Sunday, June 9, 2019

Unable to Please Everyone, Theresa May Gives Up

Originally published on May 24, 2019 on America Out Loud,

“Is this like Brexit?” That was the question every Briton asked me and my American companions on November 8, 2016 as we sat at a bar in in London watching the television coverage of President Donald Trump’s win. We were loud, boisterous and irreverent⏤bantering about when Hilary Clinton would come out of hiding and concede. The reserved Londoners looked at us with their stiff upper lips, probably murmuring about what unruly savages we colonials were. They were in shock about this fissure in the timeline; although, not nearly as shocked as the country already beginning to descend into a cultural fragmentation grenade I would come home to a few days later.

I wasn’t sure how to answer their question that day. The United Kingdom had a few months before passed their own titanic change of direction approving Brexit, the vote to leave the European Union. They were still trying to understand what it meant and who to implement the divorce they had voted for.

To many, the European Union was more than just a socialist cooperative economic model beginning to show the stresses of many years of the richer nations supporting the poorer ones. The EU was for them the culmination of a dream of a better that began on the 8th of May 1945, Victory in Europe Day. The people of Western Europe had endured the Cold War paying the price of post-war mobilization of NATO.

In the 1970’s⏤the beginnings of a shift from swords to plowshares in the form of the European Economic Community brought an inkling of a better future to people who finally began to feel that the ghost of the Reich would not return again. And then the European Union expanded that dream to see a world beyond the end of the Cold War.

To abandon such a thing, to possibly return to the individual nation state dangers of pre-NATO Europe, to abandon the safe space of co-dependency was a not an easy thing to wrap their heads around. Being from the other side of the pond and dealing with my own rumblings about what was about to transpire in the New World, I didn’t feel like over focusing on it. So my answer then was, “I don’t know. But we’re going to find out.”

In the two and a half years hence, we’ve witness the leadership of the two premier English speaking nations of the world take very different approaches to carrying out their election mandates of 2016.

Where the US’ President Donald Trump accepted the reality that social fissures laid bare by his election and used them to navigate a treacherous maze of opportunities and pitfalls to carry out his mandate, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May sought to find a solution through painfully inclusive social justice paths seeking to smooth over the social fissures that where also emerging in her country.

May tried three times to package the Brexit mandate as a universal compromise. She failed each time. Few doubt that she meant the best for her country. But equality of outcome for conflicted constituencies within her nation in a nation-state economic divorce was never realistic. Theresa May was trying to hang on the communal dream of EU co-dependency while working on a mandate meant to turn the English Channel back into a defensive moat. It was never going to work.

Prime Minister May’s mistake was strategic. By not allowing hard Brexit divisive forces to have sway alongside soft Brexit preservationist forces that would result in an imperfect, but functional, solution, she instead led her country into an infeasible dead end. She now pays the price for that mistake.

Her successor will most likely not make the same mistake. The odds are the United Kingdom’s next Prime Minister will be more like America’s Donald Trump who is using both division and inclusion as part of his toolkit to lead.

My own opinion is that this is good fo the U.K. May didn’t have the heart to make the tough choices of establishing the self-interests of her country versus the EU in clearer terms. She tried to be nice and succeeded only in creating a self-imposed gridlock condition.

I hope the next Prime Minister does not make the same error. Victory goes to the bold. The U.K. needs to be bold. The reality is that other European Union nations are looking across the moat hoping to see a model of the future they can follow; because the true future of a healthier European Union is one where real equity and merit within it, not imaginary social justice, drives prosperity and stability. Lest the minuet fissures that have been the reality of European conflict since the Hundred Years’ War continue to spread like a the cancer. A cancer that Brexit was meant to cut out.

So how would I answer the comparative question “Is this like Brexit?”

I would say no because of how we tackled the task. The reason is not because the United States didn’t have just as strong a mandate to “Make America Great Again” as the mandate of Brexit. We did. The words are American, but the intent is the same.

It’s because we’ve been bold about pursuing our mandate. We’ve ruffled feathers standing up for ourselves not because we are hegemonistic, that we want to conquer and rule. No, it’s because we seek fairness in the world. It’s a tough love form of coexistence.

That’s the lesson in national interest here for Americans as we ponder our own future. Our dangers are the dead ends of trying to create “designer outcome” compromises; the kind that Theresa May could not achieve.

Trade War Heats Up; Will America or China Blink First?

Originally published May 10, 2019 on America Out Loud,

Donald Trump and Xi Jinping have a lot to talk about the next time they meet. The two men lead the two superpower economies of the world. The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China are bound together in what geopolitical strategists current call Grey Zone conflict; a 21st century version of the 20th century’s Cold War fought in economic, political and technology space with the occasional saber rattling of military power projection bravado.

The current hot part of the Grey Zone is trade and tariffs. The US is upping the tension by imposing roughly $200 billion in new tariffs as a way to create pressure to bring the Chinese back to the bargaining table following China’s surprising reneging of a pending trade agreement sending the US a red lined draft deleting almost all of the proposals the US had negotiated with the Chinese in good faith.

The Chinese have done this negotiate then take it away tactic before. They are known to seek to exploit perceived weaknesses in the American bargaining position when the US presidential election cycle begins.

They blunted trade agreement attempts by former President Barack Obama and seem to have believed current President Donald Trump was equally vulnerable to election cycle flaccidity.

It looks like they may have read the tea leaves wrong this time. President Trump doesn’t seem to care about the 2020 election as much as he cares about tending to the business of America in 2019. I don’t know why they thought the man they nicknamed “Donald the Strong” would change his modus operandi because a “circular firing squad”, as former President Barack Obama called it, of twenty plus mediocre Democratic presidential hopefuls are canvasing every bar and stage they can stand on and stump from.

Instead, the US moved to activate tariffs creating a real increase in friction for the global manufacturing supply chain that goes between the US and Chinese economies. Adding fuel to the tension, the US signaled that President Trump is willing to pursue taxing “everything the Chinese sell us” if we must in order to get their attention.

The two countries will next return to the bargaining table with the US likely demanding that every word in the language the Chinese deleted in the last draft of the trade agreement be restored. We’ll soon see how that plays out in the coming episode of the “Art of the Deal”.

Here’s the thing, trade friction is normal.

In an ideal world, there would be free trade between nations with the balance of trade between each counter-party being perfectly equal going both ways. But it’s not an ideal world. In the real world, imbalances are normal and fixing them requires constant tending by the governments to equalize the balances between trading partners.

The trade friction between the US and China is significant. It didn’t happen overnight though. Prior to Richard Nixon opening the door to Red China in the early 1970’s, China was a minor trading partner of the US. Things began to open beginning in the late 70’s and blossomed in the 1980’s under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping. But the explosion in trade volume and the path that would eventually lead to a severe trade imbalance really began in the 1990’s.

The US globalization and outsourcing of manufacturing and supply chain logistics starting in the 1990’s helped spark a vast economic boom in China that transformed Mao Zedong’s “Cultural Revolution” into Deng Xiaoping’s “To Be Rich is Glorious” vision for the centrally planned Communist nation. It would see China’s economy grow to become the equal in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with the United States of America. It has indeed been a glorious run of growth and prosperity. Entire industries transformed and grew in both the United States and China feeding on the cost of production savings of global outsourcing. The economic system became addicted to it and it benefitted from China’s infrastructure base grandly even as the US infrastructure base atrophied in strategically important industry sectors. America became a factory poor service economy and China forced its indigenous people off their lands and into factory cities for the greater glory of China. But there’s no such thing as a supernormal return that lasts forever.

The most successful beneficiaries of the global economy, the US and China have become conjoined twin 21st century economic superpowers very much the same way the US and the Soviet Union were conjoined twin military superpowers in the late 20th century. But both countries are now reaching inevitable growth plateaus. Both countries are beginning to adapt to reality.

The US has realized that it outsourced too much. America now needs to shift the locus of production back onshore to create job capacity for a population about to experience a massive technological change due to the arrival of artificial intelligence and robotics changing the nature of how work is done. It’s a simple formula. There will be fewer workers needed per business entity or process. To compensate for this, the US needs to increase the number of business entities and processes within its borders in balance with its domestic workforce size. Count that any way you want to; we need jobs for the bodies.

The Chinese plateau is that it needs to wean itself of an excessive dependency being the world’s largest export economy in a world where all their first and second world customers, not only the United States, will be adapting to the coming AI and robot workforce revolution.

China is, to be blunt, the world’s largest factory reduction in force waiting to happen. They need to reduce their exposure. They need to restructure the design of their economy, probably even their culture and governance, so it is not as dependent on the outside world’s need for goods to be internally rich and glorious.

Desperately seeking balance.

Economic negotiations have been ongoing to rebalance the costs and incentives to improve the trade balance positions between the US and China for years. People have worried about the consequence effects of becoming addicted to outsourcing since it began. The two countries struggle in parallel trying to create a way to evolve from a house of cards to an equilibrium that is sustainable and perpetual.

While American and Chinese leadership negotiate, it turns out, there is a narrower set of self-interests in the domestic socio-economic realities of both nations that retards their ability to find that equilibrium.

In the US, many industry sectors have calibrated their economics such that they are dependent on outsourced manufacturing of both finished goods as well as components and subassemblies. Distributed supply chain manufacturing was one of the great achievements of globalization and it has turned many US industry sectors into industrial outsourcing drug addicts.

Wall Street has a heart attack anytime this river of industrial cocaine hints at slowing down or being cut off. No one in the US wants to make the capital investment to replace what can be ordered over the internet from China. Capitalism is entirely myopic and short sighted.

US markets see only the now of the next earnings report. But that’s not going to stop the day the American labor force takes a cold shower. The machines and bots are still coming.

It’s, to use an old term, an inconvenient truth. No one other than Trump really wants to face it. It’s impossible to even discuss something this difficult in DC because Congress is so busy playing political games about hating the president it’s completely ignoring the national interest. There are even some Congress who want the country to fall into the losing side of a trade war thinking maybe the turmoil is good for their political fortune. Really? Since when is plunging a country into a depression a good thing?

If you think we have problems, a trade war is far worse for the Chinese. They have the same professional class myopic greed and addiction to an outsourcing business model planet economy too. It’s been very, very glorious. The Roman concept of Momento Mori applies here; the legend of the slave Auriga whispering in the ear of the victorious Roman general on his chariot that “glory is fleeting”.

Historically, the Chinese are in a quandary they’ve been in many times over their 10,000-year history. Simply put. What happens when the aspirations of your professional class depart from the existential needs of your peasant base? Chinese dynasties, including the present communist one, have struggled with this repeatedly and the solutions have mostly not been “nice”.

For the Chinese, the Xiaoping glory period of high growth is rapidly reaching a limit line. China’s leadership knows this probably more acutely than anyone else on the planet. They know they stand at a difficult precipice.

They must either seek a peaceful equilibrium with the league of nations as trading partners taking account of the realities of what technology is about to do to everyone, a path leads to working with the community of nations constructively. Or, the Chinese must begin to prepare to become Asia’s next pretender to the throne of hegemonic owner of Greater East Asia to manufacture artificial prosperity by force. It’s a decision point that is coming for the Chinese and it is something the world needs to be dealing with head on and helping the Chinese make the right choice.

My observation? The hegemon option is a really, really bad idea for China. The People’s Liberation Army is good but it’s military might is best used as a projection of power for negotiating leverage vs. in actual imperial conquest. Basically, it’s not going to work. China shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking it’s better than Japan was at such an endeavor. Chinese hyper patriotism is an admirable thing for the pride of the Chinese people in themselves and their achievements. It’s also a slippery stone on the path to the dangers of Bushido. The Japanese lost by the way. To the United States of America. Just saying.

Going operations analyst for a paragraph, the conflict calculus prognosis in any form of protracted economic conflict between the US and China, once fully engaged, is the same. The odds heavily favor the Americans. All conflicts are about one’s financial staying power. While both the US and China have $16 trillion GDP’s, the GDP per capita available for sustaining so-called Grey Zone conflict, meaning at a high state of open animosity on the ragged edge of war and peace, overwhelmingly favors the US at 300 million mouths to feed on a $16T base vs. Chinas 1.4 billion people sustainment load.

An economic war will stress the Chinese cultural-political system 4 ½ times more per day of conflict than it will America.

That is a simple siege warfare cost multiplied by time formula as old as conflict itself. It determines who’s house of cards will crumble first. It’s icky. Everyone will lose. Don’t do it.

Something Better to “Get to Yes” About.

As I step back from the noise of the moment, I’m struck by the realization that there actually is a straightforward and sensible outcome that both Donald Trump and Xi Jinping need to work towards.

The US needs to get to a trade level and mix that brings back onshore enough industry to sustain the quality of life of its population.

The US and China both need to redesign their foreign trade models so that they work together to target a long run 1-to-1 balance of trade such that most favored nation status with as close to friction free tariffless interaction becomes sustainable between the two counterparties.

For the US to achieve its aims, it needs to mobilize domestically to recapitalize what was excessively outsourced while continuing to interact with the global supply chain fairly. The US clearly cannot do this while the political climate of America is fractious. Until then, America has no unified national direction. That means, election year acrimony be damned, President Trump needs to find a way to bring selfish political tribes together, at least on this issue, to the point that the US begins to work on matters of national interest, even if as a very reluctant team. If this doesn’t happen, China will win.

For the Chinese to achieve their aims, they need to similarly reorganize their culture and politics to develop a stable domestic economy that is internally self-sustaining and balances interaction with the global supply chain fairly. I suspect that to do this will be more problematic for China. The Chinese will likely have to explore alternative national designs such as creating interdependent regions within their country much like the US has natural regions of separation that allows it to have internal cycles that smooth things over time. The single nation centrally controlled model they have now is probably too difficult to sustain. If China cannot do this, then America will win.

If the two countries can begin to discuss these things constructively, the world wins.

To be honest, an uncomfortable tariff skirmish might be just the thing to get both countries scared enough to start thinking about the 21st century more productively.

So be it.

Is the U.S. In Danger of Blowing the World’s Chance for Change?

Originally published May 6, 2019 on America Out Loud,

Rocket Man is back. Kim Jung Un’s North Korea has started test firing missiles again. This follows a failed Vietnam summit with U.S. president Donald Trump in Korea where the “Getting to Yes” strategy of that had been drawing the hermit nation’s leader into the open was hit with the cold water of a positional impasse over the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

A disappointed Un went through a predictable process of being spurned. He went to China and found that the Chinese have their own issues and agendas with the United States; that he’s a side show in a far grander game between two $16 trillion GDP behemoths balancing vastly differing domestic challenges while negotiating bi-lateral economic matters unique to the interests of the only true economic superpowers on the planet. Un went to Russia, the other military superpower and discovered little relief from Vladimir Putin’s tiny $1.2 trillion GDP was forthcoming. Putin knows he’s a guppy in an economic world war and is right to opt out of that fight. Kim Jung Un realized he is once again alone and isolated. When in doubt, you do what you know.

Following the Summit, the U.S. returned to a tougher Neocon stance of sanctions under the new leadership of John Bolton. Donald Trump’s world leadership signature “Art of the Deal” approach that to international policy all but disappeared.

It’s all about sanctions now. The U.S. is playing tough guy all over the planet again with predictable results; a hardening of battle lines and a lessening chance that the change the international landscape of the planet breakthroughs of the Trump rebellion will survive the establishment empire’s striking back.

Under Bolton, it’s all about compromising our enemies using economic sanctions as our spear for asymmetric warfare. At a recent conference on technology held at the FDIC, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin noted that as much as fifty-percent of his days now can be spent on sanctions. That tells me we have weaponized our economy straying far afield of the free market principles that make America great domestically and internationally.

It has rankled our allies and adversaries alike. Germany’s Andrea Merkel welcomed former president Barack Obama who basically told the European Union that he’s not sure America’s opposition party, the Democrats, have anything in the way of a useful alternative to offer.

Obama described his party’s condition akin to a circular firing squad more intent in infighting than cohesion at this junction. I doubt that offered much comfort to the Germans or any of the other socialist leaning governments in the EU.

Sanction-based international policy by the US seems to be increasing the desperation of countries like Iran whose rhetoric is becoming increasingly belligerent, albeit nonsensical. I mean how many times can you look at a side story on TV about an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general threatening to attack everything in the waters off Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas if the US closes the Gulf, which we aren’t. What we are doing is working with other countries using our economic muscle to increase oil production elsewhere on the planet to crowd our Iranian and Venezuelan oil. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf State Sunni kingdoms, who have little love for Iran’s Shia Crescent ambitions, are more than happy to support the US in a classic the enemy of my enemy is my friend bedfellow arrangement. Meanwhile, Iran’s general’s wonder when they’ll be declared an international terrorist cell this enabling the now fully weaponized Treasury Department of Steve Mnuchin to launch a frontal assault on their bank accounts.

This is a weird world scenario where the dangers of someone going off half-cocked making a mistake are highly amplified. That’s always been the danger of establishment thinking in D.C. and it’s clearly returning to the conduct of U.S. international policy.

For instance, Venezuela’s Juan Guaido is attempting to draw the United States into taking overt action to overthrow Nicolas Maduro. This is like reading a chronicle of the Bay of Pigs all over again. Like then, the United States has little real incentive to involve itself in a shooting war between political factions in a sovereign nation to inherit a devastated economy and take on a minimum two-decade nation building project. Didn’t we just get out of one of those PTSD nightmares?

So what next?

I really think President Trump should trust his broken field innovation instincts again. It’s ok to upset the Establishment Mr. President. I offer the following observations.

First. With regards to North Korea, it’s never too late to launch a new series of incentives to bring Kim Jung Un back to the table. I believe the stick we applied at the Vietnam Summit setting the strong expectation that full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula was the predicate for future progress was rightfully necessary. But we knew internal factions inside North Korea dissonant and we were remiss in failing to anticipate it by having a basket full of diplomatic carrot incentives ready to go even as the summit was faltering to work the problem of preventing the North Korean from going hermit. We’ve lost time and momentum that we didn’t have to. The National Security Council should be directed to come up with a comprehensive strategy to recapture that momentum that isn’t based on positional bargaining principles.

The same applies to managing places like Iran and Venezuela. Yes sir, the leadership of these rogue nations is questionable. All self-serving dictatorships are. But sanctions alone that offer no pathway out of the predicament won’t work either. Pride, even misguided pride, is a factor in global stability. These are proud and misguided people. They will apply themselves in misguided ways such as cheating on sanctions and hurting their own people to make a point of their belligerence to us. And they will find cracks in the world enough to survive almost any sanctioning regime we come up with. America is one of the lousiest empires to ever attempt siege warfare. That’s reality. We need to be more innovative.

Your administration was elected because we needed these changes in how things were done. The world needed these changes. Now is not the time to go conventional. If we do, the dream of making America great again will be lost.

And finally, we need to keep working with the Chinese. It’s tedious but the economic war between us is the world’s new Cold War. It’s fought with tariffs, trade agreements, import quotas, intellectual property as force elements instead of missile counts. But like it was with the Soviets, the global stability of the planet depends on two counter-parties working to get it right. We are much more partners in what we can do for the planet than we both realize. But the planet is depending of both of us figuring it out. We should devote ourselves to doing so.

Restoring Reason After the Mueller Anti-Climax

Originally published April 15, 2019 on America Out Loud

What interesting times we live in. The anti-climax of the Mueller investigation continues to play out as we await the arrival of the redacted report. I am amazed at how quickly the house of cards that awaited the smoke to emerge from the political canon pointed at President Trump is evaporating.

The consequences of the betrayal of the left by the establishment left and their media allies are just beginning. The disenfranchised army of orphaned Democrats is just beginning to react. By summer, we shall see where this anger leads. I don’t think it will be pointed at the White House.

To be sure, there are vestiges of the evil Empire that continue to struggle to survive, ever more feebly. In Congress, the Schiff and Nadler committees pretend to carry on even as the evidence grows that there is nothing to carry-on about. The leaks coming from Congress are ever more obvious these days. They are now concentrated coming from the politicians. Comically so if one judges efficacy by looking at the memes on social media. I mean, since when is topping how you put your foot in your mouth yesterday the next day a good thing? Establishment or New Progressive? Racing to the bottom isn’t serving the Nation.

Previously, just as many leaks were coming from agency sources, three letter ones in particular. I get the distinct impression that these are now being reined in.

The consequences to one’s government service career for being an Alinsky radical inside the castle keep are becoming too great. That’s good. Bureaucrats are supposed to serve their mission and stay in their lanes while on the clock.

The news media too behaves more and more. The landscape of the mainstream media is changing before our eyes as audiences abandon the programming that misled them. It’s like being gut punched by someone who pretended to be your best friend.

The profitability Trump headlining the news cycle as a way the beguile the confirmation biases of target audience segments is fading. The raw truth audiences were fed stories not because they were true, but because that’s what kept people watching is coming out loud and clear. I always said that CNN needed President Trump more than he needed CNN. That’s certain proving the be the case as ratings adjust to reality. I have confidence that the economics of being a for-profit business are about take brutal effect; in some cases, they already have.

The country is clearly ready to move on. I think the Democrats risk losing everything if they don’t move along with the country. They may not be able to because they now have too many factions inside their tents to have any hope of cohesion in messaging the American people. As the old saying goes “divided we fall” may have to be the fate of that party until it learns to purge its fringe, find its center again, and be interesting enough to bring the walk away orphaned people they chose to abandon back in, if ever.

A Midterm Pendulum Swinging to Trump?

The country’s “moving on” manifesting as a Trump backlash against the Establishment is clearly emerging.

Attorney General William Barr is beginning to examine the other side of the conspiracy coin. He should! The people who cried wolf that there was collusion in the Trump camp always worried me as the kind of people who were reflecting actions of their own in the mirror as they antagonized their foes. That always struck me as a little bit weird with me. In my experience, when someone accuses others that angrily they are usually describing things that they have done; that they are covering up their own actions.

I think it is right to ask to what degree the establishment of Washington DC including elected officials and bureaucratic officials particularly in the Cabinet agencies were party to, duped by, or derelict in these matters. I believe it is important for the national interest of the United States to ferret these people and the institutional behaviors they perpetrated out into the open so a proper vetting of our government apparatus can take place. We could use a good spring cleaning of our own house.

I am particularly pleased that Julian Assange is finally going to have his day in court. Removing the shroud of mystery so that what he knew becomes something everyone knows will be, despite the price he will have to pay as an individual, a cathartic revelation for the people of America. I’ll be keen to see how much they try to suppress and hide what he has to say under veils of secrecy, redaction and gag orders. Personally, let all the poisons that lie in the mud hatch out sounds good to me.

Reason Begets More Reason

I am pleased to observe that the beltway swamp is not the only place this phenomenon of reason is emerging in the United States. It’s too easy to become obsessed with one aspect of the American story to the detriment of seeing other things that appearing to remind us that we are a great country capable of tackling many things. Here are a couple that attracted my attention thanks more to social media than the mainstream media.

The malarkey of the so-called “Green New Deal” was poignantly challenged by an article by National Public Radio discussing evidence that the banning of plastic grocery bags is actually more harmful for the environment because it causes people to buy thicker plastic garbage bags to you use to pick up their dog poop and take out their cat litter.

Bear in mind that NPR had been one of the biggest proponents of pushing the concept of using reusable grocery bags for many years. Their article confessed the truth that one would have to use such a bag thousands of times beyond its useful life of one of these bags in order to negate the carbon footprint offset of manufacturing one such bag vs. plastic grocery bags. Finally, apparently the damage to forests from using paper bags is far higher than the environmental damage from manufacturing plastic ones.

It’s not unlike the carbon cost of making an electric car vs. nursing your old clunker along a few more years. Kind of makes you wonder about why that “cash for clunkers” thing from several years ago doesn’t it?

Can you imagine such a story in the era of Establishment Entitlement America? Or Global Economic Elitism? I think it is good people are beginning to question blindly following the environmental fad of the moment without considering the potential negative consequences of those initiatives.

I think asking tougher questions of environmental activists is a much better way to protect the environment than trying every half-baked idea that comes along and fixing the mess later. And yes, I would like a straw with that please.

I mean if you ever bothered to read the details of Paris Climate Accord that the United States rejected you would have seen that it was a formula that was doomed to failure. The approach relied on eliminating mobility, limiting food sources, and ultimately, reducing population. The Paris 2050 mid-century plan was either dangerously naïve or diabolically genocidal.

The US Progressive activist plan is a basket case compared to the Paris one. We can do better. We should do better.

Then there’s that pesky Second Amendment

As New Zealand decided that its citizens cannot not be trusted with firearms, in America US District Judge Roger Benitez declared California’s 20-year old ban on firearms magazines holding more than 10 rounds unconstitutional. Downplayed in the mainstream media even as it exploded on social media, for a week between the judge’s decision striking down two California’s laws and a Voter Referendum and the same issuing a stay to a desperate State of California to attempt to mount an appeal, ordinary gun owning Americans in the state of California bought nearly the entire inventory available for sale throughout the United States taking advantage of a one week window to acquire them legally. People called freedom week in California. It’s over and the process is back in the hands of the Courts to grind on slowly; but it was a breath of fresh air for red blooded Americans in a very blue state.

Judge Benitez wrote a scathing defense of the Second Amendment of the US Bill of Rights attacking nearly every gun control argument ever posed on the issue in his decision beginning with three cases of women defending themselves, two of whom ran out of ammunition while under attack. It’s an interesting case that, should California pursue an appeal, could overturn similar laws in nine other states; the other forty-one states in the Union have no such restrictions. It brings a gun control debate that has long relied on skirting around the constitutionality issue out in the open. Tactically, this is not exactly what the people who dream of a USA that looks like New Zealand were daydreaming about the week before Havana born Benitez issued his ruling.

The phenomenon speaks volumes about just how powerful the US Constitution and Bill of Rights continue to be in this country. It appeared literally as a bolt out of the blue, a reminder that the Founder’s vision is still alive.

It is something that every American who believes that this country should be great again should take note of. It remains vital that all of us, we ordinary Americans, support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic, so help us God. It is a ruler that gives us all fair and equal measure. That is what it takes to make our nation a healthier place where debate is rational, and pluralism is tolerant … for all.