Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015


By Alan Caruba

We need to remind ourselves that Memorial Day is not just another three-day weekend or a day when all manner of sales are offered to those who want to go shopping. It is a day set aside to honor the ultimate sacrifice of those who have fought to defend our nation and take military action in foreign nations. We honor, too, those who suffered wounds and returned home.

We like to think of America as a nation that has gone to war only when we had to, but a new book, “America Invades: How We’ve Invaded or Been Invaded with Almost Every Country on Earth” tells a different story based on history.

As documented by its authors, Christopher Kelly and Stuart Laycock, America, “has invaded or fought in eighty-four out of 194 countries (countries recognized by the United Nations and excluding the United States) in the world. That’s 43 percent of the total. And it hasn’t been militarily involved with just ninety or a hundred countries. It has had some form of military involvement with a spectacular 191 out of 194. That’s more than 98 percent.”

“Most people,” the authors note “would probably agree that much of what America has done around the world has clearly been wise and noble (as in helping liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.) Some, however, have been wrong and/or unwise. And some of what America has done has been in-between. In some sense, it’s like looking at the history of one’s own family. And, indeed, all of it—the liberations, the fiascos, and follies—is, in some sense, part of the history of every American citizen.”

That’s why it is a good idea to pause on Memorial Day because as an American it is part of your history. “Americans are always hoping for peace but usually preparing for war” says the authors who remind us that “the American eagle is an ambivalent bird holding arrows in the talons of one foot and an olive branch in the other.”

Our natural instinct is for peace. Only aggressive nations, usually led by despots, want war. That is not a description of America. We have not, however, shied from war when the enemy was a well-defined aggressor.

“In the twenty-first century, the United States, though challenged by Russia and China, is the sole remaining superpower. The global responsibilities that we began to shoulder in the twentieth century seem today more burdensome than ever. The cost of being the world’s policeman seems exorbitant in terms of both lives and treasure.”

That’s why we need to remind ourselves that, as a former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, has said of America, “We are the indispensable nation.”

We have learned what happens when our President has retreated from the responsibility to deter war. Since leaving Iraq with no U.S. military ground support that nation which was stable at the end of our war there has come under attack by the Islamic State. The President’s efforts to reach a deal with Iran that would allow them to become a nuclear power is causing Arab states to regard the U.S. as abandoning them and could lead to a nuclear arms race in a part of the world that is far from stable.

The U.S. in the wake of World War Two has a vast network of bases and alliances that span the world. Many of those bases were created at the invitation of the host nation. The result, as the authors note is that “The U.S. military, but virtue of its global reach, is almost invariably the first to respond to natural disasters as they occur around the world. If not us, then who will?”

On Memorial Day we honor our sons and daughters who gave their lives when their nation called on them.

“Today the sacrifice of over 218,000 American servicemen and servicewomen is memorialized in military cemeteries in twenty-four different overseas cemeteries in eleven different countries. The boundaries of Jefferson’s Empire of Liberty, therefore, stretch around the world.”

We worry about the emergence of other world powers, but I doubt that Russia which lost 127 million of its people in World War Two or China which is focused on building an economy based heavily on world trade are serious wartime threats.

That does not, however, exclude the likelihood that events may cause the next President to conclude that the only way to put the lid on the Middle East is to return militarily to Iraq and to make it clear to Iran that its nuclear ambitions are untenable and unacceptable.

The ancient Romans knew a truth they share in the phrase, “Si vis pacem, para bellum.”  If you want peace, plans for war.

About the only thing that is predictable is that somewhere in the world there will be new wars and, given its power and its responsibility, America may well be engaged in restoring the peace.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thinking About China


By Alan Caruba

Napoleon Bonaparte purportedly said “Let China sleep, for when China wakes, she will shake the world.” 

As Thomas J. Christensen, the author of his recently published “The China Challenge: Shaping the Choices of a Rising Power”, reminds us, “For millennia China was arguably the greatest civilization on the planet and for many previous centuries its most powerful empire.”

China is no longer an empire, but it remains a huge nation geographically and huge in terms of its population.

From the website worldometers.info, we learn:

The population of China is estimated at 1,393,783,836 as of July 1 2014.
China's population is equivalent to 19.24% of the total world population.
China ranks number 1 in the list of countries by population.
54% of the population is urban (756,300,115 people in 2014).
The median age in China is 35.7 years.

Christensen is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Currently he is the William P. Boswell Professor of World Politics and director of the China and World Program at Princeton University. After reading his book, you might well conclude that there is little about China and Asia he does not know.

We are mostly dependent on various news stories about China to have any idea what is occurring, but the fact remains that just as the U.S. has its optimists and pessimists, conservatives and liberals who influence policy the same exists for China, so a lot depends on who is being quoted. Generally, though, it is only the top leaders who are. That means we are getting the Chinese “party line” and the occasional general or admiral warning against any aggression.

China did not begin to awaken as a modern nation until after the death of Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China, a Communist with a capital “C.”  Christensen notes that, while keeping its political ideology, the leader that followed him made a “peaceful transformation launched under CCP leader Deng Xiaopping in 1978 and the collapse of the superpower Soviet Union thirteen years later that made China appear to stand tall again among the great powers.” The transition was to a capitalist-based economy.

These days the Chinese and the Russians are making efforts to achieve areas of cooperation and, in particular, their militaries. They hold drills together for common defense strategies.

Christensen believes that “China’s return to great power status is perhaps the most important challenges in twenty-first century American diplomacy”, but to put that in context he points out that “China’s per capita income is only one fifth that of the United States” and “though a true trade superpower, many of its exporters are controlled at least in part by foreign investors.”

“Still, the pessimists do not give enough credit to the sustainability of U.S. leadership in Asia,” says Christensen. “For example, they often underestimate the value of American’s unparalleled network of allies and security partners.”  You can be sure that the Chinese leadership does not.

They also have, as one would expect, concerns about U.S. military power in their area of the world, but they feel the same about Japan and South Korea as well. “China is not currently an enemy of the United States,” says Christensen, nor is it likely to be for a long time to come.

“It does not need to be contained like the (former) Soviet Union. Nor should China become the kind of regional or global adversary that we have faced in the past, although that outcome, unfortunately, is still a distinct possibility.” That possibility depends on China’s leadership now and in the future. For now they are concentrating on their economy and are likely to do so for many years to come.
 
“China’s economic clout is real and growing rapidly, especially since the 2008 financial crisis. China has been the main engine of growth for the world’s economy since that time and, by some measures, has become the world’s number one trading state.” There is only one reason why the U.S. has not yet recovered from the financial crisis and his name is Barack Obama.

I suspect that Obama is held in disdain by the Chinese leadership despite all the public handshakes. For one thing, China weathered the financial crisis far better than the U.S. “One of the burdens the new Obama administration inherited in early 2009 was a China bearing a mix of cockiness and insecurity that would negatively influence its policies in 2009-2010,” says Christensen and as the U.S. foundered in Afghanistan and Iraq “American power inspired less awe.”

“Sometime in 2012, the ‘Asia pivot’” of the Obama administration “would be jettisoned in Washington for the more subtle ‘Asia rebalance.’”  If you get the feeling that the Obama administration has no real China policy or one that will have little influence, you are right.

With regard to China, It likely does not matter what the Obama administration does for its remaining one and a half years in office.

Various scholars and diplomats will continue to keep a watchful eye on China and most surely many corporate leaders and U.S. entrepreneurs will do so as well given its huge population as a marketplace. It’s already a great tourist destination.

Napoleon was right.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Slow Death of Common Core


By Alan Caruba

Think about the major policy undertakings of the Obama administration over the past six and a half years. It began with a “stimulus” that wasted trillions in the quest of generating jobs, but did little to nothing in achieving that goal. That was followed by ObamaCare which most agree has been a disaster for the nation’s healthcare sector and, finally, Common Core, a one-size-fits-all testing program intended, we were told, to improve learning standards in the nation’s schools.  The only thing it has achieved is the opposition of parents, teachers unions, and entire states.

In the April edition of The Heartland Institute’s School Reform News, one could find headlines that included “Arizona House Votes to Repeal and Replace Common Core”, “Arizona House Votes to Repeal Common Core”, ”West Virginia  House Passes Common Core Repeal Bill”, and “Ohio Bill Would Protect Students Opting Out of Common Core Tests.”  In March, some 19 states had introduced legislation to either halt or replace Common Core. Do you see a trend here?

One trend of significance was noted in a commentary by Jason L. Riley in the May 6 edition of The Wall Street Journal. “The Soccer Mom Revolt Against Common Core” cited a national poll released by Fairleigh Dickinson University earlier this year that put “approval for the new standards at 17%, against 40% who disapproved and other 42% who were undecided. A breakdown by gender had Common Core support 22% for men and only 12% for women.”

Perhaps the greatest surprise among these numbers is that the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Educational Association, as Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation noted in February “is no longer a cheerleader for Common Core national education standards.”  In a letter to the union’s three million members, its president, Dennis Van Roekel, took Common Core to task for its failure to even provide information for implementing it in their classrooms.  The American Federation of Teachers had raised similar concerns nearly a year earlier! 

Writing on September 2014, Joy Pullman, a Heartland Institute research fellow whose expertise is education held forth on the “Top Ten Things Parents Hate About Common Core.” Among them was “The senseless, infuriating math.”  “If Common Core hadn’t deformed even the most elementary of our math abilities so that simple addition now takes dots, dashes, boxes, hashmarks, and foam cubes, plus an inordinate amount of time”, you are not going to get the right answer.

Parents in growing numbers have discovered, as Pullman notes, that “when they do go to their local school boards, often all they get are disgusted looks and a bored thumb-twiddling during their two-minute public comment allowance.”  Pullman says, “The bottom line is, parents have no choice whether their kids will learn Common Core, no matter what school they put them in.”  That, obviously, is changing as state after state pulls out of the Common Core program.

In a new book by Samuel Blumenfeld and Alex Newman, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children”, Blumenfeld points to “Growing levels of illiteracy, plunging international rankings, the decline of critical-thinking skills, mushrooming decadence, mass shootings, and companies that can’t find the skilled workers they need—these have become some of the atrocious hallmarks of U.S. public schools.”

“Common Core schemers are engaged in what can only be described as consumer fraud with monumental implications for education and the future of America.”  The bottom line is that “the scheme was never field-tested before being foisted on America.”

There is no part of student’s education that Common Core does not impede or corrupt. In the area of science, Blumenfeld says “Instead of teaching children about science—real science—the standards will offer students a steady stream of controversial propaganda presented as unchallenged fact.” Regarding climate change “students will be required to learn that human activities are mostly to blame, even though this notion is disputed by countless scientists and a vast, growing body of actual scientific observational evidence.”

Closest to home are Common Core’s “National Sexuality Education Standards” aimed to begin the “sexualization of children in kindergarten” says Blumenfeld. “Is learning about ‘homosexual marriage’ before first grade in government schools really ‘age appropriate’ or necessary?” But it gets more radical “with graphic lessons promoting everything from masturbation and fornication to transgenderism and homosexuality.”

We shouldn’t be surprised at the backlash Common Core has received from both parents and teachers unions among others. Like the “stimulus” and ObamaCare, Common Core demonstrates a thorough lack of understanding of the values of individuality that have underwritten our nation’s free market economy, helped create a respected healthcare system, and which parents have expected the educational system to pass on to new generations.

Instead Common Core teaches collectivism—socialism—and degrades various elements of education from math to English to science.

It cannot be removed from our nation’s schools soon enough.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Stupefying Generations of Americans

 
By Alan Caruba

I used the verb “stupefying” to describe a long process in our nation’s schools that has produced several generations of Americans, dumbed down and resulting in more than half who are functionally illiterate, nor can do math, and, as a recent headline reported “Student’s Results in Social Studies Stagnate.”

“U.S. middle-school students’ performance on social studies didn’t improve much between 2010 and 2014, federal test scores released Wednesday (April 29) show, underscoring concerns about the uniformed citizenry and workforce.”  When it comes to U.S. history, the share of students scoring at or above proficiency last year was 18%, up one percentage point from 2010. In other words, over 80% failed to have a grasp on the subject, critical to every citizen’s understanding of U.S. history, its Constitution, and governance.

An extraordinary new book by Samuel Blumenfeld and Alex Newman, “Crimes of the Educators: How Utopians are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children” ($26.95, WND Books) should be the center of conversation for a nation’s media, but I suspect this may be among the few places you would learn about it. Blumenfeld has written ten books on education and Newman is an international journalist, educator and consultant.

What history does teach us is that progressives, also known as communists, have slaughtered millions in their quest to create the perfect society where everybody earns the same amount, thus abandoning them to equal poverty. To achieve this, it was necessary to exercise complete control over what the children learned and what the media shared as news.

Blumenfeld notes that “In the United States the socialist utopians adopted a new and unique method of conquering a nation; by dumbing down its people, by destroying the brainpower of millions of its citizens.” 

This was launched in 1898 by John Dewey, a socialist, and outlined in his essay titled ‘The Primary-Education Fetich.’  “In it he showed his fellow progressives how to transform America into a collectivist utopia by taking over the public schools and destroying the literacy of millions of Americans.”

“The plan has been so successfully implemented that it is now a fact that half of America’s adult population are functionally illiterate. They can’t read their nation’s Constitution or its Declaration of Independence. They can’t even read their high school diploma.”

This was achieved by changing how children are taught to read in our government schools. Previously the method was phonetics in which children learned the alphabet, the sounds the letters represented, and how in combination they composed words. The present method is called “whole word” in which the child must recognize the whole word without identifying its alphabetical elements. “That forces children to read English as if it were Chinese,” says Blumenfeld.

He notes that most teachers are unaware of what they are doing and most parents trust the public schools that are supposed to represent the cherished values of our democratic republic. “But the unhappy truth is that today’s public schools have rejected the values of the Founding Fathers and adopted values from nineteenth-century European social utopian plans that completely contradict our own concepts of individual freedom.”

Blumenfeld also identifies a fact that is hidden in the growing numbers of people who having passed through our schools or attending experience dyslexia and learning disabilities.  Brain scans have demonstrated this. Our schools are places where the answer to the normal child’s energy and curiosity is deemed being “over-active” and our schools “push various psychiatric drugs on millions of children by requiring them to take such powerful, mid-altering stimulants as Ritalin or Adderal to alleviate such school-induced disorders as attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs are as potent as cocaine and have even caused sudden death among teen athletes.”

“The long-term utopian plan required destroying America’s political, social, and moral culture of religious freedom, individual rights, unobtrusive government, and high literacy for all.”


That is a virtual definition of what has occurred in America today. We see it in the attack on religion, particularly Christianity, in America. We see it in the attack on traditional marriage in the name of the homosexual objective of “same-sex marriage.” We see individual businesses attacked for not wanting to give up their spiritual values and beliefs when challenged by homosexuals. We see it in the vast growth in the numbers of single mothers, often never married. And, of late, we see it in the obscene hatred being directed against our nation’s police forces.

The statistics cited in “Crimes of the Educators” have been published by Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education and they include:

Eighty-one percent of American 18 year olds are unprepared for college coursework.

More than 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school in four years; for African-American and Hispanic students, this number is approaching 40 percent.

Seventy percent of those in prison and 70 percent of those on welfare read at the lowest literacy levels according to the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey.

According to tests in 2012 given to 15-year-olds by the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, U.S. students were at 17th place in the world on reading, 29th in math, and 20th in science.

“These failures,” says Blumenfeld, “ are not the result of an accident. They are the result of programs created by the best-organized and best-paid educators on the planet. All of these programs that create failure were conceived to produce precisely the results we are getting.”

This explains, too, why many concerned parents have decided to teach their children at home while others spend their money to have their children tutored to overcome the damage of our public schools.

If you have looked around and thought to yourself that too many of the people who see, hear, work with, and who vote are dumb, you now know why.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

The EPA Myth of "Clean Power"


By Alan Caruba

There are many things I do not like about the Environmental Protection Agency, but what angers me most are the lies that stream forth from it to justify programs that have no basis in fact or science and which threaten the economy.

Currently, its “Clean Power” plan is generating its latest and most duplicitous Administer, Gina McCarthy, to go around saying that it will not be costly, nor cost jobs. “Clean Power” is the name given to the EPA policy to reduce overall U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. It is requiring each state to cut its emissions by varying amounts using a baseline established by the EPA.

Simply said, there is no need whatever to reduce CO2 emissions. Carbon dioxide is not “a pollutant” as the EPA claims. It is, along with oxygen for all living creatures, vital to the growth of all vegetation. The more CO2 the better crops yields will occur, healthier forests, and greener lawns. From a purely scientific point of view, it is absurd to reduce emissions.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal on April 22, Kenneth C. Hill, Director of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, said “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) set off a firestorm when he advised states not to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. Yet that advice isn’t as radical as his detractors make it sound. As a state public utilities commissioner who deals with the effects of federal regulations on a regular basis, I also recommend that states not comply.”

Noting its final due date in June, that refusal would impose a Federal Implementation Plan on states “that risks even greater harm,” said Hill. “But the problem for the EPA is that the federal government lacks the legal authority under either the Constitution or the Clean Air Act to enforce most of the regulation’s ‘building blocks’ without states’ acquiescence.”

As this is being written there is are two joined cases before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, State of West Virginia v EPA and Murray Energy v EPA. They are a challenge to President Obama’s “War on Coal” and the EPA efforts to regulate its use. Fifteen states, along with select coal companies, have sued for an “extraordinary whit” to prevent the EPA from promulgating the new carbon regulations found it the Clean Power plan.

Writing in The Hill, Richard O. Faulk, an attorney and senior director for Energy Natural Resources and the Environment for the Law and Economics Center at George Mason University, noted that “The EPA’s argument confidently hinges on convincing the courts that the Clean Air Act doesn’t mean what it says. By its plain language, the bill prohibits the EPA from regulating the power plants from which these emissions derive. Moreover, coal plants are already addressed under an entirely different section of the bill than the one EPA insists justifies its powers.”

The latest news as reported by Myron Ebell, the director for energy and environment of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, is that “Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) this week introduced a bill to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rules to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants. S. 1324, the Affordable Reliable Energy Now Act, has 26 original co-sponsors, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Democrat Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).”

“Both Majority Leader McConnell and Chairman Inhofe have said that they are determined to stop EPA’s greenhouse gas rules, so I expect quick action to move Capito’s bill.  In the House, a bill to block the rules, H. R. 2042, the Ratepayer Protection Act, was voted out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on 29th April and is awaiting floor action.”

It’s worth noting that, when Obama took office, fifty percent of America’s electrical energy was supplied by coal-fired plants and, just six years later, that has been reduced by ten percent. What kind of President would deliberately reduce American’s access to affordable power?

It’s the same kind of President that believes—or says he does—the pronouncements of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC’s “Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report” claims that world will face “severe, pervasive and irreversible damage” if coal-fired and other carbon-based—coal, oil, and natural gas—energy sources aren’t replaced with “renewable energy sources”—wind and solar—by 2050. It wants fossil-fueled power generation “phased out almost entirely by 2100.”  Now this is just insanity, unless your agenda is to destroy the world’s economic system and kill millions. That would be the only outcome of the IPCC recommendations.

The columnist Larry Bell, a professor at the University of Houston, points out that “As for expecting renewables to fill in the power curve, European Union experiences offer a painful reality check. Approximately 7.8 percent of Germany’s electricity comes from wind, 4.5 percent from solar. Large as a result, German households already fork out for the second highest power costs in Europe—often as much as 30 percent above the levels seen in other European countries. Power interruptions add to buyer’s remorse.”

As reported in The Heartland Institute’s Environment & Climate News “European governments, once at the vanguard of renewable energy mandates, appear to be having second thoughts about their reliance on giant wind farms…” There has been a sharp drop in such projects with installations plunging 90% in Denmark, 75% in Italy, and 84% in Spain.

What the EPA is attempting to impose on America is a drain on our production of electricity coupled with an increase in its price. It is an obscene attack on our economy.

© Alan Caruba, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

My 2015 Commencement Address


By Alan Caruba

All manner of people are giving commencement speeches to students graduating from colleges and universities these days. It is doubtful that any will be remembered because the prospects of students depend in large part on the economy into which they are entering, the majors they pursued, their individual ambitions, and capacity for hard work. Then, too, there’s dumb luck which often plays a role.

For those graduating this year, my profound sympathy because the economy could not be much worse short of being declared an official Depression. Out of a total of 330 million Americans, there are currently 93,194,000 Americans who are not in the workforce because they can’t find a job or have given up looking. Even in the field of manufacturing—not something you studied for—the number of jobs have declined by 7,231,000, some 37% since manufacturing peaked in the U.S. in 1979.

U.S. economic growth rate has slowed to 0.2%. In short, it is virtually non-existent. So, with your diploma in hand, unless you majored in the sciences, math or engineering, you are not likely to join the workforce any time soon.  Those of you who majored in social work, theatre arts, elementary education, and something called parks and recreation, are going to be at the bottom of the salary scale for the rest of your life.

Of the previous graduates from 2008 to the present who voted for Barack Obama, just 14% have real jobs. You have had the vast misfortune of being born just in time to live through the worst presidency in the history of the nation. If, in fact, you even know the history of the nation.

You are at a further disadvantage because the curriculums of the government schools you attended have been so distorted that you have been led to believe that the Founding Fathers were all slave-owning, white elitists when in fact, many opposed slavery, the labor source of their era, and would have abolished it. However they knew they could not get the Constitution ratified by the southern states if they did. It’s called compromising for a greater goal, the finest and currently the oldest functioning Constitution on Earth.

Depending on your race and sex, you have already been taught to blame anything that goes wrong in your life on whether you are white, black or Hispanic, male or female. If you want to know what’s wrong, look in the mirror and ask yourself what you are doing wrong or not doing right—dressing, manners, behavior, addictions, et cetera.

If you have been raised to believe in God and have spiritual values, you are likely to be mocked, though not necessarily to your face. While still the majority faith in America, Christianity is under attack from many directions, not the least of whom are homosexuals that constitute less than 2% of the population. Their attack on traditional (and biological) male-female marriage that has been part of every civilization going back five thousand years and more will degrade society in many ways.

For many of you, graduation means years of paying off huge loans for the privilege of picking up a degree that, as noted—short of science, math and engineering—will not yield a lot of income. This will impact your lifestyle including possibly having to move back in with your parents. It may mean putting off marriage and a family of your own for a while and your loans will affect being able to secure a mortgage on a home, but everyone is having problems doing that these days.

So, if all this looks and sound bleak, it is because it is. A real commencement speech should tell you the truth but most of them do not. They are generally filled with inspiring talk about the future.

The future you are looking at along with everyone else is fraught with danger. That, however, can be said of every “future” that every American has faced since the nation was established. It took a shooting war with Great Britain just to have a nation and Americans have been engaged in wars large and small ever since.

The threat of Communism faced Americans after World War Two and generations previous to yours waited out and opposed the Soviet Union for nearly fifty years before it collapsed. Communism is still around however in China, nearby Cuba, Venezuela and other nations who suppress their people in the name of the utopian society they claim to have.

The more recent threat is the rise of Islamism, radical Islam as practiced and supported by a significant percentage of the world’s one billion-plus Muslims. It is a cult about Mohammed based on the total domination of the world. Divided between two sects, Sunnis and Shiites, when they are not killing each other, they are killing “infidels”, anyone who is not a Muslim.

It will fall to you and your fellow graduates to fix the nation’s problems and right now its biggest one is that the federal government is too large and we are collectively facing an $18 trillion debt that must be resolved because just paying interest on it makes doing anything else difficult at best.

All of the states are in debt as well as they struggle to pay the health benefits and pensions of civil service workers, active and retired. That often doesn’t leave much money for fixing potholes and other infrastructure needs.

Whatever problems you will encounter, keep in mind previous generations often encountered much worse, such as those in the 1930s during the Great Depression and in the 1940s who fought World War II, and those from the 1950s and 1970s who were called on to fight the Korean War and the war in Vietnam; more recently those who fought the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Respect their sacrifices and their courage.

If you want to see the government grow even larger along with the debt, vote for Hillary Clinton. She’s still mentally and ideologically stuck in the 1990s, plus she has engaged in behavior that would get anyone else put in jail. You have a large choice among Republican candidates and eventually it will narrow to someone capable of tackling the future.

The best I can do is to wish you good luck. You’re going to need it.

© Alan Caruba, 2015