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."
"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.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Can good intentions lead to places other than hell?

I posted this over at the New Clarion earlier this year. It was about the claim that Trump should be president because he means well.

"Then an image popped into my mind: Inspector Clouseau.
"Yes, the fictional character inspector Jacques Clouseau, the French police detective from the Pink Panther movies. The inspector was portrayed as very loyal to France, meant no harm to others, fully devoted to nabbing bad guys, but very inept and clumsy in doing so. Through a series of comedic missteps, some of which were slapstick like tripping over something and falling down, he would nevertheless, accidently, bumblingly, stumble upon the identity of the correct villain. What a guy!
Then I shuddered. Is the United States about to be led by a modern day Clouseau, someone who means well but has no clear clue (pun intended) on how to do it? Will we survive his stumbles and missteps?
You know, I really need to take a break from politics. Strange things are happening to my mind.
(PS, I think Peter Sellers excelled in that role.)"

After rereading the above, another thought occurred to me. What if inspector Clouseau decided to run for president of France? What would his inept, bumbling nature make his campaign speeches sound like? I decided--Donald Trump.

Sigh. Although lighthearted, this is not a joyous picture I paint. I find myself longing for some comforting signs, signs other than just 'he means well.' There's about 98 days to the election so I'll just keep on looking for those signs. Again, sigh.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Gun control self defense pt 3

In my last post 'Gun control self defense pt 2' I explained how today's intellectuals use anti-concepts to deceive the public. Talking about the concept 'gun violence' I pointed out that:

"The method used to pull this off is as follows: the word 'violence' in 'gun violence' is not aimed at the listener's reasoning mind. It is aimed at his feelings. It is designed to evoke an emotional response on the order of "ewe" or "ugh" or "no" or "no I don't want violence in my life."

The hope is that these emotional responses will translate into an action favorable to the gun grabbers such as support for gun control laws and candidates. The tactic is to package a noun with a potentially evil or dangerous attribute of the noun while ignoring any life preserving attribute. With the designation of violence as a negative, unwanted attribute of guns, the positive attribute of guns--self defense--is removed from public discussion. Another concept that serves the same purpose is 'assault weapon' (next post)."
And so 'assault weapon' is another package deal designed to deceive. Like 'gun violence' it packages a noun 'gun' with an undesirable attribute 'assault', condemns both as evil under the newly packaged 'assault weapon.' With the designation of assault as a negative, unwanted attribute of guns, the positive, life preserving attribute of self defense by retaliation is removed from public discussion.

So 'assault', like 'violence' is aimed at the listener's feelings in hopes of triggering an emotion like "no" or "no I don't want to be assaulted so I should support more gun control."

We have to be on the lookout for package deals that combine nouns with certain attributes which are then condemned as evil. We have to ask the question are there any positive attributes being ignored here? If certain human activities can be a danger to human life, does that activity have any human benefits that are being evaded? These questions are not being asked in our media today.

The push for gun control depends on the public being unaware of the nature of principles and how they grow. For example, if the public can be convinced that some government gun control can make them safe, then logically, a little more control will make them safer and still further, complete government control (confiscation) will make them safest.

So if safer and safest are ideals to be achieved, then gun confiscation will be the ideal method of achievement given the original premise. But is the original premise right? Does government gun control make us safe?

I have a drivers license and had to take a written test to get it. Does that license make me a safe driver? No. Just about everyone in an accident has one. I also have a weapon in my house and took a class in safety. Does that mean I'm a safe gun owner?Of course not. What makes my gun ownership and driving safe are the decisions and attention to both I give them.

Gun control is a euphemism for people control. I will close repeating the fact that if you don't have a right to defend your life, then you don't have right to life and that is the  gun grabber's ultimate goal, your right to life in their hands not yours.

This concludes the thread on gun control self defense. I will of course continue to post on gun control in other contexts if the need arises.


Friday, July 08, 2016

Gun control self defense Pt 2

What is wrong with the concept 'gun violence'?

"Gun violence" is a concept used widely today by politicians and media pundits. But is it a valid concept? I think it could be in a proper context. Perhaps if one is talking about various kinds of violence like say weapons violence which could then be subdivided into club violence, sword violence, knife violence, gun violence, bomb violence and so on. But these terms are not in widespread use and that's because they are all redundancies. A redundancy is an unnecessary repetition.

And so it is with 'gun violence.' Like the other weapons, guns are violent things. They are intended to be. Because of its redundancy 'gun violence' has been criticized as an unnecessary, nonsensical concept. But as my favorite novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand once wrote: "But there's always a purpose in nonsense. Don't bother to examine a folly--ask yourself only what it accomplishes."* Let's do that.

If a savage gang is throwing stones or spears or arrows or bombs at you, you properly would want to have some of these to throw back at the attackers. Defensively hunkering down will only delay your demise. To defeat your enemy you'll need weapons to retaliate.

What I'm leading up to here is the principle that if life is a value to humans, then defending that life is a natural and morally right thing to do. We can see then that all weapons have two possible uses: they can be used to attack and destroy life or to defend and preserve life.

But what if one wanted to blur this distinction in the minds of the public?  One would have to put together a smear campaign. This is usually done with an anti-concept which is one where the valid meaning of a concept is replaced or smeared with an invalid meaning. This blurring I contend, is what the concept 'gun violence' is designed to accomplish.

The goal of the 'gun violence' concept is to obliterate the distinction between destroying life and defending life by packaging them together and condemning both as undesirable, unwanted even evil by the new designation of 'gun violence.' Violence is something that a civilized people don't want. Since people want to live in a peaceful society, 'violence' carries with it a negative connotation. It is this negative connotation that is to be elevated as the distinguishing characteristic of 'gun violence.'

The method used to pull this off is as follows: the word 'violence' in 'gun violence' is not aimed at the listener's reasoning mind. It is aimed at his feelings. It is designed to evoke an emotional response on the order of "ewe" or "ugh" or "no" or "no I don't want violence in my life."

The hope is that these emotional responses will translate into an action favorable to the gun grabbers such as support for gun control laws and candidates. The tactic is to package a noun with a potentially evil or dangerous attribute of the noun while ignoring any life preserving attribute. With the designation of violence as a negative, unwanted attribute of guns, the positive attribute of guns--self defense--is removed from public discussion. Another concept that serves the same purpose is 'assault weapon' (next post).

It is quite probable that the public having never been taught to examine their feelings, will never discover that it is their right of self defense that is being attacked. How can a person have a right to life if he is not allowed to defend it? He can't and won't. And that is the ultimate goal.

*(Ayn Rand quote from The Fountainhead pg 636 paperback)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Gun control self defense Pt 1: What's wrong with the concept gun control?

Calls for gun control have been in the news a lot since the San Bernardino and Orlando shootings. Most in the Democrat Party and some Republicans along with the mainstream media (MSN) have been assaulting the public to accept ever increasing gun controls, which of course will lead to eventual gun confiscation even though they promise it won't.

When did the government ever not expand a program once instituted? Well, gun restrictions already exist. They are trying to expand them. Gun confiscation is their goal. But this post is about looking at the techniques used by politicians and the media to frame the issue as if gun control by government equals good and private control equals bad.

So lets look at the phrase gun control first. The concept 'gun control' is based on the premise that guns are out of control. But when presented with that claim I like to ask whose control? This is when I usually discover that they mean everyone's control. They'll say government has allowed citizens to have guns but the citizens aren't controlling them responsibly so the government must step in with more controlling restrictions.

But they are not talking about controlling the guns of criminals. Whenever there is a shooting the automatic reaction of Democrats and the MSM is to call for the government to take the guns away from everyone who didn't do it. This is blaming all gun owners for the crimes of a few. Pure stereotyping.

This is the principle of preventive law and is always wrong politically and morally. It is the principle that citizens are to be presumed potentially guilty and must prove their innocence by jumping through regulatory hoops. This is a profoundly unAmerican principle. Contrary to the principle that citizens are to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The only concern for government regarding guns is whether anyone's rights are being violated.

Gun control is a euphemism for people control. Ownership is the right of use and disposal and that is the essence of control. To remove control from citizens is to remove ownership from citizens violating their second Amendment rights. What kind of society do you have where only the government has guns? Dictatorship.

(Next, what's wrong with the concept 'gun violence'?)

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Gun control is about destroying the right to life.

The Friday 06/24/16 Detroit News carried an oped by economist Thomas Sowell titled "The gun control farce" in which he cites evidence that gun restrictions cause more crime not less. Here is one example:

"Conversely, in the United States the number of handguns in American homes more than doubled between 1973 and 1992, while the murder rate went down."

 He rightly points out the gun controllers routinely ignore this and other contrary evidence.

 In a short letter to the editor I pointed out that though Mr Sowell was correct, he did not go far enough. He should have challenged their alleged motives because to ignore evidence on such a massive scale gives the lie to their claim to be for public safety.

The real issue in most of these gun control debates is not the number of murders. The issue is do you have a right to life or not? It stands to reason if you don't have a right to defend your life you don't have a right to life. How can you have a right to something if you don't have the right to keep and defend it? You can't and won't. And that is the goal to be achieved, your right to life in their (government's) hands, not yours. It is the dream and goal of every bloody dictatorship that ever was.

So the point I want to make is not just that the left is ignoring the evidence but that they are ignoring the evidence because reducing murders is not their goal. It's just an excuse. Disarming Americans is the goal. The left doesn't care about how many people die by guns or any other means. They are using the technique of  NAZI propagandist Joseph Goebbels who said:

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." (From the thinkexist web page)

That is why the truth of the evidence Mr Sowell, presents must be ignored, evaded and just plain blanked out. Now, it may be hard for some citizens to attach such sinister motives to the gun controllers based just on this oped. But Sowell provides some supporting evidence for this anti self defense mind set of the left.

   "In both England and the United States, those people most zealous for tighter gun control laws tend also to be most lenient toward criminals and most restrictive on police. The net result is that law-abiding citizens become more vulnerable when they are disarmed and criminals disobey gun control laws, as they disobey other laws."

This is true. We have seen this leniency towards criminals and bias against police for a long while now. But why? What motivates people to evade real facts on a large scale, to be against law enforcement of individual rights and favor criminals who violate them? Could it be that law enforcement's job of protecting peoples'  rights is based on the right to life?

Well, if you believe man does not or should not have an inalienable right to life, that his nature is malleable and he can be forcibly molded into any desired moral shape by the force of a benevolent, caring government, you will be motivated to adopt the above mentioned anti rights mind set.

It really doesn't matter the cause of their evasions, their goal is the destruction of the right to life. The desire for the destruction of the political right to life is the desire to destroy the moral right to life which can have no other result than the destruction of life itself.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Drowning in Guns?

 The June 18th Detroit Free Press editorial page editor Stephen Henderson is at it again calling for more control of guns in light of the Orlando killings. In this editorial he puts a slightly new twist on the standard leftist mantra that guns are to blame for killings. It's not guns as such but their widespread proliferation, their abundance.

"Why shouldn't we recast the Second Amendment to recognize more of a balance between the rights of gun owners and the victims of the massive proliferation of gun possession, legal and illegal, that has led to intolerable carnage?"

What does it mean to have a balance between the rights of gun owners and the victims of shootings (which he assumes is caused by gun abundance)? It would have to be some rights protection mixed with some rights violations. And what would that mixture look like? I shudder to think.

Regardless, the obvious goal here is to restrict gun ownership to some extent. That is a slippery slope down which we don't want to slide. The principle at work here is this: if some x (gun restrictions) is a good thing then logically will come the cry that more x will be a better thing. In other words the principle of restricting rights will grow by virtue of its own alleged merit whether that merit is true or false.

To put it more simply, to see some restrictions on gun ownership as good, is to see more restrictions as better and that will be followed by seeing total restrictions on all gun ownership as best. (Good, better, best. That's the way principles grow whether true or false). Then no one will have the right to defend themselves. And that dear reader is what happened in Orlando.

Not mentioned in the editorial is the fact that the Pulse club was reported in the news as a gun free zone. This means that the patrons were not allowed to protect themselves. I for one would never venture into an establishment that posted signs saying 'no guns' or 'gun free zone' unless I knew there were at least two armed security guards therein. Only one security guard is woefully inadequate.

But there is something more troubling going on here. To focus on inanimate matter like guns and their numbers as the editorial does, as having a causal influence on the killings, is to ignore the behavior of the killer and its causes. There is nothing morally good about such neglect. The question should be why did the killer feel the need to sacrifice those people for whatever he deemed to be his version of the good? Could it be he was a True Believer--about which Eric Hoffer once wrote--in the morality of sacrifice?

Those victims perished not because guns are so abundant, but because the protection of their right to life was not taken seriously. It is not the widespread proliferation of guns but rather, the war on guns by the gun control movement that's turning America into the modern day equivalent of the Wild West. The war on guns is a war on the right to life.

It stands to reason that if you don't have the right to defend your life, you don't have a right to life. And if that becomes America's new normal, the future will be worse than the old Wild West.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Government control, the uber value, Pt 4

In most of human history man has been ruled by kings, emperors and assorted thugs and rulers. Most of these had witch doctors at their side. The task of the witch doctors was to justify the antics of the ruler to the masses. Basically, the witch doctors' main role was to champion the ruler's rule as being in the serfs' interest. Nothing has changed in many millenia.

 The 6/12/16 Detroit Free Press's witch doctors (editorial page) are still trying to convince the emperors in charge (government) to annex (loot) the suburbs in order to make Detroit prosperous again. This time it is staff writer John Gallagher's editorial "Detroit is smaller than El Paso. Wait, What?"

Mr Gallagher correctly points out that metropolitan Detroit's population in 1950 stood at 3 million while today it is at just over 4 million. "All of that growth occurred in the suburbs, while Detroit bled itself to feed the sprawl" he said.

Now what does he mean by 'bled itself'? Did Detroit build the suburban roads, bridges, hospitals, schools? No it didn't. So he must mean that Detroit bled itself of people. But how did that happen? Aside from the 1967 riots, the urban renewal fiasco (dubbed urban removal), the insane war on drugs, a hostile attitude towards business as such, several decades of neglect by police and fire caused by corrupt city governments, it's really not surprising growth preferred the suburbs. In a rights respecting nation though, people are free to move into or out of cities. So how did western cities not bleed themselves of people?

"Using annexation, Sun Belt cities captured most of their post-war growth. Cities like Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, and yes El Paso, gobbled up their expanding suburban regions and made them part of their city proper, capturing the growing population and tax base."

It may be true that western cities were able to annex suburban land and Detroit could not. But in my view, so what? If a city can no longer afford to provide services whether directly or by annexation, then the morally proper thing to do is to stop offering them. Why force the population to put up with substandard services? When a school loses enough students it is closed down. When a business no longer has a product or service the public wants, it goes out of business.

You can't force nonexistent students into schools. A business cannot force customers into its doors. Only government with its legal monopoly on force can foist a failing infrastructure on citizens and force those citizens to pay for it. And only such a government can legally limit competition.

There is no reason cities like Detroit can't do what families and corporations do when facts call for it, downsize. Detroit should actually get smaller. Sell off outer parts of the City to surrounding suburbs. Sell or auction off city services to private or nonprofit entities.

But nowhere in Mr Gallagher's oped is there a call for privatizing or downsizing of any kind. This tooth and nail resistance to taking the responsibility for providing so-called infrastructure is proof again that providing infrastructure is not the goal, government control of it, is.

But let's look at other places that put quality services ahead of government control. Sandy Springs, Georgia is a city next to Atlanta that was facing  bankruptcy a few years ago. It privatized all services except police, fire and some public schools. According to this Huffington Post article and 8 min video they have no long term debt. Since then 5 other nearby cities have adopted the Sandy Springs model. (I strongly urge Detroit and Flint city leaders to read this article and watch the video.)

In the summer of 2007 City Journal had a good article on "The New Privatization" about how more and more cities are making big bucks privatizing services.

I know Detroit and Flint are strong union cities and unions want nothing to do with any privatization. That will have to change eventually.

What has to be challenged today is the religious like devotion to the idea that government must be the one to provide infrastructure services instead of the market.