Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ready for a Happy New Year? Don't bet on it. Question it.

Have you been making plans? Resolutions? Ready to make some big changes? Have those resolutions often worked out according to plan before? No? That's ok, that's the way that works. But wouldn't you rather try something that actually works?

Don't worry, making real changes doesn't take changing everything you do, only understanding better what you thought you already knew.

It's ok, review the past year, definitely. Take stock of things, sure. Go ahead and make plans, that's ok. But keep your money in your own pockets, rather than in the gyms. After all, if you haven't followed through on those New Years Resolutions before, you won't now either, not without making some deeper changes anyway.

And changes like that don't come from a moment's plans, they come from beliefs being more deeply understood and adhered to, inside and out.

Oh, and did any of your resolutions have to do with changing your country? Bad news: resolutions works as well for an entire people as they do for a single person. You do want things to work out more successfully than your last gym membership did, don't you?

Then please don't bother telling everyone what you think - that won't work any better on them, than it did with you telling you what you thought you ought to do with that gym membership. So don't bother trying to appeal to new demographics or resolving to improve your political party's appearances; focus on something less flashy and more substantial.

Work on understanding better what you already think you believe. That will lead you towards making some real meaningful changes, that is if you talk about it with others. With your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers.

But don't tell everyone what you think, or even worse, what they should think. Share with them what you wonder.

If there's one sure thing about the coming new year, if you spend some time thinking about what you assume you already know, you'll find a lot to wonder about. You know, What's Real? What's True? What's Good? The Questions don't change, only the years do. And how the years turn out, depend upon how well we as a people ask, understand and apply them.

Pay attention to those questions, and the other questions they raise. And ask those questions of others. And especially question their (and your) easy answers to them. And ask them if they know why they don't add up... and why it is that it always seems that what doesn't add up, subtracts from your bottom line... and from your liberty to live your own life, and why is it always making it that much more difficult to pursue your happiness?

A deeper understanding of what you think you know, is sure to raise a number of disturbing questions, especially as you see why it is that what is, is not what it should be. Value those questions. Share those questions, far and wide, and work on finding out why not.

It's not enough to say that the unexamined life is not worth living, you've got to ask why. And spend some time putting those questions into action. Or this year, will be no better than the last, and almost certainly worse.

And that won't make anyone happy.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hoft V: Fighting for our Rights in foul weather and fair

What do you get when you combine 34* temperatures, rain, politicians lies and a hardy few willing to speak up against them? Why... a Tea Party rally, of course!
Band of Brothers: Me, Stacy Washington, Jim Hoft,
Virginia Kruta, Letitia Wong (photo JD Wilson)

The Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft, still recovering from an infection which caused him heart attacks, strokes, as well as the loss of one eye, one knee, and the health insurance policy which has enabled him to survive it, led a hardy band of Tea Partiers willing to brave the elements, in a rally outside Sen. Claire McCaskill's office in St. Louis.

We came with Jim to demand an apology from our senator for the lies which she and President Obama knowingly told, in order to impose their idea of fairness, upon us all.

Stacy Washington spoke as well, driving home the point that no one, no matter how well meaning, can make the best choices for another's life, for the simple fact that they cannot know their their needs, their hopes, preferences, means, desires and those risks they are willing, and unwilling, to take.

Yet proRegressive politicians have the hubris, the unmitigated gall, to believe that they not only can, but should, make the most critical decisions of our lives for us - and lightly brush off the fact that though some peoples lives are upset, harmed or even ended in the process... so be it - omelets require eggs to be broken.

There are however those who are willing to stand against this, no matter the odds, no matter the milquetoast GOP'rs who are willing to accommodate themselves to it, there are still enough of us who are willing to come out in the cold and the rain to fight the good fight. And for those who worry about being in the minority, pardon me, but I can't help thinking of Henry V's St. Crispian's Day Speech, when his comrades worried over being outnumbered in the battle of Agincourt, he chided them, saying that 'The fewer men, the greater share of honour', that,
"...This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remembered- We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he to-day that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition; And gentlemen in England now-a-bed Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day. "

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Leftists - so many questions, so little time

I've got some questions for my leftie & moderate friends about this:
"The U.S. Health and Human Services Department reported this week that 364,682 people had signed up for private coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces as of Nov. 30 and an additional 803,077 had been determined eligible for Medicaid."
Less than a million of you have signed up for govt care? Where the hell have you been hiding, and why? Seriously, I want an explanation, because even if we grant the fig leaf of these 'in the shopping cart' sales numbers as actual enrollees, these numbers raise a few questions for me. You see, looking at the numbers of those who voted for Obama and his anti-free choice regulatory state, which was somewhere in the area of a popular vote of 69 million in 2008 and 61,173,739 in 2012, not to mention the enthusiastic supporters who didn't bother to vote, there's a huge number of supporters of 'spreading the wealth around', who don't seem to want anything to do with the ObamaCare flagship for 'spreading the wealth around'.

How do you explain this? Because this explanation, from the AP, doesn't cut it:
"The discrepancy may trace back to the political leanings of their elected leaders.

Newly released federal figures show more people are picking private insurance plans or being routed to Medicaid programs in states with Democratic leaders who have fully embraced the federal health care law than in states where Republican elected officials have derisively rejected what they call "Obamacare.""
Leaving aside the subversive insinuation that it may have more to do with 'elected leaders' than those who elected them, I suspect there are other numbers that play a more significant role in the paltry few who have braved the new world of the ObamaCare website, and placed their 'like' on hold in the govt shopping cart.

Like these numbers:
  1. #1 ‘Lie of the Year’ award given by Politifact to Obama for his oft repeated lie of: "If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it."
  2. Average Deductible for O-Care Bronze Plan is Over $5,000 a Year
  3. The millions of people nationwide who personally discovered the nature of that lie as their own healthcare plans were terminated because of ObamaCare
  4. Washington enrollee's "are dealing with billing issues. Some of them say the website is mistakenly debiting their accounts."
  5. The $400 million dollars spent on the ObamaCare website that doesn't work
So I guess my big question of the moment, to those sixty million people who actually voted for Obama and his regulatory take over of your ability to make your own choices in your own life, aka:ObamaCare, as well as millions more who supported him in spirit... why aren't you signing up for ObamaCare?

Did you really think that 'spreading the wealth around' wouldn't apply to your wealth?

Did you really think that giving govt the power to eliminate the choices of 'the wealthiest 1% of Americans', could be done without eliminating your ability to choose too?

Did you really think that when you cheered for the Obama administration using the power of its regulatory agencies to go around congress, that they wouldn't also use their power to do what they wanted whenever YOU stood in the way of what they wanted to do?

Did the mindless celebrity Obama cheerleaders think that their copyright royalties stood a chance against the admin's desires for more power worldwide? Insider friendly Trade Agreements? Corporate GMO Foods? Too friendly with FatCats?

Here's a truth you aren't going to get around: You can't get something for 'free' without paying for it... but you sure can catch a lot of suckers by promising it.

Some questions worth asking yourself
Here's another question to ask yourselves: If the wealthiest and most powerful 1% of Americans can't count upon The Law defending their property, rights and choices against govt abusing them... what in the hell chance have you got?!

Ok, one other question. If you give people who do not know you, the power to make or overrule every significant decision you make in your life, what are the odds that they are going to make, or rule out, decisions which make the life that your decisions would have made, non-existent?

Or put this way, of all of your closest friends, those who know you best and care about you most, what are the odds you'd like your life, if they made every decision in your life, for your own good, for you?

And you want to give people who don't know you, who don't care about you, power over you, while they are in a struggle for political power?

One question you really ought to be asking, is why your schools don't teach you about the U.S.Constitution and why the Bill of Rights were written to restrict govt power, or if they mentioned it, why they tried to make it appear a tool of oppression, rather than the means to freedom?

Frederick Douglass had a similar question back in 1860, "The Constitution of the United States: Is It Pro-Slavery or Anti-Slavery?" that is just as applicable today:
"...Thus, for instance, the American Government and the American Constitution are spoken of in a manner which would naturally lead the hearer to believe that one is identical with the other; when the truth is, they are distinct in character as is a ship and a compass. The one may point right and the other steer wrong. A chart is one thing, the course of the vessel is another. The Constitution may be right, the Government is wrong. If the Government has been governed by mean, sordid, and wicked passions, it does not follow that the Constitution is mean, sordid, and wicked. What, then, is the question? I will state it. But first let me state what is not the question. It is not whether slavery existed in the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution; it is not whether slaveholders took part in the framing of the Constitution; it is not whether those slaveholders, in their hearts, intended to secure certain advantages in that instrument for slavery; it is not whether the American Government has been wielded during seventy-two years in favour of the propagation and permanence of slavery; it is not whether a pro-slavery interpretation has been put upon the Constitution by the American Courts — all these points may be true or they may be false, they may be accepted or they may be rejected, without in any wise affecting the real question in debate. The real and exact question between myself and the class of persons represented by the speech at the City Hall may be fairly stated thus: — 1st, Does the United States Constitution guarantee to any class or description of people in that country the right to enslave, or hold as property, any other class or description of people in that country?..."
Am I trying to say that we face the same conditions that Douglass faced in his day? The barbaric brutality he lived through forbids our equating the two.

But is slavery defined only by the severity of the conditions a slave faces? Or by the choices and decisions about their own lives, that are forbidden to them? Does it matter if they are enslaved for their own good?

Leftists; you have so many questions to ask, and so little time.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Why is our govt doing to us what we encouraged it to feel free to do?

Why is our govt doing this to us?

People across the nation (and the world) have been asking this question, more frequently and more loudly. The answer is, because we have allowed govt to think of itself as something more than power organized for the defense of our property, rights and lives.. It is not. And if it is allowed to stray from that narrow purpose, it cannot help but to spiral downwards into ever greater depredations upon our property, rights and lives.

My friend Patch, from Po'ed Patriot & "The Bell News", wrote a rare and moving post, about his own circumstances, how the expansion of govt has brought turmoil into his and his family's lives. His title, "Obamacare: It May Have Destroyed My Life, But We All Have Lost Our Liberty" encapsulates the nature of our current condition, as the closing paragraph points up:
POSTPONED – Saturday “Wheel In” Protest Postponed Due to Snow
Sen. McCaskill saved by flake - Wheel-In protest postponed to next week due to glowbull warming snowstorm.

"So before you drag out the decorations and throw a pity party for me.. just remember…. even in this nightmare we call an economy it will be far easier for me to replace the things I have lost….. than it will be for all of us to replace the Liberty which was taken from us through Obamacare.

And that my friends.. is the real tragedy to this story…."
Our mutual friend, Jim Hoft of The Gateway Pundit, recently experienced the miracles of modern medicine, and soon afterwards the horrors of modern government. When a persistent 'cold' led to loss of vision in one eye, Jim, taking advantage of his personal insurance plan, went to the hospital and discovered that what he thought was a cold, was actually a deadly infection and he was days away from death. As he describes it:

"The bacteria blinded my left eye, ate a hole through my heart, caused five strokes on both sides of my brain and forced the removal of my prosthetic left knee.

Dr. Lee was the surgeon assigned to perform open heart surgery. What was originally scheduled to last four hours ended up lasting twelve. My heart was severely damaged. Dr. Lee later told me the surgery was one of the most difficult of his career. He also said I only had a few days to live without the surgery.

Thanks to the excellent insurance I carried I was able to receive life-saving medical treatment at St. Louis University."
Truly, Jim experienced the miracles of modern medicine. But that miracle didn't arise only from the medical arts, it owed just as much to the industry which produced the diagnostic machinery, the implements of medical technology, and the financial techniques of the insurance industry (though ever more hamstrung by each  passing administration of the last 50+ years) which made it possible to regularly apply relatively small portions of your wealth on a monthly basis, against future medical needs and disasters.

And even more fundamental to that, what made such miracles possible, was the system of laws designed to uphold and defend the property, rights and lives of the American people, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and through the liberty which flowed from that - which really means each person being able to act on their own best judgment, to live their own lives and follow their own pursuits, they've enabled, paradoxically to those who haven't attempted to understand it, the most interconnected, wealthy, successful society in history.

But such miracles of modern society are being imperiled by the very thing which originally led the way to their becoming a reality in our time, our government, and specifically ObamaCare has led Jim, and millions of others, to go from experience miracles, to experiencing the horrifying effects of the modern regulatory state.

If you think that's hyperbole, imagine yourself, recently saved in the nick of time, and still heavily dependent upon medical care, and consider Jim's closing comments:
"This week I found out I am going to lose my insurance. The company that carried me is leaving the Missouri market. I will have to find something else.

I am one of the millions who will be looking for new insurance. God willing, I will be able to keep my doctors at St. Louis University. I trust them. They saved my life. Please pray for me and the millions of working Americans who are going through this same ordeal.

Why is our government doing this to us?"
This weekend, Saturday the 11th, from 11:00 am to Noon,
"Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit, plans Wheel-In Rally at Senator Claire McCaskill’s St. Louis Office- Asks “Why is Our Government Punishing the American People-Give Us Back Our Healthcare!

Saturday December 14, 2013 / 11 AM CT until Noon
– Wheel-In Location:
Senator Claire McCaskill’s St. Louis Office
5850 Delmar Blvd, Ste. A
St. Louis, Missouri 63112
From 11 AM CT to Noon"
It is important to ask this question, 'Why is our government doing this to us?", and it is particularly important to ask it of our representatives.

But it is equally important to remember that our government is doing what it is doing to us, and those potentially dark things that are yet to come, because we, with the best of intentions, we have allowed our collective power, gathered together in the form of our government, to stray from that narrow purpose it was designed to serve; we have allowed us to seduce ourselves into thinking that we could command prosperity, rather than to simply enable it, we've allowed ourselves to think that we could impose (teensie-weensie) evils upon the lives of some of us, for the supposed benefit of others. But though we might fool ourselves into thinking that there would be no penalty for such violations, such actions could not help but spiral downwards into ever greater depredations upon all of our property, rights and lives.

As I was recently reminded, Henry Hazlitt, in "Man vs. The Welfare State", warned us long ago, in discussing that gateway drug of ever greater 'greater goods', the progressive income tax, that whenever a society allows those seemingly 'teensie' evils, when they could still be imagined to be small, to roam free of the iron manacles of the Rule of Law, that:
"The graduated personal income tax should be abandoned in favor of a strictly proportional income tax. The argument against the "progressive" tax rate was conclusively stated as long ago as 1833 by the Scottish economist J. R. McCulloch: "The moment you abandon the cardinal principle of exacting from all individuals the same proportion of their income or of their property, you are at sea without rudder or compass, and there is no amount of injustice and folly you may not commit."
Or in other words, if you allow the power you've organized into a government, for the defense of everyone's property, rights and lives, to stray from that narrow purpose, breaking its bonds through the power of your best wishes, then it cannot help but spiral downwards into ever greater depredations upon the property, rights and lives of everyone of us.

We have got to say "No More!" See you there Saturday.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanks for giving questions

I'm hearing a lot of people with concerns about their ability to shine in political discussions, and particularly this Thanksgiving, with Obama's OFA advising its zealots not only to inject politics into Thanksgiving dinner, but to actually push the mashed potatoes aside and sign up some desperately needed 'customers' for ObamaCare (and we used to think multi-level marketing was a pain!), they are doubly concerned.
"I don't eat and breathe this stuff, there's no way I'm going to remember all these facts, and how can I possibly know whether or not the statistics they tell me are accurate? How am I to know which point they advance conflicts with which clause of the Constitution - If I try arguing about this I'm going to look like a fool."
To which I'd like to answer, "Yes you probably will. As would I." And I'd remind you, that responding to statistics, is the primary means which people use in order to avoid having to face up to principles.

There may be a few issues you can gain some authoritative command of the facts over, but there are very few 'Good Will Hunting' types out there who can memorize all of these points, or even recall them at just the right moment and present them in just the right way to effectively put your opponent in their place.

But there's something else to consider here, and that is, what if you do remember what you need to remember, and point it out in such a way that leaves your opponent speechless?

What has your reaction been when someone has done that to you? When you are standing there, at a loss for words, unable to answer back... do you feel convinced by them? Or do you feel annoyed, frustrated, even angry, that you were unable to make a good reply? Did that sense of humiliated frustration, sway you to their point of view?

If you did not feel converted when you were left speechless, do you really suppose they will be, should you succeed in doing that to them?

And what about those watching your discussion? Well they be more likely to think the issue over on hearing your unanswerable answer? Isn't converting, or at least getting others to consider your position and reconsider their own, your real goal?

My point is, having the right answer on the tip on your tongue, at the right time, is nice, and leaves you feeling good... but can that alone really accomplish anything more than getting you recreational slamming points?

What might be more likely to change minds?

Think about it a moment, what do you want the person you are talking to, and those listening, to come away with? Don't you want them to question what they might have previously accepted with little or no consideration?

Then... why not forget about memorizing the statistics and the witty replies, and focus more on the questions that should be asked? And by the way, if you understand, and keep your principles in mind, the right questions will naturally come to mind when someone says something that doesn't gibe with them. The questions that come to mind in that case, will be questions that the person you are speaking with, and those listening, will be far more likely to willingly participate in asking and thinking further about.

There's a Reason for that.

Western Civilization didn't catch on because of its answers... those are still being argued about more than 3,000 years on... but because of its questions, and its method of comparing your answers to reality, and pursuing the questions which those answers lead to. Questions such as:
  • What is real and how do we know it?
  • What is Good? Why should we care?
  • How can we recognize what is not Good?
  • What is a Good life?
  • What is Happiness?
  • Should what is Right and Wrong, guide our actions?
  • What is Beauty?...What is Truth?...What is Justice?
  • What does it benefit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?
Ask the right questions, and your listeners will question their own answers, and reality will do the rest.

Question what they assume to be true.

Question their assumptions that a law can make happen, what no one actually in that business for decades and trying to get an edge over their competitors, was ever able to make a reality. And a bureaucrat has solved it?
  • If insurance companies could have found a way to ignore pre-existing conditions, they would have put their competitors out of business, wouldn't they?
  • What makes you think that govt bureaucrats and regulators, are going to make work, what no business has yet been able to accomplish?
  • If we're mandating by law, that we do what must result in loses... who is going to pay for those loses? How are we going to save money, by increasing financial loses?
  • Do you think that regulations can prohibit cause and effect? Can regulatory law over rule reality?
  • Why should I not have a say in what features I do or don't pay for?
Think about what you know about your life, about your business, about trying to do your job, about having to comply with regulations or even ludicrous policies handed down by distant corporate managers which you and your fellows know to be folly, and apply them to the healthcare solutions you are being presented with.
  • How can laws and regulations written three years ago and thousands of miles away, improve my physicians ability to care for me today and tomorrow?
  • Is it possible for those laws and regulations to not make it more difficult, and costly, for any doctor to provide me the care I need?
  • How is my health going to benefit, by restricting what my physician thinks is best to do for me?
So when your Obamanautic relative brings up the wonders of signing up for ObamaCare, particularly the sort found here, listen to what they say, and question those things they assume should be unquestionable.
  • Why should I be forced to sign up for ObamaCare, if I already have insurance I like?
  • How is it Just to force me to buy what I do not choose to?
  • Is Justice served by preventing people from making their own choices?
  • Can the Greater Good be served by forcing individuals to do what they judge to be wrong for them?
  • Why should my healthcare be made into a political issue, rather than a medical issue?
  • Why do I not get to decide whether or not I even want Health Insurance?
  • Is it right that voters get to decide what I do in my personal life?
  • Can I be said to be living my own life, if the most important decisions I have to make, are made for me by distant others and against my will?
What it comes down to, is asking Who, What, When, Where, Why and How, and particularly asking them in relation with a person being able to live their own life, and with what makes life worth living.

This Thanksgiving, after family and friends, I'm most thankful for those who are willing to ask those questions which Western Civilization, and America, cannot exist without being asked and pursued.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A few daring old questions that keep cropping up.

Recent posts from friends & family ranging from legalizing drugs, to vile insults posing as self-righteousness wit and on to risking or abusing other peoples lives for their own good, prompts a few questions worth asking:
  • Do you have the right to live your own life, or not?
  • Do you have the right to use the govt to live other people's lives for them, or not?

  • Does it matter how sure you are that you'll improve their lives?
  • Does it matter how sure they feel they are about improving your life?

  • Are drugs the only area of our lives these questions apply to?

  • If you haven't bothered to understand what your rights, and govt's limits, are, what's the likelihood that those with the power to violate them, for your own good (and theirs), will be bothered about violating them?

  • Does expecting others to respect your rights, require anything in return from you?
If these questions haven't overwhelmed you, here's a couple posts I pursued them a bit further on:
The next time you give your support, or opposition, to someone's political opinion, ask yourself these questions.

"...poor your-ick..."
I dare you.

I double-dare you to take the next step and ask them these quesitons.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Same as it ever was: What the Conservatives threaten to do, the Democrats actually do do.

As always, what Conservatives only ever threaten to do, the Democrats actually do do. The most recent case in point being Harry Reid having changed the rules of the senate, busting the Filibuster and opening the door to unhampered majority rule. That rule change fundamentally transforms the nature of the senate. The ability of senators to engage in unlimited debate, which at times become unendingly long winded word-a-thons, has been a critical feature of the Senate (and once the House too), since the beginning of the Senate, and since Thomas Jefferson wrote the manual for them.

And every administration, and every majority, has been frustrated by the Senate's feature of unlimited debate, aka: 'The Filibuster', ever since.
ProRegressive's guiding principle: "Might makes right"

And every minority has been supremely thankful for it.

And We The People have benefited immeasurably from numerous majorities and administrations, who, though cocksure in their rightness, have been made through that feature to feel the pressing need to craft legislation, and to find appointments, that would be more capable of surviving the reasonable deliberations of the senate, than their own heartfelt desires might have wished or allowed for.

Majorities, no matter their party, have always been furious at having their ability to get their way stymied by the minority. The majority has often, down through the centuries, blustered and threatened much in trying to get their way, up to and including threatening to change the rules and end that critical feature of unlimited debate. One such case is pointed out in this snippet from the Senate.Gov site:
"...In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could filibuster. As the House of Representatives grew in numbers, however, revisions to the House rules limited debate. In the smaller Senate, unlimited debate continued on the grounds that any senator should have the right to speak as long as necessary on any issue.

In 1841, when the Democratic minority hoped to block a bank bill promoted by Kentucky Senator Henry Clay, he threatened to change Senate rules to allow the majority to close debate. Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton rebuked Clay for trying to stifle the Senate's right to unlimited debate....."
But those majorities and administrations have always backed down from their threats, because they were eventually made to realize that that ability of 'unlimited debate', was critical to the very purpose of the Senate. What the senates purpose is, and why unlimited debated is critical to it, is made clear in this passage, again from Senate.Gov:
"A key goal of the framers was to create a Senate differently constituted from the House so it would be less subject to popular passions and impulses. "The use of the Senate," wrote James Madison in Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, "is to consist in its proceedings with more coolness, with more system and with more wisdom, than the popular branch." An oft-quoted story about the "coolness" of the Senate involves George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who was in France during the Constitutional Convention. Upon his return, Jefferson visited Washington and asked why the Convention delegates had created a Senate. "Why did you pour that tea into your saucer?" asked Washington. "To cool it," said Jefferson. "Even so," responded Washington, "we pour legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.""
The deliberative body of the senate, was designed to cool the heated impulses of the House and the Administration, especially upon critical issues, such as administrative appointments, judicial nominations, etc.. It is not enough for the senate to simply reach an agreement - the senate is specifically designed to prohibit a too easy agreement by a majority, being pushed through over the concerns of those who feel the issues have not yet been discussed fully enough, or who, as representatives of the interests of their states, feel  that those interests will be intolerably harmed by the issue at hand. It is critical to the purpose of the senate, that even a single Senator should be able to, if not convince their fellow senators to agree with them, then to at least compel them to consider the issue further, and by slowing down the entire business of the senate, they are able to ensure that their fellow senators feel the heat of not sufficiently heeding their concerns.

One way to accomplish that, is to remain on the floor speaking, holding the floor by force of mouth, for as long as long as they are able to stand and speak, which decades later came to be known as the filibuster. Filibusters, by design, prevent the senate from going forward, for at least as long as it takes for their fellow senators to agree to some mitigating measure, or else agree that the issue in question wasn't in fact worth the time it was costing them, and agree to table it so that other measures can be attended to.

Short of that, the process is supposed to come to a halt. This is not a glitch, it's a feature!

It is a feature of a deliberative body, to deliberate to the fullest extent which its members - who you should remember, especially today, have been elected to represent the interests of the millions of people in their states who elected them to the senate - feel further deliberation should be had (a point which even Hillary Clinton grasped, when it suited her).

Can that power be abused? Unquestionably. Name me a power that cannot be abused?

But it is more important that its exceptions should not be allowed to discredit the rule. A deliberative body , by its very nature, must be prepared to do just that, and it should not impose or amend its rules in such a manner as to put an end to that which it is - a deliberative body.

Not surprisingly, this feature of the Senate has always provoked heated debate and threats to abolish the rule, from conservatives, liberals and leftists alike, but as usual, what conservatives have only threatened to do, the proRegressive leftists have followed through on doing, as soon as they felt they had the power to follow through on their threat, even, and perhaps especially, when what they previously had claimed to believe upon principle, no longer meshed with their desires of the moment.

Not co-incidentally, the person who first followed through on the threat to abuse the powers of the senate, was our previous college 'professor' president, Woodrow Wilson. And not too surprisingly, he had once piously (and correctly) stated that:
"...It is the proper duty of a representative body to look diligently into every affair of government and to talk much about what it sees. It is meant to be the eyes and the voice, and to embody the wisdom and will of its constituents. Unless Congress have and use every means of acquainting itself with the acts and the disposition of the administrative agents of the government, the country must be helpless to learn how it is being served; and unless Congress both scrutinize these things and sift them by every form of discussion, the country must remain in embarrassing, crippling ignorance of the very affairs which it is most important that it should understand and direct. The informing function of Congress should be preferred even to its legislative function. The argument is not only that discussed and interrogated administration is the only pure and efficient administration, but, more than that, that the only really self-governing people is that people which discusses and interrogates its administration. The talk on the part of Congress which we sometimes justly condemn is the profitless squabble of words over frivolous bills or selfish party issues. It would be hard to conceive of there being too much talk about the practical concerns and processes of government....."
Forcing the senate to talk much about contentious issues, until someway around them is found, is precisely what the filibuster ensured. But later, when Wilson was in power and frustrated that he couldn't get his way on those issues which some senators found to be contentious, then President Wilson, reversed his concern for administrations being fully interrogated, and instead:
"... stormed that the “Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action. A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible.” The Senate, he demanded, must adopt a cloture rule."
Again, that 'little group of willful men' were not simply a few buckaroos holding up the proceedings of the local Elks Lodge, but were senators, men who were duly elected to represent the interests of the inhabitants of their states, some numbering in the millions, and as such, their unwillingness to go along with the wishes of the President, represented far more than simply their own 'willful' opinions, they were exerting the rights which Wilson once defended... when it suited him.

The principle which he seemed to grasp as a disinterested academic, he reviled when his own opinions and interests were at the heart of the issue in question, revealing that he never understood it as a principle in the first place, nor cared for 'principles' that were not subordinate to the interests of the moment. After calling for a special session of congress, Wilson proposed that the rules of the senate be amended with a rule for Cloture, which enabled "a two-thirds majority to end debate and permitted each member to speak for an additional hour after that before voting on final passage."  which was adopted.

There is a case to be made for cloture, as much as I dislike admitting it, at least as it was originally adopted, that being that if a super majority of two thirds of the senate could be persuaded that a point had been fully fleshed out, and that the interests of all were sufficiently attended to, then that super majority should be able to move past further unproductive and obstructive talk, and on to the action of taking a vote upon it.

Part of me is still rankles at that, it seems to me that the 'deliberative body' should remain just that, but though it is critically important that the senate's rules should be formed so as to ensure that the rights of We The People are properly considered, its rules are just that: rules, not rights. And it is a reasonable position to take, that with a two thirds super majority being the constitutional threshold for other important decisions, Supreme Court nominations, etc., a case can be made that it comports with how important Senate decisions are constitutionally structured.

But there is no case to be made that proRegressives, either then, or later, or now, took their positions upon principle, rather than hypocritically putting on airs in order to get their way. Wilson was sure he could get a 2/3 majority, and that the opposition couldn't - had he felt otherwise, he would have found a different, more satisfying, number.

And a more satisfying number is precisely what the Democratic majority in the Senate decided upon again, when in 1975, having recently picked up some seats in the senate, but not enough seats to reach a two thirds super majority, they made the same utilitarian power calculus as Wilson had, and altered the rules for invoking Cloture, reducing it from the original and reasonable two thirds super majority, down to a more usefully attainable quantity of three fifths, which is the magic number of 60 votes required today... er... yesterday.

Same as it ever was.

What the ProRegressive says is a matter of principle, is a 'timeless principle' only when it suits him. Just as Wilson postured a fine defense in his earnest dissertation, so did Sen. Barack Obama in 2005. Then, he too was so concerned for what the American people expect, that he said in defense of the filibuster:
"...What they don't expect is for one party - be it Republican or Democrat - to change the rules in the middle of the game so that they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. The American people want less partisanship in this town, but everyone in this chamber knows that if the majority chooses to end the filibuster - if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate - then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse...."
Such a 'principled stance' has proved to be, just as with Wilson in 1917, and by Obama today, to have been discarded, without even the semblance of concern for principle, in order to suit their interests and desires of the moment:
"...I realize that neither party has been blameless for these tactics. They've developed over years, and it seems as if they've continually escalated. But today's pattern of obstruction -- it just isn't normal. It's not what our founders envisioned. A deliberate and determined effort to obstruct everything, no matter what the merits, just to refight the result of an election is not normal, and for the sake of future generations, we can't let it become normal...."
Translation: The proRegressives have decided to have their cake and eat it too, for the 'greater good' which...  just so happens to serve their own political interests.

IOW: The only principle a proRegressive recognizes, since the days of Thrasymachus, is that of 'Might makes Right'.

Same as it ever was.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

More surprising NEWS of the day.

Ok, enough people have asked me, so here's my take on the latest NEWS from out of the White House, Washington D.C., Obamacare, Common Core and Foreign Affairs:
Oh. Look. Liars are telling lies.
Oh. Look. Hypocritical liars are responding as they've heard that the people they pretend to be, would have responded.
Oh. Look. The fools who elected the liars and hypocrites are upset that their lack of attention has put liars and hypocrites and thieves into positions of power over their lives.
Gee. What a surprise.

In other news, the head lying hypocrite in the White House thinks the flaws in the laws he 'wrote', to manage what he doesn't understand, can be fixed by giving more orders to control what he doesn't understand; meanwhile, the fools who thought they could make a buck from his plan, are upset his new plans to fix his old plans will bring them to ruin.

In other news, the diseducational system which made all of this possible in the first place, is frantically trying to adopt standards (which contain no standards) for that which it fears to define (namely Education, which is not to be mistaken for 'college & career ready skills'), promising that it will improve what it has consistently failed to do, by the very means with which it has already succeeded in creating such a colossal failure from an equally unprecedented success, in order to escape blame for what it is faced with having created today.

Gee. What a surprise.

In other news, the world wide wolves are eyeing our positions and lands with great interest.

Gee. What a surprise.

You want to fix this?

If you find any of this surprising, and want to know how to 'fix' it, start with fixing yourself. Here's a good starting point. If you can't do that, or can't even be bothered to attempt doing that, you have no business trying to fix anyone or anything else.

Gee. What a surprise.

Here's some 'NEWS' you can actually use, via Plato, 360 B.C., from "Laws - Book V"
"...The same praise may be given about temperance and wisdom, and all other goods which may be imparted to others, as well as acquired by a man for himself; he who imparts them shall be honoured as the man of men, and he who is willing, yet is not able, may be allowed the second place; but he who is jealous and will not, if he can help, allow others to partake in a friendly way of any good, is deserving of blame: the good, however, which he has, is not to be undervalued by us because it is possessed by him, but must be acquired by us also to the utmost of our power. Let every man, then, freely strive for the prize of virtue, and let there be no envy. For the unenvious nature increases the greatness of states-he himself contends in the race, blasting the fair fame of no man; but the envious, who thinks that he ought to get the better by defaming others, is less energetic himself in the pursuit of true virtue, and reduces his rivals to despair by his unjust slanders of them. And so he makes the whole city to enter the arena untrained in the practice of virtue, and diminishes her glory as far as in him lies. Now every man should be valiant, but he should also be gentle. From the cruel, or hardly curable, or altogether incurable acts of injustice done to him by others, a man can only escape by fighting and defending himself and conquering, and by never ceasing to punish them; and no man who is not of a noble spirit is able to accomplish this...."
You want to hear something 'new'? Stop looking for it in the 'news', that is, and always will be, the same old same-old. If you want something truly new, you'll only find it in the old truths applied to the new day.

Anything less than that, is going to be less than surprising.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Obama and the far left: Not even lying

Everyone it seems, from all walks of life, are upset that the Obama Administration has not only lied about -and take your pick of NSA, IRS, Benghazi, ObamaCare - but shows no regret for having done so. Jon Stewart is driven nuts by it:, even Bill Mahr is calling them out over it. The UK's Daily Mail is appalled over the 29 (I think it's closer to 37, but who's counting) repeats of 'If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period.', and while White House press secretary Jay Carney isn't quite clear on what the issue is, even Congress, which you'd think knows a thing or two about lying, is flustered by their behavior.

My reaction? You've got to be kidding me.

Jon, Congress, UK, guys... your surprise shows that you're missing something important here; something important about this administration, and, to some extent, about yourselves as well. These guys are  not doing what you on occasion (some more often than others) do, telling lies, in truth they aren't even lying.

A liar is someone who, at the very least, is aware of, and is concerned about, what the truth. is. If there is one thing a liar knows, it is what the truth is! And in telling lies, the liar is concerned about what the truth could do to them if it became widely known. While a liar will do everything they can to hide it, they still have a healthy fear of and respect for, what the truth actually is.

We should be so lucky as to have liars in, and supporting, this administration.

What do I mean? Ask yourself, what is the typical reaction of a liar when called out on their lies?

Anxiety, embarrassment, panic, desperate evasion, bluster, and, at least over being caught, regret... right?

Can you really call out the Obama administration and those of like mind on those points?

Early on, well after telling the American people 'If you like your healthcare, you can keep it' numerous times, the president said bad politicos had slipped some language into the ObamaCare bill which put that oft repeated promise in jeopardy. And then, he and his fellows went right on saying that 'If you like your healthcare, you can keep it', time and time again.

Get clear on that. He acknowledged that it was no longer possibly true. The Truth of the matter was out there. Then he went right along repeating the same usefully comforting, but untrue, assurance.


Only now that it has become common knowledge that that is not, and cannot be the case, have they now modified their comment to 'If you like your healthcare, and it hasn't changed, then you can keep it', which they are now earnestly repeating as if that was what they had meant all along.

Not only is there no plausibility here, but there is no fear of being revealed as having been, and currently telling, words which convey no measurable amount of truth in them.


Because they aren't even lying. They aren't concerned with hiding the truth, they are only concerned with creating the result they want. To them, truth and falsehood are simply adjectives of marginal interest (when useful), to be applied only as useful means for achieving their ends. Period.

Liars respect the truth and work around it. This bunch, within and without the White House, do not. They have no regard for, or thought for, what is true... or even any sign that they acknowledge that such a thing is of importance. What they do have, is a set of goals they want to achieve, a plan for achieving them, and whether or not those goals will accomplish what they say they will, doesn't even enter into their plans or considerations.

They know where they are. They know where they want to be. Even their goals are only a means of getting what they want. They know what they want, and based upon what that truly is, they are pursuing the only means to achieving them: Power. They pursue power, and what they want, is power, for it's own sake, and happiness, let alone the pursuit of it, doesn't figure into their plans at all.

That leaves quaint issues such as 'lies' and 'truth', as little more than useful things to be noted here and there only in so far as they sway you into helping them achieve their ends, and they will say what they think needs to be said, and in what manner, in order to get there. If denial seems to be useful, they'll deny. If apologizing seems to get them what they want, they'll apologize. If, like Hilary, they think a show of frustration might be useful, they'll give that a whirl and see what difference it might make; they'll cheerfully trot out whatever words seem most likely to help them accomplish their next step. Not because those words have any relation to being true, and not with any concern for whether or not some or all of them might be false. They know where they are, they know where they want to be, and they have a notion of what they need to say in order to cause the right reactions in a select set of useful people... and for them, that's what the purpose of words are.

To get you what you want. For the greater good. Not only is that, in their eyes, justification enough, it is all they are concerned about, and being the ones who define just what 'the greater good' is, ensures that it won't interfere with what they want.

And that my friends is what they mean, when they tell you that their words depend upon what the meaning of Is, is.

Not whether or not something is good, or beautiful or true - but because they want it, and whatever it is that you think their words mean, is only a means for them getting what they want.

That's not lying.

Liars know what is true. Liars respect the truth. Liars fear the truth. Liars are concerned about what is true and what is false. When you use words without respect for what is true or false, when you use words as a means of weaponizing those who hear those words, in order to achieve your ends, that's not lying.

That's not even lying.

That's the pursuit of power for power's sake. And for those with enough hubris to believe that they can handle power, that they are capable of wielding the power to do whatever they think is best for others without restraint... their language doesn't even rise to the level of lying - it simply works the levers of public opinion and moves them closer to getting what they desire... their precious.

Is the Obama administration a pack of liars?

Don't I wish.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Strike Three! You're out nullified! Setting Tyranny Free part 6

Looking at the news today, there are a lot of things that need to be covered... but none of it from the news today. Why take the time? Liars & fools doing what liars & fools do: trying to fool all of the people all of the time.

I should waste time my time and yours with that?

Nah. Better to help some of the people to recognize how too many of the people are subverting what all of the people rely upon to live their own lives all of the time.

What we need to better understand in order to actually advance the cause of liberty, is how our best laid plans too often unwittingly aid in "Setting Tyranny Free", as with the first two posts (here and here) looking at John Locke's undiscovered error, and a too relevant case in point is where I left off with on the last post, examining the popular libertarian cure-all that, as it's proposed today, which is far worse than the disease itself,and cannot fail to quicken it: Nullification.

I've gone through modern nullification, beginning here, and replied to the first two of three summary points by its leading modern proponent, Thomas E. Woods, here and here, and I'll deal with the last point, today.

As I mentioned in the last post, Woods' three summary points are essentially the same single point, put three different ways - that there is no singular 'We The People', and that instead we have 'We The States', each of which have their own peoples, which have no binding relation to, or responsibility for, the nation which our Constitution constituted, 226 years ago. Since I've already answered that twice already, I'll keep this post brief (well, for me), so we can move on to a more fundamental problem and then solutions - and yes, there are solutions.

Here is how Woods puts it in his third summary point:
  • "3) Since the peoples of the states are the sovereigns, then when the federal government exercises a power of dubious constitutionality on a matter of great importance, it is they themselves who are the proper disputants, as they review whether their agent was intended to hold such a power. No other arrangement makes sense."[emphasis mine]
Actually, lots of other things make sense.

For We The People to have formed a more perfect union, for the purposes of then having individual states singly ignoring, disputing or thwarting any decision (law) made and passed by the whole of that union, because their particular state disagreed with it... that would truly make no sense whatsoever.

But such a claim makes even less sense, when you consider that the Constitution was originally entered into by the original thirteen colonies in order to replace the Articles of Confederation, which actually did refer to the states as fully sovereign and independent powers, capable of thwarting the intentions and laws proposed by all of the rest of the states together. A large part of why they wanted to replace the original Articles of Confederation, was because they enabled each state to behave as an independent, fully sovereign power, thereby preventing any coherent and unified laws being passed between the several states.

And more to the point: their unilateral confederacy did not work!

And since we are not a confederacy of independent states stitched together by a unilateral contract, and since the 'PeopleS' of 'We The States', are not entities which exist under our Constitution, then they obviously cannot be 'the proper disputants' for reviewing 'their agent', and to claim it, makes no sense at all. And BTW, to the obnoxiously repeated 'What, do you really think the states would have signed onto an agreement that limited their sovereignty?', yes, you patronizing putz, I do. The Constitution was clearly, deliberately, and openly designed to delimit the sovereignty of the states within its framework, and far from that being a latter day interpretation on the part of James Madison & everyone else since 1830, that intention was stated right out in the open by he, Hamilton, Jay and the rest in the Federalist Papers and elsewhere while selling the constitution during the process of ratification, as this in Federalist #62 demonstrates:
"In this spirit it may be remarked, that the equal vote allowed to each State is at once a constitutional recognition of the portion of sovereignty remaining in the individual States, and an instrument for preserving that residuary sovereignty. So far the equality ought to be no less acceptable to the large than to the small States; since they are not less solicitous to guard, by every possible expedient, against an improper consolidation of the States into one simple republic."
Language such as 'the portion of sovereignty remaining' and 'residual sovereignty', are not the stealthy sort of language best used to trick the people of the several states into thinking that their states will remain fully sovereign and independent states! The states do retain sovereignty, but only as much as can be retained within the larger government our Constitution defines.

Else, why bother with abandoning the Articles of Confederation? It wasn't just to have change for change' sake, but for a purpose.

The old Articles were replaced because the one dimensional idea of state sovereignty had proved to be a failure, which was why the constitutional convention was called, which was why the Constitution was submitted to We The People instead of We The States, and all of which was debated before the proposed constitution was ratified, and ratified for that purpose, because the idea of single states nullifying the actions of all of the states, was not only found to be not working, it was eventually understood to be downright wrong.

Hamilton in Federalist #22, in speaking against the Articles where each state really was sovereign and able to nullify the laws of the whole, touches upon that principle of separate sovereignty which nullifiers are blindly urging us towards, at our peril, today,
""But this is not all: what at first sight may seem a remedy, is, in reality, a poison. To give a minority a negative upon the majority (which is always the case where more than a majority is requisite to a decision), is, in its tendency, to subject the sense of the greater number to that of the lesser. Congress, from the nonattendance of a few States, have been frequently in the situation of a Polish diet, where a single VOTE has been sufficient to put a stop to all their movements."
The Founders, the Framers, the Ratifiers, were concerned that such solitary actions continued over time, would obstruct the creation of a uniform set of laws which were understood more and more to be indispensable to upholding the Individual Rights of all Americans.

What they sought, the reason for appealing to We The People, rather than 'We The States', was a union established under the authority of all of the people, so that no subset of them needed to fear the unlawful acts of another; their understanding of history, ancient and recent, taught them that their continued liberty required them to ordain and establish a single unified constitution with which to structure our laws around and under, but through the Constitution they devised a method which was neither confederate, nor national, an important point which nullifiers have the greatest difficulty in grasping: our system is neither entirely federal, nor national, but something new, something different - a blending of the two.

Granted, it's not the easiest system to explain, though Madison gave it a shot here in Federalist #39
"...The mode provided by the plan of the convention is not founded on either of these principles. In requiring more than a majority, and principles. In requiring more than a majority, and particularly in computing the proportion by STATES, not by CITIZENS, it departs from the NATIONAL and advances towards the FEDERAL character; in rendering the concurrence of less than the whole number of States sufficient, it loses again the FEDERAL and partakes of the NATIONAL character.

The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both. In its foundation it is federal, not national; in the sources from which the ordinary powers of the government are drawn, it is partly federal and partly national; in the operation of these powers, it is national, not federal; in the extent of them, again, it is federal, not national; and, finally, in the authoritative mode of introducing amendments, it is neither wholly federal nor wholly national."
As I pointed out in the last post, the first three words of the Constitution, We The People, as opposed to 'We The States, was the very first issue dealt with, and resolved, during the ratification debates. For some reason nullifiers refuse to see the United States as a union, maybe because that view enables them to see "a rogue federal government" as a discrete foreign unit which they can then claim to have no part in, and no responsibility for; or perhaps in their minds it frees them from feeling any responsibility to their sister states, as was the case that earlier semi-functional and loosely interlocking compact.

Personally I'm not nearly so forgiving of my fellow Americans, nor so willing to push the blame on others, as Nullifiers are want to do.

But pursuing such fantasies and easy excuses will not get us any closer to making any real progress towards re-establishing a nation of Laws, and not the unbridled powers of men. What does it mean if you are willing to see "a rogue federal government", but are equally willing to assert that the laws don't have to be followed by those states who don't want to? Does a state require no other authority than its own, to declare a law that has been otherwise constitutionally passed by the congressional representatives of a majority of the states... to be unconstitutional? Under what authority, mutually recognized by your fellow states, can you claim the power to invalidate a law made by the majority of your fellow states and signed into law by a president who has been elected by an electoral majority of the entire nation?

There can be no 'authority' to do that, such a thing is an exhibition of power, and nothing more. Does it even get any more 'rogue' than that?

If we are truly seeking after solutions, it is that charter which We The People brought into being, as well as the understanding which it developed from, which needs to be consulted, and followed, in addressing the questionability of laws passed in its name, not the petulant objections of those who failed to make their case during those legislative sessions in which all of the people of all of the states were represented, or by elevating pure power over the Law, even bad law.

That's three strikes, nullifiers, you're out... unless you want to get a jump on things and question my call?

But that's highly unlikely, because what I've found in debating nullifiers, is that real understanding and real solutions are not what they are after. I say that, because each time I provide not just an answer to their assertions and objections, but the reasoning for them, and instead of refuting them or responding with a better argument, they simply brush them aside and retort with something such as this:
  • "Sometimes I wonder if guys like you really understand just how bad things are."
  • "I'd like to know if you plan on handing over your guns if the Senate ratifies the anti-gun U.N. treaty?"
  • "If single state nullification is bad, what if 30 states nullified a law?"
  • "What if the federal govt passed a law saying your child was a slave?!"
  • "What is your limit?! What will it take for you to fight bact?!"
  • "If you lived in the 1700s, would you have sided with Sam Adams and Company or with King George?"
In other words, what they are after is not an answer or a solution, but an excuse. They are frustrated with the undeniably unconstitutional laws being passed by our federal government - and with good reason, as am I - they are deeply concerned by the steadily increasing erosion of our Rights - and with good reason, as am I - but rather than working with and building upon the ideas our constitution was constituted upon, what the nullifiers are really after, is a plausible rationalization for retaliating with their own misuse of power, exerted against those many federal laws which are indeed anti-constitutional in spirit and in fact.

I can hardly blame them.

But no single state can choose to disregard the laws which govern it, delimit and restrain its power, without becoming an outlaw and putting their own people in even deeper thrall to unrestrained power. And being joined by 20 or thirty others doesn't change that one whit. No progress will be found through trumped up sovereignities and manufactured peoples, only disunion, even weaker laws and more emboldened and unrestrained abuses of power can follow, and all of our rights and all of our liberties will be sucked down into that whirlpool together - a union, after all.

We have many problems, but only one supreme law of the land, and we require a unified constitutional solution to resolve them, not fragmented rebellions which set out to nullify us all.

If we truly want a solution to our problems, we've got to confront the nature of our problems, which means going to the nature of what Law is, and the Declaration of Independence's charges of 'Pretended Legislation', provides the most fruitful path towards just such an actual solution. I'll turn to that in the next post.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Are you done wasting time on 'Get Liberty Quick!' schemes?

So...Sequester? Continuing Resolutions? Debt Limit? ObamaCare? Defunding ObamaCare? 'Health Exchanges'? Amnesty?

How are those Conservative Rock Stars like Marco Rubio working out for you? Is the support you gave the GOP living up to your expectations?

Are you done pussyfooting around yet? Are you done wasting time on foolish 'Get Liberty Quick!' schemes?

Are you done sending politicians to do a citizens work? America is a nation of Ideas, yet our schools are producing students that don't understand those ideas, and the Common Core Curriculum, by its very nature, is a threat to those ideas and the constitutional system they require.

There is no political solution - it requires You., here, not in Washington D.C., but here, in your own back yard - lose here and lose it all. There are no quick answers, but there are steps that can be taken to halt the slide, and those require you to lend a hand in taking back our schools.

I'll be giving the opening presentation, starting at 1:00 Sunday, the 20th, I hope to see you there.

Sponsored by Americans for Prosperity and the Missouri Coalition Against Common Core:

Take Back Our Schools

St. Louis – Sunday October 20, 2013  1-6:00*

The Wildwood Hotel 2801 Fountain Place Wildwood 63040

  •  The History of Common Core Standards – How Did We Get Here?
  • High Quality Standards For Everyone? Not so much. What about special needs kids? How could CC harm early learners?
  • Testing Testing Testing
  • Data Collection – The government wants to know everything about your children. How can you protect their privacy?
  • What are your rights according to Missouri state law? How can you begin to assert those rights?
  • What is happening at the federal level when it comes to Common Core, Data Collection and state’s  rights to control education
  • The future of education in Missouri – a common sense approach based on local assertion of rights  already granted by our constitution and legislature.
There will be break out sessions for various interest groups to network with other grassroots activists.
School Board Members – Know your rights as a School Board member. Compare experiences and network with other board members who are trying to get their district out of the public/private system of common standards.
Grassroots Activists – For parents, taxpayers, teachers, legislators. We’ll talk about everything in our activist kit, answer questions and get you networking.
Non-Public Schools (Catholic/Private/Home Schools) – Whether or not CC is in or coming to your school, you need to know what to watch for and how to keep the quality education you are paying for or providing.
Learn more and receive your Grassroots Action Kit with everything you need to inform people in your district about Common Core and data collection.
Don’t wait for government to hand you back control.
 Take back the control that has been yours all along.
* (These times are accurate. Times on Eventbrite might not match due to a service limitation.)
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Friday, October 11, 2013

The wrong lessons learned again: Revisiting the St. Charles GOP social media kerfuffle.

It's late, this will be quick and short (I hope). I went to the St. Charles GOP 'Central Committee' meeting this evening, with just a few questions in mind. One, to see who it was that made the remarks the weekend of the CPAC STL and to see if it was only the comments that were foolish and unintentionally provocative, or if it was the person who made them that was foolish. Second, I wanted to see if the St. Charles GOP approved of individual members making editorial comments in their name, upon hotly debated issues, and if not, then third, to see if they would require an apology for the slight given to the committee by the person speaking in their name, and to all of those he spoke to, and attempted to speak for.
St. Charles GOP Central Committee Chair, Jon Bennett

Well I saw who it was that made the comments, the committee chairmen, Jon Bennett. And as I watched him pepper his comments as chairmen of the committee, with

  • "Because I can",
  • "Because I said so",
  • "If you don't like it, too bad, I don't care"
, he came off, not too surprisingly, as frustrated, cornered and scared... which partially answered my first question.

He made every attempt possible to brush past the Facebook/Twitter issue (which was the reason for the crowd in the room) and not have it addressed, bristling at any hint at all that he might have acted foolishly. And it was only after a couple false starts where other committee members motioned for audience participation, and then seconded despite him, that anyone else had a chance to engage in the matter. He clearly would have preferred to 'move on' without acknowledgment or resolution.

Be all of that as it may, clearly, the members of the committee, displeased with the negative attention his comments had garnered them, decided to adopt a new media policy, but as it still allowed individuals to post their personal comments under the St. Charles GOP banner, it will still (or so their reading of it seemed, I haven't seen the actual policy) require the committee to meet later on and vote on countering any inflammatory ones. Oh, they also expect those who are allowed to post, to add their initials to their posts, when they're making any comments that express a personal opinion.

Guys, really? I kind of assumed that that was what the policy already was... that's the solution? Why would that result in anything different than what already happened? I doubt he'll realize next time, that he's stuck his foot in everyone else's mouth, any sooner than he did this time. He still thinks he acted 'with transparency', saying that
"I quickly identified myself"
, well, if 10 or so comments and insults on Facebook and Twitter later is quickly, ok, sure. But maybe if they set their page up with page moderators posting in their names on the page, maybe that would help make it clear?

Possibly a problem...
During his comments upon their social media policy, Bennett actually remarked that,
"I don't get Twitter, or care about it at all."
, apparently not grasping that that might not be the best basis for an effective policy directed towards building a larger social media following. And people wonder why the GOP (as opposed to Grassroots) lags behind in social media.

Along the same lines, he seemed unaware that his several attempts to move past the issue without allowing comments from the committee or the audience, saying:
"I'm done with this subject, if you don't like it, I don't care."
, might also be a tactical policy more likely to limit the effectiveness of GOP outreach, than to expand it. Neither was his grab for sympathy and justification for his manner very effective, when he said:
'I've... personally received... threatening email and phone calls, so I don't want to hear it from anyone!'
Any of us who've been in the fray, even on the edges, for the last few years, have had some share in both of those. And I've seen some of Dana's email... I'll guarantee you that his little flurry of poison pen messages don't stack up to a single afternoon's worth of hers.

For him to have posted his personal opinion under the banner of the St. Charles GOP, putting Dana down, accusing her of taking money to divide the party, and implicitly accusing everyone else who might agree with any part of her position, was itself extremely divisive, putting both words and silence into the mouths of those who otherwise thought to see themselves as being aligned with the St Charles GOP.

To put forth under the name of the St. Charles GOP, the idea that disagreement is bad, that one particular side of a hotly contested debate is the one that all must either agree with or else be considered 'ill-informed' , was itself highly 'divisive'. Worst of all, to do that under the misguided notion of promoting (demanding) party unity, was downright boneheaded.

That seemed to be an issue he couldn't grasp. He kept asking me if someone with millions of listeners, who called for 'defunding the GOP, isn't that divisive?!'; the issue isn't whether or not such a thing is divisive, the issue is that an individual can put their personal opinion out there without it being an issue. But putting your own personal opinion out there under the banner of representing the entire organization - that's a problem. THAT is not only divisive, but wrong and destructive to the aims of that entire organization.

The simple solution to this kerfuffle, one that should have followed within hours, would have been to acknowledge that he unintentionally put the GOP's foot in it, say he's sorry, and be done with it.

But nope, that's not gonna happen. The committee might stand up to him in the future, but not now, and there are certainly no apologies coming from either him, or from the committee, not while he's chairing it.

Learning the wrong lesson again
But one abrasive person is really not the issue, or at least it shouldn't be.  There was a far worse lesson that those present seemed to be taking from this, which was that disagreement and argument were bad and should be avoided at all costs. Several people commented to the effect that::
"If you feel angry, wait till the morning before posting."
, to which all nodded sagely.

Sorry, no. Not the case, not reality, and certainly not the social media world the rest of us are living in today, and which the GOP is being left further and further behind in.

But worse, that's the wrong approach for a conservative party which claims to be a party of principles.

To be a party of principles and ideas means, must mean, that there will be disagreement and much argument over how to implement those principles which everyone holds. It is only through discussion, sometimes, often even, heated discussion, that good plans are finally found. For those who think the Founders were of one mind with never a raised voice or dissent to be heard, they haven't looked into the matter much.

Yes, threats and insults are over the line and should be condemned, but disagreement, even angry disagreement, is not itself divisive. A party that seeks to be a party of principle is going to have to realize that there will be much disagreement and discussion, and that it cannot, and should not be avoided. Their greatest strength is to embrace that and to forcefully proclaim those ideas and their principles wider meaning and application (which is precisely what thrilled so many of us when Sen's Cruz, Paul & Lee took to the senate floor with them the previous week).

The Party leader's job is not to tell people what to think or shove them into line - that sort of 'unity' is only weakness - but to moderate the discussion, to do their part to provide a framework for that discussion and to keep it moving along, so that decisions can be made. Only then can a unified effort can be found and taken a stand upon. And note: It will NEVER be a decision which all agree with, but principled people understand that; they don't want blind obedience, they simply want the opportunity for a fair and full hearing.

That is not divisive.

Argument and disagreement are not divisive. Those are the natural, and proper, results of adults attempting to implement principles in particular situations.

Preventing discussion, argument and disagreement, attempting to co-opt the agreement of others, discounting and denouncing disagreement, THAT is divisive.

As I tried to point out during my few moments to comment last night, I'm all for disagreement and discussion, no problem there, but as individuals. The St. Charles GOP banner should be used for making unified statements, or for prompting principled discussion.

Had Bennett simply posted, as the St. Charles GOP, something like:

  • "Disagreement over Senate strategy - do you support Sen. Cruz or Sen. Blunt?"
, he could then have, under his own name, legitimately, endorsed Blunt's position and disagreed with Cruz's, and of course even have questioned Dana Loesch's assessment of the issue. That's disagreement and debate, that draws people to the discussion, rather than repelling them, and the last person that would have taken personal offense to a good argument would have been Dana Loesch.

But to attempt to put words, or silence, into the mouths of others... that's never going to end well.

But hey, the Central Committee is thinking of boosting GOP popularity by having a band for the next Lincoln Days event.

I'm sure that'll bring unity and turn things around.