Philosophical Musings

Philosophical Musings

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Roosevelt in 1936, Obama 2012

Here is an interesting speech excerpt from Franklin Roosevelt campaigning for his second term..  1936, madison square garden, ny, ny:

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

In a very similar way, Obama is appealing to the people as FDR did. Certainly, there was need for some govt regulation, as the money people were trampling & exploiting the working people, though many have argued that FDR's financial policies are what made the 'great depression' so great.. i don't know. The irony in this is the illusion that FDR & Obama have in being for the people, and against 'organized money'.  WW2 gave fdr the economic boom he wanted.. not progressive policies. Organized money continued to profit, with 'Daddy Warbucks' getting richer. In obama's reign, the financial sector, & especially the green financial sector has profited from his policies. His cronies are the Daddy Greenbucks. But neither really helped the people. They just had to appear to be for the people to get their votes.

But it is the illusion of 'taking care of the people' that appeals to many. That's what the occupy wall street crowd seems to want. They want the nanny state. Cradle to grave policies sound great to them. But it is an illusion, as the state cannot provide for others without taking from someone else. Decades of this mindset has increased the dependents, & the providers can no longer care for them. We have effectively 'run out of other people's money'.

Here's another fdr speech excerpt from the same year.. October 31, 1936

What was our hope in 1932? Above all other things the American people wanted peace. They wanted peace of mind instead of gnawing fear.
First, they sought escape from the personal terror which had stalked them for three years. They wanted the peace that comes from security in their homes: safety for their savings, permanence in their jobs, a fair profit from their enterprise.
Next, they wanted peace in the community, the peace that springs from the ability to meet the needs of community life: schools, playgrounds, parks, sanitation, highways--those things which are expected of solvent local government. They sought escape from disintegration and bankruptcy in local and state affairs.
They also sought peace within the Nation: protection of their currency, fairer wages, the ending of long hours of toil, the abolition of child labor, the elimination of wild-cat speculation, the safety of their children from kidnappers.
And, finally, they sought peace with other Nations--peace in a world of unrest. The Nation knows that I hate war, and I know that the Nation hates war.

..nothing wrong with any of this.. all politicians promise this. This is a very good example & concise summary of the basic desires of people and what they want from their government.

1. Labor laws to protect the worker.
2. Infrastructure for the good of the country.. 'those things which are expected of solvent local government'
3. Financial regulations to end wild-cat speculation.. securities watchdog
4. Fair profit from enterprise.. fair business regulations
5. Protection of the currency.
6. peace with other nations

This is not the formula for a nanny state. This is not a structure for a socialist agenda. These are fair, reasonable duties for a government of the people. This is all the government we need. This is what Obama promised us.. hope & change.. fairness & protection of the weak. But he has only furthered the gains of the moneyed elite. Dependency on the government has grown, not the Gross Domestic Product or entrepreneurial ventures. He has moved us even closer to statism & is bringing us to the edge of financial collapse. Does not organized money continue to see 'Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs'? This has not decreased under Obama, but increased. He is not a friend of the people, but of organized money. Of course, he gets to pick the winners.. his cronies are the ones that get the gravy, but he's still an appendage of the moneyed elite.

We let them divide us over insignificant details.. things we can work out in our leisure. They plunder & corrupt the entire system, & hand out candy to distract us. We need to narrow our focus on what we want from govt. I hope that we can see the nanny state as impossible.. it is bankrupting us. The currency will collapse. But unfortunately, too many voters think they can still profit from the govt ponzi scheme. They know it cannot last, & many at the end will be left holding the bag, they just hope it will last a few more years while they get theirs. This is not a responsible, protective view of loyal citizens of a nation. We should want good things for the country for our children & grandchildren. We should not want to bring it to ruin, just so we can live on easy street for a while.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Individualism vs corporatism

One of the things people bemoan is diminishing personal freedom.. at least i do!  The state takes more & more power, & the individual diminishes.  In the US, we have a long history of individualism.  Pioneers & immigrants took risks, worked hard, supported themselves, their families, & even helped others.  People farmed their own land, worked for other farmers, took an apprenticship with a tradesman, or became an entrepreneur in some venture.  You either took care of yourself, or you had a very small heirarchy of bosses to deal with.

But with the advent of industrialism came a new position:  The lifelong salaried worker.  The railroads were one of the early users of these people, and their number grew as large factories & manufacturing processes expanded. Few workers really knew the owners or top bosses of the plant they worked at.  The heirarchy grew & corporatism did too.  Investment groups formed and began to outnumber many individually owned & operated companies.. many of which took care of their employees.  As corporatism grew, the individual declined.

In my family, my dad worked for a while for a big engineering firm after ww2.  But he saved his money & pursued a course of self-employment.  His brother became a dentist & worked for himself, too.  His sister married a career army guy who eventually retired & worked at many management positions in the food & beverage industry.  None worked at a large corporation for very long, if at all.  My grandfather raised his family in the depression.. no corporate jobs there.  He traveled around looking for work in the construction trades.  I also went the construction route, which is usually very non-corporate, except in some big cities & union states.  Each boss was different in each job.  Most had to treat the workers fairly or they would quit.  But the main thing all these have in common is a more individually based concern.. an emphasis on self-reliance & personal responsibility.  The individual generally saw the direct connection between their work & their compensation.

But corporatism & industrialization changed that.  Large complex systems of operation grew as products became complex & specialized.  Workers became a cog in the machine.. attaching a widget or doing a single repetitive task.  They became replacement parts in the machine.  And as the corporations grew, so did the administration, and with it politics, power struggles, & influence.  Then as unions grew in power.. a result of oppressive practices by the corporate management.. workers gained rights & protection.  People began to look to the union or the govt to protect them from unfair labor practices.  Sometimes, the pendulum of power swings too far either way, and in places the laborer began to see his part in the corporation as a right.  The corporation seemed like an eternal, self sustainging entity, & their place there was secure.  Any injustice had a process of appeal.  You could not be fired, or abused, or discriminated against, or have to take anything unjustly.  The govt's role expanded those rights, protecting the individual from corporations who had administrators who were injust.

I think this shift in the american worker also explains the shift to more state controls & involvement.  We became more comfortable with a big brother we could call for if some bully was menacing us.  Protection soon evolved into care.  The state gained more & more power as the people began to look to the state to care for them.  I suppose you could call this, 'evolution of a nanny state'.

When i moved to az ~25 yrs ago, there was not a wal-mart.  The banks were local or state banks.  Most jobs were construction or other service type jobs.  There were many entrepreneurs, but there were a lot of people who worked for them, too.  Some were not good employers, and they had a hard time hanging on to people.  There were very few big conglomerates for people to work at.  But gradually, as has happened all over the country, and especially in small towns & rural areas, corporations & big business became more dominant.  Mom & pop businesses folded as walmarts, big banks, restaurant chains, & other big corporate ventures pushed the little guy out of the market.  Workers had mostly big corporations to work for, but also found some benefits with that.  They could learn to work the system to their advantage.  Many played the game & advanced in the corporate heirarchy.  But there were some who did not adapt well.  Many more individualistic people were not comfortable in the corporate structure.. they felt their individual significance was dwindling, & at times they stood up for themselves.  But in corporations, that only works if you have the political clout.  Individualism is not encouraged, but is seen as an enemy of the corporate state, which is often run like an authoritarian cult.  But after a few individualists (might also call them radicals or trouble makers) are fired, everyone settles down & becomes comfortable in the security of the system.

This is another explanation of the move to a more statist government.  We are used to the protection & care from an entity bigger than ourselves.  More & more of the population is raised & lives in some kind of big corporate structure.. education, military, manufacturing, finance.. almost everything is run by the big corporate system, & it is a natural evolution for it to become part of the government.  I don't think it has to go that way, but i can see how it does.  I think people can live & work within a corporate system, & yet insist on personal freedom from the govt.  The govt can provide protective regulations for the workers without having to micromanage every aspect of their lives.  It is a fine line, perhaps, but if we want to have any individual freedom at all, we need to at least try to get it from the govt.

I'm not criticizing corporations or business, or unions, or workers.  I just see this as a reason for our transition from a more individualized approach to the more statist one we have now.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy President's Day!

I like quotes.. no really, i do! Here are a few from notable us presidents to commemorate this day:

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
George Washington

Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty.
George Washington

Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
George Washington

“Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
Abraham Lincoln

Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself can spare time for personal contention.
Abraham Lincoln

"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle."
Abraham Lincoln

The buck stops here. ~Harry S. Truman

I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Thomas Jefferson

There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

The American, by nature, is optimistic. He is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly.
John F. Kennedy

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.
John F. Kennedy

I sometimes think that the saving grace of America lies in the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans are possessed of two great qualities- a sense of humor and a sense of proportion.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure... than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Theodore Roosevelt

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Ronald Reagan

Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.
Ronald Reagan

I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics.
Barack Obama

Nothing is easier than spending public money. It does not appear to belong to anybody. The temptation is overwhelming to bestow it on somebody.
Calvin Coolidge

A conservative is a man who sits and thinks, mostly sits.
Woodrow Wilson

Individual liberty is individual power, and as the power of a community is a mass compounded of individual powers, the nation which enjoys the most freedom must necessarily be in proportion to its numbers the most powerful nation.

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. ~James Madison

The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?
John Adams

While the people retain their virtue, and vigilance, no administration, by any extreme of wickedness or folly, can very seriously injure the government, in the short space of four years.
Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Statism and Welfare

"We reject the idea of the safety net becoming a hammock" ~Allen West

The problem as I see it is the propaganda from the statists who have convinced many people that all the problems in the country, & even the world, are because of greedy people in the private sector. Everyone needs to run to the state for protection from the evil corporationists. This ruse seems to be working. It is ironic, because the great majority of the problems we face are not from the private sector, but are from the statists & their fantasy programs. They don't work, they're inefficient & wasteful, & they're bankrupting us.

The whole problem of govt managed risk based products (like social security and medicare) is with their actuarial computations. It is like they got them from a bunch of stoned partiers without computers or calculators. They just pulled numbers out of the air, without any serious thought or basis. Medicare is a good example. People pay in a small amount, then collect double back in claims. No insurance company could operate like this. No actuary could justify these calculations. This is just another 'something for nothing' scam, except the scammers are elected, & the victims are the taxpayers.

This is not some partisan or ideological difference. It is a fiscal nightmare. The entitlements have not been projected or funded with any degree of competence. The results are clear:

We cannot trust the federal government to manage entitlement programs.

I am talking about social security & medicare but the entire welfare state mentality is included.  These are more examples of the govt's management skills & budgeting prowess. Even something with real science & data behind it.. the field of actuarial statistics.. the govt screws up & mismanages. With this track record, and there's more if you want to look at military spending & pentagon waste & mismanagement, why do we think the federal govt can manage a national safety net? They couldn't manage a minnow net.

Now some may want to obscure reality, or muddy the water, or deflect from the issue by turning the discussion into a personal one with little jabs & snide remarks. But this does not detract from reality or dispute the obvious. The statists & social engineers have had their experiment. It has not worked in america, and we cannot afford to continue to pour money down a rat hole. It's time to cut our losses, phase out the welfare state, & return it to individual states & the private sector. Many of the other redistribution programs will also need to be modified or ended, like the aforementioned social security & medicare.

Americans are a compassionate people.. probably more so than any other nation in history. But we are not fools all of the time. We have common sense & can see if something is not working as has been promised. We love success stories of those who have risen above their circumstances. We want to encourage & promote those who want a better life. We are proud of 'the land of opportunity'. But we also see the landscape has changed. Individual freedom & responsibility are being systematically dismantled as the statists consolidate power & build their empire. It is not too late. We can return to a more individual based government & deny the statist's plans for complete control. But it will be a battle. Statists do not relinquish power easily. It must be taken from them kicking & screaming. But we must do it for the sake of the country & our descendants.

The State acquires power... and because of its insatiable lust for power it is incapable of giving up any of it. The State never abdicates. ~Frank Chodorov

I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. ~James Madison

It is not that power corrupts but that power is a magnet to the corruptible. ~Frank Herbert

Forum debates

I am involved in many forums where we debate politics & philosophy.  I have been accused of being 'pseudo-intellectual', because i sometimes use big words.

"I probably just seem intellectual to you guys because i can write in complete sentences and can complete a thought. I like to use the whole spectrum of the english language, which is very descriptive. Sorry if my posts are too heady.. i'll try to dumb it down more.."

I'm a fire breathing constitutional conservative.. and i did inhale!

It amazes me how many on the left do not want to have an intelligent discussion about issues. They seem to only want to ridicule & snipe at others' points, without presenting any ideas or thoughts of their own. Truth & understanding are not sought, but only division, deflection, & diversion. I guess i should realize that this is their goal. They don't want a consensus or real solutions, but they want to muddy the water so everything seems obscure & mysterious. I used to think it was just immature debaters, frustrated because they don't have any logic or reasoning behind their positions, but i think now that sniping & deflection *is* the method chosen for discussion.

I get weary of being misrepresented, quoted out of context, & being pushed into debating points i am not making. I make a reasonable point, then it is distorted & thrown back in my face.. many do this in the forums. It is nothing new, but sometimes i get tired of it. Straw. Camel. Back. I think the problem is when you discuss things with arrogant, self absorbed people, they don't bother really reading what you are saying, but skim it quickly, make a snap judgment, put the opponent in a box, & begin their usual canned talking points response. The response does not address the point being made, so it appears i am arguing for something completely different from what i posted. This is just a pet peeve. ..i don't expect things to change.

But i do not submit to intimidation or bullying over points of logic. I don't rely on distortion or lies to make my points. I am a seeker of Truth.. a starry eyed idealist, searching for answers. Winning debating points on a forum is not high on my list of achievements or goals. I channel John Wayne just enough to not have much patience with liars & hypocrites. I cut people slack, but eventually i'll draw the line. I prefer good natured, intelligent conversation, with some dry humor mixed in. I know some people are not as bright, or miss subtleties in a discussion, but i don't bash them over it. I have the least patience with the self proclaimed elitist who believes himself to be of superior intellect, & constantly reminds everyone else how smart he is, & how stupid they are. People don't have to toot their own horn. It will be evident soon enough in your conversation if you have any intelligence, integrity, or civility.

It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them. ~Pierre Beaumarchais

“The Democrats seem to be basically nicer people, but they have demonstrated time and again that they have the management skills of celery. They're the kind of people who'd stop to help you change a flat, but would somehow manage to set your car on fire. I would be reluctant to entrust them with a Cuisinart, let alone the economy. The Republicans, on the other hand, would know how to fix your tire, but they wouldn't bother to stop because they'd want to be on time for Ugly Pants Night at the country club” ~Dave Barry

“He may look like an idiot and talk like an idiot but don't let that fool you. He really is an idiot.” ~Groucho Marx

Friday, February 17, 2012

War for Fun & Profit

Call it police action, peace keeping, counter insurgency, nation building, or whatever. You are an occupying army in a foreign land. Your presence there is an act of war to many if not all of the residents.

At one time we were in a world wide war against communism.. the threat was if all the world went red, they would eventually take us out, too. But that did not happen. Communism fizzled, & their own people rebelled & changed their system. The threat to the us now is terrorism. We fear terrorists coming into our turf & doing another 9/11 action. So we justify preemptive strikes against other countries because some of them might have had a hand in the 9/11 attack.

We also have military bases all over the world. We practice wartime maneuovers near nations we want to intimidate. We send in drones & seal teams to kill kidnappers & enemy combatants. All of this costs the taxpayers a lot of money.. money the govt does not have, & the taxpayers are not willing to pay. So the us govt does it on credit.

IMO, the most we should do is the seal team extractions for us citizens being held hostage. We cannot afford to be the world policeman. Let regions where there is conflict police themselves. Why should we meddle in affairs we have little to do with, other than some vague notion of 'american interests'?

For too long the us has used the military to prop up business investment, or some crony dictator who kills & oppresses his own people. This is immoral & unconstitutional.

Here are some steps i think will help with the deficit & promoting freedom.

1. End all foreign aid. Let other nations take care of themselves, & build themselves. If there is a tyrant in power, oppressing his people, let the whole world, & especially the neighboring countries be involved. If there are problems in Mexico or Canada, we can consider how their situation affects us & take whatever actions are appropriate.

2. No executive police actions. Unless there is a direct threat that requires immediate action, all military endeavors should be prohibited without the full approval of the congress. No preemtive strikes.. no drone attacks.. no bombing or shelling of another country, unless we are in full congressional agreement.

3. If we decide to take military action, it should be swift & severe. Do what we need to do to eliminate our enemies. No political posturing & trying to appear appeasing. If we're going to war, do it right. Go to war & end it. Otherwise, use diplomacy. This is the idea behind 'speak softly & carry a big stick'.

4. Close all foreign military bases. I don't see any constitutional madate for the us to have occupying forces throughout the world. They do not promote good will, regardless of what the propagandists say. Keep our military at home, unless there is a direct threat to our national security. If there is, end the threat, then come home.

We are in a post imperialistic world. Super powers are unsure of their role. They can't just conquer other countries & rule them or colonize them, like they used to, but have to be 'caring' or 'sensitive' to the people in those countries. And if the people we are 'helping' don't like us & instead shoot at us, our feelings are hurt & we bomb them. We should instead offer an open hand of commerce & friendship. If it is not accepted, there are plenty of other nations who will. If some country wants to attack us (and there would be fewer motives if we are not meddling), we can return the favor.

Our current policies of military engagement seem to be to promote our military industrial complex.. keep the money flowing in arms & warfare. This is not the ideological position of a freedom loving people.

Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.
Thomas Jefferson

Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Laws & Liberty

I don't believe in a set of rules or laws that change with the weather or the administration, voted on by the majority. The us is a republic, based on law. We have determined that the role of our govt should be to secure our rights to 'life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness.' We do not want to be exploited by powerful agents, foreign or domestic. We do not want statists to creep into power, diminishing our freedoms & piling rule upon rule until no one knows what is legal or not.

But to secure these self evident rights, we have instituted a govt that derives it's powers from our consent. We give it power to protect us. ..not to sell us to the highest bidder.. not to plunder our property & give it away in lavish gifts or social experimentation.

Most of the time, laws, regulations, or whatever you want to call them are definitions. Sometimes things need to be well defined to have clarity. The bill of rights clarified & expanded upon the 'life, liberty & pursuit of happiness' clause. That means we have free speech, religion, right to trial, arms, etc. There is nothing wrong with clarifying our rights & responsibilities.

The problem we have is not regulations themselves, but the chipping away at personal liberties. We have allowed the statist ideology to become dominant in our govt. They want more & more control, & don't mind sacrificing our liberties to get it.

Here's some of my ideas for 'fair regulations', or reasonable laws..

1. Unless something is a basic right.. an amendment guaranteeing a personal liberty or responsibility, put a sunset on it. This law will expire in a period of time. Then it can be reviewed & determined if it protects us or exploits us.

2. Consider laws with the following criteria: Does this promote & protect the individual's liberty, or limit them?

3. Does the law protect one individual without putting undue hardship on another? Safe working regulations can be made without putting a business in financial difficulty.

4. The people should be the beneficiaries of the laws, not a special interest or lobby. The current system is flawed, & is being used to exploit, not protect. Unions, industry sectors, & other special interests have too much influence on something and someone that is supposed to represent the people.

The bigger danger seems to be when the branches of govt do not follow the constitution & their basic mandate to protect us. Activist judges limit, infringe, or outlaw our basic rights. Executive orders are given which are not provided for by law, yet the executive branch gets away with it. Congress whimsically passes laws that have no constitutional authority or provision. These are are the real dangers to our freedoms. We need to insist on elected officials who will follow the constitution. If they want to change it, fine. Do the work & change it. But this slithering behind the scenes & whittling away at our freedoms is unacceptable.

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." ~Patrick Henry

Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter -- by peaceful or revolutionary means -- into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it. ~Frederic Bastiat

List of countries us military should get out of

My list is easy & non prejudicial.

1. All of them.

We don't need to occupy any countries. There is no mandate in our constitution that allows or compels the president to send troops or military intimidation to every or any area on earth. We can have allies. We can dock our ships in friendly ports, & pal around with our buddies there. We can send some troops on joint training exercises with other allies.. but we don't need the expense or have the constitutional justification to allow any administration to send the US military, which is funded by the taxpayers & is subject to the laws & constitution of the US, to conflicts where the congress has not declared war.

We are a free people. We promote freedom & liberty. We encourage & cheer for other people who yearn for freedom. But we cannot go to war with every 'bad guy' that comes into power. We can be civil with the leaders in the diplomatic arena, & if any become hostile or posture aggression toward us, we can return the favor. But few bad guys would want to mess with us, if we were civil & open to mutually beneficial trade. Our foreign policy is filled with aggression on our part, funding tyrants, defending business interests, oppressing the people of another country. How can we blame them if they see us as the tyrant? We have been partners in their oppression.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gold and the dollar

I don't know if it would even be possible to return to a gold standard.. no other country has it, & most of them don't have very solid currency, either. The dollar, with all it's problems, & deficits is still preferred. Are we in the us about to pull the rug out from under the whole world?

What would happen if the dollar bubble burst? If china and rich investors stopped buying tbills, & went to something else.. Interest rates would start to go up, trying to encourage continued investment, but there could also be a panic.. a world wide dumping of tbills. The treasury could print a bunch more money, & let the fed lend it out, keeping interest rates down, but if confidence in the dollar starts to wane, i don't see any govt action helping. They could not stop the housing bubble from bursting, how will they stop the dollar? If they squeezed the money supply & drove interest rates up, that might offset some inflation, but higher rates would kill the typical us household, and another rash of bankruptcies & foreclosures could plunge us deeper into recession.

I don't think we're out of the woods.. & even if the gold standard is not the solution, the massive debt is still a major problem & seems to be pushing us to economic collapse.. or at least currency collapse.

Some people don't seem to think the debt is a problem. We can just print more money & borrow it, & the dollar will remain solid & life will go on. If this is the case, why not give everyone in the us a million dollars, & let them live high on the hog? Let all of us go on the dole, & make it enough to live like kings. The rest of the world won't care, & they will continue to invest their assest in dollars, right? Nations that have lived beyond their means have to pay the piper at some time, just like individuals do. They can use inflation to plunder their citizens, but eventually the world money people won't lend them any more money. Once the international big money investors lose confidence, the dollar will crash. Unless we get some austerity in our budget, it seems to be unavoidable.

The economy depends about as much on economists as the weather does on weather forecasters.
Jean-Paul Kauffmann

Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain.
Napoleon Bonaparte

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Labeling while rome burns..

If you remove the labels from the conservative & liberal people, we'd find they aren't that much different in the central, important issues of governance. Many 'conservatives' definitely lean toward statist control. Some 'liberals' have more libertarian views. It is the non-essential issues in government that is used to divide & plunder the people. The moneyed ruling elite keep us scattered in our views so we do not focus on their corruption. Lobbyists, super pacs, big unions, corporate donations, & other big money involvement in politics are not what the majority of the people want. Do the politicians care? No, they want us to bicker about gays or the environment.. while they continue to exploit & plunder the treasury.

Statism and Freedom

Freedom is never a 'one and done' type of thing. It must be watched over, cherished, & defended. The gradual movement away from personal liberty toward statism has not happened in a vacuum, but right under the noses of the citizens. I think the ruling elite have convinced us there is nothing we can do.. it is out of our control, & money is power. If we are not part of the moneyed elite, we do not have any political power. We have let them convince us there are many interest groups, with major differences in agenda & ideology. We have let them split us into ethnic & racial groups.. & convinced us that we should be loyal to our own kind. They have convinced us that our individual freedom is not the most important thing.. it is now social justice, or world leadership, or military dominance.

But i say that we the people do not have to submit. We can take away the power of the statists. We can regain & protect our personal liberties. We can remove the moneyed & political elite & get those in power who will speak for the people.

Yes we can.

If people really understood the consequences of statism, they would not want it. But we don't. We let the ruling elite convince us they have divine right as kings, or they can bring peace & prosperity to the people, or social justice. No one stands up & says, 'I want to be oppressed by a totalitarian state!' But throughout history, we have been, & continue to be.

We the people need to see that we can rule ourselves, with a representative republic. But we are like the israelites of old, who after escaping slavery in egypt, want a king to rule over them.

This is in 1 Samuel 8.
11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day." 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."

Just from an historical perspective, this illustrates the way we are. We are not really happy with freedom, but want a king.. a ruler ordained by God... a messiah or anointed one. We want someone who gives us a thrill up our leg when he speaks.

It is hard for us to see that we can do it without the ruling elite. We don't need divinely inspired ordination for our kings. We can do it ourselves, with honest representatives who will speak for us. If they don't, we need to fire them asap & find someone who will. Grassroots works.

Occupy wall street's declaration of independence..

Here is the source:

They sure have a lot of self evident truths, here. I'll take a look at them..
We hold these truths to be self-evident:
That the real, physical world is the source of our own lives, and the lives of others. A weakened planet is less capable of supporting life, human or otherwise.
I'll go along with this premise. The earth is our home. If it fails, we are dead.
Thus the health of the real world is primary, more important than any social or economic system, because all social or economic systems are dependent upon a living planet.
I'll go along with this logical conclusion of the above premise.
It is self-evident that to value a social system that harms the planet’s capacity to support life over life itself is to be out of touch with physical reality.
I suppose this would be true.. If you can show there exists such a system. IF iran or n. korea, for example, wanted to nuke the whole world & kill everyone & everything on the planet, that would be a bad thing. But i'm not sure they've defined 'social system' adequately to describe what they really mean.. we actually do know what they mean, but they don't want to say it directly.
That any way of life based on the use of nonrenewable resources is by definition not sustainable.
I disagree with this premise. Iron, for example, is non-renewable, yet many things we have are made with it. I don't know if you could say our way of life is based on it, but what would that be? Oil? I'm sure this is where they are going, but our way of life is not based on it.. it certainly is an important energy source, but no more than iron or aluminum is an important manufacturing source. Oil is not important if we don't have iron.
That any way of life based on the hyper-exploitation of renewable resources is by definition not sustainable: if, for example, fewer salmon return every year, eventually there will be none. This means that for a way of life to be sustainable, it must not harm native communities: native prairies, native forests, native fisheries, and so on.
Ok, now we're finally getting to the point. I don't agree with this premise or conclusion, because it has not been established that we are 'hyper-exploiting' anything. That is just assumed. Certainly care must be given to the wildlife & ecosystems. But it is possible for us to live in harmony with nature, as we have done for millions* of years. What is 'native'? Humans are native to the earth, so if humans occupy an area, they are native to it. I think humans have more responsibility to manage & protect the planet, since we are so dominant, & presumably have intelligence.

(*not all agree with this, but most arguing for this article would, i will assume)

That the real world is interdependent, such that harm done to rivers harms those humans and nonhumans whose lives depend on these rivers, harms forests and prairies and wetlands surrounding these rivers, harms the oceans into which these rivers flow. Harm done to mountains harms the rivers flowing through them. Harm done to oceans harms everyone directly or indirectly connected to them.
There seems to be a lot of usage of 'harm' in this. I don't think this has been established, but is assumed. Certainly i am in favor of responsible management of our environment, & regulating industry so it does not pollute. Is that all that you want? Regulations to reduce pollution?
That you cannot argue with physics. If you burn carbon-based fuels, this carbon will go into the air, and have effects in the real world.
People argue with physics & about physics all the time, even in the real world. If you boil water, it vaporizes & also goes in the air. Yes there can be extremes & excesses, but not all carbon is bad. Plants need co2 to live & grow.
That creating and releasing poisons into the world will poison humans and nonhumans.
Poisons? Are you suggesting carbon is poison? Or have we moved on, since the carbon issue is settled?
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create poisons for which there is no antidote.
I thought we were in the real world. You think regulations can be passed to prevent a 'rich & powerful' person to create poisons? I'm fine with the concept, but only a world totalitarian government, with total control over all manufacturing, research, & money could prevent such a thing from happening. But perhaps this is where you're going with this list?
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to create messes that cannot be cleaned up.
Well, this assumes messes can be made that cannot be cleaned up. Perhaps world wide nuclear destruction would be tough to clean up, but even it could be in time. But we clean up after tsunamis, hurricanes, oil spills, terrorist attacks (twin towers), urban riots, and of course, war. So are those ok? I'd be for good, reasonable regulations that minimize accidents, & provides for cleanup after them.
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to destroy places humans or nonhumans need to survive.
Away from the real world, again. We can 'not allow' all we want, but unless we have totalitarian world rule, some dictator somewhere will destroy places & kill people & bunnies. We could also kill all humans, which would end that threat. Otherwise, we are not in the real world, but in a fantasy world, telling world tyrants they are not allowed to destroy places.
That no one, no matter how rich or powerful, should be allowed to drive human cultures or nonhuman species extinct.
You mean like genocide? Ok, i'll go along with the idealistic fantasy.. no one like hitler should be allowed to come to power. Why, that was easy! Now the world is safe! Again, the only way to enforce this would be to give someone total authority over the entire world, with tight controls to prevent us from harming & driving living things extinct.
That reality trumps all belief systems: what you believe is not nearly so important as what is real.
Of course this is true! If only the writer could see the irony!
That on a finite planet you cannot have an economy based on or requiring growth. At least you cannot have one and expect to either have a planet or a future.
This is a non-sequiter, imo. What does a growing economy have to do with a finite planet? No correlations have been made. Would a declining economy be ok? How about an up and down economy?
That the current way of life is not sustainable, and will collapse. The only real questions are what will be left of the world after that collapse, and how bad things will be for the humans and nonhumans who come after. We hold it as self-evident that we should do all that we can to make sure that as much of the real, physical world remains intact until the collapse of the current system, and that humans and nonhumans should be as prepared as possible for this collapse.
Ok, collapse is inevitable. So we should become apocalyptic survivalists, learning how to purify water & build a cache of arms & seeds. Seems like you guys better get out of the city. How will the nonhumans prepare?
That the health of local economies are more important than the health of a global economy.
It seems to me that in our modern world, we are already codependent. How can you have isolationism in a totalitarian world dictatorship?
That a global economy should not be allowed to harm local economies or land bases.
You talk to global economies, now? You're going to tell them who they can harm or not harm? We are for sure not in the real world, now.
That corporations are not living beings. They are certainly not human beings.
Ok.. so you come up with a timeless truth that just happens to be a commentary on a fleeting current event? But i'll go for this one. Fine. Corporations are not people.
That corporations do not in any real sense exist. They are legal fictions. Limited liability corporations are institutions created explicitly to separate humans from the effects of their actions—making them, by definition, inhuman and inhumane. To the degree that we desire to live in a human and humane world—and, really, to the degree that we wish to survive—limited liability corporations need to be eliminated.
Man you really have it in for corporations. They have been around for hundreds of years.. some have been good, some bad.. just like people! What's the obsession with corporations? Aren't they just 'groups' of people, in a raw sense? And you label all as inhuman.. isn't that kind of judgmental? You want to end the right of people to incorporate.. either in a business, family, or any endeavor. But unions incorporate. So do political parties. What's wrong with letting people band together in a common purpose? How do you propose for people to group together in common ideals, like saving the whales, or stopping war, or electing some retard to office? Clubs? Nations? I don't get the hostility to all corporations. Sure, we need regulations, but banning all of them? This is another baby & bathwater proposal.
That the health of human and nonhuman communities is more important than the profits of corporations.
More corporation bashing. Of course people & the environment are more important than profits. You think ending corporations will solve that?
We hold it as self-evident, as the Declaration of Independence states, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends [Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it. . . .” Further, we hold it as self-evident that it would be more precise to say that it is not the Right of the People, nor even their responsibility, but instead something more like breathing—something that if we fail to do we die.
Since you're plagiarizing Jefferson, too bad you didn't succeed in brevity. Too many muddled premises & befuddled conclusions.. not simple like,

'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'

See? That's how you write a declaration of independence.. concise, to the point, simple, timeless. That's what you should have copied, rather than muddled rants about corporations, the economy, & the environment.

If we as a People fail to rid our communities of destructive institutions, those institutions will destroy our communities. And if we in our communities cannot provide meaningful and nondestructive ways for people to gain food, clothing, and shelter then we must recognize it’s not just specific destructive institutions but the entire economic system that is pushing the natural world past breaking points. Capitalism is killing the planet. Industrial civilization is killing the planet.
Oh, so now it's 'we as a People'. I thought we needed a dominating world government, not personal liberty. Institutions? You mean corporations? Or national governments? You somehow think people would be peaceful & loving if they did not have a corporation to join? How can people get food in non destructive ways? eat soybeans? Neither capitalism nor industrialism is killing anything. The logic here is killing me.
Once we’ve recognized the destructiveness of capitalism and industrial civilization—both of which are based on systematically converting a living planet into dead commodities—we’ve no choice, unless we wish to sign our own and our children’s death warrants, but to fight for all we’re worth and in every way we can to overturn it.
So you're prepared to fight & kill the evil corporationists, who only want the planet's destruction. Oh, and capitalists are also included. What, no socialists? Don't they eat meat, live in inefficient houses, burn electricity made with unapproved raw materials, & fly around in jets burning non renewable fossil fuels? The commies do, too. And so do the libertarians! What about the totalitarians? Didn't Kim Jong-il also pollute & eat meat? He killed a lot of people.. why does he get a pass, but capitalists & corporations have to bear the blame for all the ills of the world?

I don't see how any thinking person could buy this crap. This strikes a chord with you? You really see logic & wisdom in this stuff? You think there are real answers to the world's problems in this movement? With declarations like this?

Sorry.. i hate to be dismissive or ridicule another's heart felt world view, but this is so absurd i keep thinking someone will jump up & say, 'Gotcha! Ha ha ha! We were just kidding!'

Either that or i am completely misunderstanding what is being said here.. maybe there have been a lot of word changes & mistranslations.. so if i have missed the point, please explain.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Statism vs Individual Freedom

I think the basic differences we have in our political discourse is a fundamental difference in the kind of government that we want.  There are extremes.. some want full state control, others want full individual liberty.  Most of us want something in the middle.  But finding that middle ground is the hard part, or so it seems, because anyone who debates any particular point of the size & scope of government is automatically assigned to one of the extremes.. They are either an authoritarian statist, or a libertarian anarchist.

I definitely lean toward the individual freedom side.. most of my opposition to government is because of too much of it.  The more the state expands & controls things, the more it takes our freedoms & responsibilities.

How do we determine if a particular issue is a good thing for our individual freedom, or is giving the state more control?  For me, a simple way is to ask if this issue protects my freedom & individuality, or does it take it & give it to the state or someone else?

Some things are a compromise.. we pay taxes to support schools, police, & firemen.  We give away some of our liberties with our money to get a service that is beneficial to all.  We expect it to be well managed, though.. we can't just give them blank checks.  But these are local services, provide by local government.  What do we expect from the federal government?  What are its basic duties?  I'll go back as i often do to the declaration of independence:

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

It is the basic function of our government to secure our rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  We don't really need it to do something else, & that was the point of the founders of america.  Get a simple, fair, modest government that does not try to exploit us & oppress us, but protects & defends us.  Monarchies do not do this.  Marxism & socialism do not extoll the liberties of the individual.  Dictatorships & any other totalitarian states see the state as being supreme, & the individual as serving it.  That is the basic difference between statism & individualism.  If our government is promoting state centered programs, they are pursuing statism & not individual freedom.

Here's my list of modest government duties:

1. Protect & defend our lives & liberties from enemies.
2. Secure the border & manage immigration.
3. Manage interstate commerce & regulations.
4. Manage international commerce & negotiate treaties.
5. Manage & provide a sound currency.

Now let's look at some of our current problems:

1. Military involvement all over the world.
Are any of our involvements militarily because of a direct threat to our people?  No.  We should end our military meddling in the world & bring our troops home.
2. Illegal immigration.  12 million people are here illegally?  Has the government done one of it's primary funtions to secure the border & manage immigration?  No.  We need to enforce what is already in the law like all the other countries of the world do.
3. Welfare state.  It is not the function of government to be involved in charity.  Our welfare state has not decreased poverty, only institutionalized it.  It is a racist, wasteful attempt to bring equality by wealth redistribution.
4. Public debt.  If we had a modest government that protected our basic rights, & was not trying to micromanage every aspect of our lives, our government could be fiscally sound & solvent.  But government agencies are legion.  They are wasteful, inefficient, unnecessary, and do not promote the individual's freedom or responsibility.
5. Unstable currency & banking bailouts.  We have high inflation on the necessities of life, but low interest on savings.  Our government has bailed out corrupt & mismanaged financial institutions, and left us with the bill.  The dollar is staggering as gold prices indicate the dollar falling.  It is at over $1700 at this writing.  It was $35 when i was in high school.

All of these problems, and many more, are the result of the move toward statism.  The US government was more individually based for most of our history, but in the last century, we began to let the state run itself.  Every administration has increased the size & scope of government.  It has not been the problem of freedom, the constitution, or american individualism that has caused this, it has been the statists, be they socialist or capitalist, who have moved us to this point.

I don't think we need to scrap the system, i think we need to throw out the statists who have been pushing us to ruin & corrupting our system of individual liberty & freedom.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government..

It is not too late.  We can try to find honest representatives, who will promote small government, & that will preserve the individual's liberties.  We have tried 'more'.  It is time to try 'less'.

My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. ~Thomas Jefferson

"Socialism is inseparably interwoven with totalitarianism and the abject worship of the State." ~Winston Churchill

The State acquires power... and because of its insatiable lust for power it is incapable of giving up any of it. The State never abdicates. ~Frank Chodorov

And here we encounter the seeds of government disaster and collapse -- the kind that wrecked ancient Rome and every other civilization that allowed a sociopolitical monster called the welfare state to exist. ~Barry Goldwater

"Every step we take towards making the State our Caretaker of our lives, by that much we move toward making the State our Master." ~Dwight D. Eisenhower