Real Deals

You may disagree, and you're welcome to point me to other sources (there's only about a half-dozen political blogs I read with any regularity), but I think my approach to Paul's candidacy, at least in my mind, has been somewhat unique (up to now). I've made no predictions on his chances, and still I remain skeptical about them. The two most common approaches I see from other enthusiasts is the positive-thinking approach ("we're going to win!") and the approach that concedes that Paul is gaining the power to have an important and positive impact on the other candidates (make them "more honest," I guess; whatever that means). The first approach is fine; nothing wrong with cheer leading. The second approach is worthless and dumb. There is absolutely nothing any of the other candidates can do to appeal to anyone who supports Paul and knows why. To those who know why, really and seriously, conventional politics will never, ever fool them again. They have become atheists to the religion of political personality and sweet sweet lies. They have been cured from the zombie-ism that inflicts all democrats and republicans who give any stock at all to their favorite liar. Here's my...

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Fuck Obama and His Stupid Bitch

[Note: This post has been edited from it's original version to remove time, place and circumstance information, for personal reasons.] There; I said it. Indicative of my level of frustration, I guess. Yesterday, I endured -- for a short time -- being lied to by the wives of the presidential candidates on some teevee program. It was such utterly contemptible, pandering and rotten bullshit that it always makes me wonder what world I live in, when I know there are millions on millions just lapping it up like it's the first time in the world they've heard it. Obama's wife was clearly the stupidest (I'm saying nothing). She prattled on endlessly, naming things that require the time and values of people to create, assemble, and manage; yet the whole point in brining up these things is to admonish "getting the money out of them." In other words: do them devoid of the principle means by which things get done. I guess they'll happen somehow. Fucking moron. But he's sure a good speaker. Yep; I said that when I heard him at the democrat convention last go-round (ignoring content, of course). I remembered I said that when James Ostrowski granted it:...

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Shrug

I've had this entry of Billy's marked "keep as new" in my RSS reader for too long, so finally this morning took to watch the two clips (Part I; Part II) which total about 15 minutes. Here's some of my own recent thoughts on the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Atlas Shrugged, which has sold 30 million copies worldwide in a dozen languages. As to the video, Part II is the more important and pressing and I think Barbara has a keen insight into Rand's disappointment. Sometimes I find it interesting to just write down first thoughts and impressions before having any time to analyze or think deeply about them. Here's what I came up with: it was entirely natural for Rand to feel completely and wholly unpresumptuous in turning 2,000 years of cultural "wisdom" right on its fucking depraved head, where it belongs. She understood the evil represented by Christianity and other similarly parasitic cultural phenomena, and she never once in her life seriously wondered if she had any right to question it: to tell you, dear reader, that you're all fucked up; perhaps not of your own purposeful making, but completely and utterly fucked up in the...

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Random Bits

For the first time ever, Mick, Keith, Ian and Charlie made a buck off me. I went ahead and bought the 1971 Sticky Fingers album on iTunes which is probably their album with the most tracks I like. Here's my favorite, Can't You Hear Me Knocking. The guitar work sounds pretty simple to me (for those who know what they're doing, of course), but I like whatever effect he's using, the seeming kinda discord, and timing. It just sounds cool to me and I've always liked that song. For a nice & slow number it's hard to beat Wild Horses. So there you have it. I went and saw Beowulf this afternoon and liked it (Whereas, No Country for Old Men last night was 4/5ths good: the ending sucked rotten, stinky shit and I felt like a big sucker). My favorite line from the former was when the protagonist, Beowulf, was describing the spreading religion of the Romans and cursed it by judging that men must live "in fear and shame." That's just a perfect and complete two-concept description of ne of the worst things men ever invented to dominate other men. Least I'm not that much of a sucker,...

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Experts

First, the bafflement. You can file this under the "nobody could have predicted," category. "Everyone -- the staffers in the other campaigns, the bigwig political observers in the state -- is scratching their heads. They don't know what to make of this Ron Paul phenomenon," Smith said. Next, the irony. These "experts" were lopsided: on the occasions when they were right, they attributed it to their depth of understanding and expertise; when wrong, it was either the situation that was to blame, since it was unusual, or, worse, they did not recognize that they were wrong and spun stories around it. They found it difficult to accept that their grasp was a little short. But this attribute is universal to all our activities: there is something in us designed to protect our self-esteem. We humans are the victims of an asymmetry in the perception of random events. We attribute our success to our skills, and our failures to external events outside our control., namely to randomness. We feel responsible for the good stuff, but not for the bad. -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable You know, if you stop and think abut it,...

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Are There Enough Thinkers?

Doubtful; very doubtful Go ahead and take up one of Paul's principled stands and make an argument against it (I'd agree with some of the good ones), but please try to not be fooled enough to tell me or anyone that a Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, Thompson, Romney, or McCain are doing anything but posturing in order to try and strike the right balance. You can verify it for yourself: Paul says exactly what he has always said. Via Rockwell, Mike Morris at The Facts newspaper seems to get it. He’s saying what he truly believes. Off the cuff. Straight off the top of his head. How unusual is that in today’s age of scripted sound bytes? In modern politics, candidates are trained to repeat phrases as though they are voicing a See-N-Say. Point the arrow to the picture of an illegal immigrant, pull the handle and hear, “We must protect our borders.” Yep, for the consumption of the unthinking, i.e., most of the electorate, either [virtually indistinguishable] side. You might object, on the grounds that Paul too advocates heightened border defense. Actually, one of my least favorite of his positions, but he is consistnt about it, principled within the...

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They Just Don’t Get It

"Inspired" by Paul's Nov 5th money bomb that raised $4.2 million from about 38,000 contributors, Huckabee, Thompson, and Obama (or their supporters) figured that, well, if they can do it, why can't we? Huckabee bombs at $223k on Nov 20th. Paul out raised him even without a "bomb" on that day. Thompson bombs with only 82 pledges as of that writing, but his campaign is apparently not as transparent as Paul's, so their results will probably relegated to the dustbin ASAP. And finally: Obama bombs, today, with so far only $4,600 raised from 72 people. Pathetic, but unsurprising. All the other campaigns are focussed on the "exciting" business of positioning and carving. Paul says exactly what he said 30 years ago, and finally someone is paying attention.

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Happy Fucking Thanksgiving

Give thanks today. What a wonderful "Land of the Free" we've created for ourselves. Utah highway patrolman John Gardner tasers motorist Jared Massey over a speeding ticket dispute (in view of his wife). More details here. You're welcome to draw your own conclusions, but to my mind, the hallmark of civilization -- a polite, civilized society -- is defined most by its general restraint on the use of force -- it massively outweighs everything else. The man perhaps broke the speed limit. He was perhaps verbally "abusive," obstinate and senselessly refused to sign the ticket (signing is simply acknowledging service of the citation). So? They've got his license, registration, know where he lives, and he's presenting no threat to the patrolman or anyone in the world. If you accept that "speeding tickets" are a legitimate state function (be my guest), then surely these are something that can be handled peacefully and administratively. Thousands of people and businesses are served legal process every day of the year at home and work by private process servers and county sheriffs. So even if you insist that this ticket was necessary, why couldn't it have proceeded peacefully and administratively? Whether you think that Trooper...

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Recession?

First one must understand that "recession" is a contrived economic term with a technical definition: negative GDP or real growth over two or more successive quarters. You're likely to have a hard time seeing that pointed out in any of the quotidian "news" you're exposed to. On the other hand, nobody needs an economic definition to feel or experience being financially squeezed. On the other other hand, if you're feeling squeezed, is it really because of overriding macro economic conditions out of your control (which could signal a general and widespread phenomena), or simply the consequences of your own choices that may not apply to enough people to spark off such a widespread condition? Carl Futia could be wrong, just like anyone else. And I've seen him be wrong a number of times -- though it's usually in the very short term, which, let's face it, is a crap shoot. But he's almost never wrong in longer time frames (except for the dollar -- he's still waiting for the bottom which he thought was about a year ago), even in the face of almost everyone else calling for disaster. This, of course, demands a real level of honesty that humans...

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Rapsodia

Alright, listen: I was an Andrea Bocelli fan before anyone who currently cares about him in America had even heard his name -- or most, anyway. I'm just sayin'. Here's my favorite number, which, naturally, is nowhere near any of his popular tracks. I love the way is starts of slow and just builds and builds. No idea what the video is all about. This was the only instance of it on YT -- unlike the popular ones, of which there are dozens. I do hope you enjoy.

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Well…

First off, I really don't care about Jeffs, and I personally loath that whole racket they've got going. But 10 years to life for "forcing a 14-yr-old to marry her 19-yr-old first cousin?" How does one "force" people to marry, presuming that means we're talking about something more than a 10-minute ceremony where two people are tied to adjoining telephone polls. And when it comes to conjugation, one's imagination runs pretty wild imagining how Jeffs is the culpable one. But what do I know? I've a simple question though: where was her dad, or mom, or grandfather, or grandmother; a responsible older sibling; an aunt, uncle, or a guardian? I guess it's easier to just run to the state to solve all our problems. As one "dissident" (oh, they're "dissidents?") is quoted as saying: Thousands of children can sleep safer tonight with Jeffs in jail "Thousands." "Thousands!" She added: It is a positive first step, although much more needs to be done ... to protect women and children who want out of the community Uh, maybe I'm missing something, but it sounds to me like if ya' can't already leave, then the state -- hell, the feds -- already got...

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Stem Cell Rationality

I really do welcome the news, but, in a rational world: Owners of several-cell human embryos, who don't value them as "babies," would sell them to scientists -- who also don't value them as "babies" -- who would then conduct research to develop useful technologies to help real, actual babies and other real, actual human beings and hopefully make billions for themselves in the process. Owners of skin cells, who may or may not value several-cell human embryos as "babies," would sell them to scientists -- who also may or may not value several-cell human embryos as "babies" -- who would apply their technologies to make stem cells out of them (assuming the news proves viable) and then proceed to develop technologies to help human beings and hopefully make billions for themselves in the process. Everyone would mind their own business, and nobody --least of all me -- would give a hoot in hell who ultimately wins that American-style, cutthroat competition. I suspect that just getting the stem cells directly would win out, but you never know. Of course, they say that this news will undercut the "moral" objection (the real moral issue, however, is property rights), but I think...

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“…to experience freedom in our time.”

Listen for that, and consider the implications -- especially for those under perhaps about 35 years of age. Could it be that, here in America, there exists young people who've grown up and do not know what freedom is? And the only reason they would not know, is that they've never really felt it in a classic, American sense? So, just ask yourself: how long did you expect they could be lied to? How long do you suppose they would go, hearing always about the "Land of the Free," yet never once truly feeling it in all of their lives? I know I haven't felt it -- not once -- in over two decades. The last time I felt free in America was 1984. I was out of the country almost continuously until 1992, so I don't have a good idea of the exact moment a feeling like that would have slipped away for a guy like me. Anyway, take a look.

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Paul’s Campaign Responds to Charen

Other than a few really annoying typos (Communications Director?), this is exactly the sort of thing I like to see. Simple, direct, straightforward, to-the-point; and completely devoid of double-talk, euphemism, innuendo, wiggle room, grandstanding, appeals to emotion, authority (other then the Constitution), patriotism and every other insulting device used in virtually every communication out of a campaign in the last 50 years at least. Additional background, here. You know, all one need do is read that release and compare it with position or clarification statements issued by other campaigns now and over the years and decades to understand Paul's appeal. There is a dire thirst for honesty in the political process. Now, that is a vain hope, because honesty is anathema to democratic politics, for the simple reason that democracy keys on opinion above principle and people are easily fooled; hell, people want to be fooled. That's why Paul, in spite of 10 terms in office, has never enjoyed any notoriety until now. Nonetheless, honesty is its own reward -- always. More honesty is always better, no exceptions. That's essentially the basis of my enthusiasm for this campaign. Let me just say it: Paul is the only honest man to...

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The Taxman

Bruce McQain really does a good job filling you in on what you're up against, assuming you're in the top 50% of income earners in the U.S. And let's face it: if you're even trying, top 50% aint that tough. Read the whole thing, and the Walter Williams piece that underlies it, too. I've been saying it for years: the chief objective of practical politics (I'm not going to make any useless distinctions: politics. period.) in a free democratic society is to have the productive half of the country foot the bill, while ensuring the other half get out to the polls to vote. Which means: if you're one of the productive half and you vote, there's just something a little bit stupid about you -- because you'll never outvote all those who'd be happy to have you pay their way. Then again, I'm always hearing what a great political "value" and "freedom" it is to vote. Well, you're sure gettin' the freedom to have your values, eh? (good & hard) Bruce includes an interesting chart that shows us closing in on France in terms of haematomania. I note that the fastest growing economy on the plant (3-5 times faster...

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Duh

Johah Goldberg's punchline : But there's something weird going on when Paul, the small-government constitutionalist, is considered the extremist in the Republican Party while Huckabee, the statist, is the lovable underdog. It's even weirder because it's probably true: Huckabee is much closer to the mainstream. And that's what scares me about Huckabee and the mainstream alike. You can read the rest of the article to find out why, but what it really comes down to, between the lines, is that Huckabee is the right-wing version of Hillary Clinton, and I think there's a lot of truth to that. They both want to "save the world" according to their collectivist religious ideals. What? You think the difference between Huckabee and Hillary is that one is devoutly religious and the other not? Ha! Of course, all the candidates, save Paul, want to run your life, run the country, and run the world. And that's only because they look out and see a county of 50% leftist ignoramuses who think a president should run their lives, run the country, and run the world, and 50% rightist ignoramuses who think a president should run their lives, run the country, and run the world. This...

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“Land of the Free” Update

Don and Susie Kirlin buy a piece of property in Boulder, CO in 1980, and last year finally decide to build their dream house on it. Not so fast. Former Boulder District Judge, Boulder Mayor, RTD board member - among other elected positions - Richard McLean and his wife, attorney Edith Stevens, used an arcane common law called "adverse possession" to claim the land for their own. And they were successful. They had developed an "emotional attachment" to the land over the years. And the Kirlins didn't just have to sell it to them at "fair market." The had to sign over 34% of the lot, and now the $800,000 lot is essentially worthless. Well at least the law was upheld. That's always important, you know. (link: balko)

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My Inner European

Not really a big surprise, as I speak the language and used to live there. I could have gone different ways on a number of those questions, though. Got this via Bruce. Your Inner European is French! Smart and sophisticated. You have the best of everything - at least, *you* think so. Who's Your Inner European?

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