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
Thursday, September 9. 2021
She could be canceled for that article, don't you think?
It is a form of terrorism, and none of it is "for the better." You can scare people into not saying what they think, but you can't scare them out of free-thinking unless you start with the little kids. Oh, wait...
Wednesday, July 14. 2021
Today Marco Rubio made a statement on Cuba that is both timely for the citizens of that nation and for those of us here in the US. "We don’t just condemn this tyranny. We condemn this communist, this Marxist, this socialist tyranny.” Rubio then demanded that America make “clear about whose side we’re on.”
“The first lesson we need to take away from it is that Marxism, socialism, doesn’t work."
Rubio continued, “The way socialism, the way Marxism has always worked, the way it’s always empowered itself, is it goes to the people and immediately divides them. It says there is an oppressor class and that there is this victim class and these evil oppressors, capitalists, in the case of socialism or traditional Marxism, they oppress the victims.”
I visited Cuba several years ago, when I had the opportunity. I felt it was a good chance to see Communism in action, and to see a nation that is (rather literally) stuck in the late 50's and early 60's (and earlier, based on some of the cars I rode in). I was clear that the people, as we are seeing now, want freedom. Many know that Castro hoodwinked them, but once in, there was little they could do to get him out. Castro was good at convincing many, whose families at one time had little or nothing, that his way was 'better'. Over the years, most have learned this is simply not true. Cubans are now aware of the reality of the world, mainly because of (in spite of the government's restrictions) the internet. They lack many modern conveniences and opportunities. But they are not lacking in skill or entrepreneurialism. A nation that can survive, and thrive, in the face of communist limitations says more about its people than it does about its government or system.
I wish the Cuban people well and hope they can somehow manage to toss off their yoke of oppression. If they do, Venezuela's tyrants may not last for long, as Cuba is their last reasonably-sized supporter in this hemisphere.
Cuba still has a lot to offer, and we can hope the people find a path forward in spite of Biden's insistence to avoid the obvious. I notice Bernie and AOC, both believers that Cuba is somehow special and different and 'better' than the US, have been silent. Rubio hit the nail on the head, though, and within his statements, he was taking a swipe at BLM, Antifa, and the other leftists in the Democratic Party.
Saturday, July 10. 2021
Sullivan's essay reminds me of what Reagan said of the Democrats: "I didn't leave them; they left me."
He sees the nation's power institutions going crazy. He know these middle-class white lefties will be the first cohort to be hung from the lamppoles.
Monday, June 28. 2021
An important essay at Quillette by Glenn Lowry: The Bias Narrative versus the Development Narrative: Thinking About Persistent Racial Inequality in the United States.
He says "systemic racism" is a political narrative:
It's a lengthy piece so I'm sure he could not include every factoid, but I find it interesting, when considering these things, that the bourgeois black family in the US was stronger in the 1950s than today. I don't think "urban black dysfunction" existed then. Correct me if I am wrong.
Friday, May 14. 2021
I am now a proud "anti-vaxxer." Actually, I'm not. But Merriam-Webster does define me as one. The funny thing is, I've gotten vaccinated. For polio, smallpox, MMR, tetanus, and even recently I received my second shingles vaccine. I got the shingles vaccine on the day I turned down the coronavirus vaccine. I have my own personal reasons for turning down the new vaccine. After all, I've had covid, and it was a bit tough, but nothing I couldn't handle. I have other reasons, too, which I won't share since the information on all of this is convoluted and tends to spark arguments (not discussions). It is not hard science by any stretch. Even my doctor, when I gave my reasons for rejecting it, tried to convince me to get it by saying "we know so little about it, the vaccine is a good idea." I replied that if you know so little, it seems odd that you're convinced that the vaccine will help me. I hardly see that as a reassuring argument. She agreed (which surprised me) and said "just realize you may get it again." I told her I've gotten the flu many times, too. Even after I was vaccinated. My reasons are mine alone and I'll get the answers and make my determinations as I go along. I have that right (in the old United States I did...).
I'm not opposed to the coronavirus vaccine, either. I suggested my father (85, with heart issues) get it when he asked me if he should. He is a retired doctor, I laughed when he asked me, but I was honest. He agrees with my reasons for not getting it. It could be he's not seeking to have a discussion, but I know he has his own questions. Mrs. Bulldog got it (and, as I suspected, had no side effects, as she has been exposed to covid several times and never gotten it. Long exposures, both from me and friends. She really is a Viking.) and I supported her decision to get it. My mother (85 and frail) got it. Other members of my family have gotten it. I just have my own questions about this particular vaccine. I have a right to question it, and be skeptical.
Even today, it's not uncommon to see or hear about fully-vaccinated people testing positive. I doubt this means they have covid. In fact, I'm willing to bet heavily the tests are incorrect (as so many are). I'm also not afraid of getting covid again. I dealt with it once, and it wasn't bad. I'm in better shape now than I was then (lost about 5 lbs, lifting more, using the elliptical for longer stretches - I made it a goal to get in better shape), and know how to deal with it (low sugar, lots of water, Vitamin D and lots of sun and fresh air). There are also improved treatments if I'm wrong.
All that said, I'm not an anti-vaxxer. Not even a little. Not even a tiny bit. I'll get the vaccine IF my questions are resolved by my doctor AND if I reach a point that I feel it is useful and necessary. In the meantime, I'm not a threat. At least not health-wise. That said, I do oppose mandates and forcing people to do things they don't necessarily want to do. And if opposing mandatory vaccine programs makes me an anti-vaxxer, then I am a political problem to some people.
What annoys me is that I'm defined by Biden and Merriam-Webster as an anti-vaxxer. That's wrong. The dictionary has extended its definition far too broadly. It's also wrong to have a President tell me that I have to choose between a mask and a vaccine. He, of all people, is unqualified to make this determination. He's just a power-mad elderly man with dementia (at least I think he's got dementia, he certainly behaves that way). I've gone without a mask pretty much everywhere (mostly outdoors, though I keep one in my pocket). Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Block Island, New Orleans, North Carolina - I've done quite a bit of traveling. I wear the mask if I'm asked to, but not otherwise. As time goes by, people will see I'm not a risk. But for now, politically, I am. I am a massive risk politically. And I'm loving it. I won't make people do things they oppose. I appreciate others who realize this is the essential reason for the creation of our great nation.
Monday, April 26. 2021
As I see it, practical politics does not require philosophical consistency. However, there are attitudes with long histories which continue to shape practical politics.
Is there a "New Right"? I do not know what "Right" means in a country in which freedom from overly-intrusive government is termed "Right".
Monday, April 19. 2021
The most recent one to implode is "the 1/6 insurrection led to the death of a police officer." That is now absolutely not true. Assuming you believed that (or the "insurrection" meme) is what happened. Being a natural skeptic, I didn't believe much of the official nonsense 'news' that was shared. After all, I knew many people who were there that day, and none of them were in the Capitol, all were outside protesting. While appalled at the few who did rush the building and do damage, they all said it was a small number by comparison to the group outside, which was peaceful.
Other Progressive narratives are breaking down, too, though. Progressive stronghold Portland is still a hot mess. Pulitzer Prize winner Andrew Cuomo's mismanagement of Covid is set aside for a more Progressive-friendly sexual misconduct. Maxine Waters has in the past, and is now, inciting 'insurrection' and won't face impeachment. Gaffe Machine Biden keeps putting his foot in his mouth. His son is on a make-nice tour answering softball questions to clear his image. Wikileaks published emails showing Dominion's legal firm offered assistance to the Clinton campaign in 2016. All this dirt is readily available and very little is going to make the mainstream news (frankly, I'm shocked the Russian bounty story's dismissal made it to the mainstream, as that was one of Biden's memorable hot buttons).
It's hard to understand why anyone pays attention to mainstream news. DeSantis' treatment is such that one can only shake their head in wonderment at the brazen nature of the lies and deceit. Living in one of the few (there really aren't many - just look at the map of popular votes for all the blue sections) bastions of Progressive thought, I am often stunned at what people are willing to listen to and believe. Comfortable lies rule the day.
Say what you want about alternative news sources being 'fake news'. Determining what's real in the supposedly 'credible' media is a feat in itself.
Tuesday, February 9. 2021
Wednesday, January 27. 2021
It's an interesting development. Evil, of course by American standards, but, as the article points out, the USA is an outlier in the world when it comes to free thought and free speech. Establishments and powers hate freedom. Thus American values.
Where is Tom Paine?
Friday, January 8. 2021
Hopefully calm will be restored as the nation moves back toward some semblance of whatever it is we consider 'normal' for the last 9 months. I hope things continue to improve as we move out of the Covid scare and fear mongering (yes, Covid is real, I had it as have many friends, but no it's not so bad for 95% of the people who get it). If we can move past all this, my job opportunities may improve.
Then again, who knows? I know few of you are on Facebook, but I am (or was). It allowed me to reconnect with friends and family and it's a useful tool. I've also shared Maggie's articles there with my friends, and met many other people who I share interests with. I am well aware of the privacy issues, but I know how to navigate them (part of my everyday job) and manage them effectively. There is, however, one thing I can't manage. It's the real problem we're facing today. It's the reason I deactivated my Facebook recently (after letting people know how they can reach me if they want/need to).
I am aware of many HR Departments doing sweeps of social media to find things out about people. I have heard several stories of pro-Trump people losing job offers. This doesn't surprise me at all in NYC today. The shift here has been significant from not just hating Trump to full-fledged belief that anyone who supports him is a deranged psychopath. I have never been a Trump supporter, but that doesn't mean anything because I've never hated him, either. It's best to hate him with the passion of a thousand suns in order to win approval with many organizations today.
I haven't loved him, haven't hated him, I've merely tolerated him, and realized his persona was a massive problem but that he was accomplishing some good things. I was for honesty and balance of thought and reason. Today, you can't be that way. You have to be a true believer, or at least not come across as a believer of "the other side". In other words, it is almost a requirement to be Progressive to be "acceptable". Such is the nature of modern definitions of Diversity - be like us or you're not acceptable. I'm all for Diversity. Diversity of thought, and respect for other views, without accepting the enforcement of those views on others by law, social shame, or other means of behavioral modification (brainwashing via education, for example).
Continue reading "A Dose of Reality"
Wednesday, January 6. 2021
The real issue I see coming out of what's going on in DC is not what has happened. What occurred in DC is not that different from what's been going on all summer. It's not right, it's uncalled for, and it doesn't matter who you support. It's just lawless behavior and it should've been stopped in the summer - just as it should be stopped here (and I'm sure it will be). It's wrong that the media spent the whole summer telling us riots were 'peaceful' protests and didn't care about the destruction of businesses and livelihoods. That was wrong. The only thing we 'lost' here was a few hours and a slowdown to the certification.
As a result, the credibility of our journalists has reached a new low. Today was wrong - we cannot pretend that this kind of behavior is acceptable regardless of who we want in office. But we've been told all summer that rioting is fine. It just matters what you're rioting 'for', I guess.
The REAL problem, as I see it, is that finally the politicians have a taste of what they've wrought...and they will use it to insulate themselves further from the people. And that will be a very bad situation. These politicians have outsourced their riots to other cities for years. They've never felt the wrath of the people. Now that they have, they are blaming the people for the problems they, the politicians, have created. You can be sure they will find ways to continue to distance themselves from us rather than realizing this is just the start of the people demanding our PUBLIC SERVANTS act like what they are, rather than acting as our overlords.
Saturday, December 26. 2020
Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? My son says no. I say yes. My brother says yes, the director John McTiernan says yes, and a host of others say no.
Others play Solomon and split the baby. It's not a movie with a Christmas theme, but does include the element of Christmas. So, "no, but..."
Another way of looking at this is to ask if there was a message regarding "the system" in Die Hard. It was based on a book which was clearly anti-capitalist in nature, and McTiernan states it was supposed to be anti-capitalist. Frankly, I think he lost on that score. The proletarian nods don't really add up well. Capitalism had been so successful in providing more for all that by the time the movie was made some of the items he felt delineated 'wealth and privilege' from 'working class' were no longer meaningful. They are even less so today (assuming our economy had not been locked down, which has only exacerbated some of the divisions of wealth which were barely noticeable before).
That said, the most noticiable delineations of class today are not wealth-related, but power related as our "leaders" lock us down and lecture us on how to behave, only to go do the exact opposite things which they suggest we do. The real 'class warfare' today is power vs. the lack of it, not whether one has more money than someone else. Of course, that was always the nature of 'class warfare', but Leftists love to obscure that fact with a veneer of basic economic BS that only people with common sense can see through. McTiernan, therefore, fails miserably in his goal of making a legitimate anti-capitalist story. Mainly because there is no legitimate anti-capitalist story to be made. Unless you are a "trained Marxist" and know how to create one out of whole cloth. (For what it's worth, the term "trained Marxist" always made me laugh. I studied Economics at The New School, which tried very hard to push the Marxist agenda, and I read quite a bit of Marx, Hobsbawm, Gordon and a host of other Marxist garbage. So I'm a "trained Marxist" and one of the things every single Marxist professor said was "Marx left no blueprint, only an idea with no path forward and no clear goal except revolution." That's why Marxism and Leftist thought is such utter BS. Unlike Classical, Neo-Classical, Monetarist or even Austrian schools of thought, Marxism is just an idea and not a fully-formed one, but full of childish and misleading binary concepts. Though I will credit Marx with completely shifting the study of History in a very meaningful and useful fashion.)
At any rate, to me Die Hard is very much a Christmas movie and very much a pro-capitalist one. After all, Hans Gruber himself, like so many Marxists before him, only cared about the power he was managing (his gang) and the money he was trying to collect, and was utilizing a facade to perpetrate his crime...you know, like BLM and Antifa today. These movements are cargo cults, full of images that seem to 'make sense' but cannot ever effectively achieve the goals they have set for themselves because they are inclined only toward one thing. Perpetual Revolution.
Thursday, December 24. 2020
Wednesday, December 23. 2020
Friends of mine have barraged me with commentary on the "disaster" that Florida is, particularly with regard to Covid. Anecdotally, I was told urban (and this seems to confirm) ICUs typically range from 55-80% full at any given time, depending on seasonality. The current occupancy rates, in some places, are in the 90s, so while that is very high, it's worth noting ICUs are usually very full. The real concern is the ability to expand, as needed. I believe, based on the response in April, this is something our system can handle fairly effectively. I'm not being too relaxed or naive. I'm not diminishing or putting down the efforts of our medical personnel. I am applauding them for their efforts, their hours, their professionalism, and creativity as they have found many solutions and treatments along the way to help mitigate and ease many of these issues. That is the beauty of not only our medical system, but our overall economic system. Flexibility and ingenuity.
Our friend the Manhattan Contrarian has presented his excellent piece on why Florida has made New York look silly and misguided in the midst of all this.
I doubt the media will present the story as MC has. I applaud our friend MC for presenting the facts. After all, he lives near the center of the echo chamber.
I'll toss in one more point of comparison - New Jersey, which like NY has similar governance, though a much smaller population (8.9mm) than Florida (21.5mm) and New York (19.5mm). Covid cases have reached 440k in NJ, about in line with where Florida is as a percentage, but it has almost 19k deaths - similar to Florida (older and with a larger population). Comparatively speaking, New York City alone has roughly the same population as New Jersey, but has had roughly the same number of cases as New Jersday (390k) and more deaths (24k).
"Follow the science" is a real thing, but not the way Progressives present it. For them, it's really "Follow the politics, which pretends to be science."
Sunday, December 6. 2020
Tuesday, November 3. 2020
So far, for the second straight election, the Dems overspent for a "Blue Wave" and as yet it seems more like a ripple.
It's early, but if everything holds pretty much as it is now, it's instructional. Dems do not know how to spend money properly. They spend too much for too small a payout.
Saturday, October 31. 2020
Some examples of where errors may occur:
Sunday, October 11. 2020
Somewhat related to the above, at Quillette: How We Lost Our Way on Human Rights. One quote:
Thursday, October 8. 2020
I don't know how many Maggie's readers utilize social media, in particular Facebook. I do use Facebook, for a variety of reasons, even though I am aware of the privacy issues it poses. It remains a very good tool to share thoughts, experiences, moments in time, etc. It has helped me re-connect, and stay connected, to many family members and friends. I have investigated other, less intrusive, media like Parler, but I have not made that move to utilize yet.
I am not writing about social media, per se, though. Whatever your thoughts on its benefits or detriments are yours and you're welcome to them. Social media is a reality now, and I doubt it will be going away anytime soon. Personally, I don't use Instagram, Twitter, or most other social media. I limit myself to Facebook and Linked In. One for personal, the other for work.
What I find particularly troubling lately is the number of friends I have posting pictures of themselves mailing in ballots and writing "I voted, make sure you do, too - you know who I voted for." This is no different than taking a selfie while you're in the voting booth and saying "I voted, you know who I voted for." And while some people have done this, most people would find it very distasteful.
This may be the new reality, though. If it is, it's a troubling problem for the democratic process. The social pressures to 'vote the right way' are being ramped up. A new generation may not understand the problems with this, and many people who don't understand Democratic Theory may not, either. Here is a view supporting selfies which I find abhorrent, since the premise is based on the reason it being good is that it allows millienials to "convey information about their political views and engage with their friends about elections." No offense, but the vote itself is, and should be, private. While many of us share our political views, and even how we voted, that's a personal choice - not a fashion statement. Turning voting into a fashion statement is a dangerous thing. For what it's worth, the article supporting selfies points out that fraud is typically engaged via mail-in votes - a fact I'm sure Slate has shifted its position on in the last few months...
A final note. As I pointed out in the first sentence, the privacy issues of Facebook are problematic. Imagine sharing your selfies on Facebook, which already has collected a ton of information about your political views from your posts, what you've clicked on, even sites you've visited (just a reminder - not having a Facebook account does NOT mean you're immune to them collecting your data. They can do it whether you're on there or not - and they certainly do collect it.), and now they can prove from your selfie that you 'did the right thing for the party.' It's a pleasant thought.
Tuesday, September 29. 2020
Friday, September 18. 2020
The story of Brave New World preceded 1984 and other dystopian totalitarian/collective novels. It also provides a counterpoint - the idea that there might be a way to accomplish the collective through positive interaction and genuine agreement. Huxley realized this was a seductive approach, but one fraught with problems, all of which eventually bubble up over time. Collectives require some form of force, or provision to derive agreement, to survive over longer periods of time. Widespread collective agreement, even on a small scale, can only be temporary. Huxley saw the value of propaganda, drugs, and psychological manipulation...as well as genetic engineering...to help achieve that "provision to derive agreement" and achieve a means to a presumed end.
There is, of course, no end that is always utopian and happy. That's the farce of our 'science-based' leaders and protesters out there - believing society can be, somehow, manipulated (or forced) into happiness and perfection. Huxley knew that. The critical flaw in Brave New World is the technological advancement and wealth this 'collective' creates. As we know, that is literally impossible. None has ever achieved it, none ever will. Despite that, Brave New World provides a cautionary tale on falling for seductive ideas that run against human nature. And, oddly enough, it aligns very well with the 'science' of the current covid political management...the willingness of people to fall in line to 'save' society.
Sunday, September 13. 2020
Dystopian science fiction writers must be laughing right now.
There is a reason political functionaries are being assholes about wearing masks - and it isn't about keeping you 'safe' (a common lie used to expand power).
Don't get me wrong, masks can play a role in reducing the likelihood of catching the virus, but it's just a delaying tactic. It's not preventive. There is a larger political play here...even if some of us are not capable of understanding it.
Most science fiction dystopias are based on reducing the individual into a collective hive. The Borg on Star Trek, Harrison Bergeron by Vonnegut, 1984 by Orwell - all of these (and many others) found ways to subjugate the individual to the will of the state or hive.
Humans differ from other animals in a few key ways, which in aggregate make us rather special. The opposable thumb, the ability to analyze situations and prepare plans, the sense of self and free will (self-actualization). Where animals that reject individualism have a level of success in groups or hives - what people who overemphasize these fail to note is that humans exceeded the limitations of groups by emphasizing the individual initiative.
Hives have their place, they can be useful even for humans. Collectives can work, temporarily and in small groupings, if they are VOLUNTARY. But the problem with modern people is they fail to recognize that capitalism and free markets allow for voluntary collectives to form, disband, and form again.
Think corporations are powerful? Name 10 that have lasted more than 100 years. The few that have managed to survive that long only did so one way - by playing political games, or gaining some form of monopoly power guaranteed by the state itself. Natural monopolies can exist over short periods of time, but fall apart without state protection. That is why socialism can only fail, over time. It is an unnatural state monopoly formation. Even fascism, which is a form of socialism, fails because it is still the state dictating the means of production. While competition can exist, it's limited and reduced, innovation is stifled and winners are chosen by political functionaries.
Individualism, in socialism and fascism, is reduced to whatever the state says is acceptable and limited.
Friday, September 11. 2020
My memory of 9/11 is pretty vivid. I won't go into details about what happened, we all have our personal views on how/why/what all occurred. These views are based on where we were, what we were doing, and what we choose to believe.
I don't believe the 'truthers' and their conspiracies. All you need for a good conspiracy is a couple of willing believers and some good memes that are logical fallacies. But I'm not going to share what I believe happened, either. We're all allowed to believe what we want, even if I don't agree with what someone else believes. That's called a marketplace of ideas. Sometimes there are lemons being sold in that marketplace. The nice part of the marketplace is this - I don't have to buy the lemons.
Getting past that, I have other memories. People coming together. People pulling together. Without any impetus from a 'leader'. Spontaneous organization and commitment to each other. Race differences disappeared. People cared about each other and making sure they were getting what they needed. I remember it as a "lockdown" of sorts. I didn't go back to work for 2 weeks, working remotely from home, just like the last 6 months. Of course, my office was by 14th Street, which had limited ability to cross. Our office felt it best to let the responders have as much space as possible. I saw similar behaviors in the Northeast Blackout of 2003, 2 years later. Spontaneous organization, not something we needed leaders for. People working together, finding solutions to issues we all faced.
Continue reading "A 9/11 Thought"
Wednesday, August 12. 2020
I have seen almost no overt racism in my life, other than a bit of paranoia about Muslims on airplanes. I am not sure whether that counts as racism. Having been a victim of two crimes in NYC by black guys, and another in Cambridge MA, I am instinctively wary of guys in hoodies behind me on empty streets at night but I don't call that racism either.
I think the idea of systemic racism was invented when ordinary, disgusting racism disappeared with the passing of generations.
Related, The Myth that Is Systemic Racism
Thursday, June 11. 2020
Apparently, Seattle is now epicenter of the revolution which we have all waited breathlessly for. The NYTimes has headlines saying it's "Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police", which I suppose is a start. We are expecting great things from these people. 'New ideas' we've never seen before. Lovely. Maybe the food is 'free', though nothing is ever free, and we certainly know the speech is only free if you agree with them. But I'm fairly certain the area is free of police. For now.
Remember a few years ago at Malheur, and those supposed 'right-wing extremist' loony birds were roundly misrepresented by the press? Yeah, me either. Didn't happen. The Feds didn't kill anyone there, either.
I'm sure this Seattle experiment will go really well. Just like Christiana did originally (cough, cough).
By the way, can I just also mention how proud I am of my alma mater's devotion to presenting fact-based opinions and respecting free speech? We're leading the way! Future donations on my part will not be part of the plan. I can show my point of view by withholding money.
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