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The Freedom to Fail

San Diego — A liberal acquaintance published a link on Facebook where one of his progressive sites attempted to define the major political/economic “isms” of the day with the clear implication that only liberals understood what the terms really meant; and that conservatives, libertarians, essentially any non-liberals did not understand the terms and so used them incorrectly.  Liberals and progressives on the other hand, in this as in all things, had the pipeline to ultimate truth which, at least in this case, they would share.

But if they accept that post’s definitions they are no closer to the truth than those they disparage.

The essay attempted, in a vastly oversimplified way, to define “Nazism,” “Fascism.” “Socialism,” “Communism,” and “Capitalism.”  Clever.  Unfortunately it was incorrect in several places, and incorrect by ommision and selective inclusion is several more..

It tried, for example, to frame Nazism as a political philosophy, but in practice it was basically a cult of personality run by paranoid and power hungry people using a very flawed belief in a sort of social and biological Darwinism wrapped in theological fervor.  It incorporated the belief in and the creation of a fantasy “race” incorrectly using the term “Aryan” which was the original label for an Indo-European group who would have looked nothing like the Nordic ideal the Nazis deluded themselves into thinking included them.

The closest to a coherent economic philosophy the Nazis got was the simple expedient of blaming others for their problems by feeding upon latent hostilities toward several groups of, to them, sub-human “races.”

The closest political model for the Nazis would have been Fascism.  Named for the bundle of reeds and axe that was the symbol of power of the Romans, the fasces, they even modeled their structure to some extent on Imperial Rome.  But the essay’s section on Fascism was poorly defined and failed to note that economically, the Nazis (National Socialist Worker’s Party) was not even true to the socilistic part of their name and allowed private ownership of the means of production though it was totally under the control of the government.  Think Krupp and his steel mills.

We usually associate Fascism, another combination of economic and political philosophies, with the Nazis but in fact it was formulated in Italy under Mussolini who drafted the only official definitions of it in which he outlines three principles of a fascist philosophy:

1.”Everything in the state”. The Government is supreme and the country is all-encompassing, and all within it must conform to the ruling body, often a dictator.

2.”Nothing outside the state”. The country must grow and the implied goal of any fascist nation is to rule the world, and have every human submit to the government.

3.”Nothing against the state”. Any type of questioning the government is not to be tolerated. If you do not see things our way, you are wrong. In practice you were also likely… dead.

 It was also the foundation for a warrior culture.  In 1934 Mussolini wrote,

Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace. It thus repudiates the doctrine of Pacifism — born of a renunciation of the struggle and an act of cowardice in the face of sacrifice. War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision — the alternative of life or death….

…The Fascist accepts life and loves it, knowing nothing of and despising suicide: he rather conceives of life as duty and struggle and conquest, but above all for others — those who are at hand and those who are far distant, contemporaries, and those who will come after…”

Socialism, a polar opposite of Fascism on many levels, was also poorly defined by the essay and its hallmark approach of “from each according to his ability; to each according to his need” based on Rousseau’s complete misunderstanding of simple, tribal communal structures was ignored.  Socialism requires the belief that production per se is a zero sum game and that in order for some to survive others must be held back.  This may be true in small, primitive tribal or family band units; but it is not even remotely true in modern industrial societies.

Though couched in the language of fairness to support the downtrodden, reality has shown otherwise as everywhere it has been implemented it devolves quickly into a situation where the government takes from the productive to support those who will not participate in production.

Socialism, an economic philosophy, in seeking social justice, puts the means of production into the hands of the “public” meaning, from a practical standpoint, the state.  It allows the state to define, based on the goals du jour, just who can be taken from and who is to be given to in order to establish economic equality throughout its populace.  It sees people as poor pawns driven wherever the winds of class warfare drive them and therefore deserving of an enlightened state authority to set things right and level not just the playing field, but the results as well.  It harbors the notion that for one to succeed, another most fail; that if one person gains it is only through the taking of things from another.  Wealth, it argues, should be distributed evenly not based on skill or effort but on the goal of social equality.

In that sense of “public ownership” socialism and communism, a term coined in the 1840s, are the same.  But under communism, a combination of political and economic philosophies. or at least its theoretical proposition, the role of the state is more extreme.  Not only does the state own everything, but people, regardless of job or work, are paid essentially identically.  Regardless of effort or productivity, all get the same results.  It usually results in only the equality of common misery but it does take the traumatic decisions about life’s.  The state and its autocracy are, of course, distinct from the common man and in exchange for their care of the masses are not precluded from reaping the spoils of their social depredation.

The linked essay further noted that Communism requires a violent overthrown of the existing system in order to establish a state where all property is owned communally.  That is not true.  Marx and Engels wrote that while it might come to that, it was better if it could be done by fiat and subterfuge, with out and out revolution a last option.  He feared that it likely must be done but not because it was an ideal approach… simply a probably necessary one.

Where the essay really fell down was in trying to define Capitalism.  It said capitalism believed in profit but, recognizing that not all can make a profit required the government to step in to help those who failed.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Capitalism does indeed use success and its rewards as a motivator for effort and energy.  But it has never seen government as a safety net for those who chose not to participate or whose failure was through their own poor choices or activities.  Indeed the most critical freedom in a capitalistic society is the freedom to fail and face the consequences.

Someone blind-sided by life or nature or circumstances beyond their control aside, a capitalist structure specifically does not allow government to be in the rescue business precisely because of the ease with which that power devolves into “crony” capitalism where government can decide who to help and who not to help.  Helping those hurt by forces outside of their control is a human, ethical duty, but it is not, in pure capitalism, the prevue of the government.  When government, unable financially to save all in need from its treasury, can pick and chose, corruption is inevitable.

That corrupt cronyism so completely tilts the playing field as to render the concept of equal opportunity to TRY but with no guarantee of result pointless since in cases of its own choosing government does indeed guarantee the outcome.  That is not capitalism per se but a rather bizarre mixture of socialism and fascism.  The very concept of something “too large to fail” is anathema to real capitalism.

So read such biased “explanations” with a grain of salt.  Francis Bacon said that humans prefer to believe what they prefer to be true.   Even minimal experience shows that we will go so far to accept “evidence” that supports our own beliefs and reject “evidence” to the contrary that often even the admonition to research the truth for one’s self is wasted.  H.L. Menken opined that the chief occupation of mankind was indulging in passionate beliefs that which are palpably untrue.  And it is that conflict of unshakable faith in opposing but equally unsupportable positions that has brought us to the political gridlock, animosity, and danger point we are currently in.

One side of our current political divide holds tight to a fantasy world that cannot be because it violates the very core of human nature.  The other side holds equally tight to a highly filtered and equally fanciful history that never was.  Neither side seems to hold any stock in the principles and documents upon which this nation was founded and from which we rose to greatness on the world stage.

I do fear we are seeing the beginning of the end for our country and the hopes with which it was created.  We are on our way to becoming just another in a long sad litany of great nation states that forgot who it was, eschewed its founding principles, and threw itself on the midden heap of history to make way for the rise of the next great power.  How sad.  What a waste.

 

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Posted by on November 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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More BS Flowing Down The Political Sewer Pipe

San Diego – Oh how soon we forget when it serves our purposes…  But sometimes there is that pesky videotape that someone forgot to erase when the agenda changed.  And now we have a glaring example of it.

The year was 2006.  The President was the hated Bush demon and in his evil machinations sought to raise the debt ceiling.  The left was simply apoplectic.  Senators Reid, Pelosi and, yes, Senator Barrack Obama each took to the dias and bloviated in soaring rhetoric how this was an outrage!  This was, they ALL chanted, simply so we could spend more money but we did not need to raise it for current spending obligations because all of those had to have been approved under the debt ceiling as then defined.  This was, they shrieked, merely a way to allow the administration to spend NEW money on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan beyond that already approved, which they hated.

In fact, they were right.  Congress cannot approve borrowing more money than the debt ceiling in place at the moment will allow.  So every debt and liability incurred by the country at the moment has had to fit within the debt ceiling when the liability was enacted.  And, sure enough, we have the revenue to at least service the current debt even though we do not have the revenue to pay the principle down or to fund new debt.  That was true when Reid, Pelosi, Obama, et al rose to say it in 2006.  And it is still true today.

It was still true in 2008 when Obama, on the stump, called the Evil Bush Demon irresponsible and unpatriotic for allowing the national debt to reach $4 trillion on his watch, to create, he noted, a debt exceeding the total debt run up by all presidents before him.  He was correct.  But that was $6 Trillion ago.  And that additional $6 Trillion was run up not by the Evil Bush Demon but by the benighted Obamessiah,  How can that be when he was telling the truth back then.

However, he was not telling the truth today or anything even close to it.  He had to be assuming, (and with every reason to make the assumption based on the election results), that the populace is so ignorant and so burdened with short attentions that they will not only have forgotten it but those few who remembered will think they remembered in error, our Spender in Chief rose Monday morning to warn the people that if the evil right wing continued to hold America hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless some equal cuts in spending were added, we would fail economically, fail in our promises to the world, our credit would be shot, and we would no longer be a powerful nation.

Sorry Chief, that is simply a bald faced lie.  And worse.  Trying to frighten recipeients of social security and VA benefits is disingenuous because he knows full well that the payment of those specific benefits is protected by Federal law.  It is more than disingenuous, it is sleazy and duplicitous.

And, Dear Leader, it contradicts your own surprisingly well reasoned diatribe against raising the debt ceiling for the Evil Bush Demon which, against all odds, actually caught you doing something unusual, telling… the truth.  Well, some of the truth anyway.

Raising the debt ceiling is wanted and needed solely so we can raise our debt.  Duh.  Obama’s problem is that as a country, we do not take in the revenue to pay for the desired levels of spending especially when the leadership wants to turn us overnight into a Scandinavian model socialist democracy.  But this is not a result of incompetence.  I believe it is an obvious part of strategy 101.

If we continue, year after year to raise the debt ceiling and then borrow up to it so we need to raise it again to spend and borrow more, sooner or later that house of cards will come crumbling down just as it does to a family who tries the same thing.  And then we have a choice.  We can do what we are doing now which is simply push the day of reckoning down the line so our kids and their kids will have to deal with the catastrophe we are creating, or we have to belly up to the bar and cough up the revenues into the public coffers to pay for it.

The problem is then we will have to believe that a Congress known most of all for its profligate spending (and yes, this includes the mainstream Republicans as well who differentiate themselves from the liberals only be want to spend a little less and a little slower, will take that added revenue and put it toward paying down the debt instead of simply expanding new programs.  You do all believe they will all suddenly be bitten by the bug of restraint, don’t you?  I’m sure I do…  NOT!

The only chance this generation has of getting the debt under control is to stop increasing the debt faster than it can be paid down.  And that needs to start now.  Will it happen?  I doubt it.  The citizenry unburdened by any real knowledge of the issues or the consequences, hearing only what they want to hear and even then only if buried in the speech is a promise for more stuff to flow down into the public trough, are apparently clueless.

Obama has an uncanny ability to avoid issues and solutions while successfully painting any who oppose his view as the enemy, not just of him, though that is bad enough in his eyes, but of the country, of the children, of the poor, of the minorities, of women, of anyone whose status allows the inference of some ugly label to be applied to his opposition.

Amazing.  Sad.  Maddening.  I think perhaps we need the object lesson  now rushing at us like an out of control freight train while we, in our economically and ethically broken jalopy sit here broken down on the track.  Maybe those left standing, after they have clawed their way back to fiscal responsibility and productivity will, at least for another generation, remember.

Despite government promises to the contrary, there really is no free lunch.  And this lunch is going to have one Hell of a bill.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Future of Conservatives is not in Changing Principles but in Changing their Application.

San Diego — Following the results of the 2012 elections, there seems to be panic in the ranks of Republicans.  How, they ask and rightly so, can a failed president whose every promise was not kept including unemployment numbers, GDP numbers, debt reduction numbers, ALL OF THEM worse than when he took office, have so soundly beaten the GOP candidate who was a successful businessman?

Hand wringing, blame laying, all are happening to the amusement of the liberals who are opining that there is an impending “civil war” among Republicans and that the party is as out of touch with reality as the Whig party was when it collapsed of its own obsolescence.  But is all of it, including the obituaries for conservatives, deserved or justified? In the aftermath of the election, spurred on by questions from several friends, I’ve given it a lot of thought.

In the process I have re-read (for the umpteenth time) the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution (which I believe need to be treated as a necessarily conjoined set of documents).   I’ve re-read some of the important documents from our history and our founders including those of Locke, Burke, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Adams (both of them), Hamilton, Franklin, Lee, Henry, and down to Lincoln.  Those are the patriarchs Conservatives claim as foundational authorities so have to be consulted to review the situation properly.

I’ve spent the last few days digging into my library of books by and about those (to me) visionaries.  It has been enlightening.  The result is I think in far too many cases, so-called Conservatives have failed to live under and up to the teachings of those founders they claim to revere.

First it has to be understood that there is a HUGE difference between the main-stream Republican Party and the core “Conservative” principles.  I tend now to agree that the Republican Party, as it has come to be, is a dinosaur whose extinction days are passed and it just hasn’t caught on.

While the Democrats pine for a world of the future that, despite a number of serious attempts, has never successfully existed, the Republicans (note I did NOT say “Conservatives”) pine for a world of the past that too, never existed and if it did, it was long ago and for a very short time.  Both parties fondly embrace a world view that succeeds only for the delusional or the blind partisan, a view that refuses to see, much less accept the world as it now is and as it has historically (in fact not fantasy) existed and evolved into the present.

I do not think that facing reality as it is, not as we want it to be, is inconsistent with being Conservative.  It is the core ethics and principles of the founders that we hold close, not the way some have applied (or misapplied) those principles in political environments that differ substantially and critically from the political environment today, nor, for that matter, how even the founders themselves had to apply them in THEIR reality and with their knowledge level of the world and even of their own country.

To avoid the fact that our world, in nearly all respects, is a very different place by nearly every possible measurement than it was 50 years ago, much less in the 1700s; or to assert that even a genius such as Jefferson, could, from the knowledge base and reality of the late 1700s, accurately have predicted the world of the 21st century is also simply delusional.  Technology and geopolitical events are pushing us so rapidly that this is not even the world of Kennedy or Reagan. (I link those two names because Reagan was a Kennedy Democrat who actually never changed his philosophy and whose speeches were vintage JFK.  It was the party that changed.)

But if, due to a world in evolution or even revolution, the application’s needs have changed, must we also change the principles?  This is a crux and unavoidable question.  If it turns out that we cannot learn and adjust those core principles to demonstrate their application to OUR world, then there are only two explanations possible: They do not apply anymore or we are simply not yet able to see the answers.  Or, a third possibility, we see them and will not accept them.

Speaking for myself, I believe they DO apply and that the explanation for our poor application and articulation is in our own shortsightedness, not in shortfalls of the principles themselves.

We don’t even have to like all of the changes this new world has laid in our laps – change is always painful and avoided as long as possible — but we do have to acknowledge those changes and face them as a new and powerful reality that must be accommodated by and within our principles or they will crush us under the weight of the changing world.  As Will Rogers said, “Even if you are on the right track, if you just sit there you will get run over!”

So what changes are influencing this discussion?  One of the big ones, in some ways perhaps the most important one because unlike anal discussions of policies (which OUGHT to be the focus) it is highly visible and highly emotional in its impact, is a change in the national and regional demographics on several counts.

For one thing, it is noteworthy that the numbers of people of Hispanic origin are making up an increasing portion of our population and cannot be ignored in a political sense.  The same is true of an increasing Asian population.  But despite the differences upon which we too often focus, the real question is, are they, by nature, opposed to the core values of conservatives?  I don’t think so.

Hispanic culture is all about families and faith at its core.  No one can watch field workers and claim they do not have a work ethic!  Good grief, it is a powerful work ethic that will take them to strange lands, abusive environments, and truly back-breaking labor just to feed a family and try to elevate their status in one of the few countries where that is still possible.  What they want is opportunity and a fair shake.  If conservatives fail to grasp that, they are being idiotic and self-destructive.  And much can be noted similarly about refugees or immigrants from Asian countries.

It is true that the political cultures from which they are fleeing often were ones deeply rooted in patronage and corruption.  But those are not core values and most Hispanic and Asian people come here to get away from it.   We ought to understand and embrace their plight and then seek ways to make it work so that they will become, like my father-in-law was, a rabidly patriotic naturalized citizen.

But it is not as easy as simply opening the border to all that would like to come here.  Our economy is in a very rocky state and I think, following the election, it is bound to get far, far worse before it gets better.  To deny that immigration is linked to an effect on the economy in both good and bad potential ways is to exhibit both historical and economical naïveté.   If we cannot protect our borders and set immigration rules as the Constitution mandates then we really do not have a country at all.  I know some would prefer that, including our leader, but I personally do not.

A nation, a people, a country is defined by borders, language and culture.  That is certainly how the rest of the world’s countries define themselves so why should we exclude ourselves?  Still, no one can deny that our immigration policies are a shambles and that they neither protect us from the bad guys nor aid the good guys in coming on in.  Consequently I think it is a very Conservative view to push for immigration reform and acknowledgement of the good guys who have come here to better themselves and contribute to our prosperity while working to get the system under control.

But, and in this regard this is a critical question, have we as a people, much less we who claim to hold to Conservative Principles, become so dumbed down that we are incapable of recognizing both sides of the issue as having legitimate points; incapable of finding the common ground that will allow a solution even if it is, as are all solutions settled by humans, imperfect?

And immigration was not the only problem for our side.   Why on earth did we allow ourselves to be viewed as on one side or the other of issues of sexual orientation?  Jefferson said if it was not “breaking his leg or picking his pocket” he could deal with it.  Regardless of any personal views on homosexuality, it is a fact of life and, of more importance to this discussion, an increasingly active political bloc.   In and of itself it does not threaten violence or theft of my person or any of my rights (or any of yours) so what has some of us so intransigent and terrified of it?

Our choices are simple:  to slam the door on them because we may think they are lost to eternity and God hates them, and in so doing make of them a dangerous enemy force, or to re-examine the principles we say we hold dear and find a way to accommodate their numbers in our tent.  I think the latter is a better approach.

Being in my business I’ve known and worked with LOTS of openly homosexual folks: some were true salt of the earth types I trusted totally and liked very much and others were jerks I thoroughly disliked.  But I never noticed that dichotomy to be lacking in the straight world too… and I did NOT notice it being something predicated by a person’s orientation or life style.

And even if some of our ranks believe God hates them individually because of their orientation, that is an issue between God and them; it is NOT between us and them.  “Judge not lest ye be judged!” goes the Biblical directive.  If there is indeed a theological component to our side then why are some of us not adhering to their own text’s directive?  We need to get that entire discussion OUT of politics and leave it where it belongs: between an individual and their own conscience and belief system.   We need not prohibit it, but we also need not facilitate it.  Government should be silent on it.

I confess, I have a simple but strong semantic issue with what to me is a contradiction in terms: “Same Sex Marriage.”  But upopn serious reflection I realize that is because it affronts the language and definitions by which I was raised.  However I also study history and the truth is that the definition of marriage as I was taught to understand it, has but rarely been the definition used across the ages and across cultures.

And the big point is, to lose a powerful block that as seekers of individual rights ought to be flocking to a conservative tent, but are being driven away over a word, and a word of historically fairly recent re-definition at that, is truly cutting off our nose to spite our face!  And in the end does not solve ANY problem and simply leaves us disfigured.

The same can be said for any minority group even if that status exists only in their own mind.  Just as WE hate to be painted with the brush of association colored by the idiots in our own groups, we should not be painting their whole collection of possible voters with the same brush we use for the jerks and idiots that also share their skin color or gender or place of origin or whatever they use to set themselves apart from the main collection of Americans.  To do so, in my opinion, does violence to the principles we claim to hold dear.

Jefferson wrote that we were endowed with certain unalienable rights, rights not granted by government but by our creator, meaning, even to atheists, rights inherent in the human spirit regardless of where they came from.  But if we allow those rights to be limited by definitions that ONLY exist due to theological authority, then we are violating our own sacred Constitution.  I cannot help that the use of the term bothers me, but I CAN help what I do about it based on my reading of history and the words of the founders, comfortable or not.

We are supposed to see people as individuals not just through the filter of whatever group we can easily toss them into.  It is the other side that forces group separation and identification in order to create group dependence.  We are not supposed to be forcing group identification so that we can create group exclusions.  In fact, we are not supposed to be facilitiating much less forcing group identification at all!

Conservatives are supposed to treasure the individual and individual rights.  But that is not what unfortunately too many of our political side do.  And they do their hypocritical deeds and speeches vocally and stridently.  So how is it any wonder that members of those targeted groups, already looking for some, any excuse to cast stones in our direction, see us as haters and bigots and to be opposed at every turn when we play into the other side’s perfectly laid traps.

From our own ranks we too often spout psychology from before even the dawn of Freud and pseudoscience from the dawn of man and wonder why people will not flock to our standard.  No matter how impeccable the logic, if it flows from a faulty premise the result is not viable.

We should be the party of dynamic powerful women who make up half our population and probably more than half of our brainpower.  How can we exhort the undefined individual to be all they can be and yet still be OK with people wanting to pay women less for equal work?  Or still wanting to control stuff that is none of our, or the government’s business?

We have not had someone sufficiently articulate to simply explain that to us, equal pay for equal work is the same as equal work for equal pay — what is fair is fair.  Nor have we been able to articulate that it is not that we are saying they cannot have an abortion if that passes muster with them, their faith, and whatever other influences are in their life, we are simply saying we don’t want to pay for their choices… so long as it IS truly a choice.  I do not think (with EXTREMELY RARE and anamalous exceptions) that rape is ever a woman’s choice.  And the idiot that proposed a long outdated and invalidated theory that women cannot get pregnant if they don’t want to should have been tarred and feathered by every Conservative to hear of their idiocy if we want to show women we are on their side.

But again, government should be OUT of the abortion issue, out of the contraception issue, out of the bedroom entirely.  Just as it has no business prohibiting it, it has no business facilitating it either.

We focus on the parasites and self-proclaimed victims of our society, and God knows we obviously have more than enough of them; facilitated and perhaps perpetuated by the liberal world in an attempt to create a sufficiently powerful voting block of dependent personalities needing their “fix” of goodies at the government trough.  We look disparagingly at those who leapt at takers of house loans no one marginally sentient could have thought were likely to be repaid, and I think that scrutiny is proper and needs to root such activities out of existence because of its contribution to our current economic situation.

But in high-centering on that negative bunch of wanton losers, we overlook the poor wretches who have truly been blind sided by life through no real fault of their own.  Or worse, we lump them in with the losers.  We need to review our thinking to be able to recognize not only those against whom their physical or mental state of health has conspired, but those against whom this unneeded economical disaster has conspired as well.  We focus on the fraudulent and  ignore that in more than a few of the debacles involving home loans, the individual was unsure or uncomfortable with the deal but was pushed into it by overzealous and corrupt agents that claimed to be trustworthy to people unequipped by experience or education to grasp the truth of it.  No one wakes up some morning and wants to be physically or mentally sick or wants to lose their jobs, much less their homes, due to economic downturns or fraudulent sellers.

There are therefore, people in our society who are suffering through minimal or no fault of their own and as a generous people we have a duty to help them. Don’t read into this something that isn’t here: i did not say they had a RIGHT to our help, I said we have a duty to help them and that is a very different thing. The question is what institution should be in charge of that help. Should it come, for example, from the individual and/or private organizations dedicated to the task, or from the government dedicated to creating dependencies to assure re-election and the continuance of power?

If we, as Conservatives, truly believe it is the former, and we have any expectation of convincing those concerned about social justice that we are right, then we need to demonstrate that as best we can and also demonstrate and articulate how it is working to actually provide that help and, further, that it is working better than the government can do.  And even if we decided that the best collection point of monies for charitable use was via the government, who on earth can argue that government bureaucracy is likely to administer it best? You have to live in some parallel universe to believe that.  From the Post Office to FEMA to the state’s DMV, who can point to a single governmental “business” that is run more efficiently and productively than is done as a private business?

So yes, I think our side needs to make some major changes in the application of the principles they claim to hold dear, especially in how they interact with the rest of our citizenry.  They need to show that they actually believe in and mean to uphold the principles they espouse and the documents and texts they cite as authority whether it is the Constitution or some sacred text.

If Conservatives will do that, and both articulate and demonstrate them well, then we can show the other side for the disingenuous, dependency creating charlatans they are.   And THEN we can get to a discussion of the real issues and policies upon which an election ought to turn because we have taken the warm and fuzzy off of the table by the simple expedient of solving it.

But if we can’t – or won’t – adapt, then we will go the way of the Whigs and Tories and justifiably so.   And if that happens, it will be because all of those despicable labels hurled at us will have enough reality to them to stick and crush us.

And if we continue to let enough of the jerks in our ranks act like stupidly and callously… and get away with unacceptable comments or actions just because they are holding our banner… then by facilitating the hatred and bigotry, whether or not we individually share in it, we will surely deserve the results.  I believe those rotten apples are comparatively few in numbers but it doesn’t take very many of them under the heat of the media’s spotlight, to result in spoiling the barrel for us all.

The problem is I believe those devastating, perhaps catastrophic results for our country, results that I believe are facilitated by and sometimes pushed by Liberals as noted in previous posts, results that i believe will be so onerous in the end for all citizens as the U.S.A. slides toward the necropolis of history, will have to be laid at OUR feet because we were the ones that could have stopped it and chose, rather, fettered by a minority collection of individual weaknesses rather than freed by a majority collection of individual strengths, to stab our own principles in the heart.

And who could ever be proud of that?

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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A New Red Herring… Thanks to Rush Limbaugh

San Diego –– I have now received several emails asking why I even bothered to try to educate Ellen to the existence of another side and a couple emails offering shorter, pithier, and more graphic retorts I could have used, at least one of which is, I believe, physiologically impossible.  But if I had done that, then such response could have simply been written off as some angry but unreasonable retort.

And the truth is I was not so much angry at Ellen as I was surprised and confused that she would hold to her position that there was no other side to it except the one she presented, even after I spent all that time quoting the other side.  After all, I had not asked her, or anyone else, to accept the other side as correct, just to admit it existed.   But she refused, holding to the assertion that no other interpretation than the one she presented was possible and that the issue was well and long settled.  So I felt compelled to add that last entry just to tie up — or burn off — any loose ends.

But the exchange was revealing and hopefully so to anyone reading the blog.  It appears to me that the side of the political aisle which her argument represents is simply not interested in reality — ANY reality — that conflicts with their ideology.  It is like the old bumper sticker: “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up!”

In fact their ideology is far more akin to a religion than a political philosophy in terms of how they accept its tenets at face value and on faith despite all history and reason to the contrary.  And all the while they are evangelizing their “faith,” they are denigrating believers in other religions, especially Christianity, for basing their beliefs the same way – on faith.

I find that fascinating nearly as much as I find it infuriating.  But it certainly helps to explain, by example, why our current crop of legislators is so dysfunctional and grid locked.  Both sides cannot see past their own ideologies and we have, trying to steer this ship of state, two navigators both of whom have thrown their compasses away, now pointing in different directions.  It is the willfully blind on one side shouting slurs at the willfully blind on the other.

This past week we have seen another example of a red herring used skillfully to take our eyes off of the real issues.  A young female law school student, trying to turn the power play over mandated health care into an issues of both women’s rights and women’s health testified in Congress.  She delivered a tearjerker of a speech talking about how she and her friends were embarrassed at not being able to afford contraception at the local pharmacy.  She did ignore the fact that within blocks of her school was a Planned Parenthood facility that gives them away free to anyone and that many private health care plans do too.  Her like-minded listeners also skimmed over the bottom line that she was, essentially, asking for us, the taxpayers, to pay the costs so she could enjoy her recreational sex and implying that there was some “Right” to do that.  In fact, the issue was presented in such an obviously bogus, whiny, self-entitled, self-indulgent, stereotypically left leaning package that, left alone, it would have been forgotten quickly as the mediocre try to re-frame the issue that it was.

But into that quagmire stepped Rush Limbaugh, and in an attempt to be cute, he completely forgot that it is OK for liberals to call conservative women the foulest of names and imply the most heinous of deviant activities to them without raising a single eyebrow or cry of unacceptability by the press or other liberals.  He further failed to take note that even women’s groups can call a conservative woman a fake women with impunity in that hypocrisy laden world.  But worst of all, he failed to remember that to use even a mild slur toward a liberal women, was akin to blasphemy and heresy elevated to a capital crime, and in that state of forgetfullness he called her, gasp, a “slut.”  What was he thinking?

Instantly, the left was revitalized and given new life and a new cause célèbre.  By reducing himself to their own level of invective, which is protected when they do it, Limbaugh gave them a gift of bogus issues that could, in this frenzied environment, give them the election.

Immediately the cries of a “war on women by the right” was emblazoned on banners across newspapers and social networks, all using Limbaugh as the poster child for the women-hating right.  The fact that there is not a shred of reality behind it is no longer part of the engagement.  Those on the right are now forced into a position to try to defend against a non-existent attitude, something incredibly hard to do, especially when, just as in the exchange with Ellen, no amount of quotes supporting women and women’s causes, will even be accepted as existing.  It is, as was my exchange, essentially pointless.

And the truly bad news is that this completely bogus issue, is so volatile that it has the potential of allowing the press to remove all interest in the really important issues facing this country starting with the economic debacle and debt crisis, plus the powder keg waiting only a spark in the middle east, or even the issue of energy independence and pricing, because those do not paint a very good picture of the current administration and, frankly, have never been couched in emotional or powerful terms.

“Debt Crisis,”  “Fiscal disaster,”  “Gas prices,” or even “Middle Eastern War” are terms and phrases so non-emotional, so intellectual sounding, and to which we have become so calloused, that despite the fact they could destroy this country they have nowhere near the riveting effect of a completely fallacious issue such as “war on women” which, even if it were true, would not be as overwhelmingly devastating as a failure of our economy, or a breakout of war in the middle east.

And Limbaugh, who prides himself on a uniquely astute insight into all things political and geopolitical, should have, if his self appraisal is anywhere near accurate, seen the fallout likely to come from his comments. That he did not, is simply stupid on his part.  And that he should then offer such a lame “apology” and defense of his comments simply fans the fires already in full flame.

But if we end up allowing the cleverness of the administration folks who seized on Limbaugh’s moronic gift to them, turned it completely around and blew it so utterly out of proportion with a truly brilliant campaign using the press and their own side’s foul mouthed spokes-puppets to continue doing the very thing they are now decrying;  if we do not insist they too are called to account for such demeaning comments and demand that calling women foul names is not ever OK, it is not funny, it is not a sign of cleverness or profoundness, and it is simply not acceptable no matter what political orientation they might personally have, then we really will have contributed to that war on women and maybe helped it to become real.

We have pointed out, accurately, that Islamic theocracies have stupidly failed to use their best resources (their women) and continue to hold them in a state of virtual bondage, willing to keep them from even driving, from holding public office or severely limiting it to token positions, to keep them illiterate, to denigrate and demean them, to truly hold them as not second or even third class humans but even lower where they deserve “honor killing” if they step out of the line set for them by men.  But, in my opinion, it is only a matter of degrees of difference from that heinous, ignorant, savage view to ours if we think it OK to call women the foulest of names and use the most ugly descriptors of them ONLY because they are women who hold opposing political points of view.

Just like the savage and ignorant men of that belief system who keep their women in a state of slavery (because, in their own words, they –the men– are not men enough to resist the charms and distractions of the women), in our culture we have men so threatened by powerful, dynamic, intelligent women who just happen to disagree with them that the only form of engagement is not intellectual, not debating on the issues where the women may likely be smarter, but to demonize, dehumanize, or in some way denigrate them in order to reduce their standing and position.

And ladies, you need to take note of which side is the most egregious in this behavior.  Certainly male idiots on both sides do it, but it is only the left that seems to have certified this line of attack as acceptable.  If I were a woman, they would be a problem for me.  As a man who likes strong women, it is definitely a problem for me.

So to bring this full circle, you have seen, in the last few posts, an exchange between a women and myself who disagreed on a political/legal point.  If I had been a liberal disagreeing with her, I would most likely have called her some foul name related to deviant activity or a disgusting reference to some intimate body part.  Instead, I took the time to dig into the issues and try to provide examples leading, I had hoped, to her at least accepting that there was another side.  She provided a solid and cogent argument to support her position.  I respected that ability so I would far prefer to get her to expand her points of reference and then turn her abilities toward more productive or reality based positions than to blow her off with a stupid epithet and then lose the potential of a future ally on things that might be truly important.

Except in congress, apparently, good, well-intentioned, intelligent, passionate people can agree to disagree on nearly every possible topics and yet come together to fight for one upon which they DO agree.  But not if they have become enemies because one of them, or both of them, failing to convince the other on some points, resorted to name calling and hurtful, unacceptable labeling.  I see no reason to ever go there.

But that is just me.  Perhaps you disagree?

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Snail Darters 100… Education 0

San Diego – There is no joy in being able to say, “I told you so” when the results leading to that really hurt yourself and your passions.  THat is certainly the case for us in the Photo Program at City College.

I have been writing, for several years now, that the liberal screeds on the importance of education were BS and utterly disingenuous unless that education was to indoctrinate the non-liberals in the wonders of socialist thinking and Keynesian economics.  California, the poster child for liberal policies and a main testing ground for progressive experiments, is the perfect case in point.  When the new liberal governor took over, realized to his horror that rhetoric aside, the state finally had spent all of other people’s money it could get and had to actually cut back on spending, what got cut?  Did anything negative happen to programs to protect snail darters, spotted owls, and delta smelts?  No.  Did anything positive happen in terms of allowing the state to start producing energy from its own reserves? No.

What went up? Regulations.  Resulting, last year in California being a leading state considered hostile to business and in over 650 major businesses leaving the State mostly to go to Texas and a few to Florida. Now that is brilliance beyond the call of the most progressive sense of duty.  Where does state revenue come from mostly? Income Tax.  Who pays income tax? People with jobs making an income.  And who provides the jobs?  Businesses.  So what would be the logical and anticipated result of driving away businesses? Less revenue.

Duh…

To be fair there were some spending cuts.  And just what spending did get cut?  Well first to go to the block was education.

Remember that education has been taking hits since at least 2007 when City College had to start cutting class sections.  Every semester since 2008 we have had to cut approximately 10% of our class offerings.  The district had wisely set aside a large reserve fund but even that well had, as i predicted, a bottom, and now we are reaching it.  Consequently, for Fall 2011, we received the cruelest cuts so far.  Our Academic Budget (from which we get supplies, maintenance, etc.) was cut in half.  50% across the board cuts were instituted without regard to the varying needs of the vastly different departments and programs.

You want to know what social justice really means?  What leveling the playing field really results in?  Well here, boys and girls, it is.  Typically for liberals the solution is to bring everything down rather than trying to bring the bottom up.  Some programs with little more than dry erase markers to buy are treated the same as programs, such as ours, where we live and die by our labs.  Perhaps the new math is not capable of any analysis more complex thinking…???

But then we got the really bad news.   Our hourly lab techs were cut from 72 total hours per week down to … wait for it… wait for it… 3.  That is correct, you did not misread it nor did i misrepresent it.  We are cut from 72 hours to 3.

That means we cannot staff the labs we were approved to run or are necessitated by the course curricula. That bombshell was just verified as accurate today so we have not had time, as faculty, to meet and come up with some plans.  But whatever those plans are to be, they cannot include another penny of funding from the state or district.

Nor will they allow us, as of this point, to charge lab fees.  Why not?  It’s not fair (for God knows what reason) nor is it within the guidelines because, according to some attorney completely ignorant of photographic logistics, do the students “get to keep what they paid for.”  Only in an environment inundated by liberal thinking is it better and more fair to force us to close the labs entirely than to allow students the opportunity to help defray the costs and at least keep them open a little.

To be fair, education was not the only thing our retreaded Governor Moonbeam cut.  Infrastructure was cut, state parks and rec was cut.  But how about state employees (other than teachers) such as prison guards who make up the largest group?  Well, no, their union is too strong.  How about pension reform in a state scandalized by pension abuses?  Well, no, again, the unions involved are too strong.  And no liberal can, by definition, see the unions as anything other than the saviors of mankind.

So here we are watching helplessly as liberal chickens come home to roost on the heads of education generally and students specifically.  So tell me, all you progressive teachers out there, is this what you really wanted?  I hope so; because it is the logical, predictable, and historically inevitable result of the policies you backed; so if it is not seeming like a step toward the ideals and social utopia you desire then, to be frank, you are too stupid to continue being a teacher.

And if it IS what you wanted, then don’t you dare complain in my presence about the low educational standings of California students and schools.

 
 

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Adrift and Rudderless in a Keynesian Fog

San Diego – Only 8 weeks ago, wrapped in the sacred robes of Keynesian wisdom, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke asserted proudly that from that the country, following the application of the economic policies of that paragon of financial wisdom who, in the history of the world, though he is adored by socialist and liberal thinkers, has yet to once be correct, was now vindicated by the situation where we were seeing slow but steady progress out of our economic woes.  The sentiment was echoed by White House occupants and sycophants and their heralds in the media.  If you listened to network news or to the policy parrots of the administration at MSNBC, you would have every reason but one to think we were on our way to a splendid if slow recovery.

And that one reason not to think so?  It simply was not true.  Last week, according to the AP, Ben Bernanke admitted that it was not happening and he was clueless as to why not and worse, that the troubles could continue into next year.  Well, OK, to be fair, that is not precisely what he said.  What he actually said was,

“We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting. … the weak housing market and problems in the banking system might be ‘more persistent than we thought.’”

I want to remember that phrase for my own use: “We don’t have a precise read on…”  What an elegant phrase to admit you are simply stumped.  But the class of the annunciation does not ameliorate the underlying message.  They have tried what their guru told them and when it did not work, their blinders were so tightly aimed they had no way to analyze the results because they fell outside of the paradigm they had accepted totally.

Now bear in mind this is from the same group of briliant policy wonks that insist the way to help us out of a debt crisis is by raising our credit limit.  In talking about the Democrat’s position debate over raising the debt ceiling, Sen Harry Reid and other Democratic leaders said an agreement should include some spending increases for infrastructure, clean energy and other programs to boost the economy.

Don’t you get it?  There is only one reason to want the debt ceiling to be raised and that is so you can spend more?  If you truly don’t want to spend more money and wish to actually cut some spending, why raise the debt ceiling instead of simply starting to pay down the liabilities?  And don’t try the current red herring on me that if we don’t then we will start defaulting.  Bovine Excrement!!!  This is not about any default; the Congressional Budget office declared we take in more than enough in revenue (read, “Taxes”) to pay the interest on the current indebtedness plus basic essential government operations.

Therefore the only way we would default on our debt is for our dear leader to decide to default on the interest in favor of spending elsewhere.  In other words, an abject failure of proper prioritizing.  It is perfectly analogous to the decision by a person facing bankruptcy who decides, instead of paying off existing debt with his income and cutting his spending, to spend all his money buying a new TV and then buys a new car on the credit card before it collapses.  That is exactly what King Barrack, Baron Bernanke, and Lord Geitner are telling you is the best plan for the country.

And how has it worked out so far, do you think?  Has the investments we were assured would stop the recession and put us on the road to recovery worked?  Have they worked even a little bit?  Has unemployment dropped as promised?  Has national productivity started a noticeable climb?  Have housing costs adjusted properly?  No, no, no, and no.

The argument is we need to do MORE “investment” (spending) to boost the economy.  But that is exactly the plan Greece adopted and we all know how that is working out for them,  Ditto Portugal, Ireland, Spain… and we would be different why?

Every word this gang utters about wanting to get spending under control is a bald faced lie or exhibits galactic level stupidity.  The way to get spending under control is to stop spending.  Period.  There is no other.  The way to control debt is to cut up the credit cards not to increase the limits on the ones you have or, worse, get some more.  This is about priorities in a rational spending budget.  Period.  To get us out of this via taxes would require, using CBO, IRS, Census bureau, and Government figures, about $47,000.00 (that is $47 thousand dollars) from every individual in the country including those not now paying any taxes.

The math is, again as i’ve pointed out over and over, incredibly simple.  The only way to not “get it” is to not WANT to get it and be blind to it.  And how about those rich folks including the truly rich plus those owning small business as sole proprietorships whose income is listed at over $200,000.00 (and note the missing item you are not told is that people who want this figure as a criterion do not mention this is “Before Tax” income)?  Well then since it is a smaller number, each of them would have to cough up $3.5 million in taxes.

Sure there are some that could pay it out of pocket change but the majority of people in that income bracket are small business owners and do you seriously believe it would not have a detrimental effect on the same small businesses that are the major employers in this country?  I honestly do not have a problem closing true tax loopholes, but anyone who thinks that will solve the debt problem and let our profligate  spending continue unabated is either hopelessly stupid or sim[ply does not want to face or acknowledge the reality involved.  I’m in favor of the fair flat tax approach but it will not get us out of this mess.  As noted in another post using 100% of our tax revenues will not get us out of this.

So we remain adrift.  Or… as I have suggested before, we are not adrift at all but in the hands of a Captain Ahab, purposefully setting sail after the white whale of democracy and capitalism following the compass of Keynesian/socialist ideals and willing to take us all down with the ship for his ideology which he believes will, in the end be better for us after the ship sinks and he rebuilds us a better boat from the flotsam.  And who is to stop him except us voters?

I just was sent a “civics” test from an inter-collegial studies course.  The friend who sent it to me scored an 87% and I scored a paltry 86%.  But here comes the really frightening statistic.  Of the college professors who took it, the average score was 55% and the overall score of general citizens was 49%. It terrifies me to think our education is in such hands as those professors and worse, that our future is int he hands of those average citizens.   You can take it for yourself at this URL:

http://www.isi.org/quiz.aspx?q=FE5C3B47-9675-41E0-9CF3-072BB31E2692>

Good luck to the rest of you who, along with me, is drifting on the ship of state we need to rename the Pequod!

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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