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Archive for October, 2011

In the last few weeks, we have been assaulted with images of the “Occupy Wall Street” protests.

Together with the misnamed “I am the 99%” persons, these people, and those supporting them have mounted a rhetorical full-court press on Capitalism, and those who defend it as being “greedy” and “immoral”. This is one more chapter in a battle that has been playing itself out for a few years now, starting with the lead up to Obamacare.

In a nutshell, the deep-thinking intellectuals of the Left, and their cousins, the Feelerati, decided that since those running the evil medical system believe that they should be paid for the knowledge and their services, and that because not everyone could afford the cutting edge treatments available to some, that this was somehow an affront to the very notion of being American, and extrapolated this dubious thinking into a narrative that had people literally “dying in the streets” for want of treatment (a blatant falsehood as anyone who has EVER been in that special purgatory known as a hospital emergency room can tell you) and that if you opposed a government “solution” to this “crisis” whereby the federal government makes sure that everyone is insured, no matter how much it will cost the rest of us, you didn’t really have “American” values and you also hated Jesus. No Constitutional argument against this spectacular bit of wrong thinking was valid. You don’t think the government has the authority to do it? What about the general welfare clause, you greedy hater? (And aside from the fact that the Congress itself didn’t bother to even go to this degree to justify this action, choosing instead to take the position it could do whatever it wanted, this argument was never even considered as a defense in the various court cases where the law has come under fire, it was a great argument in favor of this power grab.) Then came the self-righteous and the sanctimonious. I call them the hand-wringers. They are the ones who care so much it hurts. Just ask them. While some of them are sincere enough to actually donate their own time and money to the causes that move them, many more are the ones who make a great show of their concern for others, and therefore just know that the only way to address these “problems” is to allow them to use everyone else’s earnings to deal with it, and the power of a bloated and corrupt government to inefficiently deliver this assistance to those who are never allowed to forget who is “aiding” them. No legal or Constitutional impediment will stand in the way of these people when it comes to this “right”. They want what they want. The force of their want gives them moral authority, and if you doubt it, they are only too happy to inform you that Jesus would be all for Obamacare, so if you oppose it, you really are evil. Never mind that the same Jesus who displayed an affinity for and warned against the harming of children wouldn’t support the “right” to murder children in the womb with the sanction of privacy, and that no other policy of government must breach the impenetrable “wall of separation between church and state” that Justice Hugo Black, channeling Thomas Jefferson, had “discovered” in the late 1940s, thus proving that everyone in the Federal Government, including Jefferson himself, who used to attend Sunday services in the capitol building, had fundamentally misunderstood. This was different, because they were certain that Jesus, who never commanded his followers to aid each other through the auspices of government, was on their side. This was about charity, which everyone knows starts with government.

Flash forward to Occupy Wall Street and I Am The 99%. Now we have the crusade against “greed” and the finger wagging that insists that people like me can’t possibly be Christians when we support those greedy banks and bankers, because that’s just “immoral”. Yet when I look into the motives of the occupiers and the 99%s, I find these claims less than compelling. Take the poster above.  “We are getting nothing while the other 1% are getting everything.”  Now many people know that life is work, and that nothing comes for free.  But not these people, who have fallen under the sway of greed’s ugly and slightly retarded sister, envy.  The problem with envy is that you get so busy counting the other guy’s money and good fortune that you lose sight of your own.  Before you know it, a great black beast is digging its spurs deep into your back, and no amount of what you can take from others will be enough.  But envy isn’t the only thing clouding the judgement of these crusaders. 

The Occupy Wall Street website also lists demands.  A quick perusal of this list reveals that Envy’s big sister is right at home with those who would condemn her.  How else do you classify those who want debt forgiveness and student loans for all?  This says nothing of the other demands, all of which can be boiled down to this phrase: We want government to GIVE us everything worth having.  Forgive my student loans.  Give me a college education.  Give me a job and healthcare. 

These demands are made without regard for the cost, because it is presumed that someone else will bear the burden of paying for it…a presumption that is silly on its face.  Even if they are correct about being the 99%, the 1% cannot possibly have the wherewithal to pay for these “demands”.  And these “demands” are the epitome of greed.  “Screw the law.  Screw predictability.  Screw what others worked for.  I want what I want.  And I want it NOW!”

I want you to get your wagging finger out of my face, and for you to stop promoting your envy and your greed as “American Values”. 

Get a shower.  Stop whining and work the job that is “below” you if that is all that’s available.  Don’t take out $100,000 student loans for Masters of Fine Arts unless Mommy and Daddy are paying the bill, or your rich Aunt is going to leave a chunk of change and be courteous enough to drop dead at the same time you graduate.

And stop crapping in the parks and on cop cars, unless you don’t mind the rest of us seeing how far we can drive our feet up your butts.

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Insanity is apparently the new norm in the feverswamp on the Potomac.
From a professional listserve I subscribe to:

Yesterday Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota introduced S.1744, the Guardian Accountability and Senior Protection Act.  See http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/thomas .  The bill will provide funding for State courts to assess and improve the handling of proceedings relating to adult guardianship and conservatorship, to authorize the Attorney General to carry out a pilot program for the conduct of background checks on individuals to be appointed as guardians or conservators, and to promote the widespread adoption of information technology to better monitor, report, and audit conservatorships of protected persons.
 
Yes, this makes perfect sense.  Congress doesn’t pass a budget for over 900 days, but a Senator sees a burning need for the Federal government to insert itself into yet another area of STATE jurisidiction.
 
I wonder how many borrowed Chinese dollars this will cost…

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The Coast Guard confirmed that a female member was spit on twice and called names by “OCCUPY BOSTON” protestors earlier this week.

A friend of mine who was one of Ma Benning’s Wayward Boys in Vietnam said “You haven’t lived until you have been spit on wearing the uniform of your country.”

For now, the Coast Guard has warned their staff in the vicinity of these maggots to avoid encounters with them while in uniform.

I’m not sure if these “protestors” felt emboldened by the fact the Coastie was a woman, or because she was alone.  And I don’t much care.  The Coast Guard has an honorable history of deliberately going out to save lives in conditions where everyone else is heading in, and in interdicting smugglers.  Its the last that I think they ought to pay very close attention to… and maybe google “HITRON” on their i-phones.

Spitting on people who work hard saving lives and keeping poison out of the country. Maybe its time for a “flyby”. Unless spitting on people who do this for a living is the new standard of bravery.

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This really isn’t all that shocking. After all, “This is what democracy looks like!” is what these fine upstanding citizens and Rhodes Scholars are only too willing to chant when gathered in large groups, sometimes with fists pumping the air. The thing is, they’re right. Democracy is a large, undisciplined group, its members wanting what they want, with no checks or stops on their behavior. Whatever 50% plus 1 thinks is appropriate, without regard for the law and without a whit of consideration of the idea that someday, they might be part of the 49%.

And it’s why the Framers designed something different.

From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.

A republic, by which I mean a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking.

-James Madison, The Federalist No. 10

Now, the Occupy crowd has excuses why it isn’t interested in seeking change through participation in the existing political process, ranging from “they are all corrupt” to “the corporation’s influence the political process, and that’s why we’re Occupying Wall Street and not Bwarney Fwanks’ office in Washington D.C.”

However, it is all nonsense. While the brighter lights among them would die before admitting that the Tea Party laid this lie bare when it worked to elect over 100 candidates to Congress in the last election, it demonstrated what a “small” representative “silly”, “racist” group of “insane” citizens can do. And if the Occupiers are really 99% of the country, as they so boldly claim, then electoral change shouldn’t be too difficult at all.

They don’t forego this route because it is impossible. They forego this route because they don’t want to do that. Because the rest of us (Wait! I thought they were 99%?) won’t “vote in our best interests”. What is our best interest? Why, what THEY say it is, of course. Which brings us to the irony. They only want democracy when it is a mob. They don’t trust the ballot box, and will do anything to invalidate electoral results that are between them and what they want. A great example?

Wisconsin.

Shocked when the “democratic” process in the state brought an end to the free-for-all for public sector unions at the public trough, they banded together and massed at the capitol in Madison, and proceeded to throw a months long temper tantrum, complete with intimidation, lawlessness, and futile recall efforts funded with millions of union dollars.

And now my perpetually misguided friend Rutherford wants to paint the Occupy! nonsense as equivalent to the Tea Parties. It is silly and wrong, but he’s never let that stop him when he feels he has it all figured out. Of course, I don’t recall any Tea Party gathering where they told the participants how to get out of hand cuffs, or passed out condoms, “expressed” themselves with defecation, or the participants rolled over to people’s residences to “protest”.

I’m not surprised, though. It isn’t like the community organizer in chief sets a good example for them.

Its funny, but I don’t hear so much anymore about how “democracy” made Egypt a better place. But then, much like the Occupiers here, the protestors there were being used by people who wanted “democracy” to accomplish for them what they couldn’t accomplish on their own.

Its funny where you find wisdom sometimes. Especially when its lurking right under your nose, or has been in your ears for years.

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Ok, before I start, two confessions.

First, while I am a student of history, I never looked too hard at the Lincoln assassination. Lincoln the lawyer? Yes. But because it was such a difficult time in our history, I think I never focused on it because I didn’t want to dwell too long on one of the most tragic periods our nation has ever endured.

Second, while I had heard about this book, and mentally put it on my “read sometime” list, I wouldn’t have read it this soon had I not been offered the opportunity to read and review it.

Now, with that out of the way…

As history books go, this one was one of the better ones I’ve read, if only because the story was presented as a story, and not just a dry recitation of facts. I’m sure that it helped to have an epic story, and a fantastic cast of characters. But the way that it is told treats those characters as persons, with real-life motivations, and quirks, just like the people we interact with every day. It is these motivations, and quirks that make many of the true elements of this story so interesting to begin with.

The first part of the book focuses on the last days of the war, and the dogged determination of the Army of Northern Virginia, commanded by Robert E. Lee, which has been surrounded and slowly starved by a Union Army that could not accept failure as an option. When Lee’s force makes a dramatic breakout, on a forced march to resupply its starving troops, the authors make the suffering and the wonder at men who have nothing left being hurried along by sheer force of will, and a dedication to their genteel commander that prevents him from losing more than half his force on the march. The description was graphic enough that I felt their despair when they reached the resupply hub only to find that there was no food waiting for their rumbling bellies, and the bitterness that would leave so many of them despondent and beaten for the rest of their lives.

I was surprised at the accounts of the horrors that the people of Richmond inflicted on themselves, in anticipation of the Union arrival and occupation, and touched by the descriptions of the final conflicts which found West Point classmates and old friends on opposite sides, a fact somehow made more poignant by the description of the Union general staff members waiting until Lee accepted the overly generous terms of surrender before they asked his permission to cross the lines, and seek out their friends and classmates among his own officer corps. I was genuinely touched at his own bravery in seeking to surrender before an unstoppable onslaught was set loose upon what remained of men who had given the last full measure of what the living could offer solely out of personal loyalty to him.

In truth, this emphasis on the last days of the war, and how in them leaders such as Lee and Lincoln both repeatedly exposed themselves to danger, in ways that seem unthinkable today, put a different spin on the subject matter for me. Where my casual familiarity with the assassination plot that I had from my public school education left me with the impression that Booth’s act was simply one of revenge, O’Reilly and Dugard provide a detailed glimpse into the world of Booth, who was an actor, southern sympathizer, and at one time, Confederate operative. As the reader is immersed in Booth’s world of hate and schemes, you realize that Lincoln was only the most audacious piece of a much more ambitious scheme to strike down the heart of Union leadership at a time when it was most critical to not just bring together one nation that had become two, but to actually heal it. While the act still retains the character revenge for me, it now strikes me as the final act of the war, and one that showed hope for a nation still divided in its heart when it refused to lionize the assassin, and chose instead to condemn him for the cold blooded murder he committed.

Along the way, we are treated to the unfolding of fortuitous circumstances, scoundrels, villany, honor, friendship, life and death, and a genuine tenderness for the subject. It is easy to think of Lincoln the President, but part of his enduring legacy is an undeniable humanity that finds easy humor, grace in the face of a world not generous with it, and an ability to overcome many obstacles and setbacks that might have made a lesser man give up. The reader is given a taste of the cares and concerns that so aged this man in such a short period…so much so that I confess to choking back tears when reading the account of the hours just after he was shot to when he died the next morning. Lincoln endures because we didn’t just lose a President with his murder. Lincoln endures because we lost a person who truly exemplified the best of us. The scene of his last hours was simply unthinkable by today’s standards, with all manner of absurdities, injustices, flickers of insight from those put in his company at that time, and the helplessness and compassion of the physicians attending the striken President as his time on Earth slipped away.

If you like a story with intrigue, loyalty, lingering questions, and compelling characters, I recommend “Killing Lincoln”. If you like true stories, I can recommend it on that basis as well.

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I sincerely hope that this was a case of “Bongwater in, bad things result” and not a dry run for mayhem in some sort of “Occupy Tacoma” nonsense.

And you just don’t see this kinda stuff happening to BMW… jus’ sayin’…

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The expression is that “A picture is worth a thousand words”.

This one is the ultimate intellectual expression of the American Left. In it, one sees the contempt that they have for other people’s achievements, and those who help perpetuate society by safeguarding those achievements and keeping the peace. Any discussion of the inconvenient truth that no matter WHO leads it, Marx/Commu/Socialism will never work is wasted on people who can find eloquence in excrement.  They are blind to a political and economic system that allows the individual to “pursue happiness” by taking responsibility for their own destiny, rather than being yoked to a collective standard chosen by other people.

I have had exchanges with some of the #OWS (Occupy Wall Street) supporters this week on Twitter.  All condemn the “greed” of Wall Street, while being completely blind to their own envy and sense of entitlement to what these “evil” greedy people have. They rail against corporations for their lack of “accountability to the people”, and refuse to acknowledge that corporations answer to their shareholders and the government, and were designed that way, instead of focusing their attentions on the people who were always intended to be accountable to them: elected officials.

They tell their sob stories of hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt for their MFA degrees and living in parents’ basements, unable to get food stamps for their cats, or jobs that allow them to pay back their student loans. Each adds their plaintive voices to a chorus of whiney stories that call themselves “We Are the 99%” as opposed to the evil, greedy 1% of rich people who they feel entitled to “take” from. I’d call them “We Are The Falsely Entitled”. They talk about “new” economic models where workers have a say in how businesses are run, and how they have to “collapse the system” in order to build a society that is “fair” and doesn’t pick winners and losers, which is utter nonsense.  If society didn’t pick winners and losers, then you should be able to go to the corner store and purchase an ice cold Chrystal Pepsi for yourself.  They are immune to the suggestion that it is reasonable and understandable to be angry about a government that picks winners and losers, when its role is to act as referree.

This insistance on “firness” is the expression of the naive and those blinded by envy, both of whom are eminently willing to surrender a potential that they have been tricked into thinking that they do not have, or that they are too afraid to command for themselves, to people only too willing to harness for their own ends. In either event, their childish notion of “fairness” pervades their demands and beliefs. A fairness that betrays opportunity for a physical equality, doled out by beneficent “rulers” who decide what is best for all and make it the assigned task for society.

But what I find the most offensive is that this segment of society, clinging to their Noam Chomsky readers, talking about the need for greater Democracy everywhere, and approving of every new law made by activist federal courts over the last 40 years utterly rejects the Democratic apparatus we already have.  It is urgent to “collapse the system” because “The Corporations” make all the choices for them, leaving the voter with only Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee when the time comes to cast the ballots. When you point out the flaws in this thinking, such as the success that the Tea Party had in backing and electing candidates in 2010, they only offer the electronic equivalent of a blank stare, followed by “That can’t be right. I saw all about the Tea Party is bad on MSNBC.”

When you suggest that if they really are the 99%, then it should be any problem for them to field and elect their own candidates, the only response is mumbling about corruption. And when you suggest that they simply don’t have the right to “collapse” a system that everyone else in society relies on, and has built their lives around, then they don’t have much to say at all, other than to condemn you as one of the 1% or as someone being led by the nose by that 1%.

As ridiculous as they appear to be, their ignorance and their appetites are dangerous. This is a mob that largely has no understanding of civics, of their political history, both the one that is their birthright, and the one they stupidly embrace, and yet believe that society can and should provide them with a life free from want, difficulty, or hard labor. They demonstrate no understanding that the democracy they cry out for is, at its core, only what 50%+1 wants, or that without safeguards for the minorities that are part of the system they want to collapse, they will inevitably be part of the 49%. While I don’t want to spare them the impact of learning that lesson firsthand, I do not want to live in the environment that would teach them, because revolutions are messy, and the temptation for the rest of the world to interfere is too great.  That means that we HAVE to engage them, and let them know that they are nowhere near being 99%, and that the only reason this has gone on this long is because the rest of us had to get up and go to work in the morning.

More excremental elloquence for Rutherford:

Yes, Rutherford. By ALL MEANS, let’s hope they form a caucus.

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