We stand on guard for thee…

o-CANADIAN-FLAG-facebookTonight, in the face of the day’s events, I stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors to the north. This isn’t the post I intended to write tonight. It’s a post I’ve hoped to never write again – after the attacks in Spain and England, after the coldblooded killings of civilian journalists, after 13 years of hard war.

Whether this attack on Canada was the act of a single lunatic, “self radicalized” individuals, or a directed effort from those cowering further afield this is the work of terrorism. Our ability to adapt and respond to the existential threat of extremism in all of its forms, from within and without, is being tested. In attacking the great pillars of Western civilization, foreign and domestic enemies must find no purchase. They must not be allowed a foothold. They must be ripped out by root and stem and destroyed utterly.

I stand with our friends in Canada because it’s where they’ve stood when our roles were reversed. An attack on one, regardless of its source, is an attack on all.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Fleeing to Canada. Despite the ferocity of your Facebook or Twitter conviction, face it, no one is actually going to move to Canada as a result of this week’s presidential election. Even if you did, you’d find a high tax rate, national health care, and an entire province that wants to break away and form its own country. So all you’d actually accomplish is swapping out one dysfunctional political system for another and paying a hefty moving bill for the privilege. Can we all give the hyperbole a rest and start talking about changes we can make here in the real world to start undoing the mess we’ve collectively made over the last 60-odd years?

2. Antique Technology. Using Internet Explorer 8 is pretty much like driving around in a 1979 Dodge Omni; sure it’s technically transportation, but its reliability is questionable and its style is pretty much non-existent. Like the idiot lights on out fictitious Omni, IE8 spends most of its time throwing up security certificate errors, blocking content, and generally making it unbearable to use for anything other than the most basic tasks… and even then it’s slow as Moses in a minefield. It’s always a comfort to know that here in the most technologically sophisticated arms of government, we insist on plodding along with antiques from the last decade. That’s a sure path to effectiveness and efficiency.

3. Mary Jane. If the people of the great state of Colorado want to toke up for recreational purposes, I say God bless. Given this country’s outstanding record of success at enforcing morality laws, my advice to the DEA is just let ‘em go. We can argue all night about pot being carcinogenic, addictive, a gateway to the wild world of opiates and other drugs, but I have a hard time seeing how it’s all that much different than cigarettes or alcohol. Regulate it, tax it, and then let the states decide how, when, and by whom it can be used. Carrying pot as a Schedule 1 narcotic, with heroin, meth, and LSD strikes me as dishing out a $1000 penalty for a $10 crime. In the grand scheme of shit that’s important, sorry, this just doesn’t make the cut for me.

Superpower America (or How’s that for Mixed Metaphors)…

The actual future is going to look different than the future we thought we were going to have. That’s true if only because we’re notoriously bad at predicting the future – We’re all still waiting on our flying cars, right? I don’t think it’s going to be radically different to the point that Canada starts being cool or Hollywood starts making good movies (that would be some kind bizzaro universe). I actually have a sneaking suspicion that the future is going to be painful. Painful in that we’ve spent the last 30 years binging on cheep booze and grease ball cheeseburgers and now we’re about to wake up with a national hangover the likes of which none of us has ever seen. The fight to raise the debt ceiling ain’t nothing compared to the battle that will be joined when we realize we’ve got to actually start paying down the debt itself.

The future is going to seem painful because there’s every possibility that we’re about to experience a world where Superpower America isn’t. Those of us who grew up beyond the shadow of the cold war are going to have the hardest time adjusting because we’ve never had to moderate our expectations about anything really. You guys know I’m not exactly an alarmist, but my read of the situation is that bottom line: Superpower America is too expensive. How we go about fixing that with the least pain possible (the no pain option is well off the table), remains to be seen. So too does whether we have the national will to collectively make hard decisions about what is in the long term national interest and what isn’t; what we can pay for and what we can’t. These decisions matter. Economic realities matters.

Don’t believe me? Ask Superpower USSR how it works out when you pretend economics is an imaginary science. Spending ourselves into oblivion isn’t an option, but I wonder who’s going to be the first to offer up their sacred cows so we can try to avoid slaughtering the whole herd.