Thursday, September 07, 2017

Wealth and Hurricanes

It was good news to hear that the Bransons were able to ride out hurricane Irma with neither injuries nor loss of life.  They survived the maelstrom by hunkering down in the family wine cellar surrounded by their Boone's Farm and MD 2020 collections.

Wealth can do that for you.

It can provide access to not only the private tropical locations that most of us can only dream about but also, in the event of an anthropologically caused climate warming event, can provide an alcohol stocked club house from which to experience the challenge.  Juan and Francoise, unfortunately living in poverty along the northern coast of Hispaniola, will spend their day clinging to a palm tree.

That is the way of the world.  Wealth enhances life while poverty lays bare its fragility.

From the Branson subterranean compound, billionaire Richard Branson's son Sam tweeted out his thankfulness for survival but also cautioned the world that it must tackle the issue of global climate change.

It is a lofty goal to be sure and many people on Earth, and perhaps an even higher percentage of the wealthy certainly counting among them the Bransons, are highly motivated to make the change.   Fossil fuels and their spewing of carbon are the targets for most of these concerns.   As a result the entire ethanol industry has been born, refinery development has been all but stopped, pipelines carrying the fuels are protested, delayed and cancelled, drilling moratoriums are put in place, punitive taxes are put in place, the evolving coal industry is shuttered in many places, all the while alternative methods of energy are being explored...which might bring us right around to ethanol again.

The designs of all of these programs is to do one thing...raise the cost of energy consumption.

As it was explained to us by President Barack Obama, "energy costs must necessarily skyrocket."  As Hillary Clinton explained during her hapless limp toward the highest office in the land, she wanted to bankrupt the coal industry.

Of course these are negative things to those who work in the coal mines, but they also have negative impacts on the users of electricity and, gasp, this includes most people who cannot afford to buy their own private islands.

Richard Branson is the kind of guy I admire for the most part.  His vision has provided tens of thousands of jobs and paid million and tens of millions of dollars in taxes.   He is not an enemy of the poor, or shouldn't be, because the wealth he has generated has paved the way for a better life for many of those who don't even know who he is.

To a point.  

However, when the Richard Branson family attempts to increase the costs of energy consumption it also without exception retards the ability of millions of those less fortunate to generate the wealth that they will need in the future to do such things as pay electric bills, generate wealth, and hopefully someday, buy private islands.  

Al Gore, owner of multiple private estates, charterer of private jets, producer of motion pictures, and perhaps the foremost proponent of AGW science, declares himself to be carbon neutral because of the carbon credits he routinely purchases.  I can't help but ask myself "wouldn't he be carbon negative if he just bought a bunch of carbon credits and left his bug butt at home?"  Maybe if he would try to be a positive influence instead of bragging about his neutrality he'd cut a more sympathetic pose.

A buddy of mine, an embracer of Al Gore's reasoning, was adamant that the wealthy can afford to pay the price necessary to make the energy switch over.  One wonders (or I did) which rich person is going to step up to the gas pump and pay the $100 it takes to fill up his truck when gas goes to $5 per gallon?   Perhaps it is Al Gore himself, or might have been before he blew his budget on all the carbon credits.  Current global warming theorists demand a reduction in energy consumption and the only way to force that result is by making that consumption punitive to every person pulling up to the gas pump.

When energy consumption falls, as it always does when prices get high, more than just gas purchases wane.   Fewer road trips are taken, fewer restaurants are visited, fewer hotel rooms are booked, fewer automobiles are purchased.   Too, fewer people work in those industries.  And then the industries that rely on those industries show weakness.  (Of course the oil companies, the number one targets of AGW warriors, get accused of gouging.)

There is no efficient way to produce wealth without readily attainable energy, and there is no more efficient energy source today than carbon based fuels.  That does not mean it will not change in the future, but these changes can only be financed by societies with sufficient capital to bridge that gap with discoveries that are yet on the horizon or beyond.  Capital, incidentally, that will get sucked out of the economy if AGW believers have their say.

More and more it appears to me as if today's climate science favors those like the Bransons while turning its back on the Francoises and Juans. Sam Branson has nothing to apologize for when it comes to his billionaire family status.

It is AGW theorists who are willing to deny wealth to those clinging to palm trees during hurricanes that should apologize.



  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Driver's Licenses: A Progression

Does a driver's license have more than one purpose?

Certainly a license, issued by the state and earned by a driver proves that the holder has passed all the requirements to drive a vehicle in the state in which it was issued.  Endorsements on that license help to prove the holder's qualifications for operating different kinds of vehicles, their ability to haul cargo, and their capacity to understand all the applicable rules.

Too, the license helps to substantiate the holder's identity should he want to prove his legal age to purchase alcohol, enroll at a college, write an out of town check, or buy a casino's buffet with valuable earned credits!   (Of course, to prove a voter's identity with a driver's license would be too discriminatory.  Let's not go there.)

Driver's licenses also help to identify unconscious and deceased accident victims while indicating too their organ donor status. 

The purpose then, for the driver's license, is multifold.  None of the purposes of the driver's license have ever been arbitrary, though now its usage is beginning to waver on that front.

The People's State of California is considering a change to their driver's licenses that would include an X as a sex indicator.  This is one of the first of many steps being taken today to blur the definition of  the sex that was "assigned" at birth by God and that pesky swirl of chromosomes that make up our being.

Thankfully most identification cards eschew color photos of our junk and a person's sex is taken at the word of the holder.  However, when it comes to identifying the body of a person badly injured in an accident, in the absence of a junk shot, paramedics might have to rely on something a little more concrete than the fluidity of gender choice.

It is true also that in the years that elapse between the times that a driver's license picture is taken a person's looks can change.  Glasses are changed or discarded, hair color and length (and thickness in my case) change, older people shrink, and everybody lies on their weight anyway.   The blond haired, blue eyed, physically fit devil portrayed in the photo might actually look, well, a lot more like me when current events are taken into consideration.  (My junk is still M.)

The natural progression at play here makes identification potentially misleading in many situations and without purpose. 

In a woefully inadequate speech class (instructed by a woefully inept graduate assistant) we were given an assignment to speak to those in the rest of our class about who we were as individuals.

Wait for it....yes!  Collage time.

Beside the fact that I felt I had outgrown such an exercise by about 8th grade, we college frosh spent several class periods explaining to each other why some of us were going to be so successful (in pictures) while the most discerning among us figured out rather quickly why, despite the fact our building was covered in Virginia Creeper, we weren't actually attending an Ivy League school.  The collage was our identity and our junk could be whatever we wanted it to be.

I'm pretty sure that is where we are heading...at least until driver's licenses become completely obsolete and autonomous vehicles dominate the roads.  We won't need a license to ride in a self driving car, will we?

Still, identifications will remain relevant for the other purposes mentioned above, but the farther we wade into identity fluidity, the more a collage might actually be the better route for those negotiations at the casino buffet counter.   


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Detroit, the Movie, Shoehorned into an Undeserved Context (Because I'm Like That)

Today I went to the theater and watched the movie Detroit.  It occurred to me after watching the film that we should painstakingly drag up historically ugly incidents, regardless of how they make us feel, in order to remember them and learn from them. 

The movie attempts to document one of the ugliest of the incidents that took place during the riots of that hot summer of 1967.  It is one of many ugly stories contained within those several days of smoke and fire and bullets and bricks.  And blood.

But why make such a film when the producers and director and actors must have known that delving into such a project would open old wounds?   The 1960s, we hope today, are far removed from today's modern society where, more or less, people of different skin tones and hair textures can mix and mingle with one another without creating great tension, fear and violence.

If that is the case, and most people would say that it is, then why make it?  Would it not be better to just move along?

What then is to be gained?

I'm certain people of different proud races and of different experiences could have different reactions to the film.  A swastika wearing hammer skin might cheer for a racist and corrupted police officer while a BLM sympathizer might become ever more motivated to distrust police and call for the frying of more "bacon."  These are fringe people in fringe movements and do not speak for a vast majority of individuals in this country.

I too came away with my own thoughts.

During that summer of 1967 I was but nine years old and had not yet entered the fourth grade.  Northern Michigan, where I grew up, was 180 long miles from the tendrils of smoke that trailed across a sky easily visible to fans at Tiger Stadium. 

I'm not certain I even have any direct memories of the '67 riots as it occurred.  We didn't have 24 hour news channels in those days and I'm not even sure if we had a working television at that time in my life.  It was summer, I was probably playing Wiffle Ball or catching crickets. 

So, all I know about it today is what I've gathered from reading, listening to other people talk about it, looking at some of the blackened storefronts many years ago, and now watching this movie.  Many of the landmarks of the riots were destroyed in the riots themselves, and many others, such as the Algiers Motel itself, have been removed in the time since.  Memories fade, oral history dies, and soon enough only the hardened documentation remains. 

Now, ratcheted up by the Charlottesville incident where some Nazi goons who supposedly demonstrated to protect monuments that honor heroes of the old south, we have many others demanding that these same old monuments (and others with much more dubious attachments to racism) be relocated to museums or destroyed outright--their existence and location seemingly a cause of great discomfort for those that view or visit.

I certainly understand this sentiment and perhaps some of this relocation (only) could still serve the purpose of remembrance and knowledge.  However, I'm not so certain that discomfort is altogether a bad thing here.

Monuments themselves become a part of history.    Nathan Bedford Forrest, a southern general and an early member of the Ku Klux Klan, has had dozens of monuments raised in his honor over the years (not to mention a few pointed white hats.)  Should they be toppled and destroyed, or simply relocated to a museum that documents the Civil War? 

My opinion might not be worth a lot given my age, color, and ignorance, but an art historian might use this occasion to say the fact that such monuments might have been erected to honor Forrest as late as the 1920s or 1930s or 1940s, (or even 2013!) could also tell us something about certain people in this country who were alive in the 1860s and afterward feeling Forrest worthy of honor. And why they honored him.

Rail against these statues and monuments all you want, but if every one of them is removed I don't believe one person's life will be enriched except for those perhaps who might enjoy a beautiful flower bed or park bench that occupies the space in its stead.  But expose us to a monument and the history of the monument and we all might learn a little bit.  Ugly facts are still ugly, and the whole story, from beginning to end, is still the story.

Perhaps this could be the reason behind the making of a movie like Detroit after all--intentionally looking for old wounds and poking them to see if there is still associated pain and discomfort.  Perhaps poking particularly hard to cause pain and discomfort. 

It is a good movie but it is not a movie that makes you feel good. 

Don't destroy it.   Watch it for what it is.






 

Friday, August 18, 2017

An Honest Discernment of Hatred

The last authentic episode of hate speech that I heard in my life was screamed by a young lad with a cavernous mouth toward his mother who had had just about enough of the whole opened yap thing.  It was embarrassing for her, the child's father, for me, and hopefully, after several years of reflection, for him.

How do I know it was hate? 

It was the intent, the volume, the passion.  And I, as the third party, a direct witness of the event, feel I am qualified to divine what the little snot was thinking at the time he expelled his snarling.  An hour later, of course, the rather volatile beast was once again settled down and interacting with those around him in a rather fragile but subdued truce.

Perhaps it wasn't hate so much as it was immaturity and emotional trauma.  Who is to say?

In today's political bump and run it has become solely for the listener to decide.  This is why the categorization of "hate speech" and "hate thought" and "hate crimes" are so dangerous to a free society--not because we embrace the hate that might be behind them, but because we do not want third parties to pass judgment on what might be the intent of such expression.

There is no doubt that we have hate speech in today's society.  (We always have had.)

Enter the likes of Charles Murray, Ben Shapiro, Heather MacDonald, Robert Spenser (not to be confused with Richard Spenser who hates to his heart's content) and Donald Trump.   Or, to today's progressives, anyone who might possess a conservative position or two on any number of difficult contemporary political issues. 

As an example, there are few Americans today who are more honest about their beliefs than Ben Shapiro.  I've been reading his columns since he was an undergrad at Harvard.  I've been listening to his podcasts at the Daily Wire for well over a year.  His debates are reasoned and well documented, as is his history.  He is, according to some, the person most often targeted by the alt-right in its march toward a more regulated and homogenous society.  Ben, to his credit, refuses to shut up.  He is no hater even though he is cynically labeled as such by others.

But the alt-right, perhaps the most pervasive spewers of hate in this country, is not a group who worries overmuch about the hate speech of others.  It is the progressive left that uses the terms of hate as tools to wield in attempts to silence their adversaries.  Both sides are illiberal and seek top down governments with the power to alienate and persecute those whose beliefs differ with their own. 

While the alt-right totalitarians and their bird of a feather sympathizers are properly relegated to the outmost political fringe, their well-armed antifa totalitarian adversaries are granted wide berth by most politicians, a nearly uniform press, and by an entertainment establishment too afraid to be vocationally black-balled to stand up for freedom.  

Donald Trump is a bumbling politician.  He is a woefully inept speaker.  His methods and tactics are ill advised.  His thin skin and quick temper make him an easy target for an activist press and his political adversaries, regardless of which political party they might belong to. 

He is being criticized these days, and properly to some degree, for his seeming reluctance to disavow the actions of the Nazis in Charlottesville.  He claims to have no sympathy for those wearing jack-boots and driving vehicles into milling crowds, but his early statements tried to spread the blame equally in the one area where equality is not welcome. 

And Trump is wrong about this.  There are those who weep at the destruction or removal of monuments to their southern heritage.  To my knowledge they were not the planners of this demonstration.  The groups behind this weekend's demonstration were dedicated not to their southern heritage so much as they were dedicated to a segregated south, and a yearning to return to those times where uppity people of color sat in the back of the bus and drank from their own fountains.  They were a mob of uniformed and weaponized Nazis and they came well prepared for a fight.  They also chanted anti-Jewish messages that I'm sure left Louis Farrakhan beaming.

The counter protesters belonged in one of two categories.  The first group and perhaps majority were those people who showed up with no weapons other than their voices to protest against Nazi hate.   The second group was populated by antifa (anti-fascist,) Communist or anarchist thugs who showed up with axe handles, mace, shields, helmets and facemasks.  They too were combatants prepared for war. 

Gasoline, meet fire. 

Sadly, a 32 year old paralegal as well as two law enforcement officers (none belonging to either armed group) lost their lives.  The Nazis celebrated their rally's success.  The media castigated while a bumbling president opined. All the while an empowered antifa movement, every bit the totalitarian sympathizers that the Nazis are, was able to sneak away under a strictly enforced media blackout, for future battles and greater glory.  

The purpose of this particular rally is ultimately irrelevant because the antifa movement seeks out to attack any rally with which they disagree.  Violent protests at Berkeley, in Chicago, in Philadelphia, in Cincinnati, in Washington, in Portland, in Seattle, etc., prove this.  So, whether the rally in Charlottesville was called by Nazi sympathizers or some obscure historical society is largely irrelevant--the antifa movement will be there to engage their enemy.

 Already the Nazis are petitioning for future events, one of them at Michigan State University.  My hope is that the university makes a wise decision that refuses to provide a battleground for axe handlers and mace sprayers.  They have no responsibility to provide a landscape for battle. 

Sadly, should Ben Shapiro try to speak at that campus he might very well be shut down by the university for the same reason, even though Ben Shapiro, regardless of how much you (love or) hate him, is not himself a purveyor of hate, nor will he ever show up for such an event with the weapons of war.  Universities, much like the antifa movement itself, care little for that important distinction. 

When I was in elementary school there was an out building on the school's grounds.  It had been many years previously a one-room schoolhouse--the school where my Dad spent several years.  When the larger school district was formed and the small school houses were abandoned, this school, The Grandview School, was taken from its foundation and relocated to an area behind the high school where I received all of my disappointing grades.

It was painted white and was called, aptly, The White House. 

The White House was famous for two things.  First, it was where all the old desks and tables and track hurdles were stored. Secondly, it provided a portion of school ground property not visible to snoopy teachers and administrators who might want to survey the grounds for trouble.

As early as middle elementary school the challenge of "I'll meet you behind the White House" meant only one thing.  There was going to be a fight.  It was not going to be a poetry reading.  I was never a party in one of these fights.  I was, however, several times blessed with a good observation point. 
 
When antifa protesters show up at a poetry reading or any other non violent expression of free speech the blame should be easy to discern.  When they show up at a Nazi rally, however stupid their intercession is, the total blame is more difficult to cast--why Mr. Trump wants to walk that line is hard for me to fathom. 

Perhaps it is simply too difficult to explain in one minute sound bites or while arguing with a gaggle of reporters.  Some topics cannot be set aside wish wispy arguments regardless of how honestly they are spoken.  Perhaps Mr. Trump should spend more time making certain his words are appropriately vetted before he spouts them.  Perhaps, too, he should stop being so steadfast in his dedication to self. 

How hard could it be, really, for President Trump to call out the evil that is Nazi?  Their message is neither spontaneous nor screamed by a child.  It is a thought out political stance based on hatred. 

Too, how difficult could it be for the media to accept that Communist sympathizers and anarchists are just as evil?  Why do they get a pass?

This is how we arrive at a narrative.  Ill prepared statements issued by a leader trying his best to toe the line, and a cacophony of reporters trying their best to take down a bumbling leader regardless of his intent or beliefs. 

We should demand better from both.  I know we deserve better.




 






Monday, August 14, 2017

A Christian Comments on the Country's Fraying Fabric

After watching another open incident of murderous idiocy display itself in Charlottesville this weekend, I have a few things to say.

But first things first for a little context.  I am a Christian and therefore believe that violence for the sake of violence is wrong.  I care not who perpetuates it.  I am not a pacifist so I believe there are times when violence might be called for, but having grown up in the Mennonite tradition I find nearly all forms of violence in nearly all contexts to be wanting for justification. 

So, who to blame for the latest carnage? 

The roots of this calamity lie in progressivism in its many forms.  Progressivism has a large umbrella that casts a shadow over many movements, and two of these movements are Marxism/communism and national socialism or, as a historical progressive coined it, Nazism. 

Nazis are not communists and vice versa.  Yet, all communists and all fascists are socialists.  The roots of these political philosophies lie in the shepherding of a small group of elites into positions of great political, economic and social power.  They each thrive by dividing the population into identity groups that can be pitted against one another and by design then, must levy the governing powers for restitution.  Both systems are tyrannical and oppose individual liberty.

The individual is secondary in progressive thought.  Capitalism is anathema.  Personal property rights are attacked as standing in the way of "the greater good" or in opposition to "the will of the people."  The operational vehicle might differ between these socialist groupings, but their intent is to subvert the individual to the larger group.

The communists/Marxists wield their power through a top-down and heavy handed government control over the means of production.  A bigwig thinks that black pants are suitable "for the people" and soon every person is wearing stylish black pants.  The government owns the factories.  It owns the cotton fields.  It owns the dye, the thread, the buttons, the zippers.  It transports these chosen components in its own trucks, driven by drivers in the government's employ, to the factory that it owns, and then has the components unloaded at the dock by black slacked government workers.  Everything works great until some enemy of the state wants a pair of blue jeans. 

A good ruling fascist might also want his subjects to wear black slacks (they are a good match for the jack-boots.)  But, rather than try to direct every individual move along the chain of production, he merely rewards the companies or corporations who are most likely to toe the line.  He regulates those he dislikes and rewards those who seek favor.  Companies that cannot compete against well capitalized competitors drop out of the system and those that are left standing enjoy the high life. 

Companies that operate in a fascist framework produce products more efficiently than those operating in a communist country might, but they also tend to produce private sector wealth disparities that are largely absent in communist countries,  The ruling classes are wealthy in either system.  They both redistribute wealth.  They both adhere to top-down thinking.  They both stomp on individuals who are trying their best to live lives of independence and prosperity.

So, why the hate between these two groups that both seek the same top down power?

We see today's leftist groupings standing side by side organizationally even though they oftentimes hold opposing (and often explosive) viewpoints.  This is how NEA members can stand beside African American parents at a rally when there is no organization in American that has damaged the educational system in the inner city as badly as has the NEA.  This is how wall-street bigwigs can by and large belong to the same political party that also boasts as members most left leaning college professors.  This is how the rainbow coalition can generally stand in unity with the Muslim community at Democrat Party functions when, in the old country, one of these groups would be pushing the other off a tall building. 

No, the neo-fascist and neo-Marxist movements of today are largely populist ideological movements that are impenetrable to either hypothetical reasoning or blatant proof positive examples.  So they line up with brass knuckles and jack boots on one side, and axe handles and bandanas on the other.

Much of this boils down to the unchallenged propaganda being taught in today's universities, promoted by today's entertainment industry, and justified by today's news media.  Leftist ideology in all of its forms has produced an American political consumer largely ignorant of the roots of its movements, and largely uninterested in hearing any opposition to those movements. 

If Donald Trump was a fascist (and let's be honest, his rhetoric has done little to dispel the fears of those who accuse him of such) he would not be trying to dismantle the regulatory state that favors corporate cronies.  If he was a fascist he wouldn't allow himself to be torn apart by a free media, wouldn't be thwarted by the political party he supposedly leads, and he wouldn't be badgered every day by a "dark state" inside the government he sits atop. 

His major sin, other than being terribly disorganized, terribly inarticulate, terribly thin skinned, and terribly impulsive, is that he operates within the confines of a popular culture that is optically terrible for a politician. 

The same Hollywood that produces endless sex and language gratuities hates that their current president seems to abide by the rules of their most popular productions.   The same news media that hates Mr. Trump for his supposed strongman lawlessness seem to have little problem with the lawlessness of cities and states that embrace lawlessness.  The same universities that embrace radical professors like Bill Ayers and (the late) Tom Hayden, and on a daily basis provide them with a lectern behind which to speak, have major problems with people like Heather McDonald and Ben Shapiro making one-time appearances at the podium.  That Heather is a woman and that Ben is a Jew does not provide them with adequate credentials to avoid being anti-woman and anti-fascist.  So, shut them down!

A peace vigil today can be attacked by fascists.  A free-speech assembly can be attacked by anti-fa goons.  Both groups of attackers seemingly ignorant of the sins they commit and the unrest they create.

Getting back to my heritage as a Christian and a believer of non-violence.  I cannot control all things and I'm not the kind of guy to hold my own anti-fascist/anti-communist rally.  So I watch news clips and videos of others who are shouted down by radical opponents who know little of the wonders of this great experimental country whose fabric is ripping at the seams. 

I haven't seen it yet but what I hope to see one of these days, only because I am blessed in my inability to control such things, is an anti-fa protestor (using fascist tactics) striking a Nazi-goon upside the head with an axe handle at the exact same moment that the skin head Nazi hits the anti-fa fascist in the jaw with his brass knuckles. 

As they both fall to the ground some sense penetrates their now slightly loosened screws. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

A Winning Sales Pitch

It would be foolish for conservatives to ignore a demographic momentum that does not favor conservatism. While many celebrate the latest victory by a non-conservative on the national stage, it is this victory in itself that should leverage some caution with many of the celebrants.

When the GOP gave primary voters a choice between several conservative presidential contestants and Donald Trump, it was The Donald whose scepter was raised in the end. Indeed, in a charging herd of pachyderms it could be said that Mr. Trump protected the left flank. And yet this leftward position was used as a springboard from which to attain the top rung of America’s historically most conservative party.

In a Democrat Party election exercise that by design favored the Clinton royal family, the most energetic portion of that long lost party was in the camp of the neo-Marxist Bernie Sanders. Hillary may very well have ended up the victor of her party’s primary process on an even playing field, but the youth, the next generation of economically illiterate voters, favored Karl Sanders in huge numbers despite party insistence, machinations and propaganda.

Finally, the popular vote in the presidential election went to the most progressive big party candidate remaining in the field.

At the end of it all we cannot say that Mr. Trump will not govern with some conservative principles and I have been impressed with some of his appointments and comments since those sad moments in which he called Ted Cruz a liar, Ted’s wife an ugly addict, and his father a communist conspirator and political assassin. At least now we have a positive trend. Whatever Trump’s conservative positions might be at this particular point in time they seem to have been arrived at through whim rather than philosophy.

Trump’s voting coalition was cobbled together in much the same way a windstorm throws debris on my front porch. Many traditional democrats voted Donald in an effort to stem the loss of American jobs. Many conservatives felt the tide of the party was sweeping too far leftward because of entrenched establishment party operatives and preferred a non-political candidate that at least had one foot outside the party’s corral. Many millions more felt a vote had to be cast for Trump because his loss would mean a corrupt career politician with no morals, ethics or honor would assume the highest office in the land. Finally, alt-righters voted for Donald because they have shit for brains.

What resulted was a coalition of evangelical Christians who stood beside Neo-nazis who stood beside union workers who stood beside libertarians who in turn stood beside many nervous looking conservatives peering out of the corner of their rapidly blinking eyes. It was a tent just big enough to produce a victory.

We must be a ‘big tent’ party say those strategists closely aligned to the party. But what big tents might provide in terms of the ability to enfold a larger divergence of opinion, by definition, it would also necessarily be willing to sell off chunks of its founding principles.

For instance, a cohesive and coherent conservative party cannot promote both free markets and protectionism; the former having provided for more created wealth in the history of mankind than under any other type of system, while the latter has helped enslave the impoverished for centuries. The two positions are mutually exclusive and should not be part of the same big tent.
The message of conservatism should be the selling point, not a position we are willing to parcel off in order to attract more voters. When we do this we end up with a larger party led by candidates with no investment in conservative courses of action. I give you Donald Trump. And before him Mitt Romney. And before him the (now) six times elected senator from Arizona, John McCain.

Republicans in general and conservatives in specific are not good at selling their wares. In a world where conservatism and free markets produce wealth and high living standards, socialism the world over produces poverty and shortages. Yet the vacant fields message of socialism sells while the full cupboards of free market capitalism are found wanting to more and more voters.

Satellite imagery of the Korean peninsula displays to the world the inability of a socialist north to light up the landscape. While South Korea is bright and visibly prosperous from space, the depth of northern darkness is not the result of just a shortage of electricity, though that is an issue. Along with their inability to produce the electricity there is also insufficient infrastructure to transport it if it were ever generated. There is also insufficient manufacturing ability to produce electrical devices and components that would use the electricity if it could be produced (it cannot) and transported (it cannot,) and not least, it suffers a horribly impoverished people lacking the basic wealth to consume the electricity, if it were produced (it isn’t,) transported (it isn’t either) and if devices were available (they’re not.)

In America spoiled consumers place night lights in cramped hallways to avoid kicking cats and table legs on our late night journeys to rooms wonderfully blessed with indoor plumbing. On the Korean peninsula those same night lights, if that miracle were even available north of the DMZ, would more likely be used to look for what the cat might be eating so it could be enjoyed over a fire kindled with the table legs. It beats eating tree bark.

On the other side of the world, in Venezuela, a country sitting atop some of the world’s largest energy reserves, the people do not enjoy ample food, medicine or toilet paper. Or energy. Gasoline is rationed and brownouts circulate the country. Meanwhile, political opponents are prevented from leaving paradise or are jailed while state controlled broadcasters proclaim the national wonder.

This is what socialism sells and what, increasingly, American voters are willing to buy. The only difference is that today’s socialists or, as Bernie describes the movement, the “democratic socialists” sell their wares from a perch of economic success erected with the ideas and innovations that their political corner could never produce.

Ms. Clinton’s shrill pitch carried a long way having been buoyed by the $150 million she and Bill reaped by selling off the US State Department. She left the White House dead broke in 2001 but managed to enter the 2016 presidential race with a purse well fattened with graft. No wonder she hates capitalism. But compared to the now mouldering Fidel Castro she was a mere piker. The now horizontal former Cuban leader left this world a billionaire though his people, living in the soft glow of a socialist state, shared little more than poverty together.

The central ideas of conservatism need not be tossed aside in order to attract the ignorant. Rather conservatism must be sold completely and vigorously so that the ignorant might become informed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rougblog Reboot

I’ve been away for a while as the struggles of aging and the demons of electronics conspired to force my silence.

My absence was neither easy nor intended to be permanent despite anything my former one-time reader was praying for when I dropped off the planet. So, I’m back but this return will be closer to an easing onto the service road rather than a break neck plunge onto the Autobahn. I don’t even have reliable internet at home yet.

It is my intent to take this sight as seriously as I ever have with posts on economics, politics, culture, current events, things that humor me and, of course, my total contempt for socialists.

One thing that makes it difficult for me to consistently power away at uncompensated writing is the feeling that I do so and no one listens. I know when someone travels to the site because the hit meter registers each solitary voyageur. However it is the commenting, either positive or negative, that provides the sole reward, at least until such time as I can leverage this free squawking into a paying gig.

I do encourage commenting but I’d prefer it not be dedicated to the assassination of my character however much my character deserves a good butt-kicking. I try to treat people respectfully in the comments but in my posts themselves a promise of restraint is off the table. I will only excoriate those who are public figures or those who wade into the pool first.

I talk the way I want to talk in my posts because I feel public officials and personalities are pretty much fair game. Don’t take it personally that I feel the wife-beater Sean Penn is a low life. Don’t get too insulted because, after all, you have the exact same right to start your own blog that no one reads too, just like this one.

I really enjoy input even if it is contrary to my own opinion. I’m also one who is willing to agree to disagree until I get personally insulted at which point I will either cry like a baby or come at you like a poo-flinging spider monkey. I don’t like it when those who comment refuse to play nice with each other.

Welcome back to the site. I’ll try to keep it interesting.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Michigan Entrepreneurs Still Active

Imagine my thrill at watching a wonderful lady several years my senior seek to make her fortune at an advanced age.  I’m a chicken whose spring passed many years ago and this lady was scratching worms from the summer soil long before I ever witnessed my first equinox.

I discovered the spirit of America knows no age limit.

I truly appreciate inventiveness and the entrepreneurial spirit because, among other reasons, I verily appreciate America and the American spirit.  America embraced the free market and capitalism at its founding and was willing to suffer decades of transition from the cash-poor/barter heavy society at the founding to one that burgeoned a slowly developed wealth as its first century waned.

And wealth is a wonderful thing for it is wealth, principally created by those who had a better idea, process or product, that produced a society largely capable of eliminating hunger, homelessness and disease.  This is not to say that there are none who suffer hunger or homelessness or disease in this country, but only that those who are willing and able to interject themselves into the mainstream economy are largely capable of living lives today that completely avoid toothless scurvy ‘neath a cardboard box.

Yet America’s embrace of the free market has done more than simply reduce malnourishment, homelessness and disease.  It has also helped to produce an American population entitled to a basic education, a very modest retirement, passable roads, protected landscapes, parks, libraries, and now, a disgustingly inefficient, impersonal and expensive heath care benefit.

Even beyond these supposedly deserved entitlements, we Americans have grown to expect reasonable access to groceries, health clubs, gas stations, auto parts stores, insurance agencies, pharmacies, theaters, restaurants, florists and the ever-necessary tattoo parlor/piercing studio.  (The former benefits, of course, made possible by the producers of the latter.)

We should not forget that it is the government skimming of cream off the surface of privately produced milk that makes all entitlements possible but it is the milk itself that is, it seems to many, an ever-flowing stream of torrential mammalian nectar.

Assumed limitless production of this magic elixir makes the vision of entitlements also nearly limitless. Teddy’s progressivism begat Wilson’s socialism begat FDR’s New Deal begat Johnson’s Great Society begat Nixon’s HUD begat Clinton’s CRA begat W’s prescription drug benefit/NCLB which begat Obama’s everything under the sun which will sire the…what can we imagine…exactly?

A little pushback, I feel, is in order.

So, I stood in admiration of this woman at a local BP in northern Michigan who was working to create the wealthpot from which future generations might enjoy what is, even to this day, a yet unimagined entitlement. Like the industrialists of old she was willing to take her hard-earned capital and invest it wisely in an economy where capital is king and industry, both personal and collective, is royalty.

She marched to the counter and used her Bridge Card to buy the most expensive gallon of milk she could find in the county but wisely saved her start-up capital to buy herself 10 Michigan Lotto tickets (all the state enjoyed profits of which will go to Michigan schools!)

It is the wealth the free market created that makes such shenanigans possible.  It is the unabated shenanigans that will lead to the collapse of our free market, one poor investment at a time.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

An Employment Lament

Tens of thousands of physically able persons of employable age left the Michigan workforce during the age of Obama. While it isn't entirely fair to blame this all on Obama (lets face it, Jennifer Granholm did a reasonably good job of pushing them toward the employment door) it does seem peculiar, does it not, that the unemployment rate can actually fall as fewer jobs are created? Yet this is what happened for many months.

Indeed, the national and state unemployment rates have been on a slow decline over the past couple of years even though slogging job seekers were enjoying little success looking for employment. And, while I'm thinking about it, many of those lucky workers who found work found themselves underemployed by education and fractionally employed when measured against a forty hour work week. Yet, the unemployment rate fell.

And the press celebrated.

Wannabe workers wore out shoe soles beating the pavement. Their distant relatives developed carpel tunnel syndrome filling out their unemployment claims. Businesses that hired did so reluctantly. Many other businesses reluctantly didn't hire as they waited out the uncertainty brought on by a burgeoning regulatory bureaucracy.

None of this did the unemployed much good and they tired of looking for work. They became qualified for disability in record numbers. They retired early in record numbers. They decided they actually could survive on government benefits in record numbers. They started watching Alice reruns.

While the falling unemployment rate was celebrated by the media and helped a benevolent government lay plausible claim to a warming economic climate, people suffered. One hundred thousand newly created jobs month after month became "positive evidence of an expanding economy for the country." First time weekly jobless claims of 350,000 or so were again signs of a strengthening economy. Neither of these numbers is at all positive yet they were represented as such by a left leaning media adherent to government worship.

Unemployed Masters of Business Administration became Masters of Burger Flipping. Former sales managers became sales clerks. On the bright side, those with Women's Studies majors remained unemployed but now have more leisure time in which to protest a paternalistic society's war on women.

Now we are seeing the flip side. The underrepresented unemployment rate is beginning to rise even though a relatively larger number of jobs are being created, all this because the discouraged are once again seeking work.

Obama has already been reelected and many of his policies still aren't done damaging the work force. Obamacare is going to be disastrous, the EPAs war on coal and oil is going to be a brutal punishment for anyone trying to pay the bills and buy food on his own dime, while overarching intrusions into other formerly free markets will (and have) needlessly chill profits and their greatest byproduct--private sector jobs.

More people are already on public assistance than at any other time in American history and poverty rates are rising even as that unemployment rate begins to creep up again.

More road signs than ever point to Greece.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Sleeker Rat Hole

I travel on a budget. I have to. My expense account will only pay for so much while I'm in the great city of Atlanta.

When I first began traveling here my expense account was even smaller than it is now and it required of me some great maneuvering (and a bit of a strong stomach) to survive without picking up something questionable.

The worst horror story I have is of a place called the Austell Inn, now, thankfully, under new management. I had stayed there on two prior occasions and each time had told myself I would never come back. So, of course, there I was on my third visit.

I had the misfortune of visiting during the week of transition from a horrible and perhaps nonexistent management team to a team of naivete so beyond its capabilities it would today make John Kerry look magnificent in his duties of Sec. of State.

Anyway, it was the final night of my stay and after working a typical twelve to fourteen hour day in the fair city I got back to my room to find no towels, no bathroom tissue, and the bed stripped with the bedding laying in a pile on the bed. I immediately marched down to the management office to claim a refund and, just so that you know I was marching on the moral high ground, I didn't even plan to complain about the spilled Chinese delivery in the elevator that had been there for two days or the disposable baby diapers that were hanging from the tree in front of my room that had been there for the duration of my stay. After all, this wasn't the Loews Anatole.

I entered the office with steam coming from my ears and began lodging my list of complaints. Bedding, blah, dirty shower, blah, towels, blah, toilet tissue, blah blah.

I was assured that management was truly sorry and that, when I came back next time, I wouldn't be subjected to the same poor conditions. Oh, he was sorry to say, the room rate was going up about $120 per week. Incidentally, there was no refund.

Which brings me to Detroit's newest favorite dope, the swill peddling Rep. Gary Peters who wants to assure the federal government that the next time his fair city receives a bunch of federal grant money that the city will change its ways and spend that money wisely. If they will only give the city one more chance and spend some money on Detroit the habitual dysfunction will be miraculously replaced with efficiency.

To assure this transition all the federal government has to do is create a federal interagency task force to watch the dollars so they don't just disappear in a puff of smoke like most of the last few billion did.

I want to make sure I have this straight...a government now behind on its bills some $17,000,000,000.000.00 (if you don't count the $80,000,000,000,000.00 or so in unfunded liabilities) will become, if Peters has his way, the actuary-savior over Detroit's malfeasance. Or, put another way, removing local responsibility and control and transferring it hundreds of miles outside the city limits will somehow make it easier to scrutinize the next sludge removal contract while improving the preventative maintenance program for city ambulances, fire trucks and police cruisers. Or, put even another way, that same government $17,000,000,000,000.00 in debt and hundreds of miles away from the city of Detroit, will help create more efficiency and cost effectiveness by growing larger and throwing money down a sleeker rat hole.

I didn't go back to the Austell Inn even though it was under new management. For all I know the linen is still stacked on the bed some three years later. And Detroit doesn't deserve one more federal dollar and no sane individual on Earth would ever write it another check. But in all fairness to Peters, he isn't suggesting that individuals give the city any more money. No, he is suggesting that the federal government borrow huge amounts of additional dollars in the name of those individuals to send to his city to be overseen by the likes of that dope Gary Peters.

Somehow that makes it okay.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Syria...a short reflection

By golly, that's the kind of foreign policy I want my country to pursue, a backtracked sleep induced befuddlement that ends up perfectly parked in front of the Motel 6 that even Clark Griswold would be proud of. And Jugears is there in the front seat declaring "we've made good time."

We don't want any more war. We certainly don't want any more war where our armed forces are required to fight on the side of al Qaeda. No national interest apparent. No unwavering proof that Assad has actually used chemical weapons (though certainly our supposed allies in this fight will use them if given the chance on those filthy Jews living just across the border.) Not. Going. To. End. Well.

We've made good time here indeed. Only one week out from shooting off a couple bottle rockets across the Syrian border in an attack of "unbelievably small" proportions, Vladdy Putin has managed to shove our Fearless Leader into a lunch sack size room of maneuverability. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Lurch is busy scurrying around trying to find someone else's medals to toss into the White House grass while Eric Holder, for his part, will settle at suing Texas.

It's as if a kindergarten class was placed in charge of our foreign policy just before nap time.

Putin, a classic tyrant of historic proportions is able to spout his KGB styled propaganda across American newsprint because our Commander in Chief is totally out of his element. Elections do matter after all. Even beyond the economics and the racial divide, beyond the fascism and central planning, beyond the tyranny and a departure from the rule of law, this country is being laughed at by the biggest ass on the world stage.

An "I told you so" at this point is totally gratuitous. Besides, Putin already said it.

What a sad day.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Your tax (and tuition) dollars at work

Methinks rape does not mean what he thinks it means.

Full professor William Penn of MSU has made his judgment about Republicans. He has labeled them racist, rapists, userers and, come to think of it, he isn't too impressed with their complexions either. To the degree that they are human at all, GOPers have become neo-zombies having sucked their ill begotten wealth from its planet victim.

It is an odd judgment coming from someone who can put in a 15 hour work week huddled warmly amongst like minded (and like challenged) peers pulling down $150,000 a year while also collecting some of the best employment benefits known to modern man.

Penn teaches creative writing--a lofty profession to be sure. (Hey, I like me some fancy sugar-coated words as good as the next guy that happens to survive on three part time jobs while sending two kids to the same university at which Penn arrogantly scales his glittery soap box of judgment.) It's just that, well, perhaps Penn's students would be better served if he concentrated a bit more on the teaching writing aspect of his job and a bit less on glandular economics.

But let's give Penn his due credit. He is, if nothing else, a brave, brave man. Just like those patriots of old who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in face of pure evil, he will not hesitate to jump in to offend whatever straw man he creates though, understandably, only outside of class. No offense is intended inside those hallowed halls.

Well practiced college professors can look particularly brave when facing off against persons half their own age in an environment in which they have total control--just like George Washington!

Incidentally, our academic hero isn't a scaredy cat either when it comes to bravely slathering himself with the riches created by those for whom he believes he holds in such utter contempt.

What Penn labels rape is the creation of wealth that for the first time in human history has produced societies capable of purging starvation, eliminating disease, providing reliable heat and indoor plumbing in all of our homes, and creating cool apps for my droid--it can even finance the misguided economics lectures of creative writing professors who hopefully write better off the cuff than they speak in its absence.

Make no mistake, the history of man on this planet is famine, starvation, pestilence, disease, tyranny, warmongering, human degradation and perhaps worst of all, Alice reruns.

Wealth, what Penn seems to consider the fruit of rape, has virtually eliminated what we used to think of as poverty in this country. Sure, Bridge Card buyers might be malnourished, but its remarkable how many ill conceived calories a bag of greasy chips can contain sans any real nutritional value.

It doesn't end there. Housing assistance. Utility assistance. Government provided daycare. Mass transit. Medicaid. Educational assistance. Obamaphones. A recent survey showed that 35 states provide welfare recipients more dollar value than they could get for themselves working 40 hours per week at minimum wage. When poverty used to mean no food in the cupboard and no food on the plate, poverty now more often means meals eaten in front of a big screen television while the kids text their friends.

The working poor get poorer financing the dreams of regulators and benevolent overlords, the non-working poor lose what little incentive there ever was to do that old 9 to 5, all the while a barely working elitist at MSU can bravely call me a rapist while securely enshrouded within the impenetrable walls of tenure. (That would be 'tuition paying rapist' to you, Sir!)

Tuition, to help put this in perspective, is over $350 per credit hour at that fine university which means, roughly, that each student in Dr. Penn's class gets to spend about $23 per hour listening to Penn espouse laughable economics and identity politics with, hopefully, a little creative writing thrown in.

Meanwhile the university is on the hook for approximately $200,000 in salary and benefits for a tenured professor whose carcass it couldn't dispense with even if it wanted to, which, of course, it doesn't--bird of a feather and all that.

Danny Guthrie, the soft porn photography professor might be gone these days, and so too might be a closet Marxist here and there after serving a lifetime in academia working for the movement, but Penn will remain employed by the tax and tuition payers of Michigan for as long as he feels compelled to rape those for whom he is committed to serve and, uncomfortably, sometimes to offend. (Though once again, only out of class!)

Its the new American way.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Laughable Freep Columnist Exposes Her Inability to Reason

I don't blog much any more. I think that ranting daily about the same old things finally led to me exhausting everything I had to say.

Then, today happened. The Freep on this fine June day exposed me to some of the most mind numbingly disconnected journalism to ever grace the pages of that electronic rag.

Nancy Kaffer wants to know:

Why do moderate (or, at least, more traditional) GOP lawmakers continue to do backflips to appease the party’s most extreme wing? Anyone got an answer?

What events has this supposed journalist been covering lately?

The Tea Party is not party affiliated. While most would classify themselves as GOP members, most of them vote GOP because those dopes (the GOP establishment players) have at least historically given lip service to conservative causes before surrendering on nearly all counts. The GOP at least said it had the same belief system and principles as its conservative members. But, as debt crashed through $8 trillion, $10 trillion, $12 trillion and now sitting north of $16 trillion, garden variety lip service started coming with too big a price tag.

Tea party identifiers are abandoning the GOP in droves as presumed GOP leaders backslide on issue after issue. With huge blocks of salt, conservatives tolerated the big spending policies of George W. Bush because most of them believed in defending the country against terror. They didn't like W's big spending, but at least he would try and protect the country.

They hated No Child Left Behind. They hated the prescription drug benefit. They hated overreaches in regulation, expansions of federal department after department, and the sad hobbles placed on industries not blessed by government operative idealists. Bush was right on tax cuts and on a couple of other issues for which he was appreciated, but when he was wrong he was spectacularly wrong. And he was wrong a lot. And he was always called on it.

Bush operatives still permeate the national GOP and little Jeb is quickly rising to a level of potential GOP nominee. (Oh, I'll never vote for him.) Establishment Republicans control most party positions. Karl Rove, a man who has damaged the GOP as much as any man alive, has formed one of the largest and richest PACS for the purpose of denying tea party candidates the opportunity to make general election ballots.

Tea party favorites like Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz are criticized by the likes of moderate "maverick" John McCain whenever they mark the conservative course. Lindsay Graham is a low-intelligence attack dog routinely invited on the Sunday morning talk show circuit where he can drop an attack or two on Mike Lee or Cruz or Palin.

Nancy Kaffer doesn't know the GOP or the tea party, but that is understandable as she is a journalist and a card-carrying member of the Democrat Party--of course, I repeat myself.

I'm not certain it makes much difference. The GOP is in disarray and has decided to cut its losses and embrace moderate/progressive ideology in favor of maintaining whatever small amount of political power it can muster. Principles aren't too important in this day and age for those in the GOP ruling class that want to cling to power.

That this fact cannot be seen by a political columnist like Nancy Kaffer says a lot about journalism today. When I said all i had to say I pretty much shut up. When Nancy has run out of things to say she just makes shit up.