Monday, March 20, 2017

Freedom From ...?

My local county newspaper, The Macomb Daily--Macomb County abuts Wayne County, the home of Detroit--carried an oped by Walter Williams on this Sunday 03/19. It's titled "True Liberty is not for wimps."

Mr Williams writes
"Congress has no resources of its very own. If Congress gives one person something that he did not earn, it necessarily requires that Congress deprive somebody else of something that he did earn."

Very true, and continues with:
"Another area in which there is contempt of liberty, most notably on many college campuses, is free speech.
 The true test of one's commitment to free speech does not come when he permits others to say things with which he agrees. Instead, the true test comes when one permits others to say things with which he disagrees."

True again and adds:

"A very difficult liberty pill  for many Americans to swallow is freedom of association. As with free speech, the true test for one's commitment to freedom of association does not come when one permits people to voluntarily associate in ways that he deems acceptable.
The true test is when he permits people to associate in ways he deems offensive."
I was happy  to see these ideas of true individualism in my county's paper. We need many more discussions on the meaning of freedom and I'm bouyed by the fact that Mr. Williams is a syndicated columnist who is widely read.

But the question is why do so many Americans today appear to be political wimps? I say it is because they are intellectual wimps i.e. they are not being taught the real meaning of freedom in any of our public schools.

My favorite writer on freedom, Ayn Rand, writes:
"Freedom, in a political context, means freedom from government coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state--and nothing else." (From the essay 'Conservatism: An Obituary' from her book "Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal"

It also means freedom to associate or not with people of one's own choosing. In a free market any buyer can refuse to buy and any seller can refuse to sell regardless of reasons. Mr Williams is right, many people find this liberty pill hard to swallow. Today's leftists believe freedom means freedom from want, of any kind. And they are willing to employ the tyranny of government force on others to get it.

This is why it is so critical to get government out of education. Progressive Education has already produced several generations of such intellectual wimps who now need remedial courses on the real meaning of political freedom.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

Trump a do-nothing president?

The print edition of the Macomb Daily, a paper of the Detroit suburban county of Macomb, carried an oped by Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson On March 1st. It's titled "Does Trump Know that He's in Office?" In the first paragraph Robinson tries to get his readers to believe that Trump is largely a do-nothing president.

"The Trump administration so far has been smoke and mirrors, sound and fury, self-proclaimed victimhood and angry tweets. Where is the substance? Where is the competence? And where--increasingly--is the public support?"
If Mr Robinson can't see the things Trump has done in his first 5  weeks then he couldn't have been looking very hard. Off the top of my head Trump:

1. Rescinded Obama's order to allow men into women's bathrooms.
2. EO to freeze Federal hiring except for military.
3. EO to cut 2 regulations for every new one.
4. EO okaying the Dakota and Keystone pipelines
5. Notice to pull out of TPP
6. Begin building border wall
7. Rescinded EPA's Waters of the United States act which allowed blatant violations of property rights.

That's just to name a few. But then, given that Mr Robinson writes for the leftist WAPO he probably would not consider any of these to be accomplishments. He then brings up the old leftist canard:

"...Trump will never erase the fact that he lost the popular vote."

Anyone with any knowledge of political history knows that our Founders wanted nothing to do with democracy, the tyranny of the majority. They wanted everyone in every state to have at least some say in the electoral process. That's why they created the Electoral College. If we had pure democracy today only 5 states would decide every election, California, New York, Texas, Florida and maybe Ohio or Michigan or Pennsylvania. All the rest would be disenfranchised.

According to mrctv.org, Obama lost the popular vote to Hillary in the 2008 Democratic primary. I don't recall any WAPO writers complaining about that.

Mr Robinson obviously has no use for the electoral college because if you can control elections by controlling just 5 or 6 of the most populous states, the other 44 or 45 are your voiceless slaves to whom you can dictate. A leftist utopia.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Slanted News

The print edition of Sunday Jan 15 Detroit Free Press carried an Associated Press article by Steve Peoples titled "Trump unleashes Twitter attack against civil rights legend." It's true that Rep John Lewis D-Georgia is a famous champion for civil rights going back to the march in Selma where he suffered a fractured skull.

I also agree with the article that "...no one is untouchable for scorn from a president-elect with little tolerance for public criticism." Yes Mr Trump does seem to be rather thin skinned as was also evidenced in the debates.

I'm not disputing any of this. But this article is a good lesson on how a news article can be slanted to present a certain image to the public.. If you just read the headline above you could easily think Mr Trump started it. The opposite is true. It was Mr Lewis who said he didn't think Mr Trump was a "legitimate president." Mr Trump was responding to that.

We have to defend ourselves from the techniques used to sway us to a certain mindset. Failing to say explicitly who started a dispute is one way as mentioned above.

Another is the use of adjectives and adverbs. Look at the word 'unleashed' above.  It means something-an attack perhaps-already exists but is on a leash. Then Trump unleashes it on a civil rights hero. Mr Peoples could have used words like 'Trump responded' or "Trump answered' which are action words but do not indicate violence--to which most people attach negative feelings--which the violence of 'unleashed' does. Achieving negative feelings does seem to be the goal here.

One more. This involves obfuscation.
                       "U.S. intelligence agencies have said that Russia, in a campaign ordered by President Vladimir Putin, meddled in the election to help Trump win."

So this is about meddling in the election but which is followed by this sentence:
                       "After spending weeks challenging that assessment, Trump finally accepted that the Russians were behind the election-year hacking of Democrats."

See the switch in meaning here? Russian meddling in the election, for which there is no evidence, is combined with "...Russians were behind the election-year hacking of the Democrats." It is true that the Russians and the Chinese et al have hacked the Democrat's computers. The Democrats have not been very concerned with cyber security as Hillary's private server fiasco has revealed. But the Democratic National Committee's computers were not used in the election.

It was not at all necessary for the reporter to use the phrase election-year. Everybody knows this is about the election. So the packaging of the words 'Russian', 'election', 'hacking' and 'Democrats' was designed to equate those concepts in the mind of the reader so he will be nudged to conclude that Russians hacked the election.

In closing let me say we must keep an eye on adjectives, verbs and attempts to obfuscate ideas instead of identifying them precisely.

P.s. I could not find a link in the Freep's online edition.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What? No Santa?

 "Self-described progressives like Meryl Streep don’t care about freedom of speech. It’s only some journalists they wish to protect — their kind of journalists at CNN, ABC, HuffPost and MSNBC. The ones who only support their narrative of endless big government and socialistic do-goodism through government coercion" This quote is from Michael J Hurd's post here about how celeb's can't handle being talked back to.

Meryl Streep is just the tip of the disillusioned Hollywood iceberg. Most of Hollywood can't figure out why their cognitive caretakers in the MSM could not tuck them into bed that election night with something like "There, there now. It's going to be alright. This is just an aberration. It will pass." It didn't happen because their mental nannies in the media were having their own nightmare - Trump winning. Here is an observation I jotted down in November:

"Watching the election returns November 8th 2016, I went back and forth between Fox News and CNN. Both channels interviewed panels of expert political pundits whose job was to tell us what to think of those results. But instead of enlightening us they projected a bare naked, full screen display of just how detached they are from reality and the general public.

They used words like "shocked" and "stunned" and "amazed" and other such descriptors. "What's going on here?" and "How can this be?" were voiced often. Megyn Kelly used "unbelievable" several times. It was as if some children were just told there is no Santa.

It was glaringly obvious that these talking heads were frustrated at a reality that was not conforming to their preconceived--or should I say indoctrinated--notions of how the world should work and were at a loss to explain why. These pundits' frustrations projected a well earned image. It was as if they all shouted in unison "Can it be the public isn't listening to us any more?" And I smiled."
The 'do-goodism' of which Dr Hurd speaks is what I call government enforced altruism, the desire to achieve good through the initiation of force. There is nothing wrong with voluntary charity. But government enforced charity is neither moral nor charity. It is loot.

We see the Democratic Party and the media  having breakdowns because their world view has been rejected by voters. But who created that false world view for them? Our university departments of philosophy and their notions of post-modernism, pragmatism, egalitarianism and others.

The only solution is to get government out of education by starting with the federal Dept of Ed. This will start the process of decentralization which should continue within the states down to the local level where it belongs. Trump said he would do that. We have to hold his feet to that fire.





Sunday, January 01, 2017

The same ole New Year on the Left

It's New Years day and the leftist Detroit Free Press is at it again. The Freep's chief political cartoonist Mike Thompson presents his Auld Lang Syne year in review with a collection of past cartoons. One of them shows a family of four in a sedan with dad driving, mom next to him and what seems to be a daughter and son in the back seat and a small dog sticking his head out the window all of whom are smiling except the dog. This I presume is supposed to represent the traditional American family.

But in front of that car we see eight adults and two children standing in line just below a sign saying "Flint Bottled Water Distribution" with an arrow pointing the way. None of these people are smiling. In the upper right hand corner are the words written in cursive: "There's no way like the American way."

These two images together are conveying the notion that the American way is to go from having Happiness-the smiling faces, and having independence-driving the family car, to unhappiness-no smiling faces-and dependence, standing in line for emergency charity. So the American way is to go from happiness to unhappiness.

There is a lot of truth to this cartoon though I don't think its the truth Mr Thompson wants his readers to glean. The truth is that the traditional American family existed in an era of more political freedom, that is to say less government control and more self reliance.

But since the sixties that 'American way' has been reversed. Today we are constantly advised by the chattering class that it is wise, nay even morally ideal, to place all our economic needs--not just political ones--in the hands of government controllers. And I say it is the government control of the water supply that is responsible for the disaster in Flint.

On that note I just want to point to all that clean water being trucked into Flint. Why is it clean? Because it is produced by big, huge, giant corporations in business to make profits. They have the economies of scale that allow them to bring massive amounts of water, that small mom and pop businesses could not match, to those who need it.  They can't afford to poison their customers even accidentally. They would lose too much money. Government doesn't face that prospect.

So, the lesson to be drawn from Mr Thompson's cartoon is that the modern American way of trusting government to provide for our economic needs is unwise, nay even morally wrong. Thus the resolution we should all make for 2017 is to work hard to remove government from our economic needs and urge Mike Thompson and the Detroit Free Press to join us in that endeavor.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Disestablishing an Establishment?

 Although she passed away in 1982, Ayn Rand's philosophical insights proved prescient to today and explain the real reason the Democrat and Republican establishments lost the 2016 election to political outsider Donald Trump and how the intellectual establishment got the election so wrong.
"They still think that it is daring, idealistic and unconventional to denounce the rich. They still believe that money is the root of all evil--except government money, which is the solution to all problems. The intellectual Establishment is frozen on the level of those elderly "leaders" who were prominent when the system of governmental "encouragement" took hold. By controlling the schools, the "leaders" perpetuated their dogma and gradually silenced the opposition."(from "The Establishing of an Establishment" in her book "Philosophy: Who Needs It.)
This was written in 1972. True then and true today. The Democrats still try to peddle worn out notions like the rich are evil, white people are evil, the businessman is the workers' worst enemy and they care about the poor and needy. The GOP theme was always "me too." Americans are now seeing through phony postures and lies. They are waking up to the fact that both parties have an establishment concerned only with serving itself instead of them. And they see the intellectual establishment in the media supporting the political establishment mostly of the Democrats and tolerating the GOP as long as it's willing to maintain its punching bag status.

One of the characteristics of an establishment is the creation of an orthodoxy, a set of beliefs or narratives universally accepted and from which members are not allowed to dissent. Thus establishments are usually hostile to outsiders. But what happens when such an establishment is challenged by an outsider? Rand speaks to that too:

"This kind of psycho-epistemology (concrete bound method of thinking-ME) works so long as no part of it is challenged. But all hell breaks loose when it is--because what is threatened then is not a particular idea, but that mind's whole structure. The hell ranges from fear to resentment to stubborn evasion to hostility to panic to hatred." (from the essay "The Missing Link" in the above mentioned book)
That hell is what we saw on the faces of the media on election night and the following days of protests. What's being rejected by voters is governmental encouragement of how we should live our lives. I don't think all Trump voters see it in these explicit terms. It may be more like an appealing feeling. It remains to be seen whether Trump will withstand the push back from today's establishments.

Here is why: the Democratic Party prides itself on being the party of altruism, the morality of human sacrifice. It claims to be the moral party willing to force citizens to make the sacrifices altruism requires them to make. Republicans shout they just want kinder and gentler sacrifices.

But Trump bases his 'Make America Great Again' on just practical grounds, not moral ones. 'Making better deals' is his solution to being great again. The leftist media will assault all his policies as being immoral. Will he defend his positions or attack theirs on moral grounds? I for one don't think he knows how. That takes a knowledge of principles, moral principles.

Trump could go a long way towards a moral stand if he would say something like "When I say "America first" I mean you first, your life first, your family first." I don't think he will though.

Today the government is encouraging us to let it control all aspects of our lives; transportation, education, health care, insurance, financing and virtually everything. Fortunately, for now at least, it is still up to us. Thanks to free speech, politicians still have to persuade us to vote for them. But even this Constitutionally protected right-speech-is under attack today with calls for outlawing so-called "hate speech" and "offensive speech." If these are actually outlawed, complete censorship will soon follow. Censorship is an absolute requirement to establish a dictatorship.

The above essay "The Establishing of an Establishment" on governmental encouragement, mostly via government grants, was a real eye opener for me. It shows how an establishment becomes one and thus the urgent need to get the government out of the encouragement business. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It's Similarities not Differences, that Are Important.

The Oct 20th editorial page of the Detroit News carried an oped by Bankole Thompson whose columns appear twice a week and is the host of  "Redline with Bankole Thompson" on super Station 910 AM. The oped is titled "Colleges must tackle hate." Evidently, there were "racist materials and grafitti that were discovered at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti." Mr Thompson reports:

"The message from the fliers discovered Sept. 26 at UM was to make black students feel like they don't belong.
"The attempt to torment black students and make them feel inferior to their white counterparts was also reflected in the KKK graffiti found Sept 20 on an administrative building at EMU.
"Because these racist incidences are happening at a time when colleges are being asked to make inclusion a cornerstone of their mission, it is all the more important for university administrators to have a plan in place to deal with such issues."
 

Racism is irrational no matter where practiced and should be opposed everywhere. But to read the entire oped one comes away with the idea that the cause of this racism is hate, thus the call to tackle it. This is misguided. Hatred is the consequence of racism not its cause. When found on a university campus it would be hoped that learned professors would publicly and precisely define racism and begin calling out the perps for being the anti mind and anti life second handers they really are.

Blaming hatred for causing racism does nothing to alleviate it. Hatred is an emotion and like all emotions, has a specific cause. That cause is always a fundamental idea one regards as true. As author Ayn Rand pointed out:

"Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man's genetic lineage--the notion that a man's intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
       Racism claims the content of a man's mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content is inherited; that a man's convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control."  (from her essay "Racism" in her book The Virtue of Selfishness)
She also wrote:

"There is no surer way to infect mankind with hatred--brute, blind, virulent hatred--than by splitting it into ethnic groups or tribes. If a man believes that his own character is determined at birth in some unknown, ineffable way, and that the characters of all strangers are determined in the same way--then no communication, no understanding, no persuasion is possible among them, only mutual fear, suspicion and hatred." (from her essay "Global Balkanization" in her book "Return of the Primitive")
Observe here that it is racial determinism that is the cause which produces hatred, the consequence.

 But today's academia and news media are going at it backwards attacking hatred, the effect, while ignoring racial determinism, the cause. If there were no animosity, racism or hatred in a widely diverse population, policies with a laser like focus on everyone's differences like multiculturalism, egalitarianism, diversity, inclusiveness and race consciousness just to name some, would create that hatred and that is what we are seeing today.

It is not differences that need to be focused upon but rather similarities, the things all students have in common. So the question becomes what does our form of government say all students have in common? The answer of course is inalienable individual rights which all men have equally under the law. That is why that statue of the lady holding the scales of justice is blindfolded. She is not to see our differences, pay no attention to our race, nationality, skin color, or ancestry. Her only concern is whether someone's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was violated or not? That's it.

I know that the noble ideal of equality under the law excluded the black man in our early history, but thanks to free speech being protected slavery was eventually repealed. Again because of free speech being protected the Jim Crow laws were eventually repealed as well. This last point demonstrates the extreme importance of free speech: when adamantly protected, injustice will be out there for all to see, debate and discuss and eventually truth will win out.

The right method to cooperation is to focus on all the values a diverse population shares. But first we must abandon the wrong method of focusing on everyone's differences. This means that the above mentioned policies of multiculturalism, egalitarianism, diversity, inclusiveness, race consciousness and others must be purged from our primary, secondary and university schools.

Now is the best time to start.




Friday, October 21, 2016

My Deplorables

My Deplorables by Mike Neibel



Trump fans are Deplorables.

That's what we are,

beautiful Deplorables

from near and far.

It's not horrible

to be a Deplorable.

Our goals are adorable,

Our critics ignorable, you see,

it is Deplorables

we're all proud to be.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Rigged Elections in Michigan? Nah.

The August 14th Detroit Free Press (Freep) carried an oped by Tim Kiska a journalism professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and who worked for both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News alternatively from 1970 to 2002. Mr Kiska's oped is in response to GOP nominee Donald Trump's claim that the November election processes are rigged.
"Republican Presidential  candidate Donald Trump has raised the possibility of a "rigged" election in November although it's unclear how he meant the comment."
The print edition of the Freep is headlined " Rigged election? Tough to pull off in Michigan." From this headline a reader may easily assume the oped will be about the myriad ways to rig an election. Not so. Mr. Kiska confines his oped to just two ways to rig an election, voter fraud by actual voters and hacking the tabulating machines that count the votes.

First, let me say I don't doubt Mr Kiska's credentials:
"I know something about the procedures because I've run exit polls and election night operations at one time or another for the Free Press, The Detroit News and each of Detroit's television stations in every election but two since 1974."
He goes on to say:
"There are so many sets of eyes looking at the voting process, the machinery so locked up--literally locked up--that even the savviest hacker would have difficulty cracking the code."
And:
"But the biggest barriers to election fraud may be a simple piece of paper, and humble precinct workers--who are paid barely above minimum wage, but are there out of a sense of old fashion patriotism and service, and are hell bent on doing the job right."

 I can agree with this but only up to a point. Michigan still uses the paper ballot which as he mentions, is hard to corrupt. But, as also mentioned, it uses an electronic tabulating machine for which there is some history of corruption.

There are reports that some of these machines do not count each vote as one vote but are wired to treat each vote as a percentage of the precinct's total voter makeup regardless of the actual votes cast. This of course is dishonest because it violates the one man, one vote principle. If the tabulators are wired this way legally, it's wrong and needs to be stopped. If not done legally, how come the many sets of eyes haven't seen it?

A recent expose' by Project Veritas shows how easy it was for journalistic investigators to obtain the ballots of people like Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Freep staff writer Nancy Kaffer, Mi state Senator David Robertson, and rapper Eminem among others without showing ID. Some of them claim to have gotten ballots of dead people.

What was exposed was not so much actual voter fraud but how easy it was to commit such fraud if one was inclined to do so. It was revealing that the powers that be wanted to prosecute the Veritas people for exposing election weaknesses instead of fixing those weaknesses. Evidently, 'hell bent on doing the job right' applies to the poll workers but not their bureaucrats.

There is plenty of evidence of possible election rigging in various places nationally, which is what concerns Mr.  Trump, like for  example some precincts having more people vote than were registered to vote, or where not one vote for Romney was cast in 2012 or where there were investigations of discrepancies with the electronic touch screen machines.
"There was little or no evidence presented in the various federal court cases decided this summer that showed this to be a widespread problem."
But election rigging does not need to be widespread to be effective. Savvy campaign operatives know which states will probably be important swing states and which counties and precincts within them will carry swing voters. It is these on which they will want to focus their fraudulent efforts.

Mr Kiska gives an accurate and detailed account of how a ballot goes through the Michigan voting process. It is however an idyllic picture of how he sees the process actually working the way it should. But as the saying goes; "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray" 

I'm sure that the vast majority of poll workers in Michigan actually are "hell bent on doing the job right." But we would be wise to remember that other adage about roads and "good intentions." Wouldn't we?













Friday, August 12, 2016

Where's the alternative?

Most people know that Michigan is a blue (leftist) state. That's because Detroit and Flint were strong union towns and key players in the motor capital of the world. Detroit is no longer the motor king of the nation and unions have been losing members. No matter how bad things get though I don't see Detroit ever becoming a conservative, free market loving city anytime soon.

Detroit has two major newspapers; the Detroit Free Press (Freep), a far leftist paper that champions government control over everything, and the Detroit News which prints editorials by some conservative and  Republican pundits, It prides itself on being a voice of political moderation. While it believes some government control over our lives is good, it resists the idea of having more of this goodness.

It is no surprise then that the News is the smaller paper. So Detroit doesn't have a major paper that advocates for capitalist free markets. More people are attracted to the Freep because it is more consistent in its advocacy of controlled markets. Even though the Freep's principles are wrong, people find it more appealing because it doesn't compromise on its collectivist principles. Point is, the News only occasionally provides a contrast to the leftist Freep.

For example, on Thursday July 21 of the Republican National Convention, the News's bold headline reads "Discord takes center stage." It referred to Ted Cruz's speech in which he did not endorse Donald Trump. OK, fine with me. But I wondered how consistent the News would be on the same day of the Democrat National Convention.

I watched that convention too and in my opinion there was much more discord going on at the DNC than the RNC. On Tuesday of the convention about 1000 Bernie Sanders supporters walked out leaving the DNC leadership to resort to rent a crowd. It was reported that the DNC was paying $50 per person to fill the vacant seats and applaud the various speakers.

So what were the bold headlines of the Thursday Detroit News? "Trump spurs outrage with Russia plea." No mention of filling empty seats with rent a crowd. So Detroiters really don't have a balance between the Freep's leftist attacks on Trump and Republicans in general.

You could say that the pundits at the Freep want the government to have ever tighter leashes around our necks. The News just wants us to have longer or looser or more reasonable ones. In Detroit's media there are no voices challenging the need for leashes. There is no chance of even a discussion of a Sandy Springs alternative. That's the Georgia city that privatized everything except police and fire and it is prospering. Detroit desperately need to follow that alternative.