I Met The Swamp And It Is Us

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So with the election came promises (and hope to some) to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C. and beyond. 


That means redefining the size, scope, and purpose of federal government.


It also means reducing regulations that stifle American business and competitive advantage, placing restrictions on lobbying, and imposing term limits on Congress.


Presumably, it also means addressing mounds of fraud, waste and abuse in the system (many examples of each are out there).  


So here is a funny true story from when I was traveling recently…


A gentleman is riding with me in the elevator and he turns to me to make chit-chat. 


He says, “Good morning. Where you from?”


I smile and respond, “Washington, D.C.,” and add proudly, “the nation’s capital!”


He then asks, “What do you do there?”


Feeling a little perky that morning and with the elevator ride about to come to a stop at the lobby, I quickly blurt out, “Oh, cleaning up the swamp.”


To which, the man responds with the sarcasm galore and probably a good dose of disdain, “Yeah right!” 


There was something so comical about this scene in which I sort of baited this guy and at the same time found the reaction that is all too likely throughout America.


Do people believe and are they committed that we really do the following:


– Change the status quo of big stumbling government


– Right the wrongs done by those who take advantage of the system, its power and big money


– Restrain the ginormous national debt that threatens to consume all of us


– Fairly and compassionately address the nation’s priorities including those for national security, prosperity, and well-being


– Drain the swamp from the horrendous creatures that dwell and thrive therein


And the capital is not built on a preexisting swamp, but it did come and grow, man-made, dark and deep, as a result of the greed and fear that drives too many, far too far. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Can Take The Man From Washington

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Wow, it just seems like there is no getting away from Washington, D.C. politics!


Even here in beautiful Florida, I ran into this caricature of former President Obama in some street art downtown.  


Man, isn’t it enough that he empowered the Axis of Evil Iran and North Korea; left Syria and Ukraine to rot in bloody civil war and to kneel beneath the will of the Russians; ignored the Sino military buildout in the South China Sea, was lax on radical Islamists, ISIS, and global terrorism; abandoned America’s allies Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the gulf nations; and let’s not forget that he literally doubled our national debt to $20 trillion!


What was once an admirable Democratic party is still reeling today from the embrace of leadership from behind, disengagement, weakness, and blatant anti-Semitism. 


Like Forrest Gump says, life is not a bowl of cherries or box of chocolates, especially when failed leaders do the wrong things and hurt the country and their party. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Nuttiest Duck In DC

Just when I thought I’d met all the nuts in this town (Washington, D.C.)…


I ran into this one in the Capitol Reflecting Pool on the Mall. 


Check this out!


The duck is head first waddling away it’s feet in the air like a lost puppy.


Reminds me of too many folks who don’t want to deal with the many consequential problems that our nation faces (fortunately, there are also many good folks that do!).


From the imminent dangers of North Korea, Iran, and ISIS to our staggering national debt (all of which I wrote about yesterday) along with other critical issues such as healthcare, immigration, and jobs, jobs, jobs. 


Then there are the all too frequent projects that are out of control and funding that is flushed down the proverbial $4,000 toilet. 


A history of dysfunction, fraud, waste, abuse (along with an assortment of personality disorders) have ripened for the picking in the election famous “Swamp”–that we’ve been promised will be drained!


Maybe that’s what this duck is wading into…and what do you think he will find? 


This nation can no longer afford to go head in the sand unless we are looking to be a good-for-nothing dead duck rather than a thriving democracy and beacon of freedom to the world. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal

Nation In Denial

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We are a nation in utter denial over our problems.


Just to name a few…


Whether from the threat of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, who smiled while displaying a video yesterday of nuclear missiles destroying the USA.


To the shooting death of three in Fresno, CA yesterday by a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” that was deemed not a terrorist attack.


To our national debt of $20 trillion which quadrupled in just the last 15 years under the administration of both political parties.  


Unfortunately, denial is still alive and well, while smiling photos of the North Korean dictator adorn the light poles outside the capital of the USA.


We don’t like to admit our problems be it from despots threatening us with WMD to global terrorism that gives us no peace, and a mammoth debt that is sinking our national economic sustainability.


Smile for the camera!


Don’t worry about big problem-solving. 


What we don’t admit can’t hurt us or can it?  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Budget Cuts Conundrum

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So I’m hearing two opposing themes about the proposed federal budget cuts:


1) It’s horrible because we are cutting into the bone and this is going to really hurt a lot of important government programs.


2) It’s great because we have been spending money that we don’t really have, and we need to finally reign it in. 


Let’s face it, we’ll never get such drastic cuts across the civilian government unless this country goes into severe crisis mode–which never happens until it’s too late and something terrible has happened. 


If we even got half the cuts being proposed–which most people don’t seem to believe will even happen–that would be significant and painful itself. 


The truth of the matter is that we are facing enormous danger on both the national security and financial fronts!


– Militarily–Russia, China, Iran, North Korea pose huge threats including those involving weapons of mass destruction. 


– Financially–We have a serious national debt to the tune of $20 trillion, an annual trade deficit of half a trillion dollars, and social security and medicare trust funds that are going bankrupt. 


If we let these threats run their course, we will eventually have a crisis that will be truly nationally catastrophic. 


So what’s it gonna be–guns or butter–or national bankruptcy. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Bombs But No Strategy

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So the good news is that we have killed about 45,000 ISIS terrorist fighters.


The bad news is two-fold:


First, there are still roughly 15,000-30,000 remaining and more being recruited all the time. 


Second, it took us 49,315 bombs dropped over two years to do this. 


So we are averaging less than 1 kill per bomb!


Sure, we are also hitting other targets like oil and gas infrastructure and tankers.


But about 20,000 of the munitions dropped are GPS precision-guided (e..g Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Small Diameter Bombs, and Hellfire Missiles) and have cost $2 billion!


That comes out to a cost of around $45,000 just for just 40% the bombs to kill each and every ISIS terrorist, and doesn’t even include all the extensive military infrastructure, planes, intelligence, and people. 


And this is just a super tiny drop in the bucket compared to the $4-$6 trillion that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after 9/11, has cost just through 2013


–That represents between 20-30% of our our entire $20 trillion national debt!


At this rate, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and the other terrorists may simply be able to cause irreparable damage and even bankrupt America.


How long can we afford to fight these extended and expensive wars against terrorism and never seem to even win–what’s the strategy here? Is there one? 


(Source Photo: here with attribution to vaXzine)

Just Cut It Out

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What a way to handle global leadership…all you have to say is,  just “Cut it out!” and your job is done. 


– Cyber attacking the U.S. democratic election, invasion of Crimea, and encroaching on NATO with nuclear capable missiles…just cut it out! 


– Vast destruction of Aleppo including hospitals, schools, and markets, killings, refugees, and humanitarian crisis, and the dangerous use of chemical weapons on civilians…just cut it out!


– China stealing our drone and militarizing the South China Sea…just cut it out!


– North Korea testing advanced nukes and ballistic missiles capable of reaching Europe and America and threatening to use them…just cut it out!


– Iran taking our sailors captive, humiliating them, buzzing our warships, and violating the nuclear arms deal…just cut it out!


– Abandoning our friends and allies and befriending our enemies sworn to kill us and not even being able to say the words, “Radical Islamist”…just cut it out!


– Spiraling divisiveness, rioting in our inner cities, and cycles of racial and police violence…just cut it out!


– An unsustainable Obamacare with double digit rising rates and decreasing insurance choices (many localities with only 1)…just cut it out!


– Doubling of the U.S. national debt by another $10 trillion and enacting regulations that are strangling business…just cut it out!


– Endless ISIS and other terrorist attacks (yesterday on Berlin, Zurich, Turkey and more) and calls it “workplace violence” or a traffic accident…just cut it out!


Anyone who says that now “We’re feeling what not having hope feels like,” truly must be referring to where we come from and not where we are going.


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)