Monday, March 31, 2014

Politics, In a Nutshell

"Nobody shoots Santa Claus." Al Smith (the greatest President who never was).

Top 10 Worst U.S. Presidents in Terms of Civil Liberties

10) John Adams (the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798). 9) George W. Bush (his radical expansion of executive power, his use of the Justice Department to punish political enemies, his use of "enhanced interrogation"). 8) James Buchanan (his close relationship with Chief Justice, Roger Taney, the key political impetus for the Dred Scott Decision). 7) Richard Nixon (his F.B.I. surveillance of activist groups, the Watergate affair, his establishing the apparatus for our current "drug war"). 6) Franklin Roosevelt (the internment of Japanese Americans, the N.R.A., his use of the I.R.S. as a political weapon). 5) Andrew Johnson (the creation of Jim Crow, his steadfast opposition to the 14th Amendment). 4) Woodrow Wilson (the Sedition Act of 1918, his segregating of the federal work force and U.S. army). 3) Millard Fillmore (the Fugitive Slave Act, his disgusting anti-Irish bigotry). 2) Abraham Lincoln (his closing down of newspapers, his jailing of political opponents, his targeting of civilians in war, his suspension of the writ of habeas corpas). 1) Andrew Jackson (his authorizing of the Trail of Tears, his open defiance of a Supreme Court decision, the fact that the dude was the largest slave-holder in the entire Northeast).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Race to the Top of the Bottom

"Race prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than those states where slavery was never known." Alexis De Tocqueville.........................................................................His point is an exceptional one. a) Many northern states were racist to the core, while others such as Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (along with the Michigan territories) ultimately passed legislation that made it nearly impossible for a free black individual (never mind a runaway slave) to even enter its borders (blacks were the South's responsibility, they must have thought). b) Slavery itself existed in all of the northern colonies for well over 150 years and it didn't cease once and for all in New Jersey until 1865 ("apprentices for life", they referred to it as).  And c) at no point in time did any northern politician EVER put forth ANY legislation that would have compensated the South for the value of the slaves or assisted them in any manner toward the burdens of repatriation..............................................................................And, I ask you, what exactly did a lot of these northern politicians have in mind when it came to emancipation? If you listen to folks like Lincoln (who wasn't even in favor of getting rid of slavery), Webster, and even Seward earlier in his career, they wanted to ship these freed slaves back over to Africa or down to the Caribbean (having them live right next door obviously wasn't an option, nor were the new territories - damned hypocrites). That damned unenlightened were they.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

How to Start a War and Not Get Blamed For It - Lincoln Style

"The U.S. Steamers Powatan, Pawnee, Pochahontas, and Harriet Lane will compose a naval force under your command to be sent to Charleston. The object is to provision Sumter. Should the Confederates attempt to prevent resupply, YOU WILL OPEN THE WAY (my emphasis)." Naval Secretary, Gideon Welles to Captain Mercer, April 5th 1861............."Proceed to Charleston and, if on arrival, the flag is still flying, procure interview with Governor Pickens and read him this, 'I am directed by the President to say an attempt will be made to supply Sumter with supplies only, but if such an attempt is resisted, MEN AND ARMS WILL BE THROWN IN (again, my emphasis).'" President Lincoln to Robert Chew, April 6th 1861..................................................................................Both of these telegraphs were intentionally transmitted in a manner that the South could easily intercept. The fact of the matter is that Lincoln never really intended to back either of these threats with actual force but that he wanted the South to think the just opposite in what was obviously a brazen attempt to get them to fire first....Pretty darn conniving, huh?

On the State

It is the greatest source of death and destruction known to man (it isn't even a contest), and the fact that there are still people out there who so casually want to enhance its power is exceedingly troubling.

Friday, March 28, 2014

UConn 81 Iowa State 76

We're going to the Elite Eight, baby! The bad news - gotta play Michigan State next.

Name One

....present wrong that you would be willing to spend 7 million lives, $8 trillion, and your own damned life on. One.

On Austrian Economists; von Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, Rothbard, Etc.

I am not, nor will I ever be, a strict adherent to any school of political and/or economic thought (in the words of Nietzsche, "I mistrust all systematizers and I avoid them, a will to a system is a lack of integrity"), but I will gladly put forth the Austrian school and its predictions against the Keynesians and theirs any day and twice on Sunday. I mean, just take a gander at what these Keynesians have said over the years; a) that high inflation and high unemployment could never happen simultaneously, b) that there was going to be yet another massive depression after WW2 and that in order to avoid it we'd have to launch a second new deal (Truman, to his credit, ultimately decided against it and in retrospect his Presidency looks good), that the multiple stimulus packages in Japan in the 1990s were going to resurrect that country, that the earthquake in Haiti was going to be a boom to their economy, etc., etc.. That, and at least there's a semblance of logic to the Austrian model in terms of free markets, free trade, a sound money supply etc.. Keynesian lunacy - not so much (overspending and over-leveraging being the cure for overspending and over-leveraging, trillion dollar platinum coins, bogus alien invasions, etc.).

On the Concept of Glorifying Our Leaders (Whether They be Lincoln, FDR, Washington, Jefferson, TR, or Even Reagan, My Conservative Friends); Building Monuments and Statues of Them, Putting their Faces on Money, Etc.

I hate it and I wish that it would cease. At the very best, these fellows were mixed and in some instances tyrannical (what Lincoln did to the newspapers, what FDR did to small immigrant businessmen like the Schecters, Etc.). And just this whole moronic notion of blind obedience in and of itself is dangerous. We need to keep our thinking-caps on, folks, ALL THE TIME.

On Civil War Warfare

Those Union generals would take assholes like wd (black soldiers, too, of course), put them in the first column, and then basically serve them up as cannon fodder....Yep, that's how they rolled.

On All of those "Honor Killings" that have Taken Place Over the Years in Countries Such as Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, The Palestinian Territories, Etc., Etc.

Alright, let's see if I've gotten this straight. A woman gets brutally raped by some knuckle-dragging Neanderthal and, instead of having compassion for the victim and going after the perpetrator, the family of the victim MURDERS THE DAMNED GIRL (this, because THE GIRL has brought upon the family "shame")....AND for the most part only gets a slap on the wrist for it? I mean, that is pretty much it, correct?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More on the "Great Emancipator"

This, from "The Slave Catchers" by Stanley W. Campbell (University of North Carolina Press) - "In the meantime (1861), the Fugitive Slave Law remained in force and was executed by the federal marshals in the border states.......In October 1861, the Louisville Journal was pleased to report that a resident of Louisville had recovered his fugitive slaves from the state of Indiana by due process of law. The federal marshals had acted promptly, and the fugitive slave tribunal performed efficiently in remanding the slaves to his owner.......As late as June 1863, six months after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, fugitive slaves were still being returned to their masters in the loyal states (as well as in the District of Columbia where 26 slaves were returned)."........................................................................................So, there it is, folks, even after the war had started and even after the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln was still hunting down fugitive slaves and returning them to servitude. Yep, this war was ALLLLLLLLLLLL about slavery.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Wit and Wisdom of War Criminal, Bigot, and Madman,William Tecumseh Sherman

1) "I would not abolish or modify slavery......Negroes in the great numbers that exist here must of necessity be slaves."............2) "Like Burton in Toodles, I say, 'damn the niggers'."............3) "We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women, and children."............4) The cause of the war is not alone in the nigger, but in the mercenary spirit of our countrymen (here he is referring to the speculator and the speculator being the Jew)."............5) "Gentlemen, niggers and cotton caused this war, and I wish them both in hell."............6) "All the congresses on earth can't make the negro anything else than what he is; he must be subject to the white man."............7) "Theoretical notions of humanity and religion cannot shake the commercial fact that their labor (the slave's) is of great value and and cannot be dispensed with."............So much for the notion of the enlightened liberal northerners dragging the backward conservative southerners into modernity.

Lincoln Supporters' Civil War Sign-Up Sheet

To save the Union (and not to free the slaves) and for all the beef jerky that a human can eat.

Slavery to a Theory

The states of Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Arkansas all initially voted to stay in the Union. It was only after Lincoln invaded the south and wreaked havoc that they decided to secede. So, at least for those four states, slavery was NOT the major rationale.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Need a Break From Lincoln?

Might Naomi Watts do in a pinch?

The Union Fat Jack - Addendum

And one of the main factors as to why Rhode Island (along with Virginia and New York) eventually did ratify the Constitution was a stipulation which specifically stated that they would also reserve the right to resume ALL governmental powers if in fact the Federal government became oppressive; the right to secede, in other words. And, yes, this claim to the right of secession was  fully understood and agreed upon by virtually every other ratifier; George Washington (who presided over the Constitutional Convention and who was also a key delegate from Virginian) included (Abe Lincoln himself believed this until he became President). 

Monday, March 24, 2014

On Lincoln's Imprisonment and Deportation of Congressman Clement Vallandigham Simply For Opposing His Policies, The War, The Administration's Legal Tender Act, Etc.

Can you even begin to imagine if George Bush Jr. had done something like this; throwing guys like Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich into the brig and then shipping their asses off to Canada? Every frigging progressive AND libertarian in the country would have gone ballistic and he probably would have been impeached (especially after the Dems had taken control of the House) as well. Lincoln, on the other hand.....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

If Lincoln Was Motivated to Go to War Over Slavery...

Then why a) was he 100% accommodating to slavery in his inaugural, b) did he wait until well into the second year of the war to issue the Emancipation Proclamation (which totally exempted all of the slaves that Lincoln COULD have freed), and c) did he make it such that the Southern states could in fact resume slavery if they simply returned to the Union by 1/1/1863?............Again, this is absolute checkmate in that the supporters of Lincoln have zero explanations for it. Nada.

On the Prospect of Clowns Like wd and Jersey Volunteering to Fight in the Civil War

Yeah, like that would have ever happened, huh? Those two chicken-hawks would have run like the wind and either ended up in Canada or hiding in the forest for four years. It's as easy as pie to talk about a war 150 years after the fact but it's quite another to be willing to put yourself into the middle of that miserable grinder knowing fully well that if you were in that first column you were either fucking dead or maimed....Big, brave men these idiots sitting behind their computers.

On Tom DiLorenzo's Multiple Columns Exceedingly Critical of the Neocons

Those (libertarian) forays into partisan scholarship are probably acceptable, huh? Just not the Lincoln ones.

Th Union Fat Jack

It took Rhode Island the better part of three years to sign the Constitution, and at no point in that time did President Washington send a single war-ship to the Narragansett Bay and occupy the townships of Newport, Wickford, and Narragansett. And the reason for this is that it was always understood that the Union was a VOLUNTARY arrangement (Lincoln himself thought this until he became a power-mongering crony-capitalist whose gravy-train - both literally AND figuratively - was singularly dependent upon his continued pilfering of the South) and that any force to maintain it was antithetical to its founding. This whole power grab by Lincoln and his fellow ramrods was a radical departure and the end-result was 700,000 deaths and hundreds of thousands of amputees.............And I'm still waiting for somebody to tell me that 7,000,000 deaths is an allowable price for freeing Darfur (what, only the black people in North America count?).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

On Louisville Quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater (On the Eve of this Year's NFL Draft)

a) He can make every throw required (with great accuracy). b) He has reasonably good mobility. c) He makes excellent decisions (only 12 interceptions over the past 2 years - as opposed to 58 touchdowns - in 846 throws). d) He wins (23-3 over the past 2 seasons). e) He plays well in big contests (just ask Florida and Miami). And f) the dude's as tough as nails (those hits that the Gators laid on him in the Sugar Bowl and he still kept shredding them) and he never gives up....I absolutely would use a first round draft pick on him....................................................................................P.S. And, no, I'm not saying that he's the second coming of Peyton Manning or Tom Brady - just that the fellow is better NOW than most of the league's starters and he WILL get better, much better.

On the Concept of Lincoln Freeing the Slaves

I really want the folks to think about this one. Lincoln EXPRESSLY told the South that they could continue to practice slavery and all that they had to do was stay in the union and pay the tariff, and that, even if he did want to end slavery, it probably would have been unconstitutional (HIS words). So (and, yes, this is where the absurdity comes to fore), if the South eventually did pull back and opted NOT to leave the Union, SLAVERY WOULD HAVE CONTINUED (possibly for decades - depending on the political will) and all of this talk about Lincoln as the "great emancipator" would have never happened!! The South, folks, made Lincoln!

On the Republican Party's Opposition to Slavery in the Territories

It had absolutely nothing to do with morals and everything to do with keeping black people out; a) because they didn't particularly like black people and b) because they didn't want to compete with them (for their labor). This whole concept of an enlightened North trying to bring the South more into modernity is an absolute absurdity and all that you really need to know here is that a) black people weren't even allowed into the state of Indiana (yeah, that's right, it was illegal simply to be black there) and b) New Jersey had legalized slavery all the way to 1865 (after 1846 slaves were called "apprentices for life" but make no mistake about it, they were slaves).

On Lincoln's 1861 Inaugural

a) He was 100%, not 80%, not 90%, 100%, accommodating to slavery (pledged to support the Corwin Amendment, enforce the Fugitive Slave Act, and even adhere to those resolutions of the Crittenden Amendment which had made all nullifications of the Fugitive Slave Act itself null and void). b) He threatened to invade all southern states who refused to pony up on the tariff.......That's checkmate, folks, at least on a sane planet it is.

On "Historian", Doris Kearns Goodwin, Referring to Lincoln as a "Master Politician"

She meant it as a compliment. Need to know more?

On Holding on to Slights, Perceived Inequities, Etc.

If engaging in such a mindset has ever gotten anybody anywhere, I've certainly never witnessed it. I mean, just take a gander over at......

Friday, March 21, 2014

On Ending Slavery

Of course slavery was an abominable institution (and certainly far worse than Lincoln considered it) and of course it had to end. But let me ask you a question here. Suppose I told you that we could totally wipe out all of the violence in Darfur or Syria, but that it would cost us $8 trillion and 7 million lives - would you still say, "Yeah, let's do it?" Probably not, huh? Well that's exactly what the Civil War cost this country in the 19th Century (extrapolating from wealth and population) and I continue to be fully convinced (as were a great many northerners; newspaper writers, the majority of the public, a lot of abolitionists even - William Lloyd Garrison amongst them) that it was unnecessary...............................................................................I mean, think about it here. Are the Civil War proponents and Lincoln Worshipers (The Church of Lincoln, Judge Napolitano calls them) really saying that American southerners were so much more virulent than the Brits who colonized and brutalized Asia, Africa, Australia, etc. that they absolutely, positively couldn't have been reasoned with, EVER? I just don't buy it. And, AND, if in fact the South did secede, the Fugitive Slave Act (which Mr. Lincoln fully supported and actually worked to strengthen via his pushing of a resolution in the Crittenden Amendment which would have made any state's nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act totally NULL AND VOID) would have no longer been applicable. Once a slave crossed over into Ohio or Pennsylvania, that would have been it - no more a slave!..............................................................................I don't know, folks, I think what we may have developed here (in addition to a cult of Lincoln) is a sort of time-tied lack of perspective on the matter; the fact that we are just so far removed from an event that caused 700,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands of amputees, the writ of habeas corpus having been flushed down the toilet, tens of thousands of civilians (the largest percentage of which having never once owned a slave) having been raped, tortured, and murdered, and half the country's resources having been obliterated that it's just about as real as a video game now. Holy shit, huh?..............................................................................P.S. And as far the Civil War having gotten rid of slavery, yeah, it ultimately did. But, so, too, would have a solar flare, meteor, volcano - massive enough, and/or a return of the ice-age. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

You Didn't Dig Deep Enough, Shaw, Continued

"The South is an agricultural people whose chief interest is the export of a commodity required in every manufacturing country. Or true policy is peace and the freest trade which our necessities will permit. It is It is alike our interests, to all of those we would sell and from whom we would buy that there should be the fewest practicable restrictions upon the interchange of commodities." Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, 1861 (his inaugural address).............................................................................Now, compare that to this; "The power confided in me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property, and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion - no using force against it, or among the people anywhere.......There needs to be no bloodshed or violence and there shall be none unless it is forced upon the National authority." Abraham Lincoln, 1861 (his inaugural address)..........................................................................There it is, Shaw. Presidents Lincoln and Davis BOTH included tariffs in their inaugural addresses and the former actually went as far as to threaten the South with force if the tariffs were not secured. Pretty damn interesting, huh?

Southern Votes for the Morrill Tariff (An Act that Increased the Tariff from 15% to 37.5% and Which Also Included Additional Items)

Try, 1 out 105.

Could it BE Any Clearer?

"this war is not waged upon our part in any spirit of oppression, nor for any purpose of conquest or subjugation, nor purpose of overthrowing or interfering with the rights or established institutions of those States (I.E., SLAVERY!!!!!!!), but to defend and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution and to preserve the Union, with all the dignity, equality, and rights of the several States unimpaired; and that as soon as these objects are accomplished the war ought to cease." The United States House of Representatives, July 22, 1861.............How any sane person can still say that Lincoln and the North were motivated even remotely by the slavery issue when there own damn words repeatedly belie this claim is well beyond me.

On the Idiotic Assertion that Lincoln's Colonization Policy Would Have Been "Voluntary"

Yeah, it would have gone something like this, "You can stay a slave in Maryland or you can hop in a boat and go to Liberia. It's your choice, dude."

You Didn't Dig Deep Enough, Shaw

1) 2) 3) 4) "A protectionist tariff gives to one section (the North) the power of recharging (passing on the cost) while to the other (the South) it is a pure unmitigated burden." John C. Calhoun. 5) The tariff issue (which had been a major bone of contention between the northern and southern FOR DECADES) was was the main one in the hotly contested ballot for Speaker of the House in 1858 to the point where the ballot was deadlocked for over two months. 6) The Morrill Tariff was passed in 1860 on a strict North-South vote. 7) The secessionists in fact DID both contemplate and debate the tariff issue at length and the only reason that it wasn't more prominently put forth was because the central government had previously backed down (in 1828) on it.

Lincoln's Concept of a Free Black Man

On a boat, probably in chains, headed back to Africa.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Very Simple Question for the Cult of Lincoln

If Mr. Lincoln was so opposed to slavery, then why did he not abolish it in those places where he had the power to; the northern and border states of Kentucky, Missouri, Delaware, and Maryland, numerous counties in West Virginia, and the northern occupied parts of the Confederacy (New Orleans and other sections of Louisiana)?......That, and why did the dude wait until it looked like the South was winning before he put forth this wonderful Emancipation Proclamation (which, again, only made slavery illegal in the Confederacy)? Da' ya' think that maybe it was because he was trying to stir up a little bit of trouble down there? That's my theory.

John A. Garraty (Former President of the Society of American Historians and Author of "The American Nation") on the Civil War

a) "Although abolition was to be one of the major results of the Civil War, the war was fought for nationalistic reasons, NOT TO DESTROY SLAVERY (my emphasis). Lincoln made this plain beyond argument when he wrote, more than a year after the outbreak of hostilities: 'If I could save the Union without freeing ANY (Garraty's emphasis) slave, I would do it.'"............b) "Lincoln had assured the South that he would respect slavery where it existed. The Democrats had retained control of Congress in the election; the Supreme Court was firmly in their hands as well. If the North did try to destroy slavery, then secession was perhaps a logical tactic, but why not wait until the threat materialized? To leave the Union meant abandoning the very objectives for which the South had been contending for over a decade; a share of the federal territories and an enforceable Fugitive Slave Act (which, you see, Shaw, would not have been enforced at all subsequent to secession).............Two major reasons help to explain why the South rejected this line of thinking. One was the fact that the tremendous economic energy generated in the North seemed to threaten the South's independence.......Secession, southerners argued, would 'liberate' the South and produce the kind of balanced economy that was proving so successful in the North.............The other reason was emotional. The years of sectional conflict, the growing northern criticism of slavery, perhaps even an unconscious awareness that this criticism was well founded, had undermined and in many cases destroyed the patriotic feelings of southerners. Because of the constant clamor set up by the the New England anti-slavery groups, the South tended to identify all northerners as 'Yankee abolitionists' (a paranoiac notion, dear Shaw, in that Indiana didn't even let black people inside its borders).......Although states' rights provided the legal justification for leaving the Union and southerners expounded the strict-constructionist interpretation of the Constitution with great fervor and ingenuity, these ECONOMIC (my emphasis) and emotional factors were far more basic."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

On the Civil War Having Been Fought Over Slavery 2

"There is a natural disgust to the idea of indiscriminate amalgamation of the white and black races....A separation of the races (via a shipping of black people across the Atlantic to Liberia) is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation." Abraham Lincoln, 1857............."I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not, nor have ever been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people." Abraham Lincoln, 1858............."I now assure you that I neither had, nor have, nor ever had any purpose in any way of interfering with the institution of slavery." Abraham Lincoln, 1859............." purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so." Abraham Lincoln, 1861 (part of his first inaugural address)............."If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it....." Abraham Lincoln, 1862.

Monday, March 17, 2014

On the ANC's Strategy of Fighting Apartheid Via the Wholesale Slaughtering of Fellow Blacks

Yeah, I could never quite get my mind around that one.

On Lincoln, Slavery, and the Emancipation Proclamation

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation is one of the biggest jokes in American history. a) It wasn't penned until the war was well into its second year and b) it didn't free a single solitary slave. Yep, that's right, folks, the document only claimed to emancipate slaves from the Confederate territories and, if anything, it codified the institution in other places (in the Northern and border slave states such as Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and Missouri, counties of West Virginia, and even in those parts of the Confederacy which at that point were under Union control; sections of Louisiana, for instance). And even in the Confederacy, those states and localities would have also been exempt if in fact they had returned to the Union by January 1, 1863!!!...............................................................................So, if the document wasn't for a humanitarian cause, what then? A lot of (non-Lincoln worshiping) scholars have concluded that (especially being that the document was written when it looked like the South was winning) it was written essentially for two purposes, both quite inflammatory; a) to incite a series of slave revolts that would take a lot of the Confederate soldiers off the front and b) to replenish their own depleted forces with freed slaves. Now, obviously the slaves eventually were set free after the war but to say that this was the primary aim of Lincoln and this little document of his is false and I believe that I've proven that.

On the Civil War Having Been Fought Over Slavery 1

"The sole object of the war is to restore the Union. Should I become convinced it has any other object, or that the government designs using its soldiers to execute the wishes of the abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side." Ulysses S. Grant, 1862.

A Fair and Personal Assesment

I'm a dementia care coordinator and rec director at a long-term nursing facility. It's an OK job and I make a fairly good living. But even where I work, the OTs and PTs make twice as much, the director of nursing and nurse practitioner make three times as much, the administrator makes four times as much, and the psychiatrist makes five times as much. It's a little something called, REAL LIFE, people...............................................................................Now, is it necessarily fair, this whole pecking order? I don't know! I mean, yeah, on the one hand, I do a lot of the same things that the therapists do AND I do them with groups of people while they tend to do them one on one. But, on the other hand, I also realize that this is a) a supply and demand thing, b) a specialization and licensing thing, and c) a billing/funding thing (they get to bill Medicare and I don't) and that there really isn't all that much as I as an individual can do about it (especially this close to retirement). And, like I alluded to before, this whole philosophizing via envy, second thoughts, etc. really doesn't get you all that far and, even if it did, you still gotta live with damned yourself, for Christ.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Seceding Idea - Discussion

So, why did Mr. Lincoln change his tune on this? It certainly couldn't have been because of slavery (numerous quotations from the man continued to indicate his willingness to maintain legalized slavery if in fact the union could be saved). My personal theory is that he just got so addicted to the tariff revenue which had fallen disproportionately on the Southern states and with which he was using to solidify his political power and cronyism that the dude literally couldn't stop himself...................................................................................P.S. And it wasn't as if there was any sort of huge groundswell coming from the North to halt the South from seceding, either. In fact, it was just the opposite in that public opinion (right along with many major newspapers and even abolitionists - William Lloyd Garrison had even stated that slavery was probably more secure in the union than it was outside of it - a lesser incentive, monetarily, to return runaway slaves) was strongly opposed to a war and the citizens certainly didn't want to fight in one (and hence the need for conscription). As much as I hate to say it here, this war was Abraham Lincoln's war.

A Seceding Idea

"Any people, anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government, and form a new one that suits them better." Abraham Lincoln, 1848.

Friday, March 14, 2014

On the Administration's Administering of Obamacare

Not willy-nilly and super-constitutional enough.

On the Prospect of Putin Ultimately Invading Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania

I don't even want to think about this one, people. I mean, yes, there are a fair number of ethnic Russians who live in the Baltic but you could say exactly the same thing about Mexicans in the United States, Chinese in Malaysia, Serbs and Croats in Bosnia, etc.. That, and I would also assert that these three countries are amongst the very few in Europe (along with Sweden and Denmark) that seem to be moving more toward economic freedom and away from the heavy-handed albatross of the state/less than sentient overlords. To me, it would be an absolute tragedy to lose any of these lands to some bush-league former KGB ass-hat like Vladimir Putin.

An Editing for the Worse

According to a Salon article that I recently read, Eisenhower's seminal speech was initially going to be called, "The Military Industrial Congressional Complex", but that it was altered due to pressure from handlers.......Holy, do I ever wish that that (the Congressional part) had been included.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

On the Concept of a Solitary Individual Wasting Valuable Moments of His Existence Penning and Maintaining a Ledger Entitled, "The Truth About Dennis Marks"

Sad. Bizarre. Disturbing. Paranoiac. Jaundiced. Impoverished. Unrelenting. Over the top. I think that that pretty much covers it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

On Why Reforming the Pentagon has Been So Elusive

Well, it's certainly not because they haven't studied it enough. I cite specifically the 1949 Hoover Commission, the 1971 Fitzhugh Commission, the 1977 Steadman Review, the 1981 Carlucci Acquisitions Initiatives, the 1986 Packard Commission, the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act, the 1989 Defense Management Review, The Defense Science Board's 1990 Streamlining Review, the 1993-94 Report of the Acquisitions Streamlining Task Force, The Air Force's Total System Performance Responsibility Initiative - JUST TO NAME A FEW. And, no, it isn't even as if these committees have failed to put forth some solid recommendations (making sure that particular weapons systems are fully developed prior to purchasing, for example), either. They obviously have and still nothing happens....Oh well, I guess that in Washington these days any efforts to streamline, reduce cost, and eliminate corruption are just not going to be taken seriously due to politics and special interests.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

To America's Embarrassment

John Stossel did his own little experiment. He tried to start two businesses, one in Hong Kong and the other in New York state. In Hong Kong, it took less than a day to complete all the requirements, while in New York state it took multiple months and I believe that he ultimately surrendered. If there's anybody out there who thinks that this level of red-tape is good for the economy, and that it somehow reduces income inequality in America, they're totally insane.

Monday, March 10, 2014

On the Assertion by Some that We Should Never Criticize the Pentagon Budget

I'll take, "Misplaced Patriotism Up the Poop-Shoot", for a thousand, Alex.

The Top 26 Women (In No Particular Order) Who I Would Have Most Wanted to Notch in Their Prime (And in Some Instances Beyond)

Kristin Scott Thomas, Elizabeth Montgomery, Isabelle Huppert, Beverly Garland, Eva Marie Saint, Ann Miller (the pre-helmet-hair version obviously), Jean Simmons, Cyd Charisse, Susan Hayward, Faye Dunaway, Linda Fiorentino, Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Fonda, Theresa Wright, Felicity Huffman, Stephanie Powers, Patty Griffin, Annie Potts, Courteney Cox, Patricia Clarkson, Patti Scialfa, Bridget Fonda, Christina Applegate, Carole Lombard, Emmylou Harris, Helena Bonham Carter.

On Vladimir Putin and Shale Gas

The former detests the latter and guess who has a shitload of the latter....Can you say, leverage (the fact that we can sell it to Europe and create a situation in which those countries aren't nearly as dependent on Russia as they currently are, etc.)?

On Life

Feel free to romanticize about it, to bitch and moan about it ad infinitum. Just be warned that, while you're engaged in such reverie, the other individual is probably out there making better his or her stack of human capital and leaving you even further in the dust. My suggestion here is that you utilize some moderation.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

On Ron Paul's Concept of "Blowback"

While I may have some sympathy for it, the theory as stated (the argument that U.S. foreign policy has sowed the seeds of discontent and prompted Islamic retaliation) ultimately fails. Yes, American foreign policy has frequently been boneheaded and has no doubt created enemies but it also must be stated here that radical Islam is a mindset that a) has zero tolerance for pluralism, b) has consistently displayed this intolerance in some of the most brutal displays of violence since the 14th Century; the butchering of homosexuals, adulterers, petty thieves, etc. (at the halftime of soccer games is a common time and place), c) has shown a consistent willingness to slaughter innocent civilians and has even used them as human-shields, and d) continues to have as one of its principle aims the spreading of its dogma world-wide and a universal caliphate (the mayhem currently taking place in Europe is proof of this). For Mr. Paul or anybody to think that 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombings, and Benghazi wouldn't have happened had only our troops not been placed in Saudi Arabia for a spate is a little bit silly and naive in my estimation.

Question for the 99%ers 4

You do realize, don't you, that it was primarily government interventions that  prompted the 2008 financial collapse; the fact that the Federal Reserve artificially reduced interest rates for years and then followed that up with trillions of dollars of additional fiat money, the fact that Fannie and Freddie had reduced their lending standards to the point where they were gobbling up literally hundreds of billions in toxic loans and were fully leveraged up the poop-shoot, the fact that Congress and the FED had made it patently clear that they were well prepared to bail out Fannie, Freddie, and pretty much any other entity that needed it......and so down went moral hazard, the fact that government had created what was essentially a cartel with these three crappy ratings agencies and, gee, what a surprise, THEY FAILED, the fact that a lot of the money that these banks were lending out was FDIC insured and so why in the hell would they be careful with it, etc., etc.?

On Fox News, MSNBC, Talk Radio, The Daily Kos, Etc.

Heat, as opposed to light.

Highlights of the Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton

From the top down; "Mozart Sonata" by Berthe Morisot, "Woman in Black" by William Merritt Chase, "Figures by the Sea" by Pablo Picasso, and "Cathedral at Rouen" by Claude Monet.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Troubling if True

I feel that I've always been pretty even-handed with Reagan; neither lionizing nor vilifying the man. But I also have to admit that I've recently uncovered something that I do find MOST disturbing. According to the Journal of Historical Review (Winter 1986), President Reagan actually went as far as to include the likes of Jerry Falwell and Hal Lindsey in numerous of his national security briefings at the White House, especially those that pertained to the Middle East (the religious right's support of Israel being little more than a cynical ploy that these folks feel will ultimately lead to the second coming of Christ with the Jews either being converted or perishing). The fact that any world leader would allow the presence of such thoroughly irrational men at any of his or her policy meetings - and especially those that pertain to national security - isn't exactly what I would call a comforting thought, people.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Fuck the "Speak Softly" Part, I Guess

How did these two guys suddenly become America's top foreign policy gurus? And why the hell are we still listening to them? I mean, it isn't as if they've given us an inordinate amount of prudent advice and counsel in the past (neoconservatism on steroids at times). That, and no matter what Obama does - the dude could kill a billion terrorists and it still wouldn't be enough - they're never, ever satisfied. I'm telling you here, if I was Mr. Obama, I'd tell 'em both to piss off.

Question for the 99%ers 3

You do realize, don't you, that one of the major reasons for income inequality in this country is the fact that government regulations have had a disproportionately larger negative impact on smaller businesses (according to the SBA, the cost of compliance is 40% greater per employee in small businesses than it is in the larger ones) than they've have on major corporations (not to mention the fact that large corporations are far more likely to be bailed out) and that even the cost and complexity of starting a damned business has made it next to impossible in certain states (unless of course you have connections)?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Question for the 99%ers 2

You do realize, don't you, that the families which comprise the top 1% of income earners have on the average four times as many workers per family as do the families in the bottom quintile (2 versus .5) and that this variable (along with educational attainment, experience, and the number of hours worked) goes a long way toward explaining the disparity in income between the two groups?

Question for the 99%ers 1

You do realize, don't you, that nearly HALF of the people who are currently presiding in the top 1% will be out of it within a decade and that they will therefore be a part of the same group that you're presently in (and who so assiduously you claim to speak for)?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On Politicians Like the President Asserting that THEIR Policies are Good for Everyone and Have Zero Negative Consequences

They're either stupid or they're lying. ALL GOVERNMENT POLICIES HAVE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES. I mean, just look at the recent history of this country; the ADA resulting in a massive increase in law suits and ultimately LESS employment for the disabled, the luxury tax under Bill Clinton literally destroying the yacht-building industry in Rhode Island, the minimum wage hike in American Samoa causing one of the island's largest employers to depart, the Cash for Clunkers program seriously damaging the used car business, the invasion of Iraq uncorking centuries of ancient hatred and strife, the drug war blowing a hole in the deficit and increasing violent street crime, the ethanol boondoggle jacking up the cost of food worldwide and actually making the environment worse, the ban on DDT causing a massive uptick in Malaria worldwide, the Great Society subsidizing illegitimacy and the illegitimacy rate skyrocketing, etc., etc.. This whole assertion by Mr. Obama that HIS policies (the stimulus, Obamacare, his steep minimum-wage hike proposal, etc.) are going to be somehow immune from this law of unintended consequences is pure unadulterated snake-oil.........................................................................................P.S. Yes, it's possible that the good may ultimately outweigh the bad (though I'm obviously not holding my breath here) but there are always winners and there are always losers....and wouldn't it be nice for a politician to occasionally acknowledge that?

Monday, March 3, 2014

On People Like Noam Chomsky, Francis Boyle, Bill Ayers, And that Crazy Lady from Code Pink

Yeah, they're nuts. But at least they're consistent nuts (the fact that they go after Democrats and Republicans with equal tenacity and apparently have at least some moral backbone). They're not like these shameless partisan stooges who only go after the other side and who literally base the entirety of their condemnations and judgements on whether or not a person has a D or and R in front of his or her damn name. So, yeah, I can at least respect those folks for that.

On CNN Jock, Piers Morgan, Getting Cancelled

The dude was getting smoked by fucking Rachel Maddow. Of course he had to go, for Christ (a film clip of somebody sleeping would probably beat Maddow).

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Much Too Quiet Passing

Joan Fontaine was one the most beautiful and talented actresses of the 1930s and '40s. Her performances in such classic films as "The Women", "Rebecca", "Suspicion" (for which she won an Oscar), "Jane Eyre", and "The Constant Nymph" were as stunning as any of those of her sometimes much more heralded contemporaries (her sister, Olivia de Havilland, being one). And so, yes, for me it was quite disappointing not just that she died last December (for that was to be expected at age 96) but that there was barely a mention of it in the media. I mean, how frigging sad and off the charts superficial is that, folks; 4-5 minutes of non-Kardashian coverage, unattainable?

The Most Farcical Sporting Event of My Lifetime?

Probably when George Foreman took on those 5 tin cans in one night....Just for the Cosell commentary alone, I'm saying (let's just say that he had some issues with the situation).

Hottest Media Critic Currently?

Sorry (actually, I'm not at all sorry), Howie Kurtz, David Zurawik, etc. but in this particular category I'm going to have to go with the red-headed fireball, Marisa Guthrie (The New York Daily News and prior to that The Boston Herald). Not only is the gal utterly smoking, she's intelligent and, get this, she's a certified yoga instructor (flexibility, yada yada). A CERTIFIED YOGA INSTRUCTOR! Sign me up.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

On the Idiot and Libertarianism 2

It's kind of like with those old racists down south; those fellows who, even if you were only 1/64 black, would tar you with the N-word sanctimoniously. I am obviously NOT a hard-core anarcho libertarian in that I strongly favor of a progressive income tax, an elimination of the special exemption for capital gains, a negative income tax (AKA, the Earned Income Tax Credit), universal health care replete with mandates, and I even supported an extension of unemployment benefits (with some reform). But I still get tarred as one by a moron who seemingly lives in his own little black and white universe/crawl space. I mean, how damned fucking ironic is that?

Remembering The DC 5

People forget. The number one rival of the Beatles from 1964 to 1967 wasn't the Rolling Stones. It was the Dave Clark Five. The band had 17 top 40 hits in that three year period and they still hold the record for most appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show (by a musical act) with 18.....................................................................................And boy, could these fellow ever rock. A much more surging sound than the Beatles (though not as raucous as The Who), the best of their impressive canon includes such classics as "Bits and Pieces", "Catch Us If You Can", "Over and Over", and my personal favorite, "Glad All Over". Yes, they eventually did make the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame but the harsh fact that it took 19 years after they were initially eligible was a travesty, in my opinion.

What's Next, Food Insurance?

Our auto insurance doesn't pay for front end alignments and our home insurance doesn't pay for toilet repairs. Where in the hell did we ever get this cockamamie notion that our health insurance should be paying for head colds, acne, Viagra, and now fucking birth control? It makes absolutely zero sense and, yet, this is exactly how we've been predominantly paying for our healthcare (close to 90% of all American healthcare expenses are made via a third party payment system) needs over the past 50 years or so. We have to get away from it, folks (third part payment being the major reason for escalating costs, in my opinion), and, yes, start treating insurance like damned insurance again (i.e., for emergency medicine).