Xi on the Brink

Elections in a large nation are always a time for musing about the future direction of the nation. This is especially true in China for the simple reason that they don’t have elections. The 19th Communist Party Congress will convene for a week starting on 18 October, determining who will run the largest country on earth for the next five years.

China is a true republic, meaning that the outgoing leadership picks the new leadership – independent of the wishes of the vast majority of population. It’s not exactly a dictatorship in that no one person or faction has complete control, at least not since Mao Zedong died in 1976. That may change as Premier Xi Jinping is poised for a dramatic consolidation of power.

Much has been and will be written about it. Like the Communist Party of China (CPC) itself, the articles are dense and almost impossible to understand without a lot of background material. Here is an attempt at a quick guide.

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Guns: Change the Attitude

Another senseless gun tragedy – this one bigger than the previous. When does it end?

It ends when we as a nation get serious about the situation. Like nearly every problem we have it is primarily a mindset. New gun laws aren’t necessarily going to be the answer unless they are part of that important change.

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Target the Future

Target stores are raising their employees’ minimum wages to $11 per hour immediately, with a pledge to hit $15 per hour by 2020.

This may seem like a victory for the Democratic platform to raise all workers’ pay to a livable wage, and in many ways it is. But it’s also an important victory for the free market, which is proving that the cyclical depression of workers wages was indeed a temporary, demographically driven problem which will be overcome. It just takes a tremendous amount of time – really a full generation.  More importantly, it shows the direction of retail and possibly the service industry as a whole does have a future as an important part of a dynamic economy. Continue reading

Faith or Works?

A lot of people are upset about the direction of the nation. Nearly a two to one ration finds that the nation is on the wrong track, according to a Rasmussen poll. That fits with the ongoing controversies sweeping our mindscapes involving protests of various kinds.

A lack of faith in our government should be one thing which unites us. It’s something of an American tradition, after all. Some think it’s involved in vast conspiracies. Some want to stockpile arms against it. Some think it’s just plain incompetent. Some think our history is a complete lie.

No one, anywhere, thinks that government is going to solve all of our problems. No one trusts it completely. No one thinks our taxation system is completely fair. No one thinks that the system always produces justice.

Yet protests about our system or our government are the surest way to spark a highly emotional shouting match that transcends any ability to get anything done. And there may be a good reason.

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Taking a Knee

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Is it ever acceptable to kneel while the national anthem is played? The controversy has deepened now that Trump has weighed in, saying that players who do so should be fired. He faulted the NFL as a unit over this just ahead of this week’s games.

The response from the league has been ferocious. And it is justified. After all, those who kneel are only answering the question with their own emphatic “No!” as is their right as a free people. It is a question we should all be asking ourselves and not the patriotism of those who answer it differently than we do. Anything less means that we are not, indeed, free.

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Life Support

The Affordable Care Act, ACA or Obamacare, has proven difficult to kill off. In the next eight days we will see if the last, final, we-really-mean-it effort suffers the same fate as the previous attempts.

It should die for even more reasons than the last attempt. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t actually be something of value in Graham-Cassidy which might lead us to even better healthcare in the future. If that fails, it could well lead us to a final calamity for the Republican Party.

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United Nations. Sort of.

President Trump spoke to the UN today. In all fairness, it could have been worse. And, in many ways, it was a re-iteration of what America has been saying for a long time – we have a big military and we intend to use it, but don’t ask us for money to keep the other operations going.

Yet it was bad enough in one singular sense – there is no place for globalism even as we realize larger threats to the entire planet at once. It was a summary of everything that he and his followers stand for in many ways. But what will it mean to the rest of the world?

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