Monday, December 31, 2007

First Principles - - I

Sometimes I feel like I'm just whining about every little mistake made by lefties. And, even though one could blog forever about just that, I yearn to write more positively from time to time. So, I've decided to make some posts about what I believe: first principles.

I believe there is a God who created heaven and earth. I am a Christian who believes that the foundation of Christianity the belief that there is ,"no remission of sin without the shedding of blood," and that the suffering and death of Jesus is how the sins of humanity are wiped out. I believe that kindness and tolerance are expected of me. And I don't think kindness and tolerance excludes speaking the truth to the misguided. Though this speaking of truth is not to be a full time occupation. Hopefully wisdom and grace will show us when and where to speak.
I believe in God and feel that it is a sensible approach to life. I feel that world views that lack the divine tend toward the solipsistic.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Robert Heinlein Said:

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterward.

He Employs a Political Device to Defeat the Ends of Nature

Employers who use illegal immigrant workers are breaking the law in order to escape the law of supply and demand. The use of these workers depresses wages for American workers. Many politicians who claim to be friends of unions and the working class also are in the tank for these employers who are willling to break the law in order to lower the living standard of American workers. And I've never seen this aspect of the issue adressed in any of the presidential debates or on any news or opinion show. The establishment of the two political parties and the MSM have sold out. Just one case is John Edwards who blathers on and on about fighting the power of monied interests but will give them all the cheap labor they want and screw over as many American workers as they tell him to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

At Least Code Pink Quit Screaming at Daddy

The Americans that I have heard talk about torture and the Iraq war have tended to focus on the 3 or 4 cases of waterboarding by the CIA. I have heard no moral outrage about the widespread and horrific torture visited on Iraqis by Iraqis. This leads me to reflect that: 1. They are just looking for a way to work out their own little internal dramas about George Bush. And/or 2. They might think that them there backwards foreigners just aint important enough for them to take notice of. Code Pink really doesn't care about humans being tortured they just want to keep up that unresolved argument with daddy that they have transfered to George W. Their opinion on moral issues is about as useful as the nuts who can only talk about UFOs, cutting taxes or building 7.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Saturday Morning Mind Control on the CW

I saw a frightening children’s program today. A school was having a mock UN type of event. And an Iraqi girl had set up a display about Iraq. Someone had demolished the Iraqi display but no one knew who had done it. So students were being questioned by the principal while a bunch of kids sat in a room awaiting the results of the investigation. One girl was accused of having done the damage, not based on any evidence, but because she had joked about possibly declaring war on Iraq. Another kid was told that, “derogatory jokes are never acceptable.”
There was an Orwellian/ Soviet kind of feel to the whole thing. But basically the ’cool,’ thoughtful and incredibly caring adults were putting on treason trials of the kids to control their thoughts and feelings.
These attempts at thought and feeling control have been growing over the past few years. Now the CW has made it a part of Saturday morning children’s programming.
I guess it must require incredible insecurity to want to control the thoughts and feelings of everyone else. And it would be the ultimate tyranny.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Daddy, How Did You Become a Natavist?

"Daddy, how did you become a nativist?"
"It was easy, Jimmy.  I just wrote some stuff that pissed off a liberal and he started calling me names"
"You said 'piss' Daddy.  Is that worse than being a nativist?"
"Nothing is worse than being  a natavist.  It means that Hillary and Harry Reid don't like me.  It means I think there is a noncomprehensive solution to immigration.  And I might be put on trial
at The Hague."
"Does that mean they'll take me away from you?"
'Let's hope not. But someday they might start seperating relatives of hate criminals from the herd." 
"Are you a hate criminal, Daddy?  Who do you hate?"
"It's not that I hate anyone, Jimmy.  You don't have to hate anyone to commit a hate crime.  Liberals think that it's a hate crime to say something they don't want to hear.  They can be
controling and manipulative.  And they also have this problem that psychologists call
projection.  I'll explain it to you when you get older."

The Culture Wars. the ACLU and Ceramics

I was at the local hospital the other day and I stopped in the gift shop. As the little volunteer lady was ringing up my stuff I noticed a ceramic Mary, Joseph and Jesus in a manger on the shelf behind her. This clicked in with things I’ve been reading and thinking about lately. I said to her, “ Someday soon the ACLU might come in here, say that most of the patients’ stays here are paid for by the federal government and demand that the baby Jesus be removed from the hospital.” And as I walked away , I thought, “The ACLU will probably also simultaneously demand that foot baths be installed for the two Muslims that live in this town.”
I liked the volunteer’s reply. She just said, “ Well, if they do, we’ll all quit.”

Monday, December 17, 2007

It All Depends on Whose Steyn Is Being Gored

Mark Steyn recently wrote a column that identified a new civil right: the right to not be offended. A little thought about this leads me to wonder if, before I speak, I am expected to go to every person in the world and make sure every one of them is OK with what I’m about to say. Just joking. I know those who enforce this ‘civil right’ really don’t care about me suffering offense from other’s remarks. These enforcers are only interested in the thoughts and feelings of a few. What atheists and many nonChristians feel is especially important. The feelings of the members of certain racial groups are trotted out to limit the speech of others. But nuance is important here. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice might think they are black and I might even think they are. But their feelings are not of any interest to the enforcers: except bonus points are offered to anyone who will offend Condi and Colin.
There is a basic test of someone’s alleged beliefs. If you are willing to extend the benefits to all mankind, not just your friends and allies, then I might be able to accept that it is a truly and firmly held belief. But if the right to not be offended is only extended to a slice of humanity then it begins to look like just another weak assed rhetorical device.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

"Morally Obtuse"

I was going through some old stuff on my computer and I came across this column of T. Friedman's from Nov. 30, 2003 in the WSJ.  These three paragraphs bear repeating.
"I stood on the sidewalk in London the other day and watched thousands of antiwar, anti-George Bush, anti-Tony Blair protesters pass by. They chanted every antiwar slogan you could imagine and many you couldn't print. It was entertaining — but also depressing, because it was so disconnected from the day's other news.
Just a few hours earlier, terrorists in Istanbul had blown up a British-owned bank and the British consulate, killing or wounding scores of British and Turkish civilians. Yet nowhere could I find a single sign in London reading, "Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?" or "Baathists — Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq." Hey, I would have settled for "Bush and Blair Equal Bin Laden and Saddam" — something, anything, that acknowledged that the threats to global peace today weren't just coming from the White House and Downing Street
Sorry, but there is something morally obtuse about holding an antiwar rally on a day when your own people have been murdered — and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy. It can't see anything else in the world today, other than the Bush-Blair original sin of launching the Iraq war, without U.N. approval or proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Why Does Congress Have No Respect for the Law and Normal Citizens?

Most Americans feel that people should obey the law.  I feel that it only breeds disorder and anarchy to pass laws and then tell police to not enforce them.  Congress has passed some immigration laws in the past few years but they will do nothing to see that these laws are enforced.  I have frequently written to my two senators (Feinstein and Boxer) to ask for an explanation of why these laws are not enforced.  At first they would not even reply to my questions.  But more recently they have begun to send replies (nothing like an election to get a senator's attention).  But they never send answers to my question.  They just send a generic immigration answer.    
This convinced me that that they don't ever read their mail from the likes of me.       
Why does the congress have so little respect for the law? Because they only see laws as something they sell to the highest bidder. They don’t pass a law unless someone is going to pay them. They’re pissed that they had to defeat comprehensive immigration reform just to not lose their seats. They’re really pissed because the voters have done them out of some money that they feel they are entitled to. They see laws as their commodity. K street is their customer and they sell them laws. Their attitude toward the law is some what like the attitude of a manager in a factory that manufactures paper clips. It pays the mortgage but they could just as well make rain gutters. And he’d be pissed if some normal citizen told him he couldn’t sell paper clips to people who employ illegal aliens. I see congress and laws as flowing out of the great tradition of the Magna Carta, John Locke and Tom Paine. But congress can’t see any difference between laws and paper clips and they see me as their enemy since I might sometimes ask them to pass a law just because it is what the country needs.

Monday, December 10, 2007

John Milton's Arguments Against Censorship

I had meant to summarize Milton’s Aeropagitica. But I no longer want to do that. I have set myself a more narrow goal. I intend to give summaries of Milton’s arguments defending freedom of expression. Often I have adjusted Milton’s arguments since his focus was on arguing against prior censorship.
ARGUMENT ONE Without freedom of expression our ability to think clearly is diminished by the lack of exercise imposed by the constraints of censorship. And our chance of acquiring new knowledge can only be limited by this lack of freedom. And sometimes the recovery of lost truth is nearly impossible.
ARGUMENT TWO If you are forbidden to hear your opponent’s beliefs and arguments this gives them advantage since they know both yours and theirs.
ARGUMENT THREE “Bad meats will scarce breed good
nourishment in the healthiest concoction; but herein the difference is
of bad books, that they to a discreet and judicious reader serve in
many respects to discover, to confute, to forewarn, and to illustrate . . .
how can we more safely, and with
less danger, scout into the regions of sin and falsity than by reading
all manner of tractates and hearing all manner of reason? And this is
the benefit which may be had of books promiscuously read.”
ARGUMENT FOUR How will it be decided who will be trusted to choose what speech will not be allowed? If some speech is disallowed because it is dangerous, how will the censors be safe?
(I would also ask if we would need overseers to make sure the censors act properly and if,  then we need overseer overseers creating an infinite regression.)
ARGUMENT FIVE “that this order of licensing conduces nothing to the end for which it was framed . . . See the ingenuity of Truth, who, when she gets a free andwilling hand, opens herself faster than the pace of method and discourse can overtake her.”
ARGUMENT SIX “And how can a man teach with authority, which is the life of teaching;
how can he be a doctor in his book as he ought to be, or else had better be silent, whenas all he teaches, all he delivers, is but under the tuition, under the correction of his patriarchal licenser to blot or alter “

ARGUMENT SEVEN Some feel that making a book forbidden is just a sign something inthe work is important, otherwise no trouble would have been expended over it.
ARGUMENT EIGHT When truth is first seen it is different enough from the truth we have known for a long time that this difference might lead us to think it a lie and censor it. “that if it come to prohibiting,
there is not aught more likely to be prohibited than truth itself; whose
first appearance to our eyes, bleared and dimmed with prejudice and
custom, is more unsightly and unplausible than many errors, even as the
person is of many a great man slight and contemptuous to see to. “
ARGUMENT NINE “For who knows not that Truth is strong, next to the Almighty? She needs
no policies, nor stratagems, nor licensings to make her victorious;
those are the shifts and the defences that error uses against her power.
Give her but room, and do not bind her when she sleeps . . . “
ARGUMENT TEN “ . . . we in the haste of a precipitant zeal shall make no
distinction, but resolve to stop their mouths, because we fear they come
with new and dangerous opinions, as we commonly forejudge them ere we
understand them; no less than woe to us, while, thinking thus to defend
the Gospel, we are found the persecutors”

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Do I Offend?

I just came across an account of why K Mart has stopped calling those green things Christmas trees. They will now call them holiday trees. They have told the press that this is because they don’t want to offend any of their employees or customers. I’ve been hearing this kind of thing for years but I still continue to be bothered every time I hear such things.

It seems strange to me that a company will make a change based on ungrounded claims that people are offended. And I think the fact that there was no intention to offend anyone is left out. Or did K Mart management decide to call them Christmas trees with the express purpose of offending customers and employees and then at the last minute decide to not be intentionally offensive?

I know they don’t sell a lot of books and magazines at K Mart. But they do sell some. I wonder if they look through every page of every one of them looking for the words ‘Christmas tree.’ Do they make sure that none of these books or magazines mentions that there are people who are Christians? And if they don’t do this is it with the intention of offending?

Where is all of this foolishness leading? Someday will someone from K Mart come to my door and tell me that I must quit breathing because they suspect one of their cashiers in Peoria is offended by me drawing breath. K Mart did it to Winston Smith so I guess they could do it to me.


Monday, December 3, 2007

The CNN Debate That Got Some Questions from Youtube

The CNN debate that got some questions from Youtube is an interesting topic. The definition of debate is being expanded. It now also means, "getting a few people together who share a zero sum goal and have people who hate them embarrass them and verbally abuse them while everyone there foolishly pretends they are engaged in a serious and honest enterprise." CNN says it is a news organization but seems more interested in presenting entertainment and working out their hate for Republicans. The fact is that these candidates continue to regularly place themselves in a no win situation that makes them look like fools. It seems they will sell their self-respect for a little air time. I have come to question the values and judgment of every one of them. And if the Republican party had much judgment or self-respect none of them would tune in to CNN and thereby reward CNN's dishonest spitefulness. You might say that CNN just never vetted the questioners. And I reply that an actual news organization would have vetted the questioners. An actual news organization would not have even thought about it: they would have just done it.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stare Decisis When Convenient

Supreme court nominees have started to pledge to apply stare decisis to Roe v. Wade. (I'm waiting to see a senator give up that much of their constitutional power to another branch of government.) But if this stare decisis stuff is so great, let's really put it to use. How about the right to bear arms? There is a much, much, much longer history of citizens being allowed to own guns than there is of the 'right' to abortion. Why, oh why doesn't stare decisis apply here? Could it be that the senate judiciary committee thinks there has been a 220 year long misapplication of the constitution in the case of the second amendment? But I think that if guns could be used to perform abortions the second amendment would be safer. Of course, you'd have a hard time convincing me that any member of congress gives a fat f**k about my constitutional rights. I think they only feel they need to answer to K Street.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Evil, Stupid Bushitler Strikes Again

I did some disgusting, unkind things to the people next door. I was going to apologize to them. But, them, I remembered that it's really Bush's fault. Through the sheer evil of his monumental stupidity he deceived me into doing wrong. I am a good person, especially since I've never waterboarded anyone and I've never wiretaped. The massive evil of Bush almost overcame my super human ability to find fault with others. He must be stopped or the universe will be destroyed. Maybe if I join forces with other talented fault finders, we can turn the course of history. Should we attempt it? Why go to all of that trouble since mankind will never appreciate how morally superior we are.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

How Many of You Backwoods Morons Don't Believe In Evolution?

Anderson Cooper says, "We are even more insulting to the Democratic candidates. But the vast majority of Americans are just too stupid to understand. Do you really expect someone who voted for Bush to appreciate the fine subtleties of my mind?"
Why do people insist on calling them Youtube debates? No one at Youtube has ever chosen even one of the questions. Any characterization beyond, 'the debate that has a distant and tenuous affiliation with Youtube' is dishonest. The most accurate name would be, 'the CNN lefty run farce.'
People complain endlessly about who becomes our president but don't seem to have any problem with so much of the decision being based on a process my junior high school class would have been ashamed to employ. Maybe the stupid choice wasn't so much who as how we decide who. I'd like to blame the liberals but I can't. We are all responsible for this mess.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Is the Social Contract Broken?

During the Katrina disaster hundreds of very sick patients were stuck in the middle of downtown New Orleans with a few doctors and nurses who felt an obligation to stay and care for them. They had no electricity and had to break windows to get a little ventilation in the heat. Many days passed and only a few helicopters arrived to evacuate the very sickest patients. Those who remained were abandoned. I think that few Americans who looked closely at this situation would feel that these patients and caregivers were treated properly. I, personally am outraged and disappointed in my country. I am 59 years old and I know that America used to be better than this. We expected more of ourselves than this. And Congress has not looked deeply into FEMA's incompetence or done anything to prevent this from happening again.When I was eighteen I was inspired by Socrates' argument that the laws of Athens had made his civilized life possible and he felt that he had no right to turn his back on these laws just because he had lost the trial for his life. I think that he was motivated to cause young idealists such as I was to respect law and civil life. But, if the laws abandon you, if the president is unconcerned about rescuing the sickest and the poorest among us, and if Congress won't be bothered to do something to insure that this won't happen again, what does the average citizen owe a society so run amok? The president and Congress will tell us what we owe them but seem ready to hide behind legal niceties to avoid doing anything for anyone who hasn't done for them. Maybe they need to read the fine print in the contract.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Just Wondering

You know those air quotation signs that people do at about eye level with two fingers? I have begun to notice that I have only seen this done by liberals, progressives, anarchists: by lefties. I cannot remember seeing it done by any conservatives or moderates. It leads me to wonder if air quotes aren't a symptom of a neurological disorder. I think we need more research before America is air quoted out of existence.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Is Anyone Responsible for Anything?

I recently read some lefty blog or news source saying that the Republican party is using the immigration issue to put a wedge between Democratic leaders and Democratic voters. This has got to be some variant of new speak. The voters are against encouraging or supporting illegal immigration and Democrats in congress don't seem to care about enforcing our immigration laws or protecting our borders. How is that the fault of the Republicans? I used to think that the lefties had some complex formula for finding who is responsible for anything. It is more difficult to understand than string theory but it is there somewhere. Something along the lines of: if you and the last three generations of your family are 50.00001% descended from certain approved minorities (chosen every four years by the Democrat superdelagates) then the full weight of dead white men and Republicans have somehow deprived you of any power of choice and have raped you in every possible way. I have come to believe it is really not so complex. I think it is as simple as, 'if it is a good thing the Democrats caused it and if it is a bad thing the Republicans caused it (and we'll create some semi-intellectual blather to explain it especially since all the leftie college professors quit teaching years ago and have plenty of time to spend creating b. s. ex nihilo).'

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Milton's Aeropagitica

I've never read it. I went online looking for a crib. And I didn't find much that satisfied me. So I decided to read it, outline its arguments and post the outline here on my blog. I've started reading it and I find the language delightful. I think it is eminently worth reading. Here's a great sample.
Government licensing of all publications, "will be primely to the discouragement of all learning, and the stop of all truth, not only by disexercising and blunting our abilities in what we know already, but by hindering and cropping the discovery that may be yet further made both in religious and civil wisdom." And many pages later we have, "from thence derives itself to a gallant bravery and well-grounded contempt of their enemies, as if there were no small number of as great spirits among us, as his was, who when Rome was nigh besieged by Hannibal, being in the city, bought that pieceof ground at no cheap rate, whereon Hannibal himself encamped his own regiment."

Monday, November 5, 2007


I used to work as a nurse at a state mental hospital. It is in Norwalk, California and is called Metropolitan State Hospital. Most people just call it Metro. I worked there less than six months but it was interesting work and I learned a lot. But, as is so often the case, it took me years to figure out what I had learned. I came away with many memories but only later developed a cognitive framework in which to understand it all. (See what I did there? I threw out the term 'cognitive framework' so I could keep writing and maybe later I'll figure out what it means or if it even means much.)
DIGRESSION I went to school to become a licensed vocational nurse and passed the state boards to get my nursing license. Then I got a job but felt that I didn't understand what was going on. Everything I had learned in my nursing course was just jumbled in my brain and lacked a cognitive framework. A little more than a year after I left nursing school I spent some time doing private duty nursing. This involved working in the patient's home and caring for only one patient. I had many hours of mostly free time while I sat at the patient's bedside, giving care when needed but also thinking. When I was in school I learned thousands of facts and, now, I began seeing how they were all interrelated. I figured out the the interrelated system of the human body. The human body is like a work of art: a unity made up of parts that that lose meaning or life when separated from the whole. If the feet swell up the problem is probably not centered in the feet. Probably the heart has become less efficient and the force that draws excess fluid back into the circulatory system is most evident where gravity is least helpful: the feet. Or maybe the feet enlarge because the kidneys have become less efficient at removing excess salt and this salt has drawn fluid into the feet.
What did I learn at Metro? I developed a sense for identifying different psychiatric disorders. I didn't learn so much about text book definitions and lists of symptoms. I got a feel and categorized by intuition. I dealt with some extremely sick schizophrenics and saw people totally controlled by their disease. I had a patient named Daniel who spent most of his time walking around and around in the day room. He talked much of the time while he walked. He was addressing no one, he was just talking. He frequently talked about being able to trisect an angle. He also talked incessantly about having invented all psychiatric medications and that they had all been stolen from him by psychiatrists. Even though Daniel was bedeviled by his disease, he was in better shape than many of the schizophrenics we treated. Daniel could communicate with others and was mildly aware of the outer world. Many of our patients were not even aware of the outer world. They were completely caught up in the voices in their heads. We all have voices in our heads. Mine remind me of friends from junior high school, sing songs I don't always want to hear, tell me what people must be thinking about me, etc., etc. But I can usually ignore these voices and concentrate on the outer world. I have seen schizophrenia described as a disease that takes away the ability to distinguish between inner and outer. Most of us are able to identify inner and outer and separate them. This ability is much reduced in schizophrenics. And, sometimes, the inner becomes too loud for the outer to even be noticed. It is very sad to see because these people have lost almost all ability to have any control of their lives. I had a young girl patient who was totally focused on the voices and unaware of the outer world. She was medicated with Prolixin Decanoate, which is an injection that only needs to be given every couple of weeks because of it's long lasting sustained release property. By accident I once gave her twice the dose the doctor had ordered. And I watched her over the next few days to see if there would be any ill effects. I saw no difference. I began to think that since she had twice as much anti-psychotic in her that she might get a little relief from the voices within. I saw no change at all. Her disease was so profound that nothing seemed to make any difference.
We did not get any manic depressives. They tend to be too economically viable to end up in state hospitals very often. But we sometimes treated a variant. These were schizoaffectives who could be called a mixture of schizophrenic and manic depressive. They cycle between depression and mania and are also psychotic through it all.
I also got to see the operation of government up close. I was amazed at this and never got used to it. Some employees would come in in the morning, sign in on their time cards and could not be found again until it was time to sign out again. Many came in, stayed on the unit all day but did almost no work. Often if they were asked to do something would merely reply, "I don't do that," and return to their magazine or watching TV. This behavior amazed me. And it was treated as normal by management. I was told that, since they were state employees and union members, it was next to impossible to fire them. So almost any behavior was accepted. Nurses were the most responsible and most likely to work of all the employees. So the janitors were put under the authority of the nursing coordinator of each unit. The janitors were notoriously unlikely to do any work so the completion of their work became the responsibility of the nursing coordinator. On my unit it was Wanda. And Wanda struggled to get the janitors to do their job. But they only showed for signing in and out. I remember one time that Wanda confronted them as they were leaving after signing in. They threatened to rough her up and all the male nursing staff had to go and insure Wanda's safety. After that Wanda seemed to accept the fact that the janitorial work would never be done by the janitors. So janitorial became another responsibility of the nursing staff. We could usually get most of the work done by the patients by paying them with cigarettes. The levels of management above Wanda were never involved in patient care or the running of the units. The units were grouped into blocks of programs. And during the few months I was there these programs were constantly being broken up and reorganized. The acute psychiatric unit I worked on was part of three different programs during the time I was there. I finally figured out that this was just make-work to justify the administrative staff and keep as far as possible from the patients and lower level employees.
DIGRESSION When a psychiatric nurse says, "She did it," to another psychiatric nurse it is not a reference to sex. What is meant is, "She successfully committed suicide." It is usually answered with the questions, "How? . . . When? . . . Where?" and this usually followed up with sharing of memories of the patient.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

When I was a Leftie -- part two

Too many of the anti Viet Nam war protesters weren't so much against war as against the U.S. winning the war. And I couldn't be a part of that. So, there I was with all the energy and moral superiority of youth wanting to do something to end this war that I couldn't stomach. But my roommate, Stan, and his Straussian friends appeared with an answer to my dilemma. They had formed a more moderate organization that was recruiting students to act against the war without marching in the streets and cheering the success of America's enemies. Instead they drafted petitions and recruited students to go door to door getting the petitions signed and educating the public about the war. So I became involved in this organization. I helped with organizing and helped to staff a little office we set up in a room donated by the local Unitarian church. (I even went to a few services at the Unitarian church. But they seemed rather meatless after my Baptist upbringing.)The main organizers of this little anti-war enterprise were all Straussians and all students of Mike, the professor who taught Straussian political ideas in Cal State Long Beach's political science department.Leo Strauss would probably have approved of this organization since it drained energy away from the mad rabble who were out on the streets. Strauss would have had little use for this mob since it was just such a mob that had executed Socrates for corrupting the youth of Athens. The fear of the mob and the excesses it is capable of is a major theme and motivation in the work of Leo Strauss. He contended that his great hero, Plato, had written cryptically and symbolically in order to both communicate his elitist ideas but still be free from harm from the rabble. Strauss and Plato both despised the mob and felt the mob was incapable of the wisdom necessary for the exercise of power.I now have recollections of the nature of leftie hate and malevolence. I have said I could not support America's enemies. But it is more complex. My anger at the war often got channeled into hate for LBJ, Nixon, Westmoreland, and even military people in general. I'm ashamed to say it now, but I took a rageful enjoyment of the death of American soldiers. They had to die so that I could be proved right. And I was very aware that this sick enjoyment was shared by many of my contemporaries. It helped drive many of them to openly rooting for the Viet Cong. And it helps explains the shabby treatment that many returning soldiers received. I think the present anti-war movement is little different. The human psyche acts in certain general and often repeated patterns. So I think I can safely say that very many anti-war activists take intense and secret pleasure in the death or maiming of any American soldier: being human is a mixed bag and it isn't always pretty or praiseworthy.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

When I was a Leftie -- part one

In 1970 I was an agnostic leftie. I was going to school at Cal State Long Beach. I was studying Homer, Virgil, Dante, and ontology among other things. I had a roommate who was very friendly with a professor named Mike. And Mike taught political science and had studied under a student of Leo Strauss'. So I picked up some of the teachings of Strauss from my roommate, who was named Stan, and from some of his friends. I also read Bloom's commentary on The Republic. College was exciting. I was also drunk a lot of the time, smoked the odd joint, did acid from time to time, and enjoyed speed way too much.Then, in 1970, Nixon invaded Cambodia. I was a semi-dedicated opponent of the war in Viet Nam. And, like many of my fellow students, I felt that going to Cambodia was going too far. Enough of us boycotted class to cause the administration to close the whole school for a few days. College administrators were spineless back then, too.A local head shop had a small auditorium and about 50 of us met there to decide how best to send a message to the president. All of us lefties in Long Beach had been carrying a grudge because the city had spent so much money to acquire the Queen Mary. It had really been a fascist display of complete disregard for the real needs of the people. (The money could have been better spent providing us with reasonably priced acid and speed.) So, it was decided we would all go down to the Queen Mary and hold a protest against the invasion.My friend Doug had a light tan VW bug and I rode in it with him down to the QM. (Doug was an interesting person. I knew him from my philosophy classes. He was a truck driver who decided he wanted to study philosophy. So, he worked part time and got a bachelor's degree in philosophy. Then he went back to driving his truck. I asked him why he wasn't going to use his degree for something. And he said he had just wanted to learn about philosophy, which he had done and now he would be a happier truck driver.) Doug and I were among the first to arrive at the QM. As we were taking the escalator up we could see the first guy to arrive on the first landing. There were 4 or 5 cops around him and all of the cops were beating him like hell with their nightsticks. We could see large streams of blood spurting upward from the guy. Doug turned and ran down the up escalator. I was stunned and just stared at this sight that boys like me from the suburbs seldom, if ever saw. But as soon as I got to the top I quickly got on the down escalator and made an escape.The next day many of us went to Westwood to join in a large march protesting the invasion and the war. At the march the crowd began chanting, "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh! NLF is going to win." I found this more stunning than the previous night's beating. I couldn't chant something so traitorous. I rather like America and I think our Constitution is one of mankind's greatest creations. My father, who grew up during the Depression, and ended up a solid member of the middle class had taught me that being born in America is truly a stroke of good fortune. I separated myself emotionally from those loons and never went to another demonstration or march

Friday, November 2, 2007

Bill Moyers' Journal

I don't think the program should be called Bill Moyers' Journal. A more accurate title would be, "The I Hate George W. Bush Show." The subtitle should be, "And You Have to Pay for Me to Pretend I'm a Serious Journalist Even Though I Could Not Get a Real Job as a Journalist and I Probably Could Not Even Make a Living if the IRS Did Not Take the Money to Pay My Salary Away from You against Your Will . . . Ha Ha."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Suggestions for Senators Boxer and Feinstein and that Bunch of Theives they Hang with

Suggestions for Improving Security in Congress
Fire all guards except two and if they take their job seriously, send them to jail . Promise to build yourselves a wall but build only 8 inches a year. Promise yourselves a virtual fence but don't build it. If the Mexican embassy complains about anything you do, apologize profusely and do exactly what they tell you to do. If any government, anywhere so much as accuses you of human rights violations fire a few people. Always do exactly what these governments tell you to do regardless of any effect on the life, liberty or property of any American citizen. Continue to ingore the Constitution except when it gives you advantage. Anyone who wants should be allowed access to any part of the building they want to enter. It's not right that you should ever bar anyone since they are just good family people who are hard working. And if you hassle anyone you will probably just end up separating famlies. Keeping anyone out of any part of the building would just prove that you are a racist who engages in racial profiling whenever possible. The fact that you bar anyone from any part of the building just proves that you are a bunch of nativist, racist bigots. I am only proposing any of this because it is for the good of the children and it is becoming very obvious that you hate children and are out to harm them. How can you be so unfeeling?
I would not have suggested any of this, except, if it's good enough for your constituents it's good enough for you. Don't ever say I was unwilling to share the anarchy you've created.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The New Republic and Scott Thomas Beauchamp

I've read a lot about this big mess TNR has gotten itself into. There is one aspect that needs more discussion than I've seen. Scott Thomas Beauchamp described in detail how he verbally abused a woman who had been badly deformed in combat. Leave aside the fact that STB seems to be the only human who has ever seen this woman. Let's just assume that Beauchamp was telling the truth. Why would the New Republic want someone so lacking in moral character as a reporter? Does TNR not understand how disgusting his behavior was? If TNR can't identify scumbag behavior, why should any reader be at all interested in what TNR has to say about moral issues.
I suspect TNR thinks that Beauchamp is not responsible for his own behavior. TNR feels that having been in the army and been exposed to war somehow made the army and/or George Bush responsible for this man's behavior. I guess the argument goes something like this: I treat other people like dirt but it's not my fault because the evil Bush invaded Iraq so when I volunteered to join the military the evil of the evil Bush made me a zombie controlled by his evil evilness to abuse this woman and enjoy doing it. You have got to feel sorry for Beauchamp since he has lost control of his own life to Bush the evil zombie master. Apparently in the world view of TNR people such as Beauchamp lack responsibility and the power of choice, he is denied this basic human attribute. But George Bush is fully human. George can be responsible and make choices. Though I get the impression that Bush always makes the wrong choice. ALWAYS. But how do you prove that someone has freedom to choose if he always chooses the same. Or is it just enough to say that he's evil and he will always choose evil but still everything is his fault. So I'm left with this vision of a world of poor, helpless zombie slaves and an evil zombie master. I don't buy it but that's the world TNR offers us.


Why doesn't anyone ever talk about superdelegates? It seems that the Democratic party got tired of people like George McGovern and Jimmy Carter being chosen as their presidential candidates. So, now about one third of the delegates are given delegate spots because they are reliable party regulars (use your own imagination as to what that might mean). These delegates, the superdelegates, are not chosen in caucuses or primaries. They are put in place by the party establishment. The fact that the superdelegates are one third of the total delegates means that the party establishment has a virtual veto over most candidates. It can also be deduced that a candidate with 18% of the popular support could become the final candidate. If we compare the Democratic party to a party that chooses its delegates based on primary and caucus votes, a rank and file Democrat's primary vote is worth one third less. If anyone has a friend who is a Democrat, pointing this out to them might be doing them a favor since it is not information that is commonly known.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mythopoeic Thought-- part III-- evolution and Moses

That new chick on the View said she didn't believe in evolution because it isn't in the Bible. I bet she believes in credit cards and Prada bags. But seriously, folks, maybe she's expecting more of the Bible than the Bible meant to be. If the Bible had talked about SUVs, microwaves and speed dating what would have been the point. The original readers would have been confused and less likely to pass it along to their kids. Like so many other books the Bible spoke in the language of those to first hear it and spoke to their problems. Science was not a part of their world. Even at the time of the most recently written parts there were somewhat advanced science and mathematics available in the Roman world. But it would be more accurate to say that their so called scientific writings were about the subjects that are presently within the scope of science. But they would not completely meet a modern definition of science since the scientific method was yet to be codified.But there is a more important way in which these ancient writings differed from modern scientific writing. The ancients did not have such a category as science. It was just another branch of philosophy. Aristotle covered these topics in his book entitled, Physics. And the people from the times of Genesis and Exodus, etc., would not have recognized something as separate from religion as philosophy. The Genesis account of creation put the creation in the context of their world while preserving the unities they lived in. They lived in seven day weeks and rested from work on the seventh and God created in seven days and rested on the seventh. Men were in charge of women and many animals and this was the order and meaning in which God had created. No need for a man to ever feel guilt about killing an animal since this was the natural order of things.Evolution is a scientific theory. Ancient man had no more than the beginnings of science. So it would have been as strange as a reference to Prada bags to reference science.And the New Testament was not written in order to place mankind within the order of primates. It was written to explain how man could better relate to God and the world in whch he lived.

How Do You Bribe A Congressman?

I know this. This is easy. You bundle up thousands of dollars with other people's names on it and give it to the congressman. He grabs it more quickly than you thought possible. Then you give him the proposed bill your lawyers have written . You don't have to say anything else: he knows his job is to get the bill passed. He gets the six figure salary for being a member of congress wether or not he does anything. But these extras require him to produce. And he usually will. This isn't really a 'do nothing' congress. It's a 'won't do nothing unless you pay a whole lot for every little thing' congress. Doctors call it fee for service and they love it.The constitution gives congress all the power to set rules for itself and to oversee its ethical standards. So congress has made it legal for its members to accept bribes. I don't think the founders ever imagined that we would elect 435 people so morally corrupt. The majority of them are taking bribes with both hands while chanting, "Get Bush. Get Bush."Barrack Obama claims to represent ethical purity. With a close care for words that Bill Clinton would respect B. O. claims not to accept money from special interests. But apparently he will accept massive bundles from the same men who give special interest money to other candidates. Part of what is 'new' about B. O. is that he is the 'new' one being given a pass by most reporters.

Mythopoeic Thought

Ancient men related to the world differently than moderns. They tended to the subjective. As explanations of the world mythic stories of gods, heros and talking dogs were more than sufficient. This was because the myths filled the world with the stuff of human personality which was all that ancient men needed or sought.The ancients lived in a much more compact universe. Religion, philosophy, sociology and all science were one. Men created myths, they shared them and used these myths to guide themselves and their children. And as far as we know, most all of them believed these myths.If you enjoy history and literature, like I do, an understanding of mythopoeic thought helps you make more sense of the ancient writers. I once saw an exhibition of household items from ancient Greece and Rome. Almost all of these items were decorated with pictures of gods and heroes. They saw gods throughout nature and replicated this indoors. Livy narrates the story of Hannibal's conflict with Rome. But from time to time Livy will pause Hannibal's story to relate that at about this time a five legged goat was born in some part of Italy or maybe that a child is born with a full set of teeth. Such things spoke loudly to the Romans but the priestly books that explained the meaning of these prodigies have been lost. I would see such events as unusual and look to biology and genetics for explanations. The Romans felt these events told them something about the world and would go the priestly books for explanations.This a brief introduction to mythopoeic thought. I plan to write in future posts about how all of this applies to the contemporary world.

What are the Chances Health Care Will Be Reformed

There is about zero chance the next president will reform health care. When I hear this much talk about health care reform I know it's election time. The democrats all have a 'plan.' But the amount of money they take from insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies make their words ring hallow.When Bill Clinton ran the first time he talked endlessly about reforming health care. When he was elected he turned the whole thing over to Hillary. She formed a task force and then refused to allow the public any knowledge of or input into their deliberations. (I suppose this authoritarian style is what we can expect from a Hillary presidency.) Her final plan was too complex to be understood. And congress didn't even seriously consider it. If she had not wanted reform, one of the most certain roads to that outcome would have been exactly what she had done. The Clintons never again mentioned health care reform. And the failure to achieve reform did not seem to have ever caused any sadness to anyone in that administration. And why would they care since they all had good health insurance (I got to pay for it). The Clintons campaigning on health care reform was just a cold, calculated come on to get votes. They got the votes, put on a little act and then returned to their normal lives. As long as K Street finances our elections there will be no meaningful health care reform. But politicians will continue to make empty promises.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dear Rudy

I really like Rudy and was looking forward to voting for him. I still love him but doubt that I could ever vote for him. The reason: I no longer feel he is serious about national security. Nothing he says or does makes for real security unless he will secure our borders. If he can't see this I can't take him seriously. Unless he makes this his policy and is VERY vocal about it, I will write in Bullwinkle before I will vote for someone who is a semi surrender monkey. To allow anyone to walk in anytime they want and do whatever they please is not acceptable at this point in our history. As near as I can tell Rudy is willing to give up America to just about anyone. The man needs to rethink this stand.

The Sky Is Falling, The Sky Is Falling!

The temperature of the sky is 1.003 degrees warmer than a hundred and seventeen years ago (a rough approximation). If present trends continue the earth will be a cinder in mere eons. What if present trends do not continue that long, you ask. Shut up with your stupid questions! Those who do not agree with me are flat earth, holy roller planet killers who will be removed from any academic positions and shouted down in public. You have no right to question my computer generated model but you must be ruled by it and your civil rights must bow before it. You big stupid, a man who won the Nobel prize said the debate is over. So, quit debating, already. And why would I need proof? You only need proof before the debate ends. And didn't I tell you that the debate is over. You're really starting to get on my nerves.
What I don't understand is why people who talk so passionately about the horrors of global warming have to travel via SUV and private jet to spread the message. I take this as a pretty sure indication that they don't really believe what they preach. Or do they think their wasteful byproducts don't stink?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Freedom of Speech

I almost never listen to talk radio. I am too easily given to anger and hate. And talk radio is too full of both for me to venture there without upsetting my serenity. I have listened to Rush Limbaugh from time to time and have always felt that he calculatedly sets out to rile his listeners up with anger and fear. This is a luxury that some can handle. My soul and disposition are too markedly affected by them. Because of the nature of my personality, I experience more than enough anger and fear in the normal course of things.
But I think that talk radio has been good for America. It has gotten points of view expressed that would not otherwise have been expressed. If we had stuck with the MSM we would not even be aware that people would think or say such things. Talk radio and, now, the internet have freed America from the grip of an oppressive censorship that was only growing worse as college faculties have increasingly frozen out divergent voices. There is some irony that the law, English and political science departments of Harvard have competed with the Jesuits of the counter-Reformation in stifling opposing points of view. (My source for the info in this paragraph is David Horowitz.)
And now there is talk that the Democrats in Congress want to stifle free speech in America by reinstituting the so-called fairness doctrine. I'm old enough to remember when the fairness doctrine was in effect. Stations would present two sides of an issue. But some issues have 5 or more sides. And the 'opposing' view was usually represented by a few of the usual boring suspects that made it plain that the whole thing was a charade. It was a ritual bow to the alter of freedom of speech that lacked all respect for that freedom.
Let us be honest. We all know that few in congress care anything for freedom of speech. They are, with all due respect, a bunch of bribe taking time servers. Everyone knows that the Democrats only want the fairness doctrine reinstituted so that they can shut up some people who disagree with them. I would not be surprised if they follow this up with some measure that will price the internet out of the reach of many people. While talking about freedom of speech they will quiet as many voices as they can.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How Do You Talk to a Liberal?

This has happened to me at least three times in three months. I have friends and relatives that are liberals. On occassion the talk will turn to politics. They will make a typically liberal comment and if you offer evidence or an argument to the contrary, they turn semi-silent and semi-sullen and don't want to talk any more. And I'm left confused. If you have a belief but lack evidence or an argument to support it, why hold on to it? I guess that explains why I go away feeling they're angry at me. They either blame me for their lack of due diligence or they accept that it is their own fault. And it's easier to blame me than to change their belief system. This certainly helps explain why the daily kos is so lacking in reasoned argument and evidence and so full of nasty, angry and maybe even slanderous attacks. They seem not to have learned in college that ad hominem attacks are not valid arguments but rather fallacious.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

What Is Important to Feinstein and Boxer?

Sometimes I call my senators to share my opinion with them. Lately the phones are busy most of the time. And if the phone is answered it is never answered by a human. A recorded voice says to leave a message for the senator.
Often I will communicate by email. Sometimes they send a reply to my email. But the replies are never responsive. The replies will be only obliquely related to my message. Once I sent an email to Boxer's local office. They sent back a form email saying that no message sent to the local office would be read: the senator will only consider emails sent to the Washington, D. C. office. The only way to send an email to the D. C. office is by using the form on the website. An email cannot be sent with this form unless a subject box is checked. There is a narrow list of subjects and they often cannot describe my message.
I have come to the conclusion that no one ever listens to the phone messages or reads the emails. The phone messages are routinely erased. Form replies are sent to emails based solely on the subject box checked.
I think congress knows why they are so unpopular. And I don't think they even care.