people, such as television host and activist Bill Maher, former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, mega-businessman Richard Branson, author Stephen King, and congressman Ron Paul, who have joined the ranks.

Eve Conant writes:

Certainly, the Republican Party is a long way from becoming the Pot Party. Although a handful of conservative thinkers like Milton Friedman, George Shultz, and William F. Buckley have argued the merits of legalization over the years (Buckley even mocked those who called marijuana a gateway to addiction, saying it was “on the order of saying that every rapist began by masturbating”), most Republicans still oppose the idea.

These are influential people even if most Republicans still oppose it.  And to be fair, how many Democrats are openly calling for re-legalization?  Only the growing Libertarian Party openly supports re-legalization.

She continues:

Pundits like Fox News’s Glenn Beck and former judge Andrew Napolitano have also joined in the debate, on the pro-legalization side. “You know what, I think it’s about time we legalize marijuana. Hear me out for a second…” Beck told viewers in April. “We have to make a choice in this country. We have to either put people who are smoking marijuana behind bars, or we legalize it. But this little game we’re playing in the middle is not helping us, is not helping Mexico, and is causing massive violence on our southern border.”

I can’t say I am a fan of Mr. Beck, but he has that right.

In Closing

We each have a right to what we put into our bodies – will you continue to be told what you can and cannot do with your body?

You can bet that the mob and the cartels don’t want to see marijuana re-legalized – will you continue to support them?

Allowing hemp to be grown is much better for the planet than cutting down trees – will you continue to support environmental destruction?

American drug policies defy every sensibility when you look at the big picture.  They cause so much harm in so many aspects that I think future generations will be puzzled by our point of view.

Let’s change this.  Let’s grow-up.  It may not be a great leap forward, but a leap forward nonetheless.

Frankly,

Francis

References and Reading:

http://norml.org/

http://www.leap.cc/

http://franklyfrancis.com/?p=217

www.hempusa.org/hmps/articles/hempuses.html

http://www.voteindustrialhemp.com/

http://www.squidoo.com/famous-people-who-support-marijuana-legalization

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/10/25/the-conservative-case-for-legalizing-pot.html

http://www.friendsofcannabis.com/directory/

When You Touch My Liberty (Don’t Touch Me There)

Posted by Frankly Francis on November 21, 2010 under In The News, Social Issues/Politics | 5 Comments to Read

There’s much being made about having your privates groped or doing a radiated digital strip tease in order to board an airplane these days.  Emotions are running high on both sides of the issue.

Has it really come to this?

So how did it come to this?

Social and political issues are not typically one-offs.  They are usually part of an intertwined pattern of events and circumstances… actions and reactions.

This is how I sort it:

America has had its hand in foreign countries for a long while now.  Post World War II, American foreign aid in rebuilding decimated nations and economies was certainly noteworthy.  America was viewed pretty well throughout the world.

It went to our heads.

We decided that we knew better.

We felt a deep obligation to mold the world in our own image.

America began meddling in affairs of other countries using money to get its way, commencing military affairs and even using black ops assassination teams.  We began an all out effort to deploy our military everywhere.  We propped up tyrants at the expense of their citizens.  We became involved in combat operations all over the place.  America made a pre-emptive strike against Iraq.  From there we began openly utilizing methods of interrogation that involve torture.

Some people do not like being subjected to the atrocities committed by their puppet government held in place by the Americans.  Some people resent the fact that American military actions result in the deaths of their innocent loved ones.  Some religious folks truly believe that American presence on their soil is sacrilegious to their beliefs.

Some of all of these types of people had their lives so shattered by American actions in their lands that they vowed to make America hurt.  Terrorism resulted.

That’s the way it works – you get in somebody’s face, they get back in yours.  Guaranteed blowback.

For the record, I strongly condemn the initiation of violence.

Well as it turns out, we still have this wonderful, if not completely forgotten and misused document known as the constitution which very clearly states that the federal government is responsible to the people for the defense of America – note the word “defense.”  It also clearly states that Americans cannot be subjected to unreasonable search.

We the people need to understand that when we gave up our liberty, the terrorists won.

Now try this on:

Isn’t it ironic that when America is the world’s most powerful country, that we are actually more at risk and more afraid to live on our own soil?  All of our great power and force has only brought violence directly to us.

Here’s Bill Bonner’s take:

We’ve never been mistreated by an agent of the TSA. Bullied, yes. Threatened, yes. They’ve been impolite on occasion. We’ve been patted down so vigorously we didn’t know whether to leave a tip or lodge a complaint.

But we try to maintain a sense of humor.

“The trouble with you, is you just don’t get it,” said a paranoid friend lately. “Can’t you see? This TSA has nothing to do with keeping out bad guys. It’s about keeping us in. They’re not really there to make the airlines safer. Instead, it is just a preparation. They are getting Americans accustomed to following orders, standing in line, and acting like half-wits. They are also training up a whole class of goons. These guys don’t ask whether it really makes sense to pat down girl scouts and look at old ladies naked. They just do whatever they’re told to do. And they probably enjoy it.

“There are always some people like that – ready to be concentration camp guards and exterminators. The TSA program helps the authorities identify these people.”

“Why”” we asked.

“Who knows…maybe they just want power. Maybe they just want a docile population so they can do what they want.”

A few years back we took a family trip to NYC.  We were selected for the enhanced search.  As American citizens with no cause for suspicion, I was humiliated when I saw my nearly 80 year old mother-in-law’s arms out in the “airplane” position.  I understood how the Nazis pulled off the Holocaust.

I get the feeling that a lot of people are under the mistaken impression that submitting to the government mandates is necessary for the privilege of flying.  But Americans never sacrifice their constitutional rights to the government.

As bizarre as it seems today, in truth, it is the government’s obligation to protect our rights – not take them away.

When you board a plane, if you have not given the authorities reasonable grounds to search you, then they cannot legally search you.  It’s that simple.  It really is.  Seriously, it really is.

And I don’t want to hear that tired line, “if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear.”  The very existence of that line gives one much to fear.

If you believe that the government’s rules and actions are protecting you, I would respectfully ask you to think that through again.

I’ve heard some comments from those in support of cooperating with invasive body inspections that if someone doesn’t want to go through the procedure, that’s OK – they should take another mode of transportation.  I would suggest that if you are willing to give up your liberty by complying with unconstitutional actions then it is you who should find another mode of transportation.

Don’t let them touch your liberty.

Frankly,

Francis

P.S. I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the following demonstration of the radiation strip scanners, but on the surface it seems reasonable.  Be forewarned that it is graphic and should not be watched if you are sensitive to reality.

 

Cuba

Posted by Frankly Francis on September 16, 2009 under In The News, Social Issues/Politics | 3 Comments to Read

Cuba Map

 As each President before him has, President Obama renewed the U.S. Trade Embargo with Cuba the other day.  I am reminded that sometimes bigger problems are more easily resolved when smaller problems are dispensed with.

So, let me suggest that we get rid of one needless albatross around our neck – our foreign policy towards Cuba.  It is beyond overkill when one considers our relationship with China.  We deal with the Communist Chinese, why not the Cubans?

History
Since the Spanish-American War, we have incessantly meddled in affairs of state in Cuba.  I’m not apologizing for America in this regard, but I’m not sure that history speaks all that well of U.S. actions during the last century.  We have, in effect, laid siege upon Cuba in the hopes that if we could deny them enough quality of life type things, they would, in their hunger and despair, rid themselves of their form of government.

What They Did
The installation of a communist government was of great concern and then the missile crisis really freaked us out.  Perhaps they killed JFK?  And of course, they have not had the courtesy to convert to a democratic way of life or at least overthrow Fidel Castro’s regime.

What We Did
Our communist phobia (indeed a serious matter) has led to disproportionate treatment of our neighbor in the Gulf of Mexico.  Naturally, CIA sponsored assassination attempts, support of overthrow efforts, such as The Bay of Pigs Invasion, along with the trade embargo leave the Cubans in the arms of their socialist comrades.  Hello Hugo Chavez!

So?
We should get over it.  I think it is time we put the past behind us and once again become good friends with the Cubans.

If the Cuban people dealt with American tourists and benefited from trade with America, things would change favorably.  Let’s whip some American capitalism and dollars upon the Cuban people and see what that does to their hearts and minds…

Havana at Night

Cuba has been a much loved place by many Americans.  In the past, Havana rocked.  American writers, especially Hemingway, certainly were fans.   Not to mention that I Love Lucy’s Ricky Ricardo is from Cuba.  Babalu!  And then there are those Cuban cigars.

Frankly,

Francis

The Drinking Age

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 17, 2009 under Social Issues/Politics | 8 Comments to Read

Every state in the union has decided that you must 21 years of age to purchase and/or consume alcoholic beverages.  How did this event unanimously occur amongst 50 states that have some substantial differences in their laws?  As I understand it, the federal government decreed that if any state’s legal drinking age was below 21, that state would not receive any federal funding for its highways.  Federal coercion and extortion!

Here’s what you can do at age 18:

You are expected to vote for your elected officials, and from an American national perspective, vote for a President who can wage nuclear war upon the planet.

You can join the military armed forces and by doing so, be committed to accepting orders that will result in your death, under penalty of court martial.

You can you enter into legally binding contracts and loans.

But you are not considered by American society to be responsible enough to buy a six-pack of beer.

At the time that I tuned 18, I could legally purchase alcoholic beverages in the state of New York.  Moving forward a couple of years, I am 20 years old, a few months away from my 21st birthday.  I am in the State of California where the drinking age was then 21, as it now is on a national basis.  I am in the United States Air Force.  I am married.  I have a child.  I vote.  I can’t buy a beer.  This could not seem more ridiculous to me at that time and it still feels completely ridiculous to me now.

So, if I were 18 years old today, I would really be pissed.  I think it is illogical.

Ponder this and then Please, Seriously:

Don’t let a kid be legally obligated to die in military service if he/she is not responsible enough to buy a beer.  Don’t let a kid be legally obligated to a contract if he/she is not responsible enough to buy a beer.  Don’t let a kid vote if he/she is not responsible enough to buy a beer.

Let’s get it right, one way or the other.  Few things seem simpler to me, one way or the other.

Frankly,

Francis

Energy Independence Uber Alles!

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 10, 2009 under Social Issues/Politics | 3 Comments to Read

Amongst Other Options...

Amongst Other Options...

There is no greater priority; Energy Independence is my Number One issue.  Actually, now that I think of it, Energy Abundance would be even better.  We could trade our surplus energy to a world in fast growing need of it.  Trade balances would quickly swing our way for a long overdue change.

And let me give you my point of view straight-up: Energy self-sufficiency is more important to me today than clean emissions.  I’m willing to gamble that if we can develop the technology to become energy independent, we will have no trouble developing the proper ecology cleansing technology as well.

Note also that I strongly believe that we should be a good neighbor on the planet that we inhabit.  I hope it won’t be too long before we all readily agree that throwing pollutants into the planet is just as dumb as throwing waste on the streets where we live.

Nietzsche said, “From chaos comes order,” which I consider a semi-no-brainer.  I would counter it with, “From chaos comes profit.”  One person’s waste may profitably be another person’s living.

Lack of geographical frontiers can be potentially deeply vexing to our species – this is really the first time in recorded history that there are no more readily available lands to explore and inhabit.  So we must change our focus to other frontiers.  This may be the most wonderful time in our history to be American.

T. Boone Pickens is sure behaving like an American!  And I’m glad that he is fundamentally a cowboy, whether he is right or wrong.  Let’s bring on more Yankee Ingenuity.

President Kennedy boldly asserted in the early 60’s that we would land a man on the moon before 1970 – a goal that was pretty far fetched at the time.  The nation became properly challenged and powerfully motivated.  We did it.

Lincoln asserted, “No man stands still, he either moves ahead or falls behind.”  I believe Honest Abe was correct in that observation.  So it is true with nations.

In conclusion, I do not suggest the foregoing to push for an isolationist future; I just think that we should not be dependent upon other earthlings.

Frankly,

Francis

John Stewart On CNBC & Financial Advice

Posted by Frankly Francis on March 9, 2009 under In The News | Read the First Comment

 

 

I’ve been suspicious about the sage financial advice provided by the media, especially from people that yell a lot.  The Daily Show’s segment (above) confirms my cynicism.

I am amazed that the media, and the government as well, can so easily get away with such abuse of fiduciary responsibility.  On the other hand, it doesn’t seem that the American people really care about it either…Could there be a connection?

Frankly,

Francis