Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I Am Not Cynical, But…

Posted: July 30, 2016 in Politics, Religion

I just got through dealing with my city’s billing department. They have adopted a really aggressive billing.
That is a paraphrase of Mose Alison’s song, “Gettin’ There “, in which he says he’s “not down-hearted, but I’m gettin’ there”.
I have a friend who lives just outside the city limits, who said if this city decides to annex his neighborhood, he will put his house up for sale. I don’t know what his beef is, but I certainly do understand his sentiment. Right now, if I had the resources, I would move outside the boundaries of this city in a heartbeat.
That would only solve the immediate problem. Expanding on that one issue, I feel that my elected representatives adopt (in their mind, certainly not to my face) that I am in the word of our most cynical Presidential candidate, a loser. I don’t know if I prefaced my remark with his infamous put-down, I would get real sympathy from my elected representatives, but it is worth a try.
My concerns were recently addressed in an article in the local newspaper about the percentage of local people who are struggling financially. I believe this is not just local and contributes to candidates who prey on their negative views of the system. To believe there is a mythical Siren song that causes disaffected voters to vote for the less qualified, but emotionally appealing candidate, much as the Siren’s song lead sailors to disaster. This character is emblematic of the political rhetoric that they don’t really understand but appeals to their emotions.
Logical intelligent arguments go right over the head of those whose minds are made up and do not listen. They offer no rebuttal but repeat their original opinion. Dale Carnegie included this unattributed quote in his book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People”: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”. As I remember, the author follows up with the idea that people can only be convinced if you appeal to their “better angels”. This is my translation, probably not verbatim from the book itself.
Googling the quotation leads to Dale Carnegie’s book and tries to trace the origins of it. It1 cites the famous British writer, Mary Wollstonecraft, who used the phrase “Convince a man against his will, He’s of the same opinion still.” in the notes to Chapter 5 of her 1792 treatise, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. This adage is placed in quotes, denoting that it wasn’t original text, but without reference to the source. So either she didn’t know the origin of this saying or she assumed that it was so popularly known that citing the source was unnecessary. My opinion is this compares to the “dead metaphor”.
1. CliffNotes Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


What Seems Irrational

Posted: April 29, 2013 in Economy, Politics

I’m sorry, I just can’t help being skeptical of claims that the anti-tax bunch are raising against the proposed federal law to enforce the sales tax for on-line sales is irrational on their face. But, wait a minute. The same argument we have been making during the first Obama term, that the R’s agenda to make him a one term president is what was the real agenda for their apparently nonsensical arguments. Now, they would have us believe that is no longer an issue. But, keeping a Democratic president from being in office as the economy recovers and revenues begin to flow to local and state coffers – enabling much needed jobs – is a real possibility.

If you want an example of a totally irrational argument, try labeling the bill the “Let the People in Alabama loot the People in New York Act.” Nobody in New York will pay a single dime to the people in Alabama if this bill passes into law. The only people who will pay are the people in Alabama, when they purchase something from a business in New York. The closest issue that has any traction at all is the claim that it will cause undue hardship on companies that have on line businesses. I could see that if it were a real small business, but a well written software application would make the inconvenience minimal.

So, forget it anti-tax zealots. You’re losing! Join with us in spurring rational revenue raising to get this country going again. The number of critical infrastructure projects left undone are legend. You just can’t keep cutting from the poor and disenfranchised until you have enough money to do what is necessary. And instituting tolls to pay for each and every improvement is not an option. That’s the only way you can make those who use a service or improvement pay for itself.

So you are worried that if there is universal background checks before purchasing a firearm the government will have a data base with which it can come get your guns if it wants to. What you aren’t realizing is the government “of the people and for the people” is you. It is inconsistent to believe you can trust you with a dangerous weapon, but can’t trust the government to follow the (proposed) law and dispose of the information included in your application after a period of time. If you are concerned that the organization made up of law enforcement officers will prevail in their agenda to retain the applications so they can use them to find criminals, join the ACLU in keeping this provision out of the bill. When was the last time you wrote to your legislator to voice your opinion about this? If you are of the mind that they don’t listen, believe me they do. What you need is a well articulated message that gains the backing of people of like mind. One way to make this happen is letters to the editor.

When I was in high school there were two noticeably dog-eared copies of two books in our library that had to be replaced because they got so worn out. There titles were “Street Rod” and “Hot Rod”. They were both riveting stories of young people driving crazily until disaster happened.

One very graphic depiction involved two cars full of young people careen down a back road – center line – with head-lights turned off. I can remember only one detail of the results that was so horrific that it sickened me.

I was affected by gruesome scenes like that. To this day I can remember a skeleton being shown in some crime movie.

But, more tot he point, which is about the analogy of two cars heading towards each other – in the dark – driven by irresponsible teenagers; applied to our national government being taken over by hose who cause massive job reductions by instituting a non-governance policy like the Mutual Assured Destruction of the cold war era. I guess those who embarked on this adventure figured we could work ourselves out of this mess like we did in the years following M. A. D. days. Maybe we will. But like all analogies, this one limps. Or are apparent differences not so true? How were nations’ economies stifled by building up to the nuclear option? David Halberstam garnered a Pulitzer in 1964 for international reporting and wrote “The Best and the Brightest” about the relationship between the best engineers of the era and the military industrial complex. It was said that the M. I. C. sucked the talent and left non-defense industries without their talents. I can guess that had something to do with the economy if that economy had been denied their talents.

I still have faith that Obama will finally prevail over the R’s efforts to sully his presidency, and the radical T-Party extremists, who reportedly welcome sequestration to reduce national spending. Their inability to perceive the consequences of our shrinking economy reveal their governing naivete.

Today I am reading an account of the death of Dr. Rita-Montalcini, when I pondered the question: isn’t it interesting how nobody seems to doubt the validity of any Nobel prizes… unless it involves a noted political figure? I’ve seen the Nobel Peace Prize denigrated by many people when it was awarded to such luminaries as Al Gore (and the 2,000 scientists who gave credence to man made global warming). But, one is a surprise. President Obama couldn’t fathom why he was picked for the Peace Prize shortly after becoming the 44th President. The Nobel Prize committee gave eloquent defense for their pick… which probably convinced no one who are steadfast in their hatred for Obama.

Most Peace Prizes have been non-controversial. I can remember many over the years that merely raised awareness for their contributions to society. It is only lately, as the radical fringes raised their ugly heads, that recipients have become controversial.

There are two flaming issues in today’s politics that draw my interest only inasmuch as the interest I have in them is lukewarm. One is women’s rights; the other is rights and responsibilities.

I maintain that abortion is wrong and the argument that women only want the right to do with their bodies what they want; they don’t want men telling them what it the right thing to do when they become pregnant. As I asked my daughter, when she brought up that argument (it was an academic argument for her as she chose to have both babies when she had unplanned pregnancies), “what makes women think that being inside their wombs is their body?” A follow up question would be, “isn’t that developing fetus a separate and distinct being? I agree with the ancient philosopher that they are important in society to guide politicians in their quest to do the right thing. Philosophers bring thoughtful arguments to a dialog that can influence debaters to take actions that benefit mankind.

The other issue is rights and responsibilities. When I get a plea to join with the President in his efforts to reinforce the safety net by telling him what $2000 in a year means to me (my budget). Well, I used a calculator to find out what that amount translates to in a weekly budget. The answer is $38.46. Guess what: my income is on the verge of being increased by about that much because my distributor is employing me to help out. How did that happen? I think it is a combination of two factors: I have been volunteering my services to keep the ball rolling when it comes time for us to pick up our papers from the plant. The other factor is her shrinking number of employees due to her basic ignorance of the methods you can find in Dale Carnegie’s wonderful book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. (I think the title is misleading and I would rename it “How to Become a Better Person”) In other words she has come to need me.

Now, I don’t want to come off as some kind of arrogant “if I can do it, why can’t you?” I do realize there are all kinds of impediments to success. I’ve experienced a lot of them and “there, but for the grace of God…” isn’t an entirely religious phrase. It is a very real assessment of the differences between successful and unsuccessful people. The two observations are merely ways my attitudes are molded.

If you were to consult Wikipedia or another reputable encyclopedia you would find that the metaphor ship of state has a long and rich history of use. Here is one that isn’t mentioned: our ship of state has two critical elements, a screw (that’s the accepted word for what landlubbers call a propeller – which is the propulsion for an aircraft) and a rudder. Progressives with a liberal orientation would be to the screw; and conservatives would be like the rudder. When we learn to recognize the legitimate contribution and accept thought and action from both camps, we will see real improvement in the function of our much maligned congress.

Taking the metaphor further, of course we think of a ship without a rudder being doomed to an erratic course destined to either wander aimlessly on the high seas, or collide with something and sink, but consider the ship without movement (way) and you realize it can’t be steered. So, progressives (liberals) taking over would probably run us aground; but conservatives who would stifle progress would doom us to an equally tragic  end.

These twin entities are partners in the crime of destroying the cohesive fiber of our society. These sinister elements can penetrate institutions that purport to the betterment of society. Inasmuch as conservative mind-sets fall into traditional quagmires and use the twin perps to try to vanquish both liberal and progressive movements, they stifle goodness that should be allowed to thrive.

This morning I was broadsided by an observation followed by a question. The observation was, “I see you have an Obama yard sign up in your yard.” The question was, “So, how do you feel about paying $4 a gallon for gas?”

This individual used a strategy I first saw George W. Bush use in making the subliminal message that there was a connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. He would commemorate 9/11 and follow by mentioning Saddam Hussein. Now, “Dubya” has admitted there is no connection between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein; so, by making the implied connection he perpetrates a false-hood that is believed by many Americans.

If my antagonist had succeeded he would have planted the connection between Obama and the price of gasoline in my mind. I didn’t believe it for a minute; and could only reply that I wasn’t paying $4 a gallon for gasoline. I wanted to avoid a stupid argument; but I should have asked the very salient question, “Just what is the connection between Obama and the price of gasoline?” I believe the man would have been forced to admit no connection if he were to be truthful.

Why Young People are Disapointed…

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Politics

… with Obama

I am frequently reminded of the polls that reveal that a lot of young people who were enthusiastic about Barack Obama’s performance in the office of the President. These people remind me of a person who reads the first chapter of a book then skip all but the last and read it. They are disappointed by the turn of events because they haven’t made themselves knowledgeable about the reasons the last chapter is the way it is.