Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Authoritative Socialist Mind

Ever notice that Socialists are driven to denigrate their opponents, even those other Socialists with whom they might disagree on a minor point? It seems to be the lot of these strange socialists to be disagreeable and especially to try to control the lives of their fellow humans. So, should we conservatives try and adopt those strange and ridiculous socialist ways or should we ignore them and go on our own path?

Well, the answer to that ponderous question is “Yes!” Yes in the sense that we should adopt those ways, and means, that have been so effectively used by socialists of every stripe. An example being the Alinsky technique of ridiculing others in any way possible. Yes, we should thusly ridicule socialists every time their open their mouth and make stupid statements. Put them down sharply, without remorse or qualm, or pangs of conscience. Does anyone truly believe that socialists give a damn about the feelings of anyone else? They truly do not, as shown time and again by socialist everywhere.

Recently, a college professor of some stripe claimed that he understood why conservatives loved war and loved to exert authoritative control over others. Not certain why this poor benighted individual did not recognize that his nanny state friends loved to tell everyone else how to live, what to eat, when to drive, how to move from place to place and whatever else might come to mind as an action or act to control in some way.

It seems that the nanny state mind set socialists exhibit is much more representative of the classical authoritative command and control state condition we’ve seen exist throughout human history. The more recent examples include Castro’s Cuba, Chavez’s Venezuela, North Korea, China’s “State Capitalism,” Iran’s theocratic form of state control, the Sudan, and many other such examples throughout our history. More distant, yet still recent examples include the USSR, any of the former Eastern European Bloc counties, Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, and Argentina under either Peron.

We tend to mask the history of this set of dictatorships by calling them fascists or Nazi or old-fashioned Communism. Russia’s version of communism killed many millions of its own people. Nazi Germany killed not only its own people but many peoples of many other countries. China’s Mao killed probably more of his own fellow citizens than any other tyrant in history. Vietnam’s Uncle Ho was not a kindly type of uncle since he too killed many of his people and many of his political opponents.

Still, this college professor claims that conservatives are the ones who love war and who love authoritative governments. He claimed that President George W. Bush established a dictatorship (Run by Vice President Cheney!), which restricted our American freedoms, controlled our lives, dictated what we could do or not do, and lastly must have killed off many millions of us Americans. Strange, never knew that to have happened. Although it’s certainly possible something might have happened and our famed investigative press did not know of those acts.

However, this is the same press that never noticed any of the issues that have arisen from President Obama’s administration, so this kind professor might have a point. No, wrong, the Obama question seems to have another cause and not the lack of investigative ability of our press.

My guess is that this strange and benighted college professor is another in a long line of socialists, who have tried to hide behind the shield of false claims, or spurious statements, and wild accusations to settle down smugly in a cloistered study, safe from criticism or from open honest debate. Socialists truly do live in a closed state of being; one where honest debate is non-existent, where socialist orthodoxy rules all activities.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

9. Socialism must be destroyed

The phrase in Turkish under the heading of my blog, if I did it correctly, reads that Socialism must be destroyed. This is loosely based on Cato the Elder’s personal motto was that Carthage must be destroyed. That ancient time period would have been before the third and final war between Carthage and Rome. Rome did defeat Carthage for a third time and utterly destroyed Carthage, removing for all time whatever threat Carthage had been to Rome.

It’s not my intent to actually destroy socialism, which is, after all, a philosophy, but with sinister results wherever it’s been tried. So, how does one defeat, destroy such a belief? I really don’t know, just like I don’t know how authoritarian governments can destroy the idea of freedom. As long as Mankind exists, the desire, the need for freedom will be present within some humans.

So, no, I do not expect socialism to be destroyed, merely totally discredited each time it is resurrected. It took many years from the time of ancient Athens to the era of America resuming the concept of freedom in our daily lives. We Americans either work to maintain our freedom, actually each of our many freedoms, or we lose all.

After World War II, there was a saying in the USA that” It couldn’t happen here;” meaning that Nazism and Communism couldn’t grow in freedom’s fertile soil. That saying was most na├»ve at best since we are now on the road to turning our freedom over to those who would like to rule us in the name of something holy; actually something unholy.

What must be destroyed is the idea that socialism could thrive and grow here. Our native soil only allows, hopefully, strong ideas of freedom and liberty. All authoritarian concepts need to wilt and diminish in our country.

8. Taxes are necessary.

Taxes really are necessary, our government could not exercise its many obligations without funds, which taxes provide. So, what are many of us complaining about when we complain about taxes?

The answer really does depend on many factors.

First of all, full disclosure. My wife and I are both retired. Most of our income is from Social Security, augmented with a small private pension. Yet the issue of having more taxes on income affects us greatly too. Without a continued inflow of collections from wage earners, Social Security will dry up; how fast will that happen and will it affect me, don’t know; of course, if Social Security were a private venture, it would be considered a Ponzi Scheme and its malefactor organizers would be hauled off to prison. Just to close this off, we live reasonably well, we eat well, so we’re doing Ok. What’s to complain about anyway, except for the ever increasing burden of income tax on folks.

TEA Partiers, in part, complain about additional taxes resulting from the new healthcare law and from the possible legislation on energy consumption because they see the waste and fraud that seems to be rampant in many government works. The much discussed VAT seems destined to be imposed on top of existing taxes, which greatly reduces the ability of citizens to improve their lot. They also hear, and understand, that the current tax code is very complex, to the point that several of President Obama’s key appointees had tax problems. The new head of the Treasury Department blames his tax errors on tax preparation software, plus his own human error of forgetting about certain portions of his income; so easy to forget to declare that income.

In 1942, so I’m told, FDR instituted payroll withholding for income tax, greatly speeding up federal revenue streams during World War II. What matters for many of us is our take home pay. Of course, if we’re one of those working for an enlightened company, we can also deposit money into a savings plan, 401k, or buy health insurance for our family, all of which affect our take home, or make other payments on other desired benefits. We now don’t typically notice the impact of taxes, or other deductions, unless we take care to examine our pay records; out of sight, out of mind. One last point is that until payroll withholding began, Americans wrote a check to cover paying their income taxes and generally Americans paid their taxes. But not all! I was told, as a very young boy, that one of my great Uncles never paid taxes; he was kind of the black sheep of the family. Fortunately, he was an uncle by marriage so his tainted bloodline didn’t contaminant the rest of the family. Told never to mention this, which should not be a factor now, since so many long years have passed. Uncle who?

Still, people complain about taxes. Much of that seems to be related to the complexity of filing the annual income tax forms. Many people today either use a tax preparer or use tax preparation software on the home computer. And, many of us have made mistakes. Few of those mistakes involve more than a slap on the wrist or serious other penalties, which also have seemed to escape Obama’s appointees who also made mistakes; such an example they’ve set.

Many tax payers really are reasonable sorts, willing to pay a fair share but not to pay good money for purposes of funding massive loosely defined give-a-ways or other such fraud ridden programs. We really don’t understand when people who couldn’t afford to buy a house under the older rules, bought that house under the newer rules. We don’t understand why to satisfy what some said were the 15% who didn’t have health insurance, the 85% who felt they’re in good shape medical coverage wise had to take a financial hit. We don’t understand why the government has to fire a scatter shot at multiple targets rather than focusing in on specific needs. What it gets down to is trying to comprehend why a new tax is needed?

The issue of reducing spending rather than increasing revenues is one of balance and more to the point of policy. Too many times, our politicians say that a new tax is needed to raise revenues for a specific purpose and then we find that the dollars raised are not enough.

From my point of view, taxes need to be simplified and fair. If the rich need to pay more, percentage wise, than the poorer, then let that be a reasonable difference. Recall that when South Sea Bubble burst or the Dutch Tulip Bubble burst, when the better off citizens lost their shirts, the poor suffered their loses and that hurt more too. When tax policy can be used to try to punish some for their political beliefs, like Nixon of accursed memory did to his “enemies,” then our tax collection practices needs changing.

So, is our federal tax policy meant to punish the rich or reward the poor or something else? If tax policy is meant to raise revenues for justifiable expenditures, then make that tax policy fair, trustworthy, and supportable. Making tax policy to save the “children” doesn’t work all the time or for many more times either.

7. Coffee versus Tea.

My personal hot drink of choice is coffee; my wife prefers brewed tea, simply a matter of choice. Yet, in many such matters, not everything is as simple as that choice.

The so-called Coffee Party Rallies don’t seem to make sense. A video of a founding party gathering in St. Louis showed a group of barely interested people gathering in a local coffee house. Notice how the TEA Party people do it. Their rallies generally are outside, in a public place and people bring their own signs, many handmade and hand drawn. Some TEA Partiers have signs bearing similar sayings, others bearing all kinds of slogans and sayings, voicing disagreement with some aspect of the federal government. TEA Partiers don’t gather to drink tea or perhaps any special kind of drink or partake of any special kind of food.

But, let’s get back to coffee. In my humble opinion, bad coffee is something a person shouldn’t drink. Seldom happens to me. Coffee needs to be made very hot, to extract coffee flavorings from the bean or from the ground bean powder. The next step is crucial, coffee needs to be cooled down to a sipping temperature, actual sipping temperature a matter of personal choice. In dire circumstances, or while at a local fast food store, take a couple of chunks of ice and drop them into your coffee cup. In many circles, especially very stuffy ones, blowing on hot coffee to cool it is not considered to be in good taste. However, I always like my coffee to taste good and to be easy to sip. Once sipping temperature has been reached, coffee can be downed as quickly as desired while sometimes engaging others in reasonable conversation. Of course, afterwards, it’s probably time to go join the TEA Party rally.

What makes the TEA Party rallies successful is not the tea, or the coffee preceding the rally, it’s the free exchange of ideas during the rallies. Any Coffee Partiers would be welcome as long as they behave and don’t try to subvert the TEA Party agenda with rowdy behavior.

However, unlike the TEA Party folks, I haven’t seen what the Coffee Party (CP) folks stand for, what they want, or what they’re not getting either from government or from their daily existence. One impression from the video of that St; Louis CP meeting was that the CP folks are perfectly happy with whatever the current federal administration is doing.

In the good old days, coffee houses were considered to be places where radical hippies hung out, plotting all kinds of potentially devastating acts upon society or where some simply hung out with others thought to be cool or neat. Maybe some people just kicked back and listened to Spider John or Dylan if they’re lucky. Sometimes the coffee house coffee was the draw.

But for political relevance in today’s world, TEA Party rallies or townhall meetings are the place to be. We Americans are getting accustomed to speaking our minds openly about governmental actions at all levels. And, that expression is getting full play by the TEA Partiers. What will be interesting will be to find out how this current interest will play out in the fall elections and especially well beyond that. Either we allow our Congress to do what it wishes, even contrary to the wishes of the electorate, or we need to demand real reform, real accountability, and real transparency. Also, asking Congress to read a bill before it’s voted on would be desired too. But also desired would include having sufficient time to have to read over 2,100 pages of a complex omnibus bill; not having adequate time to read the new healthcare legislation before voting on it isn’t conducive to the democratic principles this republic of ours espouses.

We’re not really riding the tiger of myth, yet we need to stay on this course and take it to the end. But, don’t ask when it’ll end! Don’t know that and will find out along with the rest of you.

6. It’s always 1984 now!

Orwell’s novel “1984” really got our mass media types riled up just before that year arrived in the calendar. According to some, this country, and for many the world, were doomed because in the year 1984, Orwell’s version of an authoritarian government was going to come into being, obviously. Well, that didn’t happen, yet in so many ways “1984” is with us always.

Just recently, former President Clinton railed against the modern TEA Partiers, who are rallying against certain aspects of the President Obama administration. Mr. Clinton raised the specter of the 1995 Oklahoma city bombing, which destroyed The Murrah Federal Building, killing 168-man, women, and children; a horrible event in our history. One shame of that terrorist attack was that two Americans planned and executed the bombing, two people who had a grievance against the federal government that somehow was not satisfied.

Mr. Clinton tried to equate the Murrah Building bombing with the protest rallies held by TEA Partiers over the past year or so. Mr. Clinton is wrong. The TEA Partiers have been generally well behaved and orderly, gathering without orders, gathering without much organization except for someone to define where a rally could be held. These people have brought their own hand made signs, with few exceptions and have not been profane or shown anger, violent anger, at federal officials. These TEA Party rallies are peaceful for the most part, especially compared to the WTO and IMF protesters and other similar protests of the Left, which typically include much violence.

What I believe Mr. Clinton is doing is to designate TEA Partiers as the Emmanuel Goldstein of today. Mr. Clinton is trying to make these TEA Party citizens an object of hate and scorn. I certain Mr. Clinton would deny that as his motive yet look at how the main stream press is playing that theme.

One cable TV news channel has condemned a statement made that said this country needs a leader, not simply a president who is a good athlete, that the statement was obvious racist? The news reporter who made that charge was taken aback when others on the show refuted her statement, rightly so in my opinion.

I’m certainly not condemning former President Clinton for he is an accomplished man, with much accruing to his credit. I am however, concerned about how easily our press ignores the good the TEA Partiers are doing, showing their interest in American politics much more than we’ve done before. And, that so-called citizen apathy has usually been attacked by our press; not now!

Just look at how peaceful the TEA Party rallies have been. Yes, there have been a few, very few, signs wildly spewing hateful statements, yes, there has been some violence at these rallies, one in Missouri where labor union thugs attacked a TEA Partier, others where the police have been called to forcibly remove a peaceful protester from a Congressional Representative’s townhall meeting. Also, there was a very recent event in New Orleans where a couple involved in that event who were savagely attacked, with severe injuries, yet the media has ignored that attack; the police seem only slightly interested in solving that attack.

So, yes, there are signs that some in our country are behaving as though they want us to be like that terrible authoritarian society so clearly shown in Orwell’s novel.

Once again, I believe this “1984” like behavior is a result of our press not doing its job. Broadcast media has a wide reach yet it doesn’t report accurately. Too often, the old broadcast networks seem to be repeating lines from a White House press release, the same words, the same phasing, the same highlighting enemies of the state. Print media is more of the same, most often word for word.

Of course, with the print media, we have the reporting services, originally setup up as subscription services for distributing news reports. Today, a news report goes around the world in a flash and then is reported as a fact even when its provenance is absolutely false. Back in the year 2004, one totally false story was reported widely, its originators claiming it was accurate even though it was false. That was a low point in so-called journalistic reporting, in my opinion.

So, today we’re at the point that a politician may claim that his, or her, opponents are evil simply because they exist. Do these politicians want the 2-minutes of hate to be directed at who-so-ever they wish? It seems that if those politicians expect that kind of behavior, our country is really in for tough times.

American politics always has been a full contact sport, if that football analogy may be used. Going all the way to our founding and then with our first several presidents, wild claims have been made, wild statements about an opponent’s health, wealth, acts, and beliefs have strained American credulity, sometimes producing an opposite result from that desired and sometimes right on target.

Yet, this recent smear on the TEA Partier’s has gone almost too far. This smear would not succeed if the press did its job but that might ever happen?

This mixing of news with opinion with less than reliable information is greatly harming this country. Those budding journalists who wish to do “good” have done much harm. When demagoguery is not challenged by the press, we all lose. What the press does not understand is that they shall lose too. Perhaps there’s been a small awakening going on with our press when they mildly protest how the current White House has been treating them. However, no one should hold their breath waiting for our press to roar back to life.

5. Words and so what?

“It’s just words,” so said Senator Obama on one of his campaign stops in 2008. He meant that his opponent was just throwing words around and so what! Obama’s campaign portrayed him as a moderate, with centrist leanings, and many persons liked what they heard; so he was elected president.

Senator McCain made several statements during that campaign that Senator Obama severely criticized, statements that now more accurately reflect what President Obama’s administration is doing. But then that was just words, both Senator McCain’s words and now President Obama’s words.

Words do count for something, they reflect what we’re trying to say; at least that seems to have been the “old time” belief, maybe now an outmoded belief. President Obama’s acts more properly reflect what some might say is a progressive, Socialist, agenda. Obama’s actions are not those of a moderate, centrist leader.

However, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, disregarded criticism of Obama’s based on his campaign words, rejecting his campaign promises as mere trifles, words meant to be ignored. Does Speaker Pelosi means that campaign promises are mere words, without meaning or substance? If not that, what does the Speaker mean in fact?

Senate Majority Harry Reid has said, about the Iraq War surge, that the USA “lost” that war, which we now seem to have won. Leader Reid called President Bush despicable names and used most derogatory words about that president. Today, Leader Reid decries similar such statements about President Obama! Is this an example that outrage depends on who’s Ox is gored? Or, are all such statements unacceptable? It’s not clear from Leader Reid’s examples.

President Obama is praised as being most intelligent and an orator of great renown. When Obama doesn’t have a teleprompter handy, his speech includes a lot of “umm,” “ah,” and “now wait a minute” statements while he considers what he should say. It’s given that President Obama has got a tremendous voice, a low baritone or tenor voice, with a great pleasing resonance. Yet, Obama is not a good off-the-cuff speaker. His speeches best succeed when his teleprompter is working and he’s delivering a well prepared talk. However, even then, content matters and words matter, in my very humble opinion. President Obama has declared himself to have considerable humility, like his good friend Prime Minister Rudd of Australia. That’s most humble of the president describing himself that way.

Obama asked early on that we judge him by the people surrounding him, by his associates, by those he nominates to high federal office. A former appointee, Van Jones, is a self-confessed Communist, Bill Ayres, a known Socialist( He claims to be a communist with a small c), as is Ayres’ wife, others in his administration praise Mao the Tyrant, so if Obama is not a Socialist, some close associates and appointed high federal employees certainly are. Cass Sunstein, Obama’s “Regulatory Czar,” has said that power comes from the muzzle of a gun, quoting Mao the Tyrant; does that mean Obama has the same belief?

What to believe? Can we believe Obama’s words or those of his staunch supporters? If not, what do we use instead? What about acts?

The Day after November 2nd

Well, will the day after this year’s mid-terms bring a reaction from the Democrats? It’s been expected that the Democrat Party will lose its majority in the House and perhaps also in the Senate. So, will the Democrats go ahead with their threat to pass legislation during the lame duck session that it wasn’t willing to pass before the elections? We’ll find out soon enough! The Republicans, if they in fact win majorities in the houses of Congress, can always make the strong suggestion they’d be more than willing to freeze anything the Obama Administration might try and pass in the new Congress. Perhaps that Republican suggestion will include holding back funding for any new or expanded Administration effort?

But, one concern I have is in regard to Candidate Obama’s statement that he wanted a “civilian police force with the same size budget as the Pentagon!” I recall this statement was made during a 2008 campaign stop in Colorado. Obama’s statement was not highly discussed during the campaign yet it goes far beyond what anyone else, to the best of my knowledge, has ever proposed for this country. Obama’s statement is that he wanted a federal police force, one to enforce a federal mandate on the population. So, what could that mandate be? Of course, if this assertion is correct, certainly the Obama’s federal police force statement is correct, then what’s next. When President Bush had the Patriot Act passed, there was much gnashing of teeth that Bush was trying to bring about a police state. Well, few of us on the Conservative side of politics shared that fear of Bush but I certainly do share that fear regarding Obama.

Remember, Obama is the one who has made many apologies for America’s past behaviors and acts. Obama has indicated that he did not want “victory” in either Iraq or Afghanistan yet seemed to offer victory to the Arab states versus Israel. His wife said, during the 2008 campaign, that she felt proud of America for the first time, so she too had strong reservations about our country. President Obama’s ego is very large, every time he speaks, he talks about what his plans are, what his department heads are doing, what his administration wants to accomplish, never about America or what the country’s federal departments are doing. If nothing else, Obama has been the strangest president we’ve ever had.

So, yes, I do suspect that President Obama will not stand by and allow a diminishment of his administration to happen, not without a fight. I suspect Obama would use a lame duck Congress to put through his concept of a federal police force of a sufficient strength to mimic the Pentagon in size.

There’s an old adage that power tends to corrupt and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. I doubt whether Obama would be further corrupted by power since he’s been most successful trying to remake this country into his image of a Socialist state. Obama’s background is that of a Socialist first mentored by Frank Davis in Hawaii, later associating with Bill Ayers in several ways back in Chicago and perhaps even while both were at Columbia University, plus accounts of his being at various gatherings of Socialist groups during the 1980s and 1990s. Obama has shown to date a marked tendency to use his office’s strong administration powers rather than attempt to get something through Congress, that contempt for Congress might very well manifest itself after November 2nd.

Somehow, I doubt whether Obama’s being on track to be a one term president is of strong concern to him. Of far more concern is whether he is successful in remaking America to fit his ideological image, where wealth is redistributed, where personal effort is not the concern but rather that everyone be treated fairly regardless of effort; where equal outcomes are guaranteed not equal opportunity; in other words, the Socialist dream.