Saturday, March 17, 2018

Maturity, Immaturity, and Pro-Regressing

A society, knowing that there is no clear line that covers all, sets a legal age where you are expected to be, and are capable of, having the maturity of judgment to behave as an adult. That age has been set at 13 (where the body begins taking on adult form), 18 (where the body has mostly achieved adult form), and for less apparent reasons, at 21 (with the idea being that the human maturation process occurs in 7yr cycles, with the end of the 3rd cycle marking the maturity of a person's ability to reason, and so the beginning of adulthood).

That's not 'discrimination' (though it IS, in its best sense), or creating a 'protected class', but setting general standards for legal purposes. Our society, with it's bizarre gaggle of legal 'adulthood' ages of 18, 21, 26, and more, with many limitations and qualifiers upon each... clearly has no sense of there being a standard beyond anything other than its useful political value (which, today, is the only standard of 'standards' that we will tolerate).

Car rental companies use actuarial statistics to define that the age that is the least likely to wreck their cars is 25. Is there statistical evidence to show that 21yr olds' are less likely to shoot someone than 18yr olds? I don't know. And I not only seriously doubt that Dick's, etc, knows or cares if there is, but on top of that, they've got no financial or liability interest in trying to set their own policy for it. It's an ideological PR stunt that's designed to strike out against the 2nd Amendment, nothing more.

Do they have the Right to say that they won't sell rifles to someone under 21? Sure they do. But they have no more right to do so - that being their individual right to use their own judgment - than a baker has for not wanting to make a wedding cake to celebrate what they see as a mockery of marriage, or than a bigoted organization or business who decides that they only want to cater to non-whites, or only whites, or ____(fill in the despicable blank).

The actual issue involved here, is the pretense of having a standard, in order to justify using your own judgement, while also claiming the political power to deny that right to others whose judgment you disapprove of, and wish to use the power of the state to deny them that right.

If you are for forcing bakers to sell wedding cakes to homosexual weddings, and for allowing businesses to set their own arbitrary age limits for selling their wares, you are only for using force to enforce your judgment upon all, and at the expense of everyone's individual right to use their own judgment in the conduct of their lives. Ironically, that is using your emotional preferences, to override what is reasonable to do, which is what an 'age of maturity' is designed to safeguard society from.

That's not political progress, it is in fact acting in opposition to the greatest leap in political progress in 3,000 years - that of barring the state from arbitrarily imposing upon the individual rights of its citizens.

IOW, you are a Pro-Regressive.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Our Individual Rights weren't constitutionally protected to reduce crime, but to preserve them against tyranny - reducing crime is no justification for reducing our rights

I've made this point about the 2nd Amendment several times before, but too often it's been swallowed up whole in one of my ten page posts, never to be seen or heard from again. During an unrelated thread yesterday, on how good people can do bad things and yet still think well of themselves, this point came back up, and as the perspective was appreciated by a friend who I very much disagree with politically (he still doesn't agree with me, but, even better, it prompted him to give the issue some further thought), I thought I'd essentially re-post it here as a short stand alone post. A friend of my friend replied to me:
"...And at risk of a tangent, I would say that is precisely why I don't buy into the whole idea that we need more "good guys with guns." More people with guns means more people using them to kill, commit suicide, and have accidents."
My reply to that, was:

That is a bit tangential, but I'll go straight to the heart of it: If you were to somehow present me with proof that one or another limitation upon the 2nd Amendment would 'work' to reduce crime, suicides, murders or ease any other societal ill, my opposition to them would remain unchanged. Why? Because neither the 2nd Amendment, nor any other of our essential individual rights that are protected by our Bill of Rights, are there for anything having to do with crime, reducing criminal behavior, or any other failure in our society - that's not their purpose, and proposing limitations to any of those rights, in order to solve issues that are at best tangential to their purpose, is a non-starter.

Those individual rights that are protected in our Bill of Rights, serve two purposes,
1) to preserve each person's ability to live as human beings, and
2) establish an impassible barrier to any tyranny rising to power: if people can speak, associate, worship, discuss, be secure in their homes and property, secure from judicial harassment and able to defend their lives and other rights from assault, then no nascent tyranny can ever rise up any further than its hands & knees.

Parallel to the central purpose of the 2nd Amendment, is that it ensures that each person is able to defend themselves from any personal threat, be it by bear, mugger, mob (or tyrannical govt), by keeping and baring the arms (and guns are but one of many options protected as Arms) which they deem most suitable for them to do so with.

We will never be able to prevent people from making poor, wrong, or evil choices, and attempting to limit their access to one particular technology for putting those choices into action, is simply folly. The issue is a human one, not a technological one, and the solutions to that are to be found in philosophy, morality and education, not law. What we can do though, is enable those on the receiving end of another's unjust actions, to defend themselves, rather than ensure that they are left defenseless in the face of them.

Contrary to the notion that I was going against "...empirical evidence on this issue", what I am stating, is that empirical evidence such as that, is irrelevant to this issue. The 2nd Amendment is no more about crime, than the 4th Amendment (police needing a warrant to search your home, etc) is. No doubt lives could be saved, and crime greatly reduced... if the police possessed the unfettered power to search anywhere, anytime, on a hunch; would you support that? Again, I would not, because reducing crime and saving lives is not the purpose of that, or any other amendment in our Bill of Rights - only preserving our rights, and thwarting tyranny, is.

Reducing crime and saving lives IS our business, as members of a community, but doing that takes real, sensible, persistent effort, to accomplish (involving, IMHO, philosophy, morality & education), and there's no easy fix to them, and especially not through laws (anymore than making drugs illegal, has eliminated drug abuse), and especially not by hobbling or eliminating our ability to think and act as we can best judge to.
I'll resist the urge to expand upon that, and let it go there... for now.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dear America: Guns aren't your problem, You are. To Keep and Bear Arms Across Time - pt3

What do you think of when thinking about the 2nd Amendment? I've said what I think of: what the meaning of the 2nd Amendment is, I think of those objections I have to both those who're promoting something they call 'gun rights!', and 'gun control!', and of how I think its opponents evade honest discussions through ideological falsehoods and evasions for political gains. But that's me - what comes to your mind when you think of the 2nd Amendment? Are you, like many, one of those who think about shooting statistics and reducing crime numbers through common sense gun policies and laws?

Personally, I'm most definitely not thinking about statistics, in any way, when thinking about the 2nd Amendment. But for those of you who do, it probably wouldn't surprise you to learn that I welcome those who, having once relied upon such statistical studies arguing for 'common sense gun regulations', have since had their views on their effectiveness changed, by the very statistics they once used to justify imposing various restrictions upon the 2nd Amendment, with. This former believer and researcher, who revised her position to say that 'gun control' does not work, is a good example of that:
"...Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly....."
, and that,
"...I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn't prove much about what America's policy should be. .... And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths...."
You might of course believe that your own review of the 'statistical facts' leads you to conclude that your 'gun control' methods would, or even do work, as this delightful manufacturer of two faced straw man arguments claims. But perhaps not. Or, if you wonder whether the Australian gun confiscation model might work here, since it seemed to lower shooting deaths there, this paper, which doesn't agree with me, presents a very reasonable case for why that is unlikely to be true for us here, or even for that matter for them there, and explains why.

But even if favorable findings and statics such as those were accepted without question, they still are not something that I'd use to make an argument for the 2nd Amendment.

Why? Because if that is your approach, then you are not thinking of what, IMHO, all such discussions should begin from - and that is a mistake. You cannot make a sound argument for something, on the basis of something that is not essential to the nature and purpose of that thing you are arguing for. Personally, I tend to think that any consideration of the 2nd Amendment, which actually begins with the premises that the 2nd Amendment was written from, and which define the purposes that it was written for, will lead you too to conclude, with me, that what it upholds and protects is deeply valuable to everyone's life, then and now. But even if you somehow had statistical proof, or some other claim of proof, for the effectiveness of 'gun control' measure or another, showing the numbers of lives it would save, and asked me what I thought of that, then I would reply as clearly and transparently as I possibly could:
I really don't care whether 'gun control' proposals will, or won't, 'work' to reduce crime and murders, and my opposition to them would remain unchanged.
Why? Because the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with crime, or with reducing criminal behavior, or with our failures as a society to reduce murders or other criminal behavior, and I'm not giving it up for a false appearance of relevance.

Try looking at it this way: If it could be shown - and I've zero doubt that it could be - that by repealing the 4th Amendment (which preserves the right " be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures...", requiring warrants, etc.), or even that putting (further) 'common sense restrictions upon it', the police would be able to prevent an enormous number of crimes by having the ability to enter anyone's house on a hunch, arrest anyone on the basis of suspicion alone, and hold them for as long as they thought best, I've no doubt whatsoever that we would immediately see a drastic reduction in crime and murder rates across the nation.

Would you be for that?

I would not.

Why? Because reducing crime is not the purpose of the 4th Amendment, or of the 5th Amendment, or of any of those other essential individual rights that are being protected by any of the other amendments in our Bill of Rights. Not even in those amendments which deal directly with limiting police activities in pursuit of criminals, they are not about crime, or murder, they are about safeguarding our individual rights by specifically preventing governments from gaining those powers which have been historically proven, over, and over again, to be horrifically dangerous to that government's own people, for it to acquire such powers over their lives.

They don't need to have bad intentions for bad things to follow from them, good intentions will more than suffice. It doesn't matter whether such powers are to implement traditional conservative policy

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The 2nd Amendment's role in our abusive and violent society of social & legislative reformers. To Keep and Bear Arms Across Time - pt2

Clearly, as we're repeatedly beset with violent actions ranging from robbery, to assault, to murder, to the mind numbing mass slaughters we've experienced at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, a small town church in Texas, and now the sprawling high school in Parkland Florida, our society does have a problem with those who take up arms against the lives, rights and property of the rest of us. But just as clearly, confronting what the nature of that problem actually is, and why, as well as what actually can be done about it, is something that we've been fiercely unwilling to face up to - and that's worth taking a closer look at.

I argued in a previous post that it is because the primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment is not about Guns, that it is able to secure our right to keep and bear the personal arms of your choice, including guns. But why is that important? If you see its purpose as being nothing more than your possessing 'Arms', then you'll be easily diverted with irrelevancies, such as which arms (a .38 Special was the 'bad' weapon when I was young, as an AR-15 is today), or crime, or how much of that 'right' you actually 'need' - and if you don't see the problem there, it's that sort of perspective that would ask Rosa Parks why she needed to sit in the front of the bus. With a Utilitarian view like that, it may never occur to you that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is wedded to the rest of the Bill of Rights, in that its purpose is to secure our natural right to keep and bear arms in defense of all of our rights, and if you can manage to take that perspective, you'll quickly see that criminals are the least and last of the threats to the 2nd Amendment's purpose.

What most people are not thinking about when the 2nd Amendment is brought to their mind, is our willful failure to identify the nature of what our rights are, which not only prevents us from dealing effectively with those who trespass against them, but encourages the greater trespasses and the very violence which the social & legislative reformers so noisly (and usefully) decry. It is that blank spot in our thoughts, whch has brought about one of those ironies which history delights in, as the attentions that both 'Gun Rights!' and 'Gun Control' enthusiasts mutually focus upon particular guns, serves to push the concepts of Arms and Individual Rights ever further from our minds, so that both groups are busily weakening our understanding of what the 2nd Amendment requires us to know, in order for it to be able to preserve those rights that it was written to defend for us.

Without an adequate understanding of the concepts behind the 2nd Amendment, its revolutionary statement:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
, becomes empty words ("nonsense upon stilts" is the pragmatic and Utilitarian view) that fall easy prey to 'what the meaning of IS is', making it that much easier to deny or avoid dealing with what the issue of armed violence actually is. The 2nd Amendment's power can be no greater than our understanding of it, and those who stand to gain ever more power with its loss, are very much aware of the the possibilities that our ignorance holds for them, and they are using that power to socially and legislatively reform America, into something less than what our Constitution is capable of serving.

The role which the 2nd Amendment has in our abusive and violent society today, even today, is to provide We The People with the means of defending and preserving our individual rights, from those social & legislative reformers who justify using the power of government to infringe upon our lives through our rights, for their vision of the 'Greater good' - no matter how much disorder and violence those reforms might be shown to visit upon us. The role and responsibility of We The People in defending our rights through the 2nd Amendment, is to understand, and apply the concepts which its words defend us with. Those whose efforts are thwarted by it, know that, and they use every trick they can to muddle, evade, and ignore its meaning, so that such thoughts will continue to remain unthought by you, when the 2nd Amendment is brought to mind.

While the 2nd Amendment is proof that the pen is mightier than the sword (we would not still have either arms or rights without the words of our Bill of Rights), its unprotected flanks expose it to attack from those grounds it doesn't explicitly defend. The 2nd Amendment is not about Guns, Criminals or Hunting, but in the intellectual guerrilla warfare we're currently engaged in, those issues serve as excellent cover for snipers firing fusillades of misdirection and falsehood into our midst. If you want to defend the 2nd Amendment's ability to defend us, you must make the effort to understand it, and to spot, and disarm those assaults upon it, or it will be rendered powerless to help us. The Pen is mightier than the sword... but only if its words - and those fired against it - are understood.

Looking directly into the disinfecting sunlight
Before taking a look at how our social & legislative reformers evade reality, and the dangerous abuses that are inherent in, and will result from doing so, let's have a look at the truth that is so painful for them to look upon. The dose of reality that our fellow citizens so desperately need, doesn't take a lot to say:
  • There are NO LAWS that would prevent these shootings.

Friday, February 02, 2018

Democracy Dies in Darkness... and they like it that way

Ok, so I've finally read the dreaded "FISA Memo" which the GOP members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote in regards to classified materials, which they had vetted on sources and methods, approved by President Trump, and released to the public. I've heard the Democrat's warnings about endangering national security and about out of context charges. I've read the NeverTrump'rs downplaying of the memo, by Nat'l Review's David French, and the L.A. Times; and of course, although I'd like to read it, we do not yet have the Democrat 'counter memo' available yet, to get 'the other side' of.

The three points noted below are what I find most significant in the FISA Memo, and everything here hangs upon them. If those three points are true, nothing else matters (and if they are fabrications then these charges should be reversed, with a vengeance). But let's deal with the above items first.

As regards the hysterical 'Endangering National Security!' shrieking that we've been deafened by over the last few days by members of the Democrat Party, there are zero credible, or even stretchable points, that can be construed as to be threats to National Security, in this memo. The charge is ridiculous on the face of it, and further makes the case that they'd go to the most desperate measures possible to keep what's referenced in the memo, under wraps. IOW, 'Democracy Dies in Darkness... and they like it that way.'

Then there's the exercise in blinkered besides-the-point Fith'king (pansified 'Fisking'), from NeverTrump'rs (Left and Right) seeking to bone up the almost immediately discredited charges in a New York Times article last year, as being the only noteworthy points in the memo, and their 'oh boy this is gonna be great!' gleefulness about supposedly substantiating some fringe pieces of the "Russia! Russia! Russia!" case against Trump, are pathetic examples of personal pique, and desperate ideologically snowed-blind efforts to avoid allowing any 'good' to get near a story on Trump.

If anyone can read this memo, and come away focused only upon the charges against Trump, or Trump's charges against the media and FBI, instead of being absolutely incensed over the obvious use and abuse of power perpetrated against the American people, by those entrusted with protecting the American people, in order to further their own interests of political and personal gain, then they possess, IMHO, only sick, twisted, stumps of burned out apparatus, where effective minds had perhaps once dwelt.

The Democrats tell us that they'll put out a counter-memo, soon, that will show just how deceptively out of context the memo's charges are, which I'd very much like to see.


Decades of experience reading what passes for 'The News' from all sides, has accustomed me to seeking out the possibility of missing contexts in stories, and as the bits and drabs of the truth of them have leaked out weeks, months or years later have confirmed to me, I'm fairly good at it. I can imagine a large number of clipped, minimized or dropped contexts in this Memo, but none that would actually matter, where it actually matters most.

What I find most damning in the FISA Memo isn't open to much deflation as a result of an expanded and clarified context, because whether or not the essential piece referenced in the Memo (developed from the Steele dossier) actually served as a foundational basis for the FISA warrants, or instead simply lent some additional support to the request for that warrant to spy upon American citizens, the nature of that document's unsubstantiated charges, and its authors' personal animus, bias, financial and political interests involved in its being used, catastrophically taint everything connected to it - especially as that nature was concealed from those who were presented with it as if it was worthy of respectable consideration.

Seriously! If Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from the 'Russia Investigation' because he publicly talked to a Russian diplomat in a greeting line at a State Dept sponsored event, then there's damn sure no room for anything connected to that piece (sponsored and paid for by the DNC and Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign), being used in establishing any aspect of any warrant, let alone the highly volatile nature of a FISA Warrant, and that goes doubly for such information being used while those facts about its origin were deliberately withheld from those who were given them to aid in determining whether or not to issue said warrant (see #4 below).

No matter the imaginable contexts and scenarios that may be brought to light in the future, the following points alone, establish unacceptable behavior, corruption, in the use of the most sensitive and debated investigatory powers our government is able to bring to bear upon American citizens, so as to abuse those powers for the very worst, most corrupt of purposes - that of changing the outcome of a presidential election, to suit the political judgment of a few.

And people, please, stop bringing up Watergate. There is no comparison to Watergate here - that scandal involved a criminal break-in for political purposes. This matter involves using the legal apparatus of our judicial system, to legally spy upon American citizens, in order to corrupt the public mind for political purposes, in a campaign for the highest elected office in the land - not to steal politically sensitive materials, but to corrupt the political judgment of the entire nation. I'll restate that last point: The purpose of obtaining this FISA Warrant, was to corrupt and taint the judgment of the entire American electorate, to manipulate their votes by corrupting the highest functions of our government - our judicial system and defense systems - to taint and dis-inform the public mind and alter their votes by means of our most powerful institutions which are entrusted to 'protect and serve' that same public.

These few points from the FISA Memo, short of their proven to be outright lies, these are not open to the sway of additional context:

  • "1 a) Neither the initial application in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele's efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials."
  • "3 a "During this same time period, Ohr's wife was employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump. Ohr later provided the FBI with all of his wife's opposition research, paid for by the DNC and Clinton campaign via Fusion GPS. The Ohrs' relationship with Steele and Fusion GPS was inexplicably concealed from the FISC."
  • 4 "...While the FISA application relied on Steele's past record of credible reporting on other unrelated matters, it ignored or concealed his anti-Trump financial and ideological motivations. Furthermore, Deputy Director McCabe testified before the Committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the FISC without the Steele dossier information." [emphasis mine]
If you can defend behavior such as that, I can find no means or warrant for defending yours.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Elections do have consequences - including being governed by who you've elected

If there's one thing that the 21st Century has made abundantly clear, is that elections have consequences - not the least of which is our suffering to be governed by those we've elected into office. Simple buyers regret, however, is not in and of itself a valid basis for reversing the decision of the electorate, and the progressive normalization of such behavior as we've been witness to of late, is, IMHO, a growing threat to representative government.

Elections do have consequences, but there are even worse consequences to be had from overturning elections. It is irresponsible, and not a little dangerous, to demand that elected officials be forced from office over unsubstantiated charges, with no other basis than the fervent opinions of some. And please do not resort to claiming that
"I have a right to my opinion! it doesn't have to stand up to a court of law!'
, you do have a right to your opinion, but your opinion alone is not a justifiable cause for demanding that the opinions of an entire state's (or nation's) electorate, that were voiced, tallied, and duly recorded in an election, should be overturned. The 2016 election is done and over, and the 'will of the people' was made known, and short of a radical change in the nature of the charges against our sitting governor, that election must stand, and if you care about our form of government, you should not demand it be otherwise.

Much as I dislike Eric Greitens - and I wrote several posts explaining why - I will not ignore the fact that unsubstantiated accusations and rumors against him, like any other form of 'sources say', is not a valid basis for my desiring that the will of the entire electorate, be reversed.

Especially not when we have nothing more before us at this point in time, than anonymous accusations which have been made without a shred of proof (and no, an unnamed disgruntled husband, allegedly recording the tearful accusations of his unnamed wife/ex-wife without her knowledge of his doing so, does not qualify as a shred of proof). Short of Gov. Greitens being convicted of, or admitting to, having committed blackmail or some other serious crime, whether or not he stays in office is not a proper consideration or justifiable choice for you or me to call for, and frankly it's not even properly his choice anymore - unless he knows himself to be guilty of blackmail, he should not step down - he is in that office because the electorate duly elected him to be there, and outside of the established paths for recall or impeachment, that is where he should stay for the duration of his term.

I understand your displeasure over discovering that he admitted cheating on his wife prior to his election, but that is not a valid basis for demanding an election be overturned - if that truly displeases you, perhaps pay a little closer attention to details of character, and demand explanations for major changes in stated beliefs, in future elections. Neither is there any valid basis for demanding that he resign because he doesn't 'network' with lawmakers and grassroots activists, as some might have hoped he would have. But worse by far, is for elected representatives to council him to resign - not because they know him to be guilty, but because they fear that a trial would be painful and uncomfortable - that is truly craven, despicable advice, and is dangerous to the continued prospects of representative government.

You cannot credibly claim to be for representative government, while also demanding that elected representatives be turned out of office for unsubstantiated charges. You cannot credibly claim to be for representative government, while also demanding that elected representatives be turned out of office for no better reason than the disappointed mood of a vocal mob - and yes, if you value your emotional disappointment, over the results of an election, if you want to force an elected official from the office that the electorate put him in, by the force of the wailing and stomping feet of a vocal few, then you have joined yourself to a virtual mob.

Do you seriously want to make removing an elected official, something that can be overturned on the basis of allegations alone? Allegations that are made by unnamed individuals, based upon a 'crime' they were privately told about by someone else? A 'crime' that the supposed 'victim' has not even come forward theirself about? Let alone without having even pressed formal charges?!

WTH is passing for 'conscientious consideration' here?! What the hell is wrong with you people?! If you want him out of office, then at the very least have the stones to begin a recall campaign - but I'd recommend that you have something more that you can substantiate first. Like the 'victims' name. And actual charges filed by that victim. And maybe a trial. Or a confession. First.

Do I think that it's possible that he engaged in blackmail? Have you heard his threatening conversation with John Brunner during the election? Have you heard about his belittling conversations with 'beady eyed' lawmakers? Yeah, I would be entirely unsurprised to learn that he sought to intimidate someone into silence, for his own convenience. But guess what - my suspicions do not become worthy of overturning the results of a clear election, simply because I think that they're valid!

I do not like Eric Greitens. I wrote numerous posts (here, and here, and here, and, and here) saying why I thought he was unworthy of being elected our governor. However my point of view did not win the election. Those who voted for him for Governor, did win. By virtue of our system of representative government, he was elected by We The People - it would be a gigantic mistake to now demand that he resign his office because of unnamed sources, on unsourced, unsubstantiated, and unproven, accusations.

It's worth remembering, however, when you are faced with a choice like this again, before an election for instance, that it's best to choose those who are the most unlikely to find themselves the butt of unsubstantiated charges. What you can do to avoid that in the future, is to learn that 'hope is not a strategy' - that hoping that the fellow who claims he's a conservative, with no further reason or explanation given for that claim than the thinnest of appearances, really is a conservative, is folly and negligence of the highest order. Learn from that. Help your neighbor to learn from that. Because discovering that the guy that you helped get elected, isn't who you'd hoped he was, isn't enough to 'fix' that election after the fact.

I'll close out by leaving this snippet here from my first post having to do with Eric Greitens, "Is being Great all that good?" post back in 2015,
"...I'm not saying that I suspect our latest crop of great candidates of intending to do harm, I'm saying that I suspect them of not knowing what will, and what won't, cause us harm.

I'm saying that it's not their great qualities that concern me, but the little knowledge, understanding and conviction they've yet to demonstrate having about the fundamentals of our laws and their underlying principles.

I'm saying that without that understanding, which are the qualities that make any person, great or not, fit for office, and the lack of which makes anyone, great or not, unfit for office, then unrestrained by those convictions, they are liable, with the very best of intentions, to bring great harm to this nation and/or to our state. and at this point I'm not sure how much more of that we can take. ..."
Take the time to know that a candidate is worthy of your vote, to a reasonable satisfaction, because, as we are all finding out, elections do have consequences.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Our Society's Mysterious Surprise

Can you spot the surprising mystery surrounding these names? Hint: It's not sexual harassment.
  • Harvey Weinstein
  • Louis C.K.
  • Kevin Spacey
  • Charlie Rose
  • Bill Clinton
  • Al Franken
  • Matt Lauer
The big mystery which these names have in common, is the surprising sense of surprise that people continue to express on discovering that yet another big name has been outed for impolite, rude, inappropriate, abusive behavior, while they ['they', meaning us, as in 'We The People'] themselves have enthusiastically supported and participated in promoting behavior that revolves around incivility, rudeness, disregard for individual rights, dishonorable and unvirtuous behavior, in all of their [our] own personal choices for entertainment, politics, in their attitudes towards morality, and the collective insistence upon throwing money at a system of 'education' that primarily concerns itself with economic utility ('Get an education to get a good job!'), while dismissing or even denigrating, courses of study that focus upon integrating literary, cultural and philosophic depths of understanding, as being 'useless'.

And to top it off, they [yup, that'd be 'us' again] will rattle on about the need for 'Justice!' and 'Fairness!', while also simultaneously 'judging' and demanding immediate punishments of life disrupting, and career ending 'Action!', over what are often wholly unsubstantiated charges and innuendos.

And they [yeah, I'm afraid so, that's be you & me again] are actually surprised that those they've elevated to positions of supreme popularity and positions of power in our society, have been found to have been behaving... badly.

Mysteriously, our society is actually, surprised at this current state of affairs.

How our surprise is possible, is one fascinating mystery.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

What is your responsibility in the accusations of others? Roy E. Moore and you

The climate of sexual assault accusations is heating up, spreading out from Hollywood to sweep the nation. Almost as worrisome as the accusations themselves, are the ways that people accept, or reject them. While many of the accusations seem to be true, and some even admitted to, almost certainly some are false - how are we to respond when, absent a confession of guilt, we cannot know whether they are true or not? How are we who know none of the parties involved, to respond to them, without any substantial evidence to support either the charges, or the denials? How about when the accusations involve leaders in the community, whose decisions may have far reaching affects upon our lives, and as in the case of the former Alabama Supreme Court Justice, and current candidate for senator, Roy E. Moore, upon the entire nation?

At this point, the only thing we can know, is that we do not know enough; and yet, whether as voters or interested political spectators, we know that we do need to make some sort of judgment upon them. That's a very unsettling position to be in.

It seems to me, that about all we can do is choose to respond to the charges responsibly, or irresponsibly. That begins with the understanding that even if we carefully examine the little we do know, and come to a very reasonable, responsible, conclusion about the accusations, we could easily see the next 'Breaking News!' report prove us to be entirely wrong.

That's a given, and it should be front and center in our minds.

We are not, and cannot be, omniscient. But we can be responsible in our thinking, and to be Response-Able in matters such as this, is to accept that what we must tentatively conclude, without all the facts being known, is less important than how we come to that conclusion. We can't be sure that our conclusions will be correct, but we can be sure that we've done our best in forming them, and if I properly go about coming to the wrong conclusion, I'll be much more able to accept my error, than if I irresponsibly happen upon the 'right' conclusion, with zero basis for doing so. First and foremost, we should not pretend to know, what we do not and cannot know, about the accused, or the accuser, no matter what our personal feelings towards any of the parties might be. Judge what we can, and no further.

Given all of that, it's probably best to begin with the charges themselves - from both sides. For instance:
  • If the charges are true, they are disgusting abuses of trust and power, and violations of the law. Obviously such a person who would engage in such things, is not someone I'd want as a Judge, or in political office.
  • If the charges are not true, they too are disgusting abuses of trust and power, and are themselves violations of the law. Obviously such persons should not be able to influence who will hold judicial or political office.
As heinous as the charges are against Moore, if they are untrue, and made to falsely change the minds of millions of voters, that too is a heinous act, an intimate assault upon the body politic. But with nothing to go on but the charges being made, who made them, who they were made against, and who is presenting them to us, for anyone to make definitive statements upon what they cannot know to be true - pro or con - strikes me as the height of irresponsibility. And for the smugger than thou, who seek cover for their thinly formed personal conclusions, in the fact that we as individuals, are not bound by the rules of the law:
"...Now, I've had far too many people shouting, 'Guilty until proven innocent!' at me over my comments on this issue, as if they're too dumb to know that the second half of that phrase is 'in a court of law.' Not to blow your mind here, but I'm actually not a court of law, and I'm allowed to believe whatever I want ' and personally, I believe that Roy Moore was a predator with a penchant for teenage girls...."
We are not ourselves courts of law, and are not bound to the rules a court is, that's true enough, as far as it goes, but the fact is that it doesn't go very far at all. Do we really bear no responsibility to evaluate the charges being bandied about? What the seriousness of the charges do require me to do, is to make what judgments that I reasonably can - and to acknowledge what I reasonably cannot - without blathering on about either the charges, or my personal beliefs about them, or how you 'just knew!' them to be true or false.

I'm a father of a teenage daughter, I've some pretty strong feelings about the nature of the charges that've been made, but what kind of opinion can be formed upon no better basis, than your own feelings about the charges themselves? The judicial rules of evidence and judgment of our laws, are founded upon the realization that we don't know what really happened in a case, and that our judgments can be wrong, which is why courts have rules to follow in presenting and evaluating evidence and testimony - does the fact that we are not courts, mean that we shouldn't hold our opinions to similar standards?

There are several options open to us here, and hopefully you will hold yourself to some standard, as you decided whether you will:

  1. Accept that 'the seriousness of the charges' are such that we should assume that he is guilty until we have reasons to believe that he is innocent.
  2. Assume that multiple accusers of a similar age who're making vaguely similar charges, qualifies as sufficient reason to presume his guilt.
  3. Consider whether the charges are supported by the accused's personal record, habits and behavior?
  4. Consider whether the accusers personal record, habits and behavior, supports the credibility of the charges being made?
  5. We can presume his guilt, or innocence, based upon the politics of:
    a- his political party and your feelings towards that.
    b- of those making the charges.
    c- of those promoting the charges.
So let's take a stab at weighing those options.

Regarding #1, simply because of the fact that I am not myself a court of law or bound to its rules, does not excuse me to presume that the charges are true, without having anything more to go on than the seriousness of the charges themselves. That is the height of intellectual irresponsibility. You're not thinking, you're gossiping.

#2, the sheer number of charges made do not lend credibility to the charges themselves. What with my being in my 50's, I very clearly recall the Day-care sex-abuse hysteria charges of the 1980's, when charges of sexual child abuse at day care centers, spread like wildfire across the nation, charges which were ultimately proven by and large to be false, but charges which nevertheless destroyed the lives and livelihood of numerous people. There is a striking similarity between the national mood now, and the Day Care hysteria back then, and we should not ignore that such moods and their attendant hype, are ripe for abuse. Especially so, as the charges that have been made by the accusers in this case, are not the same charges - the other two accusers, while their age was inappropriate for his alleged attentions, they did not charge him with 'taking liberties' with them.

As for #3, do the charges fit with the accused's character and history? If the charges were made against someone with the personal history of a Harvey Weinstein, or a Bill Clinton, they'd gain credibility on account of their own history, as such behavior of abuse and disregard for the person of another, are habits that stick with lech's, pedophiles, or serial abusers, who tend to be repeat offenders, and increasingly bold ones at that. Does Moore have a record of taking advantage of, and abusing, younger women? At this point in time, I'm unaware of it. His own life lived, to the best of our current knowledge, has to be given some weight against the credibility of the charges.

Similarly with #4, does the accusers personal record, habits and behavior, support the credibility of the charges being made? Supposedly, the primary accuser has a less than impressive personal history, divorced three times, filed bankruptcy three times, allegedly has history of making similar accusations against clergymen. That does not mean that the accusations are not true, but her personal history doesn't lend credibility to them - and that is all that we have to go on at this point.

As for the political aspects of the charges, with #5a above, presuming the guilt or innocence of charges, based upon the politics of the person charged, is relevant only if the charges are relevant to their politics. For instance, if a Social Justice Warrior were charged with beating someone on the basis of their political beliefs ( i.e. "Punch a nazi!"), their own political beliefs would argue towards their guilt, rather than their innocence. But when the charges have no particular relevance to their politics one way or another - and sexual misconduct is very much a bi-partisan matter - then their, Moore's politics, should not be swaying our conclusions, one way or another.

As for #5b, presuming the guilt or innocence of the charges, based upon the politics of the person making the charges, as with #3, is relevant only if the charges are relevant to their politics. And while matters of sexual misconduct are a bi-partisan matter, making charges of sexual misconduct in order to further a political agenda, is hardly unheard of. Anita Hill's foul accusations against Clarence Thomas, come to mind. However, in this case, the primary accuser doesn't seem to have an ideological ax to grind, and while one of the other accusers does have a history in Democrat politics, it doesn't amount to much. For myself, I'd say that, in and of itself, on this point, the accusers politics it's a wash with me, neither bolstering or undermining, the charges.

However, the matter doesn't come through the wash free of stains. For instance, if the charges are true, why did the accusers, especially the main accuser, not come forward earlier? If not as a young teenager, then at least when Moore began to gain prominence, 10 years later, when she, as an adult, supposedly told her mother? If the charges were true, she should have come forward with them then, and every day, month, and year she delayed, IMHO, eats away at their credibility, especially given the fact that she has waited until, not just Moore's Senatorial campaign, but for the very end of it, to come forward. The other accusers did not come forward on their own, they were found, and encouraged to make their charges public, by a reporter. For myself, that leads me to at least somewhat discount the credibility of the charges, on the basis of the charges alone.

As for #5c, presuming the guilt or innocence of the charges, based upon the politics of those promoting the charges, as with #4b, is relevant only if the presumed effect of making such charges are relevant to their politics. Interestingly enough, one of the authors of the Washington Post article, Ms. McCrummen, has a rather checkered history of running afoul of the law, as well as journalistically engaging in political witch hunts, as this article from 2011 indicates,
"...Although a careful read of the story shows that there is no substantiation for the allegations of racism, Ms. McCrummen, the Post, and MSNBC have held a non-stop witch hunt, accusing Mr. Perry of everything under the sun. So, let’s examine the author using the same journalistic standards practiced by the Washington Post.

Ms. McCrummen has a rather interesting criminal history herself, as public criminal records in multiple states stretching across 4 time zones have shown...."
Such histories do not lend to the creditability of either the charges, or of those promoting them.

And of course, Roy E. Moore's candidacy can hardly be said to be of no consequence to the politics of our day, for the Washington Post (who opposes Moore), or for the Left, or even for the Right. Charges such as this, at this point in time in an election, is very much in line with what has often been excused as 'justified resistance' by such people as those at The Washington Post.... not to mention the McCain/McConnel wing of the establishment GOP.

So to sum it up:
  1. I cannot responsibly credit these charges, at this point in time, on the basis of charges alone.
  2. I cannot credit, or discredit, the charges based upon the politics of the accused.
  3. There is little reason to question the charges being made, based upon the politics of the accusers - but there is reason to question the decades that have passed in their silence, and the timing involved in making them public now.
  4. The reputation of the accused, his extremely high target value in opposition research over the last decade or so, and the absence of similar charges over the forty years since the incident was alleged to have happened, weigh in Moores' favor, and against the accusations.
  5. The nature and history of those who sought out these charges, and promoted them (Ms. McCrummen and the Washington Post at the top), do not lend credibility to the charges.
When I add all of this up, in the context of what we know at this point in time, it argues towards a presumption of innocence for Roy E. Moore, rather than presuming his guilt because of the 'gravity of the charges' alone.

And of course, I could be wrong, and given reason to judge differently, I will.

I know very little about Roy E. Moore, and what I do know, I've had mixed opinions about. I know even less about his accusers, but I've some knowledge of the politically utility of salacious charges, being promoted at the last minute ('October Surprise!') by political foes, in the crucial final days of a political campaign, and until I know more, I'm not going to let the emotional nature and severity of the charges, be what most influences my judgment.

I also know that those who eagerly accept charges against others, to show how 'even minded' they are, turn my stomach. As does those who morally preen themselves in a pretentious presumption of the guilt of others, while having no solid reasons for presuming it ("predator!"); and of course the of the GOP's John McCain and Mitt Romney, who routinely, eagerly, and willfully, throw in with any charges of moral condemnation upon the likes of Moore, in order to ingratiate themselves with the media and the wider 'moral community', disgust me to no end.

If you've decided that you know the guilt or innocence of someone in a case you know next to nothing about... you've said more about you, than him. The eagerness to attack those who are just too different from your own ideologically cock sure 'truth', has been gaining in popularity on 'the Right' (especially as seen in the reflexively ("It's a cult!") statements of both the Uber-Trump'rs, and the NeverTrump'rs), to the point that the accusations, and the eagerness to accept them, and promote them, IMHO turns such accusations into self incriminating accusations against themselves.

As such evidence of irresponsibility piles up, it does not bode well for this nation.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

For Veterans Day - Thank You For Persisting 'The Harder Right', Across Time

For Veterans Day, two memories; one from 2 years ago, that was itself remembering this day from 5 years before that, of what persists across time on this day, of 'the harder right' that it entails when our fellows volunteer to serve in our military. No matter where they may end up being stationed, when they volunteer to serve, they are volunteering to put their lives on the line, period. There is no assurance that they won't at some point be sent to put their lives put at risk, be injured, or be killed. None. Whether they eventually serve entirely administratively stateside, or at hazard in war zones, at that moment when they sign their lives on the dotted line, the worst case is risked by all. In pledging their lives to support and defend our Constitution, they serve to secure to us the ability to live a life worth living, should we also take the harder right, and choose to.

To all of our Veterans - Thank You.

[And now, back to 2015:]

[For Veterans Day this year, I'm going with a re-post from four years ago, which isn't - for me or others - the typical Veterans Day post, but for me it really goes to the heart of the occasion. This post came back into mind a couple days ago when a 'Memories' app popped up some pictures from the 2011 Veterans Day parade in St. Louis that I took part in with Chris & Dana Loesch, "Patch" Po/ed Patriot and our kids [Patch just confirmed my sketchy pictureless memory, Stacy Washington was with us too). The memories were a nice tug - I mostly only see Patch online now, and the Loesch's have since moved to Dallas (catch "Dana" on the BlazeTV), but more than the sentimental value, was the point of this post, well illustrated in the movie clip, of the importance of choosing the Harder Right - not only in the sense of putting your life on the line for it, but the importance of choosing the harder right to a life worth living, and that is what I associate most with our Veterans.

Our Veterans volunteer their lives onto the line, and in pledging their lives to support and defend our Constitution, they serve to secure to us the ability to live a life worth living, should we also take the harder right, and choose to.

To our Veterans - Thank You.

And now, back to 2011:]

For Veterans Day, a clip that doesn't at first appear to have anything to do with Veterans or Veterans Day. It's the climactic scene of a movie that's really grown on me over the years, The Emperor's Club. In this, the point of not only an Education, but of a life well lived - or squandered - is conveyed in just a few moments.

The now aging Mr. Hundert, a Classics Professor, is found in the restroom after a debate competition, by his former student, Sedgewick Bell, who is now grown and launching a campaign for the Senate. Bell was a student he'd tried far more than he should have to help, and Hundert has realized that Sedgewick has yet again cheated in the "Mr. Julius Caesar" debate, which Mr. Hundert was moderating.

He lets his former student know that he knows he tried to cheat, again...
Mr. Hundert:"I'm a teacher Sedgwick, and I failed you. But I'll give you one last lecture, if I may. All of us, at some point, are forced to look at ourselves in the mirror, and see who we really are, and when that day comes for Sedgewick, you'll be confronted with a life lived without virtue, without principle - for that I pity you. End of lesson."

Sedgewick Bell:"What can I say Mr. Hundert? Who gives a shit. Honestly, who out there gives a shit about your principles and your virtues. I mean, look at you, what do you have to show for yourself? I live in the real world, where people do what they need to do to get what they want, and if that means lying, and cheating... then so be it.
So I am going to go out there, and I am going to win that election Mr. Hundert, and you will see me EVERYwhere! And I'll worry about my 'contribution' later.
(Sound of a toilet flushing, stall opens, Sedgewick's little boy comes out, stares at his dad in disgust)
Sedgewick Bell:"Robert? Robert...."
(Robert turns and leaves)
Sedgewick stares after him, stares down, glances at Mr. Hundert, and leaves.
What Mr. Hundert has, he has without need of power, position or wealth... what Cedric threw away, he can't replace through any amount of power, position or wealth.

The best things in life are free... but you've got to earn them, and sometimes fight for them; and some worthy few even choose to risk their lives for your chance to enjoy them.

Thank you to all those who chose the harder right, and especially the Veterans who agreed to risk their lives for it, if need be.

UPDATE - Pictures from the St. Louis Veterans Day Parade
Special thanks to Dana Loesh for inviting us to march with her crew in the parade, my daughter & I were honored to show our support.

Dana Loesh (in a strep throat burqa), Me, Patch Adams and Chris Loesch , ready to roll

... coming around the corner... (pic swiped from Patch Adams)
Parading past Soldiers Memorial
The best message of all!

Patch posted a video that should be an alarming shame in contrasts to all. For those who did turn out for the parade yesterday, thank you, your quality isn't questioned, but for the quantities of others who couldn't be bothered, shame on you.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

What if I told you, that guns aren't the point of the 2nd Amendment? To Keep and Bear Arms Across Time - pt1

What if I told you, that guns aren't the point of the 2nd Amendment? Heads would be exploding in bi-partisan living color, right? Well, that's what I'm saying: Guns aren't the point of the 2nd Amendment (... 3... 2... 1...BOOM!). And while that will cause heads on both sides of the aisle to explode, they will do so for very different reasons. The Right side will explode, because they'd assume that such a statement intends to weaken, and/or limit our access to guns - which is the opposite meaning, purpose, and affect which that statement would have. The Left side (and not a few on 'The Right') - those who get the tactical point of their spin - will explode because they'd realize that such a statement, if widely understood and adopted, would not only lead to the loss of decades of their hard fought limitations upon arms, but would also explode their primary tool for making those restrictions: equating Arms, with Guns.

You see, despite the fact that firearms are the most effective, efficient, practical means with which to keep and bear arms, they are, as that simple fact implies, not the actual point of the 2nd Amendment, but only one means of our carrying out what is protected by that amendment. Despite what often seems to be the best efforts of those on all sides, the 2nd Amendment is not primarily about gun rights - in fact there is no such thing as 'gun rights'. Nope. Not. Things, of course, do not have rights, but by claiming a right to things, it eventually eliminates all rights, because it means that someone, somewhere, is obligated to supply what others have claimed a right to, whether they want to, or not - that's not how rights work! BTW, that's the same strategy behind demands that 'Healthcare' be treated as a 'Right'.

What the 2nd Amendment is all about, is securing the right of each individual to be able to act in the defense of their community, persons, property and interests, by freely choosing the personal arms which in their judgment is best suited to that task. That's possible, because the 2nd Amendment assures We The People, that the government will neither infringe upon those actions we deem necessary to take, nor will it make any law that would come between ourselves and those arms we may choose from in order to act.

With that in mind, take note of the word 'Arms' in the language of the 2nd Amendment :
'...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.'

And no, the 2nd Amdt is not about 'bearing arms against foreign militias'
If you keep in mind that this amendment was written during a time when 'gentlemen' still wore swords at times, and occasionally still used them, it becomes less surprising that the term refers to the general category of Arms,

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Constitution at 230 years old - for Patriots, Protesters, and even Rioters

[Re-posting this date adjusted post from last year, on what is now the 230th anniversary of our Constitution, because it asks those few questions that are really worth asking ourselves today. And especially after two days of rioting in St.Louis, supposedly over 'Justice!', it's worth asking yourself today, 

  • What do you think of the Constitution, and why do you think that? 

Not which favorite catch phrases come so readily to mind, or repeating what someone else wrote, or said, but what do You think, and why do you think it? You might even find a few points that you've never thought upon for yourself. 

Hard to imagine a better activity for the day.]

Today marks the completion of what both Patriot and Protester, knowingly or not, are unified in referencing. What was signed as completed upon this day, two hundred and thirty years ago, September 17th, 1787, by thirty-nine of the fifty-five Framers, was the Constitution of the United States of America, and whether you stand in respect for, or disrespectfully turn away from, the Flag, the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance, you do so in reference to that document which is the oldest existing instrument of its kind, still in operation.


Is it simply a list of rules for governing by? Is it nothing more than a favorite fossil of 'white people'? A document of oppression? Frederick Douglass once thought so, but because he was a thinker in order to understand what was true, he didn't stop with answers that were given him by others, but continued on thinking upon the matter, and discovered the Truth which such vile falsehoods seek to smother and erase.

But today I'm really not much concerned with your answers to those 'points', but am only interested in whether or not you are familiar with the ideas, principles and purposes which animated the writing of it - are you? And if not... what worth can your opinion - pro or con - have for me, or for anyone else?

Whether you mouth its praises, or make showy protests against it, without understanding what it is

Friday, September 15, 2017

Justice follows from a judicial process, not a mob's demands.

Quick note regarding the verdict in the latest "Trial of the Day": Unless you can point to credible reasons to suspect that established procedures weren't followed, or that there was improper influence involved, jury tampering, bribery, etc, I'm highly unlikely to be following or to give a rip about the "Trial of the Day" that you are so worked up about.

We have a judicial system with established procedures that are designed to test, admit and present evidence and arguments for, and against, the person or persons charged with a crime, and assuming that system was followed and applied, what results from that, is what, in our judicial system, constitutes a 'fair trial'.

In our system of justice, the person or persons charged, are considered innocent, in regards to the Law, until proven guilty. That means, that the best possible methods of rendering a Just decision by those who were not there, has been followed, and we cannot justly do any better.

If you want to assert that you didn't like the verdict, and you want to demand that your biased preferences should take precedence over a system such as ours, then you are advocating for the passion driven, unreasoning, use of force, to appease the sensibilities of the aggrieved and the angry. There is no possibility of Justice in such a system as that, and that approach is nothing but a leap backwards in time, to lynch mobs and barbarity.

If you view a single snippet of a statement, and based upon that alone, judge that "This is Not Justice!", then what you are demanding, is not justice, but an end to the possibility of Justice, you are advocating savagery, and in that respect: you disgust me.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Copying The 9/11 Copybook Heading

[A repost from 09/11/2012] There's no doubt that we will remember 9/11 for quite some time to come, but what we remember and why, is far less certain.

More than remembering where I was 11 years ago, I remember how we got there. By denying the reality of what we faced in the World Trade Center bombing, the hijacking of airliners and cruise ships, the bombing of our interests around the world and of the USS Cole, by refusing to deal with evil as is required, evil strolled up and gave us a hug on 9/11, 11 years ago.

Have we learned the lesson? I don't even need to turn on the News to know that the answer is: Not even close.

The cost has been, and no doubt will again be, the likes of 9/11, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limp up to explain it once more... reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, enables the evil to harm the good. Remember this 9/11, that 'measured responses' are why those who attacked us on 9/11, 11 years ago, were still alive and able to attack us - the fruition of a decade worth of 'measured responses'.

Leftists deny the existence of Evil, and 'Conservatives' deny the necessity of dealing with evil as the evil that they are. Fearing that Just retribution brings us 'down to their level', they insist on 'reasonable' and 'measured' responses, blind to the fact that such measures extend a hand up to evil, which it will use to reach up and hammer you in the face - the face they never could have reached without the aid of those 'measured responses'.

Conservatives like O'Reilly are the reason why I'm uncomfortable calling myself a Conservative. For

Friday, August 18, 2017

Toppling History - You do not change the future by ignoring the past, you only bring it back to life, behind your back

For those of you out there who are honestly thinking over your opinion on the issue of removing statues relating to the Confederacy, or slavery, etc., consider what kind of history, and history lessons, we would be teaching to our present and future selves, by removing those names and statues that are unpleasant reminders of who We The People once were, and may still be.

If we were to look into the histories of other peoples, what historical lessons do you suppose we would find, in peoples who've tried to eliminate their current problems, which they see as having been created by who they'd once been (and might, to some extent, still be), by ignoring or removing any and all reminders of their present and past faults & failings? If Stalin, the USSR and George Orwell's 1984 didn't immediately come to mind... then maybe put the matter into more personal terms: what do you suppose a psychologist might tell a patient, who's attempting to repress their unpleasant memories? Does denying and repressing your failings sound like a psychologically healthy idea? What do you suppose will be accomplished, by an entire nation of individuals, frenziedly tearing down, and kicking(!), those statues, which remind them of their past and present faults and failings?

You do not change the future by ignoring the past, you only bring it back to life, behind your back.

I'll grant you, it might aid the Democrat party, to not have so many reminders of what the Democrat party stood for, before and after, the Civil War, and publicly well into the 20th Century, but I'm doubtful if doing that favor for them, will have much benefit for the rest of us.

I have no love for the figures that had first been named, Teddy Roosevelt, Roger B. Taney, or any of the figures of the Confederacy. While I recognize that TR was a 'larger than life' figure, I despise him

I don't give a damn who or what you oppose, I care about what you support

My sadly unpopular opinion:
I don't give a damn who or what you oppose, I care about what you support.

Do you support the constitutional rule of law, dedicated to upholding and defending every one's individual rights, without regard to qualifiers such as race, creed, gender, wealth, etc?
If so, I'm with you. 
On the other hand, if you oppose one bad 'ism, while supporting another that reduces or eliminates the equal protections of another's individual rights, your views are NOT what I think of as 'good', and I do not see you as being on 'my' side.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"We are Americans first" - Really? The first step towards resolving a problem, is admitting you have one.

I saw President Trump's statement on the rioting in Virginia, and it was as good and as to the point, as can be expected. But unfortunately, it rested upon the line
'We are Americans first'
They say that the first step towards resolving a problem, is admitting that you have one. Well, we have a problem, and the problem is that I fear that phrase is not only no longer true, but is perilously close to having no meaning at all. Why? Because in order to truthfully say that we are Americans first, a person has to first be able to say:
, with some understanding of the word that's coming out of their mouth. From what I can see, in looking at what other words are coming out of people's mouths, I'm seeing very little to indicate that most of us do know the meaning of American, beyond the shallow legalistic sense of having been born within the geographic borders of the United States... and if that's the extent of your understanding, when you come up against racist organizations advocating for 'America'... well... do you see the problem?

Sure, you're given a legal status by being born within our borders, but you do not, in any meaningful sense, become an American by such means alone, at least not in a way that is any different from how a person becomes a German or a Russian, i.e. by being born of parents on American soil - aka: by 'blood and soil', which, BTW, also happens to be the traditional rallying cry of fascists.

Now do you see the problem there?

Being an American that understands the meaning of that word, American, requires understanding that the meaning of that word, is not gained by means of osmosis through your ancestors blood, or through the soil that your mother gave birth to you upon, which were features and events which you yourself had absolutely no hand in, knowledge of, or choice in. If that and your "[insert your favorite color here] Pride!", are the extent of your claim to being an American, then you are not, in that more meaningful sense, an American.

To understand what it does mean to be an American, means understanding, and accepting as best you can, the fruit of that particular set of ideas that were expressed in our Declaration of Independence, especially, that:
"...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed...."
Those phrases of our Declaration, have deep philosophical meaning, which gives voice to the meaning and purpose of America, and yet, as Jefferson later wrote to a friend, they weren't meant to be especially impressive, or 'deep', or as an exercise in edgy literary or philosophical virtue signaling, but simply as expressions of something much more commonly profound:
"Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion. All its authority rests then on the harmonizing sentiments of the day, whether expressed in conversation, in letters, printed essays, or in the elementary books of public right, as Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, &c..."
If those ideas and 'harmonizing sentiments' or the 'elementary books of public right' are foreign to you, then you necessarily stand mute before them, making you intellectually, and spiritually, foreign to America, no matter what the legal status of your physical ties to its 'blood and soil' are.

Am I being too harsh in this? If we look about the land today, what evidence do we find for the sentiment that 'We are Americans first'? If we look to Charlottesville, Virginia, for instance, what did we see on display there last weekend? When I look at the center of these heinous events, I'm seeing prime reasons for the fears that I'm talking about, as racist, socialist, anti-American sentiments were on display in abundance, with very few visible examples of those 'Harmonizing Sentiments' which are what made it possible for the contents of our melting pot, to want to see themselves as being "Americans first."

For Instance:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

You are either Pro-Individual Rights for all, or you are all wrong.

If your political ideals do not spring from the deeper philosophical ideals, that all men are created with equal rights, and have equal standing before the law, no matter their race, creed, wealth or gender, then your position is neither right, nor on The Right, and has, and can have no part, in what is good, beautiful and true. Such race based ideals, whether of light or dark pigmentation, are Pro-Regressive, and belong to the dark ages that America was created to help our civilization to rise above.

From President Coolidge's speech on 'The Inspiration of the Declaration of Independence':
"...About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers...."
Whether you claim to be of The Left or of The Right, if you find these founding ideals of America to be offensive, then you have no place here, or in the future - you belong to the past.

Move along.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

GOP to America: If you like your Repeal, you can keep your Repeal

GOP to America: If you like your Repeal, you can keep your Repeal.

Conservatives to GOP in 2018: If you like your Elected Office, you can keep your Elected Office.

Occupants of geographic America: If you like your Liberty, you can keep your Liberty.

The Catch-22 Republic:
"...And for this reason, I said, money and honour have no attraction for them; good men do not wish to be openly demanding payment for governing and so to get the name of hirelings, nor by secretly helping themselves out of the public revenues to get the name of thieves. And not being ambitious they do not care about honour. Wherefore necessity must be laid upon them, and they must be induced to serve from the fear of punishment. And this, as I imagine, is the reason why the forwardness to take office, instead of waiting to be compelled, has been deemed dishonourable. Now the worst part of the punishment is that he who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one who is worse than himself. And the fear of this, as I conceive, induces the good to take office, not because they would, but because they cannot help --not under the idea that they are going to have any benefit or enjoyment themselves, but as a necessity, and because they are not able to commit the task of ruling to any one who is better than themselves, or indeed as good. For there is reason to think that if a city were composed entirely of good men, then to avoid office would be as much an object of contention as to obtain office is at present; then we should have plain proof that the true ruler is not meant by nature to regard his own interest, but that of his subjects; and every one who knew this would choose rather to receive a benefit from another than to have the trouble of conferring one. So far am I from agreeing with Thrasymachus that justice is the interest of the stronger. This latter question need not be further discussed at present; but when Thrasymachus says that the life of the unjust is more advantageous than that of the just, his new statement appears to me to be of a far more serious character. Which of us has spoken truly? And which sort of life, Glaucon, do you prefer?..."
Which do you prefer?

What chance do you think there is that you'll get it?

Carry on.