Tuesday, October 17, 2017

And the hits just keep on comin'....

As the mainstream media continues to obsess over $100,000 worth Facebook ads allegedly purchased by Russian spies in 2016 seeking to throw the presidential election, we're almost certain they'll ignore the much larger Russian bombshell dropped today in the form of newly released FBI documents that reveal for the very first time that the Obama administration was well aware of illegal bribery, extortion and money laundering schemes being conducted by the Russians to get a foothold in the atomic energy business in the U.S. before approving a deal that handed them 20% of America's uranium reserves...and resulted in a windfall of donations to the Clinton Foundation.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Facebook Exchange

For those who read (sadly a dwindling number in America), here is a compelling back-and-forth between my friend Lawrence Ludlow and an unidentified acquaintance of his. If so inclined, it will make you think...


LL:

This was called my best back-and-forth thread with a statist on Facebook. I deleted his name because he’s a valued friend, even if he is a statist. 

STATIST CLAIM #1: If you do not want to pay the State Income Tax, do not live in a state that has a state income tax. If you do not want to pay a federal income tax, live in a country that does not have one. The decision to live in Michigan and in the United States is your consent.

LARRY’S RESPONSE: I do not believe for a single minute that one's human rights depend upon one's geographic proximity. That is the problem that people have who have never seriously studied ethics but repeat a received opinion without scrutinizing it. There is a concept called meta ethics, which determines how you can develop a system of ethics. It has to be universal just as the laws of physics and chemistry must be universal and repeatable. That is why your criticism has absolutely no merit. The public school system ensures that people never make a serious study of the science of ethics, and as a result, even supposedly well-educated people have absolutely no conception of it. It is the equivalent of a flat Earth Society in the realm of philosophy and ethics, and it has created the system that now exists, and it helps to generate comments such as the one just made. Do you see the difference?
[Additional thought, not stated but obvious]: The claim boils down to the suggestion that it is my fault that I cannot find a more hospitable neighborhood in which to live and that it’s my fault that criminal gangs (i.e., governments) control the land surface of the planet. Translation? If the Statist had lived in the year 400 A.Dl, he would have said the following to a slave: “Look, slave: it’s your fault that slavery is practiced all over the world without exception and that you cannot find a place where slavery is not practiced.

STATIST CLAIM #2: “you wish to take advantage of the services and quality of life provided by the payment of taxes but assert that having made the decision to enjoy those benefits does not constitute consent to pay for them. I do not see that as logical, fair or ethical. If you contend that taxes are too high, or the government provides poor service or spends money fecklessly, that would be different (although frankly not one which I would agree broadly). Magical Fairy Dust, to be brutally honest, is believing that anarchy works.”

LARRY’S RESPONSE: You are claiming that I wish to take advantage of services that I did not request and that I would not select if I were given an opportunity, the funds for which were taken from me without my consent. I do not see how one can possibly say that I want to take advantage of these "services." You have made a false statement, and I would appreciate it if you would not put words in my mouth that I have not said. That lowers the level out of the realm of argumentation and into one of false claims. Because I am standing on the planet Earth does not mean I have granted my consent for anything. You are assuming that a conceptual entity [the state] has rights, and that actual existing human beings do not. To demonstrate how bizarre your concept is, just because I happened to be standing in front of a Kroger store does not mean that I should be forced to purchase a shopping cart full of items that I did not ask for, did not want, and do not feel are worth the price. In the world that you live in, I do not have any choice about what I purchase in any venue, but other people are able to tell me what they think I should buy and how much I should pay for them. You are actually defending such a system. Or that appears to be the case, and at least I am granting you an opportunity to show how it is not the case. But you use the term "I wish," which is absolutely false, and I am making that denial here.

Furthermore, as to the denial that ethical private property anarchism can function properly, the same protest has been made for every invention and Improvement of mankind. There was a caveman who proclaimed loudly tens of thousands of years ago that the idea of a wheeled vehicle is absurd. Likewise, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, there were people that wished to maintain the institution of slavery because the concept of emancipation and a society without slaves had, and I quote, never been tried [before]. The same comments are now being made about people who, like me, are making that case that the institution of organized repression, theft through taxation, and obedience to gangs of voters, who violate the human rights of minorities, is not a system that a civilized being should submit to. Every new and wonderful advancement of humankind has been derided by people who feel comfortable with the matrix into which they were born. I do not personally blame you because you are not given a choice when these ideas were pounded into your head by means of the Prussian style factory school system that generates conformity and obedience in our society, but you should be aware that people are able to perceive this truth nonetheless. That is why I do not get angry about it. I, too, before I began to examine many of the premises that I absorbed as a child, shared many of these beliefs. It is just a matter of time before people can awaken themselves out of this slumber.
[Additional note] The idea that a conceptual entity has real existence is called the “reification fallacy.” It stems from Plato and his belief that concepts have an independent and superior existence that is more “real” than entities that exist on Earth, where such earthbound entities only reflect (imperfectly) the more-real reality of the divine forms/concepts that are the patterns for all things substantiated on the Earth. This fallacy was refuted (I use this word to mean “decisively disproven,” not merely disputed, or argued about) by the nominalists of the Middle Ages, primarily by Roscellinus of Compiegne and his followers. They demonstrated that our mental concepts, although very useful and necessary for humans to think in an abstract way, do not have an independent existence. Instead, they are merely puffs of air (flatus vocis). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roscellinus

STATIST CLAIM #3: Your anarchy is a Utopia, in both senses of the word. It is as likely to occur as Atlantis is to be discovered.

LARRY’S RESPONSE: You are ripe for the picking! Actually, as you know, Utopia literally means no place. Those who are trying to pretend that the nature of mankind is otherwise are demanding a Utopia. We are simply trying to open people's eyes to the fact that the system of consent, unobstructed exchange -between human beings for goods and services, and a rule of non-aggression and non-molestation is the only one appropriate for human beings. We are making a case for a livable, even if imperfect world. It is those who are seeking perfection in the world, which we realize is not possible, that are seeking Utopia in its exact sense. On the link below, which provides access to a free PDF, you will be able to read on page 27 of the book "For a New Liberty," by Murray Rothbard, the basic theory of non-aggression and non-contradictory human rights. This chapter was one of the single most galvanizing experiences I have had as a human being in my entire life. It completely changed my worldview, and the footnotes provided by Murray Rothbard in this book and in his book "Ethics of Liberty" open up an entirely new world of ethical study which is guaranteed to change your life. The good contagion-cancer of freedom is already in your memory or in your ear, and it shall soon metastasize!
https://mises.org/library/new-liberty-libertarian-manifesto

STATIST CLAIM #4: The single biggest flaw is that it does not take into account that people are people. Time to go to work.

LARRY’S RESPONSE: Actually, we are well aware of that concept. Consequently, since people are tempted to do bad things, we do not hand over Maximum Authority and the capability of coercion to people who are capable of doing evil with all of the Monopoly coercive powers of the state. That is why we prefer the ultimate decentralization of authority to the individual human being. We look with horror upon the centralization of coercive Authority in the hands of people who can do evil. In fact, we find it puzzling that people who openly acknowledge the flaws of human beings would put such power into the hands of such beings. It is just as Lord Acton stated about the concept of power corrupting. Since we are flawed individuals, we abhor the idea that one should put even more coercive power into the hands of such people rather than decentralizing it so that mistakes will be small and self-correcting rather than centralized and Unstoppable. The 20th century is a prime example of what occurs when power is centralized. The regimes of Nazi Germany, Stalinist Leninist Soviet Union, and Mao in China are examples of what occurs, and we are marching toward such centralization in the USSA at this very moment.

Let me make one request. You have said that I am a utopian. But I asked you to please look in the mirror and ask yourself if that does not much more accurately reflect your position. After all, the regimes of Stalin, Mao, and Hitler all promised a Utopia to the adherents of their ideology. And all of them shared the idea that the ends justify the means. We private property libertarians know very well from the examples of history that the ends are never achieved, and we also know that human beings are always subjected to the means. That is why we focus entirely on the means. That is why we forbid the act of aggression, which is the use of initiatory force. That is the means that we must live with. Since we now realize that a Central State simply cannot police itself, and it simply will not obey any laws it imposes on us, is it not utopian to expect a monopoly state to obey laws when it is indeed the only judge of whether it is obeying laws, and it is the final interpreter of all of these laws? Isn't that the mark of utopian belief? And since history has so many horrendous examples of such State Utopias engaging in mass murder, which we call Democide, is it not time for you to abandon the Utopia that you are proposing? And in this context, is it not clear that the libertarian private property anarchism idea is the only intellectually legitimate and consistent and noncontradictory alternative to such a utopian conception, which always devolves into a dystopia? This is a very important syllogism, and it deserves a good deal of consideration. It is particularly important at this time because we can see a polarization in our society between the nationalistic socialism of what is called the right, and the internationalist socialism of the Antifa left, both of which share a love of state-sponsored violence or aggression, which we Libertarians despise. And it is not a surprise that the first admirer of fascism in this country, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, also imprisoned in concentration camps the Japanese population as he sought to emulate the regime of Mussolini in Italy and of Stalin in the USSR? And now, with the militarization of the police in the United States with their various forms of equipment from the battlefield, do we not see down the road what may very well lie in our future? This kind of movement in our country should give very serious pause to anyone who supports the conception of a centralized Monopoly State as opposed to the libertarian conception of individual freedom and voluntary Association. Rather than being considered extreme, it is the libertarian private property idea of voluntary relationship that is the middle way that avoids the extremes of the state by the left and the right. Our conception of consent and human dignity is the only one that is consistent in opposing the conflagration offered by both the left and the right.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

MAB: What's Really Happening in Washington

At the daily press briefing, Sarah Huckaby Sanders responded to a reporter’s assertion President Trump’s decision to end DACA was “cold hearted”. Ms. Sanders responded, “It’s not cold hearted for the president to uphold the law. We’re a nation of law and order. And the day that we start to ignore the fact that we are that, then we throw away everything that gives these people a reason to come to our country….”

With respect to Ms. Sanders, that car has left the showroom. America has long ceased to be a “nation of law and order”, morphing into a nation of selectively applied laws with enforcement depending on class, income, race, sexual orientation, political agenda or special interest group.One look at Clinton, Clapper, Comey, Koskinen, Lerner, Lynch, Holder, Abedin, Brazille, Podesta, Rice, Waters, Sharpton, the Clinton Foundation – all roaming the country freely, some getting new, high-paying jobs and the continued adoration of the MSM. A “nation of law and order” or a nation of Special Rules for Special People? That’s a tough one.

With the Constitution, a judiciary and countless laws still in tact, how could this be? How do otherwise sentient beings with a knowledge of the law, some having taken an oath to uphold and defend it, publicly exhibit on-the-job apathy, ignorance, and dereliction of duty every day? MSM anchors and pundits, newspaper columnists and Editorial writers squander countless broadcast hours and ink parsing, dissecting, musing, trying to read the tea leaves.

Meanwhile, the answer has been hiding in plain sight.

Even poor students of International Strategy and other insanities of the 20th century will fondly remember the quasi-brilliant “Mutually Assured Destruction” that conveniently came with the perfect acronym: MAD. How comforting it was back then, knowing one false move by some sociopathic President, Premier or Tyrant with a Funny Hat could turn us all into crispy critters. Conversely, it was mildly reassuring to know even crackpot dictators preferred Life over the alternative.

What if the same MAD principle in practice now explains the confounding insanity that has consumed every action emanating from the Great Dismal Swamp for decades?

Thanks to the heavy lifting of some in various parts of the established, alternative and social media, it is an irrefutable fact NSA has every phone call, email, post and Tweet made by every American. From a recent LRC piece, friend and colleague, FOX News Senior Judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano:

“So beginning in 2005, then-President George W. Bush permitted the NSA to interpret President Ronald Reagan’s executive order 12333 so as to allow all spying on everyone in the U.S., all the time. …Where does all this leave us? It leaves us with a public recognition that we are the most spied-upon people in world history and that the president himself has been a victim.”

I suggest it leaves us in a worse spot. 20th century MAD has been replaced with 21st Century MAB – Mutually Assured Blackmail. As Judge Napolitano noted: “… we are the most spied-upon people in world history and that the president himself has been a victim.” Considering the players and the stakes, is it not logical to conclude the Vice President, Attorney General, Cabinet, SCOTUS and the entire Congressional contingent have all been similarly surveilled by the so-called Intelligence Community to control with blackmail and extortion all aspects of what was formerly known as Constitutionally limited representative governance? How better to manipulate the Deep State’s policies and programs that advance their vision and purpose for America?

Doesn’t MAB quite simply explain the lack of prosecution of the Protected Class of Government “Celebrities”? Wouldn’t MAB point to the remarkable failure of Congress to repeal Obamacare? Stall tax reform? Or the monumentally stupid “agreement” to continue sacrificing American blood and treasure in a sandbox that doesn’t threaten National Security? How easy would it be to finesse at least a stalemate between both Parties? Different Departments? Warring Agencies? Personality Wars?

Yet many continue to channel their inner Alexander the Great confronting the Gordian knot trying to find the loophole that explains the absence of reason, the application of the Rule of Law, or even basic Common Sense inside the Logic Free Zone.

Consider:

- Chief Justice John Roberts’ tortured Obamacare Supreme Court ruling: “…he invented out of whole cloth a new definition of taxation that contravenes long-standing precedent… Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the Supreme Court's four conservative justices… but later changed his position and formed an alliance with liberals to uphold the bulk of the law, according to two sources with specific knowledge of the deliberations.” (Emphasis added) (Forbes Magazine)

But why the change? The Forbes piece throws a lot of theories against the wall, but it takes serious naiveté to make any stick. Rumors of “irregularities” in the adoption of Roberts’ two children requiring their return were promptly poo-pooed by the MSM. What a surprise.

At the time (2014/2015) few seriously considered it even a possibility. Like 9/11, cognitive dissonance among the Slightly Informed and Barely Educated has been the Deep State’s BFF. But today, after months of blazing headlines, frothing network anchors reveling over White House “wire taps”, trying desperately to make a Trump-Russia Love Connection or pounce on anyone considered a threat to the Regime, is it still so hard to believe?

Remember Bill Binny, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and a crowd of other whistleblowers? Have you read how the Senate Intelligence [sick] Committee wants to treat Julian Assange’s Wikileaks?

From John Rappaport’s Blog:

“The present war in Washington isn’t for the faint of heart, or the nice people who want everybody to get along, or the suburbanites who want all participants to be awarded trophies. Washington is Crime Central and the knives are out in full view. It’s a fashion parade in the devil’s cave. To paraphrase Harry Truman, both the CIA and NSA have been spying on officials in Washington and other prominent Americans for a long time. These agencies hold secrets as well. If you can’t stand the overflowing toilets, get out of the bathroom…

Blackmail, extortion. It’s not the only game in town, but it’s the big one. It lurks around every corner, it sits in every conference room, it weaves its way through legislation, policy, and judicial decision."

MAB - Mutually Assured Blackmail - makes everything crystal clear. And quite ugly.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Watercolor Experience

Writing my first “novel” (technically a “novella”) (more technically a “memoir”) has been an eye-opening experience (technically both eyes).

My first eye saw how difficult it was to write something I had actually lived. Just relating an experience - how hard could that be? As usual, the devil is in the details. Just typing words describing a series of events: no too difficult. Revealing personal thoughts and feelings to an audience of (mostly) strangers: very difficult. Think about it for a second. Do you have the guts to pull off something like that? Many don’t and wouldn’t want to under any circumstances. After all, there is that “privacy” thing. And, like your virginity, once lost, it’s gone forever. Maybe “integrity” would be a better example; there’s no upside to losing that. But 50 years of revealing bits and pieces of personal and political philosophy to broadcast and print media audiences around the country neutralized the occasional self-doubt.

But I digress…

The other eye saw something totally unexpected: the response from men who read the story. My presumption was more women would get into the plot faster and easier than most guys I know. And they did. But one by one, men of all ages wrote to me about their “Lauren” experience. Granted, none had gone as far my “Watercolor Memories” pursuits, but the emotional results were remarkably the same. As the Martian gender, we men are not inclined to casually chat about such things; the John Wayne gene is still strong in most of us not identifying as Snowflakes.

(Man or Woman, if you haven’t read the book, take a peek on Amazon or the Facebook page)



Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Right-Wing Asshole

Here is an interesting piece. It presents a true, real-life situation with which you may identify. Or not. Either way, it's a compelling read about a perspective within a situaution that is more prevalent than many may realize.


Hi Andrew,

I’m writing because I just can’t deal with my father anymore. He’s a 65-year-old super right-wing conservative who has basically turned into a total asshole intent on ruining our relationship and our planet with his politics. I’m more or less a liberal democrat with very progressive values and I know that people like my dad are going to destroy us all. I don’t have any good times with him anymore. All we do is argue. When I try to spend time with him without talking politics or discussing any current events, there’s still an underlying tension that makes it really uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love him no matter what, but how do I explain to him that his politics are turning him into a monster, destroying the environment, and pushing away the people who care about him?


Thanks for your help,
Son of A Right-Winger

Read the compelling, insightful and useful answer here.

My repsonse:

"Andrew" had me right up to this:


"No matter how bad someone may appear, they are truly no worse than us. Our beliefs and behavior don’t make us fundamentally better than others, no matter how satisfying it is to believe otherwise. We must be tireless in our efforts to see things from the point of view we most disagree with. We must make endless efforts to try and understand the people we least relate to. And we must at all times force ourselves to love the people we dislike the most. Not because it’s nice or because they deserve it, but because our own sanity and survival depends on it. And if we do find ourselves pushed into a corner where we must kill others in order to survive, we must fully accept that we are killing people just as fully human as ourselves, and not some evil abstract creatures."

Taking the author at face value, I suggest most individuals are quite "fundamentally better" than a Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Manson, Gacy and other sociopaths. How does one "see things from" their "point of view? Only a few good courses in Abnormal Psych might help me "understand" the twisted mind that wants to kill me because of my race, religion or food preference. My "sanity" depends on clear, rational, objective, analysis about the people and circumstances I am facing - if my "survival" has any chance of surviving. Otherwise, it was a damn fine response.