Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Story of a Campaign

Part 1:  The Debate

Mr. Jones:  I will give you more free stuff!  All free stuff for all!
President Miller:  But I will continue cutting your taxes so you won't have to pay for stuff!
Debate attendee:  Well, what do you think?
Another debate attendee:  Well I like President Miller--but we could sure use some free stuff!

Signs:  "Elect Jones!"  "More free stuff NOW!"  "I deserve FREE STUFF!"  "Re-elect Miller!"  "Balance the budget!  Re-elect Miller!"

Part Two:  The Pundits 
Jimmy Falon: So hey, what about this Jones guy?  He's got a lot of charisma but can he beat Miller?
Political Pundit looking suspiciously like Lea Michelle: Well, you know, he's got a powerful message, "Free stuff, free stuff, free stuff!"  It's gonna be hard for Miller to find something the voters really want.  And I think that they want free stuff most of all; don't you, Jimmy?

Part 3a:  January 21, if  one guy wins:

"I know I promised you free stuff, but when I came here and saw all the damage the Miller adminhistration had done, I realized that we just couldn't do it."
Part 3b:  If the other guy wins:

"Yes, I did promise to reduce the debt, but none of us anticipated the Ben and Jerry collapse...what a tragedy for our fellow citizens in Vermont.  And of course we never could have predicted the big snowstorm at Christmas.  I thik it's clear, we need to give away more FREE STUFF!!!!!!"

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Who went and made Kelly an conservative-libertarian-anarchocurious goofball?

The list of people I have listened to, read, watched in action and spoken to, who I consider my "mentors" along my political (and apolitical) journey, includes but is not limited to the list you will find if you click "more" below.

 Since my way of thinking emphasizes liberty, personal responsibility, the lethal properties of welfare, problems of democracy, lies of Communism, dangers of the State, and the non-aggression principle, I've indicated which of these topics each "mentor" has led me in.  They are not necessarily in alphabetical or influential order.  I have not included any of the friends, writers, and professors who led me to the psychosis of Marxism earlier,  before I was freed from the chains of his philosophy;  but I might tackle that in a later post.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Slaughterhouse Not 135, 000

Since I've been obsessed about World War II, oh, since about 10th grade, one of the stories that fascinated me was Dresden.  Dresden, for the uninitiated, used to be thought of as the worst incident in terms of civilian fatalities  in the European theatre; possibly the war.  I've used Dresden as an example in discussions (and arguments) to suggest that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were comparable to it, not highly exceeding it.

Dresden in 1945 was an old city, a beautiful city with lovely architecture, home at the time to about 600,000 souls.  (350,000 was the official population at the time but there were many refugees fleeing the Red Armywhichwas coming towards them from the East).  There also were some Anglophone (US, British, Canadian) prisoners of war in the city where they'd been assigned work projects.  One of them was author Kurt Vonnegut Jr,, who later incorporated his experiences as a POW and of the firestorm in his novel, Slaughterhouse V.   Dresden had avoided bombardment, until  Allied planes approached on 2/13/1945.

The idea of "strategic bombing"---aiming for infrastructure, not just enemy targets, despite the inevitable increase in civilian casualties; and of tight formations to ensure heavy damage of specific targets, as well as better ability of all in formation to cover one another's back--played a large role in what happened in Dresden.  The goal of strategic bombing was manifold, and included demoralizing the population.  Killing loads of them, of course, is a good way to demoralize.  It's definitely a tragic story,  and whatever thenumber of  casualties, serves as a sickening reminder of who suffers the most during war.

The  figure has been rounded down to 22,000 to 25,000.  They believe the wrong number was promoted, and perhaps even created, by the Nazis and later the Communist Party of the Democratic German Republic (East Germany, where Dresden had the misfortune to land after the war), both of whom got considerable secondary gains from doing so....the Nazis in drumming up sympathy among citizens of Allied Countries; the Reds in pointing out, "The Russians never did anything like that.  The Americans and British did that.  So you never want to go back to their way of life...right?"After Mauerfall (literally, "wall fall", the name Germans give to the time the East Germans en masse began to destroiy the Berlin Wall), those hanging onto the inflated numbers for political gain lost their jobs and either melted in the background of the newly reunified Germany, or figured out the way the wind was blowing soon enough to develop an atrocious allergy to Communism.

The "new" figures (actually, the podcast indicates the lower ones have been accepted by most since the late 1990s) put Dresden more in league with London and Hamburg in numbers of fatalities and, if deaths due to radiation sickness in the weeks following August of 1945, quite a bit under those of Hiroshima (69,000) and about equal to Nagasaki (25,000).

Maybe that's a good thing.  Dresden suffered immensely, but many other cities suffered just as greatly during the war.  I believe the European war in WWII was a just war; quite unsure about the war between the US and Japan.  Going over the plight of these cities before they were rebuilt is sobering and helps me remember that we need to have a high threshold of what we call "evil" and a call-out for a war because the inevitable civilian suffering in every city affected will call out to us across the centuries for what we do.   .

What Free Trade Is, and Isn't. Why apples are sometimes better than tacos, why I miss Bad Quaker, and why software CEOs earn more than the average union member

Bad Quaker, who unfortunately has had, due to health reasons, to end his own informative libertarian podcast,  used to give the absolute best analogy of what Capitalism is.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The next time someone complains that we need more stuff written inSpanish around here....

I'm a social worker, not necessarily because I ever aspired to be one; that's just the way things worked out and the piece of paper the State makes me carry around in order to get paid for the work I do.  But it is the cause of much consternation on my part.  Lately, that consternation comes in two flavors:  my frustration with  social workers who understand economics and natural rights so poorly that they think spending other people's money on third parties solves the third parties' problems; and the stupidity inherent in certain politically correct myths propogated by social workers.

Such as the desire for people to have Michigan carpeted with copies of everything written in English, in Spanish, to help the invisible horde of Mexican and Guatemalen immigrants deplaning at Metro and coming over the Detroit-Windsor bridge and tunnel.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Why I'm Avoiding Writing About the Americans

I really did want to catch up with this season and review each episode of "The Americans."  I also would like to write that parallel show I would call "The Russians" and maybe a reunion show for 5 years from now called, "The Americans and Hawaii!"

But there's a growing allergy I have to the show, which became evident last year when it became clear that Jared killed his family, and the Jennings' handlers wanted their daughter Paige to be the next Jared.

And as the time period in which the show takes place reflects more and more of my own Cold War memories, I'm disappointed by the moral relativism embodied by the show.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Americans: At Last!

Sorry for my delay in reviewing the latest "The Americans" season

First, a review of the major premises of the series:

Former Mickey Mouse Club-ette and "Felicity" star Keri Russell, and Welsh actor Matthew Rhys, play 2 KGB agents from the Soviet Union pretending to be a plain ol' American mom and dad with nary a Russian (or Welsh) accent between them---named Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings.  They have 2 children who never have been outside the US, Paige and Henry.  Paige and Henry are clueless about their parents' origin, which Elizabeth and Phillips hide pretty well despite giving their children horrible names

Elizabeth and Phillip have a neighbor....depending on whether the neighbor got the house after his divorce; I haven't been able to determine that yet.  He is a (wait for it......) FBI agent.  Stan.  And no, neither Stan nor the Jennings' children have figured it out yet that Elizabeth and Phillip are from the Cheka.  On Stan's part that isn't too surprising.

  Phillip and Stan...

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Fun with E-mail

Politician computer errors, masquerading as stupid politician tricks, are in the news again as Hillary Clinton tells the State Department, (to paraphrase) "Oh snap! I forgot to use an official government e-mail account and now, well, I'll just have to print 'em out for ya.  After my staff reviews them, of course."

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Christopher, Cross

No one's going to get that pun unless they're around my age.


So Chris Cuomo was on TV the other night arguing with the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.  The conversation purportedly was about gay marriage, about which I'm against both of them (I don't care who gets married to whom, but I don't think making laws about marriage is a good idea, and would personally ignore all existing ones, were I to ever get married).

But the "honorable" justice, who doesn't get the "stay out of the bedroom thing" made a statement:  "Our rights come from God!"

Mr. Cuomo protested.  "That's not the constitution!  That's just your faith! It might be your faith AND my faith, but it still didn't give us our rights. Our rights come from MAN."

If Cuomo is using the word "man" as "humanity; the human family; mankind"....ehhhhh, I might continue to drink a beer with him in the bar where we started that conversation.  But I'd worry about his understanding of law, the history of law, and philosophy.

Now first, here are some caveats before we continue.

I've read the constitution, and I've never been a fan.  The US Declaration of Independence rocks, and reading the ideas of Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton and even those who influenced them (John Locke, Cato, etc) is interesting to say the least.  But the US constitution is imperfect.  It's an instrument that, under its designed judicial system, allowed the Fugitive Slave Act to continue;  it refers to African Americans as "3/5 of a white person" in terms of voting (some say to give them some access to the polls; others say that these people surely voted the same way their master's did, out of fear of repercussion; so any ability of this minority to adress grievances was cut off, at least as far as the writers knew); and the "checks and balances" it alludes to haven't work since George Washington gave his first executive order.  The amendments serve to correct some of these problems....sometimes.

And the Bill of Rights...well, I guess I have a love/hate relationship.

As a document that shows the founders ACKNOWLEDGED our natural rights, it's great. They were definitely talking about natural rights, using some natural-rights-ese, if you would.  The lingo of Locke, Rousseau (no not the part about letting kids live wild and free in the streets),  Paine, and others;  things like "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness", "natural rights (of course)",

But the Bill of Rights isn't there to GIVE us ANY rights.

Among philosophers, and politicians, you can argue the morality or even the existence of "natural rights."  But whatever your view of them, if you believe they are something that other human beings can "give" to us...or even "allow us to have"'ve missed the whole point.  

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Moi, je suis Charlie

Watching clips from the news in Paris regarding the CharlieHebdo terrorist attack.  It's sad in a way how such heinous attacks bring out the best in people.  John Kerry, the tea drinker extraordinaire (and with his pinky out!) just said something on Fox (maybe all the channels) about how terrorism can never kill humour and free speech.

All the same, after years of defending France to people who thought they were all wimps, I love seeing Francois Hollande on TV calling terrorism terrorism (and a spade a spade)

I'd go into a diatribe about how retarded wahabists are pretty warped to believe that someone satirizing them or their religion belongs to them and that they have to control their thoughts. But I'm too nauseated right now.  Wonder what Davi Barker is thinking .