Thursday, September 17, 2015

Grateful for the 228th anniversary of the Constitution, and hopeful for many more

[From last year, and especially after last night]
This Constitution Day, marking the 227th 228th anniversary of the signing, September 17, 1787 - September 17, 2014 2015, I'll keep it short. I was given a 'challenge' to post for five days, three things that I was grateful for. Rather than follow in the example of the challenge, praising inexpressible wisdom and love for friends, family and furry animals, I chose to be grateful for what secures the ability of each of us to pursue our own conception of what we are, and hope to be, grateful for.

And there's no need to repeat it for five days - I'm grateful for it every day.

Here ya go:
 1) For this day in particular, September 17th, I'm grateful for the wisdom expressed in the words of our Constitution which define the making of laws and their limits, harnessing our best intentions and worst inclinations, towards securing the lives liberty, and ability of our people to pursue happiness.
 2) Grateful for the ability to reflect on what is valuable in life, and the liberty to make the decisions necessary to pursuing it.
 3) Grateful that those who disagree with my choices are still not, quite, able to force me to live in accordance with theirs. 
BTW WaPo, your ability to answer 13, or 1,300 trivia questions about the Constitution, is no indication of whether or not you understand it well enough to be grateful for it.

Try reading it, reading the arguments for, and against it, and considering what would happen if we should lose the last vestiges of it. Or if you're not quite up to that, one of the best tools I've ever found for considering and reflecting particular parts of the Constitution, is the site "The Founders Constitution". Scroll down on the contents page and you'll find it goes through the Constitution clause by clause, and each is supplied with a list of links to relevant portions of not only the Federalist Papers, but to documents which the Founders had in mind when writing the Constitution, what the Anti-Federalists objected to (this is particularly helpful in understanding the arguments For the Constitution which the Federalist Papers make), as well as early Supreme Court opinions and judgments relevant to that clause, and commentaries by early Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (which are fantastic).

Constitution of the United States and the First Twelve Amendments 1787--1804

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Right To Work veto override!

We've been down this road before. Do you think that it's unfair to save workers from being forced to join, or pay dues, to an organization, that they don't want to belong to?

Here's the relevant text of Missouri's RTW bill that's seeking to override Gov. Nixon's veto:
5 2. No person shall be required as a condition or continuation of employment to:
6 (1) Become or refrain from becoming a member of a labor organization;
7 (2) Pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other similar charges however denominated
8 of any kind or amount to a labor organization; or
9 (3) In lieu of the payments listed under subdivision (2) of this subsection, pay to any
10 charity or other third party any amount equivalent to, or on a pro rata basis, any dues,
11 fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization.
12 3. Any agreement, understanding, or practice, written or oral, implied or
13 expressed, between any labor organization and employer that violates the rights of
14 employees as guaranteed under this section is declared to be unlawful, null and void, and
15 of no legal effect.
Does that seem to you to be a violation of liberty, or a defense of it? 

Is there something in there that your understanding of Conservative ideas could oppose?

If that seems like something you think every Missouri worker should be able to count on, then let your State Representative and State Senator know - especially if your State Rep., like mine, is Kathie Conway.

Better yet, get yourself down to the capital in Jefferson City on Wednesday, and let them know personally. From AFP:


Below you will find important information regarding the upcoming "RIGHT TO WORK" rally in Jefferson City, including updated "ACTION ITEMS".

It is important to note that override of Gov. Nixon's veto of the Right to Work bill would...
  • give employees the freedom to choose whether they wish to join a union 
  • "right to work" states attract more businesses which results in more jobs 
  • more jobs and more businesses means a stronger economy for "right to work" states

Rally for Right to Work
Veto Override

Missouri Capitol
201 w. capitol Ave
Jefferson City, MO

September 16


Lieutenant Gov Peter Kinder
Former Speaker Tim Jones
State Rep Eric Burlison
Senator Bob Onder
Former Speaker Catherine Hanaway
(Other to be added) 

In the beautiful 3rd Floor Speakers House lounge  Located right next to the Speakers office (room 302) in the Missouri Capitol 
Sept 16-10:15 AM

Need Transportation?
Americans for Prosperity has offered to provide transportation to the
rally and override if needed.
Please, please forward and share!! 
We need to pack the Capitol and the House Lounge, Unions will be there in force!


Below you will find a message from the rally organizer, Mary Hill, that includes the names and contact information of the legislators that need to be convinced to vote "YES" for the override....

It's coming down to the wire....and some of these still support compulsion and I have heard every excuse and distortion in the book.  What Obama's National Labor Relations Board has cooked up for employers nationwide is bad enough and these reps and senators should take that that into is our GOLDEN opportunity in Missouri.   We need this law PERIOD!!  For JObs for freedom .
These are NO VOTERS on Right to Work.... Please email them. The unions are emailing them from all over the country.  And of course the unions/democrats will have paid protesters at the Capitol on the day of override that is why we have to be there in huge numbers.

This is an Historic legislature in this country has tried to override on Right to Work.  

These Reps and Senators need to vote YES for Right to Work. Workers need freedom, not forced union dues.   
Who of these is going to continue to stand with Jay Nixon?

Would you please email these reps/senators?  Thanks if you do.   
 Please "like" our Worker Freedom page it has all the latest happenings regarding Right to Work in Missouri!!
Right to Work for Missouri!!!


Below you will find the details for the Rally....including the schedule of guest speakers...please attend if at all possible as a show of support for the passage of Right to Work in the State of Missouri....

 "We need to pack the Capitol and the House Lounge, Unions will be there in force!"

IMPORTANT NOTE:  Americans for Prosperity/Missouri is providing bus transportation to the Rally from the these locations...
Kansas City
St. Louis

Go to this link to sign up:

Govt Licensing Marriage: A Match Made in Hell

The quicksand of dis-integrated Principles
So... Kim Davis, County Clerk in Kentucky, Marriage Licenses,1st Amendment, Rule of Law - are these all principles to stand up for? Are they all in conflict? What is this all about? The initial issue is not whether she has the right to act according to her convictions - she absolutely does - but whether it is proper for her convictions, religious or otherwise, to decide which of her elected office’s duties and powers as defined by law, that she will, or will not, choose to carry out - or more simply: Does the nature of her office allow for her to make such choices?

But that’s only the first question, and if you pursue no further questions, then any stand you might take, as I suspect she has, will necessarily be a stand for your personal preferences, not a principled stand.
"There are men, in all ages, who mean to exercise power usefully; but who mean to exercise it. They mean to govern well; but they mean to govern. They promise to be kind masters; but they mean to be masters. They think there need be but little restraint upon themselves. Their notion of the public interest is apt to be quite closely connected with their own exercise of authority. They may not, indeed, always understand their own motives. The love of power may sink too deep in their own hearts even for their own scrutiny, and may pass with themselves for mere patriotism and benevolence. " --- Speeches of Daniel Webster, Member of Congress, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, and United States Secretary of State.

Of course, a number of people do start and stop asking questions with only that first question asked, partly because it quickly appears to them as if their principles are in conflict, and that scares them off. But can such principles, if valid, be in conflict?

No. So.... how's that again?

If you have a situation involving several valid principles - such as Religious convictions, Rule of Law, Constitution, etc. - and one or more of them seem to be in conflict with the others, then, assuming your principles are valid and rooted in what is True (and thus complementary), then some other issue is forcing them into an arrangement that has turned them against themselves. And please, if your principles are valid, for God’s sake don't cheer one at the expense of the others – Religious Liberty vs Rule of Law for instance - that can only destroy you as you use one leg to kick the other leg out from under you. Something is distorting the situation, and what you need to do is follow that first question up with others to identify the source of the distortion that is turning you against yourself, and put your house back in order.

If you don’t take care of first things first, then your attempt to take a principled stand, especially where your Principles, or where the idea of Principles as such are questioned or ridiculed, is going to be a dicey affair. In situations where principles are being pushed to the background, if not out of the scene altogether, you quickly find yourself in a pragmatic quicksand of disintegrated interests, and trying to find a reasonable position to take depends more and more upon which details seem more immediately advantageous for you to favor (which is one of the hallmarks and results of positivist, Pro-Regressive law), and it won’t be long before you find yourself either casting away the one principle you were hoping to defend, or repudiating all of the others you live by in defending it - and eventually you will do both, and lose all.

So before jumping on anyone's bandwagon, some work needs to be done on evaluating just what is going on and why.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The 9/11 Copybook Heading - Doubling down

[I first posted this back in 2012, and I haven't seen anything from then thru now, to alter my opinion. Worse, especially in light of the GOP not only ignoring warnings but permitting the Iran Deal to not only go forward, but to schedule the vote on it on Friday, Sept. 11th, 2015 - I can do no less than double down on it.]

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 conversations sake, I use the term as a shorthand, half-step towards the more accurate term, Classical Liberal. And I have a holy hell full of spite for the ProRegressive Leftists who have made it necessary to tack 'Classical' onto that.

If the policy of the interviewee in this video, Leonard Peikoff, had been followed back in 2001, I believe we'd have been done worrying about Iran & the Middle East a decade ago. Instead, we followed the lead of dunderheads like O'Reilly, whose 'measured responses' have drawn the conflict out, strengthened Iran and put us in the position we are in today.

A proper foreign policy is "Mind your own business & we'll mind ours. Mess with us or ours, and we'll destroy you. Period."

Anything less, reasoning with those who are unreasonable, giving measured responses in reply to savagery, etc., are concessions and only serve to enable those who wish us harm. The history of the last couple decades is that of those who wish us harm, understanding this truth, and understanding that we don't understand it, and using it to play us to their benefit.

And the cost has been, and will be, the likes of 9/11, as once again, as the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more:

AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!
Please, try to remember 9/11 as the lesson we won't have to learn once more.

Reality will not be denied, and Evil will not be turned aside because you choose to turn away from it. Deny that, and the Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return. Please. Just face the facts and learn the lesson so we don't have to learn it once more.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Measuring Eric Greitens' Conservative status by his own words - Is being Great all that good? pt. 4

Before getting into Eric Greitens' status as a Republican and a Conservative on the basis of his own words, I've got to take a moment to note this. In one of Bill Hennessy's early posts in support of Eric Greitens candidacy for Governor of Missouri, he made a comically failed attempt at prognostication, saying that if the dirty tricks 'whisper campaigns' (see my previous post), failed to hurt his candidate, then:
"...If none of that works, they’ll just lie and claim he’s a Democrat."
As it turns out, the only rumor that I actually had heard about Eric Greitens, was that he had strong democrat ties, and as it turns out, there were very good reasons for people to wonder about whether or not he was a Republican. Greitens himself later disclosed that he was, until recently, a Democrat!
Eric Greitens: Why I am no longer a Democrat: "...I was raised as a Democrat....I registered to vote as a Democrat, and several years ago some Democrats even tried to recruit me to run for Congress..."
I'm sorry, but that's funny. Poor Bill.

Greitens admitted to having been in discussions about running for office as a democrat, and despite his claims to not being a politician, when he first began to seriously consider a future political, to my mind, that's when he became an actual politician. When was that? We don't know, but presumably it has been longer than he's been a Republican.

So as it turns out, sadly for Bill, those particular concerns were ones that were worth not only whispering about, but raising voices over, but more than that, IMHO, Eric Greitens should have begun his campaign with that revelation right out of the box, rather than letting his supporters be sandbagged with it after a month or more of their denying them in his defense, as Bill was:
"Were you shocked when you learned that Navy SEAL, author, humanitarian, and charity founder, Eric Greitens, was born and raised and voted Democrat?

I was.

Sure, I’d heard the rumors. The whispers spread by some Republican campaign operatives. But I’ve learned to trust those campaign operatives about as far as I fund the national debt."
Is it just me, or, given that those particular 'whisper campaigns' proved to be true, does it seem as if Bill has placed his trust/mistrust with the wrong political operatives?

Ok, moving on....
It seems to me that the reasonable questions that should be pursued now, are how grounded and credible are Eric Greitens' claims to actually being a conservative Republican? Ironically, the only material we have to make that judgment from, is that same article that Greitens wrote to announce that he actually had, until recently (how recently he doesn't say), been a Democrat. And for me at least, his admission and conversion, although welcome, does very little to assure me of what his political principles are.

So that being said, it's time to look at his statement, and I'll explain why it is that I personally find it to be less than satisfying to me.

Take especial note, that he begins his article with this statement:
"I am a conservative Republican, but I didn’t start out that way. "
While his article could lay a credible claim to his being a Republican, he didn't stop with claiming to be a Republican only, he claims to be a Conservative Republican, and that qualifier 'conservative' requires a bit more information from him than simply having announced that he'd joined the GOP. After all - Lindsay Graham is a Republican too, but you're not going to find a whole lot of Conservatives or Tea Party members that are going to be too impressed by that, right? To make a credible claim as to being a Conservative, he needs to show a solid level of understanding of the principles behind the constitution (U.S. and MO), as well as a regard for, and commitment to, the U.S. Constitution itself. What has he said to place himself squarely on the Conservative and Tea Party Right, as opposed to being in the middle of the road, or even over there on the side of the road with the RINOs?

The only way to find out, is to begin taking a look at what he himself has said:
"I am a conservative Republican, but I didn’t start out that way.

I was raised as a Democrat. I was taught that Harry Truman was the greatest president ever because he was strong, stood up to the communists, and most important, he was from Missouri. I was taught to stand up for the little guy, and that bigger government was the best way to do that. I registered to vote as a Democrat, and several years ago some Democrats even tried to recruit me to run for Congress.

There was one rather large problem. As I got older, I no longer believed in their ideas. Even worse, I had concluded that liberals aren’t just wrong. All too often they are world-class hypocrites. They talk a great game about helping the most vulnerable, with ideas that feel good and fashionable. The problem is their ideas don’t work, and often hurt the exact people they claim to help."
Which is all very welcome, well and good. I personally have no problem in welcoming someone who's realized their political errors and corrected them, or with believing in the depth of their conversion, but I do need to see evidence of their understanding the principles they claim to have converted to.

Some obvious examples of others who have given ample evidence of just that sort of thing, would be Ronald Reagan, who didn't just switch parties because one 'worked better' than the other, he solidly expressed his grasp of the principles which separated the philosophies of the Left from the Right, in his Goldwater announcement speech, "A Time for Choosing", and he spent years acting consistently with his words. David Horowitz is another excellent that comes to mind, as someone who was once a deeply entrenched and radical leftist, and he not only switched parties, but has gone to great lengths demonstrating very effectively his understanding of why leftist ideas are faulty and corrupt. A little closer to home in time and place would be Dana Loesch, who began as a democrat operative but soon realized her error, left the Left, and has since demonstrated very well, through actions with the Tea Party, on radio, TV and in print, her solid understanding of, and commitment to, the principles which our Individual Rights rest upon and require.

But being as I'm not, as Bill put it, 'lazy' enough to accept someone's assertions alone, I need evidence that such a person didn't simply change party affiliations to find a snazzier party. And I feel zero guilt whatsoever in having questions about their status, especially when I see that the reasons which they've given for their conversion, are far short of being deep enough reasons to explain the error they claim to have corrected.

For instance, it's good that he realized that the leftist approach was hypocritical, that it hurt those it claimed to want to help and simply didn't work. But while that may be enough to explain his becoming a Republican, it isn't enough to assure people, especially me, that he now has a conservative understanding and approach to political issues. After all, again, Lindsay Graham will tell you the very same thing about the democrats and their policies, but you'd have an easier time selling space heaters in hell, than convincing conservatives that Lindsay Graham was one of them.

So what else has Mr. Greitens given us to go on? What deeds or reasoned insights, rather than simply assertions and labels, has he given us? After reciting a valid list of leftist policies that don't work, he says:
"I became a conservative because I believe that caring for people means more than just spending taxpayer money; it means delivering results. It means respecting and challenging our citizens, telling them what they need to hear, not simply what they want to hear. "
The first sentence, especially it's ending, reminds me of earlier statements of 'smarter', kinder, gentler, government social programs, which is a big red flag to me, of a republican not being a Tea Party compatible, Free Market Conservative, dedicated to upholding Individual Rights through the Rule of Law under constitutionally limited government.

I don't think very much of the 'compassionate conservative' shtick. I found it appallingly bad when William F. Buckley Jr. pushed it back in the 1990's (we'll go into detail why in later posts), it was the reason why I didn't vote for George W. Bush in the 2000 primary, and I think it pretty much wore its welcome out with the rest of the nation with W's administration. Demonstrating that you understand the principles that conservatism is derived from requires much more than delivering 'results' and telling people what you think they need to hear, we need to hear you demonstrate a desire for the kind of results that are consistent with conservatism, worthwhile and proper to achieve. So far, I haven't seen that.
"So what would I do? I believe in limited but effective government."
I'm sorry, but that 'but' makes his But look really big to me. When he says 'but effective', he's saying that as a qualifier on 'limited government', which makes it seem to me that his goal is less about ensuring that government remains properly 'limited', than about making its ability to deliver 'results' more efficiently, to be more important than its being limited. Believing in limited government is highly desirable, but Why should it be limited? I'm not seeing any indication from him as to why government should be limited, and that, for me, has to come before anything else. His words indicate to me that he thinks that there are lots of limitations to those limits on government, especially if they might deliver 'effective government'. That sends a shudder down my spine.
"I believe in replacing ObamaCare with something that actually works."
I most emphatically do not. I do not believe that ObamaCare is bad because Obama and the Democrats proposed it, but because govt CANNOT provide any solutions that will not impair the quality and liberty of everyone involved in the area of health care, and so any GovtCare is doomed to failure, and as such we should not attempt to 'fix' it, or replace it, but to remove it. I don't want to replace the devil I know with one I don't know, I want to exorcise the damn thing, bell, book and candle! I believe in repealing ObamaCare, as well as repealing all the other operational healthcare and insurance industry regulations/corporate favors, and I believe in exterminating every other interference into the free market. That means eliminating all intrusive government 'solutions' that prevent people from making intelligent decisions and acting on them for their own reasons. Only by doing that, can a Free Market, which gave us modern health in the first place, be restored.

I'm unable and emphatically unwilling to see anything less than that as a 'conservative' solution, though I've no doubt you could get Lindsay Graham to go along with it.
"I believe in putting working families and job creation ahead of special interests."
That sounds, at best, like recalibrating your spin cycle so as to swap one set of special interests for another, for political gain. Switching special big biz interests, for special little guy interests, ultimately means retaining one set of special interests to be doled out as privileges to some, at everyone else's expense. If you are a Free Market Conservative, dedicated to Individual Rights and the Rule of Law, then you will not seek or accept the swapping of one form of favoritism for another, but will instead desire to eliminate all such special privileges so that all are equal before the law. That would be acceptable. Anything less, and you might as well go talk to Lindsay Graham - I'm sure he's ready to listen.
"I believe that in a free society we have to defend religious liberties and the 2nd Amendment, and protect innocent life, so everyone has the freedom to pursue happiness."
This isn't too bad... but I'd be more comfortable hearing something like "Liberty requires that everyone's individual rights be respected, and those rights that are singled out in our Bill of Rights must be held like daggers in the faces of those who'd like to use power to help and improve our lives for us.", anything less, is... less.
"I believe in reforming welfare, so every person can have a chance at a life of dignity, purpose, and meaning."
I do not. I believe in eliminating it. Only then, can every person have a chance at living their own lives.
"And I believe America’s public schools should be the best in the world."
Yeah, well, George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates, Barrack Obama and Lindsay Graham all say the same things as well, but if you mean to use the centralized powers of the state or federal governments to accomplish that, then you will be saying nothing different than they would, which is nothing that I'd agree with or be willing to go along with.
"As Americans, we deserve much better than what we’re getting from our government. We don’t need more rhetoric. We want results."
Which of course is just more rhetoric. I don't want better results from our government, I want less of my government in my life so that I can get the results I deserve. As an American, I deserve to have my govt respect my right to live my own life, and anything more than that is, IMHO, significantly less.
"And that means changing politics as usual, which won’t be easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is. You have to fight for what you believe in, and I, for one, have never backed down from that kind of fight."
There are few things that sound more to me like politics as usual, than a politician saying 'that means changing politics as usual'; it's an easy thing to say, and it's a meaningless thing to say. Tell me something more meaningful, apply it to something more difficult, explain your principles and how you'd apply them to particular issues facing our state. Anything less than that is nothing more than politics as usual.

I've read his book "Heart and Fist", Eric Greitens is an impressive, admirable fellow, I'd love to have him on our side, and I'd love to be able to believe that he was solidly on our side by means of his principled understanding of what our side is, but to these concerns, as I've noted above, I've received no credible assurances or answers to, and have found no information from the candidate that clarifies or gives me reason to believe that the political principles that will drive his use of power in office, will be ones that would make me comfortable with entrusting him with the power of that office.

To date his comments have been shallow and trite, directed towards vague issues, not principles, and I'm not yet convinced that he even understands what our side is, let alone how to lead or fight for it. I'm very much open to listening to further information from him, and I'm very willing, eager even, to be convinced by him. But so far he hasn't found that to be very important to do. Instead, he has gone about the state on a 'listening tour', and sad to say, that sounds like just the sort of substanceless, image over substance, manipulative trick, that fits better on the Left - with Hillary Clinton for example - or with the establishment GOP, than over here on the Right.

And frankly I don't want to have a candidate listening to me when they're running for office - the only sound they need to hear from me would be my support or my vote - and the only way they're going to get that is by telling me what his ideas and beliefs and principles are, so that I can make up my mind about whether or not I want to entrust him with my vote. He doesn't need to listen, so much as to speak, debate, publish and otherwise let We The People know what it is that he thinks, feels and is driven by, that is relevant to the execution of the office of Governor of our state.

When I hear of his support for NGO's, his words that express little more than shallow associations with politically easy 'hot button' issues, I'm not learning anything about the political principles that he, particularly in a moment of crisis, or with a simply tough and unpopular decision, is going to be guided by in making his decision.

Understand, I'm not worried about his character - that, as far as I can tell, is unimpeachable - I have no worries that he won't do what he thinks is the right thing to do, my concern is that I don't know what he thinks is Right!

That's a problem for me, and to secure my vote I require his explanations, and demonstrations, of understanding those issues, and NOT simply the assurances of a flak who thinks he can peddle PR messages in lieu of a glaring lack of substance.

I have a huge problem with his entering this race without bothering to begin from the beginning. He, as a candidate, has a responsibility to demonstrate his having at least a fundamental understanding of the nature and purpose of the office he's seeking to be elected to, and of what he will bring to that. It didn't need to be a detailed set of position papers (though that wouldn't hurt), but just some general statements of principle and intent; but for him to enter the race without even a general formulation of that, particularly with his knowing how his own political history would unavoidably raise questions and concerns amongst those he's aiming to have as supporters, is, to me, a major lapse of judgment. The failure to do that would almost certainly leave those who would support him, who would be inspired by him, in the position of having to substitute their own personal sense of inspiration for his 'great qualities', for that relevant substance which he failed to provide, to carry them through any attempts at supporting and defending him.

That, to me, is an egregious failure of leadership on a philosophical and political level, and it was a failure of leadership on a personal level, to put his potential supporters in such a position on his behalf, over basic info that should have been a no-brainer to provide. Without that substance and proof from him, in his own words, and his visible ability to defend them, there is in terms of his political judgment, nothing there for me to support, only 'inspired substitute substance' that is worth less than the HTML it's written on.

When I come back to these posts, we'll get into the 'substance' of Bills five part thirty-five page 'defense' of Greitens involvement in the Franklin Project, 'Service', and the 'Serve America' act he has so far attempted to ignore.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Speaking of Whispers - What's so Good about Great (or bad about awful) pt.3

Speaking of Whispers
So Bill Hennessy opened his five part, thirty five page defense of Eric Greitens and 'Service', with a couple lines which nicely set the tone for the entire set of posts, and others as well:
"You know how to tell when a political camp has nothing on an opponent? It begins making stuff up. That “making stuff up” has become the chief form of amusement among those who oppose Eric Greitens for Governor."
And as I pointed out in the last post, he doesn't address these charges anywhere in those five posts, which brought to mind an old truism,
If you wish to be understood, first seek to understand.
Does that opening sound to you like someone who's trying particularly hard to understand the views of those who don't share their own sense of inspiration? Does it even sound like he's interested in being understood by them? IMHO: Nope. So something else is going on here - but what? I'm going to get to what that what is, but, sorry, I'm going to have to go the long way round for getting there (shocker).

To start with, whatever differences I have with Bill & his latest political tastes, I have a hard time believing he's consciously and deliberately being either this sloppy or this misleading... but... seriously... what the heck?! To charge that those who don't favor your candidate are people who just 'make stuff up,' without addressing exactly what it is you are charging them with making up, that's dismissivness on steroids. Just to recap a few of the issues being dismissed as 'making stuff up', among the concerns which 'Facebook warriors' raised about Eric Greitens, have been:

  1. Is he truly a Republican?
  2. Is he truly conservative?,
  3. What of...his Co-Signer status in the Aspen Institutes Franklin Project?,
  4. ... his relatively recent (2009) endorsement of President Obama's Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act?,
  5. ...his ongoing calls for govt nudged and sponsored 'Public Service' at public expense?,
  6. ...his involvement in and promotion of NGO's (which can be used to effectively steer private and govt money and policy towards private endeavors (some of which are laudable), without public legislative oversight (none of which is laudable))?,
  7. ...his (2007) assessment and endorsement of using U.S. military power towards affecting global social issues as well as conflicts?
Whether or not these concerns can, or cannot, be answered satisfactorily is not the issue I'm interested in here, that they are reasonable concerns based upon what his candidate has, or hasn't, made known, and are not simply 'made up', is a concern, and as such they can and should be addressed. But to dismiss reasonable concerns out of hand as fantasy, is itself an exercise in fantasy, a case of wishing away the real and valid concerns of a large number of people.

How do you do that with a straight face? As it turns out, it's easier than you might think.

I know that, because I noticed that the first thing that came to my mind on reading those charges, was a biting retort with a garnish of insult and a counter charge (or two...) of peddling lies, etc. But in between deleting those rebuttal posts in the midst of writing them, one after the other, I noticed something interesting in what I was replying with - or, more accurately, without. Without bothering to begin with a set of facts presented in a reasonable manner, I too was making

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Substituting for Substance - Is being Great all that good? pt2

Into the void
In my last post, 'Is being Great all that good?', I pointed to the dangers inherent in promoting or electing candidates for their great qualities alone, rather than for what makes them fit for office, which I think has to begin with demonstrating an understanding of the nature and purpose of the office they're seeking to be elected to. In this post I'll take a high level view, through one local example, at the sort of arguments that follow when a candidacy does not begin from the beginning, leaving its supporters to substitute the personal inspiration they feel for their candidate's 'great qualities', for the relevant substance which the candidates have not provided themselves. Over the next couple posts we'll look in more detail at the patterns which the inspired defender will often fall into, in order to defend what isn't there - an absence of substance which itself inspires a particular pattern of defense.

And this quote captures the sort of 'inspired substitute substance' that I'm talking about:
"I want a transformational leader who inspires common people like me to become better versions of ourselves. And the only candidate in the race who can inspire greatness in the people he touches is Eric Grietens."[BTW Bill, the candidate's name is misspelled]
That was not some MSNBC host frothing on about the thrill running up his leg, this statement came from Bill Hennessy, one of the original founders and instigators of the St. Louis Tea Party, the grassroots organization which formed around the popular demand that congress "Read the Bill!" rather than mindlessly peddle absurdities such as "You have to pass it to find out what's in it". The St. Louis Tea Party Coalition was one of the most effective Tea Party's in the nation at raising issues of limited government and individual rights to the national attention, which I had the honor to play a small part in, and whose theme, at that time anyway, could easily have been expressed as constitutionally limited govt over swallowing sight unseen the solutions being peddled by transformational leaders of the left or the right.

That Bill Hennessy was someone I never expected to see saying such things. This post is one I'm not enjoying writing, but that quote above is representative of the tenor of what he's been posting since Eric Greitens announced his interest in running for the Governor of Missouri, and Bill, as we'll see in a moment, has taken the rhetoric beyond what I can simply ignore.

The Inspiration
When you hear about Eric Greitens, you can't help but be impressed, he's a former Navy SEAL, a Rhodes Scholar, he has a deep interest in, and familiarity with, classics of history and philosophy (you know that pegged my interest meter), a self made man, philanthropist, successful author (I just finished reading his "Heart and Fist" - I recommend it), college professor, motivational speaker, and the list goes on. The first time I heard about Eric Greitens was as he was announcing his intention to consider running for governor earlier this year. I read Bill's post on it, and the articles it linked to, and I too was much impressed, but unfortunately before that inspiration could take root, my next thoughts were:
"I wonder what his thoughts and positions on Individual Rights, Law & Govt policy are?"
, and the inspiration faltered in me as I tried hunting around on the web for specifics about his ideas on such things, and it withered away as I found nothing of the sort, only more and more instances of 'Happy Talk' about how really impressive a guy he is. He is impressive, that much is a given, no argument there at all, but that doesn't make the argument for electing him to office. Despite how impressive he is as a person, as a candidate, if your political positions, and your demonstrated understanding and commitment to the principles behind them, aren't impressive in themselves, then neither will you be, as a candidate for high office.

If you care about what's true, about first principles, that's the way it has to work. And what's even harder, and I've really experienced just how much harder in working on these posts, is how hard it is not to fall into the same patterns in your responses to the faults you've found in others. And it's also difficult, particularly in personal and political issues, to not see that person you've found fault in as having base and dishonest motives for the wrong things you've found them saying. As you'll see in a moment, one of Bill's posts set me off, pegged my fury meter, and my responses to it have got me watching myself more closely. My first response I deleted. The second one too. This post I've revised several times, trying to take that non-objective edge out of it and focus more on what is universal in the danger of being led by 'greatness', than the particulars of the faults I see here (how successfully remains to be seen... your mileage may vary).

I haven't been 'toning it down' out of some silly 'must be nice' mockery of manners, but because I think you really do miss out on the more significant points, when you assume the worst (and that 'assuming' is part of the pattern). Far tougher, and frankly far scarier, is what you see when you presume that those who've drawn your ire, have done so with the very best of intentions. And your response to them, IMH (and heavily revised)O, is improved and clarified by approaching it from that perspective.

Not that that perspective will make me pull my punches, it's just that I see the value in throwing them at my own points too, before they get a chance to make it to print.

The lack of political substance which Eric Greitens has made available regarding the political office he's seeking, is concerning to me. Why? Because as media savvy as this fellow is, as experienced a leader as he is, as seemingly centered around empowering people as he is, he has somehow lacked the foresight to assemble and make available even an overview of the policies he intends to implement, or of the political principles that will guide his use of power once in office, etc. Nothing. Nada.

Why? I don't know, and that's the problem, for the fact that he chose not to do the obvious, I find concerning.

There were rumors from the start about his democrat leanings, which at that time were still only rumors (though he later confirmed them), and there were still other troubling issues left to be discovered by those, like me, who should have been his base, such as his endorsement of President Obama's "Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act" (which fits in with conservative ideas... how?), as well as other issues and unknowns about information that was known to the candidate. Information which he had to know would cause confusion and dissension amongst those whose support he'd want and need, and yet he chose to do nothing to proactively manage it. Is that an example of the exemplary political leadership that I should be inspired by? Or evidence of a blind spot the candidate doesn't realize he has?

There were (and still are) lots of questions unanswered, but