Saturday, March 05, 2016


It is amazing to watch the utter defeat of the Republican party.

They have been infiltrated in the most public way by an outsider who is taking over the presidential nominating process even though he himself has no obvious personal political agenda of his own.  The most recent debate is a marvelous example. The bulk of the content of the debate consisted of the several candidates bickering, flashing their hands, interrupting each other, scolding each other, and labeling each other as liars.  Substantive content only came for a few moments and was easily forgettable.

To achieve that level of distraction is a remarkable feat and demonstrates a remarkable level of skill.

What's that?  You say it can't be intentional?  Oh, but it could be.  It is a strategy that Obama has been executing for years.

Here's the strategy: Whenever a potentially serious topic might come up for serious discussion by serious people with a serious potential to develop and execute solutions, inject a completely separate topic that is impossible to ignore and thus derail the conversation.  By the time the dust settles no one can remember what they wanted to talk about.

The GOP is talking about #NeverTrump... instead of talking about solutions, conservatism, the disaster of the Obama presidency, etc.

What makes it so easy for their opponents to implement this strategy of distraction is that a large percentage of the GOP voter pool has no little interest in addressing the real problems before them.  All they really want is to make sure no one takes their candy away.  It is much more fun to support Trump and his hijinx than it is to discuss who needs to stop receiving entitlements so we can keep another program afloat.

You cannot pretend to be a conservative and support the transfer of government tax revenue to individual citizens through mass programs.  It is at its core a broken economic model and one that contradicts the central driving themes of conservatism.  You cannot pretend to be a conservative and support, much less be a beneficiary of, social security, medicare, medicaid, subsidized school loans, nationalized health "insurance"... or for that matter mandated provision of health insurance by employers..., tax credits for children or home interest or capital expenditures or the purchase of a green automobile... the list goes on ad infinitum.

The other side has discovered the fundamental contradiction between the conservative talking points and the voting reality in America and they are taking full advantage.

Game over.  Before it even started.

Every government program of that nature undermines the conservative's political argument.  Don't tell that to the GOP Politicians... and definitely don't ask the average GOP voter to look at themselves in the mirror and acknowledge that they are the very source of the problem themselves when they say "Thank you very much!" and cash that benefits check.

And don't expect them to turn away from the great romping fun they're having with Trump in order to vote with any serious consideration of the issues.

The left has won this cycle.  The results of this loss will be... disappointing to experience.

The game isn't over, though.  It's never over.  The truth never goes away.  It will eventually shine through again.  Need examples?  America exists.  After thousands of years with some of the most oppressive types of government imaginable, somehow the idea of America took hold and actually came to fruition.  How about World War II?  Darkness fell across a huge portion of the globe.  But truth won the day in the end.  Painfully, with much blood and treasure spilled, but truth won.  Countless more examples, large and small, could be added to this list.

Victory will come... but when ... that is unknowable.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Freedom Dreams

The Declaration of Independence states, "all men are created equal."  Present perfect tense.  At the moment of their creation, and continuing thru today, equality exists, for each man, without the interference or facilitation of any other man.  This equality is a truth, this truth is self-evident, and no other authority than God ("The Creator") is the source of this truth.

Dr. King references the founding documents and this portion of the Declaration early in his "I have a Dream" speech given August 28th, 1963:

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the "unalienable Rights" of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

Powerful words, certainly.  Subtly different, though, than the Declaration.  Rather than claiming a state of equality that already exists, as in the Declaration, Dr. King speaks of rights that "would be guaranteed."  This future perfect language is in keeping with the theme of a promise made-and-not-yet-fulfilled that is the central theme of this paragraph.  This grammatical selection guides the tone of the speech in a very meaningful and subtle way that has bearing on our politics today.

Dr. King's words indicate that the black man will receive his freedom as the result of some separate act that had not yet occurred by the time the Declaration had been written.  If that is the case, then someone must be empowered to ensure this act, the provision of freedom for the black man, would at some point actually occur following the inception of the Declaration.  Who holds the authority to fulfill such a gift?  The Declaration states that only The Creator has this authority.  If Dr. King was likewise claiming that unalienable rights for the black man are given by God then there would be no need for the gift to be deferred until some later date: The gift was conferred at creation.  Thus Dr. King must be referring to some power other than God when awaiting the receipt of freedom for the black man.

The most reasonable authority to assume Dr. King refers to in this moment is the white man, particularly the white man in positions of political, social and economic authority across America contemporary to Dr. King's time.  The idea that the authority to grant freedom lies in the hands of any man contradicts the very bold truths stated by the founding fathers in the Declaration.  The white man that presumes to hold this power has usurped this authority from God ('The Creator").  The words that Dr. King uses serve to validate this seizure of authority by the very nature of his appeal to these leaders.  Dr. King imbues these white men with a power they presume to have and indeed act upon but is in reality a power they do not possess and never truly possessed.

Given the realities of the time, the events of history, and his desire to encourage reluctant political leaders to make difficult social, political and economic changes, this is not an unreasonable path for Dr. King to take.  This article is not intended to criticize his choices.  I stand in awe of what he said, how he said it, and the impact his speaking of it had on our broken nation.

The purpose here is to ponder the different path we might find ourselves on as a nation had the thought been "we are already free" instead of "we would like to see the promise fulfilled that someday the black man, too, would be granted freedom, if his fellow man would allow it."  Dr. King's key line rewritten:

This note was a statement of fact that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, already have the 'unalienable Rights' of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.'
One of the first appearances of the separation caused by Dr. King's chosen path of a fulfilled promise is in the conclusion of that target paragraph, which twice separates America from black people, discussing his target population as "citizens of color" and "the Negro people" as distinct divisions separate from the body known as "America."

The power of this argument is revealed when considering the grievances Dr. King presents:

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their self- hood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating: "For Whites Only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until "justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream."

The treatment of the black race in America, under slavery, Jim Crow, and social racism in general, is a tragedy.  Many people were harmed, hurt, killed as a result of these practices.  Many real people were real victims of real crimes of varying magnitude, none of which are justifiable.

Indeed, this is how Dr. King's statements above are presented: "...the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors..."  All of the grievances noted above are presented as an act against the black man.  This victim-focused presentation is in keeping with the "would be guaranteed" language noted earlier that considers the black man as free only when the white man permits it.

Now re-cast this paragraph from the perspective that the black man is already free, that his rights are as unalienable as any other man's, and that this is guaranteed by God.

We devotees of civil rights affirm that we are already free men, and ask those who perpetrate the unspeakable horrors of police brutality when will you cease your abuse?  When will the purveyors of the hotels in our cities and the motels of the highways decide to welcome all those who are heavy with the fatigue of travel?  When will the landlords and homeowners permit all men who are able to rent their lodgings or buy their homes for sale, regardless of the neighborhood?  When will the creators of the signs stating "For Whites Only" realize that their selfhood and dignity is secured through inclusion rather than exclusion? [...]

The transformation is astounding.  Do not pity the black man.  Do not ask the black man when he will be content with the improvements you deign to grace upon him.  Look to your own actions, look into your own hearts and see the pain, the terror, and the exclusion you wreak upon your fellow man, your fellow free man.  See your sin clearly and end the evil you are perpetrating.  Secure, defend and preserve the rights provided by the Constitution for all men, black and white.

The victim language of this section of the speech encourages (perhaps requires...) all involved, even us today, to maintain an ongoing awareness of the race of each of our neighbors.  The white man is afforded some leniency... charged to eliminate the abuses, but only up to the point at which the black man is satisfied.  To accomplish this, the white man must consider if a neighbor or peer is black or white prior to determining how to interact with this person.  The white man must consider the race of the person in order to inquire if some arbitrary threshold has been met.  The language also leaves open the possibility that some abuses can remain and be considered acceptable, as long as those remaining abuses live below the thresholds established by the victims in question.

Likewise, this language affords leniency to the black man.  He alone would establish what thresholds must be met to achieve satisfaction.  Dr. King's list of examples surely is much shorter than the full list of possible grievances.  The longer list, even if provided in full at the time of the speech, could still be subject to change in the future.  This is too much temptation for any man of any race.  Indeed, I would present that we see a portion of this flexibility in current times.  Institutional racism has surely been eliminated now, but still we see black men accusing white men of racism in today's media, politics, and courthouses.  Under the regime established in this paragraph by Dr. King, there is no clear cut end point at which all grievances are resolved.

If, however, we work from the idea that the black man is already free, then at the moment of the speech the black man is the equal of the white man.  From the moment of this realization forward the challenge becomes a personal one for each man involved: Can the white man acknowledge his sinful actions against his neighbors and terminate those evil and cruel acts?  Can the black man stand confident in the truth of his already present freedom to challenge the impositions placed against him in court and by appealing to his neighbors?  In neither case is it required for one man to be aware of the race of his peer.  The white man is charged to stop his own foul treatment to meet the threshold of the Declaration, and no movable goalposts subject to the mood of the black man need be considered.  Each simply needs to comport himself as if all men are equal under the law.

The benefits of this perspective extend into the law as well.  With the "all already free" paradigm there is no need to legislate, adjudicate of enforce laws that require an assessment of the race of any man.  All that is needed is to understand whether one man cheated, defrauded, hurt, excluded another in a manner that is not consistent with the race-neutral laws that already exist.  Any laws on the books specifying different treatment based on race could simply be eliminated.

Please note that my purpose here is not to say "I could have given a better speech."  I could not have, and would not have, and have never created anything akin to the powerful message and moment that Dr. King presided over when he gave this speech.

My objective here is to consider a perspective on the speech that I believe is meaningful, particularly so in light of the legacy of the speech and the political, social and economic realities of our modern day, where a seemingly false sense of racism is present and perhaps even abused by various parties, black and white.

Let us honor the power of the speech as given, and be gracious in accepting the gift that Dr. King provided to us all, but let us also recognize the faults of the speech and the opportunity that recognition provides for us all as we continue to purge racism from our society.

Racism ends the moment we openly acknowledge that all of us, every man of all races, are already free, with no further action required, because God, The Creator, made it so and no man can possibly override that authority.

Live the dream, today.  We are free at last.

How It All Goes Bad...

When did we decide that the purpose of government is to provide for our needs instead of securing our rights and defending us from death outsiders wish upon us and ensuring we are free to pursue earning our daily bread however we see most fit?  We have enslaved ourselves.  Who is surprised that there are plenty of people available to step in and play the role of slave master?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Who Pays The Toll?

Paid toll solutions are popping up on the freeways and bridges all around the greater Seattle area these days.  This weekend I-405, the thoroughfare that moves traffic along the east side of Lake Washington, was closed from Friday evening to midday today to re-stripe the roadway.  The new arrangement will have paid toll lanes in both directions.

Paid toll lanes on a public freeway seems a curious solution for a Progressive place like Seattle.  If you want access to the fastest path on the road, you must pay, a-la-carte.  The fees that you pay will vary based on an algorithm... potentially varying every 5 minutes.  Hard to budget that kind of a cost.

Isn't this discrimination, by the state, of those who happen to live at the lower end of the economic spectrum?  People with the spare cash to (a) pay the bill and (b) absorb whatever that fee might happen to be are able to get where they are going faster and with less stress than those without the same economic resources... but everyone paid for that road to be built in the first place.

Seems this would also set up a perverse incentive for the government, too.  Building less efficiency into the non-toll lanes would drive more usage of the toll lanes.  Increased congestion in the toll lanes would allow the algorithm to bump up the usage fees.

Would be curious to hear thoughts on how these tolls actually promote equality...

** Update **

One wonders how long before a city/state/federal program starts to subsidize the cost of GoodToGo passes for those with qualifying incomes...

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Shut It Down

All of a sudden the "government shut down" issue is showing up in commentaries across the blogosphere again.  One would think the lesson of the past efforts had been learned: nothing is accomplished but gaining publicity for some cause... for a few brief moments before everything is restored, back pay is settled, and the media takes control of the message again.

Wish the politicians would try something that, if it happened to work, would be more impactful.  Like shutting down the federal Department of Education, or maybe the EPA.

A guy can dream...

Monday, September 21, 2015

So... Why Not Try Freedom?

China, having failed to successfully achieve the communist dream-state, some time ago decided to start pursuing gross materialism, adopting many of the tenets of capitalism while avoiding any of the complicated morals that might complicate authoritarian rule.

Apparently that isn't working out.  So now China is trying to re-introduce the traditional culture and values the communist party worked so very hard to wipe out: WSJ: Why China is Turning Back to Confucius. ... while again working to maintain authoritarian rule by a small minority.

Anything but freedom and liberal democratic principles...

Friday, December 12, 2014

'Tis the Season...

When we fired up the car this afternoon to run some errands the radio came on with a Planned Parenthood commercial playing... on the pop music station that has converted to an all-holiday music format for the season.

Nothing like celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus by promoting abortion services...