We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Friday, January 31. 2014
A course from Great Courses: Fundamentals of Photography
Great story about Davy Crockett
Real or apocryphal? Difficult to know for sure
Dear America, I Saw You Naked -And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.
Romney’s Revenge - Romney said his Bay State health reforms weren’t necessarily suited to other states. Few listened.
The latest Gallup Poll shows every state in America except for Massachusetts and Vermont has more self-identified "conservatives" than "liberals."
The ACA: A Train Wreck and a Lie - Preexisting conditions, guaranteed renewability — HIPAA already covered those issues.
From One Cosmos' Don't Worry, the State of the State is Bigger and More Powerful than Ever!-
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Great story about Davy Crockett! If those principles in the Constitution had been honored, we would not be in the economic or political situation we are in now.
Re: Confessions of an ex-TSA agent
Very interesting. Any bets that the rest of government isn't run with any more sense than the TSA (though possibly without the chuckling about naked people)?
Re: Gallup poll finding almost all states have more self described conservatives than liberals
There are two possibilities (with gradations): a lot of people either don't know what 'conservative' means or it means something very different than it means to me. OR the left has succeeded in massive voter fraud and voter suppression.
There is circumstantial evidence that the latter is the case. Talk radio (where actual ideas are exchanged and discussed at some length) is dominated by the right, Fox News (which certainly is not left wing) is trusted where MSNBC (which certainly is left wing) is not. There is a general distrust of the media which is largely made up of lefties who want to change the world. And now this Gallup poll.
One of the tactics of the left is to try to convince the rest of us that they are the majority. It's been easy for them - probably since Reagan. Hopefully, it's getting harder.
Actually mudbug, the entire premise of the article is misplaced. The error is the author's assumption that the term, "republican" means the same thing as "conservative". They do not mean the same thing. Republicans, many of them, may actually like to believe they are conservative politically, but they still vote consistently for big government politicians and policies. They are not conservatives. So, there's that. Self-identifying oneself as conservative can mean almost anything. And polls asking questions using vague terminology are bound to be misleading. What is conservative? What does it mean? For some, it means being against abortion, late term abortion or morning after pills. For others, it means diminishing the growth rate of the federal government. Usually at the expense of some program(s) they themselves can live without. But hardly ever at the expense of some program(s) they benefit from. I would suggest that "conservative", at a basic level, means keeping it in your wallet unless you really need it and keeping it in your pants unless you get a blood test first. Asking random people if they are "conservative" is like asking them if they are frugal with their money and cautious about STD's. I would humbly suggest that most people would identify with those things. However, that doesn't mean a damn thing politically. When it comes to voting for more spending on goodies, both political parties are singing the same songs. And that ain't conservative in any language.
I have to admit that I didn't read the article, so your point about the difference between conservatives and Republicans is noted. Though, in my mind Republican means less than conservative. Certainly, the prevailing political winds would have a lot of influence over whether some would identify as Republican. I think it would to a lesser degree influence one labeling oneself as conservative, but that may be me.
I am a bit heartened about the confluence of the (admittedly circumstantial) indicators I mentioned and the Gallup poll. But in the end, I think the number of those more (than less) conservative people in underestimated and what may be required is to have someone step up and give people a reason to tell the truth about themselves. I think Reagan did that.
I completely agree that the republicans have no effective messengers. Nor do they have any message. About anything. Rand Paul is like a niche iconoclast at best and the rest of the national leadership are steaming turds of bloated self-satisfaction. Why are they satisfied? Because all the crazy spending wets their beaks also. They know they will get re-elected, so they don't give a damn. Look at them applaud politely while Obama took full credit for the increase in gas and oil production. In truth, Obama did everything in his power to obstruct all gas, oil and coal production including infrastructure and regulatory upgrades. And the republicans say nothing. The steaming turds. No message there, nothing to see. The best the republicans can say when asked about alternative plans to Obamacare is, "Duh, we are in the process of evaluating that and we believe we have better solutions." Total bullshit. No message there, nothing to see. Republicans have no reason to be optimistic. It is clear the leadership has given up since they aren't even trying. Heck, they aren't even pretending to be trying. Need a messenger? Yes, I agree that the republicans need an effective messenger. Someone who will tell the truth. Someone who can explain in simple terms why and how the conservative (not republican) way will work better for everyone. But there isn't one. And that is sad.
I don't agree that Republicans don't have a messenger or a message. I do agree that the Republican leadership fits that description, though. You disparage Rand Paul... but I think he's an effective voice of the libertarian wing of the party. Same with Cruz and Lee. I don't see any of them as potential presidential candidates yet and possibly not ever because I think it's pretty clear the that president needs some executive experience. While I would vote for any of those and many others, I would prefer - and I think the country would prefer someone who is more than or other than a legislator.
The Republicans have a message - in fact they have several which is part of the problem. The message from the libertarian wing is that things have gotten out of whack and we need to destroy the aspects of government that hold us back and reduce our freedom while the leadership is saying let's go slower in the direction we're going and not rock the boat.
I've been waiting for someone up there to have a grand strategy (which is maybe your real complaint) like Gingrich did in '93. It was carefully crafted because it chose a set of reforms that were popular already but getting very little active attention and they also cut to the heart of the left. Gingrich has disappointed me mightily since then, but there's no doubt that he was effective in what he did then and I don't see any reason to think that it wouldn't work again. Also, remember at the time, there were more than a few Republicans in the Senate and leadership who were definitely not on board.
As for messages, even "Stop" can be a good one, but there has to be a credible expectation of action instead of just talk.
One of the differences between Demoncrats and Pubbies is that Demoncrats relentlessly support their base regardless of their goofy ideas or the effect on the country. But there are actually people in the party who believe that nonsense (e.g. Debbie Schultz). However the Republican leadership pushes stuff that it KNOWS is contrary to the will of its base like amnesty. (From a purely political calculation, doesn't it make sense to do the things that help the country AND are supported by your base?)
I think if the leadership doesn't change, a third party will replace the Republican party or the country will not survive (or possibly both).
I'm not sure calling Rand Paul a niche iconoclast is a disparagement. As you said, he appeals to the libertarian segment of the GOP. Segment, niche, faction, whatever. Iconoclast is, to me, a complementary term. Insofar as Rand Paul is trying to overcome the failure platform of the GOP establishment, he is certainly an iconoclast. And bully for him. But, he has failed to garner enough popular support for a winning platform, so far. I'm not at all sure he even has a complete platform under his belt. Like Paul Ryan, he seems to specialize in one or two issues. Thus, he is not the messenger we may hope him to be. I do think Rand Paul may be legit. However, I cannot say the same for Cruz or Lee. As we have seen with Palin, I think they are mainly expert self-promoters looking to leverage the most publicity and turn it into book and TV deals. Like Palin, they have no gravitas and no particular expertise. They pull stunts, spout hyperbole, make headlines and accomplish nothing. Nothing but store up feathers for their nests. Like that democrat gal in Texas who lied about her past and held her own 20 minute filibuster to no effect. Now she can sell books and get a TV deal. As for Gingrich, I mostly agree with you. He put together a winning platform and accomplished something. Of course, he had more power and a president who was willing to make deals. In theory, if the GOP picks up more seats in the mid-terms and wins the senate, a leader could emerge who might do something positive. But I see no such leader on the horizon. Finally, I also agree with you and Pat Buchanan that the GOP has actively participated in the destruction of it's base. As a result, the Reagan majority no longer exists. As I indicated previously, I don't think the GOP has even one effective message. And, only a couple of decent specialist messengers. So, I can't share your optimistic outlook. Even on keystone and energy policy in general, they fail to enunciate effectively. And that should be the easiest message of all. Even with Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, expert budget and health care gurus, the GOP fails to broadcast a meaningful, understandable and winning policy. And with Obamacare failure, that should be easy to do and a major priority for the party. There are many such issues the GOP could turn into winning planks. I use the two most obvious ones as examples. They could take a stand against all the interminable, losing wars overseas. They could call for a comprehensive international space exploration effort. Maybe even a moon base. Such a project could even join us with India and China in a meaningful, peaceful manner. Just trying would impart a positive spin on the tarnished image we have earned overseas and lend the GOP an aura of optimism. The GOP could come up with some winning solutions to the fact that America imprisons more people per capita than any other nation on earth. Since most of those folks are in for drug offenses, we are locking up a ton of enterprising, risk taking potential business talent. The GOP could formulate a sensible immigration solution, a winning tax reform program and the list goes on. Want Hispanic support? How about a new Monroe doctrine for starters? A major diplomatic push for freedom for the enslaved people of Cuba. Strategic cooperation with Mexico against the cartels. Want less illegal immigrants? Help Mexico succeed. We are currently pissing away trillions of dollars and the blood of our best young people on the dark side of the moon in a futile effort to civilize cave men. Let's stop doing that kind of thing. Mexico is right next door to us and has a shared history and culture. How about more trade agreements with Central and South America? Controlled student and worker visas from our southern neighbors. Alas, the GOP is stuck on stupid.
As I misinterpreted your description of Paul, you misinterpreted my evaluation of the Pubbies chances. I'm not optimistic, but I am hopeful. And as I say, if my hopes are not realized, there will be the destruction of the Republican party and or the US - and that that point, my hope is that it would be by secession.
The Senate is a difficult place to launch movements from but stunts can call attention to your cause in a way that plain speeches cannot. I applaud Cruz and Lee for what they are doing. Then and a handful of others are openly defying the Republican establishment and playing to the conservative base. I think there's a lot more 'there' to them than you give credit but don't disparage 'stunts', a lot of people got a lot farther than they would have otherwise.
I agree with several of your strategic points, but I would prefer to aim them at the injustices we have not and make them teaching moments for the idiocy that causes them. Moon bases can come later, but tax reform, overturning Obemmercare and replacing it with reasonable changes that get govt. and ambulance chasers out of the doctor's office, rolling back the intrusion of the NSA, and abolishing the IRS would be first on my list.
Sorry I misinterpreted your hope as optimism, the nuances in chat are easily missed. It has been a pleasure chatting with you, especially since we seem to agree on the fundamentals. I agree that some of my plank proposals could wait or be replaced by better ones. Yes, the NSA intrusion and the IRS should be front and center. My main point would be for the GOP to formulate a platform that would be inclusive, outline practical solutions, shrink government, inspire hope and optimism and join different groups together. Right now, our society is segmented into a multitude of factions, each one grasping for power and money. Some of those divisions need to be bridged or bypassed to build a winning coalition. Wanna undercut the drug gangs and crime? Legalize pot nationally. Do you support same sex marriage or oppose it? It matters not, if you take government preferences out of it. At one stroke, you pull the teeth out of that whole issue since there would be no financial benefits to fight over. Want to 'marry' a tree? Go ahead on, just shut up about it. Again, there are many possible examples. Unfortunately, none of this will happen. The leaders of the GOP are too busy trying to give Obama more power than he already has. The Roman Republic went down the tubes in a similar manner.
I enjoyed chatting with you, too!
We do agree on quite a lot fundamentally. I am not for same-sex marriage (call it a different name maybe) but you are quite correct that if you take govt. out of the equation, the issue is moot. I would prefer that to the situation we have. Conservatives (or what would be called conservatives now) probably instituted a tax preference because of the perceived (real in my view) value of marriage - similarly, charitable donations get preferential tax treatment. While I have never questioned either in the past, I wonder if it's not time for them to end, but I don't think they can be ended in a vacuum - or by themselves. I also admit to being a bit fearful of the result of such changes - as I am of legalizing drugs (though I think for a lot of reasons they should be legalized and I don't think they should be legalized by themselves either - I don't want to pay to pick up the pieces of a person who ruins his life on purpose). In the end I'm willing to head down a much more libertarian world, but I think to get there, you have to get rid of a lot of things first.
As I say, it was great chatting with you. I'm a big Maggies fan so I'm sure we'll chat again! :-)
About Davy Crockett
another quote of questionable provenance
and, of course, crockett was probably wrong, as congress had already established its authority to make humanitarian relief grants, from the United States Statutes at Large/Volume 2/8th Congress
but everyone needs a fantasy
COSTCO-Just So You Know
Oh boy. I am on daughter's Costco membership list. I have a Costco Membership card, but no credit card. The card I have just allows me to get in the daughter and buy merchandise with cash, or cash card. That's the way I like to do daily business. Daughter lives two states away and gets all the communication from Costco.
Got a call from daughter last night: "Mother do you have Paisley Farm pickled beets?" It seems that Costco keeps track of everything purchased by anyone coming through the door--even those paying with cash! But then again they are just one of the corporations owned by the few families of great power in Seattle. Given that Microsoft is also owned by the same club--what do you think they have on you?
Second: Anyone who has ever brought home an avocado knows how quickly they turn brown--yes, even with lime/lemon sprayed on top they, or the guacamole are only good for 1 or 2 days. Why is it that that the pre-made Guacamole sold at Costco stores lasts for four WEEKS? There is nothing listed on the label as a preservative--just good wholesome food is named on that label. Anyone got any suggestions?
The pre-prepared does not go brown as quickly when kept sealed because:
- it is prepared by machinery or people wearing rubber/vinyl/nitrile gloves, so a very-low-bacteria environment.
- the chunks of avocado are rinsed in cool water before mixing with the other ingredients
- The packaging seals out the air which would cause the oxidation that causes the browning. The air is left in the packaging is also probably replaced by a 'nitrogen flush' so that the oxygen is removed.
- the preparation is done with the avocados not yet ripe, to allow time for transport to retail.
Woops--error. I left out "door" it should read"get in the door,daughter and I"
I will make it a New Year's resolution: read all posts before hitting the submit button!
"World War F
Similarly, there’s a norm that intention doesn’t matter..." Amazing! In all else only intentions matter to lefties. Results? Pfui!
As for the rest of the article, talk about your "War On Women"--it's ALL fifth-columnists!
E-Cigs: Would they be OK, or encouraged, if they had a MJ-leaf logo on them?
Politico Runs TSA Tell-All?--Won't that get them kicked off the good-leftie list?