Thu, 26 Feb 2009 23:04:54 +0000 – By Mike BakerPresident/Americas Cofounder, Diligence LLC/Former CIA Covert Operations Officer/Writer
The Peoples Weekly Brief, America's most popular online column (as measured by a show of hands down at Buzzy's 8 Ball Lounge just last night) is very pleased to announce its continued existence on FOXNews.com's new Opinion section aka the FOX Forum. Huzzah. Same great taste as the old PWB with none of that lingering gassy feeling you sometimes get after digesting other columns.
To all you loyal PWB readers who make up America's best hope for a legitimate third party, thank you for the concerned emails asking where we had gone and when we'd be back. To be truthful, I gave the staff and interns a couple weeks off while the site was being redone. Meanwhile, I spent my time holed up at Buzzy's trying to figure out how I ended up living in a socialist country.
It's the damndest thing... one minute you're in the land of the free, brave and capitalist...the next, in the words of the now famous Newsweek cover, we're all socialists now. I'm flummoxed, and you should be aware I don't flummox easily. All socialists now? What a load of crap.
Is it really necessary to carry out a massive social reengineering project just because we allowed greed up and down the financial food chain to screw up what otherwise is a good system?
Everybody had a hand in this current mess... folks who bought more than they could afford, unions that pushed for unsustainable benefits packages, Wall Street executives who built a house of cards, Democrats and Republicans on the Hill who passed enabling legislation and sat on their asses while Fannie, Freddie and a host of major institutions leveraged themselves beyond what any sane person would consider responsible... you get my point.
You or I might look at the mess and say, "huh... guess we oughta' let the bad businesses fail, revamp the controls on mortgage lending, add a bit of regulation here and there and get back to business." Americans are by nature optimistic, industrious and resilient. Hard working folks understand that mistakes have consequences and to right the ship there will be some short term pain.
Unfortunately, you and I aren't in positions of leadership. Instead, we've got a bunch of politicians all jacked up on big government who see the current problem as an opportunity to set the country on a new course. We've done the Obama as Lincoln thing... now standby as the President's spin doctors morph him into Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I actually understand the FDR comparison more than the Lincoln-Obama thing. We'd have to travel back in time, maybe to 1931 or 1932, to find the last occasion when American liberals and leftists were so excited.
Back then, as FDR and his folks cooked up the New Deal, a large herd of politicians, academics and others dreamed of creating a workers paradise. When not extolling the virtues of Mussolini they were getting giddy about Stalin's collectives and the grand Russian experiment. I'm not sure, but I think neither did well in the long run.
Pillory big business, tax anyone making more than you do, redistribute assets, toss in a little protectionist rhetoric... this is the change we've been waiting for? My parents got this change back in the early 1930's and it led to another depression in the late 1930's. At least back then you could dress up in spats and a fedora while waiting in the food line. Where the hell am I gonna' find spats nowadays?
President Obama has spent the past couple of weeks explaining that the sky is falling. Tuesday night during his Not-a-State-of-the-Union Address to the nation, he sounded more hopeful and optimistic. This is because polls, pundits and now advisors are telling him that he can't be President Eeyore anymore.
He's been advised that it's bad politics to keep telling the American people that times suck and could suck more before they suck less. He struck a more hopeful tone on that evening... cautiously hopeful, with strong undertones of stiff upper lip and optimism. More FDR than Chicken Little.
You know what else? I'll bet the president can get spats any time he wants. I just hope he remembers that spats and a stovepipe hat don't work well together.
Just my opinion. Til' next time, stay safe.
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Mike Baker served for more than 15 years as a covert field operations officer for the Central Intelligence Agency, specializing in counterterrorism, counternarcotics and counterinsurgency operations around the globe. Since leaving government service, he has been a principal in building and running several companies in the private intelligence, security and risk management sector and has recently returned to Diligence LLC, a company he cofounded in 2000, as President. He appears frequently in the media as an expert on counterterrorism, intelligence and homeland security. Baker is also a partner in Classified Trash, a film and television production company. Baker serves as a script consultant, writer and technical adviser within the entertainment industry, lending his expertise to such programs as the BBC's popular spy series "Spooks," as well as major motion pictures.