Category Archives: Political Thoughts

Kaepernick – Whoa

I can’t keep quiet any longer.  I read all these articles on Colin Kaepernick looking for someone to have exposed the glaring truth and I just can’t find it.

I read that he is a fine (not great) quarterback.  I read that there are NFL quarterbacks out there who don’t have his skills who are being signed for big contracts.  Yet, no one wants Kaepernick.  The only conclusion that these commentators can come to is that Kaepernick is being punished for expressing his beliefs.  The owners have gotten together and formed a cabal for the expressed purpose of keeping him from playing.

Some will acknowledge that selecting our flag and the National Anthem wasn’t the smartest move.  Nor was his move when he wore police pig socks to practice.  Our flag is the same one that thousands and thousands of men and women have died fighting for.  These soldiers, sailors and airmen represent every race , creed, color and religion.

Again, the Washington Post interviewed Baltimore Raven fans on their team passing on Kaepernick.  Of the six interviewed, four would gladly take him.  One said the Ravens shouldn’t have passed on him just because he is a “very critical thinker,” and those fans who don’t want him are using “bigotry and racism.”  My word.

The elephant in the room that no one seems to be able to see is what he will do to the cohesion of a team.  Putting Kaepernick into a locker room will be exceedingly divisive.   Last year his team won two games and lost 14.  They finished 4th in the NFC West.  That is because there are only four teams in the NFC West.  There may have been other reasons for the 49ers doing poorly, but I guarantee that having Kaepernick churning the pot was one of them.  Can you blame any NFL team for not wanting to place an incredibly divisive unknown into their locker room?

Now Michael Bennett, a defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, is going to sit during the National Anthem.  I guess we will be testing my thesis again.  I expect added turmoil in the Seahawk locker room.  I suspect this will hurt the team.  The media will certainly help.  You just don’t need additional distractions.

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2017

The Trumpster

I’m really disappointed in the political posture of this country.  We have two parties and they just seem to want to fight with each other.  I can see why a person like Donald Trump would appeal to a lot of people.  Some of the things he says, I agree with.

The fact that I like some of the things he says doesn’t preclude me from thinking he’s a nut case.  I think he’s a smart guy, so I am convinced that he couldn’t possibly believe what he says.  But he likes to hear himself say those things.  And, he likes the reaction he gets from those people who want to hear him say those things.

I want borders that aren’t porous.  It is a disaster for our country to have drug runners, terrorists and illegal aliens crossing our border whenever they wish.  I believe both Democrats and Republicans want a leak proof border.  So why isn’t it happening?  I think it is because our government isn’t functioning.  And that, my friend, is the type of sorry state of affairs that works to Trump’s advantage.  I am convinced that if he is elected, he will build his wall and every few miles there will be a Trump Tower with resort activities.  He may even figure out how to have the Mexican government pay for it.

I noticed that last month the US withheld $5,000,000 from Mexico in drug war aid because of human rights violations.  The article said that the amount was just a small fraction of the aid the US gives Mexico.  Maybe Trump is just going to keep our aid money to pay for the wall.  Muchas Gracias.

But when The Donald starts talking about gathering up all the illegals in this country and shipping them out, he sounds like a huckster at the carnival.  “They have to go.”  That’s right, over ten million.  We will just gather them up and ship them out.  Really?  We will have to suspend all their rights and I’m not sure our courts will go along with that.  I’m not sure we could process a half a million a year, but if we could it would only take 20 years!  As I said earlier, Trumps a smart guy, so he must know this.  And he complains about politicians misleading us.

Trump thinks it is a good idea to have Putin and Russia clean up the Syrian problem.  I guess geopolitical thinking isn’t required on reality TV shows.  Maybe Putin and Russia could clean up our border crossing problem?  While it logically follows his thinking in Syria, it probably would not help his poll numbers.  So never mind.

About 15years ago, we were on a cruise to Alaska.  We dined each night at the same table for eight.  Six of us were of a conservative ilk.  Then there was the California professor and his wife.  When the subject of illegal immigration came up, the six of us believed illegals should be sent back.  The professor strenuously objected.  He said, “If you send them all back, who will take care of our golf courses?”   There you have it, the liberal mind always looking out for and defending the downtrodden golf course.

About the only thing that brings our country together is a major disaster.  So electing the Trumpster may be the answer.  It took us a while to get over the Vietnam War and it will take us a while to get over President Trump.  But while it may be a disaster, it will certainly be entertaining.

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2015




Hillarygate or Servergate – Take Your Pick

First of all, I need to put on the record that I don’t like Hillary.  I never have and never will.  I’m not certain that she bumped off Vince Foster,  but I’m also not certain that she didn’t.  I am certain that right after Foster’s death, her chief of staff and others hauled boxes of documents out of Foster’s office up to Bill and Hillary’s living quarters in the White House.  I also know for a fact that three independent handwriting experts concluded that Foster’s suicide note was a forgery!

The reason I don’t like her is not the Foster incident.  Nor is it the time back in 1978 when she invested $6,300 in the futures market and ten months later had made $100,000.  Listening to Bill explain her good luck did make me froth at the mouth a little.  I guess what really caused me to dislike her was the way she treated the military when she was the First Lady.  She was abusive to people in uniform and treated them like dirt.

Now she’s running for President?  Incredible.  I think, I hope, that her arrogance and miscalculations i.e., that she is powerful enough  that she is above the law and can get away with anything, including lying, will catch up with her.  If it doesn’t and she becomes President, I suspect that our country will still survive, but not in my lifetime.

I find the similarities between Nixon’s Watergate and Hillary’s server problems strangely compelling.  Eighteen minutes of the Watergate tapes were “accidentally” erased.  Many of Hillary’s emails have now disappeared.  She insists on being in control.  That’s why she used a private server in the first place.  Then she could decide what she would share and what she would not.  You know what is really scary?  That the Secretary of State of the United States never sent or received any classified documents!  How can that be?  How stupid does she think the American public is?  Now, after saying she never sent or received any classified documents, she has changed the wording to say she has never sent or received any documents marked classified.  What she is ignoring is that certain matters involving national security are classified even if she or one of her cronies didn’t mark it appropriately.

And we are talking Top Secret documents.  There are three basic levels of classified documents, Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret.  Many of the documents the Secretary of State deals with on a daily basis are Top Secret.  You want proof?  I don’t have to give you proof.  We are living in the Trump Era.  That means that if I say something in a forceful and excited way, people should believe me.  But getting back to Hillary, every Secretary of State deals with Top Secrets documents on a routine basis.

This brings me around to General Petraeus.  If he were as brazen as Bill and Hillary Clinton, he would have beaten any accusations against him.  The documents he passed on to his girlfriend were classified Confidential.   And he was indicted and convicted for doing so.  It won’t be that easy to get Hillary.  Petraeus is a man whose word is his bond.  He may have done something stupid, but when confronted, he told the truth.  Hillary has learned well from Bill and will lie, lie, lie.

In recent surveys, more people than not believe Hillary is untrustworthy, i.e., she lies.  But many of the Democrats who feel that way also say they would vote for her.  That my friends is the definition of a “Red Dog Democrat.”  If the Democratic party nominated a red dog for election, these people would vote for it.

When Hillary was asked if she wiped her server clean before turning it over to the FBI, she responded, “like with a cloth or something?”  Wow.  I don’t think she is Presidential material.  But then it may depend on how you define “is.”

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2015


Is National Security Politically Incorrect?

I read on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post that the “Pentagon’s plan for overseas spy service curtailed amid concerns.” The article says we are only going to train and deploy half the number of spies we had originally planned (500 rather than 1,000). The question I have is what kind of undercover organization gives out this type of information?

There was a time when this type of information would never see the light of day. If a reporter knew about it, it still would not be printed. But now, you have the intelligence community and the Department of Defense commenting on the cut back. I’m wondering if the CIA has a Facebook and Twitter account?

These new spies will become part of the Defense Clandestine Service. My question is what kind of a clandestine operation calls itself the Defense Clandestine Service? “Hi, I’m Joe Swartz. I’m with the Defense Clandestine Service.” “What do you do Joe?” “Oh, I’m assigned overseas where I do clandestine things.” I’m sure “”Wild Bill” Donavan, who was responsible for forming and running OSS is probably rolling over in his grave.

This reminds me of the spy story that came out of the cold war. Our agent was given elaborate instructions on how to meet a deeply covered reliable informant behind Soviet lines. When he found the informant he was to say the code words “The tulips in Holland are beautiful.” It took him two weeks to find the address of his contact named Bruno. He knocked on the door and a man opened it. Our agent said, “Bruno?” The man said “Yes.” Our agent said, “The tulips in Holland are beautiful.” The man said, “Oh, you want Bruno the spy, he’s on the third floor.”

I don’t know why I am surprised that we are telling our enemies how many agents we have in the Defense Clandestine Service. After all, this Administration has told our enemies in Afghanistan when we are pulling our troops out. Maybe they will throw us a party.

Written by PJ Rice @
Copyright 2014

Refugee Kids? Sez Who?

I hate to write provocative stuff.  Maybe if I were a little bit smarter.  I know just enough about a subject to get myself in trouble.  I know it is illegal to enter our country without proper documents.  I know that a country that can’t protect its borders isn’t much of a country.  And that’s where I find us.

At the present time, we have a crises.  Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America are crossing our borders.  We can’t seem to stop them from coming and we aren’t equipped to handle them when they get here.  I can’t help but think about the old spoof that someone wrote during the Vietnam War.  In this spoof, the author had China entering the conflict.  But rather than fight, they were marching south and surrendering.  Twenty abreast and as far as the eye could see.  They just kept marching and surrendering (The thesis was that China had so many people that they could just keep it up).  In this wild story, the US demanded that the Chinese stop surrendering.  They didn’t.  Since we had no choice, we nuked them.  If there was a moral in the story, it got lost in the mushroom cloud.

Now, we have children from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador marching across our border and surrendering.  Again, the similarity to the Vietnam spoofs striking.  We can’t handle them and they are overwhelming our border authorities.  I wish I understood more.  To me, it just makes sense to call out the National Guard and secure our border.  I’m afraid that might screw up somebodies political agenda and that is when I start mumbling and frothing at the mouth.

At this particular moment, I can’t stand either political party.  Our president is a smug doofus who has done damage to our national security at so many levels that I don’t  know if we will ever recover.  Periodically, I wonder if he is doing it on purpose.  I’m starting to froth again.  Then, our Republican leaders insist on doing nothing for fear that Obama might get credit for something good that happened.  And because the Republican party refuses to address the immigration issue (which they should and that means compromise), they are losing most of the Hispanic vote.  Then they lose the women’s vote over the abortion issue.  Thank goodness there’s still us old farts clinging tightly to our rifles!

The other day, I read a post on Facebook.  It said, “If you think fertilized eggs are people, but refugee kids aren’t – you’re going to have to stop pretending your concerns are religious.”  Whoa.  What does this mean?  Talk about provocative.  Talk about slick.  First of all, I’m not excited about the abortion issue, but I understand that there are religious groups that believe a fetus is a human being.  They have the right to believe that.  But who said anything about killing the kids crossing our borders?  Who made them refugees?  Refugees are those crossing borders “for safety or to escape persecution.”  I’m not sure that applies, but “refugee kids” gives them a sympathetic sound.  Heaven forbid someone call them illegal aliens .

I wish I were smart enough to figure out who is behind all this.  Thousands of children don’t start a long trek from Central America to our southern border on their own.  We love a good conspiracy theory, but I haven’t heard it, unless it is the Administration trying to bankrupt our nation ($3.7 billion).  If this situation gets  serious enough, Obama will probably blame Bush.  Now, I’m being told that if I don’t have empathy for these children, I’m heartless.  Say what?  For once, I am agreeing with Nancy Pelosi.  She said we are all Americans and she would like to take all of them home with her.  I, too, wish she would.

Written by PJ Rice at

Copyright 2014

Veterans Administration – Take a Number Sucker

I think it was a year or so ago when President Obama said he was going to fix the backlog problem at the Veterans Administration.  I am pretty sure he also promised to bring the killers of our Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, to justice.  I think his strategy is to say the right thing at the right time and then hope the people forget about it.  The Media is in his pocket, so they won’t remind anyone.

But unfortunately (for him) the present problems at VA have reminded the public that he hasn’t kept his promise.  So now, on cue, it is announced that Obama is “madder than Hell” over the VA allegations.  Well, that makes me feel a lot better.  The Washington Post had a cartoon a week ago Saturday in which a veteran was entering a VA office.  There was one of those take-a-number machines and sitting right next to the machine was a soldier in a Civil Was uniform!  Loved it.

When I was a young officer, Mr. Kenty, a warrant officer whom I worked with, and had been in the military for over 30 years, told me that there was only one person really interested in my military career and that was me. He started in the Army as a Blacksmith Apprentice.  He loved the day the Army got rid of their horses and he didn’t have to feed them at 0600 hours everyday.  His message about my career was clear and I did my best to keep track of what was happening to me.  I also strongly believe that the same holds true for medical care.  Especially in the military.

Upon retiring, Carole and I continued to receive our medical care through the military, always mindful that we were the only ones interested in our health and wellbeing.  A number of military families, upon retirement, got as far away from military medical care as possible.  That was their way of addressing the issue.  We learned how to get great care within the military.  The thought of using the Veterans Administration never crossed my mind.  If VA was the answer, I have no idea what the question was.

I’ve had only a few experiences with the VA.  None has been good. At the time of my retirement from the Army, I was told to apply to the VA for a disability rating.  I was also told to make a copy of my medical files before VA got them, because they would surely lose them.  They did.  Three times!  But each time they lost them, they found them.  So technically, they didn’t lose them, they were just misplaced.

This all happened 24 years ago, so I’m a little fuzzy on some of the facts.  Other parts of the experience, I remember like it was yesterday.  In applying for the VA disability, you have to list all the things that have fallen apart during your military career.  Then the VA gives you an appointment where they can evaluate your problems.  They set it up so I had five appointments in the same day.  I could receive all of my evaluations that day and be done. Sounded too good to be true.

The first evaluation was with an orthopedic doctor.  I was given a couple of forms to fill out while waiting for the doctor.  The forms were so ambiguous and confusing that I left a lot blank.  When the doctor arrived and saw that I hadn’t completely filled out the forms, he became furious with me. He was screaming at me with some Eastern European accent.  I was so bewildered that I just took it.  It was his play pen and I was thoroughly confused.  Here I had just retired  with 28 years of military service and I was being treated like a truant school child.  I thought about getting him in a hammer lock and giving him options.  But, I had come over to this strange hospital with a mission and this jerk wasn’t going to get me off track.  He eventually examined me and sent me on to my next appointment.

I made it to my next appointment which was with an eye doctor. He was young and friendly.  We chatted for a few minutes and then he asked to see my glasses (a reasonable request).  My glasses had been made in Germany which made the bifocal portion different. In the US, you can feel the bifocal portion of the lens extending from the front of the lenses.  My glasses had the built-up portion of the bifocal on the back of the lens.  The doctor noticed this and got all excited.  He asked about where I got the glasses and I explained to him that they came from Germany.  He asked if he could borrow them for a few minutes and I said, “Sure.”  He didn’t come back for an hour.  I just sat there.  I eventually went out to the receptionist and told him I was missing my next appointment.  He told me not to worry.  It would be OK.  The doctor came back as if he had been gone for only ten minutes and sent me on my way.

The next doctor concluded I had high blood pressure.  Duh!  I was delighted I hadn’t blown a leak.  The next doctor was a psychologist who asked me how my day was going.  I smiled at him and said, “Fine.”  Way back in 1962, I had a buddy going to ROTC Summer Camp at Fort Sill (I was also attending).  His car broke down three times on his trip from Missouri to Oklahoma.  He got there late and they rushed him through the physical.  Finally he saw a psychologist who asked him how his day was going.  He went into a rant about the trip down to Fort Sill.  They kept him under observation for three days.  So whenever a psychologist asks me how my day is going, I smile and say, “Fine.”  I also tell them I love my parents.

A year later, after “misplacing” my file a few times, I was notified that I was being awarded a 20% disability.  That came to a little over $100 a month.  Sound great?  Well, not so great.  The $100 they award is subtracted from my retirement pay.  The only benny is that I don’t have to pay taxes on the VA money.  Whoopee!

My only other VA experience was a screw up on my part.  The year I was assigned to Northwestern University to get a Masters Degree in Criminal Law, we lived in Evanston, Illinois.  Every couple of weeks we would go up to the Great Lakes Naval Station Commissary.  We would pass the hospital on the way to the commissary.  I had messed up my knee in my previous assignment in Germany and called up to the Great Lakes Naval Hospital and got an appointment.

On the day of my appointment, I drove up to the hospital and went inside.  I found the room number of the orthopedic section and headed there.  I found the room and went in.  There was a receptionist sitting at a desk.  I told her who I was and that I had an appointment.  She said, “Well the doctor isn’t coming in today, but if you would like to sit down and read some magazines, go right ahead.  Whoa!  I headed back down to the reception section and got in line behind a young kid.  He was big as a house, but the
little woman behind the counter was very upset with him.  He had lost his medical card (and not for the first time).  When it was my turn, I told her I thought I was in the wrong place.  She starred at me and said, “Are you sure?”

It turned out that rather than going to the Naval Hospital, I had gone to a VA mental hospital.  I smiled at her, told her I was fine and that I loved my parents and got the hell out of there.

Written by PJ Rice at

Redskins Forever

Things you can count on: Death, Taxes and someone complaining about the name of the beloved Redskins.  I don’t blame President Obama for raising the issue.  If I were the President and fumbling through my fifth year like a rookie, I, too, would be trying to divert attention to mundane matters like the name of the Washington Redskins.

Obama said, if he were the owner of the Redskins, he would think about changing the name.  If he were the owner, and ran the Washington Redskins the way he is running the country, he wouldn’t have to change the name.  The famous franchise would collapse faster than Solyndra and there would be no Washington Redskins.

Bob Costas used his two minutes of half-time, prime-time to say that the name Redskins was an insult and a slur.  Of course the Redskins have been around since 1933 and all the fans, including many Native Americans, have been honoring the team.  I’m sure Bob Costas has been referring to the Washington team as the Redskins on radio and TV for at least 30 years.  I guess it was alright for him to use that “insult” or “slur” for all that time and now, to become righteous. Hallelujah.  The scales have fallen from my eyes.

I will say that the term redskin can be used in a derogatory manner. So can Yankee.  Believe me, there are thousands and thousands of people in this country that use the name Yankee as an insult.  I’ve been called a Yankee when it was definitely intended as an insult, a slur.  What’s the rule?  If one person is offended?  Whoops, there goes the New York Yankees.  I never liked them anyway.

Owner George Marshall changed the name of his team in 1933 from the Boston Braves to the Boston Redskins (Shortly thereafter, the Washington Redskins).  This was done to honor and bring attention to their coach, Lone Star Dietz, who believed he was a Sioux.  He went to an Indian school in Oklahoma and then to the Carlisle Indian School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  He played football at Carlisle with Jim Thorpe.  If you don’t know who Jim Thorpe was, please go back to reading some tweets.  Later, questions were raised as to whether Lone Star actually was an Indian, but so what? Maybe he spoke with a forked tongue, but it is irrelevant to our discussion.

One TV show asked people to comment on whether they were offended by the name Washington Redskins.  One viewer wrote in and said the part of the name that offended him was Washington. When the Irish immigrated to this country, they were a minority that was known for heavy drinking and fighting.  So some people might think that calling a team the “Fighting Irish” is an insult or a slur. What do you think, Bob?  At one time, it probably was.

I’m sensitive to not insulting people.  If a group wants to be called something, I say OK.  I’ll call them that.  And, if a few years later, they decide for the third or fourth time, they want to be called something else, I’ll go along.  But for 81 years, we have been honoring the Redskins and for some politically correct numbskull to claim we are insulting somebody is outrageous. 

I’m not a big Dan Snyder fan and I blame him for much that has gone wrong during his ownership (I have written on this before), but I’m with him on not changing the name.  I hope he sticks it out. He is taking a lot of heat and for that one thing, I commend him.  I wish the PC crowd would move on to deciding what Chrysler should do about the Jeep Cherokee.  

Written by PJ Rice at

Why is Congress Still Getting Paid?

I, for one, completely understand what Congress is doing.  You see, when I was 11, I had my own bat and ball.  I was the only kid in the neighborhood with a bat and ball.  And when the game wasn’t going my way, I would take my bat and ball and go home.  That would end the game and really teach those other kids.  The only difference between me and Congress is that I grew up!  What in the world is going on?
I have always considered myself a Republican.  I think the reason is that I believe in strong national security.  And through the years, I have seen the military being cut to the bone by the Democrats and grown and nourished by Republican administrations.  That’s a message that doesn’t go unnoticed.  The other issue I’m big on is fiscal responsibility and the Republicans get better marks there.
I’m not a fanatic on right to life or a woman’s right to choose.  I understand both sides and wish them well.  I strongly support the Second Amendment, but have no problem with large, dangerous cities using their police powers to try to control hand guns.  And, I can’t think of one legitimate reason why a private citizen needs to have an automatic weapon.
Now that I am no longer 11, I don’t understand what Congress is doing.  During my military career, I had the good fortune to attend the Army War College.  One of their main messages was, “what got you here is not going to work for you in the future.”  As a junior officer, everything was black or white.  No shades.  Orders were followed and never questioned.  Now, as a senior officer you had to deal with people who could say, “No.”  What you did as a junior officer would no longer work.  You couldn’t tell Congress you wanted so many tanks and so many artillery pieces.  You had to be willing to negotiate and compromise.  I remember what went into The Civil Rights Act of 1968.  Both sides of the isle fighting for what they believed in and then compromising for the good of the country.
That’s probably why I am so unhappy with Obamacare.  It wasn’t both sides negotiating for the good of the country.  It was one side ignoring the other side and forcing the law down its throat.  And it was passed in the dark of the night without hardly anyone knowing what was in it.  BUT, it passed Congress and was signed by the President and the Supreme Court decided it was constitutional.  It may not work, but it is at this particular moment, the law of the land.  If it fails or turns out to be a disaster, I’m sure we can fix it or get rid of it.  But for the House Republicans to take their bat and ball and go home is really stupid. The country deserves a budget and the Republicans are going to take the major blame for this idiotic trick.
I have something I call GM Speak.  That is when senior officials from General Motors only discuss issues with other GM officials. Everybody will agree, but it may not even be close to correct.  There is also Army Speak.  Same thing.  Now, we have “Tea Party Speak.”  As long as they just talk to each other, they will all agree.  And it won’t be until the Democrats control everything that they will wake up.  I heard ex-governor Palin talking about a third party.  That’s a great idea.  Let’s split the Republican Party because some of those rascal Republicans are too close to the “center.”  
The American people deserve to have their government funded.  If something, like Obamacare, doesn’t work, it will be changed or thrown out.  The Republicans in the House are so far out on a limb that I don’t know how they can recover.  They may be secretly hoping for a hurricane.  I don’t even think that will work!
Written by PJ Rice at

US and the Middle East

When I was in the sixth or seventh grade, I was asked to write a paper on the political parties in the United States.  No, that’s not right.  I was probably asked to write a paper about our country and I chose the topic. This may have been an early sign that some day I would major in political science.  This would have been around 1949.  I explained in cryptic details how when the Republican Party was in power, we had depressions; and when the Democratic Party was in power, we had wars.  My conclusion was that in order to decide whether you wanted to be a Republican or a Democrat, you had to decide whether you would prefer a depression or a war.  It’s a good thing I didn’t mention the Communist Party or my teacher might have turned me over to Senator McCarthy.

I thought you needed to know the above before you started reading my thought on the Middle East.  It shouldn’t surprise you that I am confused about the Middle East.  One thing for sure, I quit worrying a long time ago about whether people liked us.  Yep, I’m the ugly American.

One thing I do worry about is our national security and what is in the interest of our nation.  I think our leaders, in developing our foreign policy, should concentrate on what is in the best interest of the United States. Other countries understand that because that is exactly what they are doing.  Charles De Gaulle’s decision for France to have a French nuclear defense against Russia was based upon what he believed was in the best interest of France.  He didn’t care that the United States was unhappy with the decision.

It doesn’t seem to matter who is in power in many Middle Eastern countries when it comes to suppressing the views and right of their opposition.  Some regimes may be harsher that others, but they all treat their opposition harshly and it doesn’t pay to be too vocal.  This doesn’t seem to me to be a critical factor in deciding our country’s national interest.  Gassing the opposition changes the playing field.  But, otherwise, I ask, is it in our national interest to see governments favorable to us overthrown and the installation of a fundamental Islamic government? Then when such a ruling party as the Muslim Brotherhood is overthrown, should we wring our hands?

When is a coup not a coup?  I would say when it is in the national interest of the United States.  OK, I’m not only the ugly American, I’m a hypocrite. But with all my faults, I would not lose sight of our national security.

I also have some thought on free elections in tribal countries like Afghanistan.  But I think I will stop and cut my losses.  Life was a lot simpler when all I had to do was choose between war and depression.

Written by PJ Rice at 

Fiscal Cliff Climbing

I don’t think I am going to say anything that everybody doesn’t already know.  But, it will just make me feel better to vent.  Here goes.  This is no way to run a government.  Letting all the important decisions wait until the very last minute and then slapping something together.  Things cobbled together in such a fashion are really poorly done.

I fault both sides.  Each side trying their damnedest to get the better of the other side.  Isn’t anybody interested in what’s best for our country?  Let me add a new word to the equation that hasn’t been heard for a while – compromise.  That’s how things get done.  “But it’s the principle of the thing.”  “No new taxes, no new taxes.”  I love it.  Where’s Dr. Phil when we need him?

I’m afraid I know what’s going to happen and it’s the same old same old.  Kick the can down the road.  Congress will submit some stop gap measure that will move the problem farther out into the future.  Then, they will all accuse the other side of being the blame.  Geeze.

I don’t subscribe to the theory that all congressmen are idiots.  I think Weiner was a pretty bright guy.  It just happened that his moral compass was pointed toward Antarctica.  First bright, then annoying, then gone.  I liked the gone part the best!  Others are brilliant, but have no common sense.  Some are truly the real deal, but when they get together, they suffer from group think.  I saw it at GM – GM think, and I saw it in the Army – Army think.  I can define it, but I’ll just give you an example.

Just prior to my arrival in Germany in 1983, we had an armored division commanding general holding meetings throughout the division telling everyone how they should conduct themselves if called as a witness in a drug case.  Clearly command influence.  Clearly illegal.  But the commander was a two star and everyone was backing him.  Hey, drugs were a big problem and the rank and file needed to know what he thought.  Then, way down the road, the Court of Military Appeals threw out many of the convictions because of the general’s command influence.  The general was relieved of his command and a message (back channel) went out to the senior leadership of the Army explaining the general’s misconduct.  Army think uniformly flipped.  Every senior officer I talked to condemned the general for what he had done.  Army think had done a 180.  Yesterday, the general was a dedicated officer who had been misunderstood.  Today, he was a loose cannon. 

In Congress, even the real deals suffer from group think when their fellow congressmen are in lock step and they have little choice.  No one wants to be a contrarian.  That would cause them to stand out and get bad exposure.  They could lose their job.  My, my, my.

I worked for a general by the name of Larry Williams who was a legend in the JAG Corps.  We called him Big Daddy and I wrote a poem in honor of his 75th birthday that you can find filed under “Military Daze.”  With great imagination, I entitled it “Big Daddy’s Seventy-Fifth.”  He had served under General Creighton Abrams many years before.  General Williams used to quote General Abrams who said, “It’s amazing what can be accomplished if you do not care who gets the credit.”  I looked up the quote on the internet and it was attributed to Harry Truman.  But, I guess if they meant what they said, they wouldn’t care to whom it was attributed.

I am convinced that “Fiscal Cliff” problem could be solved quickly if nobody cared who got the credit.  My experience tells me that when things truly get desperate, they’ll be solved.  I also believe in the Easter Bunny.

I sure hope I finish and get this thing published before they solve the problem.  Being late would be a real bummer.  My article would be irrelevant before it was published and I couldn’t take credit for solving the problem.  Then, I would have to go to Plan B.

Written by PJ Rice at