It’s No Fantasy – Spending Is The Problem

Small Snail FantasyThe federal government and the American people are 17 1/2 trillion dollars in debt (updated now to nearly $20 trillion), and climbing. This fact is behind Congressman Paul Ryan’s effort to balance the budget over 10 years and avert a inevitable disaster that will fall on America if the budget mess isn’t solved. Much controversy exists over whether he’s balancing the budget the correct way. Progressive democrats always argue for more taxes, which they call “revenue”. Conservatives contend that the government doesn’t have a taxation problem it suffers from a gross overspending problem. A few common examples prove that the conservative position is precisely right.

Most Americans live with a modest income; as of June 2013 the median household income in the US was $52,000 a year. Somehow they balance their budgets on that salary. There are many examples however of highly successful people making far more money and yet they end up bankrupt. A short list includes: Sir Elton John, Warren Sapp, Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, MC Hammer, and Mike Tyson. How is it possible that these people who each earned millions of dollars in some cases hundreds of millions of dollars could end up penniless?

One has only to look at Americans who live happy and blessed lives on modest incomes to realize it’s not how much they earn that’s the problem. They quite simply spent more money than they earned. If you earn $50 million per year, but spend $70 million a year, you will go under. That same spending mentality would exist if that same person raised their income to $70 million a year, because they would also increase their spending and would likely spend $90 million a year. The United States behaves the same way. We still have a massive deficit this year despite the record tax revenues the IRS is raking in.

We have a federal government, and politicians who run it that would overspend any amount of money that they get their hands on. We do not have “revenue” problems anymore than Elton John or Mike Tyson had revenue problems. Our country is bankrupt, and they declared bankruptcy, because of gross over spending. It’s that simple!

Obama’s Foreign Policy Challenge

Capital Building, Washington D.C.

Capital Building, Washington D.C.

President Obama largely gets a pass on his domestic policy. He receives near unlimited top cover from the American “Minion media” and pop culture who restate and reframe his mistakes, and distort legitimate policy and ideological criticism. Why are things so different on the foreign policy stage?

First, the fawning adulation President Obama receives from the domestic media is largely missing in the rest of the world. In fact it’s often the case that you’re better off following BBC reports to get accurate coverage of U.S. domestic news than reading the NY Times or watching CNN-NBC-CBS-ABC!

Second, President Obama and his foreign policy team are out classed. President Obama learned his leadership skills at ACORN. He’s up against people like Vladimir Putin who were schooled by the KGB, or the Iranian Ayatollahs. This is the equivalent of pitting a pop warner football team against the super bowl champions. President Obama has a ruthless streak, but it only comes out when dealing with the GOP, conservatives, TEA Party Patriots, police or Americas allies. The latest embarrassing example is the President’s bullying attacks on Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. When it come’s to America’s enemies, his ruthless streak is Missing In Action.

Third, President Obamas domestic adversaries play by the rules. They obey the laws and adhere to basic rules of decorum. Obama is more and more unilaterally re-writing laws, ignoring those that he doesn’t like and using executive orders and regulations to create laws when he can’t get them through Congress. His latest power grabs include using the FCC to control the Internet, and ATF preparation to ban ammunition, in violation of the 2nd Amendment. America’s international adversaries don’t play by the rules, and it seems that Obama can’t keep up, anticipate or deal effectively as a result.

Progressivism is a kindred ideology to communism that seeks a lesser degree of the same, authoritarian government.

Applying the US Armed Forces Principles of War to Preserving American Liberties

The principles of war constitute the framework from which all military operations should be modeled. These principles represent the combined lessons learned from wars, campaigns, battles, and military theorists across recorded history. Adherence to the principles of war won’t guarantee military victories, but failure to follow them will almost certainly result in defeat. Conservatives (i.e. Freedom loving Americans) and the Republican Party need to learn from these same military principles, peacefully apply them to defeat progressives and their Democrat Party, and use them as a critical strategic component to return Constitutional freedoms to the American people.

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy (Picture from Defense Industry Daily)

Lockheed C-5 Galaxy (Picture from Defense Industry Daily)

JP 1: “War is socially sanctioned violence to achieve a political purpose. War historically involves nine principles, collectively and classically known as the principles of war.” (I-3).

JP 3.0: “Joint operations doctrine is built on a sound base of warfighting philosophy, theory, and practical experience. Its foundation rests upon the bedrock principles of war and the associated fundamentals of joint warfare.” (I-1)

Principals of War:

  1. Objective
  2. Offensive
  3. Mass
  4. Economy of Force
  5. Maneuver
  6. Unity of Command
  7. Security
  8. Surprise
  9. Simplicity

Joint Principals (recently added):

  1. Restraint
  2. Perseverance
  3. Legitimacy

Objective JP 3.0 “The purpose of specifying the objective is to direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and achievable goal.”

The principal of objective is perhaps the most frequently violated by the Republican Party. One of the biggest critiques of the Republican Party is that they don’t stand for anything anymore.

What is the Objective of the Republican Party? It should not be to imitate the Democrat Party. Its objective should not include supporting the same goals of the Democrat party when they go in opposition to the Constitution, liberty, freedom and the history of this nation.

The objective of the Republican Party should be to protect the American people, and their liberties. It should be to seal the borders, to stop Obama care at all costs. Its objective should be the uncompromising protection of the Constitution. It should be championing the fight for sound fiscal policy, balancing the budget and strengthening the economy.

The objective of the Republican Party should be farsighted to protect the uniqueness of the United States and to never allow its corruption and metamorphosis into the types of socialist or authoritarian governments that exist in so many other countrie on earth. Objective is critical and it must be clear because no one will rally behind a cause that they can’t see or do not understand.

M50A1 Ontos - US Marine Corps Museum, Virginia

M50A1 Ontos – US Marine Corps Museum, Virginia

Offensive: JP 3.0 “The purpose of an offensive action is to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.”

Another heavy critique of the Republican Party and its candidates is that they are always reacting to democrat policies, their crisis of the day, i.e. “Mountains” and stay bogged down on the defensive.

The American people don’t even care about most of these.

Republicans need to seize the initiative and maintain the offensive.

When polled, comprehensive immigration is a priority for only a small percentage of Americans, so why is Congress pushing so hard to pass it? The answer is that Democrats are on the offensive, moving to secure their agenda and the Republicans in Congress are left to react.

Instead of playing that game, Republicans should be taking the offensive, creating “win-win” arguments, and forcing the issues that clearly lead to their objectives. Sen. Cruz established such a win-win argument in his plan to defund Obama care by attaching its funding to the debt crisis and government shutdown fight. His position is to fund all of government except Obama care which is highly unpopular. This strategy forces Democrats and President Obama to either defund Obama care or they shut down the government in order to fund it. This is a win-win for Republicans and the American people, and a lose-lose for Democrats.

Mass: JP 3.0 “The purpose of mass is to concentrate the effects of combat power at the most advantageous place and time to produce decisive results…Massing effects of combat power, rather than concentrating forces, can enable even numerically inferior forces to produce decisive results and minimize human losses and waste of resources.”

Tea Party Rally in Washington DC, 10 Sep 2013

Tea Party Rally in Washington DC, 10 Sep 2013

Mass is probably the easiest principle of war to describe in the context of political activities. It’s clear that in an election whichever candidate or party masses the most voters at the polls is going to win an election. It’s also clear that in representative bodies such as the US House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate whichever party can mass the most representatives or senators to vote in favor of their agenda will win.

What’s less obvious is the impact of mass on swaying the opinions and ultimately the votes of elected officials. It was the massing of grassroots Americans flooding phone banks, sending emails, writing letters, and interacting on social media that stopped the anti-gun effort earlier this year.

Mass as a concept does not necessarily mean that you outnumber your opponent. What mass means is that you are able to assemble your forces at the right time, and at the right place to overwhelm your opposition. It’s clear that the left employs this principle very effectively. Poll after poll shows that the liberal and progressive percentage of US population is a minority, at best 30%. Those same polls also show that Americans who consider themselves conservative range closer to 40%.

The effectiveness of the progressives and the left is that they mass a smaller number of people in large campaigns to present the impression that they are much larger in number than they are. Conservative organizations, such as the TEA Party, need to use the principle of mass in the same way.

Obama care was nearly stopped dead in its tracks due to an overwhelming tide, a mass, of American grassroots anger flooding Capitol Hill. The result was that not a single Republican voted in favor of the law. It’s highly unlikely this result ever would’ve occurred if not for the grassroots uproar. Sadly, an inability to mass a majority of votes in either the Senate or the House resulted in its passage.

Mass applies to financing, as well as people and votes. Financing allows the massing of media in the right markets at the right times and with the right messages. It also allows the massing of voters in get out the vote campaigns. The explanations in the applications of mass are innumerable, but you get the point.

Economy of Force: JP 3.0 “The purpose of economy of force is to expend minimum essential combat power on secondary efforts in order to allocate the maximum possible combat power on primary efforts…Economy of force is the judicious employment and distribution of forces.”

Economy of force is an interesting principle of war to apply to politics. A very strong case can be made that the efforts of liberals and progressives in the left has been to overload the rest of society on so many fronts, and in so many areas, that they dilute the ability of conservatives and Republicans to respond. The effect is to make economy of force extremely difficult.

The challenge to conservatives and Republicans is to prioritize, to choose the fights that matter the most, and to focus their efforts on winning those fights. By going on the offensive, choosing the battles to wage and the time and place that they get fought, the principle of economy of force can be employed and in so doing put the left on the defensive.

Maneuver: JP 3.0 The purpose of maneuver is to place the enemy in a position of disadvantage through the flexible application of combat power…Maneuver is the movement of forces in relation to the enemy to secure or retain positional advantage, usually in order to deliver or threaten delivery of the direct and indirect fires of the maneuvering force. Effective maneuver keeps the enemy off balance and thus also protects the friendly force.”

Maneuver enables both Mass and Economy of Force. Unions, Jessie Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition and Rev. Al Sharpton are masters of maneuver. Whenever they get involved in opposition to policy, or support for policy, the news cycle is consumed by their marches, picket lines, and blow horn speeches. They consist of relatively small numbers, but through effective maneuver, they can mass and appear much larger than they are. By taking over the news cycle, their positions are echoed across the country.

Unity of Command: JP 3.0 “The purpose of unity of command is to ensure unity of effort under one responsible commander for every objective. Unity of command means that all forces operate under a single commander with the requisite authority to direct all forces employed in pursuit of a common purpose. During multinational operations and interagency coordination, unity of command may not be possible, but the requirement for unity of effort becomes paramount. Unity of effort…the coordination and cooperation toward common objectives, even if the participants are not necessarily part of the same command or organization is the product of successful unified action.”

Unity of command is a difficult concept outside of the military. By its very nature, our society depends upon freedom of thought, unique thought, and the ability to openly express one’s opinion. In the military, unity of command is a much easier principle to apply and is a critical concept of military action. Failure to maintain unity of command compromises the ability to maintain a common objective and its cascading effects compromise many of the other principles of war. One of the tenants of unity of command is a concept called centralized command and decentralized execution. The theory here is that orders are relayed downward, but execution of those orders is left to the professionalism of lower-level echelons in military organizations. They are best able to analyze the fluidity of battle, the fog of war, and execute in a manner that achieves the overarching objective.

Unity of command requires leadership. Republicans have failed as a party recently because they don’t have people in leadership positions that can, or will LEAD. When they do have someone stand up and take the leadership mantle, like Senator Cruz, the establishment attacks them, and creates “disunity of command”. Republicans must stop eating their own and clearly define conservative, Republican Party objectives (defeating Obama care is supposed to be one). Stand up for those clear objectives, maintain core values and beliefs, and perpetually teach them to all Americans who’ll listen. This may not lead to pure military style unity of command, but it will create a surrogate, “unity of purpose”. Execution of that common purpose equates to decentralized execution and would go a long way to solidifying a Republican Party brand the American people would support!

Security: JP 3.0 “The purpose of security is to prevent the enemy from acquiring unexpected advantage…Security enhances freedom of action by reducing friendly vulnerability to hostile acts, influence, or surprise.”

Security involves keeping secrets, which politicians historically can’t do. Hillary Clinton’s home-brew email server is the most egregious example. From plans to elections to potential use of Surprise, its important to keep the opposition off balance and guessing. See discussion on Surprise.

Surprise: JP 3.0 “The purpose of surprise is to strike at a time or place or in a manner for which the enemy is unprepared…Surprise can help the commander shift the balance of combat power and thus achieve success well out of proportion to the effort expended.”

October surprises prior to elections, coming up with bogus crisis out of whole cloth i.e. making “Mountains Out of Molehills” progressives and the left are notorious for applying this principal.

Simplicity: JP 3.0 “The purpose of simplicity is to increase the probability that plans and operations will be executed as intended by preparing clear, uncomplicated plans and concise orders.”

Pardon the pun, but no Principle is simpler that this one to apply. Issues are hard to explain, and complex issues even more so. Don’t over-complicate them. Ex. Obama care is a disaster, crushing the American people, oppose it at every turn.

The worst violation of Simplicity in recent political history was the 2012 Romney Campaign’s get out the vote effort. Code named Project Orca, it was a complex, morass of organizing, training, information technology and massive failure.

Three additional Principles were added post 9-11 in JP 3.0 to define the Principles of Joint Operations. One, Perseverance, is responsible for progressives’ successes and must be a foundation of conservative response.

Restraint: JP 3.0“The purpose of restraint is to limit collateral damage and prevent the unnecessary use of force.”

This is the one principal that doesn’t fit well. If anything, Republicans are far too restrained. They allow themselves to be painted as extremists, and suffer from “moderates” like McCain and Graham who torch their own every chance they get. Republicans like Sen Cruz and Sen Lee understand the need to fight, and to show the American People that their representatives are listening to them.

Perseverance: JP 3.0 “The purpose of perseverance is to ensure the commitment necessary to attain the national strategic end state…The patient, resolute, and persistent pursuit of national goals and objectives often is essential to success.”

As discussed above, the progressive left has persevered across many decades to achieve their ideological dreams, and transform America. Conservatives and the Republican Party must take on the same long term, and I argue, perpetual, mindset.

Legitimacy: JP 3.0 “The purpose of legitimacy is to maintain legal and moral authority in the conduct of operations…Legitimacy, which can be a decisive factor in operations, is based on the actual and perceived legality, morality, and rightness of the actions from the various perspectives of interested audiences.”

Pretty simple here also. If you act in accordance with the US Constitution, you are by definition, legitimate. Anybody, or any policy that doesn’t, is also by definition, illegitimate. Support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. Legitimacy is assured when goals and policies are set in accordance with that oath. The TEA Party stands for this very ideal.

Chess Vs Othello, Critical Strategies of Right vs Left

I would like to propose a prism, or a tool, through which to view the activities going on in Washington, across the country and even across international organizations such as the UN. This prism is intended to force a very different perspective on how to assess what’s going on by providing a model which bins activities, laws, etc. into understandable strategic buckets. Organizations develop and use strategies to achieve their ends. Strategies serve as the blueprint for how organizations conduct their business, both near and long-term, fight to triumph over competitors, and act as flight plans for how they intend to get from where they are to where they want to be. Political parties, and even religious movements, are no different.

As I witness what’s going on in the United States, and internationally, there are two major competing strategies at play. In order to highlight those two strategies, I will discuss them using reference to analogous strategy board games, which constitute the model mentioned above. The first game is chess.

Chess Board

Chess Board

Let me say up front that I love the game of chess and hold it in high regard, but that is irrelevant in the context of this discussion. Chess is a Western game, and I would submit is analogous to how the Republican Party, its pundits, and organizations affiliated with it, approach politics, problems and solutions both at home and abroad.

Many people are familiar with chess and how it’s played, but for those that are not, please follow this link for a more in-depth discussion on the rules. Simply stated the goal within chess is to check mate your opponent’s king in order to win. Along the way, players attempt to eliminate as many of their opponent’s pieces from the board as required in order to checkmate their opponent’s king. It often makes sense in chess to sacrifice one of piece in order to take a more valuable piece, or perhaps several, from one’s opponent. Chess, then, is essentially a linear mindset game where players trade piece for piece, blow for blow, in an effort to weaken one’s opponent to the point where they can no longer protect their king.

Othello Board

Othello Board

The second game is Othello. I would submit Othello is analogous to to the strategy employed by the Democratic Party, its pundits, and organizations affiliated with it, approach politics, problems and solutions in the United States, as do a number of international actors. According to Wikipedia, Othello has its origins in China, as a simplified version of “Go”. As is the case with chess, follow this link for a more detailed explanation of the game.

In a quick synopsis, Othello begins with only four pieces on the board, whereas chess begins with every piece. Each player takes turns placing one piece at a time on the board, eventually filling it up. Unlike chess, where players remove their opponent’s pieces, in Othello the strategy is to sandwich an opponent’s pieces between two of one’s own, which then turns all of those sandwiched pieces into your own color, effectively converting them from enemies to allies. This game requires a much different strategic mindset than chess, as the game becomes ever more complicated as the board fills up. The complexity, of available moves decreases in chess as the board is cleared of pieces.

For those that have not played both games, you should! A few matches will serve to accentuate the applicability of these two games as surrogates, or models, for competing strategic mindsets in play today and in the recent past.

The purpose of discussing these two games is to show the differences in thought and the diversions of strategy between the Republican and Democratic parties, and show the advantage one has over the other. Imagine a chess match where two opposing players were using different rules, one player according to the standard rules of chess, the other was using Othello-based rules. Each time the player using chess rules captured an opponent’s piece; it would be removed from the board. In contrast, when the player using Othello-based rules captured a piece, they would replace it with one of their own color and continue the game. It wouldn’t take long before an overwhelming advantage developed that would make the Othello player nearly unbeatable.

That appears to be the situation that exists in the United States today politically. So long as the Republican Party and affiliated organizations play by a Western mindset and a chess like rulebook they will be at significant disadvantage to any organization, democratic or otherwise, that is playing by Othello rules.

A few examples will help highlight these distinctions and I hope provide a very different lens through which to assess political activities, successes and failures. This model also suggests long-term strategies and means of successfully countering an Othello-based strategy.

An obvious example of a chess strategy applied to the Electoral College and presidential politics involves focus on battleground states. Until a few years ago, the battleground states consisted largely of states like Iowa and Ohio, while states like Florida and Virginia were as solidly Republican as California and New York are solidly Democrat.

The chess strategy of the Republican Party has focused on fighting it out for the battleground states. In doing so they have conceded a large portion of the electoral votes to the Democrat candidate, no matter who they are. The Othello strategy of the Democrats has focused on turning pieces (states) that were once solidly red, solidly Republican, like Florida and Virginia, into battleground states, and their eventual intent is to turn them into solid blue Democrat states. In effect they are turning Republican pieces into Democrat pieces and winning the electoral game in the process.

There is discussion in the media today about Texas ever slowly creeping toward a purple state. This follows the Othello strategy. One has to wonder why there is no discussion of any blue states being discussed as turning purple and possibly read. The answer is the Republican chess mentality, which would dictate protecting your own pieces not changing those of your opponent. Instead, the Republican Party needs to adopt an Othello-based strategy to win turning blue states into purple and eventually red in addition to protecting red states and fighting for the battleground states. This may seem like a difficult task, and perhaps it is, but it is precisely what the Democrat party has been doing for years. The alternative is to continue to play chessand lose!

An addendum to the electoral discussion above includes the ongoing immigration debate. Politico had an article titled “Immigration reform could be bonanza for Democrats”, which argues that approving the immigration bill would in ten years, lock in the electoral college for Democrats for the next generation. This is untenable for the Republican Party. An Othello-based strategy would suggest that any immigration bill must require a solution to this voting block. It might suggest that as a penalty for violating US immigration laws, none of the 11 million illegal immigrants can ever vote. They can never become US citizens either. They can stay and work, but never get the rights of US citizens. If they don’t like the deal, then they are free to leave. The result would solve all the professed problems used by progressives to drive the immigration debate in the first place, without compromising the US electoral process.

Another quick example involves our children. A chess-based strategy for child rearing would suggest raising your own children, and instilling them with your values, which would result, all other things being equal, in political status quo. An Othello-based strategy would attempt to change that balance, which is precisely what occurs when the education system indoctrinates instead of teaches. The latest move requires five-year-olds to attend universal preschool. There can only be one reason, to change the political future by converting would-be republican minded children into liberal-minded adults.

There a many other examples of these two strategies, which I will highlight over time. I’d be interested to hear comments on my theory, and where you see them in play.

Update of Recent Othello Strategies In Play: