Tribalism Sucks

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Unless you wear a MAGA hat to bed, you know our government is headed in the wrong direction.  Unless you’re crazy, you know our government is corrupt.  Unless you’re a genuinely rotten person, you want much, much more peace, prosperity, security, and doggone it…freedom, for both yourself, and all your fellow citizens.

But unless you’re in the less-than-10% (typically more like 3-4%) who ever vote for third party or independent candidates, you chose this complicated, legalistic/ rule-fraught, unfair, dysfunctional and globally violent corruption. All of it.

I don’t mean to be an insulting knowitall, but this is very simple in a nation with elections:

Bernie

Either you use your power of peaceful revolution to oppose what’s not working and replace it with new guards for our future security, or you’re actually supporting the bad guys. If you’re not actively firing the bad guys with your vote, you’re as much as hiring them; either by direct choice, or in vapid inaction.

Now you may not disagree with that last paragraph. That may be while you’re still reading.

But there’s also simple logic in determining just who the bad guys really are.

And that is likely where 90% of voters will disagree.

Our constitutions were written in large part to prevent politicians from granting “to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.” (Indiana Constitution Article I Section 23)

This applies to everything political; from fair trade, housing and corporate laws to …ballot access.

Yet everyone with a living brain cell knows that our political scheme is all about special deals for special people.  Politically favored corporations get special rules that ensure protected profits without fear of competition.  Politically favored people get special legal/tax exemptions, or Get Out Of Jail Free cards.cropped-liberty

I contend that a fundamental part of the problem is the recent, self-appointed, tribal, monopolistic and genuinely stupid “Two Party System.”

Since WWII, and mostly since the 1970s, and varying state-to-state …ONLY Democrats and Republicans can be on election-related commissions, and have special election status that grants them more money, more ballot access, and more power in government.

Not only have these private clubs granted themselves special powers, but they have also imposed special hurdles and handicaps on any group or individual who’d challenge them.

Most of us understand that if there was by law only one manufacturer of coffee, or shoes, or cars, that costs and quality would be horrendous.  Most of us could imagine that even with two options, there’d soon be so much collusion and price-fixing to squeeze out any other competition that, in effect, there’d really be only one option with two faces.  Many of us disdain the rapidly clotting mergers of media, pharmaceutical and healthcare empires just the way many thought it right to bust up the old monopolies in telephone and power service.

And all of us benefit from the profusion of choices in food, clothing, electronics and other, relatively lightly-regulated industries.

So what’s up with the “Two Party System?”

Not only is it not ordained by constitutions, the Bible or physics, it’s actually anti-constitutional, by both state and federal constitutions.

You’ve got to be blind and deaf to miss the collusion and corruption of this monstrosity. You’d have to be either part of their crony crime ring, or crazy, to actually like this almost-universally-detested tribal ruling class.

TheEnemyBut you’d be a rare and precious person to actually vote against it.

I’ll just say it. If you vote for any part, any candidate of the Two Party System, you’re at least sustaining the problem.  Even the best (D) and (R) candidates represent the false hope of fixing a tribal system that doesn’t want to be fixed, and is well-organized against anybody who’d try.

More to the point – if you never vote for any alternatives to the status quo power structure, you ARE the problem. 

All the issues of incumbency – entrenchment of power and money, influence of monied connections, corruption – that goes double for political parties.  While politicians eventually die, their power structures too-often live on…and on…and on.

It’d be simple and easy to fix it all.  But you’d have to:

1. Understand the problem, and

2. Change your choices.  YOUR choices.

Come one, my fellows and friends. We’ve all but ended institutional slavery. We’ve extended the vote to every citizen (both living and dead, along with non-citizens, too…but that’s another story).

Nearly everybody says, “I don’t vote for the party, I vote for the candidate,” and up to now, they’ve mostly been lying.

Nearly everybody says, “Yeah, but look at the choices they give us…” as if we have no choice in that.lucy-charlie-brown-football

Well-over 90% of us keep doing the same stupid thing and never see the connection between bad choices and bad outcomes.

What’s really sad is that there are just as many great people as ever.  Many could be Founding Fathers (and founding mothers and/or non-binary whatevers) of a new and better age; learning lessons of the past and creating a better future.   

It’s just that now such people are pushed aside in favor of body-painted tribal savages and criminal clowns.  Too few ever throw their own hat into the ring, and yet love to complain.

So let’s snap out of that and finally use our votes as intended…as weapons of peaceful, orderly revolution, and end the rule of clans and tribes and gangs at last.

 

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About Prohibition…

First, let me be very, very clear on this.  I do NOT believe that marijuana is harmless.  It is not.  But harm or benefit is not what political prohibition is all about.

Short answer: Decriminalizing pot isn’t about pot; it’s about governing our government.

If you’d like to start discussing and finding the best ways to suppress bad behaviors and promote good behaviors, fantastic!  Let’s do it!

But that’d be pretty much the opposite of what we’re doing now.  The War On Drugs is not only counterproductive, it’s also unconstitutional, illegal and immoral.

The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution for the United States of America couldn’t be more clear.  It’s just one sentence; and it was exhaustively explained at the time it was written and made a part of this nation’s fundamental law:

RememberThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

So… powers not specifically granted, are specifically denied.  If the Constitution doesn’t clearly say our federal government can do something, it can’t do it.

Simple.

Of course, politicians hate that.  It’s a leash on their power.  It’s a limitation.  It’s a big NO to their inevitable desire to oppress their fellow humans.  It’s a restraint that makes them public servants instead of rulers.

And so, they’ve been fighting the 10th Amendment since the ink was wet.

But even with our first Prohibition, 126 years after the Tenth Amendment, our politicians were still restrained enough (and/or We The People were still wise and watchful enough, more likely), that they understood that in order to ban the sale of alcohol…or anything else, for that matter…they’d have to amend the constitution.

So they wrote, passed and ratified an amendment respectful of these fundamental principles and laws.

If you want to do something breathtakingly stupid, that is the correct way to do it.

But let’s be clear about this.  The 18th Amendment, while composed of three sentences instead of just one, was also written clearly enough that confusion would be inexcusable:

  1. The federal amendment would be null and void without concomitant and timely action from the states. “This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.
  2. Enforcement was also understood to be a shared responsibility. “The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
  3. Most importantly, this amendment was very specifically limited to only the manufacture and distribution of “intoxicating liquors.”  It did not grant any level of government any authority or power to limit the manufacture/distribution of anything else…and it did NOT take away anybody’s right to consume whatever they wanted. “After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

The 18th Amendment never granted any level of government any power or authority to tell you what you can, can’t or must consume.  It never granted any level of government any power or authority to even limit the manufacture, sale, or transportation of anything but “intoxicating liquors.”

So let’s clear up one more thing…and it’s The Biggy:

When the 18th was repealed by the 21st Amendment, it was replaced by …nothing!  There is no longer any amendment, there is no authority (see the 10th Amendment), no legal, just power to prohibit the manufacture, sale, or transportation of ANYTHING!

RememberAnd there never was, and still isn’t, any constitutional authority or just power to prohibit people from consuming whatever the heck they want.

In other words, all the no-knock raids, the expanded policing powers, the incarcerations, the lives ruined by a conviction record, and of course the insane loss of life with enforcement, and the politically corrupt nature of black market trade …is all unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, and otherwise totally wrong.

It’s frustrating we even use the word “decriminalize” since what we’re calling criminal was never legally made a crime.

Legally, constitutionally, none of this should be happening.

Whether people should be consuming high-fructose corn syrup or 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine is a separate topic.  How to make people stop doing bad things is a separate topic.  And I would never argue that THC and the new strains of marijuana are harmless.  They are not

Right now, the item of urgent concern is that our government is corrupt and un-governed.

And that’s not just an inconvenience.  A violently corrupt, deceitful, off-the-rails ungoverned government is a civilization-destroying monster.  

Let’s fix that.  Pronto.

Then, if we’d like a legitimate Second Prohibition, we ought to do it in the proper way.

Until we follow the procedure for this, however, there is no legal, moral, or certainly any functional argument to keep doing what we’re doing to people, all over the world, with our illegal, immoral, costly and self-destructive “war on drugs.”

 

Yeah, he was a socialist.

cropped-libertyI give up trying to convince people that most of the various -isms are divisive bunk, and that, really, the spectrum of -isms from authoritarianism to libertarianism boil down to a very simple principle: primacy of the state, versus primacy of the individual.

But let us at the very least put to rest the idea that Nazis weren’t socialists.

Here is a ten-year-old article, which is, I think, just about the correct distance from the present to be more clearly separated from today’s tribal hysteria and concomitant “Democratic Socialism” blindness.

The core argument is that Hitler called himself a socialist of a sort derived from Marx, and that his deviation from the USSR’s variety of socialism (“Jewish Marxism” in Hitler’s words) was in two key forks that made it, in Hitler’s opinion (as well as that of Mussolini, who wrote much on the subject) more workable.

  1. National Socialism relied on geography and race to avoid the needlessly divisive self-destructive civil war as the Russians had suffered. Hitler felt that Germans shouldn’t fight Germans, so he elevated race above pure socialist dogma in an effort to unite more to his general cause. In Hitler’s words, “…find and travel the road from individualism to socialism without revolution.
  2. Recognizing private property rights is necessary to economic success and social unity. In Hitler’s own words (not from the article), “Socialism is the science of dealing with the common weal. Communism is not Socialism. Marxism is not Socialism. …Socialism, unlike Marxism, does not repudiate private property. Unlike Marxism, it involves no negation of personality, and unlike Marxism, it is patriotic.

I can understand some confusion, as Hitler had over the years said many things that could, in isolation, fuel the notion that he was anti-Marx; certainly he was anti- “Jewish Marxism.”

But I believe that’s only when viewing Hitler through a partisan lens. Because he made it abundantly clear in his own words that he was a socialist.

In a critique of Mussolini’s newly-coined “fascism,” Hitler wrote of his own economic plan, “Point No. 13 in that program demands the nationalization of all public companies, in other words socialization, or what is known here as socialism.”

To more or less summarize my argument, as well as that in the article and referenced book, I’ll end with Hitler’s own words, and let you think on where we are today, and why so many Americans admired the man back in the day:

The Germany of today is a National Socialist State.  The ideology that dominates us is in diametrical contradiction to that of Soviet Russia.  National Socialism is a doctrine that has reference exclusively to the German people.  Bolshevism lays stress on international mission.  We National Socialists believe a man can, in the long run, be happy only among his own people.  We are convinced the happiness and achievements of Europe are indissolubly tied up with the continuation of the system of independent and free national States. Bolshevism preaches the establishment of a world empire…

 

A “hearing” without ears

Post mortem on the Pro Tempore hearing

OK, so “hearing” is the wrong word, because they voted to not hear me at all.

I gave them written copies of the 10-point argument below, but they were handed back, saying it would be “inappropriate” for them to read it.  Of course, the State’s attorney did hand me nine-thousand pages of their arguments*…about why I should shut up and go away, as it turned out.

After spending ten minutes going over the rules (including how I’d get ten minutes to make my case) and other niceties of procedure, the State moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that whatever I’d have to say should’ve been said in July, and they’re sure that what I’d say would be the same as what was already said anyway…AndyTriesAgain

…Even though I wasn’t there in July, and it wasn’t the same argument.  And I was there to represent another person’s CAN-1 challenge (Ben Tackitt) who couldn’t make it to this hearing.

You see, the state arranges these meetings at inconvenient times in places with exotically expensive parking for a reason

And so, the State (everyone of authority in the hearing was paid as an administrative judge working as an agent/employee of Connie Lawson with a built-in and unconstitutional conflict of interest…whatta surprise) voted to reject CAUSE NUMBER 2018-124.  They wouldn’t give me even my ten minutes.  Not even two.

Even as they tried to shush me, I asked, “Does this exhaust my administrative remedy?

If they answered no, then I should’ve been allowed to speak.  If they answered yes, then it’d be clear that I’ve got a court case with no administrative remedy (helping me ascend to that diaphanous, magical and nearly unattainable quality of “standing” before the court).

So attorney Brad King told them not to answer me.

I was railroaded.  Again.

I really didn’t expect better.  I mean, how weird would be for the state’s cronies to vote against themselves?

HeroIt’s voters who’re supposed to vote against such corruption and entrenchment of power.  If I’ve done anything at all with my efforts over the decades, I have proven (over and over and over and…) that I can’t fly onto the scene with my ray-gun and save the day, dang it.

I’d like to, of course.  But I can’t.  It takes numbers.

My hope all along was that ordinary folks would hear about this case, and DO SOMETHING about it!

PoliticsMonsterThat’s my hope (not my expectation…but I do hope).

This cause was only one example of the continuous expansion of political powers and reduction of citizen powers and rights by unconstitutional legislation, and evermore-damaging constitutional amendments, which have spawned a culture of political cronyism that foils the purpose of term limits, democratic elections, and constitutional rule of law. 

cropped-youSo I’m posting this for you, in the hopes that you’ll read it, agree that injustice is being done, and tell others about it.

Of course I hope you’ll do even more than that (write letters to the editor, call-in to radio shows, start a lawsuit, organize protest marches, foment revolution…).  But even if telling others is all you do, I’d be delighted, and grateful.

Anyway, here’s pretty much what I would’ve said today, if given the chance; it’s what I tried to hand them on paper at the hearing.  But none of this was heard, or read:

  1. Article I, Section 25 of the Indiana Constitution makes plain that there is no legal state authority except by specific provision in the constitution. Indiana Code does not create authority; all legal authority rests only upon the Indiana Constitution. All officeholders are required by oath of office to uphold this fundamental rule of law.  The state’s case rests entirely upon Indiana Code which contradicts and violates the state constitution.

  2. As of today, there are only two constitutionally clear ways to empower a Secretary of State; election by the voters of the state (Article 6, Section 1), and by gubernatorial appointment (Article 5 Section 18).

  3. Constitutional provisions in Article 5, Section 18 and Article 15, Section 3 ensure that no Indiana office is left vacated, yet make no special or extra-ordinary definition of pro tempore.  The specific constitutional authority to issue writs of election was repealed in 1984 (Article 5, Section 19), making it less constitutionally clear when, how, and by whom, special elections are to be called.  But the definition of pro tempore has always been known to be transitory and provisional.

  4. The original 1851 Article 6, Section 1 of the Indiana Constitution mandated: “There shall be elected, by the voters of the State, a Secretary, and Auditor and a Treasurer of State, who shall, severally, hold their offices for two years. They shall perform such duties as may be enjoined by law; and no person shall be eligible to either (sic) of said offices, more than four years in any period of six years.”  The original wording makes evident the erosion of constitutional protections as demonstrated by the doubling of term limits in 1970.  Article 2 Section 11, unchanged from 1851, made more sense in the context of short term limits: “… an appointment pro tempore shall not be reckoned a part of that term.”  Lawson’s first term as SOS was longer than the 1851 full term of elected office, and was over half the entire 1851 term limit.

  5. On February 4, 2012, former Secretary of State Charlie White was removed from office, and Jerold A. Bonnet was made the temporary, interim, pro tempore Secretary of State of Indiana.  This appointment was unquestionably pro tempore because there was a legal challenge to White’s 2010 ballot eligibility, throwing into question how the SOS office would be filled, though by original constitutional design and one judge’s ruling, either Democrat Vop Osili should have confirmed, or been a special election should have been called.

  6. On March 16, 2012, Mitch Daniels named Connie Lawson the new Secretary of State. There was no contingency or compromise to this appointment. Connie Lawson’s unconditional replacement of Charlie White and Jerold Bonnet was not pro tempore by any definition of pro tempore (proxy, locum tenens or conditional officeholder – e.g., the President pro tempore of the Senate, who stands-in for the Lt. Governor’s role as President of the Senate, or Judge Pro Tem who stands in for another judge). Jerold A. Bonnet was unquestionably the only pro tempore Secretary of State.

  7. The intent of the term limitation, even as of 1970, was to limit the power and electoral advantage of incumbency, limit the entrenchment of factions, and inhibit politics as a lifetime career.

  8. The purpose of democratic elections is to both thwart crony entrenchment, and to give equal opportunity for all people, without any special classes of citizen powers, privileges or immunities, an equal chance to serve their society.

  9. Precedent” is not law.  Only legislators can make law.  While this is most plainly stated in the federal constitution, the state constitution follows the same form of separation of powers.  And Article I, Section 25 of the Indiana Constitution does indeed forbid law by precedent, as it is rule-making without constitutional provision, process or authority.

  10. SUMMARY: Connie Lawson’s first term of office was not pro tempore.  And as per arguments previously submitted for Indiana Election Commission CAUSE NUMBER 2018-12, she is not eligible for election to a term of office she cannot lawfully complete.  At best, Lawson’s candidacy strains electoral propriety, and taints the credibility of Indiana’s chief election officer.  But more seriously, to allow this candidacy to go forward presents an abuse of public trust, as well as an egregious violation of Indiana’s governing authority – the Indiana Constitution.

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So, what comes next?

Plan B

Will the GOP get away with this obvious scheme to simply appoint cronies who can then run in the next election with all the advantages of incumbency?  Are they going to kick out Curtis Hill so they can appoint a more insider-friendly replacement?  Is this whole democratic process and term-limits thing kaput?

Well, that’s up to you.

 

 

 

 

*Lawyers like to intimidate people with piles of paper and ink.  In fact it came up in the hearing how much time and money in billable hours were wasted on my futile attempts at justice.

By any name, it kills

First, here are the classical definitions of socialism:

  1. Government (not “communal”) control of property, and ownership of the means of production.
  2. Some definitions include the elimination of private property, but this overlaps with communism, and somewhat contradicts Marx’s definitions.
  3. In Marxist theory, an intermediary/transitional form of government between capitalism and communism distinguished by unequal distribution of property and income. “Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.” – Karl Marx

Socialism

Now, the use and meaning of the word “socialism” has changed a LOT recently.  So I’ll contrast it to communism, as defined by Marx:

  1. The state is eliminated (true anarchy) and all property and means of production is owned equally by the people as a collective.
  2. No private property. “The theory of Communism may be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property.” – Karl Marx
  3. Distribution of goods and services by: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” – Karl Marx

People can of course believe whatever they want.  Marx proposed socialism as a violent takeover and transition to forcefully-imposed communism.

But if people want to call themselves “socialist” and then redefine socialism to be something they like better than the old definition…well, who am I to argue?

Words change all the time. The English language hardly resembles what it did before the Vikings and French and Shakespeare started messing with it.

But let’s not fool ourselves with our words, either.

Words are extremely powerful.  It’s by words, and the actions we apply to words, that we turn corporate abstractions like “tribe,” “gang,” “army” and “nation” into deadly forces of oppression, slavery, genocide and war.

I know a lot of decent, well-meaning, well-educated and very intelligent socialists.  But they all perform the same, subtle, self-deluding linguistic/mental alchemy:

They trans-substantiate politicians/rulers into “The People,” like the way Catholics turn wine into Christ’s blood.  And they are, in their clearer moments, advocating communism without the inevitable bloodshed.Atheists

In other words, today’s socialists dismiss the inevitably violent and impoverishing despotism of an almighty government, and transmogrify the realities of authoritarianism into the detached dreams of a Marxian Kumbaya.

Now, to a degree and in a way, we all do that.  We like to imagine a nice utopia and don’t care about how to actually get there.

That’s a problem.

All government is by consent of the governed.  Politicians, elites and even the legions of bureaucrats all put-together, are vastly outnumbered by the people who in one way or another consent to be ruled.  So even the most oppressive tyrants reflect The People’s willingness to submit, if nothing else.

We’re tribal, pack animals, and we tend to Follow The Alpha.  But even the most well-armed and entrenched ruler can be thrown down when the actual human populace (and not an abstraction like “The People”) get mad enough to finally act.

So it’s true, though we act like it’s not: ALL government is by consent of the governed.  ALL government is a reflection of the people.  Politics/government is the collective’s avatar.

But socialists aren’t thinking of We The People as a republic with representative politicians.  Even more strangely, when they’re asking politicians to take over every aspect of life, they’re imagining this will lead to freedom, not being subjugated by an authoritarian despot.

I really do understand this.  It sounds great.  In fact I used to do this mental trick on myself, and I fell for a good bit of Marx and Engel’s rhetoric:

If you’re unhappy with the way things are in general, or the way your life is working in specific, doesn’t this sound appealing?  “We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. …Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and … the alteration of men on a mass scale is, necessary, … a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.” – Karl Marx

And how about this one: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.  Workingmen of all countries, unite!” – Karl Marx

And this one from Marx is absolutely true: “A nation cannot become free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations.

I’m not sure why “socialists” don’t just come out and say it; again, here’s Karl Marx: “It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.

But let’s consider the label “Democratic Socialist” (which is itself very Marxian: “Democracy is the road to socialism”).

Problem #1 – Democracy is majority rule.  Majority as opposed to any minority.   Another name for it could be “mob rule.”  Democracy is, as Benjamin Franklin asserted, “Two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch.”  In both form and effect, this is not at all what any “Democratic Socialist” I’ve heard of actually promotes.  They really don’t want democracy.  They couldn’t, and still claim any concern for minorities.

Problem #2 – We’ve already got what they want, and they’re still not happy.  We may not admit that we have what we vote for, but I can easily prove that we do.  We may whine a single-digit-approval rate of our congress, but those politicians enjoy a >90% reelection rate every Election Day.  Constitutions don’t matter, we have what we vote for, so we’re much more a democracy than a constitutional republic.

And about the “socialism” part…

A few hours ago I read a rose-colored “Democratic Socialism” article that said “Socialism can be defined as ‘a system of social organization in which private property and the distribution of income are subject to social control.’

OK, fine. But what the heck is “social control” if we don’t have it already?

What doesn’t our government control right now, today?  Are socialists somehow saying that our government is not the social organization of our society?

You can argue all you want about the benefits of income redistribution and that mysterious ether “social justice.”

But if you’re using “social control” of property and income as the definition of socialism, then we’ve already got it, and socialists should be delighted.NoGun

But they’re not, are they?

So, what do they really want?

Well, actually, I think most want, in a broad sense, what I want.

  1. They may be angry at people, and even violent toward their political foes; but all the “socialists” I know say they want peace.  World peace.  As in …quit bombing people.  That’s a fine wish.  I’d be happy to work with them on this.
  2. They want prosperity, however they define it.  I may strongly disagree with their ideas on economics, but our goals are the same.  People should prosper.
  3. They know our current social order is corrupt, and want that to go away.  Me too! Oh man do I agree with them on that.
  4. They want something like “fair.”  OK, they do tend to categorize people and have special classes of rights and privileges for special people, and I hate that anti-individual tribalism.  But they still have a sense that things aren’t fair now, and that something has to be done.  I’m cool with that.
  5. While I think they’re calling oppression down on their own heads, they think they’re working toward freedom…personal freedom.  I’m totally for that goal.

So, my problem with socialists isn’t their goals; it’s their chosen plan to attain their goals.  I don’t think they’re thinking straight about their “social control” versus authoritarian corruption, poverty and violence.  I think they’re grabbing onto the same, ancient snake-oil political promises and imagining that they’re the newest Get Rich Quick scheme.

lucy-charlie-brown-footballWe’ve done this before.  We’ve done it to death.  We keep believing the promises of dreams and ending up with the nightmares of yet another despot.

I know the arguments about western intervention in socialist nations like North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other descendants of the Russian revolutions of 1917.  They have some merit.  Our lefty Presidents T. Roosevelt and W. Wilson did tremendous damage to the world in making war into a grand adventure of Empire instead of self-defense only.

But the arguments that socialism quickly tears itself to bits are much stronger, in my opinion.

Strong enough, I think, that the real peace, freedom and prosperity lovers among us should keep offering a much, much better way for a better life, and try to convince our fellows that what didn’t ever work as advertised before…still won’t work.

Fearing our own shadow

The Land of The Free has been surrendering freedom hand-over-fist because the Home of The Brave is scared of its own shadow.  Almost literally, its own shadow.

wwii-rubbleWe’ve for generations been the arms dealer and political destabilizer to the world.  Our CIA and armed forces have interfered with elections and even violently taken down one dictator to prop up another for over seventy years.

Our government has lied about its wars, warmongering, entangling alliances and foreign interventions for much longer than that.  Our CIA and NSA have been spying on the whole world, including every person within our own borders, as well as prying into foreign elections (and our own) for long enough that it’s disingenuous to complain about foreign spies and foreign interference in elections…unless we claim we’re the only ones who’re supposed to do all that.

To everybody.

All the time.12362834_10153703528535280_3712867037536160998_o

We are the most heavily-armed, most globally nannying and bullying, domestically intrusive, imprisoning and militarized nation of all time.

It is our own shadows that both terrify and genuinely threaten us now, and, surprisingly, in the past, too.

You think our soldiers are fighting for freedom?  Which freedom?  How many freedoms must we lose to get that elusive freedom we’re fighting for?  At what financial/future security cost?  At what moral/social spiritual cost?

We have literally reordered and molded our society’s defense/military, monetary and legal and political structure to our collective trembling nerves.   Why?

While nobody ever says it exactly like this, the predominating justification for the USA’s violent, costly Fear-Aggression Syndrome is:

lucy-charlie-brown-footballOur past screw-ups necessitate today’s screw-ups.

Rational people can look at the USA’s past mistakes reasonably.  Our government made horrible, murderous, costly mistakes when it was far smaller, less powerful, less secretive, less snooping, and vastly less heavily-armed and militarized both globally, and domestically, than today.  But ironically, the closer we get to the present, the more wrong we call right, and the more we justify today’s wrong by yesterday’s wrong.

We all know that slavery and native genocide was bad.  Only the more educated among us know that the wars against Mexico and Spain were motivated by greed and desire for empire, and had nothing whatsoever to do with protecting American liberties and land.  But very few consider how Teddy Roosevelt stimulated the Empire of Japan and the USA helped create the Soviet Union, however, so we tend to think of WWII as a wholly Good War, where the USA wore white and saved the world for liberty and justice for all.

Bellamy2The point is that, the closer we get to the present, the more our views of USA government become disconnected from reality.
Even after we learned that the Vietnam War was justified on, at best, a screwup, we tend to think of USA government as a benevolent god of peace and love, incapable of wrongdoing (though we keep seeing new wrongdoing every day).

This is a freakishly weird phenomenon.  But it’s also the nature of tribalism and idolatry.  We love our team, and we hate the other guys.  We can’t see the wrong in our idols, teams, champions and leaders, but we know that the other peoples’ idols, teams, champions and leaders are pure evil.Testing football helmets, 1912

And it’s also just human: People of the past were THEM.  People of today are US.  We can easily admit that our ancestors did horrible, stupid things; but we sure don’t want to admit that, today, right now, WE are screwing up.  We’re blind to our own errors.

In other words, we see the past more clearly than the present.  And we see other sinners more clearly than we see ourselves.

So, as a result, we exemplify, even if unintentionally, the exact opposite of The Golden Rule.

This is self-immolation.  We have so many impending disasters of fiscal, social, monetary and military nature, that we desperately need an epiphany and revolution of heart and mind.

You can’t be the Land of The Free if you’re not the Home of The Brave.  But no nation can survive at all with this kind of stupid.

Just Say No to war with Iran

Freedom, IN – It’s a quote attributed to pretty much everybody, that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” The saying is more true and applicable to USA foreign policy than to anything else.

None of our foreign aggressions worked as promised, or even as we’ve been told. Yet we’ve had scarcely a year’s peace since the War to End All War.

And we’ve been getting worse, not better, at finagling foreigners into serving us and our Saudi allies. Does anyone doubt that our interventions in Libya and Syria have been disastrous? Have we really fixed anything in Somalia, Yemen or Pakistan? When will we be done with Iraq? Afghanistan is the USA’s longest war, ever…and we’re losing. What’s the plan? What’s the goal?

We’re sure not fighting for freedom.  Not anybody’s freedom.  And we’re sure not making friends when we blow up their children.

A leaked May 17 memo reveals that the USA government once again intends to replay the same failed script; this time against Iran (again).

The key directive sent to Rex Tillerson is “…that the U.S. should use human rights as a club against its adversaries, like Iran, China and North Korea, while giving a pass to repressive allies like the Philippines, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.”

Let’s think like a human, and not a politician, for a moment.

What actual human beings on the planet would not hate us for our arrogant, armed and deadly games and manipulations? Why wouldn’t we be creating more enemies than friends with such obvious duplicity? Does anybody on this planet think they’re the ones who’re wrong, and deserve death?

Is the Golden Rule really so bad?

I’m no pacifist. I believe in security through strength. And I understand the theory of “Humanitarian Intervention” (though that’s been irrelevant lately, and it certainly doesn’t work in practice!).

But we’re acting like stupid teenage “swatting” and “knockout game” thugs; not at all like rational adult humans. We’re acting as though we can use killing force against others with impunity, when in fact, we’ve been hurting ourselves as much as anybody else.

This is insanity. We’ve got seven “whack-a-mole” wars going on now, and we’re losing our wealth, security, and of course, freedom as a very direct result.

Our armies are protecting the petrodollar and drug trade, not anything We The People should value.

I propose we just say stop the madness, and give Peace, Prosperity, Security and Freedom a chance.

Liberty or Bust!

Andy Horning

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It’s time to talk about our spies

…It’s time to talk about our spies!!!

Freedom, IN – ♬♪ They see you when you’re sleeping, they know when you’re awake; they know when you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake! ♩♫

Our US Congress is trying to give its cronies a Christmas present – re-authorization and more funding for the unconstitutional mass surveillance programs we were once told didn’t exist.

I say it’s time for what some might call a “courtesy flush.” The corruption and destruction and stench of our lawless, secretive societal saboteurs has grown too great.

Thomas Jefferson wrote “…that knolege is power, and that ignorance is weakness.”

So let’s stop being ignorant about who’s got the real power here, and what they’re doing with it.

The FBI was, from its start in 1935, corrupt, snooping, deceitful, and deadly.  It took some brave thieves to reveal some of the agency’s crimes.  Truman regretted creating the CIA, and Kennedy said he would “splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds” (right before he was assassinated).  The CIA developed the first spying engine of the NSA; and we know that agency has been anti-constitutionally spying on all of us, and have repeatedly lied about it.

Now, just think about the power of unlimited, unregulated spying, lying, and political immunity, mixed with armed force and the ability to make opposing voices go silent.

Imagine you had the power to find out everything about people, convincingly make up what you don’t find, or make even powerful people, maybe even in our own country, die…without facing any consequences.

What government on the planet wouldn’t abuse that power? We have good reason to believe that a government that performed medical experiments on school kids, doesn’t even resist abusing it.

Could such knowledge and power actually control our elected politicians?
This is what people are talking about with the term, “deep state.”

So-called “federal” agencies’ famous rivalries, withholding of data, rejection of congressional oversight, their anti-constitutional actions against citizens, media and foreign governments, and their trampling of local law enforcement really do make them more enemy than friend.

I propose we abolish the FBI and CIA, and give their money back to the states and people. I would reinforce the constitution’s already clear ban on domestic spying, deception and subterfuge, and leave all domestic law enforcement to more local, appropriate units of government, and already-constitutionally authorized courts.

I propose that the US Congress directly manage our foreign spy operations under specific congressional warrants and limitations, including the Geneva Conventions.

“… we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.” — Harry S. Truman

Liberty or Bust!

Andy Horning

Freedom, Indiana

Eight Steps to Success

Here’s how we turn from fatal social disease, toward Peace, prosperity, Security and Freedom in eight steps:

  1. End the cronyism/corruption culture.
  2. Stand down our military-industrial complex and global imperialism, and replace it with strong, constitutional national defense.
  3. Monetary/banking reform.  Click the link for details.
  4. Rule of Law. This would cut a lot of stuff from what we’re calling “government” today. You may not like some of the cuts; but I’m certain you’d like the end result.
  5. No more loaded bills. One subject at a time, and no earmarks/pork.
  6. End special classes, special deals for special people – equality for all at long last.
  7. Sunset provision/amendment to refine and reduce the number of laws so that our rules are:
    1. Few enough to actually know
    2. Simple enough to actually obey
    3. Important enough to enforce without exceptions or special classes
  8. Term Limits.  Let’s face it; voters haven’t been doing their part, and there’s no procedural fix for bad choices.  And I understand term limits won’t happen until after voters make better choices.  That’s why I’m placing this one last both procedurally, and in importance, because we’ll get term limits only after a sufficient number of people wake up and act appropriately that we fire the bad guys and, at least for the short term, defuse the huge advantage of incumbency…particularly the unconstitutional power of “committee” rulers based on tenure.  But after that cultural epiphany and revolution, their kids and grandkids will gradually fall asleep again.♣  That’s just how civilizations inevitably decay and die.  If we’re to delay our self-destruction at least a little, we need term limits shorter than human life expectancy…particularly in the context of tenure/corruption-based power structures.

To summarize, I want to cut the cost, intrusiveness, abusiveness and ineffectiveness of our central government by actually cutting powers, programs, agencies…and people, from that government. I mean to establish a truly federal (instead of our increasingly unitary) government as defined by the authorizing compact.

 

♣A good part of my reasoning for term limits is encapsulated in this quote:  “Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.” ― G. Michael Hopf, Those Who Remain
I believe it takes “strong men” (strong-minded, individualist, non-tribal voters) to fire bumbs and clean up corruption.  But “weak men” (look around) will let anything go, and continuously reelect bad politicians…or let the whole system collapse.

Too stupid to know we’re being stupid?

Socialism

I’m pretty sure that my wisest, most clear-headed moments have been when I fully, accountably realized that I was being an idiot.

And I think the wisest of those moments resulted from somebody else pointing out to me that I was being an idiot…and I listened.

There is that saying, “A wise man learns more from a fool than a fool learns from a wise man.

OK, so I hope the preceding was a sufficiently humble preface, since I’m about to call hundreds of millions of people idiots.

You see, having been to innumerable political forums where politicians outnumber regular folk; having participated in scores of public debates; having authored hundreds of articles published in major media and reading the angry retorts; having stood at the center of hundreds of protesters with a megaphone in my hand; having been to hundreds of public meetings where policy is purchased; being fairly well-acquainted with the best political minds in at least Indiana; and having warned everybody I know about our current national predicament when there was still time to fix it; I feel unusually well-qualified to make the following statement:

We The People, that arbitrary, abstract and problematic mob called a “nation,” in the Year of Our Lord 2017, are at least acting like idiots.

Unite the Right rally violence

I’ll support that statement in four ways:

Number 1. Our society’s deceptive use of language, and level of conversation, has plummeted to embarrassing depths.Pride

Here is a small excerpt from the “Federalist Papers” number 10, written by James Madison and published November 29, 1787:

A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for preeminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.  

…The inference to which we are brought is, that the CAUSES of faction cannot be removed, and that relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its EFFECTS.”

Now, who in public life today thinks and talks like that?

Here, by way of comparison, is some of our current President’s writing (unedited and in full):

Written by Donald Trump on May 8 2013: “Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don’t feel so stupid or insecure,it’s not your fault

And another, perhaps more famous writing by the same person 31 May, 2017 said, in its entirety and verbatim, “Despite the constant negative press covfefe

Number 2. We know everything about stupid stuff, and nothing about important stuff.

Allen IversonHow much do I need to elaborate here? How many men can quote baseball stats back to ‘ought-five, yet can’t name our Vice President? How many women read thousand-page romance novels hours on end, and say they “don’t have time” to read the US Constitution (it takes about an hour)? Our kids lack basic life skills even after spending a quarter of their lifespan in classrooms.

Number 3. We’d never hire anybody else the way we hire politicians.

Let’s say you need to hire a janitor. But instead of reading applications, calling people in for interviews and checking references, you just sit back and see who puts up the best yard signs, billboards and TV ads. You’re not looking for qualifications in the conventional sense. No; you’re looking for the best odd$; you’re looking for who’$ got $upport.  You sure don’t want to hire somebody who “doesn’t have a chance,” right?  Ideology, principles, and certainly truth don’t matter, it’s the Show that counts.KeatingFive

“Give me the keys to your building and relax,” says one candidate, “I’m the Janitor You Can Trust!” Another candidate has run a great ground game, handing out literature and freebies to your other employees, with the slogan “Make Janitorial Services Great Again!”

There are lots of other candidates, of course; but all your interest goes to only the two Major Janitorial Candidates. The media tell you that you’d be a fool to waste your choice on other candidates, no matter their superior abilities and references, because the Major Janitorial Candidates are…well…they’re Major.

(oh, and they also contribute a large percentage of the media’s ad revenue)

When everything else these days can be “nonbinary,” only your choice of candidates must be from only the two given to you by who exactly?

Interestingly, you never ask where all the money comes from for the expensive campaign materials and professional managers. If you exercised any curiosity at all, you’d realize that the people spending millions of dollars to get a job that pays a salary pittance have other reasons to get access to your building and all that’s inside.

We don’t think about anything else the way we think about politics.  I only wish I had as much faith in my “religion” as people have in their political idols.  I only wish I could be so lackadaisical in my daily life as we are with the power of money, police, prisons, spies and war.

Number 4. We have collectively and intentionally rejected that functional system of moral civil behaviors called “culture.”

CultureNo, what we call “multiculturalism” isn’t a culture – it’s divisiveness in the pretense of enlightenment. A functional culture doesn’t require an official, uniform religion, style of speech, dress, food or customs.  But it does require some basic commonality and uniformity in rules of behavior, consequences, methods of conflict resolution, and,  importantly, letting a stack-up of cars pass on the left instead of plugging your big fat black Cadillac Escalade with Hillary bumper stickers in the left lane matching speed with the blue Prius in the right lane going east on Hwy 46 toward Bloomington at 8mph BELOW THE SPEED LIMIT …for example.

Anyway…

I’ve for decades fought our corrupt political scheme; which is based entirely upon Special Deals for Special People.  But that corruption is just a reflection of our corrupt civilian culture.

Instead of looking for common ground, we’ve obsessively divided ourselves into opposing factions of LGBT versus straight, socialist versus fascist (as if either’s any !@#$ good at all), male versus female, poor versus middle class, and…more than at any time since I was just a kid…black versus white.

Antifa Portland
Why?

Do we not all want peace, prosperity, freedom and maybe a little love? Do we really LIKE the fearful, violent, hateful posture we’ve instead chosen?

Maybe we do prefer hate. I was recently told that because I’m a white Protestant male (a “WASP;” the West’s most reviled, and even self-loathing, minority), I should not even be allowed to speak.

Seriously.

So, you may think I’m about to propose a solution.

Sadly, no.  There is no solution to idiocy other than humility, and its beloved companion, accountability.  But that is a rare and precious thing.  It hardly ever happens in significant numbers.

America, as a culture, needs to realize that it’s being an idiot, and snap out of it.

But what are the odds of that actually happening?

I of course hope We The People will have a collective epiphany, and back away from the self-obsessed, hateful, prideful, self-destructive madness we’ve chosen, and plot a new course that in some way incorporates at least a little peace, prosperity, and (is it too much to ask?) freedom.

My hopes have alway exceeded my expectations.

Sigh…