Friday, October 31, 2008
The search for a coherent identity is nothing new; it's part of the human condition. From a child up to late teens, we are out for the most self-assuring, life elevating experience we can find. Through religion, politics, social interaction, drugs, alcohol, sports, etc, we look for a concrete foundation to base our life upon. Naturally, finding what fits us is hit-and-miss and brings with it a lot of pain, aloneness and confusion. Some people never end up finding it; some find only parts of it and ride along through life with half-a-philosophy. It's up to your perception if a good amount of people or very few people have a fulfilling base (the biggest argument would come from the religious perspective), and that in itself comes from finding yourself.
Utah fits into my self-identification at the current end (never know when it may change) of a long and very turbulent road. Raised with two sisters, a mother who was a homemaker until a few years ago and a father who worked countless hours for the betterment of his family, my experiences of masculinity were out of the ordinary. My alone time with my dad was always great, but it often went hand-in-hand with his job, where I worked often as a runner. Through him it was hard to gauge the exact meaning of being a man. He absolutely was the epitome of the breadwinner; working no less than ten hours a day for months on end, working out deals and kicking ass left and right to get the job done. It was the home aspect that he lost me on (and eventually would led to the shaping of my views on family interaction). There peace was more often the goal than solving the underlying issue. More often than not this came up in sibling rivalry and accusations of parental coddling. I won't say who or what or whatever, but in short a hold-cold war was the norm. Also, while at home and quite understandable, my herculean father focused more on recharging, relaxing and enjoying lazy time with his children. Pro-active interaction (showing how to fix something, playing ball, doing guy crap) got less and less as he took on more responsibility and wanted more downtime (I want to make sure you readers know I blame him for nothing, as any action he did different would have shaped me). It was in this very loving, but mixed atmosphere that I was raised.
During the eight to ten years of this search, the majority of the time I was a timid, shy personality. My nerves had my social life on the back burner as my comfortableness with socialization, and my ability to socialize, were severely retarded. Again, this was not my parents fault, this was just how I was and how I made myself. Friends were hard to come by. One group of friends I had in my last year of elementary turned on me nary a semester into high school. Through that rejection I found a new group of friends and ended up with one lasting friendship, so rejection wasn't always bad, but it did sting. High school, like elementary, was awkward more so because of my social retardness along with the normal hashing out of juvenile identity cliques. I was in a very mixed group that included a genius electronics student, a computer programmer, my lasting musician friend, a future skilled auto mechanic and me, the proto-emo semi-political wannabe filmmaker. This was my cushion during the last years of high school. A group of friends that I could count on at school, and one I could count on beyond school. It wasn't much, but it was enough. It was during this time my politics was building, and like any good student I was on the far left. Music about loss and hurt took up my knowledge more than war and economics, but it seemed I was versed more in the second oldest profession than most people around me, which only fueled my arrogant notion that I knew everything. Grasping the meaning of a masculine identity was far out of my reach during this time. I had no idea what it was or how it could improve my life, but once it hit, like seeing those Utah mountains basked in the glow of the glorious sun, it would bring a completeness and stability on which a deeper being could be built upon.
College was the beginning of the transformation. Starting, oddly enough, with the re-election of President Bush in 2004, my mindset began to shift away from dependence. It was midnight and I laid upon the couch staring at the President's victory over John Kerry. I looked at it and came to the conclusion that democracy is not the highest form of government. I came to the conclusion that government itself could not hold the mantel of social justice. It was up to the people as a whole to achieve that justice without government tainting it with compromise and power brokering. Anarchism was the way. From there I found that independence was the way. Over the next three years. in increments, I wanted more and more freedom. My mind took it to absurd levels, as juvenile understanding of politics usually does, but by the end of my college years in 2007 I was beginning to find a concrete, mature, masculine identity. I was finding that my mind was becoming more and more focused, my views more detailed and my heart tamed, yet strong. This was the beginning of being honest about who I am, about knowing who I am, and using that knowledge to advance myself into the real world ready to take it on. It would be in Utah that everything would come together in a single, coherent being.
Related Post: Utahn #1: Finding Identity
My desire to write this piece stemmed from people watching....hearing how they'll dance in the streets, get drunk and wildly celebrate on November 5th, should their "chosen one" win. While I'd never criticize young, impressionable minds from engaging in the political process; I do take issue with their blind faith that one man is going to undo the country's problems. While they haven't seen enough presidential elections to know better, the key issue is why so many believe that success in their life rides on who sits in the White House. This is a very strange belief for a country whose principles stood for limited government.
Almost 40 million people watched the half-hour presentation - millions of dollars well spent by the Obama campaign. So much for campaign finance rules. I guess those only apply to grassroots politicians who think they can still make a difference. It's nice to have friends in Hollywood. The set was very well done; it was well scripted and directed. Apart from that, what did this half-hour documentary achieve? Millions of dollars allowed people to watch a half-hour's worth of substanceless nonsense...a pathetic attempt to move to the center...promises that could never be kept...and no mention of how he intends to pay for all he wishes to give away. The accountant in me still wants to know.......
I understand the frustration of voters who are wondering if the principles of limited government will ever be resurrected, or has George W. Bush put the nails in the coffin for good? To those voters who believe that Obama and the government are the answer, I ask that you consider the following:
How is it that Obama can bring change and work for the people when corporate America owns him? He's already been bought by the biggest investment houses in the world. Both candidates have, but I'm not making a case for John McCain here. Follow the money trail, and you'll see. We hear that NBC is "in the tank" for Obama. Wonder why? Follow the trail. NBC is a subsidiary of General Electric. Why does GE care? How money does GE get by way of government grants? Google and see.
As for the corporate bailouts, Obama received the biggest donations from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in his very short tenure in the Senate. "Too big to fail" they say. There is no such thing in a true capitalistic environment. Too big to fail simply means less competition. Less consumer choice means more control by the government who now owns a stake in the banking industry. Socialism much? Who is alarmed that corporate America has an open siphon to the U.S. Treasury?
Taxes. One may ask how corporate America could buy Obama when he wants to tax them. That makes no sense! It makes no sense to the untrained voter. Who essentially pays business income tax? Can an entity really pay tax? Truth is taxes will never hurt profit margin. Corporations pass the tax to the consumer in many ways: 1) higher prices for products, 2) layoffs, 3) outsourcing, or 4) all of the above. Martha Stewart says that they'll just have to suck it up because they can afford to pay the tax. I wonder if her company will lay off workers in the next four years. Corporate America is not afraid of Obama because they know how they can pass that tax on - pass it on to the very people he says he'll protect while he is in office.
Democrats' desire to woo the working class in America with goodies is nothing new. Some will always be happy with the crumbs they are tossed at the expense of their upward mobility in society. I've seen many presidential elections, but I have never seen such a blind following. Hats off to the Obama campaign for taking the same old tired rhetoric and passing it off as change. Jeers to the Republican Party for straying so far off principle that George W. Bush has become a conservative in people’s eyes. Which is the bigger myth?
Thursday, October 30, 2008
I suppose I could discuss something super serious that a lot of people care about for my first post. However, I'd rather write about something that will hopefully induce a giggle and a bit of consideration. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart. Namely, it is about the place that I love to bits and call my home.
Part of my family is from a tiny cow town in
1) We do not live in a shack in the middle of a cotton field. There are actually houses and development and such.
2) We are not constantly in danger of getting lynched or having a cross burned in our yard.
3) Not as many people as you think in Alabama are riding around in a huge, jacked up truck and waving a confederate flags.
4) Having a
I'm not sure that those things would still be so unbelievable now. You never really know what people outside of your community are thinking unless you go ask, though. I'm not sure why life being “normal” seemed more of a possibility in rural
I love this place and these people because there are no illusions about who anyone is. We are able to all have diametrically opposed views on any and everything
This is not because we’re lazy or docile. It is not because we are too stupid to know when we are being insulted. It is not because we are too gracious to comment. It is because we are laughing. We are laughing because you're silly enough to generalize southerners. There are not two boxes that we all fit into. We have just as many variations as any other place in the nation. It's amazing how people who are supposedly more intelligent than the typical southerner can make this mistake over and over.
But hey... we can't all be southern!
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
For my sisters it wasn't that hard. They have little to no memory of our small, run-down home in Glendale, California (next door to Burbank), of the streets and sky and the view of mountains from the corner. When we left, I was seven turning eight, and I had only known California. My dad worked in the entertainment industry and had taken me down into Hollywood countless times to his place of work. We had relatives two hours away in Riverside who we visited frequently. My parents' friends were like family to me. My little world never reached outside of Southern California. The moved shocked me into the concept that my world was much, much bigger.
Living in Canada wasn't as different as I thought it would be. English-speaking and as Western as any my old home it was easy to fit in, though school always seemed a harder place to fit in, but that's another story. With both sets of grandparents living within city limits of my new town, being surrounded by family all the time was interesting. Visiting was no longer was annually, but weekly, and with a Anglo-Lebanese grandmother (on my dad's side) the food was copious and delicious, and vacations with my mother's parents constant. For 14 years I lived this life, but for 14 years it never really fit. There was always something missing in my heart. It may of been the small world I returned to, never venturing far outside of the urbanized corridor that lines Lake Ontario, or it could of been that Canada could never replace California as home. When it came time to move I decided to move back to my birth place. I had a job offer there and I had the feeling that returning to California would allow myself to lose that empty place in my heart. It didn't.
California is a beautiful state. Full of mountains, deserts, plains and countless animals and plants. I'm a desert lover, and California fit my love of arid wastelands. Yet, when my life settled in California was my soon-to-be wife, things that felt set were not. It was as if the completeness was just in passing, The pieces not made to hold together. It was the atmosphere of Los Angeles and of my job. Fast paced and unstoppable, it took over my life quickly. My boss even told me that I had to think of my job 24/7. That my job is inseparable from me. That seemed to work for many of my co-workers, but television was never me, not totally. I chose it for my college degree, but I had so much more I wanted to do, but once I discovered that freedom I had already put so much into television study that it would of been a massive waste to quit. It was around this time that my love quickly grew tired of Los Angeles as well. Add in a political climate hazardous to our views and a search for a new home was quickly in the works.
The moment I fell in love with Utah was on June 2nd, 2008. I had been through Utah before, but only through the southern territories where the are more mountains than people and more people than plants. A beautiful area and one that put Utah on my very small list of potential states to make my home (Arizona was the other state). While driving our Uhaul towards the ever growing mountains to the east I saw a small mountain range out the driver's side window. The sun had been peaking in and out of the clouds and at that moment its light was painting the mountains in such a grand way that the first words out of my mouth was: "This is truly God's country." As a strict atheist, I don't actually believe God claimed Utah as his or even believe in any supernatural power, but at that time it sure as hell felt like I did. This was the culmination of years of spiritual searching (which I'll cover later) of the heart of a man that seemed biologically unable to believe in a higher power. As it turns out, one can have faith and love and belief without a dot supernatural ink.
Love, faith, belief. You can have all that in the place you live. Your country, your state, your fellow citizens. The religion of community.
Home is an abstract concept when your roots spread across two nations. Home becomes a feeling, an intuition, where family geography is negated by its dilution between your birth place and where your parents are from. But once you find your home it hits you like seeing your future wife for the first time. Its a near-religious experience. Its an epiphany on the future of you, your spouse and the tons of little pink critters that'll you'll have to raise and teach and hope for every day. When you're home you love every single moment that occurs there. And that is beyond anything a book or a organized religion can supply.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In 2000 primaries, George W. Bush was the “conservative” choice over John McCain. Perhaps my definition of conservatism is flawed, but I do not understand how more than doubling the size of our government and national debt are conservative principles at work. Six years in office and not ONE veto. Is the open line of credit to the U.S. Treasury endless?
John McCain has been preaching on the campaign trail for some time about his belief in “conservative principles.” He has spoken sharply against wasteful government spending. If I had a dollar for every time he mentioned the terms “pork” and “earmarks”………
He states he believes in the free market. He understands how low taxes and a small federal government stimulate investment and growth.
As I watched the President address the nation in the midst of the housing debacle, I saw him make a case for the biggest move towards socialism in my lifetime: temporary nationalization of the banking industry, and corporate welfare at work. $700 billion…why not $800, $500 or $900? Why is $700 billion the magic number?
Next, I hear Senator McCain is suspending his campaign. Is this the “maverick” at work? Will he stop the insanity? I thought this was his chance to stand up and illustrate what happens when capitalism is broken…how government-sponsored enterprises (GSE’s) like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have the potential to do harm for decades to come. This is his chance to oppose the President and outline a free-market solution. Instead, he marches to the beat of the drum in the Senate and votes for a bill filled with pork – one that essentially nationalizes the banking industry. Was it a little too “mavericky” for him to take such a risk?
After voting for this bill, Senator McCain would like us to believe that once he is President, he will veto every single pork barrel bill that comes his way, and he’ll make the author famous. He can begin by adding his own name to that black list. He will veto every pork/earmark bill except one that moves us further away from free-market principles – the very principles on which he campaigned.
Is this the GOP of the 21st century? Down the road, will America have a choice between left and center-left? When the GOP abandons its principles for votes, this flawed strategy emboldens the left. Barack Obama would never be where he is today if the GOP didn’t move so far away from conservative principles. People do not take the time to examine the events of the past 8 years. If they did, they would never conclude that George W. Bush was a conservative, and that conservative principles have failed the country.
Political ideology in America has become a blur. The masses, with the help of the media, simply echo the talking points of each candidate instead of their philosophies. Have we seen a glimpse of the 21st century GOP; or does it take an Obama Presidency to wake the party? Perhaps a third-party is needed for all those who feel lost this election because there isn’t a candidate on a major ticket who is willing to stand for and defend all that has made America the superpower she is…..
A huge federal undertaking, No Child Left Behind was co-sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy and passed by a vast bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate. Despite its push to increase standards in schools across the US, it also de facto federalized every state's school system by bonding the reforms with further federal funding. It does not violate the Tenth Amendment, per se, but like speed limits and road funding, it doesn't give states much of a choice in an already highly federal-centric relationship. States' rights within our federalist system has been heavily degraded for decades and conservatives, for the most part, are on the side of local and state control. Bush, on the other hand, is happy to set education policy from Washington.
Despite small government being a pillar of most branches of conservative thought and the social programs of FDR and LBJ being the most targeted by conservative reformers, Bush has made it a point to increase those programs. The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act was a huge reform of Medicare. Its purpose was to increase prescription drug benefits for seniors and upcoming seniors (baby boomer generation, which many in Congress are unsurprisingly a part of). Initially set at a price of $400 billion, a sum fiscal conservatives agreed to, it took nary a month for the price to rise a whole 100 billion. Two years later, in 2005, the ten year price tag became $1.2 trillion.
Much blame has been put on Wall Street for its role in the credit crunch, for which some is rightly deserved, but it was actually government regulation (not deregulation, as liberals and leftists pontificate loudly) in the form of the Community Reinvestment Act. Born of the Carter Administration, it was based on the idea that poor people, most of all poor non-whites, are discriminated against in the mortgage industry and banks must be forced to loan to them. The program was expanded largely under Clinton so that loan standards were pretty much non-existent. Unsurprising, since his push for minority "rights" was part of his compassionate conservatism, Bush's administration took a stab at it too, and helped drive a stake into the heart of capitalism and layman perceptions of it for the next decade. Instead of repealing the bill, Bush and the GOP simply modified it slightly so that smaller banks could more easily meet the "community investment" standards put in the CRA. This was just over two years before the first big collapse of the housing market. Even more astonishingly, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke pushed for government-aided Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac (pushers of over 50% of the mortgages that went south) for even more participation in the CRA.
One staple of the fiscal conservative is cutting spending. Bush forgot that. Spending increased over 20% under Bush, and that's the conservative (no pun) estimate. Though the Democrats and liberal complain that if only we brought the troops home we'd have money to fix our country, except that Bush's non-defense discretionary spending sat at 27.9% in 2005. With the economic stimulus package and the bailout, spending is probably through the roof. All this from a "fiscal conservative" for who's name is being used to blame free markets for a government-induced pit of greed that spawned the credit crisis, which is now being overblown for political gain.
As I posted just this morning, ideological lines must be drawn in public and must be adhered to by the intellectual community. We must have honest debating and discussion in this country. You don't call a cat a dog because its politically convenient to call it a dog. If it meows... It if purrs... If it shuns you... Its a damn cat. So call it one.
Related Posts: Elections Make People Stupid, What's Left and What's Right in America
I'm not that old. The 2000 and 2004 elections are the only past elections I've been interested in, but I think its fair to say that when the so-called professional media is openly biased for one candidate and disgustingly hostile towards the other, and when rumors about a candidate's birth and faith are more important than talking about his philosophy and questionable judgment, something is quite rotten.
One of my biggest pet peeves in politics and all its surrounding subjects is that of intellectual dishonesty: the pushing of a point one knows to be wrong. There are two major parts that get me. The first is the press. The press, obviously not intellectual, but I digress, has been in such pit for a while. As I pointed out a few days ago, the pushing of the race card by the left media not long after asking for race to be kept from the election fits this perfectly. The other part is Obama, his supporters and their talk of the Senator's "post-partisan" belief. Any truly intellectual person cannot call Obama "post-partisan" when Obama's ideas are obviously not. High taxation on the rich (see producers), new regulation, iffy on the Second Amendment, "spreading the wealth", his views on abortion and on the Constitution... all liberal or leftist. John McCain, someone who has truly worked with the rival party on several bills, has yet to be considered "post-partisan" or even a moderate during this election.
I'm no fan of McCain, the GOP or our current two-party system, but I call people's ideologies as they are. If McCain was far right, or the GOP truly economically right-wing, I'd say so, and many others would say so too. Honesty, at least intellectual honest, has to reign from this nation's pages and blogs. If we are to truly draw lines, find differences and vote for people instead of voting against people, the intellectuals of this nation must pull their heads out of their tenures, salaries and political party social functions and see the world through the eyes of reality and not the view of a partisan hack.
Related Posts: Injecting Race into the Race by Those Against Race in the Race, What's Left and What's Right in America
Sunday, October 26, 2008
"So why do Republicans hate democracy? Maybe because they are the party of Oligarchical White Privilege."Other than being outlandishly false , it propagates a myth pushed by the ideological enemies of the right: that conservatives are mindless, lockstep robots that take orders from the top and spread them to the bottom, and because we have no analytical ability we vote ourselves into poverty and oppression. Journalist and ardent Democrat Thomas Frank wrote a whole book on the subject  with mixed reception. The most accurate of criticism being on his claim Kansas has suffered under the Republicans . And it can go without citation that on any day in the leftist blogging community there will be a charge of Republican/conservative groupthink, most likely using terms and examples recently found at their favorite blog. By no means is this only a left-wing phenomenon as the internet is full of copycats and pusdeo-intellectuals touting their ability to read, cut-and-paste and type quickly. The prevalence of the myth of the monolithic conservative or the myth of monolithic American ideologies be ignored. Both damage honest discussion and the truth of the history of American politics.
THE MYTH OF THE MONOLITHIC CONSERVATIVE
"To put conservatism in a bottle with a label is like trying to liquify the atmosphere … The difficulty arises from the nature of the thing. For conservatism is less a political doctrine than a habit of mind, a mode of feeling, a way of living." -R.J. WhiteThe perception of conservatism has been tainted by the GOP with its reliance upon the Religious Right and its abandoning of its classical liberal foundations these past eight years. A large chunk of new voters now, as I did only a few years ago, see conservatism as a tyrannical, jingoistic, religion-driven, oligarchical ideology. This is a child's view, of course, but the exponential exaggeration have basis in reality, what small basis that may be. The few overreaching parts of the PATRIOT ACT , the over-the-top and unnecessary scare mongering for the Iraq War, the courting of Evangelicals and the corporatist policies  has given much ammunition. One cannot solely blame the GOP, of course. The media, the Democratic political machine and the liberal and left-wing community have gone to great lengths to tarnish the entire idea of being conservative , at times disgustingly so . To get the right idea of what conservative thought is one must look at the history of conservatism, its history, its adherents and its many branches and the disagreements among them. There is no greater folly than to underestimate the ideas of men, as we will see.
More good news from the former "quagmire":
U.S. troops handed over control of Babil province, a predominantly Shiite central province, to Iraqi forces on Thursday, making it the 12th of Iraq's 18 provinces to be handed over to the control of Iraq's own security forces.General Petraeus's strategy, a revised and modern version of the Marine's inkblot strategy from Vietnam, has laid the foundation for victory.
Babil was once so filled with violence that the northern part of it was dubbed "the triangle of death" by U.S. forces.
Even now, sadly, there are naysayers like Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi, and Obama, that hold that Iraq is still somehow a failure. It was on the road to failure two years ago when those in running it were not fighting to win, but fighting to hold steady. Bush changed that with Petreaus, and for all of the President's mistakes, and there are many, he should be congratulated on a decision that has saved lives and maybe stabilized our future a little bit more.
Friday, October 24, 2008
No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots. -Barbara Ehrenreich A few months ago in a Facebook group called Atheism, Logic and Truth I came across a plea for help from the dark depth of the Midwest. Apparently, this lonely and persecuted teenage atheist was in dire need of liberation from the roving bands of Christians that inhabit her region and her nation. She wished to be whisked away to Europe where "free thinkers" reside, where anyone can say and do what they wish without the hell of religion to interfere in her intellectual pursuits. Coming to her rescue were the very same well-read, well-groomed supermen from the Continent. In responses that could defeat even the most ardent intellectual conservative, the superhero Europeans railed against the injustice of "ultra-nationalism" and of that damned Christian "morality". Calls for rescues of the mind were made. Keyboard-led assaults on the evil American state, the rabid zealotry of "Jesus freaks" and the "backwards" population were deemed successful. Self-congratulations abound on another mind saved. The world was safe from those damned patriotic Americans.
Then I arrived with heretical statement: "You're wrong about America."
Blasphemy! Ignorance! Close-mindedness! The calls of the intelligent and the sane assailed my wrong-headedness. How dare I defend free speech when there are still churches standing! How dare I call it liberty when a poor teenage girl must endure repeated encounters with people who believe in God! How dare I attack France for its socialism and racism, or Britain for its ban on self defense, or Germany for its economy! How dare I hold my country in my heart and mind! Patriotism is for the small. Patriotism is for the weak. And that is why Europeans will defend their way of life from any criticism!
Patriotism has a bad rap in America. To the outsider, it seems as though the worst political criminals hide underneath Old Glory in attempt to garner support from the stupid proles that inhabit the less sophisticated areas in this nation. This is true, they do. Alas, to the outsider, like the open-minded Europeans, that's all they want to see. They don't see the love in the eyes of grateful citizens when their uniformed loved ones return. They don't see the respect given to the flag by both young and old. They don't see the dedication to improvement of this nation by all thinkers of all colors and creeds. One does not need to be on the right to be a patriot. Some of the most American of musicians are of the left. Some of the most revered founding fathers like Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, if living today, would garner scorn from the lesser minds of the conservative movement for their ideas.
In this series I'll explore the ups and downs of patriotic feelings in the United States. From the words and actions of our Founders to the calls for empire with Manifest Destiny to the fascistic years of Wilson and Roosevelt to the present where even presidential candidates reject the flag based on misguided views of patriotism. I intend to prove that patriotism is not of one political stripe or another, but a special spiritual current in American culture. That its not hate that drives one to raise the flag, chant "USA! USA!" or feel revulsion at those who disdain our symbols, our heroes and our culture, but of a deep and reasoned love for the unique nation we live in, work in and defend with our words and our actions.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The theory that race is holding back Mr. Obama’s candidacy rests on a pretty simple premise. Adherents argue that the Democratic candidate ought to be effortlessly leading by double digits in the polls at this point — and that his failure to do so can only be explained by latent racism among older voters.Now, its the reason to vote Obama:
These are flawed assumptions, however. While it’s entirely possible that Mr. Obama’s race is costing him some support, it’s also true that the electorate that voted in the last two presidential elections was almost symmetrically divided between the two parties. It would defy the laws of politics if, at this early stage of the campaign, moderate Republicans and conservative independents were to reject Mr. McCain (a candidate many of them preferred back in 2000) simply because they don’t like George W. Bush. 
Look, Mr. Obama’s skin color is a bad reason to vote for him or against him. Substance should always trump symbolism.And its a reason to vote against the GOP:
Yet if this election goes as the polls suggest, we may find a path to restore America’s global influence — and thus to achieve some of our international objectives — in part because the world is concluding that Americans can, after all, see beyond a person’s epidermis. My hunch is that that is right, and that we’re every bit as open-minded about racial minorities as Jamaicans already were a quarter-century ago [when they elected a white man]. 
The GOP code isn't hard to crack: There's the America that might vote for Obama (a suspect America populated by people with liberal notions, big-city ways and, no doubt, dark skin), and then there's the "real" America, where people live in small towns, believe in God and country, and are ... well ... white. And to have white guilt and hate white people:
So why do Republicans hate democracy? Maybe because they are the party of Oligarchical White Privilege. And democracy is about to kick them in the ass. I get really frustrated when those on the left bring up race, but attack the right for it for things that aren't race-based at all. The logic is missing, and the hypocrisy is front and center.
A very smart, yet misguided leftist friend of mine declares a robocall  by the McCain campaign racist not because of anything within the call, which informs the listener that Obama worked with communist terrorist Bill Ayers, but because its being played in the South and as we all know (wink wink) the South is racist. Apparently, putting "Obama" in the same sentence with "terrorist" will incite a vast and deep hate akin to the anti-Muslim/anti-Arab hate seen after 9/11 (except Obama is half-black, half-white) and will force a mindless Southerner to attempt to assassinate Obama. So, to be responsible, we cannot make the Obama-Ayers connection in the South, or any other area where racists reside .
Related Post: Why Ayers Matters
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The creation of the left-right spectrum came during the French Revolution. The king, still being the formal head of state, sat in the center of the new Assembly. To his right were the monarchists, traditionalists, moderate monarchists, etc. To his left were the revolutionaries, the classical liberals, the Jacobins, etc.  Over time these positions changed due to the violate nature of the French Revolution, but in essence it remained that way: right = monarchists, left = republicans. During the 19th century in Europe, with the increasing spread of Marxist and radical egalitarian doctrines, the classical liberal and republican ideologies were suddenly pushed out of the left-wing entirely and into the right along side monarchists and cultural traditionalists. This set the stage for left-right politics in Europe today where the right-wing, while holding some classical liberal or republican views, is also quite statist and is identified as right-wing based on cultural or religious values.
In America, the Revolution totally changed the idea of what made a right-winger (a defender of the "old order") and what made a left-winger. With no monarchist history other than that of pre-Revolutionary America, the traditionalist American is a republican. The traditionalist American holds to the ideals in the Declaration of Independence and the rule of law and rights enshrined in the Constitution of the United States. It be questioned what exact economics defines an American right-winger as the fathers of the American right disagreed upon its specifics, but the essential freedom of commerce within America was agreed upon wholeheartedly.
Alas, in the early days of the Republic, left-right was barely definable as most Americans held very, very similar beliefs. It could be said that American supporters of the French Revolution like Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine could be called left-wing, but that would be fishing for partisanship. Its what the left became that matters, and like Europe, the Marxist gospel was spread across the American landscape and inserted itself in to the center of the American left. Soon, even Thomas Paine's ideas would be considered moderate or even right-wing. This radicalization of the left led to the rise of the Progressives: Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The forefathers of modern liberalism. From their economic egalitarian statist (with Wilson and FDR, near fascistic) governments came the inspiration for today's liberals.
My next post will cover Bush's record and why he isn't the best example of conservatism and show how many of the Democrats are actually exactly like Bush.
Monday, October 20, 2008
In the last few months of 2006 I came across a interesting and highly detailed blog called Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism  written by Kevin Carson. At that time, being a semi-read , semi-retarded  anarchist I thought the very idea of "free market anti-capitalism" would lead the world to explode, Jews and Muslims to start making out and David Caruso to act. Investigating further, it turns out that one of the core tenant of this blog, the undeniable efficiency of the free market, makes sense! It was during this self-identified political revelation that I took it upon myself to take on the libertarians over at LewRockwell.com . I chose the article with the inflammatory title How 'Sweatshops' Help the Poor  by Thomas J. DiLorenzo and got to work.
Inclosure and The Birth of Capitalism
One of the oldest myths about capitalism is the notion that factories that offer the poor higher wages to lure them off the streets (and away from lives of begging, stealing, prostitution, or worse) or away from back-breaking farm labor somehow impoverishes and exploits them. They are said to work in "sweatshops" for "subsistence wages." That was the claim made by socialists and unionists in the early days of the industrial revolution, and it is still made today by the same category of malcontents – usually by people who have never themselves performed manual labor and experienced breaking a sweat while working. (I am not referring here to the red herring claim that most foreign "sweatshops" utilize some kind of slave labor. This is an outrageous propaganda ploy designed to portray defenders of free markets as being in favor of slavery).The actions of the early days of capitalism were far from free markets. Inclosure (Consolidation) Act of 1801 was a gross act of state intervention in the economy which benefited both the country land owners and the urban factory owners by ending open land by"inclosing" (enclosing), or fencing off all land, by law. The costs of such a scheme brought down many independent farmers and ranchers, which in turn lead them to the city in search of new work, which lead them into the arms of the factory owners.
[T]he process remained harsh for the small farmer, the period of parliamentary inclosures paralleled a period of increasing industrial use of labor. Inclosed land did promote more efficient farming and was able to produce an ever-increasing agricultural output during the early 19th cent., when the population was growing rapidly. Although efficiency and mass farming bloomed and the obvious benefit of such things were passed around the nation, unfortunately for DiLorenzo, the "myth" is fact, no matter the political sway. Being an economics professor, DiLorenzo should know the history of capitalism, its origins in mercantilism and the slow move from industrial (state/monopoly) capitalism to freer and freer markets in Britain and the United States. There was no magic free market the minute Adam Smith put pen to paper. It took time. It took evolution of economy.
That the anti-factory movement has always been motivated by either the socialists’ desire to destroy industrial civilization, or by the inherently non-competitive nature of organized labor, is further evidenced by the fact that there was never an "anti-sweat-farm movement." Farm labor is still as rigorous as any physical labor, as it was 150 years ago. Indeed, in the early days of the industrial revolution – and in Third World countries today – one reason why families had so many more children than they do in wealthier countries today is that they were viewed as potential farm hands. Abraham Lincoln had less than one year of formal education because his parents, like most others on the early nineteenth-century American frontier, needed him as a farm hand. But since agriculture was not considered to be a form of capitalism, and did not pose any real threat to unionized labor, there was never any significant social protest over it.As an experienced former leftist I think I have some good authority on the motivations and feelings of socialists (as well as most branches of anarchism) and the "desire to destroy industrial civilization" is the complete opposite of what modern socialists want. Socialism wants control of industrial civilization, not its destruction. The Communist Manifesto says it outright . Even most anarchist branches are for the control of the means of production, save the anarcho-primitivists/anti-civilization .
Another quip I have a big problem with is the claim that "[f]arm labor is still as rigorous as any physical labor, as it was 150 years ago". Did he totally miss the internal combustion engine? Factory farms? Genetically modified crops? During the time of the Industrial Revolution none of this was around, but apparently 150 years of technological advancement means nothing. It's hard to give DiLorenzo the benefit of the doubt that he's just a sloppy writer when basic history refutes his points. It may just be this piece is ideological, not factual.
Free Markets vs. Corporatism
It is never the workers in countries like Honduras who protest the existence of a new factory there built by a Nike or a General Motors. The people there benefit as consumers as well as workers, since there are more (and cheaper) consumer goods manufactured and sold in their country (as well as in other parts of the world). Capital investment of this sort is infinitely superior to the alternative – foreign aid – which always empowers the governmental recipients of the "aid," making things even worse for the private economies of "aid" recipients. Market-based capital investment is always far superior to politicized capital allocation. Moreover, if the foreign investment fails, the economic burden falls on the investors and stockholders, not the poor Third World country.The aid arguement DiLorenzo gets right. Its been shown time and again , most recently in Burma , that aid to governments are much less efficient than private charity or direct economic investment. The problem with his arguement though is assuming that the investment is a free market investment and not one that sides more with corporatism .
Today, most major economies are not free market or near free market, but "mixed" . In a mixed economy the government toys with the market in a way to create monopolies, restrict market access and benefit some industries over others. Jonah Goldberg, author of the great historical correction Liberal Fascism , says in his book and in other forums  that such intervention creates lobbyists who in turn direct the intervention to the benefit of their clients and to the detriment of their competitors, which are usually small business. Kevin Carson describes this in much more economic detail giving it the name cartelization:
[T]he big meatpackers were already subject to a federal inspection regime. The federal government had adopted the older system at their behest in the late nineteenth century, when an embarrassing tainted meat scandal threatened their market in Europe. The federal government at the time adopted inspection regulations for all meatpackers engaged in the export trade. It was a classic example of cartelization through the state: the meat exporters, which happened to be the largest firms, for all intents and purposes adopted an industry code enforced by the state. What DiLorenzo refuses to point out, and which is a common practice in the Third World, is that companies like Nike and other corporations are given special incentives to create factories and through those factories come jobs. He is absolutely right that the jobs benefit the worker and the community as a whole, but is it really the amazingness of the free market that does this or is it that a state created incentive in the market that allowed for it? Its a mixture. China is the best example. The opening of markets created prosperity in China, but I highly doubt the libertarians will point to China as an example of free markets at work. Yes, the market is part of the success of the rising Chinese economy, but you cannot discount that the state's manipulation of the markets has driven the same prosperity. An American example was FDR's rebirthed war socialism  during his presidency that brought about a state-driven prosperity after the defeat of the Axis powers.
DiLorenzo's piece, while factual in some areas, is quite ideological. To use another term from Carson, DiLorenzo's piece is an example of "vulgar libertarianism". Basically, he laments the state's intervention in the market while defending it with hilt and blade. Its quite amusing to read, and quite easy to destroy on it face. I'm a libertarian in the market as much as I can be: small streamlined regulation, low taxes, growth of our production industries, etc. We need a well-rounded economy. What corporatism has gotten us are the bubbles we've seen in the past 30 years. We're up on one industry through speculation and hope, then it collapses and we discover (again) that our foundations are disapearring.
If Ireland can do with a corporate tax a quarter of ours , we may need to rethink our protectionist strategy and just cut the rates. But that'd be the smart thing to do...
A very informative debate between Breyer and Scalia. 
The opening question defines their beliefs. Breyer believes the court is for "justice", Scalia says "the law".
I'll post later about my beliefs about law using quotes from this debate as a template. Sadly, there is no transcript.
Friday, October 17, 2008
"It takes only the hand of a Lilliputian to light a fire, but would require the diuretic powers of Gulliver to extinguish it. The Whigs will live and die in the heresy the world is ruled by little pamphlets and speeches, and that if you can sufficiently demonstrate that a line of conduct is most consistent with men's interest, you have therefore and thereby demonstrated that they will at length, after a few speeches on the subject, adopt it at once. In this case we should have no need of laws or churches"Way back (2 years ago), in my days as a revolutionary anarchist, it didn't take more than a well written essay to continue the political fire that stirred in my heart. I had somewhat of an excuse then... my mind was still of a child's idealism and my age was barely out of my teens.
I ask to the older revolutionaries now... what's your excuse?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
John McCain has had little trouble with his connections. He openly rejected John Hagee's endorsement after Hagee's alleged anti-Catholicism came to dominate the news cycle for a few days. The Senator from Arizona had no real relationship with Hagee other than normal political platitudes. McCain's connection to Charles Keating was nothing more than "poor judgment"  according to the investigation into the Savings and Loan scandal. On the other hand, Barack Obama's connections to Rev Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers are on a whole other level than McCain's. Obama was a member of Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ for over twenty years. Wright married Barack and Michelle, baptized the Obama children and was the inspiration for Obama's memoir, The Audacity of Hope. Unrepentant domestic terrorist  and leftist radical  William Ayers has been a major player in Chicago politics since he came out of hiding in the early 1980s. Since his return to the real world he spent the 1980s gaining degrees and in the 1990s he began to aid (in my view, damage) Mayor Daley's education reform. During 1995 to 1999, Obama was president of the board of the directors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and oversaw indirect grants (explained below) to various schools including "breakthrough" schools (alternative schools) who's lessons weren't exactly math and science:
Instead of funding schools directly, it required schools to affiliate with "external partners," which actually got the money. Proposals from groups focused on math/science achievement were turned down. Instead CAC [Chicago Annenberg Challenge] disbursed money through various far-left community organizers, such as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (or Acorn). ACORN has been recently raided and charge with fraud in signing up voters . And, to top it off, Ayers has compared his work to the work of authoritarian leftist Hugo Chavez:
I do not think that the link made here between the LSC’s [local school councils] and “democracy” is, in fact, accurate. I think that such “councils” look eerily similar to efforts by regimes like those in Nicaragua under the Sandinistas and Venezuela under Chavez to impose control over teachers and their independent unions by an authoritarian regime. Thus, it is not a surprise to me that Bill Ayers has traveled several times in recent years to Venezuela where he has spoken in front of Hugo Chavez and has enthusiastically applauded that regime’s efforts to link education policy to the Chavez “revolution.” Now, why should this matter?
First and foremost, Ayers, along with his wife, have never apologized for their terrorism. In fact, in a well-known quote, Ayers said he "didn't do enough" . Such a view from a man who's career is based around educating children is horrifying. I highly doubt that if Eric Rudolph's case was fumbled and he was set free, that any attempt he made to enter the public education system would be met with massive and righteous outrage. There is no reason an boastful, unrepentant terrorist should have any significant influence in modern education. I could understand if he had apologized, at least. Repentance goes a long way towards reconciliation.
Secondly, the groups connected to the CAC are far-left in views and criminal in nature (as stated above). ACORN was one of the several "urban" groups that pushed for the abundance of mortgages and credit to low-income borrowers who couldn't get a loan before the change in the Community Reinvestment Act . This act, along with Greenspan idiotic idea of cheap credit, the Democrats protection of Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac, and the Republicans failure to tackle this issue when they had power, all came together in the current economic and political crisis. Thanks to groups like ACORN, we now have most of the country calling for bigger government, and pompous left-wing economists like Jeffery Sachs  who claim the entire crisis was Reagan's fault and finally get to get their pseudo-economic theories heard.
Third and finally, what does this say about Obama? I've given Obama the benefit of the doubt countless times since he took center stage in the Democratic nomination race. When Wright came out, I believed he didn't really hear him. When Ayers came out, I believed he only met the man a few times. Both turned out to be blatant lies. If you look at Obama's record, his dealing with far-left people and groups would, in normal elections, be a pretty good indicator of his views. Except this isn't a normal election. The first black (or in this case half-black, Obama's mom is white) Presidential candidate has made everyone crazy. The media has jumped on the McCain camp for bringing up the Obama-Ayers connection. The AP actually called it "racist"  to mention Ayers. David Neiwert, an left-wing independent journalist and self-labeled expert on right-wing extremism, has actually traveled to Wasilla, Alaska to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin's ties to Neiwert's version of the far right (libertarians)  in what seems an attempt to create a moral equivalency between Wright/Ayers and Palin's connections. The best he could come up with is a connection to a man with the John Birch Society who had some extremist (libertarian) views on firearms.
As seen in the second debate , Obama is slowly shifting himself to the center in a smart, but dishonest attempt to make McCain look redundant. I would give him the benefit of the doubt once again, but his shifty words and attempts to divert attention from his past has swept the trust away, as I bet it has done for many others in the electorate. With the polls giving Obama at least a 7% lead and state polls already pushing him over the top , unless the junior Senator from Illinois has had a change of heart from his leftist views he professed in the first half of the year and for most of his life, we have much to worry about what he may do in office.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
A Quick History
The history of the individual right to arms goes back to 12th century England where all men, including serfs, were required to own a weapon. At that time the local militia was invaluable to law and order, as well as military operations. It was of this atmosphere for centuries until 1671 when the British Parliament restricted arms by property accumulation. King James II outright banned arms for Protestants in 1686. It was reversed three years later by British Bill of Rights:
"That the subjects which are Protestants may have Arms for their Defence suitable to their Conditions, and as allowed by Law." 
In 1776, the Virginia Declaration of Rights (largely written by George Mason) held in Section 13:
"That a well-regulated militia, or composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power." When Shays Rebellion proved that the Articles of Confederation were too weak to hold the union together the Constitutional Convention was organized and two factions appeared: the Federalists, who wished to pass the new founding legal document, and the Anti-Federalists, who opposed it on fears it will destroy democracy and liberty. The Bill of Rights came out of a compromise of these two sides. The original Bill of Rights, as brought to the floor of the First Congress in the House of Representatives, was not a collection of constitutional amendments, but new sections to be inserted into the text of the Constitution. The original text of what became the Second Amendment was as read:
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country; but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person." The text was to be inserted in Article I, Section 9, between Clauses 3 and 4. Article I, Section 9 lists limits on Congress (individual rights), NOT collective rights or rights of the state or federal governments. After several months and several revisions, the Second Amendment was ratified as:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Comment
It would not be a generalization to say that a great many of those who are in support of the view of a collective Second Amendment are the same who in support of the stringent individual view of all the other Amendments in the Bill of Rights. The promotion of individual rights is not something to be attacked with. Its is the denial of an individual right (a right wholly supported by history and law) based on an emotional revulsion to the tool the right protects that is firm ground for contention. How can one truly call oneself a believer in the sacredness of the individuals rights of all mankind when you pick and choose which basic legal rights one believes in?
I believe the rights that are protected in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments are for each and every individual American citizen and legal resident. There can be debate about other rights derived from the amendments (abortion, marriage, etc), but the ones enshrined are the ones are that our Founders, our past leaders, representatives and citizens believed so important, so essential to the daily life, liberty and happiness of an American citizen that it had to be protected from infringement by individuals, cities, states and the federal government. The second amendment, our right to keep and bear arms, is one of those rights. Like it or not.
I have some personal objections to abortion that stem from a logical standpoint and from my personal view that I'd never want to abort a child that is mine. My biggest gripe with abortion is the Roe v Wade ruling. It was a hugely expansive reading of the 14th Amendment that came no where near the original intent of the Amendment and violate the principles of federalism. It was one thing to strike down the Texas law that was being ruled upon, but it was another to turn around and impose the ruling on the entire nation without nary a democratic vote.
I believe a more competitive education system would do much better than the current monopoly. Allowing vouchers for private schools would be a great start. A reformation of the education system that promotes competition between schools based on grades would also help.
Create incentives for alternative energy while continuing to explore for oil and other modern fuels. We cannot strangle ourselves now so we can hope that a new fuel on the scale of gasoline will arrive sooner. The market will and always has provided new technologies. The recent spike in gas prices has driven the consumers to buy smaller cars and cars with good MPG. It will take time to transition, but it will happen.
Take moderation in dealing with global warming and its consequences to our economy. The top global warming scientist, Dr. James Hansen, recently gave his moral backing to eco-terrorists . There is no doubt there is warming. There is no doubt we have some impact. But we must be wary of alarmists and radicals co-opting science for other agendas.
Why is it the 2nd Amendment is the only one on the Bill of Rights to be outright banned in some areas heavily regulated in others? The 1st isn't banned in Chicago and regulated in Los Angeles. The 4th isn't given so much scrutiny. It is an individual right affirmed by Heller v DC and we are so very lucky it did not go the other way due to Justice Kennedy's strange notions of "evolving standards of decency" . The 2nd Amendment protects all others, and protects the individual from criminals. Guns are not the problem. Criminals are the problem.
It says something when we have a inefficient and expensive health care system and the market is blamed. In fact, the US government pays near 50% of all health care expenses. This is not the market, but a mixed industry. Universal Health Care, while noble, is hugely expensive and the ability to stop abuse and runaway spending would be near impossible. The US is already near bankrupt from its other mass social programs. UHC would be the death knell.
Reform is needed. The federal government cannot, and should not, control the security in every major airport. Such massive centralism has bred mass incompetence. Devolve power to the states and cities while keeping a close-eye upon those parties. If needed, privatize.
Build the damn wall. Borders are not invisible lines. They are legal boundaries that must be respected and protected if we are to keep our national sovereignty intact. The Europeans have strict border control. The Mexicans SHOOT the illegals that cross into their country. Are we to be the only country not to build a wall when there is a illegal immigrant problem?
I support gay marriage (or unions, whatever word that will end this inane culture war). They must have the same legal rights as straight couples as everyone is equal under the law. Its either that or get government out of marriage.
Privatize it. The current money pot is so broken we would need to raise taxes over 50% to get close to stopping it. People paying into their own SS account is smart and much more free than allowing the current generation to raid it, leaving nothing for those once the Boomers die out.
Taxes must be lowered, espically corporate taxes. The reason our corporations flee is because we tax them twice as much as places such as Ireland, who while now in recession due to the credit crisis, was booming with new jobs, companies and a slew of new citizens willing to work those new jobs. If we want to have a booming physical economy in this nation and not rely on bubble after bubble, we need to treat our businessmen with respect, not treating every one of them as if they are all Enron or WorldCom.
On here I'll post thoughts, facts and essays on major issues as often as I can scribble them out. I work for a living, so they may not be as frequent as some would like, but I promise they'll be worth the wait. My main focuses will be on the War on Terror, the decay of federalism, the Constitution and the state of free markets, with a mix of various social issues.
Comments are welcome and encouraged. No comments will be deleted except spam.
Thank you for coming to Generation Patriot. Enjoy.