Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Memo to Hillary Clinton

To:              The Honorable Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

From:           Doug Page, freelance writer, blogger, registered

Date:            June 18, 2014

Re:              Iraq

Dear Madam Secretary:

You better be texting POTUS about this situation, telling him to
make damn sure he doesn’t lose Baghdad to those crazed terrorists
in the ISIS.  If you're not, you’re hardly a serious contender for
becoming the next president of the United States – book or no book!

Sure, the Iraq War under President George W. Bush wasn’t popular
but if Baghdad falls on President Obama’s watch, the former president
will look like the best commander in chief since Ronald Reagan.

The average American voter will see in the Democrats exactly what
you don’t want them to perceive – a political party so run by its
peaceniks that it’s prepared to surrender any ally, even questionable
ones, to anyone, including a band of renegades who, according to
The Economist, make al-Qaida look reasonable.[i]

Anyone associated with the Democratic Party, regardless of what
office they’re running for this year or two years from now, will be
considered suspicious on national security.

Including you if you’re the Democratic presidential nominee!

Say what you want about national security – that it’s only near and
dear to the Tea Party and other assorted right-wing extremists – but
if the ISIS wins in Iraq, enough Americans will feel threatened to
prevent you from winning a key state, like Ohio or Michigan, and
sending the Republican presidential nominee into the White House.

In fact, the next time you speak with President Obama, you might tell
him that if he doesn’t save Baghdad, Jeb Bush may be the biggest
beneficiary. Not only will it elevate his candidacy for his party’s
presidential nomination it will also improve his chances of winning
the general election in November 2016.

And if Baghdad goes down, it could put you in a very uncomfortable
position, one likely not seen since Hubert Humphrey ran for president
in 1968.  You’ll be forced to distance yourself from the White House.

Like Humphrey, it's highly unlikely you'll be considered believable
since you worked for President Obama.  Most American voters won’t
be able to separate you from him.

Don’t forget Benghazi.  Any fall of Baghdad piles onto that situation,
making you look less credible on national defense.

Finally, you need to control the far left in your party, reminding
them the world is filled with danger.

As British historian Jeremy Black reminds us in his book, War and
The New Disorder in the 21st Century, “One prediction seems safe:
talk of obsolescence, even end, of war will prove misplaced, and will
be mocked by the rictus on the face of the dead.”[ii]

[ii] Jeremy Black, War and The Disorder in the 21st Century, London: Continuum, 2004, page 173.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Desperately to the demagogues

History shows that when people think times are desperate – like they did in Germany in the early 1930s, or in Russia during World War I, and Americans right now, which is why U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va) lost his party’s nomination to a Tea Party candidate last night – any demagogue will do. 

So it’s no wonder that people in Massachusetts, upset as Margery Eagan says they are (Boston Herald, June 10), think the fanciful, emotional-laden proposals of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) will save them.[i]

The Massachusetts Miracle is long gone and, according to two different studies, one from a UCLA professor and another from United Van Lines, which studies where people are going since they’re in the business of moving them, the Bay State ranks 8th among states that people are leaving.[ii][iii]

This means the remaining Bay Staters, especially the middle class ones, might face an increase in their state taxes because there are fewer citizens to pay the state’s bills.  As always, the rich can afford the advisors who tell them where to hide their money. 

Massachusetts’ biggest industries – the ones that drive the economy – says one state government website, include advertising, architecture, financial services, information technology, life sciences, fishing and renewable energy.[iv]

None of them are about to put the middle class, like Joe and Josephine Six Pack, back to work because, with the exception of fishing, they all require considerable amounts of education.

To put Joe and Josephine back to work – or give them opportunities to earn more money – the state needs more employers.

But the only thing in the hopper to improve the state’s economic woes is a proposed casino for either Everett or Revere and that’s not looking so good.

What Gov. Deval Patrick and his cohorts need to do – and where Senator Warren could stand out – is to start attracting more businesses, like manufacturers, which have traditionally employed the middle class.

More regulations might make some of Senator Warren’s constituents feel good – we showed them, damnit! – but let’s call it what it is:  A full employment program for college-educated regulators in government and college-trained lawyers in private industry to make sure their clients are following the rules.

It doesn’t do a thing for the Six Pack family.

I spent nine months in Texas in the mid-80s.  Every time I turned around, the governor or a mayor was on an economic development mission to sell the state or their city as a place to do business.

In other words, they wanted a company’s jobs in Texas because they knew something that appears to escape Bay State politicians:  More jobs will beget more jobs.

That mission continues to this day, with The Washington Post reporting recently that Texas has done an outstanding job of producing jobs that are equitable across the pay scale.[v]  In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Texas’ unemployment rate of 5.2 percent[vi] is lower than that of Massachusetts’ 6 percent.[vii]

Tragically, for the Bay State, there’s something in the DNA of its public servants. They don’t give off any signals they’re interested in new businesses moving here, unless it’s a quick hit, like the possibility of hosting the Winter Olympics in 10 years in Boston, or has the potential to addict, like casino gambling. 

So it’s no wonder, as Margery Eagan says, people in Massachusetts are upset.  Their junior senator is so angry and distracted with Wall Street and big banks that she hasn’t the time to do the one thing that will help the Six Pack family – making the Bay State business friendly so jobs that may very well employ Joe and his wife are created here.