My list of REALLY STUPID CHOICES made in American history; just a short-list I am afraid:
“Diet Food” that is more chemicals than food
Having the Soviet Union an “ally” in WWII – better to have let them go it alone; email for full argument
The Electoral College in the Age of Communication; direct election of all offices should be the norm; Political Parties are OBSOLETE and COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE
Public Sector Unions
Adding “under God” to the Pledge making it a point of division instead of unity
Lotus and Apple’s Patent-the-Universe Syndrome making the courts accept patents on things never meant for patent
Failing to live up to Dr. King’s vision and refusing to stop being prejudiced regarding race
Private campaign donations of any kind other than labor
Campaign donations by businesses
Supreme Court deciding that money= a right to a louder voice for YOUR ‘free speech’
Dropping the no-partisanship requirements for radio talk-shows and ‘interview’ programs
Letting Lawyers advertise
Supreme Court declaring that nothing of value is earned by the recipient of a military award or decoration
Women’s, Chicano, Black “Studies” propping up people selected, distorted and lionized with blatant prejudice; taking away self-respect while pretending to help by ‘giving the poor things a hand’, and White Studies designed to rip on Western Culture for the same purpose – removing its self-respect – it seems non-whites are too dumb or clueless to run their own lives or stand up to whites and that whites are just intrinsically demonic – welcome to the enlightened world of PC education
Failing to settle on the point in a pregnancy where a woman’s choice is MADE and she must be held responsible for an infant rather than a piece of owned tissue. (6 month preemies regularly survive today and the Radical Right’s agenda on abortion would make women all but chattel)
Worrying more about which consenting adults, what age, color or how many may legally get ‘married’; ignoring the concept of duty, honor and responsibility anyone brings to their marriages
Bilingual Education as a policy
Helmets, knee and elbow-pads for tricycle riders
Peer promotion in school
Affirmative Action after 1990 – where was the transition to color-blind government?
Worrying more about what actual people have DONE with their guns than trying to get law-abiding folk to not have any at all
Electing Andrew Jackson, Jimmy Carter, George W., and Obama
Forgetting that ALL countries do best with immigrants if they pick from the TOP of the pile instead of the bottom
Paying a private group to print/coin money like a product to be bought forgetting that money has no ‘intrinsic’ value’; dollars are just counters for the economic game; increasing or decreasing the supply by fiat to ACCURATELY reflect the production/wealth of a nation is the ONLY reason when deciding when or if to print more money, or let the cash pool contract
Deciding that political consensus and no working model or scientific theory that has been tested is sufficient when making decisions in haste that could wreck the world’s entire economy/infrastructure; in the 70’s it was the next Ice Age that was imminent… no models then either
Making an “eco-friendly” light-bulb containing hazardous amounts of mercury
Adults stealing Halloween from the children and making it another grown-ups party holiday
The Writer’s Strike
ANY serious university or college that “emphasized” sports to make money and enabled ‘tails’ that can wag Great Danes with ease
Today we have two re-writes of older articles that seem very relevant today:
First, we will take the “Liberals” as well as the “Conservatives” to task for partisan hypocrisy…
Nowadays the word Liberal is often used as a pejorative; I often use it that way myself for good reasons.
Yet I am a moderate, and probably spend about 40% of the time cursing the idiocy of the Left, and 60% of it complaining and worrying about the Right (It is too bad there are not more real conservative minds in the Conservative camp these days.). Of the two the Conservatives tend to scare me a bit more but the Leftists in total power would be/ have been worse. But the actions of the radicals on either side do not condemn entire schools of thought to a mature mind. This should be remembered by pundits on both sides in this age of attack politics.
Lately a radically Conservative group has taken over almost all the political voice of conservative American Christianity. They have used their pulpit to propound, and pound in, their own view of history, and how Christianity has influenced the development of the United States as a nation.
They are not actually lying about the influence of the churches. The problem is that they have forgotten from just where in the Church all that influence came. Yes, it was those damn liberals every time!
In American history, every time the religious culture has had a profound positive influence (as judged by successive generations) on changes in society those influences have their roots in the Liberal-to-Radical churches. They most certainly did not come from the Conservative ones!
The Conservative Churches in every case have held the line with the status quo through history whether it was regarding the Revolution, slavery, child labor, workers rights, racial equality or now, gay rights. Yet the Conservative Churches of today want to shine their halos with the contributions made for the most part by the Liberal Churches of the past.
This activity is not unique to Christianity by any means. A Radical Conservative Jew will spend much energy telling you about Judaism’s amazing contributions to Western society, but will refuse to see that his brand of thinking never produced any of it. Find a Conservative Imam, and you will find a man eager to convince you that Islam has been an enormously positive contributor to civilization over the centuries. But if you remind him that blind faithfulness to Islam’s Conservative philosophy had nothing to do with the various periods of (heretically liberal) Islamic glory that he is polishing up for you to admire; he may even take offense.
In every case where religious and political power intermingle the things that modern world civilization would call progress has only come when the dominant Church(s) is(are) liberal to the point of being heretical (to the parent dogmas and doctrines), tolerant and more focused on understanding, accepting and spreading the “love behind the Law” rather than promoting a zero-tolerance attitude regarding adherence to the “Letter of the Law.”
But only stagnation and decay ensue when the Churches are conservative and cling to a memory, or fictitious ideal, of “the way it should be.”
It should be noted that Conservative religious thought can have a greatly positive influence on society but, that usually the effects remain chiefly negative.
Witness: the defense of slavery, and the stances of “Godly” preachers and priests against child labor laws, and minority civil rights laws.
Witness: the attempts at forced, coerced and violent conversions directed at any people of another religion that are under the influence of a politicized religion (theocracies, inquisitions, shari’a states).
We all admit that Conservatism isdesigned to be highly successful at keeping the wheels of a society turning. Who but a fool will deny that there is a true virtue most times in maintaining most of the status quo; Leftists take note of the qualifications and keep your straw men to yourselves – I am not Christian, and never have been a Republican, or supporter of either Bush.
But, it also must be admitted that Conservative governments and organizations have a poor track record when attempting to grease those wheels, to make accommodation for the fact that seems “odd“, “weird“, “different” to the average mind; whether the ideas are good ones or not!
When the going gets rough or to be a creative inspiration for the people who bear the main burdens of pushing the cart of civilization further, faster and safer than our ancestors ever believed it could go Conservatives can be of more a drag chain when they should be acting like the regenerative brakes that go with a hybrid engine.
Conservative ideology certainly does not allow real flaws in the basic social system to be changed without a protracted, and often ugly, fight with the liberal mindset who are busy finding things that are not really broken to make into really nasty situations with well-meaning new laws and more, and more, and more tension from enforcement, and less and less elbow room for the well-intentioned citizen just trying to get along and improve their lives.
Without a Liberal element in society, one that has enough influence to smack the current bosses on the head now and then but, not enough to dominate society a person lives in what is at best a well upholstered slave camp destined to fade into the dust of history.
Without a Conservative element at the core to give perspective and balance a people will… well, just look at the aftermath of every single revolution in the past – the American revolution was actually a colony revolt – it was an independently evolving, functioning society that broke away from the parent nation/culture rather than an indigenous movement to topple all the central power structures and replace them ad hoc with unproven or dis-proven but, “much better” institutions; not long after they succeed the real bloodshed is just beginning!
Who was it again that decreed with proven ‘Holy Authority‘ that all human problems can, and may, only be solved by a totally Left-wing or totally Right-wing ideology? When did admitting that your Party’s platform cannot solve all problems if followed by ”good” people?
The voting public needs to take off their trendy, strait-jackets/sheep-outfits, grow up, and look at reality – of the real kind, rather than the oh-so-importantly-unimportant political sort – and then find the ideal solutions, not the solutions that serve your political tribe while walking over everyone else’s Lives’, Liberties, and frantic Pursuits of Happiness.
How can we eliminate partisanship if we have problems telling a partisan from a potato-head??
Here is a quick checklist to help in the citizenry’s quest to cope with the politically challenged:
A. Is more concerned about who is right than what is right.
B. Thinks social harmony will be achieved just as soon as the opposition’s voice is successfully eliminated from public debate; “It’s their fault!”
C. Always responds to any critique of their politics by attributing to critics the most radical attitudes/positions of their opposition and then responding to those positions/attitudes instead of addressing the point raised.
D. Is dedicated to gaining an unassailable political “mandate” for their party/ideology; “Give us the power, turn your backs, close your eyes and then we will make the world a better place for everyone, we promise!”
E. On the Right they work the system making the status quo the “victim” by default in order to exercise unjust power; on the Left they game the system, and the underdog is the default victim in the quest of partisans on both sides to control the most political “sheep“.
“… sometimes, I f-e-e-l, like a motherless ch-i-i-i-ld.”, actually I have lately been feeling like a brother-less moderate; the partisanship is getting thick in here, ma!
On both the Left and Right pundits are increasingly obsessed with avoiding objectivity and demonizing the opposition; which is all the more opposite for having been forced further into toxic polarity by the aggression of “Our Heroes”, whichever party to which they may be ideologically attached. The theme of the first two decades of the new millennium seems to be, “Life in America will be utopia just as soon as we control the herd (also known as citizens) enough to eliminate the opposition party from participation in the body politic!!!”
If you want to know how someone really feels about Free Speech or Censorship simply ask them about a case involving someone or something they themselves oppose; be prepared to be stunned at the number of proto-fascists amongst your friends and family. Very few people today, especially those under 35, seem to care about the basic principals of innocence before guilt or that of protecting minority speech in order to protect your own. Today everyone with a public seems to be in love with the notion that good intentions will always lead ultimately to Heaven, once selfish, nasty evil intentioned bad-guys are pushed from office. The problem is that they abound on both sides of every debate in sight!
I have pointed out many times that the major problems with our system are things that neither side wishes to repair; political “reform” is virtually always a smokescreen for shoving one group out of power while another group takes that same power to use for their own ends.
All the campaign finance reform bills – the voting district gerrymandering acts, the “crime” bills, all the family and child protection “reforms” just hide the hand of one thief stealing from the previous thief who stole from the thief before that something that belongs to the people, namely political power.
All that is needed to repair our government is for the voters to demand an end to all privately financed campaigning. If every candidate for every elective office from town cop to President of the United States drew from a equally divided pools of funds our political horizons would clear within ten years after such a rule went into effect; an additional benefit could be obtained by forbidding anyone from receiving payment for their time (as opposed to just covering their transportation and lodging expenses) while lobbying a government office or official.
The sad fact is that for most of our nation’s history any politician known to have accepted any contribution from a business interest would immediately have been seen as “tainted” in the voters’ eyes and been highly unlikely to be elected, or if incumbent, re-elected.
The sadder fact, Virginia, is that it is easy to makes evil changes to a society if you take a long enough view.
Today there seem to be few people, let alone economists, who actually seem to grasp the basic ideas of monetary theory upon which they build their roads to whatever fantasy land their prejudices predispose them to believe in. Economists pronounce, politicians spout and pundits pund but, how many of them really grasp, and apply, a basic understanding of what money is; how many have a clue how far everyone has strayed from reality?
Come Virginia, let us begin at the beginning; what is the difference between coinage historically (which is not like coinage in the modern world) and paper “monies“, and just what money really is.
I will be analyzing monetary theory without being bound by any politically oriented school of “economics“, instead I will attempt to put money in the same light that Newton put moving objects; money follows laws that do not respect any political need or opinion and I hope to merely describe what it is and what it is not irrespective of what anyone wants it to be.
Let’s start with coinage, a concept that still holds its place at the head of the parade despite vanishing as a concept by the 1970′s.
Historically, coins were what people now mostly think “money” should be, a portable piece of actual wealth, something “worth” just what its face declares. Don’t forget though that all value is relative, if no-one wants gold, it is “worth” little, if they crave it, it is worth a lot.
Cash monies on the gold standard promised payment in hard coin with value of its own.
At first glance this seems a good system, though it does carry hidden “costs.” If the gold or silver or copper in a coin is “worth” exactly its face value the person or group who minted that coin will lose the amount of “value” (manpower and resources) represented by the minting of the coin from bullion. No matter how cheaply a chunk of bullion quality metal is turned into coinage that amount of value will be lost to the minter if they receive the “face” value in goods or services in return for their shiny, new coins.
This does not change with banknotes; printing costs plusthe cost of the raw materials simply replaces the minting costs; remember, the raw material of a coin is the value of the coin.
For a long time banknotes represented actual bullion in a vault, or somewhere in the control of the issuer of the note, while coins represented actual wealth themselves. But, the ability of coiners to debase the metals they used producing coins “worth” less than their face value, and the fact that not all promissory notes represented an honest promise of actual coinage made the system far from perfect.
Enter “fiat” money. Bitterly fought, this is what “money” is supposed to be, though the transition is far from over globally and nationally.
A “currency” based on the exchange of gold and silver etc. is not in fact a real monetary system, it is barely one step up from barter. In barter or specie based economies not only must a person, or society, have the wealth and productivity to fill their own basic needs, they need to accumulate extra goods (coinage) simply to be able to participate in the system that provides those basic needs and services. Then they must accumulate even more if they wish to enjoy a level of “comfort” far below what is consonant with their current efforts to add productivity and wealth to their communities.
Barter ecomonies belong to an uncivilized past. Coinage was a simple, brute force answer to the problem of trusting someone when you have no way of enforcing that trust. Cash on the barrelhead as they said. Hopefully we have grown a bit beyond that, at least in the Western (civilized, modern) world.
Here is the bombshell Virginia, it is so simple that the “intelligentsia” just can’t get it: In a civilized society the function of money is to serve as counters in the games of economics, nothing more, nothing less. Money is not a commodity as it has no value of its own. Money is supposed to represent the wealth and productivity of the issuer only, not to be “worth” anything at all on its own!
Ideally, if a government wanted a bridge built and had the spare raw materials and manpower to build it, all the gov needs to do is print the right amount of money, and pay for a new road.
They do not make anything appear by doing so, they do not cause “inflation”, they just tossed counters in the game that were needed to let the players turn raw materials and idle bodies into a bridge thus creating wealth, not diminishing it! Or not creating as such, but acknowledging, since keeping the money level in balance with the national productivity is the whole goal.
Ideally, within a nation, it should be practical to pay each citizen with new, non-inflated money in tune with any growth in GDP, just like dividends to stockholders in a corporation. Infrastructure improvements (bridges, roads, universities and research facilities, etc.) would only be “unaffordable” if they used so many resources or manpower that they caused a significant rise in prices and wages in the private sector; wouldn’t that be so terrible, we couldn’t build a road one year because there was no unemployment and people were selling what they made as fast as they could make it!
Practically, especially with the current rats nest of insanity that we call economics worldwide, that kind of system would be almost impossible to implement; more the shame on us for letting things get so messed up.
Simply put, we should not be borrowing the money the government has the sole right to print/mint and regulate!!! The amount of dollars in circulation is supposed to be enough, theoretically, to buy all the goods and services produced this year, instead we treat money as though it is coinage and create a pre-broken system that invites inflation, deflation and puts everyone at the mercy of molehill booms and mountains busts.
This has been a time of reflection on Life, Death, Family and all that makes us Human… A sudden, but not unexpected, death in the immediate family has reminded me of my own mortality and the impermanence of all that we are and do in life. But, it has also renewed my commitment to cherishing all the moments of my own life, and the lives of those I love.
There have been changes, moves, and family re-alignments, but now the time has come for me to get back to work; please bear with me as I re-focus on the world of politics and society amidst the aroma of baking bread and a pile of ongoing family/house projects – writer/house-husband requires some serious multi-tasking skills!
We just had an election didn’t we? I usually try to avoid writing about local politics, but this election was an all time record for electoral disconnect, simply voting was a huge challenge. I have also decided that I do NOT like this new keyboard! It is simply too small for my hands and does not have a positive click in the mechanism to indicate the key-sent… I type to fast for the more “subtle” keyboards.
This election has shown me one thing though, the country is ripe to abandon the entire party concept and start voting for candidates based on ideology and positions and voting records, NOT arty affiliation. Politics has become Patronage once again; it is past time to return the power of the vote to the people – Corporations have NO rights of Free Speech as “individuals” under the Constitution! Supreme Court decisions saying otherwise rival Dred Scott in their inanity!
Here is my letter to the editor for a recent article in the L.A. Times about a mysterious woman who ranted around with a knife, was arrested and is not going to be charged OR NAMED by the police; I want to know why:
I certainly hope there will be more follow-up on this story; the little here raises more questions than it answers, despite Carla R filling up a third of her space with what seems to be an excuse for treating this woman like a stray child instead of a responsible adult.
“brandishing a knife in a Westlake doughnut shop… was acting erratically, [in parking lot]she refused orders[from police] to drop the knife… The officers feared that she would charge at them.”
Sounds straightforward to me; unless this woman is legally incompetent surely she should at least be charged with drunk and disorderly.
”She was hit in the midsection and fell to the ground and taken into custody without incident.”
Having to be bean-bagged twice and have a weapon taken from you by force is not an incident in itself? If this is not a white-wash should that not at least read “further incident”?
“A folding knife was recovered.”
Could that be less informative; was it a pen knife; was it a 3-inch jackknife; was it an 8 inch Buck knife; or was it a 9-inch balisong or switchblade? I think this information is rather significant to the story.
“she[is] undergoing a mental health evaluation…”
…and? Was she deranged from missing meds and then got drunk? Is she under someone’s guardianship? Why are there no charges for taking the time of the police and hospital and scaring civilians at the coffee shop with a deadly weapon while drunk? If I did that KNOW that I would end up in County Jail and charged up one side and down the other!
“It was later found that she had been drinking.”
So, isn’t that usually seen as a REASON to charge someone with a crime, rather than an excuse to be forgiven criminal behavior in public?
“Police did not release her name.”
Why not? Surely they owe the public an explanation of the REASON for shielding her from legal disclosure that another miscreant, charged or not, is subject to as regards privacy; 35 is a lot of years past being a juvenile.
”They determined that there was no robbery attempt and said she was not likely be charged with any crime.”
A little more information would be nice! Just HOW did they determine this; witnesses; did shop staff declining to file a charge and state the robbery “impression” from 911 was false; was there a desire to not to “provoke” the locals into another riot; was it the precinct Capt.’s personal decision?
Anyone who thinks their party is somehow less corrupt in its own way than the “opposition” deserves whatever idiots they elect!
Classic Liberals hold up as an ideal the underdog successfully gaming a corrupt system; the Conservatively oriented uphold the concept of WORKING the, not perfect but necessary, system for success.
But, the Leftist believes that “The System”, or “The Man” is ALWAYS inimical; while a Liberal understands that this is something to be guarded against while not an inherent facet of all “authority.”
The Right-winger holds the belief that those within the system are somehow protected from being abusive, and corrupt within the rules…
Obviously these are both utter fallacies!
Leftists seek to game the system; to use self-righteousness as a champion of “the downtrodden and powerless” as an excuse to do things that would make their blood boil if attempted by “the other side”!
Liberal thought respects the gaming of the system by truly oppressed folk, while also respecting the honesty and integrity of those in the majority who play by the rules of the healthy systems to prosper.
But the “leadership” of “Left” and “right” promote the idea that THEIR fantasy is the ONLY valid attitude, and the only one that DECENT people would follow.
I have TWO things to say to both mentalities; the 2nd thing I want to say to them is…”and the horse you rode in on”!
Today on Jihad Watch Hugh Fitzgerald posted the first half of a long diatribe about the Obama administrations distortions of the NASA mission. In general Hugh is on target, but he sometimes allows his partisan feelings to take him far over the line of honor, honesty and certainly that of anything we could call journalistic credibility; doing so he dilutes the influence of this writings when he is NOT off on a personal grudge-fest.
Here is my response to this little piece of attempted character assassination:
Sometimes an issue is so nuanced that it is possible to violently agree and disagree at the same time.
Hugh, much of what you say I agree with completely, but on one or two points I have to speak up.
I spend much of my time and energy focusing on the partisanship that taints and spoils so much of our political discourse. I dislike it when those I am against use it; I like it even less when putative "allies" stoop to mudslinging and tarnishing the innocent to win a point.
In your piece you say the following…
"The first remark in question was made by Charles Bolden, a former general who for reasons that are still unclear was appointed by the Obama Administration to be the head of NASA, though his knowledge of or interest in space exploration and the relevant science is unclear."
Sir, do you have any respect at all for the notion of not bearing false witness whatsoever? I find none in this blatantly slanderous "hyperbole" you present as an argument from authority against Gen. Bolden.
Let us shine a little reality on the subject Sir:
Bolden is a 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (you know the school that is so easy to get into and graduate from, a real smooth sail), he was a Marine attack pilot. Those are the guys who get down low and try to hit things with bombs and guns while every mother’s son is trying to shoot them down with everything from handguns to high-tech anti-air emplacements; this takes more balls than dog fighting some poorly trained Viet Cong in a Mig. (Just a thought Hugh, what is your technical or military background, hmm?)
Bolden is 1968 graduate of the United States Naval Academy (you know that school that is so easy to get into, and graduate from; a real slackers dream), he was a Marine attack pilot: those are the guys who get down low and try to hit things with bombs and guns while every mother’s son on the ground (and some in the air) are trying to shoot them down with everything from handguns to high-tech anti-air emplacements and missiles; this takes more balls than dog fighting some poorly trained Viet Cong in a Mig. He flew more than 100 sorties (planning, prep, flight, attack, survive, return, do it again) and has a total of over 6,000 hours flying time logged. Now I understand that poly-sci and English majors don’t always take the time to do the math but, that is the equivalent of over 3 YEARS of 8 hours a day five day fulltime work – more than a month total time. Three years of full time work, all in the cockpit, off the ground added to all the training, prep and debriefing a pilot, especially a test pilot, endures to be able to fly!
He then became a test pilot which takes a cool head and good nerves combined with intelligence and lots of common sense. Oh, and it has a lot to do with understanding ALL the factors in creating, deploying and using ultra-high tech aviation and astronautical stuff; it also include having the sense to survive other idiots brilliant ideas. This is not relevant to the job of head of NASA?
Next Bolden becomes an astronaut, (No relevance to NASA there):
“Selected by NASA in May 1980, Bolden became an astronaut in August 1981. His technical assignments included: Astronaut Office Safety Officer; Technical Assistant to the Director ofFlight Crew Operations; Special Assistant to the Director of the Johnson Space Center; Astronaut Office Liaison to the Safety, Reliability and Quality Assurance Directorates of the Marshall Space Flight Center and the Kennedy Space Center; Chief of the Safety Division at JSC; Lead Astronaut for Vehicle Test and Checkout at the Kennedy Space Center; and Assistant Deputy Administrator, NASA Headquarters.”
IN addition he has been on four (STS-61C, STS-31, STS-45, STS-60) missions for a total of 680 in space; this includes being mission commander for STS-45.
“Bolden was the first person to ride the Launch Complex 39 slidewire baskets which enable rapid escape from a space shuttle on the launch pad. The need for a human test was determined following a launch abort on STS-41-D where controllers were afraid to order the crew to use the untested escape system.”
If he is not qualified to have an opinion on how NASA could be improved and run better, WHO THE HELL DOES; someone with similar experience not appointed by a president you hate? The ghost of Tomas Jefferson today peers over your shoulder squinting at your words in disappointment.
I do not know about you, but with his background and after watching that WHOLE interview Bolden sounds to me like an absolutely head administrator for NASA. Can you explain (in real, non-emotional) terms why you do not agree?
Or, did you just figure your loyal followers would take your word for Bolden’s background, watch a minute of the video, and then play ”she tells two friends” spreading your dislike for an Obama appointee all over the net; needless to say jeopardizing the career of someone that you have no real reason to attack and harm?
Now, go and watch the entire interview and tell me, using actual full quotes taken in context, just what he said that was so bad, other than the one sop to Obama’s perception of Muslims needing help to be seen as a source of Western enlightenment?