On Memorial Day, the focus for millions is often on the beach, backyard grilling, burgers, and brats. The holiday weekend is the unofficial kick off for summer in the USA. Memorial Day is the last Monday in May, the day set aside to recall and honor the lives of those who died in active military service in the various conflicts our nation has been in. Memory means to recall and a memorial is a reflection. So, let’s reflect on why those various miliary service people died and honor them by fixing avoidable mistakes that led to their deaths.
Let’s start by reflecting on wars, past and present, to check for responsibilities and lessons learned.
When the tragically botched withdrawal from Afghanistan occurred in August 2021, some believe it set in motion the events which led to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 2.24.2022.
Vladimir Putin, said critics, saw weakness in the U.S. administration led by titular President Joe Biden (D). For those who believe – right or wrong – that Mr. Biden is President in Name Only (PINO), that doesn’t escape the question of who is running the White House, the executive branch, and this administration? A range of possibilities are mentioned, including senior staff, cabinet members, former President Barack Obama (DD), and others.
What is certain is that Biden publicly said on 1.19.2022 he believed that Putin would invade Ukraine. Which begs the question: why didn’t Biden’s team send more arms to Ukraine well in advance of the Russian invasion?
Biden said the intelligence was clear. Quite so. Wikipedia said that in March and April 2021, Russian forces were moving near the borders of Ukraine. Russian-backed paramilitary and other forces were operating in Eastern Ukraine since the Obama-Biden Administration. If Ukraine had been armed to the teeth, would Putin have invaded Ukraine at all? Why wait until after Russians attack to send in billions of dollars in weapons and aide? Hold those thoughts.
The Middle Eastern conflicts the U.S. in the 21st century date back to President George W. Bush (R). The so-called weapons of mass destruction that led to the invasion of Iraq were never found, despite all the hype by the Bush Administration and others allied with them. Most media on the left and right carried the reports as if they were true, as the still insightful documentary drama Shadows of Liberty demonstrated. The U.S started that war without provocation.
Afghanistan was the base of operations for Osama bin Ladin, and that was the pretext for that invasion. True enough, perhaps. But what about Wikipedia and other sources claims that the U.S. and CIA played a key role in making bin Ladin their proxy for attacking Russians while Afghanistan was occupied by Soviet (largely Russian) forces? So bin Ladin, as was Saddam Hussein who got billions in U.S. support, were at times considered American allies.
President Barack Obama (D) himself cited some of that history as a candidate and as president. But while former President Obama was in charge, he failed to end the conflicts he himself criticized. Perhaps more to the point, then Obama Secretary of State Hillary Clinton led the charge for invading Libya during the Obama Administration. Obama authorized 10 times the bombing/missile strikes Bush did. U.S. forces apparently had boots on the ground in more countries than any time since World War II.
We should reflect on what Presidents John F. Kennedy (D) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) said during their time in office. Kennedy threatened to break up the CIA and scatter it to the winds. Ike in his farewell address said the nation should be concerned about the power of the military (including spy agencies)-industrial complex. Obama was correct in saying that our American forces had started or engaged in several conflicts around the world. That was done in the name of fighting communism, in many cases. But then why did the U.S. make special deals under both Democratic and Republican Presidents to give Communist China special trade advantages that cost the U.S. millions of jobs? Why finance through business and trade deals the very nations our government leaders said threatened American interests worldwide?
We spent trillions of dollars on defense while helping to pay-via-trade for the military of opponents in Communist China or Putin-led Russia.
The madness of U.S foreign and trade policy for decades was rivaled to some degree by domestic policies that spent trillions of taxpayer money on programs and agencies that largely failed to do what they claimed. President Lyndon Banes Johnson (D) (LBJ) launched the Great Society programs that we’re supposed to help the poor and marginalized. But the Heritage Foundation noted a decade ago that the money spent on those programs was roughly equal to the national debt. The trajectory of poverty in America has remained roughly the same ever since LBJ’s scheme was launched.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is supposed to make housing fair, more available, and thus more affordable. In 1969 HUD launched what was called Operation Breakthrough. The plan was based on the common-sense idea that factory-based homebuilding was more efficient than the centuries old method of building one house at a time on a given job site.
But 5+ decades after Operation Breakthrough, and over twenty years after the bipartisan enactment by Congress of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), one of the most import provisions of the MHIA goes largely un-enforced. It is the provision that could have made the promise of Operation Breakthrough a practical reality for the millions who don’t earn enough to qualify for a conventional site-built house. Studies show that for retires, first time buyers, downsizes, or the frugal – manufactured homes make tremendous sense. But an array of voices say the law is thwarted by HUD insiders, certain builders, and their association advocates.
Rather than go through a book length laundry list of costly federal failures, ask yourself questions like these.
- With billions spent annually to prevent a “Crimson Contagion,” why didn’t the CIA or our medical intelligence experts help the U.S. avoid the Wuhan, China originated COVID-19 virus?
- Why do we have a Department of Energy (DOE) that fails to produce or facilitate more low-cost energy production? When experts say there are centuries of energy underground in America, why import gas, oil, and create energy that is more costly than a year or two ago?
- Why do over forty nations, most with a lower per capita income than the U.S., nevertheless have a higher percentage of homeownership than the USA has?
It’s time for millions on the left and right to wake up and smell the corruption, ineptitude, lies, and deceit connected with so much occurring in Washington, D.C.
In news, there is a mantra. Good reporters follow the money trail for motives and causes. Investigators are also supposed to ask: who, what, when, where, why and how. Those principles – when followed – produce news worthy of its name. But with declining numbers of journalists, too few are spending enough time following the money trail or reporting on obvious failures of the federal government, like those mention above.
Behind dozens of scandals are corporate and special interests. Instead of building affordable homes that require no taxpayer subsidies, for instance, why are billions spent on subsidies to make conventional housing more affordable?
That’s an example of an issue Minneapolis Federal Reserve senior economist James A. “Jim” Schmitz Jr. has spoken and written about for years. But Schmitz and his colleagues call it ‘sabotaging monopolies.’ They assert something similar is occurring in other parts of the U.S. economy.
To that point, the Biden White House put out a competition fact sheet last summer. It says that 75 percent of all industries have a few larger brands controlling a higher percentage of a market than 20 years ago. Meaning, under Democrats and Republicans alike, antitrust and competition protections are not being properly enforced.
Schmitz says the current system for approving mergers and acquisitions are routinely rubber-stamping deals that increasingly limit competition. It is one more arena that Biden has talked about but failed to properly act upon. It’s no surprise. Following the money trail, some of Biden’s biggest supporters would be subject to antitrust breakups, if good laws were being enforced.
At the opening night of the 5-19 to 5.21 AMAC National Conference in Orlando, FL which this writer was invited to attend, after making a speech to attendees, Donald Trump Jr. agreed to take questions. This writer for MHProNews asked Don Jr. how important he thought antitrust enforcement was in the battle to solve America’s challenges?
Without hesitation, he said it was the number two or number three top issue.
Don Jr. went on to share as an example the problems associated with Big Tech. Hundreds of heads in the room quietly nodded in agreement.
Behind several of the issues our nation faces are special interests. Those interests work through lobbyists and others to get their hands on as much federal money as they can. They work with regulators to limit the benefits and increase the pain as much as possible on competitors.
Simply talking about a problem could be a start, but talk is never a solution by itself. Proper action must follow good words.
Several politicians and big businesses have learned the art of paltering. They speak part of the truth, but leave out critical elements that could lead to actual, positive change.
Agree or disagree with deposed President Donald J. Trump’s style, he nevertheless succeeded at advancing the broader American people’s interests on several levels. He spoke about the problem of monopoly power. Beyond words, Trump’s Department of Justice (DoJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched two important antitrust actions against Google and Facebook. When someone wonders why many corporate powers and “Wall Street” largely backed Biden – including Google and Facebook – look no further than the problem of monopolization of so many markets by a few dominant brands.
To fix what’s gone wrong in America, we must follow the money trail. A relatively small number of corporate forces, their leaders and nonprofits – and political or bureaucratic fronts – are turning the American Dream into a modern form of feudalism. Several on the left and right have been saying so for years.
But someone arguably need look no further than Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway for evidence.
Buffett told CNBC last summer that big business wants more power and so do politicians. Buffett, quoted by the New York Times in 2006, said that there is class warfare, and his class, the rich are winning that war. In 2011, the Washington Post cited Buffett explaining that his class had won the class war.
What exists could be described in a manner that fits the definition given by Benito Mussolini, the Italian ally of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialists (NAZI) pre-World War II German party. Mussolini said: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power.”
Isn’t a merger between corporate and state power what is occurring in the U.S.? Hasn’t that been the pattern for decades?
The video clip below from an epic scene in the 1976 dark dramatic-comedy classic Network occurred when Ned Beatty explained corporate and financial power in the U.S. and beyond. While there is hyperbole for effect, there is much truth in that fictional speech.
What must be done?
- The people must understand that at the root of many problems are corporate behaviors and their so-called special interests advocates in the form of lobbyists, nonprofits, NGOs, political and bureaucratic front-people.
- Voters must discern and support candidates willing and able to buck ‘the rigged system.’
- America first and Americans first sums up much of what U.S. foreign and domestic policy should be.
- To root out corruption, elected and appointed leaders must robustly enforce antitrust, RICO, Hobbs Act, fraud, and other laws. There are criminal penalties available for Sherman Act violations. Don’t just fine people and companies, put ringleaders into prison. Keep doing so until the problems of seemingly inept or corrupt practices are solved. Break up corporate giants so smaller firms and employees can thrive again.
- Think vigorous enforcement of good existing laws. Don’t let politicians and bureaucrats fool voters by claiming that new laws are needed. Make the most of existing laws.
- Bring federal power back down to size. Abolish as many federal agencies as necessary to make sure the massive waste, fraud, corruption, and abuse are ended. These total in the hundreds of billions annually, and have for decades.
- Abolish the 16th and 17th Amendments. Each has been part of the problem, not part of the solution. The founding fathers believed in decentralized government power which is as close to the people they serve as possible. A state’s rights were supposed to be protected in part by the 10th Amendment as well as by the fact that U.S. Senators were originally appointed by the states. The 17th Amendment -ratified on April 8, 1913 – changed appointment of senators by state legislatures to direct voter election of U.S. Senators. Why does that matter? Because states could keep a check on federal power, waste, fraud, and abuse through their appointed senators.
- The income tax has been a source of massive waste of time, personal liberty, privacy, and money. Forbes said Americans spend 8.9 billion hours on tax compliance, that’s outrageous! Prior to the income tax, tariffs were a large part of federal revenue. Tariffs also protected American businesses from foreign competition. Tariffs and domestic production meant American wages could be kept higher too.
- Study the constitution, authentic – vs. weaponized – American history, the principles of limited government, and common sense notions like TANSTAAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch).
- Don’t lose vigilance. We the People can’t relax because power corrupts. The founders didn’t ‘trust’ government. They would be appalled at how corrupted our system has become.
That doesn’t mean that America is as bad as some make it out to be. Rather, it means that the underlying causes of the problems and the solutions have been obscured.
When Don Jr. said antitrust was the second or third most important issue in our country, take that seriously. President Trump’s DOJ and FTC launched what could be consequential antitrust efforts. The question now is, will Biden’s DOJ and FTC actually perform on that? Or will they sabotage efforts to appease their corporate masters that put him in the White House?
On this Memorial Day, these are some of the issues and answers that could save taxpayers trillions and more lives. By learning the lessons of the past and applying common sense solutions, we can help our nation avoid the problems outlined in this editorial. ##
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By L.A. "Tony" Kovach - for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing.
For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He's a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
This article reflects the LLC's and/or the writer's position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
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