Marshall in the Middle

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Censorship of Thought Blocks Effective Governing

 By Chuck Marshall
(This post takes under 3 minutes to read)


   
     As I have written this blog over the past several years I've always tried to see both sides of any  point of view.  Sometimes, I really don't, for example I never understood President Obama's reluctance to call Islamic terrorists, Islamic terrorists.  If they terrorize people and they are doing it in the name of Islam, then the term seems appropriate.   From the other side, I still get frustrated that "climate change" (previously referred to as Global Warming)  is considered a "scam" by the right.  I don't see why scientists would lie about it.   I am somewhat cynical towards the matter mainly because the media has picked up on "climate change" as a sure sign of the end of times and their vapid hysterics has caused me to reconsider the matter.  I never hear more evidence, only hyperventilating when we have hurricanes.  My experience has been that the Media will hide facts that question climate change if they should dare to arise from anyone.  There has been no open debate.  If you question it then you're an idiot.  Therein lies one of the most troublesome issues of our day;  the partisan media and their decision that they are to form the thoughts of the masses rather than inform us and let us make our own minds up.   I still believe climate change is an important matter to be researched and studied but I do understand the cynicism as well.

     The loss of trust in our news providers over the last several years is a great tragedy and one of the reasons I write this blog.  What drives me is the truth of matters and filling the gaps of truth in the news stories of the day.  That is why I've had over 50 letters published in the Orlando Sentinel because I catch the gaps of logic and/or honesty and they acknowledge the fact (kudos to the Orlando Sentinel, by the way,  for at least hearing me out !).  Most people are not inclined to exert effort regarding political issues because they have their own interests and passions and who has time to decipher the veracity of what's in the news ?   I love politics because I see the power that would come from a government that's well run,  so I'm  inclined to scrutinize their mutterings.   We will never have a well run government  if we continue to hear half truths and outright lies from those we've entrusted with our attention. 

     Today I think it's safe to say the media (with the big exception of Fox News) is very much tilted to the left and I am not going to elaborate on that because I've written about it several times in this blog.  Keep in mind I am not referring to cable news shows that are focused on opinions,  I am talking about news and concerns of the day.  I am also talking about social media like Facebook and Twitter where the opinions of conservatives are being muzzled as the news has indicated this past week.  One of the biggest disappointments this past few years has been how little the left considers that their counterparts on the right are not being allowed to express themselves fully and fairly.  If you believe in what you say then you should be open to the opinions of the other side.  Anything else is a form of tyranny and will only hinder our voyage to finally grasping the elusive "effective government" that I think we all crave. 




   

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Age Of Incompetence; Russian Policy

By Chuck Marshall

(This article takes under two minutes to read)



     Our "Age of Incompetence" has had some fascinating stories, however the hysteria over Russia and Trump's clumsy approach to working with our never-ending adversary was one for the books.   The core of the hysteria is that Trump commented that he believed Putin over our 19 secret service agencies regarding Russia tampering with our elections.  After all, the secret service has never been wrong about anything.  Except perhaps the Weapons of Mass Destruction which I guess all  19 of our secret service agencies were  "sure" were being hidden in Iraq.  This "assurance" from all 19 secret service agencies sent us into an invasion of Iraq that would end up costing  thousands of American  lives and costing our country several Trillion dollars.  Did Iraq have weapons of mass destruction ?  No.  How could that be, they're never wrong?   Anyway, Trump walked back his comments.  Probably because now there are 19 secret service agencies that have a bone to pick with him.  At the end of it all, much of the media is still trembling over the whole thing because they're so convinced Trump colludes with Russians and now, here we have evidence because he met with Putin and was nice to him !

     So ridiculous I just had to write a letter to the paper about all this, and once again the Orlando Sentinel indulged me by printing this rambling letter.   The ending ran into another letter so  I finish the last sentence by typing it in below.  I think more people should write,  people gotta speak up !   Thanks Orlando Sentinel !


........Putin to his face.  Chuck Marshall, Clermont-- 
Printed July 19, 2018 





Friday, July 13, 2018

You're Paying for the Defense of Europe

By Chuck Marshall

(This article takes approximately 3 minutes to read.)



          I, like many Americans was shocked to hear President Trump speak with such venom regarding the lack of money being submitted by our "allies" across the Atlantic for their own defense.  If you're not familiar, NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is a consequence of the aggression of Russia (the Soviet Union) after WWII towards Western Europe.  Today the members include many countries of Eastern Europe that were once a part  the Soviet Empire, so it's a growing group that "rankles" the Russians.  The mission of NATO states that "an attack on one of us is an attack on all of us".   NATO was established in 1947.  There are now 29 nations that are a part of NATO.  These are our allies and all that is very good.  It is a good organization for maintaining the peace.

     After Trump used such heavy handed, and admittedly rough language I got to wondering what the details of the situation were.  In an unusual moment of naivete, I decided to google search the term NATO Trump and "surprise, surprise" the mainstream media was having a hysterical fit over Trump's language towards our European allies.   "He's lying" they kept saying and their hatred for the man was hardly containable so much so that they spent a lot of effort elaborating on how the other leaders body language revealed that Trump was "distancing" our country from Europe and he was left behind speaking to the leader of Turkey (?) while the group walked, "like an outcast high school student" (yes, they really used that term).    I wish I could go to the news media and get the information I need without having to google search the details and understand the story.  It's up to us to sort it all out because we're living in the "Age of Incompetence".   I finally googled "USA Financial Contributions NATO", and one of the first things to come up was an article by CNN MONEY from July 2016 listing out how out of balance the NATO contributions are.  Their own article supports what Trump is saying today !

       Anyway, we Middle class Americans are generally too busy making a living and taking care of our families to be obsessing with global politics enough to understand the nuance of how NATO works.  Trump said "They aren't paying their fair share" and "they owe us", which technically is NOT true but if you're explaining what's going on to most people in a 3 minute news clip, this is the only way to communicate the facts.  He isn't speaking to just the European leaders and the Anderson Cooper's of the world,  he's speaking to "Joe Blow".   I'm going to elaborate on this issue today because NATO funding is something I didn't understand either and I figure my loyal blog readers might gain something from it.  We're always seeking information and truth here at "Marshall in the Middle" ! 

     "So what's going on?" you ask.  There are two separate things.  The funding of NATO itself is not a lot of money as it's simply to maintain the "bricks and mortar" of the HQ in Brussels, Belgium.  It  does run into a few Billion $$ per year.  The USA pays 22% of that.  That's for the organization that defends Europe.  We're not in Europe.

     The second thing is the actual armies. The defense of Europe through soldiers and guns falls on all NATO members.  Each member is  supposed to spend 2% of their nation's GDP (Gross Domestic Product, in other word's their economy's $$ volume of output) towards their OWN defense as a way of "doing their part", so to speak.  The graph above shows just how that's playing out.  The bottom line is that they aren't paying for their own defense.  They are leaving much of it up to the USA.  In addition, they haven't been paying their fair share for a long time.  The total is easily in the hundreds of billions of dollars, probably even Trillions if you go back to 1947 and include all countries involved.  So, when Trump says they "aren't paying their fair share" and that "they owe us" it is essentially true, but you see it's not technically true - the fact of the matter is there's no way to explain it without writing a paragraph like I'm doing here.  But, he's right !  The USA pays 67% of the total defense of  NATO in a sense because we're  paying for the military that is most likely to protect NATO;  the American military.  Last year, 2017 that figure was $664,000,000.   It can be said, that indirectly, the USA spent more for the defense of itself and Europe than all other NATO members combined.  Europe has 1 Billion people  USA has 320 Million, and once again, we're  not in Europe.  Finally, keep in mind the generous social programs of our socialist European friends.  I'm sure they can afford a lot of goodies since their military defense is not an obligation they need to concern themselves with.

     So, I'm all about defending the world's Democracies against tyranny and invasion and working to right all the wrongs of the world,  but that there is some "major bullshit, ya'll"......In My Humble Opinion. 


*MSM- Mainstream Media



Tuesday, July 3, 2018

American Borders - Declarations of an Independent


 By Chuck Marshall


       

                                                              


     This past week there was a massive protest all over the USA regarding immigration to the USA.    In a nutshell- the protests were aimed at the Federal government's policy of enforcing laws that dictate when an illegal family comes into the USA that the parents be separated from their children as the parents are processed for a court hearing.  Our immigration laws are very screwed up and these children are the unfortunate victims of the lunacy.

     Here are some facts regarding Immigration all Americans should probably know.

     1)   Over 75% of immigrants in the USA came here LEGALLY.  They waited their turn, that includes my wife.  Do you know the anger you feel when someone cuts in line in front of you and gets away with it ?  That's how my wife sees illegal immigrants.  They're cutting in line in front of people who are going through the legal process to immigrate to the USA.

     2)   The law being protested by all these Democratic leaning protesters was written by a Democratic congress and signed by a Democratic President. They're literally protesting their own law.  The protesters are really angry at Trump because he's enforcing their law !  Oh My God !

    3)  Why write a law if you have no intention of enforcing it ?  The answer is either incompetence or mischief and with today's Congress it's almost always both.

     4)  Legislation making our immigration laws more sensible, fair, understandable, and responsive while still protecting our country's sovereignty is the goal.  Congress legislates.  It's Congress we should be shouting at, not the President.

     5)  There is NO country in the world with "open" borders.  The reason for borders is to maintain the safety, spirit, unity and ambitions of a country's citizens.  If you don't have borders you don't have a country.   We should have open borders like we should leave the doors of our homes and businesses unlocked at night and then expect to wake up with everything being just "fine and dandy" in the morning.

     6)  The United States has the largest immigrant population in the world at 45 Million.  Of that,  there are 11 million that are NOT legal.   So, the USA is not against immigrants.  It's actually very welcoming to immigrants, unless they're illegal.  The rule of law matters here.  Read number 7.

    7)  The United States is a Republic, not a Democracy.  The idea behind a republic is that if everything blows from public opinion as in a true Democracy,  you essentially have "mob rule".  Mobs do not rule.  They dictate, threaten, and often get violent with spittle flying out of their "mouth- breathing" faces.  If you don't like a law then elect leaders that you think will change the law.  That's  how a Republic works.   Screeching at the President and "racist America" is futile to the ends you pursue.  In fact, it would be easy to argue that it actually hurts your cause.

        What's the solution ?  Compromise between the parties and  a new logical law written by Congress.  It's really not complicated but in today's hyper-partisan environment, there is no such thing as logic.  The Idiot parties, as in most problems of our country today,  are totally ineffective at governing.  So, really the solution is to neuter the parties and remove them from power.  We deserve better than this.





Friday, June 22, 2018

Charles Krauthammer - A Voice of Reason


                       Charles Krauthammer- A Voice of Reason in our Age of Incompetence


By Chuck Marshall


     A voice of reason has passed away and gone to the ages.  Most political pundits of the day I have only a passing respect for, but Charles was a giant among midgets.  His comments were always slow, quiet and calm but with a great foundation of wisdom, wit, humility and intellect.  If you were not familiar with Dr. Krauthammer  you missed one of the greats.   The nation lost one of the few voices of reason in our "Age of Incompetence". 

      Overcoming a tragic diving accident  that left him permanently paralyzed while in medical school, he still got his medical degree without missing a beat- remarkably still finishing that semester of study !  Starting adulthood as a moderate liberal, Charles gravitated to a more conservative slant as he moved into his 30's.  In the 1980's he was the writer who penned the title "The Reagan Doctrine" on President Reagan.  So effective and impressive was Charles' commentary and writing that he was frequently mentioned by Presidents in comments to the press, as if to validate what they were saying.
   
     Always a classic conservative, Charles never really embraced the populism of the Trump candidacy and election.  I can totally relate to the puzzled alarm at the rise of Donald Trump.  It was  comforting to hear his protests expressed so eloquently because he was expressing exactly what was going on in my own head.  His well thought out spring of opinions was crystal clear water that quenched a thirst for meaning in our ever changing world.  It's amazing how one persons opinion, how one person's words can affect us all.   It can calm nerves, clarify a subject, and even propel a new way of thinking for humanity itself.  Charles was one of those wordsmiths, those shining examples of kindness and decency that seems to have taken a vacation in our bewildering world.  Hopefully that decency has not vacated us for good, and we can look forward to more Krauthammers than not in the near future.

RIP Charles, you will be greatly missed and forever admired.