About Comedy

JIMMY KIMMELScott Morefield recently related how in an interview, comedian Jimmy Kimmel stated that he doesn’t care that his liberal politics has resulted in a large percentage of the viewing public to desert him, particularly his views on Obamacare and gun control.

Well okay … and it appears that what motivates Kimmel to support Obamacare is self-interest; he has a young child at home.  Never mind that much like the politicians who support the program (Pelosi, Clinton, Schumer), Kimmel is rich enough that the cost of even the most expensive medical procedure would hardly make a dent in his bank account.  Kimmel, it would appear, is one of those liberal elites who has lost touch with reality.

So, here’s a dose of reality published in Money Magazine: In Michigan, state officials approved price hikes of 16.7% for individuals purchasing health insurance in 2017.  Individual buyers can expect increases of 20% in Colorado, and from 19% to 43% in Iowa next year.  These increases are actually on the low side when compared with states like Minnesota and Oklahoma, where individual plans will experience a 50% increase in costs.  One begins to wonder how the Affordable Care Act is affordable for the average Joe.  On what basis does Jimmy Kimmel support this program?

But now let’s examine the title of this post.  Comedy is a dramatic work that is light and humorous, or satirical in tone that usually contains a happy resolution to thematic conflict.  Stand-up comedy is usually performed by one person offering a monologue, and we would imagine it also to be light and humorous.  Will Rogers comes to mind, where in reaching out to his audiences (the average Joe) he offered observations about political figures or policies.  Rogers once observed, “Everything is changing.  People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”

GriffinThe question remains: what is humorous about anything Jimmy Kimmel says on his late-night ABC television program?  His shtick is a far cry from what we heard from Johnny Carson, but even Jimmy Kimmel is tame when compared to Kathy Griffin, who is not only unamusing, she’s also loutish and whacked.  When did we begin to think that the vulgarity associated with Red Foxx, Lewis Black, or Richard Pryor was in any way humorous or entertaining?  Who is willing to pay top dollar to spend an evening with uncouth, boorish people like these?

Now back to Kimmel, who doesn’t seem to care that he’s losing market share for his employer, the American Broadcasting Corporation.  I’m quite sure ABC television cares, which suggests that Kimmel is someone who is so out of touch with reality, or so lacking in common sense that he doesn’t know who it is that butters his bread.  Hint: it is the people who tune in to hear what he has to say.  If 30% or more of his audience is leaving the show, it will have a significant impact on the revenues that ABC collects from advertisers.  It is all about the money, you see —which is completely logical and fair: ABC is in the entertainment business, and if people aren’t being entertained …

There are other televised “comedians,” of course … and too many of these have somehow reached a place where they think that we (the people) are entitled to their political views.  If I wanted to spend an evening with utterly incomprehensible political views, I’d turn to MSNBC or CNN.  These “comedians” seem unaware that more than half of the American people DO NOT share their political views —and yet, if this is in fact the case, why are so many people willing to stand in long lines and pay exorbitant prices to hear them use the “F” bomb, or ridicule the man most Americans voted for in the last election, or even to mock the things that most Americans care about —such as the escalating costs of health care, or the right to bear arms, or the right of freedom of expression?

Of course, we do live in a free country and comedians have the right to express their views (so long as television producers are willing to incur dwindling revenues).  At the same time, you and I have the right to ignore people like Kimmel and Griffin because neither of these people are humorous or entertaining, and speaking only for myself, I don’t care what they think —about anything.

Posted in Society | 8 Comments

Where America Went Wrong, Part II

Jacksonian changes amounted to a market revolution, for in the Northwest and Old Northwest, improvements in transportation and increased immigration hastened the collapse of the older yeoman and artisan economy; it was replaced by cash-crop agriculture and capitalist industrialization.  In the American south, a cotton boom revived diminishing levels of planation slavery, which had then spread to occupy the finest lands of the region.  In the west, Jacksonians seized Native American lands, opening new areas for cultivation and land speculation.

As with most democratic administrations, not everyone benefited equally, least of all non-whites.   Jacksonian Democracy grew from the tensions it generated within white society.  Mortgaged farmers and non-slave-owning farmers in the south sensed that Jackson’s policies would bring new forms of dependence on the federal government.  They were right.

Jacksonian democrats developed an ideology aimed primarily at voters who believed themselves injured by market capitalism.  They posited that the American republic could not long survive without citizens of economically independent means.  The Jacksonian argument was that the history of humankind involved a struggle between the few and the many, instigated by greedy rich people looking to exploit the vast majority of “common, decent folks.”

The weapons of choice in this argument were the notion of equal rights and limited government, which they believed should be the prohibition of wealthy capitalists enriching themselves.  In order to achieve this, they commandeered, enlarged, and plundered public institutions.  The argument was based on the proposition of white male equality. Nativism struck them as a hateful manifestation of elitist puritanism.  The moral, they argued, should not impose righteousness on others (presumably, the immoral).  The mission of Jacksonians was to purge society of privilege.

True to American form, there was considerable opposition to Jacksonian politics … manifested within a cross-class coalition.  It saw capitalism as the embodiment of civilized progress.  It did not pit the few against the many.  Rather, carefully guided economic growth would provide “more” for everyone.  This notion was provided by evangelicals who saw moral reform as a preferred cooperative effort designed to relieve human degradation and expand national wealth.

Anti-Jacksonians (Whigs) were opposed to imperialism as much as they resisted a tyrannical Andrew Jackson.  They believed that more than political equality, personal decency and industriousness would determine the success or failure of this new land called America.

Voting 1828It is at this point we should wonder who the Jacksonians and their opponents were talking to.  Contrasting then with now, we might further wonder who the neo-Liberals (nee Progressives) are talking to today.  In Jacksonian times, the main audience were illiterate country-folk easily manipulated by the promise of government munificence.  In modern times, the main audience is under-educated urbanites easily manipulated by the promise of government munificence.

In fairness, these changes in thinking weren’t confined to America alone; it was a global revolution in thinking and one that remains with us today.

The two camps are easily identified: classic liberals are those who seek to maintain the enlightened ideas of the American revolutionary period, which emphasizes individual liberty, equal opportunity, a well-educated capacity for deep thinking, and personal responsibility.

In contrast, neo-liberals are those who seek to maintain the unrealistic ideas of the Communist revolutionary period —emphasizing such collective notions as social justice[1], group think, equal outcomes, and blaming the system for personal failures.

This, then, is the Democratic Party of 2017 —it is what at least half of America has come to today.  Within a majority of our highest institutions in learning, mind-numbing conformity and a general acceptance of the comical nonsense of communism has replaced genuine thinking and a quest for discovery.

How one gets into college today is not so much by their academic qualifications as it is by such nonsense as affirmative action placement.  Then, once in the classroom, unqualified students become the playthings of Marxist professors.  Now we are able to see how our legal profession, government, and academia are filled to over-flowing with such large numbers of unintelligent people, and how our people have become so utterly dogmatic.

HRC 001At least, now we can see how we ended up with such people as Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder, John Kerry, Loretta Lynch, Janet Napolitano, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, John Podesta, and orchestrating this pack of wolves is none other than George Soros.  On that note, however, given her national footprint, how does one explain the remarkably blank resume of Hillary Clinton?  She was a senator, and our Secretary of State—but we should wonder, on what basis was she elevated to such lofty positions?  To this we should add that, as she was unable to keep her husband satisfied, she even failed miserably as “first lady.”  No one in this country is better scripted than Hillary Clinton, and yet millions of people lined up behind her hoping to propel her into the White House.  God help us!

America’s Democratic Party is a national disgrace —but at least now we know where it came from.  I suppose the real question is, what do Americans intend to do about this stain on our honor?

Notes:

[1] Whenever anyone hears someone blathering on about social justice, they should think of Stalin’s confiscation of private farms and organizing them into agricultural collective arrangements.  Even at the point of a gun, every single one of these collectives was a total failure—and one that resulted in the starvation of millions of people then living in Communist Russia.

Posted in History, Society | 12 Comments

Where America Went Wrong, Part I

If we wanted to find out where America started down the wrong political path, then one would have to return to those bitter days of the elections of 1824 and 1828.  These were the times of America’s dirtiest politics and nothing that happened in these periods offers much in esteem for our political system.

Adams 002In the election of 1828, the incumbent was John Quincy Adams, (shown right) the highly intelligent, well-educated, multi-lingual, and irascible son of our second president, John Adams.  He was known for thoughtful introspection, no doubt the product of many years as an American diplomat.  Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, was an orphan who clawed his way to success in the American frontier as a military hero and the beneficiary of Tennessee politics.  Jackson was uncouth, known for his violent encounters and duels.  Both of these men, or their surrogates, attacked one another unmercifully … Adams to retain the presidency, Jackson to gain it.

In understanding Jackson, one has to realize that he obsessed over the presidency and, much like Lyndon Baines Johnson, he was willing to do anything to get it.

Jackson 001What eventually made him popular among voters was his appeal to the average Joe.  As a war hero, Jackson (shown left) was best remembered for his victory over the British at New Orleans[1].  After one failed bid for the presidency in 1824 (known in history as the “Corrupt Bargain,” an interesting story in and of itself), Jackson re-entered the fray in 1828 —his heart filled with hate and vengeance toward his political opponents.  This feeling would only increase as his political opponents attacked his wife, which he believed resulted in her untimely death.

1828 was also a time of momentous changes to the way American did their politics.  There were vicissitudes in voting qualifications and participation, and in this time, the American people witnessed the formation of the Democratic Party[2]; it was a watershed moment in politics because it ushered in America’s two-party system.

Andrew Jackson’s appeal to the average American served him well and he handily defeated his opponent.  In the aftermath of the election campaign, at Jackson’s inauguration, he was so angry that he refused to pay the customary courtesy call on out-going President Adams.  Adams reciprocated by refusing to attend Jackson’s inauguration.  The bitterness of this election lasted many years into the future.

With Jackson’s ascension to the presidency, America entered a period we now refer to as “Jacksonian Democracy.”   It was a period of time when Jackson himself proclaimed “an end to elitist’s monopoly in government,” and it was during this period when suffrage was extended to nearly all white male citizens and a broadening of citizen participation in the affairs of government.  Jacksonian democrats demanded the election of judges; it was a time when many state governments re-wrote their state constitutions.  It was a time when Democrats favored geographical expansion of the United States, justified in terms of the so-called notion of “Manifest Destiny”—a belief that white Americans had a duty to settle the western reaches of the continent with yeoman farmers.  “Free soilers,” led principally by Van Buren, began to argue for limitations on slavery as a means of allowing the poor white farmer to flourish.

Jackson also initiated the spoils system, or patronage, which was a policy of placing political supporters into appointed offices.  Perhaps fostered by Jackson’s personality, patronage was a view that rotating political appointees was the right and duty of the winners of political contests. The idea was that patronage would encourage political participation by the common man and therefore make politicians and bureaucrats more accountable to the people.  The result was the hiring of incompetent and corrupt officials, emphasizing political loyalty above all other considerations.

Initially, Andrew Jackson favored a government of limited federal power; he promised to guard against encroachments of state sovereignty … but in time, Jackson’s views shifted to policies favoring an expansion of federal power … specifically, presidential power, but in terms of the economy, Jackson favored a hands-off approach.  He opposed federal involvement in infrastructure, national economy, and monetary policy.  He used banks as the boogey-man as a means of gaining support among the common man, few of whom understood any of this.

Under Jacksonian democracy, the president could explain to the illiterate citizen what government ought to be … regardless of any previous notions of federalism (state sovereignty), or the wisdom of checks and balances in a democratic republic.  As a case in point, Jackson decided how the US government should deal with American Indians —ending in what most people today regard as a national disgrace.  Socially and intellectually, Jacksonians not so much represented a national insurgency as a diverse (and in some circles), a testy national coalition.

(To be continued)

Notes:

[1] Some historians have concluded the Jackson so hated the British that he wantonly slaughtered their troops at New Orleans in the battle that took place there between mid-December 1814 and mid-January 1815, but the fact is that the British intended to seize the port of New Orleans, in order to deny its access to the United States.  By the time of the battle, a treaty had already been signed between the United States and Great Britain in December 1814, a treaty not ratified by the United States until February 1815.  Neither General Jackson or General Pakenham could have known about the peace treaty, however.

[2] Mostly the result of superior organizational skills of Martin Van Buren.

Posted in History, Society | 7 Comments

The Value of History

Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.

—Winston Churchill

We have all heard this expression so many times that its truth no longer registers with most people.  This is really a shame because our lives today —right now— would be so much improved had we learned anything from the past.  And we might also reflect on this: history isn’t only about a bunch of dead guys and gals … some of the people whose decisions affect our lives today are still with us.  This post is a case in point

By Chuck DeVore and Steen W. Mosher

August 31, 2017

Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and former director of Asian Studies at the Claremont Institute, and Chuck DeVore, Vice President for National Initiatives at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and former California State Assembly Representative wrote this op-ed — “Nuclear pact with North Korea could end up in a meltdown”—for the Ontario Daily Bulletin in March, 1995. It is reprinted below. Names and dates have changed in the last twenty years, but U.S. policy towards North Korea has not.

The American foreign aid program to North Korea, a rogue state that just shot down a U.S. military helicopter, has begun. On Dec. 15, 50,000 metric tons of free oil was handed over to the Pyongyang regime, with regular shipments to follow. The price tag? Fifty million dollars a year for the next 10 years. The funds for this giveaway are to come, ironically enough, out of the Pentagon’s operations readiness budget.

This is but a small part of the Clinton/Carter peace-in-our-time deal with Pyongyang, hyped as preventing war on the Korean peninsula and nuclear mayhem in the world. Instead, this flawed agreement appears to give Kim Jong Il and his cohorts exactly what they need: time, money and legitimacy.

Time: Instead of requiring immediate inspections of two nuclear waste sites to determine if—or, more likely, how many—nuclear bombs have been made, the agreement gives North Korea a five-year grace period—time to develop and test its nuclear arsenal, time to further refine its intermediate-range ballistic missiles, time to export nuclear bombs and delivery systems to radical states like Iran or Syria who may in turn pass them to terrorist groups.

Money:  Free oil is the least of the goodies that U.S. taxpayers have been committed to providing North Korea. Pyongyang will also receive two new 1,000 megawatt nuclear power plants (estimated cost: $4 billion), nuclear fuel (estimated cost: $2 billion) and a modern power grid (estimated cost: $1 billion or more). South Korea is expected to pay the bulk of these costs, but Clinton has formally pledged that the U.S. will pick up the whole tab if it doesn’t.

Legitimacy: The U.S. and its Pacific allies have offered to establish bilateral diplomatic relations at an early date, a promise that is helping to legitimize what has hitherto been regarded as an outlaw regime. As a consequence, Pyongyang may soon be enjoying another windfall: low interest rate loans from the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

How did North Korea manage to extort such an unprecedented payoff from the United States in return for mere promises?

By 1993 it was apparent that Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program was on the verge of success. After international inspectors were denied entry to North Korean nuclear facilities, the IAEA estimated that four to five nuclear weapons could be produced from the plutonium in Pyongyang’s possession. By early 1994, Pyongyang was openly threatening to disregard U.N. agreements that limited nuclear weapons development. Many took this to mean that it had already constructed such armaments.

President Clinton initially came on strong, stating that North Korea must not be allowed to build or deploy any nuclear weapons. He threatened to impose an economic embargo on Pyongyang until it abandoned its nuclear ambitions.

Pyongyang fired back, charging that such an embargo would be an act of war. If the United States persisted in its plans, Seoul would be in flames, its streets covered with blood.

At the height of the crisis, Clinton blinked. He abandoned his half-hearted efforts at an embargo, which China, Japan, and even South Korea had begun to resist. Instead, Jimmy Carter went to North Korea to defuse the situation. Carter met with octogenarian dictator Kim Il Sung and returned in self-declared triumph, sounding Chamberlainesque as he avowed that the peace had been won.

The deal was temporarily put on ice when Kim Il Sung died, but negotiations were resumed in Geneva as soon as his son and heir, Kim Jong Il, had consolidated power. Since it was by now clear to all concerned that Washington wished to avoid conflict at any price, Pyongyang’s demands were steep: two turn-key nuclear power plants, a new power grid and free oil to burn while its old reactors were idled. As for what had been done with the weapons-grade plutonium these reactors had produced, well, the United States would just have to wait five years and see.

All this “crisis management” has obscured the real question, which still remains “Has North Korea amassed an arsenal of nuclear weapons?” It is not reassuring that Robert Gallucci, the chief U.S. negotiator in Geneva, professes indifference on this point. In the course of 16-months of negotiating with the North Koreans, Ambassador Gallucci remarked on the McNeil/Lehrer NewsHour on Oct. 18 that he did not believe that he had ever inquired whether they had acquired nuclear weapons. Indeed, as Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy recently commented, “The Clinton administration seems fixedly disinterested in this point, perhaps because it highlights Mr. Clinton’s complete abandonment of his previous position that the North must not be allowed to obtain any nuclear weapons.”

One suspects that this most foolish of deals will have a short half-life. The general in charge of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who is in a position to know the particulars of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, has recently—and at great peril to his career—spoken critically of the agreement. Many among the new Republican majority in Congress also question the prudence of rewarding the rogue state for merely making promises, which may or may not be kept.

The incoming Congress should insist on a real agreement, one that ensures North Korea does not now possess, and is permanently disbarred from developing, nuclear weapons. Republican pressure has already helped Clinton recall and act upon a number of his earlier promises, such as that for a middle-class tax cut. They should jog his memory and stiffen his spine on North Korea, too.

Anyone who still claims that Bill Clinton was one of our better presidents hasn’t been paying attention.  The weight of the incompetence, or sheer stupidity, of our politicians is astounding … and yet, how many Americans realize that our difficulties with North Korea now (today) are directly related to decisions made in 1993?  And should we be at all concerned about the amount of money here?  Americans on the left wail and moan about the plight of our homeless persons, about the number of children in America who are not receiving the minimum recommended daily nutrition … but they have no hesitation spending billions of our hard-earned dollars on the North Koreans, who are today constructing a nuclear arsenal aimed directly at the hearts of all Americans.

History is important; we need to pay more attention to it —so too is the present— and for the same reasons.

 

Posted in History | 21 Comments

Modern American Society, Part II

George WashingtonWell, so here we are … at the beginning of the 21st Century, looking backward in time and all too often (or so it seems) criticizing our founding fathers because they were … well, human.  I want to say two things about our founding fathers: most of them served at a tremendous cost to themselves, both personally and financially; some were ruined by our Revolution.  The other thing is that our founding fathers had tremendous faith in mankind, and the genesis of mankind.  Even in spite of their distrust of organized religion, nearly all believed that man’s place in the universe was no accident.

“It is impossible to account for the creation of the universe without the agency of a Supreme Being, and it is impossible to govern the universe without the aid of a Supreme Being.”  —George Washington

Not everyone today gives much credence to the notion of moral truth, or self-evident truth.  I suspect that this is because for over three-generations, our society has become increasingly hedonistic.  I believe that where we are today in society is the product of modern liberalism (also, neo-liberalism) which rejects morality and assigns greater importance to social justice than it does to an individual’s fundamental rights[1].

Neo-liberalism undermines our traditional values, such as our protection of the weakest among us; the most glaring example of this is the rampant abortion, particularly among the poor, the colored, and the stupid.  We have escalating urban violence, principally within black communities in the worst of our cities (St. Louis, Detroit, Baltimore, Newark, New Orleans, Chicago).  Out of wedlock birthrates are up, and so too are divorce rates, and substance abuse resulting in pre-mature death.  Who shall we hold responsible for these ever-mounting statistics?  Here is who I hold responsible: both Clintons, Barack Obama, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, John Podesta (each of whom I believe are on the payroll of George Soros) —and all of their liberal appointees.  It is not the progress of America they are seeking; it is its destruction.

Neo-LiberalismNeo-liberals are seeking a confused society, and this is entirely intentional.  They insist, for example, that a parent has a right to choose abortion, but has no choice about the schools their children may attend.  This amounts to moral confusion —which is exactly what modern liberalism hopes to achieve.  A confused people, a frustrated people, are more likely to “drop out” of the electoral process —and this always ends up with Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.

We must not allow the liberals to confuse us about such things as the sanctity of human life, or the importance of traditional family, or the value of our nation’s history.  Crime is not new, but what is new is that criminals are telling judges and juries that they weren’t sure about what was right or wrong.  Who is to blame for this?  Well of course, bad or absentee parents … but also liberal teachers who brainwash their students, rather than educating them, and the media (liberal mouthpieces) who do the bidding of the Soros Cartel.

So, dear reader, if you value a free society, understand that it cannot be maintained without two parent families —adults who are involved in loving their children with a firm hand.  Today there are too many criminals precisely because crime pays … and we need to stop that.  More people carrying licensed concealed handguns will help reduce violent crime because only an idiot will attempt an assault on someone if there is a good possibility that person is armed.  We could always use fewer idiots.  We also need fewer crack-babies, fewer teenagers who think there are no consequences to sexual promiscuity, who think that planned parenthood is a viable alternative to good common sense.

The sinking of the foundation of morality as the old discipline was allowed to lapse, then the rapidly increasing disintegration, then the final collapse of the whole edifice, and the dark dawning… when (Rome could) neither endure (its) vices nor face the remedies needed to cure them.  — Livy

There is something else we need a lot less of: liberals.

Note:

[1] Let me be clear about this: true Americans value individual rights; Marxists think that individual rights must give way to the quest for social justice.  Marxism is problematic when you consider who it is that decides what is just; in all likelihood, it will be some psychotic in the same tradition of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Robert Mugabe, or any number of Islamist sheiks.

Posted in Society | 9 Comments

Modern American Society, Part I

good-versus-bad-thumbI always struggle with this notion of good vs. bad.  How we define each of these must be subjective, particularly since we would probably disagree about what they mean.  Is a “good boy” someone who is well-behaved and obedient to his parents, or is it someone who merely takes on that appearance, having yet to be caught stealing money from his mother’s purse?

With society, I think we could nearly all agree about what a good society is —it is one in which we easily find justice, equality in treatment and of opportunity, general obedience to the rule of law, good citizenship (civics) … and most people doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  We might also agree that a good society is one in which neighbors look after one another, and one in which everyone is willing to do their fair share: everyone has a job; everyone pays their fair share in taxes; everyone takes a turn at jury duty.

Of course, in modern society, not everyone has a job and not everyone wants one.  We can thank Lyndon Johnson for that … as he gave us the least greatest society ever in the history of the United States.  He gave us social reforms that forced us to look at people differently; he gave us the soft bigotry of low expectation, told people who do work that they had to support those who don’t … and he demanded voting rights on behalf of people who know little of any political candidates beyond their party affiliation.

Idle hands 001Let me say that I find a lot of wisdom in the Bible.  Proverbs tells us in Chapter 16, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.  An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends.  Wickedness loves company, and leads others into sin.”  Allowing people to remain at home while receiving benefits paid for by others seems a very bad idea to me.  What do these people do, who stay at home while other’s work?  Theirs’s are idle hands and what we find in extremely large numbers is alcohol consumption, drug abuse, deep depression, psychotic behavior, upsurges in crime against persons and property, and increasing numbers of pregnancies (most of these out of wedlock).  Along with the latter, we can note a large number of abortions paid for by the American taxpayer.

Nothing that appears in the above two paragraphs would seem to denote a good society.  Quite the contrary, in fact.  Economic opportunity doesn’t matter if large numbers of people refuse to take advantage of those opportunities —as, for example, staying in school.  Why are so many people refusing to avail themselves of economic opportunity in this land of milk and honey?  The truth is that large numbers of people refuse to work because we are paying them to stay home —and more than this, we are paying them to have more babies out of wedlock.

America’s founding fathers wanted a society that provided liberty and justice for all.  In practical terms, this is no more than a slogan useful to interests on both sides of the political spectrum.  The fact is that liberty and justice is only obtainable when people seek the good, and repudiate the bad.

Plato Quote 001Plato, who lived between 428—348 BC, speaks to us from the grave; and he tells us that if we are not good citizens, then we must be denied a good life.  Still, how do we define such things as “good citizen,” and “good life?”  I suppose someone could make the argument that a good life includes one paid for by others —which is to say, good is that thing that serves “me” best— but this is hardly a traditionally western value.  But then, neither is the view that there are never enough things to make us happy.  This attitude, foisted upon us by a series of commercial advertisements aired 24/7-365, drives hard-working people into debt; their personal greed leads them into slavery; they relinquish their liberty by turning themselves over to banks.  And, of course, it is never “our” fault, is it?

Another ancient philosopher was Aristotle (384-322 BC); he believed that free men must be responsible for their actions (whether voluntary of involuntary) and their behaviors … so that any fault we attribute to people with weak character must be theirs alone.  Aristotle would argue that society is not to blame for the consequences of idle hands; if society has no blame, then society should not have feed, clothe, and house members of society who are too stupid to take advantage of a free education, or too lazy to get a job.

Yet, we like to think of ourselves as living in a free society —which Americans traditionally define as an environment within which we encourage one another to do the right thing.  Ours is a just culture, which is to say a civilization guided by laws; a society guided by tolerance, mercy, and understanding.  We base our rule of law, by the way, on fundamental moral truths that are easily understood by all concerned.  Our freedom is neither a commodity manipulated by dictatorial bureaucrats, nor a vacuum for anarchists.  Our liberty is priceless —particularly when one considers how many lives have been lost in order to guarantee it.  I look at it this way: freedom is a God-given right, often paid for in blood of young men and women who were willing to stand up to evil.  Liberty comes from human beings making the right choices for themselves.  There is no liberty sitting home waiting for a welfare check.

(To be continued)

Posted in Society | 21 Comments

Meet Joe

Sheriff-Joe-ArpaioMeet Joe Arpaio, often billed as the “toughest sheriff in America.”  There are a couple of reasons for this, beginning with the fact that because Arizona borders Mexico, Maricopa County is one corridor of illegal migration.  Additionally, in America, county sheriffs are charged with running the county jails … and Arizona Sheriff Arpaio ran his jail with a view to punishment rather than ineffectual rehabilitation.  He wanted convicts to know that they were behind bars for breaking the law; he would not molly-coddle them.

In many jurisdictions, whenever prison populations exceed federal guidelines in square feet of living space per prisoner, prison officials release them before the end of their sentences. This didn’t happen under Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  In Maricopa County, an increase in prisoner population caused Arpaio to move overflow prisoners into well-guarded tent cities.  Moreover, Arpaio’s jails stopped offering air-conditioning; he removed gymnasiums; he disallowed access to cinema and television, and he required inmates to wear pink clothing (as a means of demonstrating to inmates they weren’t really as tough as they thought they were).  Arpaio also prohibited smoking, and meals were reduced to exactly what it takes to maintain a healthy body —and not one calorie more.

No surprise, Sheriff Arpaio wasn’t a very popular character among criminal elements —or the American left (but I repeat myself).  His stand on illegal immigrants (a significant source of crime within Maricopa County) caused liberal heads to explode … and you know what eventually happens, right?  Retribution.  Political payback.  As they used to say, whatever goes around, comes around.  Added to the number of defense lawyers who loathed him, Arpaio became a target of liberal judges, liberal prosecutors, and the ACLU.  Helping these people along the way was the liberal (dishonest) media.

As a demonstration of this, here is one of CNN’s headlines:

ARPIO’S TWO-DECADE RULE ENDED IN NOVEMBER

His rule?

Arpaio was an elected official.  He served in office for twenty years because the people of Maricopa County reelected him six times … but you can see how leftist propagandists like to play with words, and if you know Arizona politics (among the most corrupt in America) … you will note how no one on the left complained about Pima County (Democrat) Sheriff Clarence Dupnik[1] serving for 35 years.

The fact that Arpaio was a no-nonsense law enforcement officer drove leftist zealots bonkers.  In reality, Arpaio was a fair and decent policeman.  Unlike his contemporary Dupkik, he never murdered an innocent man in his own home and then refused to allow medical treatment, which might have saved his life.  But Arpaio was a conservative … which is precisely what got him into trouble with the epicene left.

Sheriff Arpaio’s legal problems began sometime in 2007 when a group of illegal Mexicans filed a class action lawsuit, claiming that Arpio’s policing policy amounted to racial discrimination.  It is hard not to laugh … for first of all, who knew that “Mexican” was a race?  In fact, Arpaio never targeted Mexicans; he targeted people committing crimes … and about 30% of these happened to be of Mexican heritage.

In any case, in 2008 Barack Obama became President, which changed the direction of the policy and procedures in the office of the Attorney General of the United States.  Never mind that the federal government organized an illegal drug smuggling ring along the US/Mexican border and tried to lay the blame for this at the feet of gun shop owners in border-states, or that because of the incompetence of Eric Holder and Barack Obama, more than 300 innocent citizens of Mexico became victims of drug-cartel gun crimes, or even that federal agent Brian Terry was murdered by one of Eric Holder’s “Fast and Furious” weapons.  Forget all that … focus instead on Sheriff Arpaio’s policy of upholding the law by targeting illegal aliens, who are responsible for one-third of the crimes against persons and property within his jurisdiction.

Sheriff Arpaio was adamant, however.  Even when a federal judge ordered him to stop arresting criminals in 2011, he ignored the court order.  The federal rhetoric was elevated in 2013, when the same federal judge claimed that Sheriff Arpio’s policies amounted to racial profiling.  In effect, the liberal judge ordered Arpio to stop arresting anyone with brown skin, brown eyes, and black hair.  Since Arpaio wasn’t elected by the federal courts, he continued to ignore the liberal bench.  It was then that Arpaio was charged with “contempt.”

I suspect this was the first true federal allegation: Arpaio had nothing but contempt for liberal courts and judges with a political agenda.  At this point, however, I should add that Joe Arpaio believed Barack Obama was not a lawful citizen of the United States and therefore not eligible to serve as President of the United States.  He set into motion what I understand was a privately funded investigation that led to the collection of evidence that no one on the left wanted to see —especially not Eric Holder.  The primary effect of this was that it placed a target on Arpaio’s back; you know, the politically motivated retribution thing.

In November 2016, Joe Arpaio lost his bid for a seventh term as Maricopa County Sheriff; his replacement, Democrat Paul Penzone, took down the prison tents and restored “rights” to convicted criminals.  In July 2017, Arpaio was pronounced guilty of contempt by a federal judge.  The sentence he might have received is six months in jail … which is ridiculous on its face.  No American has the obligation to comply to bad policy or an unconstitutional law, and in the case of Sheriff Arpaio, he believed that his first obligation was to protect and serve the citizens of Maricopa County.  If this meant arresting illegal aliens suspected of crimes, then that is what Arpaio should have been doing —and what he did do.

Thankfully Joe Arpaio received a pardon from President Donald J. Trump.  Is this matter done with now?   I think not; Joe has indicated that he intends to expose the leftist corruption that resulted in the allegations that he violated federal court orders.  What happened to Joe Arpaio is the same thing experienced by journalist and film maker Dinesh D’Souza … gotcha politics.

For now, the day of inane leftist politics is over … but we must not smirk.  It is only a matter of time before the political pendulum swings back in the other direction.  Let’s recall that no matter which political party controls government policy, Americans deserve the government they elect.

Note:

[1] Soon after the shooting of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Dupnik attempted to lay the blame on right-wing extremists.  The truth of the matter was that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, was a psychotic leftist.  But this wasn’t Dupnik’s only claim to fame.  In 2011, Pima County Sheriff Dupnik led a swat team to the home for former U. S. Marine Jose Guerena where he was shot twenty-two times.  Guerena was guilty of no crimes whatsoever.  Dupnik refused to allow paramedics to enter Guerena’s home for more than an hour.  Pima County, Arizona eventually paid Guerena’s widow $3.4 million.  Question: did anyone hear about this travesty on CNN?

Posted in Justice | 28 Comments

Avoiding Barcelona

(Or, how to discourage barbarism) 

Psychological warfare is a term that denotes actions designed to evoke a specific reaction in other people.  There are various techniques, of course, but all of these are aimed at influencing a target’s value system, their belief system, emotions, motives, reasoning, and their behavior.  It works.  And it seems to me that if, by employing such methods against a common enemy we actually save the lives of the innocents, then we ought to employ psychological warfare at every opportunity.  I suspect that we don’t do this because our minds have been affected by a brain cancer called political correctness.

The other day, my good friend “Z” reported another one of President Trumps tweets wherein he suggested, in response to the attack in Barcelona, that we ought to do as General Pershing once did in the Philippines, which was to dip bullets in pig blood before shooting Moslem extremists.  Apparently, swine is anathema to the Moslem faith.  In any case, Z was reporting on a story published in the Washington Examiner; the headline was Trump Resurrects Tall Tale About General Pershing and Muslims After Barcelona Terror Attack.

Well, except that the story doesn’t fit the headline; it may not have been a “tall tale” after all.  In the same article, author Caitlin Yilek explains that pigs were used by Pershing’s troops in their war against Moslems.

“… there are historical accounts of U.S. soldiers burying pigs alongside dead Muslim fighters in the Philippines’ Moro Province.

“The tactic was supposedly used to scare Islamic insurgents known as “juramentados” into halting their attacks. To Muslims, pigs are unholy and the insurgents feared that if they died, Pershing’s practice would deny them entry into heaven.

“… A 2009 biography of Pershing by Jim Lacey, a military analyst for the Institute for Defense Analyses, claimed to confirm that Pershing did use the tactic.  ‘Until now the historical verdict was that this was only a vicious rumor and, while it may have happened on occasion, Pershing neither knew about it, nor, given his humane outlook, would have condoned such an action. That verdict is wrong as Pershing’s own unpublished autobiography states.’

“The book then cites an unpublished letter by Pershing, stating: ‘These juramentado attacks were materially reduced in number by a practice the Army had already adopted, one that the Mohammedans held in abhorrence: Their bodies were publicly buried in the same grave with a dead pig. It was not pleasant to have to take such measures but the prospect of going to hell instead of heaven sometimes deterred the would-be assassins.’”

Significantly, this tactic worked and more than likely saved a number of lives —both those of the American soldiers and among Moslems themselves.  War is not all about killing an enemy; it is about winning a war.  Killing other human beings is secondary.  If a nation can win a war without shedding any blood at all, then that is what nations ought to be doing.  So far in human history, I have not heard of winning a war without shedding blood … but I do admit it is a lofty goal.  Even if not entirely possible, we should avoid killing if we can and this takes us back to psychological warfare.

The goal of psychological warfare is to demoralize one’s enemy.  We want him to quit the battlefield.  We want the enemy to decide that there are means other than violence in resolving human differences, and this is especially true when the enemy targets unarmed, innocent civilians who are guilty of nothing worse than going to a mall to do some shopping.  If we hope to demoralize Moslem extremists, then in my judgment there is no better way of doing that than by tossing a bloody pork chop into the grave of a dead Moslem.

If doing such a thing has the effect of discouraging extremism (generally), or saving the life of innocent men, women, and children (specifically) … then that is exactly what we ought to be doing.  I will go one step further: if we do not employ such tactics in our war opposing barbarism, then WE are no better than the Moslem swine who murder our loved ones in cold blood —because we have at our disposal the means of preventing the death of innocents, but elect not to employ those means.

If we want to discourage barbarism, if we want to save the lives of innocents, then western nations need to grow a set of balls and use ALL the tools of war at our disposal.

 

 

Posted in Justice | 18 Comments

Nikki Haley

Tom Rogan, writing for the Washington Examiner, recently declared that UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is the finest US Ambassador in fifty years.  At this point, Rogan has assumed the opposite view of one of Haley’s initial critics —a Democratic hack from the University of Baltimore.   She may be the finest ambassador, but I think we’ll need a bit more than eight-months to sort her out.  I’m not one of those people who easily admire public servants —at least not until they’ve had a chance to prove themselves.  In Haley’s case, I do have a few reservations.

Haley 001Yes, it is true that Ambassador Haley rallied members of the United Nations to approve new sanctions on North Korea, which according to Rogan, demonstrates that Haley has credibility with her contemporaries.  And it’s also true that Haley is (so far) a breath of fresh air following the past eight-years of diplomatic incompetence.  Yet, I am a bit concerned over Haley’s position on Syria.

History tells us that for the United States (and we are not alone), the Middle East has become a quagmire; a place where a prosperous nation is able to chuck away its material wealth and pour out into the sand the blood of their warriors.  Possibly the reason for this is that no American executive or diplomat appears to understand all they know about Middle Eastern culture.  I cannot say that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deserves humanitarian awards, but I will go so far as to suggest that he is a victim of Arab politics.  For starters, one should wonder about the clandestine machinations of Saudi Arabia in Syria.  A few relevant facts include the following:

  • Syria is a country predominantly populated by Sunni Arabs, but led by Alawites (Shi’a Arabs).
  • Al-Assad’s principle enemy are the Saudis, a land predominantly populated by Shi’a Arabs, but led by Sunnis.

The differences between Alawites and Sunnis in Syria have sharpened dangerously since the beginning of the 2011 uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, whose family is Alawite. The reason for the tension is more political than religious: Top positions in Assad’s army are held by Alawite officers, while most of the rebels from the Free Syrian Army and other opposition groups come from Syria’s Sunni majority. ​

If we just stop there, who might be behind the so-called revolution in Syria?

As for Russia’s involvement in Syria, while George Bush was gazing into Vladimir Putin’s soul and finding a “truly good man,” and as Obama made the world tour apologizing for America’s sacrifices in the Twentieth Century, Vlad was embarked on a robust Middle Eastern diplomatic tour (as both President and Prime Minister of the Russian Federation) making deals with Middle Eastern potentates, primarily in Iran, Turkey, and Syria.  Who knew that a former communist would one day become a raging capitalist?  To summarize, while the United States was squandering its political capital, Putin was investing it.

So, as Mr. Rogan admits Haley has been unable to “guide Trump away from appeasing Russia,” he gloats over Haley’s condemnation of Syria’s slaughter of innocents.  Rogan told us, “… Haley has made the US the leading voice for Syrian Sunnis.”

Seriously?

Rogan thinks this is important because, “… it represents the return of American moral leadership after eight years of Obama administration neglect,” and “… it helps consolidate the Sunni-Arab monarchies in believing that the U.S. will not allow Iran, Assad, and Russia to set the path of the Middle East uncontested.”  If the Sunnis lack this faith in American morality, then the Saudis will double-down on groups like the Islamic State[1].

To me, it appears Haley merely continues a time-honored American ritual behaving as useful idiots to Arabs.  Who drove two airplanes into the World Trade Center?  Sunnis.  Why do our leaders continue to appease those who seek the destruction of western (Judeo-Christian) culture?  Is this the best America can do?  If it is, then I must reserve my judgment about Haley.

Note:

[1] The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also Daesh, is an Arab Salafi (Sunni) sect of psychotics who receive direct and indirect support from Saudi Arabia.  This “murder for hire” scheme is likely the reason Ambassador Stevens was murdered in Libya.

Posted in Justice, Truth | 20 Comments

Life Involves Taking Chances

The World Health Organization informs us that 1.25 million people are killed on our highways each year.  That would average um … about one person killed on a highway every 25 seconds.  One third of these people are pedestrians or cyclists.  Over 70% of these deaths occur in the so-called middle income countries.

Traffic Fatality TreeGlobally, the risk of traffic related death is measured by the number of fatalities per 100,000 in population.  It was no surprise to find the highest number of fatalities in African and Eastern Mediterranean countries. Although I did imagine fatalities would be higher in Italy where anyone getting on a Vespa is just asking for it.

Now, if we were trying to understand so many deaths, then one reason could be that only 7% of the world’s countries have adequate traffic laws, but I also imagine that it might be hard to find a safe driver who is also illiterate.  We may be able to keep morons from operating motor vehicles, but I’m not so sure there is much we can do about simpletons who walk rather erratically along our roadways.

Next up, the number of deaths that result from toxic air.  The World Health Organization tells us that 7 million people die each year from breathing polluted air.  The number of pollutant-related deaths in the United Kingdom, by comparison, is 40,000 annually.

Toxic AirDr. Frank Kelly (King’s College, London) suggests that if we are worried about air toxicity, then we should probably stop clamoring about converting to electric vehicles: it won’t help, he said.  True, electric vehicles produce no exhaust fumes, but that’s not what is killing us.  What IS killing us are minuscule particles from brake and tire dust … from which there is no acceptable safe limit.  (Note: Tony Blair’s cabinet convinced many Britons to convert to diesel engines, since, he told them, diesel fuel is ecologically safer.  It was an unfathomable proposition, but many people bought into it.  Now the government has taken the opposite stance and anyone in the UK driving a diesel-powered vehicle is either precluded from entering a city, or taxed into oblivion for owning one.  Still, what Kelly suggests is fewer cars inside our cities, period.  This may not be a bad idea if you’ve ever attempted to find a parking place inside any British city.

By the way … one commission reported that HALF of all particulate matter comes from brakes and tire dust, but I feel we need to have some perspective here: given a world population of 7.5 billion souls, less than 10% of the population dies from air pollution.  In the United Kingdom, experts tell us 40,000 people die each year due to toxic substances in the air … or, .04% of the population.

I could personally embrace Dr. Kelly’s suggestion, if for no other reason than finding a parking place inside British cities is far too difficult.  Yes, the park and ride schemes here are much simpler to deal with, but even that won’t have much of a life-savings impact.  Buses propelled by natural gas still produce brake and tire dust; if all automobiles are banned from inside the city limits, the number of buses may double or triple.

It’s a zero-sum game.

No, what we must do to save lives is develop vehicles that can levitate—you know, like in the Jetson’s.  Well, either that, or we’ll have to accept the notion that no one lives forever.  In life, we all take our chances.

Posted in Society | 28 Comments