Friday, December 30, 2011

Discipline and pleasure

One of the principle challenges I have faced throughout my life is an inability to take pleasure in my accomplishments. I have a very strong will, but that has thus far proven insufficient over the long term. As I grow older, it seems increasingly clear to me that the link between discipline and long term accomplishment is pleasure. You need reinforcement. You need something to tell you that all the pain you just went through MEANT something. I have never had that. I have pushed myself through all sorts of tough times, and my emotional tone stays the same. This, I have decided, is actually my principle challenge. My task is not pushing myself harder, but learning how to regularly match challenge and following gratitude and pleasure. As far as that goes, cultivating pleasure in general. The capacity for work is directly proportional to your capacity not just for rest, but pleasure. In effect, I need to recondition my motivational complex, and have started doing that, with some success. I have been going slower but steadier.

As an example, I rowed 5,000 meters on a Concept 2 today and all the way through, rather than pushing as hard as I could, I just imagined how I was making myself healthier, building will, and that I could take just pride in finishing. Now, I have done a LOT--1,000 plus--really, really hard workouts over time. For years I got up early and worked out HARD. But I was always emotionally numb. The only feeling I felt was aggression. There was no qualitative pleasure for me.

I have a book on my shelf entitled "The Decline of Pleasure", written several decades ago. I truly think this is a common problem. The social sources of this malady I will leave for another time. I know my own personal history well enough.

This thought is passed along in the vague hope it may be useful to someone.

Saivite poems

I'm purging my shelves of books I haven't touched in forever, and came across a book titled "Speaking of Siva" (Saivite is pertaining to Shiva/Siva), with South Indian poems of devotion.

Two:

The sacrificial lamb brought for the festival
ate up the green leaf brought for the decorations.

Not knowing a thing about the kill,
it wants only to fill up its belly:
born that day, to die that day.

But tell me:
did the killers survive,
O Lord of the meeting rivers?


And:

The crookedness of the serpent
is straight enough for the snake-hole.

The crookedness of the river
is straight enough for the sea.

And the crookedness of our Lord's men
is straight enough for our Lord!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Peter Bauer excerpts

Bit slow today, checking some things off lists. The entirety of Peter Bauer's "Equality, the Third World and Economic Delusion" is quite wonderful, and well worth the read. As I argue constantly, to fail to consider the consequences of actions you conceive to be well intentioned, is to not be well intentioned at all, but self important and narcissistic, if not outright power mongering. YOU MUST CARE ABOUT THE CONSEQUENCES, to all people, and over time.

Here are a couple quotes from the concluding chapter of a book in which he has ably demonstrated that foreign aid frequently does little but support income inequalities, autocracy, and continued generalized poverty, all claims that fly in the face of "conventional" wisdom, then (1981) and now.


what explains the curious situation of contemporary economics, especially the acceptance of evidently insubstantial, even bizarre, notions?

The expansion of the subject since the Second World War and the circumstances surrounding it must be considered together. Unlike the expansion in the natural sciences in recent decades, especially in physics and chemistry, the expansion in economics (and other forms of social study) was not an instance of the growth of knowledge leading to a quantum jump in the number of people and money attracted. The expansion resulted from the belief that economists could help significantly in solving social and political problems; and that their capacity to do so depended largely on their numbers and on the money at their disposal. . . But, as the term is usually understood, economic problems are different. Economic problems do not typically present themselves because of perceived gaps or inadequacies of knowledge. Rather economic problems are said to exist wherever there are differences between proclaimed norms and observed reality. Such problems evidently cannot be solved by improvements in knowledge alone. Indeed, as suggested in chapter 1 (and noted repeatedly elsewhere), economists and other social scientists generally create problems rather than solve them [emphasis mine].

In academic study unwarranted claims are apt to inhibit the advance of understanding. Attempts to justify unfounded claims, or to mask the failure to live up to them, encourage the proponents of such claims to shift their ground. For example, when certain policies widely canvassed by development economists as necessary for raising living standards, such as large-scale public investment, domestic production of capital goods, or the collectivization of agriculture, fail to bring about the expected results, the policies themselves come to be regarded as the very stuff of progress rather than as what they are, unsuccessful instruments for its promotion.

"When certain policies widely canvassed by development economists as necessary for raising living standards. . . fail to bring about the expected results, the policies themselves come to be regarded as the very stuff of progress rather than as what they are, unsuccessful instruments for its promotion."

Can there be a shorter summary of what is wrong with the leftist mindset, which does the same things over and over and over, always getting the same result--failure--and yet which fails to learn the lesson? As Bauer says, economics is not actually complicated. It is made complicated by people whose jobs depend on a lack of transparency.

Consider in that regard this quote he excerpts from a Professor Leontief.

Continued preoccupation with imaginary, hypothetical, rather than observable reality has gradually led to a distortion of the informal valuation scale used in our academic community to access and to rank the scientific performance of its members. Empirical analysis, according to this scale, gets a lower rating than formal mathematical reasoning. Devising a new statistical procedure, however tenuous, that makes it possible to squeeze out one more unknown parameter from a given set of data, is judged a greater scientific achievement that the successful search for additional information that would permit us to measure the magnitude of the same parameter in a less ingenious, but more reliable way. . . a natural Darwinian feedback operating through selection of academic personnel contributes greatly to the perpetuation of this state of affairs. Thus, it is not surprising that the younger economists, particularly those engaged in teaching and academic research, seem by now quite content with situations in which they can demonstrate their prowess (and incidentally, advance their careers) by building more and more complicated mathematical models and devising more and more sophisticated methods of statistical inference without ever engaging in empirical research.

This is how smart people become stupid: they makes things so complicated that the forest is lost for the trees. This is exactly the same dynamic in play with Global Warming. Rather than planting thermometers all over the poles, which is where the warming is supposedly happening, they develop statistical algorithms to in effect guess what the temperatures "must" be, based upon the sensors they have hundreds of miles to the south. This is not science. Statistics can NEVER substitute for measurements, when measurements are possible.

As I have said often, you can "prove" anything, if you start from the right premises. Garbage in, garbage out.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ron Paul post

First off, I have no emotional stake in this election. If Romney or Gingrich or Perry get the nod, I'll just hope for the best. At the same time, what DOES bother me emotionally is the sheer quantity of stupidity out there. Stupidity is like a blackness hanging in the air, killing everything good in the world. And plainly there are those who feed it. This bothers me.

In any event, the following is a response to this link: http://news.yahoo.com/paul-builds-campaign-doomsday-scenarios-161301486.html


So you count as definitive the opinions of an analyst from JP Morgan Chase, whose firm quite literally IS the Fed, or a very important part of it? Here is how our system works: a dozen or so massive banks work in committee in the morning at the Fed, vote themselves money, then go across the street and spend it. What do you think "quantitative easing" was? We know $600 billion or so was spent. On what? To whom was it given? Anyone? Any answers? You don't know because this is not public knowledge. Money is created and distributed to ANYONE THEY WANT. There are no rules. There is no oversight.

If you want to understand how our system actually works, read my treatise here, collated from previous work, without effect, for the unwashed fools camping out in our major cities: http://www.goodnessmovement.com/Page23.html

It is quite literally the case that were we to end the leaks in wealth creation caused by the fractional reserve banking system and the Fed which enables it, then ALL OF OUR ECONOMIC PROBLEMS WOULD BE SOLVED. We would be able to work 5 hour work weeks, have zero national debt, and zero unemployment. These are not small problems; they are the only problems that, in the end, matter.

For the simple reason that substantially all contemporary economists lack either the balls or the insight to recognize this, by definition only marginalized people will speak openly of these facts. That Paul is getting support likewise means that many, many Americans are openly rejecting our rapidly failing status quo, which is all to the good.

Paul has my vote. I will add that because no conservative will be able to contemplate voting for Obama, Paul will get all those votes, and very large segments of Obama's alienated followers. He is in my view electable. Our problems are huge, and even if the mainstream establishment and media refuse to acknowledge this, most of us care about the future and are not stupid.

Follow up on last post

Read these lyrics, from "Fantastic Voyage" by Coolio:

I'm tryin' to find a place where I can live my life and
maybe eat some steak with my beans and rice, a
place where my kids can play outside
without livin' in fear of a drive-by
and even if I get away from them drive-by killers
I still got to worry about those snitch-ass niggas
I keep on searchingc and I keep on looking
but niggas are the same from Watts to Brooklyn
I try to keep my faith in my people
but sometimes my people be acting like they evil

Is the task of decent people to prevent open discussion of this problem, or to recognize patent and inescapable reality, and working from a point of KNOWLEDGE to help free the millions of ordinary, law abiding black people who just want to be free from constant fear?

How many "liberals" live in the ghetto? None, if they can help it. It isn't safe there, and the schools suck. This is a national shame, and it will not get fixed as long as our media is obsessed with message control rather than fixing actual problems.

Fuck all you pieces of shit. Every time some little boy or girl is crying because of their horrible lives, you are there justifying it, and making sure nobody anywhere tells the truth about it. This is evil, not compassion.

Ron Paul and Racism

OF COURSE he knew what was in that newsletter. The questions are:

1) Does it matter?

2) If it matters, how much?

For context, let us consider that our current President sat in the front pew of a church in Chicago in which the theme every week was "HATE WHITEY". This is no exaggeration. This was a weekly occurrence--when he was in town--for over a DECADE.

For further context, let us consider that with roughly 6% of the population, black men represent some 45% of the prison inmates in this country. According to this link+

The [incarceration] rate for white men was 736 per 100,000, for black men 4,789 per 100,000, for Hispanic men 1,862 per 100,000.

4,789 is 6.5 times 735.

Now I have lived all over this country, and overseas. It is a simple fact in my experience that more black people equals more crime. If you are living in a small town with no crime, black populations are in proportion to the country as a whole, at roughly 12% or less. I'm not supposed to say this, but it is true in my experience, and no amount of politically correct bullshit can alter this. The statistics support it.

Further, if you look at the intentionally divisive rhetoric of hate-mongers like Jerry Wright and his friend Louis Farrakhan, they WANTED a race war. They think, to this day, of America as an apartheid state in which the prisons are used to keep the black man down, rather than the inevitable result of breaking the law.

It is ASTONISHING that statements made by Ron Paul 20 years ago would get this much scrutiny, when Obama's patent and absolutely inescapable pattern of associating with the most horrific hate-mongers on the planet is ignored by the media.

Here is the fact: we are going to founder and fail as nation if we continue on our current path. That is the goal of the sociopathic LUNATICS, who assume--in some cases rightly--that in congruence with the "some pigs are more equal than others" principle, the suffering will be meted out to OTHERS, and not to them. Self evidently, the suffering will come first and in greatest portion to those who are ALREADY SUFFERING.

Do you think Barack or Michelle Obama give a rat's ass about ordinary black people? Seriously? Michelle refused to treat poor black people in the hospital she ran if they couldn't pay for the services, and if they couldn't get the government to pay. Barack commented on how expensive arugula had gotten, from which the clear inference can be made that he literally did not grasp that the rest of the world did not live in the cushy circumstances his political deals have allowed him to live in.

WE ARE BORROWING $125 BILLION A MONTH. The Federal Reserve and fractional banking system take the lion's share of the wealth we earn as a nation without contributing anything productive.

Ron Paul is the only person who can be trusted to make the SCALE of changes that need to be made. As we have been seeing over the last decade, even a Republican President and Republican Congress cannot be relied on to fix things. They just make things worse a BIT more slowly. That is all. That is it.

This nation is being run by assholes and lunatics, and the media is fiddling while great and PREVENTABLE suffering lurks just over the horizon. Disgusting.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Observation

I have stipulated--this cannot be "proven" in a formal sense since I have also rejected the utility of the notion of ontology--that there are three elements of consciousness (which is to say that part of us which chooses what to pay attention to in an infinitely complex world) which, when combined in a moving system over time, tend to generate an emergent property which is best labelled "Goodness". They are the rejection of self pity, perseverance in chosen tasks, and a commitment to perception, to the always present possibility of the need to change ones mind.

Within this framework, it could be argued that dullness and incuriosity (I'm getting spell check on that; if it is not a word, yes it is, and you just read and understood it) are incompatible with that wind I call Goodness. Someone who does the "right" things day after day without asking WHY, is sooner or later bound to do the wrong thing in the name of the right thing. The flaw that will then emerge as apparent badness will actually already be very old, even fossilized, and merely manifested as a result of changed circumstances.

Hell, this is about me, my vanity. I'll just switch to open mode preaching. The way I personally choose to live my life is to be curious about EVERYTHING. I am always asking myself how things are put together: how cars work, how roads are built, how buildings are built, why grass is here and not there, why clouds have formed in one way and not another.

As I have likely pointed out, one of the least common questions people ask seems to be is: why this and not something else? What could or should be there instead? One obvious example was in the Great Depression, when a recovery that SHOULD have been there was not. We have only had one Great Depression, and only had one economic downturn in the government aggressively tried to intervene. Coincidence? Of course not. Economics--despite the efforts of the "professionals" to convince the lay public otherwise--is not complicated. When something like 90% of business owners think the government is anti-business, and when punitive tax rates are in place, then no business investment takes place, no jobs are created, and short blips become life-crushing epic events.

What made me think about this was I was doing some intervals on a football field. Since it's winter most of it is brown and seemingly dead. But scattered in some places were bright green patches of grass, only perhaps 4" across, and surrounded by brown grass. Why was this? I spent a couple minutes pondering, and then noticed that all the grass outside the field was also green. Then I noticed it thriving along one fence line, but not the others. Then I looked at the wind patterns, and decided that was the direction of the wind, and concluded that two types of grass must be in place, one for the field, one for around the field, and that some seeds must have been blown over when the outside field was seeded.

This may or may not be right, but the point I want to make is that there is endless fascination possible in even the most dull places and doing the most dull things. You can practice the capacity for problem solving and perception in even the most dull jobs, if you decide to.

This is a bit of an "I'm so cool" post, but trust me, I know better. This is just one data point. There are many I see no reason to put in the public domain which argue decisively for humility as the best policy.

This is posted in the hope it may be useful for someone.

Edit: I will add that it occurred to me that the above might make me seem like the most tediously dull human being on the planet. I was quite literally watching grass grow. That possibility amuses me. Like everyone else I like talking about myself, but I definitely don't take myself too seriously. I'm only on this planet a short time, and burdened with so many limitations--like all of us--that it is easier counting the few rays of light that poke through the rock that encases me than figuring out all the ways I can't move.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bars and War Stories

I seem to have no hobbies. I am by nature very serious. This blog is work for me, at least when I feel I am doing it well; pain is normally required for me to feel I am giving a topic its true due diligence.

But I do have one habit that comes close: listening to stories from strangers. My God, bars are places to learn about humanity, about what people really think and how at least some section of them really live. This is a source of endless interest for me. I listen to stories from everyone.

Tonight I heard a war story, from a Canadian Combat Engineer recently back from Afghanistan. A young girl, perhaps 10, stops a patrol begging for food. They stop, and pull some food from their packs. The next trip by, the same girl--or one the same age who looked just like her--is wired with a bomb, and someone just in the range of vision triggers her when the patrol stops, killing her (of course) and injuring several members of his patrol. He saw this with his own eyes.

I talk with people often, some soldiers, and a consistent pattern is that the realities of the EVIL of our enemies are consistently underplayed in the media. Somehow, they want to believe that cultural Others are somehow noble, and our aggressive, intrusive forces intrinsically malevolent. This is nothing close to the actual truth of the matter: we try harder to do the right thing, in my view, than ANY military force in human history. I say this as a student of history.

In my view the Afghan people are goat-fuckers who in large measure deserve nothing but studied indifference. To the extent we should be there, it should be to prevent a repeat of the terror training camps that flourished under the Taliban.

And to be clear, can we really connect the dots, in terms of unwashed sister-fuckers doing the monkey bars, and the attacks of 9/11? Their pilot training was in the US. Their tactics were primitive and needed little in terms of training. What, precisely, are the threats emanating from Afghanistan?

I have argued before, and will repeat here, that in my view 4 planes were clearly hijacked by extremists, who were mainly Saudis. They were crashed into the Pentagon, World Trade Center Towers 1 and 2, and a field in Pennsylvania. Uniquely, to my knowledge, I have argued that United 93 was headed for WTC 7.

This thesis is plausible if you accept that flames do not cause the collapse of skyscrapers specifically designed to resist the effects of flames, in such a way that they LOOK as if they were blown intentionally.

In turn, if we consider that if Muslim terrorists were responsible for blowing--planting and then detonating explosives--three skyscrapers, then it is HIGHLY curious that they have not been able to do more since 9/11. Terror is easy. Logistically, a group capable of planting covert explosives would be capable of a LOT.

This in turn led to my unprovable supposition that the Russians were behind 9/11. I simply can't believe Bush was, or the CIA, or Mossad. Once we deduct them, put dunce caps on the Islamic homicidophiles, and see who is left, that is the conclusion.

Put all this together, and in my view we should draw down 2/3rd's of our troops in Afghanistan, and only send them back if the residual is in danger of being overrun. We should then focus on Human Intelligence, and the people selling America as an ideal spread the world over, that I have often called for.

My two and half cents.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Intellectual Macgyver

Phrase popped in my head, and made me smile. Do with it what you will. I'm not sorting it out at this point.

Wandering

Today I again decided to go down a different road--literally, a different road. Being somewhat enigmatic even to myself--I make a lot of spontaneous decisions--I don't know why. In many respects, I am a creature of habit. I have eaten at my favorite Mexican place at least 500 times, with no exaggeration. I only go to 2 bars.

But sometimes, I feel the need to break the pattern, to go somewhere completely new. I did that today. And as should be obvious, I am a self observer. I watched my feelings, and in my world--which shrinks and grows prodigiously in cycles throughout the day--this time, I felt something like melancholy, but not really.

When you take a new path--and I am speaking both metaphorically and literally, since I somehow comprehend much of my literal journeying as ritualistic and meaningful--it feels to me like both a relief and a mild ache, like when you stretch and massage tired muscles.

There was this moment when I thought "oh, this is new", and I felt alone. Then I got to thinking about life itself. I like the line "every new beginning is some other beginnings end" (about hooking up, but let's push it further, as indeed I think they were implicitly doing as well). Is life not constantly reconciling the need for change with the need for continuity? We want things to stay the same, we work so that things will stay the same, but they can't and don't. This is our principle tragedy, and our principle hope.

I was, again, applying this metaphor of wave/particle duality from physics, and I realized that as I traversed from the old to the new, at the moment of transition, I was suddenly filled with compassion and love for humanity. This is the "moment" of understanding, of both being able to relate to others as a sovereign individual, and be connected to them.

This metaphor of surfing is a good one. I dreamed once that that is the way to live, on the edge of a rolling wave, endlessly adapting, unafraid, and excited. The wave is merely a part of the ocean, a form of the ocean. You, on the other hand, have a place and a trajectory. Interfacing the two is the essence of surfing.

This is a bit meandering (Thoreau once approximately said "it need not be long, but it takes quite long to make it short") but hopefully makes sense to someone. It was a strong feeling, and I thought I would do my best to pass it along.

Encirclement

Probably my last post on this topic. Ron Paul is to the left of Obama on foreign policy. His basic idea is "if you aren't screwing with us, we will not screw with you." This basic sentiment has a very long history in the Republican Party.

And to be clear, it was not OUR inaction that caused World War 2. It was the inaction of Britain and France. In fact, one could easily make the case that by overpromising and underdelivering at Versailles, Woodrow Wilson played an enormous role in Hitler's rise to power.

And with regard to economic and political policy, Paul is far to the right of most mainstream Republicans, who say they want smaller government, but are never able to identify programs they themselves would cut. Paul is promising MASSIVE cuts, in both social spending and defense. He is credible on this score.

Given a good chance to get what they say they want for both anti-war Democrats and anti-Big Government Republicans, what's not to like?

And please, don't give me this "political reality" bullshit. Yes, of course the complicit media can spin anything they want into anything they want. They are good at digging up dirt--I'm quite sure they could find Jimmy Hoffa Sr. within a week or two if they thought it essential for Obama's reelection.

But at the same time, if you are always backing down to CONSTANT attacks and threats of attacks, can that be called something other than retreat? Are wars--and we are in a war--won that way? Of course not. They are lost with plausible denial. They are lost without being able to assign clear blame, but lost nonetheless.

The fork

Does anyone seriously think anyone right of center will be capable of voting for Obama? That no matter who is on the ticket, that they will hold their nose and vote Republican? This is what we did with McCain. And what happened? We lost.

Democrats rightly criticize the Republicans as they have existed for at least the last 15 years or so as being more or less Democrats who just don't want to raise taxes. They spend the same amount, and just generate more deficits since taxes stay low. These same people argue that our budget deficit is surely not just a product of spending too much. This is a fallacious argument, as anyone can see who looks at just how much Obama increased spending over the already ludicrous Bush levels, but the basic premise within a small range is not invalid. Plainly, we could tax more.

Such people will see no reason to back someone like Romney, who if the past is any indication will talk a big fight, then more or less turn into George W. Bush. Our national debt will continue to skyrocket, commissions will be formed, and after much bluster and brinkmanship, exactly 3 cents will be cut from our projected INCREASES over the next decade.

Look at what Rand Paul has done in Congress. As one small example, he was the only one to ask, in the context of Obama's constant calls for "investments" in infrastructure: do you have a prioritized list of repairs? The answer was no. Since we just spent some $130 BILLION on repairs, that should cause shock in a psychologically normal person capable of rational thought. Plainly, the goal was not fixing things, but spending money, and spending money in places that were motivated by politics. Vote buying would be the shorter and more honest description of where some $130 billion of our tax money (40% of which of course was FUTURE tax money, plus interest, since we borrowed it) went.

A major bridge into Louisville, Kentucky was recently declared dangerous and closed for six months. Was it on a list to fix? Of course not: there IS no list. I just said this. In preparing to spend $130 billion, not even basic homework was done. (note: that $130 billion is from memory. It's in the range, even if not spot on).

Or take the recent decision by the Obama Administration to kill an American in Yemen. When talking about Guantanamo, my argument has always been THEY ARE NOT AMERICANS AND NOBODY ELSE WANTS THEM. But when it comes to Americans, we have LAWS that govern how to treat traitors and sabateurs and would-be mass murderers. We have a Bill of Rights, and the constitution to which it is an amendment.

Was this guy a danger to other Americans? Not really. Yemen is not exactly in our back yard. It's in the back, back forty, and if it fell into the ocean tomorrow, maybe 100 Americans would know about it, ever. I speak with some confidence when I say that only perhaps 1% of Americans could find it on an unmarked map. Certainly less than 10%.

And from this flowed the bipartisan Congressional decision to create a law that would allow American citizens to be detained by the military indefinitely. This is a HUGE abrogation of our rights. Even if in practice that power is not abused in the short term, it means that technically arresting ANYONE is possible, without a writ of habeas corpus (as I understand the matter--I have not read the full language, and am not even sufficiently up to date to know if this was passed into law or not; it is the fact that it was proposed that concerns me here).

The idea is that Delta or DevGru can sneak into, say, Yemen, and do a body snatch. But once the principle is there, what about sneaking into QUEENS and doing a body snatch? What about pulling somebody out of their home?

Ron and Rand Paul are some of a very small number of people who grasp the implications of all this. People like John McCain--who honestly I used to like--are not thinking long term. They need to ask questions like: if a good friend of Bill Ayers were in the White House, do you think at some point this could be abused, particularly in conditions of being able to censor the Internet, and having more or less complete control of other forms of news propagation?

Net: Paul will by default win the vote of everyone who hates Obama, and by virtue of his policies the votes of everyone who fears governmental oppression and who opposes foreign wars. This makes him electable, in my view.

We need to give him a try. Yes, Romney says he will put a hold on implementation of Obamacare nation-wide, day one. But the forte of left wingers is demonizing people in power. Who is to say they can't remobilize a Democrat resurgence in 2014 with rhetorical pictures of diseased children and grandmothers, left behind by the Big Meany Head Republicans?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul, further thoughts

First off, I want to apologize because I feel I have not been very incisive lately. I am not sure I ever am, but I FEEL incisive sometimes, and I haven't been feeling in the zone. I am working extremely hard, and my brain and body are both quite tired most of the time.

Wait, I don't believe in excuse making, so let me repudiate, in the manner of a politician, the foregoing, without actually deleting it, so I can keep my options open (name the movie: "when I'm not kissing babies, I'm stealing their lollipops").

Here is what I was thinking today, wandering around on my 10' ladder: Ron Paul combines in one person a rejection of BOTH of the reasons for government expansion. If you look at the last--let me do the math--83 years (if memory serves, Hoover was inaugurated in 1929), you will see that when Republicans are in power, spending always goes up. Goldwater excoriated the 1950's Republicans in 1960.

The argument is simple: we have been neglecting Defense. For their part, Democrats tend to say "we have been neglecting social justice." Now, some want their cake and to eat it too, like Kennedy and LBJ, but most of the time recently, since Carter roughly, it has been "spend less on Defense, and more on Kodak moments".

Thus, since Hoover, every Administration, Democrat or Republican has, for one reason or another, increased the size of our government. Only exception? Anybody? The Democrats hopped on it quicker than it takes Slick Willie to get the hots for cheerleaders: Clinton.

Clinton decreased our social spending AND our military. He did both, and in the context of moderate tax increases, this put us in the black (on an annual basis) for the first time in a very, very long time, likely since Coolidge. It should be pointed out that the Congress, as well as the mood of the country, was decidedly conservative, but still he did piss off a lot of the left wing of his base.

Now, Democrats hate the idea of decreasing social programs, so the mainstream ones hate Paul. That, and the fact that he is a Republican--or running as one--makes him anathema.

For their part, conservatives hate him because he opposes this basic idea that we need to spend more and more and more on Defense. Each of our roughly seven Naval Carrier Groups has a bigger airforce than all but the largest nations. We have thousands of strategic nuclear weapons--in radar evading bombers, missile silos, and nuclear submarines, a triad those alive in the Reagan years will readily remember.

In 2010 we spent nearlyh $700 billion on Defense. In second place was the Commissar's Oligarchy of China, at $114 billion. It is a valid question: is this really defense?

We have spy satellites up the yin-yang, but would it not make more sense to spend some small, small percentage of this developing the best human intelligence networks on the planet? The war we are fighting is in large measure one of interdiction, of preventing in particular WMD's from getting used here. Given the dynamics of the situation, it certainly helps denying safe haven to terrorists by occupying Afghanistan and Iraq, but think about it: absent good information, can we really say for certain safe havens cannot be created anyway?

And in any event, as I have argued, we lose some ten times the number of people in car accidents annually that we lost on 9/11. We have lost MORE military personnel in war than died on that day.

And here is the $10 trillion question: can we be CERTAIN that all the death and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan has worked to prevent terrorist attacks that would otherwise have taken place? Waterboarding people with information is to me a no brainer. Invading their nations, though? I was a hawk on both wars. But I see them going on and on and on. I see men growing up without knowing their children. One Navy Seal I talked with said he spent maybe a week with his son in his first year and a half. Same with another Navy Commander I know. Many of these people come back with mental problems that permanently change, for better or worse, their lives.

Is this national DEFENSE? Ron Paul claims to have received more in donations from military people than all the other candidates COMBINED. If this is true, it is because, having fought, killed, and suffered for freedom, they have conclude that no, it is not DEFENSE. It is certainly an offense intended as defense, but it is hard to know what might have been. I cringe saying this, since it the sort of thing the peaceniks love to latch on, but every bully claims it is in self defense.

We are not bullies, but can we hawks not at least CONSIDER the idea that maybe protecting the world from itself is not our job? There are no Nazis now, there is no Communist bloc now, and to the extent China represents a threat, it is now economic, in the form of being able to crash our economy.

Today I was reading that Paul will be ignored if he wins in Iowa, since it will only be because lefties came and voted, only to plan to vote for Obama again.

Some people don't get out often enough. I'm not one of them. I talk with these people all the time. Just the other day a bartender who is a registered Democrat told me he would vote for Paul, but not Romney. He said if Romney gets the nod, he's voting for Obama again.

What people need to remember, and this is CRITICAL in assessing Paul's appeal nationally, is that he appeals both to the anti-war and the anti-government crowds, and that often both traits are found in people REGISTERED AS DEMOCRATS.

Why do the hippies have Ron Paul stickers? Because they expected Obama to let them down, and he has not let them down in letting them down. He stayed in Iraq. He stayed in Afghanistan.

More importantly, though, he continued the Patriot Act. People under his direct control started strip searching grandmothers and children. They are talking about an internet kill switch.

A principle fear of MANY Democrats was that Bush was corrupt, and under the control of corporate interests, and intended to institute a totalitarian regime. I saw this over and over and over.

Those same people will vote for Ron Paul in a heartbeat. The polls showing him trailing Romney by a lot are among REPUBLICANS. Paul can attract a HUGE cross-section of the very young people Obama depended on to get him elected, a cross section that will sit home and play video games if Romney or even Gingrich get the nod. They will vote for Obama, but not with enthusiasm.

This is an interesting election. In rejecting all the things that enable government to grow, he has something to alienate every priviledged bureaucrat and lobbyist, but something to actually make a difference for ordinary Americans.

Ask yourself this question: among the candidates, who is most likely to make radical changes to our absolutely unsustainable status quo? Someone who has been saying it needed to be done for 30 years, or people who just got small government religion last year?

Few thoughts, at least for me. This is disorganized, but I'm going to go drink some beer, and buy a Christmas present for my oldest.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ron Paul

In my lifetime I cannot ever recall seeing a serious candidate--he is second in Iowa and third nationally in the polls I read--as carefully ignored by all media as Ron Paul.

If the primaries are undecided by the time they get to my state, he will get my vote.

I have long been a hawk, thinking we needed to go out and meet the enemies of America proactively, on their soil, and not ours. Like many others, I have long invoked the memory of Munich and the fallacious "peace in our time" negotiated there, and noted often that Churchill always called World War 2 the "unnecessary war".

But we do not face a Nazi Germany. We do not face any coherent foe at all. We face a disorganized mob of radicals. I agree with the basic concept that they should not be granted safe places for organizing. At the same time, all we need in Afghanistan, in my view, is sufficient troops to trim the wings of the radicals from time to time. If they are organizing obvious training camps, we hit them and everyone dies or gets arrested. This benefits us and the Afghan government, and most of the people.

In the end, we have massive military power, far greater than that of any power before us, or present on the Earth today. It's not even close.

What we have lacked is credibility. Saddam Hussein defied us and the UN because he thought we would never invade. We did. This provided a good lesson to many around the world.

At the same time, our greatest dangers, now, are from economic chaos and collapse, both of which are actually made worse by our massive military spending (although made "most worst" by our unfunded social spending mandates, by far).

I'm willing to give Paul a shot. I watched this video, and there are plainly some mistakes. Mossadegh was no Communist, but the Soviets were very actively trying to organize a coup to overthrow him so they could get access to Iranian oilfields. The Shah was no saint, but was much more humane than the radicals who followed him, and the Shah's overthrow--far from being inevitable--was only made possible by Carter's decision to abandon him, to cut off all support and aid, and refuse to allow the use of American assets to protect and defend him.

The poignant moment for me, though, was at the end (yes, the thing is plainly trying to tug on heartstrings), when children saw their fathers for the first time in a long time.

I know many, many soldiers, and deployments are hard. They change peoples personalities. They end marriages. They distance children from parents who were unable to be in their lives. This is true even of ordinary deployments, where the soldier, sailor, Marine, airman comes back psychologically normal.

Being a student of history, I think back to the Romans. The Roman Empire became as big as it did because they kept pushing the borders back to protect from barbarians. They would conquer one set of them, then be attacked anew from the new border by another set.

Now, Rome fell in large measure due to the failure of Augustus to establish a clear method of transferring power, which in turn led to numerous internecine conflicts that led to the decay of the caliber of the Legions, and the necessity of in effect using mercenaries. It did not fall because it was an Empire.

But it is also clear that no matter how far out they went, the fighting, somewhere, never stopped. They never conquered Germany. If memory serves, they may have conquered parts of Iraq, but not Iran. That's where the Parthians were, who at one point--again if memory serves--captured and I believe killed a Roman emperor.

The United States is plainly not an Empire. You take stuff when you are an Empire. We don't do that. We on the contrary spend money to build things, then leave. But the lesson here is that if you can't end the fighting anyway, why not become so powerful on our home turf that no one can even consider attacking us, then waiting until credible, actionable threats emerge?

We are not going to invade Iran. Nor do I think a credible military solution short of that exists. To my mind, the rational solution is deterrance. Yes, many of them are nuts--or act nuts--but are they really going to risk the destruction of their nation when there is nothing in their actual theology to give them reason to think the Mahdi's emergence can be coerced through stupidity and violence? Some believe this, but my suspicion is that much of this is merely bluffing. If you can convince someone you are nuts, you can get a lot of concessions.

Few thoughts.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Infinity

My kids have reached the point where they are asking about infinity. Within the last week, I have had discussions with each of them, about living forever with one, and about an infinite universe with the other.

You really can't imagine infinity, any more than you can imagine God. But you can feel love, and love fills up all that emptiness.

I will add as a footnote that this word "love" has been mangled beyond recognition. It has been twisted and pulled and pushed, triangulated, managed, abused. People "love" football. They "love" Doritos. There was a "summer of love" (with lots of humping, and no few number of pregnancies, but no stability, and nothing enduringly good created). We call it "falling in love" when our innate need for procreation finds a compatible hormonal mix across the gender aisle--or even within the same gender section.

Love to me is alternating solitude with communion. You cannot love if you cannot create, and in my view you cannot create unless you are capable of existing as a stand alone human being, something which necessarily means the capacity for solitude, which simply means that you an agent, a sovereign entity, responsible for yourself, even when you are with others. You are not leaning. A group of people like this will sometimes becomes more than the sum of the parts. They will at times feel an energy of connection. This is love.

To be clear, love is not desperate. It is not clinging. It is not "needing" someone. To say that you need someone is not to love them, but to demand they love you. This is not love.

Have to roll. I always cringe using this word, even though it does have its place. I have seen it abused so often, and wanted to speak a bit on it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tax policy

This is a simple way of putting it: to assume that tax policy does not influence rates of investment is to claim that someone will work as hard for $10/hour as for $50. For anyone who works hard, it is very hard writing checks to the IRS.

Why risk anything--and business expansion is always a risk--if even if you succeed you are working for peanuts?

Integrated Dining Experience

I'm reindulging my interest in Aromatherapy as a sort of mood modifying and spur to creativity, and it occurred to me it would be interesting to integrate essential oils into dining experiences. As they say, half of "taste" is in fact smell, so would adding complementary smells not potentially alter in a synergistic way the experience of dining?

As an example, adding the smell of cloves or black pepper to a meal of steak, or bergamot to a pasta marinara dish, or cinnamon to a desert that otherwise does not contain cinnamon. Orange to a salad course. Or, presumably, there are many synergies out there that are not obvious, just as there are in cooking itself.

In a multicourse meal you could put aromatherapy pots out, and switch them as the courses change. You could key them on the wine or beer, or the food, or even a mood you were trying to set.

Then I got to thinking about it, and thought that you could add appropriate music for each course. You could have leitmotifs tied to certain foods or ingredients, recurring themes.

More generally, the goal would be the creation of a mood which combines aesthetic novelty with pleasure, with meditation.

Then I got to thinking about it, and thought that you could add colors--fabric stretched between poles for example--potentially combined with feng shui--and move tables around, move fountains around, or even change artwork.

A talented artist could create a multimedia experience, combining original artwork, music, food, aromas. To add touch you could alter the texture of the chair, or table cloth. Obviously food can have different textures as well.

Then I got to thinking about Wagner's Gesamtkunstwerk idea, and thought this would actually fit the bill better.

So much happiness is created with food, so much pleasure, with the right people, in the right place, right environment.

Then, of course, I got to thinking about what modern artists would make of this, bringing out plates of raw meat, and angry music, and bitter colors, destroyed on a tattered canvas.

There is no creation in destruction. This should be obvious. There is a profound difference between describing failure, and creating success. Life follows life. The first and foremost creation of any useful art is a character and self consistent with life, with the spirit, the energy of Goodness, of love, of possibility, of a FUTURE.

When we see destruction in art, what we are seeing is self destruction. We are seeing selves which have not formed, and which rather than trying to form choose to reflect in "creativity" their failures.

Destruction can always appear to be creation, since change is happening, movement is happening. But plainly it is not.

This idea is original, I think. I have not seen it anywhere else. Particularly the Aromatherapy idea seems to me to be interesting.

Philosophy of life

Life is work.

Clarifying Correlates:

Rest is work.
Love is work.
Love is rest.

To live is to create; to create is work. To create space is to rest; resting consists in creating space: space to dream, to waste time, to disorganize time, to manifest things you had no clue existed.

When we create, we are imitating in a beneficial way our Creator, whose sole joy in life--whose life consists in joy, which is work and rest--is to create.

Love is both work and rest; it is the particle and the wave. When in communion, when surfing a perfect wave, it is effortless. When the wave ends, you must swim back out to catch the next one, and that is work.

That about covers it.

I will add that words are of course symbols, as has often been pointed out in the last century, and their meaning--the precise images and affects conjured--therefore is always in the end somewhat individualized.

In discussing God with my oldest, the image of God as a "white blob" came up. My response was that God is much, much more interesting than that. I would say that whenever you spontaneously create a feeling of engagement, of effortless work, of joy, of beauty, of BEING INTRIGUED, you are worshiping and seeing God at the same time. What we call love is just a form of fascination, of effortless work, is it not?

I had to write that. Now I'm going back to bed to dream some new dreams, to restwork and workrest.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Local is accountable

Somebody posted this on my Facebook page: http://inhabitat.com/german-village-produces-321-more-energy-than-it-needs/

I am a grumpy Republican, who self identifies as a Liberal, but who could easily be called a Libertarian. I'm supposed to love gas guzzling cars and coal dust in the air. I don't. I'm not stupid.

I do categorically reject the falsified hypothesis of significant anthropogenic influence on the climate. However, I like the idea of local. I like the idea of things--including power--being made and consumed within close proximity.

We need to break all the large things down, and let self organizing systems organize on scales that are manageable. I believe Aristotle defined the proper size of a Polis as that distance within which the shout of a man with a strong voice from a high point could be heard. That has always made sense to me.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Waltzing Matilda

Tom Waits song.

We all have problems. Some of us, though, carry things we cannot name or identify, that go back into that magical world of our childhood, into currents that formed us.

Without sharing all the details, I remember a dream from when I was very young, perhaps five, in which I was being crushed into a pulp.

When I look at Tom Waits, I see that same sort of dynamic. I know a few details of his life, but the broad outline is that he was presented with a psychological survival situation where it was sink or swim, create a new self, or be condemned to a life beyond his control.

I think many creative and adventurous people face something similar. Greg Lemonde, as an example, was apparently molested.

One can say that suffering is always bad, but I simply don't agree. I don't think this Earth, this world, is really designed for happiness. That is what what we call heaven is for. This place is for learning, and sometimes I think one of the best teachers is people trying to kill you physically or psychologically. In such a situation, you cannot remain still. You must either adapt--which includes learning how to adapt--or die.

I'm zeroing in on something. That is why the personal notes. Why I post in public is in the hope a flash of recognition may help someone else out there feel less alone.

The question before the EU

Do you want the financial destiny of your nation controlled by unelected bureaucrats who cannot be convinced that water prevents dehydration?

To be clear, the word "hydrate", in English, derives from the Greek word for water, and in turn comes from a French word meaning the same thing. So quite literally, and without any obvious means of redressing this insult, the bureaucrats of Brussels have declared, legally, that "de-waterification cannot be cured or prevented by waterification",in flagrant violation of common sense and the experience of us all.

Do you want these people in charge? You know damn well that political control will follow, since power follows money.

In our own country-far less diverse in many ways than the polyglot EU--we only migrated from the Articles of Confederaion to the Constitution after winning guarantees that a Bill of Rights would be added to protect the States. Nothing like that is being discussed in Europe. It is blatantly obvious that the leftist power mongers are hoping to enact in reality a technocratic, undemocratic State without ever having it put to a vote.

This is what Fabians do: they don't call what they are doing what it is--they call it something else, push it through, then keep moving.

Just how decadent and tired of freedom are you Europeans? It is an open question.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Love and War

I agree that all's fair in war. It is, after all, a contest in which the winner will not be bound by rules with respect to the loser, and in which in all cases many people will die or be permanently hurt.

Not so much in love. Short story, then my "insight" (in quotations, since I have no way of knowing when I'm being an idiot): sitting in a Cheesecake Factory, which is not my normal habitat. It's a chick place, in my opinion, and for celebrations of after-somethings, or before-somethings. I was hungry, though, it was close and I knew they had large portions.

They seat this younger woman by herself 3 tables down. I figure she's waiting on someone, since if you watch the world, you will notice that women nearly NEVER eat by themselves. How can they get to that daily word count that is some multiple that of men by themselves?

Eventually, her food comes and I realize she's it. Then I notice she's reading a Spanish dictionary, which is something I could imagine myself doing. So I start talking with her. Her dad was career Marine Intelligence, which I think is super cool, and she is a contract Arabic translator, thinking about taking on Farsi or Russian. Now, languages are one of my things, having done coursework in French, Spanish, Portuguese, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Chinese, and being fluent (mehr oder weniger) in German. But she has a boyfriend, who has won a bunch of awards, so I back off.

Now, I am not shy, but I have firm rules about women in relationships. I thought about this, and wondered: what exactly ARE your rules? What I had until then were habits.

Here is the rule, though, which can be expressed as a principle: do not break things which are not broken. Life is always imperfect. Is her relationship with her boyfriend perfect? Of course not. She felt the need to justify her attachment to him.

But what would it imply about me if I went ahead and tried to befriend her, then seduce her at some point, knowing that someone somewhere was very attached to her? It would mean that I was so WEAK that I could not stand my own solitude enough to adhere to my own principles.

Do not be weak. Breaking things which are not broken because you NEED to, due to a lack of character, is wrong. This should be clear enough, but nothing is clear any more.

That is enough moralizing for today. Hopefully I am being somewhat clear.

Actually, I will add a postscript: tonight I was sitting in a bar, with seductions being attempted on either side of me. On my left, a woman was trying to seduce a man, and on my right, a man a woman. The one on my right was more interesting. The guy had been sitting much further down on the right at the bar. The girl walks in, sits down, and 3 minutes later he asks if he can sit between me and her. The chair on her other side was not taken, but this is called, as I understand the current terminology, "cock blocking", and is intended to prevent me from muscling in on his action.

Now, they clearly did not know each other well, but were expecting to see each other, so I assume they were either set up by friends, or met on some social networking site.

She had kind of a sorority air, one of these women who seem like they have no depth or gravity. As I see it, this is likely not true, but I think what happens with some women is they have very unhappy home lives, so they adopt this sort of detached, giggly persona to fit in. This persona, though, is easily manipulated, and I felt that is what he was trying to do. I left before they made their decisions, but he'll likely get lucky soon.

I listened and pondered: how do I feel about all this? Sex is fun, of course, but it is never emotionless. There is always another person, another self, another vulnerable vitality out there. I have seduced my share of women. You do your thing, then you are gone. My last girlfriend was OK with me just stopping by for sex every Tuesday.

But I can't do that. It's not natural. To do that sort of thing regularly is to short circuit the relationship capacities with which you are born, those of love and fondness and respect and loyalty and devotion. It is to live a half life.

Now, I listen to Bob and Tom on occasion. One gets the sense listening to most comedians that our task as men is to seduce as many women as we can, to see as many boobs, and get our rocks off as often as we can. This is a short life, a life lived to the specifications of the May Fly, or the lemming, or some animal desperate for replication, but not nourishing continuity.

I choose not to live like that. I felt no jealousy for this guy at all, and I felt pity for the woman, who, being young, was likely hoping this guy would be different, when in fact he was likely NOT at all different.

I've had a few, and this is no doubt rambling, but I thought I would put these ideas out there--as always, in the hope they may help improve someones life. Lord knows we can all use some help on occasion, myself categorically included.

Leftist organizing

Seemingly paradoxically, I think Obama's ascendancy to the Presidency has actually made leftist organizing HARDER, not easier. Leftist agitprop is always based upon false flag rhetoric, in which appeals are made to sentimental emotions: compassion, "justice", mercy, fairness. In reality, of course, there is no moral core of Leftism, which is why once the 10% of the 10%--you do the math--get their way, they eradicate all opposition through violence.

But Obama got elected. He is in office. He is not in opposition. There is no "them" that is strong enough to take the spotlight off of him. We are getting what leftists ACTUALLY want: nothing. No progress. No fairness. Look at Cuba: what did all the suffering Castro inflicted on them win them? Nothing. Nothing but terror, emotional emptiness, an inconsolable sadness, and generalized and ineluctable poverty.

You cannot, as an organizer, point to Obama and say: THAT is what we want. Nor can you ignore him. The organizers are the ones who put him there. They can say he was corrupted by the system, but he wasn't. He was is and always will be an empty suit, directed by men and women largely in the shadows.

I think the leftist action for the near future will be in Europe, in trying to force at least a piece of their long desired global government; and it will be in the UN, trying to get yet more resources allocated to them, and trying to get more power--always more power, no matter the cause or place, with these people.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Romney

If I have to pick between Romney and Newt, I will pick Romney. For anyone who cares, I'll just put that out there. It is truly disappointing that in a nation of some 350 million people this is the best we can do. It is, I think, a clear residual effect of the long term successful use of the demonic Alinskyan strategies, of not just refusing to discuss issues, but actively PREVENTING the use of actual reason in the public space, such that people not only fall for their vilifications, but fail to notice that nothing substantive has even been permitted to enter the public space.

Was Cain's 9/9/9 plan discussed substantively? If so, I missed it.

Has Perry's call to end Cabinet level bureaucracies been discussed substantively? If so, I missed it.

Retarded clowns: that is our media. They want their circus on a sinking ship, and have figured out how to ostrasize anyone who points out that humans don't breathe water. Some of us will have life jackets, but that will not lessen the scale of the disaster.

Rest

I have cited Freud's "love and work" as the key to happiness (I am most days speaking speculatively here, although I definitely have my moments), but it occurs to me he neglected a key element in a life well lived: rest. Or, perhaps I could use the work re-creation, that process by means of which you recover from your work, such that you can again approach it creatively, with engagement, with passion, with life.

Now, for some people their life IS their work. Even beyond the so-called "workaholic" there are people who find their meaning in their work. To my mind, though, it is important not to be too attached to anything.

Take as an example Edison. He would work until he was tired--day or night--then sleep, forgetting completely about what had until them preoccupied him. I think this is healthy. He loved what he did, but he took breaks from it, and when he did he did it COMPLETELY.

An interesting example is Albert Schweitzer, who seems to have been the Mother Theresa of his day, although of course in all visible ways he was much more gifted. He only slept some 2 hours a night. He would practice medicine all day, then switch--completely and fully and with seemingly no gaps--to one of his other passions: theology, philosophy, or music. His rest came from moving from one perceptual work domain to another.

Some time ago, listening to a course on Jewish history, the professor made the point that if we take the 7th day, that of rest, seriously, then it logically follows that the other 6 days are days of WORK. And how do Jews rest on the Sabbath? Through prayer, family time, and worship. Through community and communion.

It seems to me one could perhaps judge someones character equally by what they choose to do for a living--and how committed they are to doing it well--and by how they choose to relax. If, as in the stereotype for executives, it is through golf, drinking and weird sex, then that is all we need to know about their characters, isn't it? And if it is through charity, self improvement, or even just sleep, that says something too.

Few meandering thoughts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Normality

One of my favorite pasttimes is drinking in bars, talking with strangers, learning their stories. I am very good at this, I think mainly because I am willing to listen with all my being, and because--within very broad limits--I am non-judgemental.

I hear all sorts of stories, many of which would shock many people who assume that most people are "normal". Most people are not normal, at least as far as I can tell. Most people--the people in your office, who write your orders, or answer the telephone, or manage your projects--have stories that would startle you if you knew them. They continue as if nothing happened because this is simply the most logical, least painful option.

Tonight I was talking with a woman who was one of 7 children, who has had a successful career as an RN, who told me her father was an alcoholic who regularly beat her mother. Her mother left when she was 8. When all the children were launched, she drank herself to death. For her part, she seemed to see that as a tragedy. For my part, I was thinking: SHE DID HER DAMN JOB. AFTER THAT, IT'S UP TO HER. That may seem cold, but I regularly inhale the feelings of others, by imagination or contact, and that is how it seems to me.

I am no idealist, in many respects. I do not expect or demand, or look to see in any way perfection from others. Neither, in my view, does God, who--if we are to perform the most basic logical functions--is capable of seeing who we actually are, and not who we profess to be.

The word love is anathema to me, as overused. Let me rather say that I sometimes see people as I believe they want to be seen, and congratulate them for being who they are. As I see it, that is often the best I can do.

ECB

I keep reading how the European Central Bank lacks the power the Fed does, which amounts to the power to create any amount of money from nothing, and gift it to any corporation, nation, or even individual it wants to.

As I read the eurozone situation, it seems clear that in some short timeframe the demand is going to be made that the powers of the ECB be increased, obviously in the "public interest".

Now, to be clear, the primary dichotomy with which we are presented is the eurozone tightening, and in which the fiscal decisions of all member states are subject to the veto of Brussels; and the European Union splitting, in which member nations become sovereign once again.

How attractive will it not prove to be to "monetize" the debt of the PIIGS? As I understand it, this amounts to a much smaller implementation of my basic idea, in which money is CREATED to pay the bills of profligate nations, and in exchange for which NO hard decisions have to be made.

Oh, in the end, none of this is so complicated that an actually DEDICATED journalist could not sort it out. Where the fuck are you pieces of shit? What the hell are you doing, that you are not making all of this so clear that nobody anywhere can fail to grasp that the power elite are taking care of their own? Socialist, conservative: I don't care--if a power elite is taking money from the rest of us, shouldn't you care?

To be clear, the Federal Reserve in the United States has on my score card four major episodes. Panic of 1908 (or so): creates plausible cause for Fed, which is soon exploited by a power elite. Great Depression: created by inflationary/deflationary Fed policy, and used to get seperation from the Treasury Secretary, who for the first 22 years or so had final say.

Inflation of 1970's: created by Fed, and in the end used as argument to allow them to buy any type of security through Open Market Operations, supposedly as a tool to "fight inflation".

2008: Discount Window reinvented to allow the Fed to loan any amount of money to anyone--foreign or domestic--for any period of time.

Now let me be clear: the situation, as it exists today, is that the Fed can create any amount of money from nothing, grant it to anyone it wishes, for any amount of time, and no Congressional oversight exists, and no legal limits exist.

Let us just suppose, in the spirit of adventure, that of the billions of people living on Earth today, not all are honest. If you were not honest, can you imagine ways to use the money of the Fed, unmonitored, created ex nihilo, and gifted just to you for any purpose you want to pursue?

This is what the European Central Bank will be asking for shortly. It will be proposed as the only solution to the "crisis". Me: I am tired of pointing out the tediously and painfully obvious. Where are you fucking assholes that do journalism for a living and put up with this patent bullshit?


Edit: I was listening to some father crying tonight about the conditions of his custody. I thought to myself that if life were much easier--as it should be--all these fucking dramas, that the kids all hear, remember, internalize, and react to years later, would reduce greatly.

If it was not profane to put the word fuck on Enola Gay, it is surely not wrong to risk offense in discussing our disgusting status quo, the fucking suits who manipulate it, and the fucking stupidity that enables them to divide the left and right such that no matter who gets elected, nobody tells the truth.

I am no saint and have no desire to claim that status. If there is somebody out there who feels acute guilt and would benefit from a kick in the nuts, I can help them out. Otherwise, I will tell the truth as I see it, and continue trying to spread it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ron Paul left wingers

Keeping it interesting: please keep in mind that if you are going to vote in a primary you MUST in most States be registered for that party, in this case as a Republican. If you are a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, or Other, you can only vote in the General Election, not the Primary.

Depending on where you live, if you are changing affiliation, it amounts to reregistering to vote. You have to fill out a card--which you can likely get at your Post Office, or Dept of Motor Vehicles--and send it in, typically some period of time before the actual election, so they can get your name on a printed list of registered voters.

An added note of interest: Paul is seemingly very healthy, but he is 76. That is older than Reagan was in 1984, at age 73. Now, Supreme Court justices routinely serve into their 80's, but that is a different animal.

For me, I view the system as not just broken, but as having been broken for many decades. So much money is always at stake, every election, that it is striking just how hard BOTH sides of the political spectrum are working to keep Paul from even being mentioned. With no chance of winning, it seems Michelle Bachman gets more air play than he does.

Therefore, if my choices are Mitt Romney the person--rather than Mitt Romney the way he is talking right now, which I am fine with--and Newt Gingrich, I will vote for either in a General Election against Obama, but I would like to see Paul get his day in the sun to see what trouble he can cause for those who steal our money and get away with it every day.

As I say often, I am sympathetic to the basic Marxist idea that there is a power elite; I just don't think Marx was clever enough to pick the right targets. He simply did not understand the job of a Capitalist: that of having the idea for a company--which is to say a needed product or service--and then organizing it such that it was sufficiently useful to produce a profit in a competitive market.

It is indeed ironic that many of the worst abuses of privilege happen under Leftist regimes, who in centering all power on a monolithic government thereby position it to support an unjust class structure based solely on access to the centers of power.

Desire to live

We hear about the "will to live", as in people who survive major illness or calamity. We hear about the desire to live, which amounts to the same thing. Both, though, speak in large measure to a desire not to die.

Actually wanting to live, actually being curious about life, and being open to all the treasures that are possible for all of us, is a different beast.

If you actually want to live, then that is 95% of the solution to any problem you may have. Getting things done is never difficult; it is merely logistics. It is getting to where you are free of conflict, open to success, open to experience, that is hard.

We all know that it is what you do every day that adds up. We all know that delayed gratification is essential to nearly all long term success. People who want to live see this clearly: none of it is recondite, none hidden.

To be impatient is to be in some measure self destructive, is it not?

I say this as a result of reaching--after many, many years of struggle--some reasonably definitive conclusions with respect to my own psychology. The end of psychoanalysis is not reaching conclusions about what happened THEN, but rather what continues to happen NOW. What change/adaptation occurred, and can you feel it with sufficient clarity to separate it from the rest of your stream of consciousness? Can you feel your limitations in such a way that you can imagine living without them? That is the end; at least, the end short of a full cure.

We were all born for forward motion. We were all born to enjoy life. The question is always what is impeding us, not what the point of motion is. Moving is its own reward. Learning is its own reward. Growth is its own reward. It is what we were born to do.

Hopefully this is reasonably clear. The preceding paragraph, of course, consists in what I believe to be useful assertions. Very, very often, what we assert to be true becomes true as a result of the following motion. It is then true, is it not? Ontology does not interest me: decision making does.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Humanities

It is an interesting thought that a credible case can be made that we should forget most of the literature and art of the last century.

As I have said before, there seems to be this idea out there that the basic mindset of Positivism--the possibility of endless progress--should be applied to creative activities. In practice, this has meant since roughly the latter half of the 19th century that what was qualitatively different was, by definition, progress. Change=progress is a very old theme, one used just recently in a major political event.

But if I break my leg, that, too, is change. If my wife leaves me, I lose my job, get drafted to fight a war, contract influenza, and even when I die, those are all changes too.

Practically, to keep this effect from being obvious--to rationalize the otherwise unmistakeable ugliness which has attended much of the art world's change of the last century--criteria of utility and beauty are rejected. The historical bases used to judge have been thrown out, and novelty and shared opinion enthroned as the only positions from which to evaluate new projects.

Yet, are we not all, to some lesser or greater extent, wrestling with problems of meaning, of purpose, of living more happily in a world quite eager to take it from us? Would not the task of art be to help us learn how to form meaning more easily, and not to make it harder?

So often, description gets called art. People whine and moan in public about suffering in the world, or their angst, or whatever crap is going on in their pathetic lives. Practically, this leads to the culture being led by those least qualified to do so, by those who have failed, and whose exclusion from society has compelled them to operate in different ways than those which tradition has granted us as at least provisionally acceptable and useful templates.

We have people more or less having nervous breakdowns in public, and calling it art. It is art, but it is not useful art.

From time to time I wonder about things like merging Positive Psychology Departments and the Humanities, such that one can assess the qualitative effects of reading, say, Jane Eyre, on people of different psychological types; or of evaluating the alterations in mood that attend listening to, say, a Mozart piano concerto, and comparing that effect to that of listening to Nine Inch Nails.

Culture as medicine, in other words.

We live in a multicultural society, do we not? We can adopt any "lifestyle"--any cultural gestalt--we want, without consequence in most cases. We can walk through the Chicago Art Museum, and see the best efforts of a dozen countries, from 30 centuries, at raising us into humanity. This is a given. What is not given is what works, for whom, where, and when.

These would all be interesting research topics.

Hey you: yes, you the one working on a doctoral thesis in English. Dump your Derrida and postfeminist deconstructionist analysis and figure out how to figure out the UTILITY of literature. You have to do something new anyway: why not make it actually interesting?

Bureaucracies

In assessing all of our Federal Departments, with an eye to eliminating them, it is worth asking at least two questions. The obvious one is: what is this Dept. designed to accomplish, and is it accomplishing it? The less obvious one is: in what ways can this Dept. be abused for financial gain?

Take the Dept. of Energy. It is guaranteeing loans for companies who apparently did not have good enough products to get private guarantees. In large numbers, companies like Solyndra are going bankrupt, and in so doing sucking money out of the pockets of the rest of us.

Yet, simply because the COMPANY goes bankrupt does not mean that dozens of people running the thing don't walk away with fortunes. If you as CEO make, say, $500,000 a year for five years, you can put together a nice little nest egg, can't you?

And this doesn't even factor in actual fraud, such as misappropriation of funds, where you say on the balance sheet that something went for "research", and it actually went to pay off your mansion in Malibu. This is of course against the law, but sufficiently clever people can and do get away with it.

Moreover, EVERY bureaucracy has an inbuilt financial benefit for all its members: by virtue of the fact the thing exists, everyone there draws a nice paycheck as long as the thing exists; a paycheck, and a beautiful benefit package, to be paid for by our children.

Government agencies continue for the simple reason that they benefit everyone in them, regardless of whether they accomplish anything or not.

It is, of course, for this reason that they unionize. This allows them to make sure that the people--the Democrats--who continue to vote them money and continued existence, stay in power. Quite literally, the Democrats vote themselves campaign contributions every time they expand a government agency.

We need to be clear that being a Democrat has enormous financial advantages. There is no contradiction at all when, say, a John Kerry docks his yacht in another state to avoid taxes. His intention all along has been to pursue his OWN self interest, and he, like all Democrats, merely uses the rhetoric of class warfare to keep enjoying all the perks of office.

All of these things are made possible ONLY by the idea that government makes life better. It does not, not beyond the most modest aspects of police, fire, EMS, highways, national defense and the like.

Plainly, the dose makes the medicine or the poison. Without saying there should be no government--there would have been no point creating a Constitution if the goal were zero government, as the less practical Libertarians often call for--it is abundantly clear that our Federal government, and most State governments are far, far, far too large and powerful.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Demonic

This is not a heavy post. I just wanted to point out that in a functional cultural order, signified by the operation of the yes/no system, there must logically be a counter-point to conceptions of the ideal. If we can imagine the angelic, why not the demonic? One direction is desired and the other prohibited and feared.

We see some academics want to eradicate this yes/no operator. For example, some anthropologists want to find in the yes/no operator the genesis of human conflict. So what do they do? They REJECT it. I am assuming here you are clever enough to note my point.

Most people are not very clever, and this applies perhaps with more than ordinary force in those hallowed halls where real things never happen, and actions flow from ideas unseen by the generators of those ideas.

What needs to be remembered is that there was never an Eden without any rules. Adam and Eve had rules. The pygmies of Africa have rules. Groups of people living in the most remote, inhospitable areas of the jungle and tundra lived by rules--live by rules. These rules certainly can be mutable and perhaps negotiable, depending on the time and place, but the need for social structures and expections--responsibilities--is not negotiable.

Clearly, they can be avoided, and this is the point of social ostracism and exile. We have, now, within our social order many, many exiles, who cannot be incorporated as they exist now back into a sustainable world. We must, and indeed seem to be, reject that non-culture, that anti-culture (not counter culture, as they have not offered an alternative), that is defecating on our streets and protesting the work of others that makes it so easy for them to survive on long hanging fruit.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Texture

I parked my car in frozen mud today, and walked across it in my boots. Although very messy yesterday, it felt interesting under my feet. There are tiretracks everywhere, and they make the surface uneven.

Later, walking back out, the mud had thawed, and now had a different texture. Like a little child, I played with this feeling in my shoes. The ground feels different in different shoes. The ground itself changes in texture and contour.

In modern life, what do we do regularly that is uneven or even jagged? All of our floors and walls are smooth. Our homes are smooth. Our parking lots and cars are smooth. Where do we get to experience the random? If we rarely or never venture outside carefully defined boundaries, then not often enough.

Our bodies and minds are clearly linked, and I wonder if a part--perhaps a small part--of the so-called disease of modernity links to deficits in kinesthetic experiences?

Just wondering out loud, perhaps stupidly, as always.

Blues

This is one of my favorite Hank Williams songs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzY2Qcu5i2A&ob=av2e

Listen to it, and note that the music is not sad at all. The LYRICS are sad.

This is a two channel communication. On one channel you have happiness and on the other sadness. Our conscious minds process the sadness, but temper it unconsciously with rhythm.

The task in sadness is to continue. The music does this. This song has always felt cathartic to me. Really, it makes me happy. I don't know why, and this is especially true when I am already feeling down.

I think it has to do with the pattern interrupt implied by the dichotomy between the music and the words.

Travel

It seems to me that the principle benefit of travel is creating a space in which you can reimagine yourself. Surrounded by a thousand habits, it is hard to feel new feelings.

Today, I was following a straight, habitual path somewhere, and decided to turn off and go somewhere I have not been before. For about 20 seconds I felt this feeling like the entirety of my being was malleable. It was like I dropped all the weight of expectations and worries and responsibilities that I carry around and which in large measure define me. I was truly and completely open to something new. It was a pleasurable and qualitatively different sort of experience.

It seems to me that we define our rough attributes early on, with the broad outlines in place by age 13 or so. But what if it were possible--and it IS possible--to fundamentally open ourselves up to experiencing life in a different way? In that space, I did not care for my family, my job, my bills, or all the things I have to accomplish on a weekly basis. It was all gone. I was free.

As I see it, it is not good for people who do actually have responsibilities to drop them, but it IS good to be able to invoke a state in which that feeling is attained, when appropriate. In classic Hindu society, men will build homes, procreate and raise children, then at a certain age, if they want, they can go live in the forest with their wives. Later, if they so desire, they can forego their names and wander as itinerant beggars called Sanyassin. This is an interesting idea.

The feeling is incommunicable, but I would like to feel it again.

Post on Ann Coulter article

This would not post at the article site, so I cut and pasted it here.



I have spent a lot of time debating leftists. Plain rhetorical patterns emerge, which happen over and over and over. With regard to this topic, a very common tactic is what we might call the "fact dogpile". They aggregate large numbers of claims which are all individually demonstrably untrue, but which act to create the appearance of accumulated "evidence". Unwary minds say "where there's smoke there must be a fire", and those who are trying to debate them are left with the unpleasant and time consuming task of refuting EVERY claim. If one goes unanswered, they claim victory overall.

This is, of course, a propagandistic trick, but while no credible mind could accuse left wingers of having credible minds, no one can deny that they are talented at ignoring the obvious, and at pushing the dubious and wrong.