Posted by: JDM..... | January 31, 2013

There I go…

…taking myself too seriously again…

too serious_450

Posted by: JDM..... | May 27, 2016


….and RIGHTS…

One thing, among many, that history teaches us is that once an ax gets ground three more show up to boast their dullness. Another is that we, as a species, rarely give a shit about what history reveals. This is not to say that axes should not be ground in the literal sense, but that there is a tendency to stretch metaphors way beyond their reasonable tolerance.

Take “rights,” for example. There is a 99% chance that two men standing toe to toe debating where the rights of one end and those of the other begin will be resolved when one kills the other, claiming he had the right to do that “because”…..

Metaphor abuse is part of the DNA in some places, like New York City where the police are being criticized of “profiling” homeless people and thereby violating their “rights”. According to a lawyer who is hitching her BMW payments to their wagon via the local Civil Liberties Union, “We have the right to not have the police interrupt our daily lives.

We? ” I understand the value of inclusion as a tool for building relationships, but I seriously doubt the lady lives on a steam grate. Besides, getting back to that bit about where the rights of one end and those of the other begin, certainly “we” as citizens have the “right” to the sanctity of our homes (“places of residence”….notice the stretch?), but in the generally understood meaning of the word “home”, public property like sidewalks, or property belonging to another, even if that “other” is a big ol’ rich guy or a corporation, is not on the Free Lunch Menu. I mean, I don’t have much, but it’s MINE, and you can’t live there. I might let you camp out there while resolving a tough time, but you’re going to have to mow the lawn, paint the garage, or something. You’re not just going to lay around smelling my roses and grooving on medical marijuana or whatever.

Anyway, this Civil Liberties Union lawyer has an interesting take on things, not all that unusual these days, actually, but I prefer more traditional and time tested methods of filtering to sort out the flakes of reality hidden in the rest of all that sludge. You know, kind of like panning for gold. I’m not into the new fad of grabbing the first handful of convenient crap to come down the line, calling it “gold”, and suing anyone who disagrees and especially if they refuse to pay the going price for it.

We DO have the right to be secure in our homes. Normally, a home has four walls and a roof, and the resident either owns the property or has permission from the owner to be there. Public property supposedly belongs to the “public”, which means it is held for the benefit all as a community. That doesn’t automatically mean one, albeit a bona fide member of the “public”, can “live” there. City hall is “public property”, as are the parks, schools, highways, sidewalks, and so forth. If someone opts to stake a claim on what he calculates is his “fair share” of the public domain and to guard that as his own, he is effectively interfering with the rights of everyone else, even if they neither know about nor complain about his behavior. Since most of us aren’t into roaming the streets in the middle of the night and fighting bad guys, we employ specially skilled people to do that stuff. That’s not all the police do, of course.


Therein lies another member of the Much Hackneyed Word List. Profiling is one of those terms whose meaning is more a matter of degree rather than of substance. Profiling is just one of numerous references developed to describe the human behavior of observing one’s environment, assessing the nature of what is seen, and making decisions accordingly. Whether or not one acts upon ones conclusions is a separate matter, but even if one does, it is not necessarily a constant or a predictable quality.

In fact, “profiling” is but one part of a broad family of behaviors that all animals engage in to enhance their chances of survival. That’s why we are more likely to eat meat than rocks, and why a toddler is more likely to try out a bug or two, or even some things of unmentionable heights on the Disgusting scale, while the adults in his life won’t. Grandparents may occasionally regress…

We assess our environments and the people in them to obtain information that will help us remain safe in that environment, and for other intents. One may enter an environment for many purposes, perhaps to identify people who need help, as a nurse might do. When I worked on the local psychiatric unit, I profiled the hell out of new environments, for many reasons. Thus, when a policeman is accused of “profiling”, I’m tempted to say, “Yeah, and he ate supper, too!….What’s yer point?”

Homelessness has always been an issue, in large and small communities alike. There is a preponderance of mental health factors in play here, but having a problem does not absolve one of the need, and responsibility, to remain within the boundaries of the society’s limits and requirements. Telling a person to stop violating those limits is not violating their rights; how one tells the person may need improvement at times.

Certainly, the process can be abused, and has been, on occasion. Ergo, the issue at hand. But truth will be better served if one applies judgment rather than agenda when drawing conclusions from observation. This can be an understandable challenge for anyone in a watchdog role, just as it surely is for members of the law enforcement profession. Human nature factor #115A: we tend to see what we are looking for.

So, what about the accusations of “profiling” aimed at the NYPD for their interactions with homeless people? That is an impossible question to answer with the information provided in the news item, largely because modern “news” items are crafted to induce adrenaline surges rather than to inform, and the necessary monotonous details are missing.

Is approaching a group of less than nattily dressed and groomed men lounging about on a street corner and asking them to “move along” an instance of inappropriate bias because perhaps the encounter plays out differently than it might had it been a group of men in pinstriped suits holding leather valises? I say no. And I say further that the CLU lawyer needs a hobby, if that’s the best she can come up with. Might I suggest she explore the possibility of more productive fodder in Washington, DC?


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Posted by: JDM..... | April 22, 2016

Living vicariously….


Posted by: JDM..... | April 13, 2016

Keeping it simple…

”Cut the crap….”

I read another news item this morning about that festering boil on our society’s nether regions so many Americans sport and nurture like some kind of a merit badge.

Moving in lock-step with those forces seeking to make America “free” by prescribing a one-note anthem and declaring all who live out of tune criminals,  a Mississippi lawyer has filed a lawsuit to have the symbol of the Confederacy removed from the state flag.  That’s no big deal, but attorney Carlos Moore charges that the flag is an “unconstitutional relic of slavery” that violates his dignity.

Mr. Moore asserts that he is “nobody’s second-class citizen” and doesn’t appreciate being treated as such.

If anything is unconstitutional, it would be the presumption of authority to decide what symbols, totems, or representations others are allowed to display, view, honor, or simply tolerate on the grounds that certain things threaten Mr. Moore’s dignity or make him feel like a second class citizen.

Mr. Moore, when you respect yourself, believe in yourself, and know who and what you are, nobody and no thing can violate your dignity.  Only you can do that.  So, stop it.

The vile practice of slavery ended a century and a half ago.  It has taken time to remove the relics and residuals of those evil circumstances, and for the last half century or so there has been a hard fought and concentrated effort to eliminate remaining state and federal permissions for unconstitutional barriers to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness such as the “Jim Crow” laws.  That is the extent of the law’s authority, or should be.  The rest is up to us, as a society, to change our behaviors and perspectives.

I don’t believe it was the intent of those who gave their lives to launch the Civil Rights movement so many years ago to simply transfer ownership of privileged class status to themselves by creating special rules, regulations, and opportunities for members of select populations.

Has this nation struggled through fifty plus years of growing pains in an effort to eliminate the favored status of some under the law only to have the music stop and everyone scramble for the Big chair?  Has nothing changed but the wind direction?

If any “relics of slavery” continue to muddy the waters of the United States it is because people like Mr. Moore refuse to let go of them.  One cannot selectively rewrite history, ripping out unfavorable chapters to pretend they never happened while at the same time reminding everyone on a daily basis that they did happen and expecting special treatment in perpetuity as restitution.

Humanity has an unpleasant penchant for playing badly with others, seeking to dominate, abusing power and privilege, and stealing the other guy’s stuff.  The cycle never stops because, upon achieving peace and tranquility, the formerly subdued immediately spend it on “paybacks”.  King of the Mountain is an endless pursuit, it seems

If Mr. Moore and those who share his fear of giving up “The Card” truly wishes to advocate for the betterment of humanity, it is time they pull up their big boy Garanimals and get over it.  I mean, really.  Let go of the past, move on.  Teach Sunday school, lead a Scout troop, smile, prepare wills, deeds, focus on building a future instead of claiming entitlement to one and demanding it be served on a silver platter.

In short, cut the crap.  It’s time.


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Posted by: JDM..... | April 1, 2016

A “Save-the Day” candidate!!!

or something like that ….

I would like to take this opportunity to announce my availability as a write-in candidate for President of the United States.

I have no party affiliation, but, like most people, I have agendas. My platform? To get government out of the way so the People can exercise their greatness freely. I won’t promise to do anything spectacular to get the media’s skivvies in a twitch because, unlike the current contenders, I realize the fact that my job will be to work with Congress, to lead them, not to bypass them or order them around. I see the wisdom in following the guidelines of the Constitution as opposed to digging around for ways to exploit loopholes. If elected, I don’t intend to spend one minute working on a “legacy”. I mean, who would waste time on such a thing other than a consummate Narcissist? I didn’t pay people to sign my yearbook, for cryin’ out loud, and I didn’t expect those who did to pay me for the privilege….


Forget the “vetting”. I’ll show the media and the pucker-butts my rap sheet. Who cares? That was then and this is now. Besides, I’ve never regretted anything that I didn’t enjoy the hell out of first, and boy, have I had a blast! Fortunately, other than a few misdemeanors and adolescent social faux pas, I am fully qualified for the office. Well, I’m not a lawyer, but I’m a bit of a windbag and I do know a few.

I’m not a bumpkin, either. I graduated from college. I’ve been around. I’ve dined with the Governor. I’ve chewed on a cold boloney sandwich in a six by eight. I’ve shaken the hands of Senators, Representatives of Congress, a future Secretary of Defense, and a couple of Hell’s Angels.

But enough about me.

Never mind. Why should I care to run for the most impossible job on the planet?

Primarily because those currently running scare the pants off of me and a whole lot of other people, and those with the PC credentials to go for it themselves are more interested in protecting their PC credentials. They had help with such decisions from millions of misguided citizens who either want the USA to “goose step its way to greatness” or fulfill Kruschev’s prophesy by jamming our path to full Statism into passing gear.

My core politic is a mixture. I think all existing parties have good points and are full of bovine flapjacks on others. Generally speaking, I believe the Constitution is central, and that we should strictly follow it in spirit in order to properly respect it, especially when making adaptations for “context”. I value the concept of the individual as primary, and that of public servants as just that.

I believe it is important that we have a strong legal system that provides rational and appropriate consequences for crimes of violence and property. Personal property is inviolate. Nobody has the right to take the property of another, or to interfere with their use of it. Including government.

I believe in equal treatment under the law for all people. That does not translate into equal accoutrements of some statistically median lifestyle or unlimited freebies to make it feel that way. Nevertheless, I believe in generous welfare and support for those who are unable to care for themselves. That means safe and reasonably comfortable housing. That means basic nutrition, which does not include snack foods, soda pop, lobster, or gourmet fare. Specifying allowable purchases does not violate anybody’s rights. Nobody is “entitled” to any extra credit for being on a “list”, nor should anybody merit any less, for the same reason. I would be interested to see how Congress addresses these issues.

Religion is none of the government’s business. That means government does not promote or show disfavor toward any matter of spirituality, but maintains a neutral position while still following the law. No sacrificing virgins, for example. You can burn a cross if you so desire, but do it on your own lawn. That kind of thing. The Taliban mentality of removing existing historic monuments and icons because they don’t live up to the Politically Correct mandates of the moment is not OK. That behavior violates the rights of those who created such monuments and those who enjoy them. It also violates the right of those who don’t actually give a damn, but by so doing the Taliban effectively are dictating to them certain belief systems and using force to promote them.

I would support and encourage movement toward a society where individuals are free to pursue their dreams to the best of their ability. Not everybody has dreams, of course. Many just wish to have enough to get along, or at least only have enough drive to pursue that level. That’s fine. The rest of society is not obligated to supplement their ambitions, however, in order to achieve some statistically pleasing standard of living.

At least one candidate believes everyone should have access to a “free” college education, not because they are smart but because they can prove they can’t afford it. Of course they can’t afford it, they haven’t graduated yet. As far as education is concerned, I think everybody should have access to college loans, and counseling to assist with applying for any of the thousands of grants available from private industries and other interests. Other than that, debt can be a great motivator for performance. Or, one can acquire an education incrementally, over a period of years, working between enrolled semesters to save money or to play, or whatever.

We have to be realistic about economic matters. I believe the cry to “audit the fed” is a reasonable action, as is serious consideration of returning to a money supply founded upon tangible assets. Moving off of the gold and silver standards was not done because it was a good idea for the people or for the country, but to favor the agendas of a few.

I won’t argue that the Federal Reserve was a bad idea back when it was created, but I will argue that it is a good idea to chew on the question of whether it is a good idea in this particular part of the twenty first century. We are no longer a keystone in the brick and mortar industrial world because that world has changed and given way to an economic environment centered around technology and computer science. Regardless of nationalistic viewpoints, we need to accept that the economy is now global in nature, and if we wish to participate and play king of the mountain therein, we have to understand the rules of the game. I read somewhere that one of the barriers to that understanding is our archaic vision of a “factory” being one of raw materials in the front door and finished product out the back. The factory still exists, but is segmented around the planet instead of just around a city lot down by the tracks. We play an important part in that economy, but the “brick and mortar” folks are just going to have to find some new way to earn a living. Their ancestors had to do the same thing when the horseshoe and carriage industries fizzled out.

One thing I have a very strong politic about is that government should not be an industry, nor should it operate like one. The USA embarked on a reasonable, rational, and Constitutional path some sixty years ago when it began a concerted effort to eliminate the conditions that disallowed a huge portion of our population equal access to the rights and privileges enjoyed by others. Why they were denied is not relevant at this point. However, the Why has replaced the original problem of deprivation and continues to be a seemingly insurmountable issue today, with the historic deprivation itself actually serving as an “Oh, yeah…that too…” kind of point. We need to learn from, and end, that approach to Constitutional issues.

Just as acting like American Taliban in protecting the freedom of religion concept tends to violate the very principle it claims to represent, overly exuberant efforts to “end poverty” and all of its cognates has been said to actually give those conditions a certain immortality. Look at it this way:

A need is discovered. Johnny needs shoes.

A program is started to identify other people who need shoes and to provide them with some.

So far, so good.

Such a program requires personnel and a budget.

And a building.

and so forth….oh, and more personnel…

It doesn’t take too many years, and too many additional good idea programs to convert government from a service to a service industry. To many, that may still seem like a good idea. It is not; look at it this way: An industry “produces” a product or service. A product producer needs raw materials, which it purchases from those who have them available for sale. A service industry, like the brick and mortar version, also requires “raw materials”, which comes in the form of whatever “need” the service aspires to fill or resolve. Those who create income by consulting, fixing, caring for, and providing numerous other service related “products” have to compete for the business. Like any business, it requires Research & Development, Sales, Advertising, Professional Providers, Management, Accounting, and more. He who provides the greatest value for the smallest cost wins the game.

A government service industry runs in very much the same manner, with a few key differences.

Products:  As mentioned, the product is “need.” In order to stay viable, even before the initially identified need is fulfilled, it becomes crucial to identify new needs to be fulfilled. Johnny has shoes. Now What?

R&D  …steps in to either find needs or to create them. That’s where sales and advertising come in….(selling refrigerators to Eskimos and all of that sort of thing).

None of these functions is self sustaining or subject to the “natural” rules and forces of a market economy in this case, however. The government operated “service industry” takes what it needs, gives away what it wants to, and can mandate the purchase of its products, all of this financed with money taken from the taxpaying public. The only thing missing from this formula is the gun. No it’s not. It’s there, but you won’t see it unless you decline to participate.

The welfare economy requires three things: a limitless, free supply of “raw materials” and cash, a captive market, and force. While many may appear to benefit from it, it is primarily a “jobs program” for those employed in the industry.  The people in “need” are a crucial raw material, and therefore are indispensable. They are captured, they are husbanded like cattle.

Military:   Just as welfare was originally established to help the helpless and to care for those who are unable to care for themselves, military functions were originally conceived to defend the physical nation and its people from enemies “foreign and domestic”. Eisenhower wasn’t the first to notice, of course, but he is known for voicing concerns about a “military-industrial complex. ” Such a marriage was reasonable and necessary during WWII, but it was not subsequently dismantled. It found new things to do, new causes to fight for. In fact, the United States of America has been engaged in armed conflict of one kind or another for 222+ our of the last 230+ years…93% of our very existence. That speaks to something other than “self defense.” It is an industry, Aprofit center,” if you please. The 100 top producing “industries” are all engaged in the production, sales, and distribution of weaponry or some related “product”. When we aren’t asserting ourselves as global police, we serve as mercenaries, or “observers”. Right….. That’s a little like being an “observer” at an orgy, isn’t it?

Just as an end to poverty would bankrupt the country and millions of previously middle class wage earners, starting the cycle all over again, if “peace” was ever actually achieved, our surviving brick and mortar industries and “defense” related interests would collapse.  There’s no big global demand for yo-yos.

In other words, despite our vigorous PR and traditions to the contrary, the USA is a welfare state in the making, and not in the least bit interested in world peace. We can’t afford to win either campaign.

I’d like to find a way to change that. I’d like to rally those who would also be willing to take the risks involved in becoming a productive, independent population, more interested in making and selling widgets than making and selling weapons, war, and welfare.

Unions will, of course, be among the most energetic of my detractors, as would be federal employees and civilian federal contractors whose jobs depend on serving the “needs” of the poor or of the military industrial complex.

It’s a free country, but that doesn’t mean it’s free to live here, and it shouldn’t obligate the population to pay for each others’ pipe dreams or the pipe dreams of those with a pocketful of power to play with.

That’s enough for now. I’m hungry, anyway. I think I’ll pop up to Martha’s Vineyard for brunch…


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Posted by: JDM..... | March 20, 2016

Attila the cat…

and the Big Burnout….

AHHH…..first day of spring, at last.

I don’t mind winter. Never have….but there comes a time when folks around here start looking for snowmelt and robins. Today is the day always mark down on the calendar on the kitchen wall, though I keep a weather eye ’til around the middle of April just in case.

The last few years have been different. Strange. I used to start scouting my favorite fiddlehead patch around the first of June, but for the last five or ten years they’ve come and gone by the end of May. Lilacs, too. Memorial Day used to be lilac time around here, but they’ve been runnin’ three or four weeks early, too. I’m kind of curious about how this spring will flesh out.

The missus and me have a tradition of sweepin’ off the front porch and pullin’ the rocking chairs out of the g’rage on the first day of spring, no matter whether it’s sunshine and tee-shirt time or if there’s still three feet of snow on the ground. No snow this year, but the air is a brisk 45 degrees and the sun is bright. A good day to put in some porch time. Dollars to donuts she’s got a bouquet of spring flowers in the fridge all ready to vase up and set on the little wicker table we use for a catch-all between the rocking chairs every summer. Tomorrow, we’re supposed t’ get nicked by a nor’easter. We’ll see…

Thinking about springtime again, my mind wandered back over the years to the arrivals of other springs in what seems like another life. I’m retired now, and clocks and calendars don’t mean much, leastways not what they did backalong. Years ago, before we sold the place on the river and settled down in what we thought would be a low-maintenance place closer to the city, we had a decent little place with a barn right on the banks of the Monkeedung River down the road a piece. My grandfather used to say “dun the rudd-a-look”, but y’ don’t hear that kind of talk much anymore.

I started one o’ them internet “blogs” there, and the town generated endless stories and tales to build on. I decided this morning to see if I could revive it just for fun. The theme was a mongrel of exaggerated personal experiences, people I’ve known, and a few outright lies, usually narrated by a former fisherman nicknamed “Boodah” by his friends, but it was fun. Many of my stories involved a cat we had for over fifteen years, which is an unusual span for an outdoor cat. I called him “TC”, which kind of came about from me tagging him as “Attila The Cat” backalong. His housemate and co conspirator, “Scud”, marked off seventeen years under the same conditions. I picked out one of my cat stories to reopen Chummin’ into the Wind (click on the link) for a bit. I hope you like it…….


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Posted by: JDM..... | March 18, 2016



Posted by: JDM..... | March 6, 2016

A bombastic blowhard and a wolf in sheep’s clothing…

These are not the makings of a nice fairy tale….

Some have put Donald Rump and Bernie Sanders in the same bin for supposedly appealing to the disaffected and so called disenfranchised of the electorate, but this attempt at simplification goes astray from the reasonable trajectory, like a rifle shot in a stone quarry. These two men are quite different in virtually every way.

Trump, besides being a bit of a child in general, is the poster child for the popular caricature of Corporate Evil. He’s a bully, he’s bombastic, belligerent, and Narcissistic. If all of that is just his “stage presence”, his established track record as a liar will be proven to go character-deep; and those are his good points. Nobody knows what he wants or what he intends to do. I don’t think he does, either….with a foresight that doesn’t reach the end of his nose. He likes the game.

Bernie Sanders is another story. The man is sincere in what he represents and is not a feather in the wind. He is also very wrong about America and where it should be heading.

Sanders makes no apology about his socialist preferences and leanings, nor should he be. That’s who he is, and I appreciate him being honest about that.

Like Trump, Sen. Sanders appeals to the “disaffected”, but to a different aspect of that position. He seems to appeal to the younger crowd, and he seems to appeal to those of the “progressive” or “left” persuasion, though I wish it was possible to avoid such hackneyed labels. Such is the nature of language. Radical change tends to historically be the bailiwick of the college crowd, but I have to keep in mind that my own generation didn’t exactly create heaven on earth. A little bit of “real life” helps to temper some of that passion, often too much.

Central to my opposition to Sen. Sanders is the very thing that is central to his politic. I don’t like the basic assumptions and principles of “socialism”, and I’m not confusing that with conceptual extremes, nor am I reverting to fighting commies in my imagination like we did when playing Army around the neighborhood in the early fifties.

My understanding of Sanders’ “Democratic socialism” is rudimentary, but essentially I see the difference between that and my own position being I believe “private property” to be inviolate, whether that means my back yard, or a business.

I read a comment on line not long ago by a person who presented her take, rather condescendingly I might add, by bundling anybody utilizing or favoring “public schools, parks, police, and Social Security,” and umpteen other such entities as proof that we are all socialists anyway. I might agree to some extent on the Social Security argument, even though I am now largely dependent on it, but I have to insist that a private, market based system would be far better, far more lucrative, far more stable than the government model has been.

Such things as public services were conceived as extensions of government and have never been otherwise. A group of citizens deciding to usurp authority over private ownership in order to direct its use and purpose to their own interests, or to what they presume to be the best interests of everyone else, is a different matter altogether. Democratic socialism seems to acknowledge the hazy boundary between private and public interests, but exploits that by erring on the side of “as far as one can push Liberalism without blatantly violating the Constitution”.

Let’s be clear. I fully understand and accept that, when one lives in a “community”, there are certain concessions we have to make out of respect for the rights of others. Human beings are “social animals”, but we are also independent cusses. Some make a bit of a mess out of that by combining not wanting to be told what to do with telling everybody else what to do. Oddly enough, I don’t necessarily think that is a socialist franchise.

My personal position might be loosely described as “my rights end where yours begin.” The boundary between the two is the hazy one referred to above. It’s that way by design and by necessity. Efforts to quantify and neaten it up for convenience’ sake are the political rationalizations of one faction trying to achieve control over other factions. Such is the human need to engage in King of the Mountain. Such is the temptation to cheat.

But, back to the matter of Sen. Sanders.

I oppose Sanders and his politic because I strive for less government and less intrusiveness by that which out of necessity remains. I oppose government replacing parents, both in the literal sense up close and personal, and in the more figurative “global” sense as prescribers of the national persona and of our values and behavioral choices.

While domestic government missions may start out with a good idea and unimpeachable foretelling, they tend to go astray, because of the nature of the beast, evolving into self perpetuating government jobs programs. The ills acknowledged during the fifties and sixties have not been eradicated, although they have been significantly changed. Those changes have been largely positive, but like most paths of human progress, the footprints left are not. The horrible state of Americans of African heritage endured until the mid twentieth century has improved to the point that we have a President of African heritage, and more. Yet, there has been a sort of captive dependency created among those who, for whatever reasons, have not achieved personal and financial success. The concept of “equality” has been perverted from the idea of nobody being deprived life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, into a quantified credo of John living as well as Pete, and John enjoying his definition of happiness on someone else’s dime if he comes up a bit short there.

What do I owe my fellow citizens, and guests, of the USA? I owe them respect, not only as human beings, but as owners of personal space and personal property which are none of my concern. I owe them the rights associated with personal responsibility, the potential wisdom to be achieved through personal failure, and the self respect earned through earned success. I acknowledge those as rights that they have, and that I have, as “natural” rights, not temporary “rights” lent according to the permissions of others.

As a social animal, I have an innate awareness of the value of teamwork, and a tendency to be charitable. That quality is not by nature equal in all of us, but it exists, and has always been expressed in the context of the times. Only when government usurps the right to be charitable according to the dictates of one’s conscience and ability does that quality begin to fail. I remember reading of how a village community provided a widow with firewood, and people chipped in to help maintain her home, and so forth, back in mid-seventeenth century New England. Today, the picture would , of course, be quite different. Enabled and supported by an army of salaried bureaucrats and “private” contractors, she would enjoy a great deal more “benefits”, of greater quality, and in greater quantity. And that would be her legacy.

Charity is “big business”, and like any industry, it needs raw materials.

The raw materials of government charity are people in need as defined by government. No bag of rice and five pound block of cheese here. Today, although most respect the opportunity and act accordingly, “food stamp” day is steak and lobster day at the grocery store, and for those who know how to do it (it isn’t difficult), the available “charity” can be converted to cash for beer, cigarettes, and a few lottery tickets to boot.

When I donate a pair of shoes to the local charity that resells them, I help make work and earned income available for those who want it. When a program is developed to provide free shoes to children in the community whose families meet certain criteria, the only jobs and income provided are within the realm of those who administer and manage the program. Those shoes may turn out to be the most expensive shoes in the world….and may not even be manufactured in this country.

Socialism is bad for America, no matter how one redefines it or dresses it up. Neither I nor my neighbors have the moral right to decide how someone we have never met must operate a business that he or she created and built into a profitable enterprise. We have the right to purchase or to not purchase goods and services. We may have the right to purchase stock as well, and thereby earn a voice in the decision making process.

Sen. Sanders correctly identifies some very real problems and shortcomings in our society today, but I disagree with his ideas about how to respond to them. What is his long term vision for the country, for us?

I don’t know. But I do know that he visited Cuba back in 1985 and opined that Castro was doing a fine job of being the best thing since sliced bread. He also expressed fondness and admiration for the Sandinistas and the socialist transformation of Nicaragua. And as for the modification of the concept of “socialism,” adding the word “Democratic” to it doesn’t change the reality that under all of that lipstick is the same old pig….

…..For example, the “official” name of North Korea is the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea“.


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Posted by: JDM..... | March 1, 2016

Apple Inc. is right…

the FBI must acknowledge that fact….

For several months now, technology giant Apple Inc. has been in a stare-down with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in what may turn out to be one of our country’s most significant tests of the spirit as well as the letter of the Constitution.

Apple is arguing that providing the government with the ability to access to a phone belonging to the deceased terrorists who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California last December would compromise the security and safety of similar devises world wide.

The government wants access to the phone to learn if it may contain locater information about where the terrorists were during 19 minutes of the pursuit before they were killed.

When applying the “Why? ” test to each argument, Apple wins hands down. They are protecting their proprietary interests and the interests of the public in a world wide digital environment that is fraught with danger and vulnerabilities. The government seeks to compel a private corporation to provide it with the ability to access private information anywhere, anytime, while at the same time promising it only needs the ability to crack a specific single phone one time. The “Why? ” remains unsatisfied. The alleged value of whatever information may or may not be on the phone is unknown. In other words, the FBI wants to go on a fishing mission and expects Apple Inc. to provide the gear and a boat.

Far more significant is the issue of power and control. When our country was formed, it was largely in response to excesses of the British monarchy, wherein the interests of the government were universally believed to always be primary over those of the people. A government was put together with the intent to make it responsive to the governed rather than to an elite and privileged governing body.

That principle has been under attack since before the ink was dry on the documents declaring it. Adapting to new and unprecedented situations and circumstances is understandable and necessary, and that, I believe, has been the usual standard. That is not in question. What does come to mind, however, is that even the most phlegmatic entity has moments of perceived threat when the “norm” may be temporarily shelved in order to eliminate the troublesome details between here and there. This is one of those times.

The interests of the people, in this case Apple Inc., prevails by definition, but it must be acknowledged by government. To override that protection, to impeach the fundamental concept in any but the most dire of circumstances, would be a tragedy.

The principles of freedom and liberty are constants regardless of circumstances and environment.

Government, in this case the FBI, feels that its mission of providing safety and national security is equally inviolate.

Both have valid points, but there is inordinate potential in this essentially preadolescent Age of the Technological Revolution for the government to oppress the people in its efforts to protect it.

That’s putting it in the polite form. In reality, those in power may be subject to “tunnel vision” under pressure. On the other hand, “Tunnel vision” in the interests of freedom and liberty has been repeatedly validated throughout history as essential.


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Posted by: JDM..... | February 23, 2016

Political fibs…

…and other misconfigured data…

Politicians lie. Now, there’s an epiphany, but then, so don’t we all, and we don’t usually believe such of ourselves any more than many politicians do. We get so wrapped up in our own game that we see very little other than the ball we have our eye on. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that when I tell you your singing was “great”, and it might actually sound like a cat fight in a barrel, I have “misconfigured the data”. No harm done, really, unless I get caught in my fib.

On the other hand, when a politician tells 325 million people that they can keep their healthcare plan, or that there will be “no new taxes”, and so forth, one can generally assume the smarmy oath is fresh off the farm. Here, the harm is done whether the politician gets busted or not.

Doug Bandow of Cato Institute wrote a piece today about financial horse feathers currently wafting about the Capitol (still?). The crux of the matter was nicely summed up in his second paragraph, and I’ll simply quote it verbatim.

President Barack Obama would have everyone believe that he has placed federal finances on sound footing. The deficit did drop from over a trillion dollars during his first years in office to “only” $439 billion last year. But the early peak was a result of emergency spending in the aftermath of the financial crisis and the new “normal” is just short of the pre-financial crisis record set by President George W. Bush. The reduction is not much of an achievement.

It goes down hill from there. If you think you can stand a few unpleasant truths, follow the YellowBrickRoad link below and…enjoy…or, whatever……


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Posted by: JDM..... | February 18, 2016

Sanctioned homicide rituals….

in a righteous, moral world.….

One thing that stands out to me when I tally up the nearly 72 years I’ve been a part of this continuous unscripted flash-mob called “life” is that we human beings don’t seem to value it all that much. Life, that is.

History is full of legends and tales, but I have to wonder nevertheless when man first started killing man, and why. The rest of the animal kingdom is easy to understand; it’s the classic “eat or be eaten“, food chain concept. While there are a few creatures who seem to have occasional unexplained fits of recreational mayhem, humankind alone practices the ritual as a norm across cultures, religions, and politic.

The universal explanation involves blaming the victim, or some other circumstance that obviously won’t get off the ground, but when someone provides the “short form” reason of “I felt like it,” we judge them irredeemably insane and provide them with a rectangle of stark real estate for life, large enough to sport a bunk, a toilet, sink, and maybe a rudimentary desk. Alternately, though at a lesser pace than in the past, we teach the killer a lesson by strapping him to a gurney and squirting drugs into a convenient vein, which may put him to sleep, or may cause him to twitch and convulse while a peanut gallery of selected observers witnesses the whole drama from behind a glass barrier.

Bring your own pop corn. In any event, the involuntary gurney jockey dies, usually within minutes, but rarely taking more than a half hour or so.

We, meaning humanity in general, apparently intuit something oxymoronic in this behavior because we try to legitimize it by draping it in ritual and continuing to seek allegedly more humane ways to accomplish the deed. Here’s the rub, while they were certainly messy and barbaric by any modern perspective, some of the ways man devised to kill man hundreds or even thousands of years ago were generally instantaneous and far less painful, or even painless, for the one being killed than any of our “humane”, scientifically concocted schemes. Pain takes time to reach the brain and be recognized as such, but if the brain and its vessel should be disconnected from the location of the injury in the interim, say by a guillotine blade, no harm, no foul, I suppose. Relatively speaking, of course.

Truth be known, all of the fancy footwork and creativity put into this official killing thing since the beginning of knowable history, and presumably since Ung first smacked Ogg on the head with a rock in order to cop his stuff while camping next to Lake Primordial Ooze, the science of making the art of killing more and more palatable has without variation been for the benefit of the ones doing the killing, not for the ones being killed.

We have always rationalized organized, officially sanctioned killing, while condemning and prosecuting identical acts occurring in fits of anger or as “collateral damage” during the commission of a lesser crime. One is called justice and one is called murder. One is always deliberate and one may or may not be. In my opinion, when you look at the bottom line, in both cases, someone is dead and someone else did it.

In the Middle East, such sanctioned killing is being carried out in bulk, ostensibly because Group B apparently doesn’t do the required Deity thing with the proper flair as described by Group A, but most likely just because Group A feels like it. They don’t have the balls to admit it though, so they blame it on some god.

Old story. Frankly, I’ve not had much use for the gods of Man for a very long time, preferring to find my answers elsewhere, but if I were to consider pledging one of the countless holy-fraternities out there, I certainly wouldn’t think much of an organization dedicated to honoring some SOB prescribing that kind of behavior.

People who can’t practice peace, should shut up and stop pretending they know anything about it. They don’t. Killing is killing, I don’t care what committee approves of it or what Man-god supposedly justifies it. Retribution is a dumb excuse. I used to tell clients when I worked as a counselor, “You don’t teach little Johnny to stop hitting his sister over the head with a toy truck by hitting little Johnny over the head with a toy truck. ” Obviously, the same would apply to the global pastime of homicide, else we would have discovered better things to do millennia ago. We have not.

Some of the reasons for constructing involved and ritualized ways to carry out officially sanctioned homicide are nearly as stupid as the act itself. As mentioned earlier, the real primary purpose is to shelter those who carry out such legalized homicide from the reality of exactly what it is they do. The public is similarly sheltered by electing people they don’t know to hire people neither of them knows to activate whatever mechanism is politically correct at the time for ending a human life.

It is worth pointing out that, not too many years ago, a Dr. Kevorkian was imprisoned for assisting terminally ill medical patients in ending their own lives with a modicum of dignity. Whether or not that was a moral, ethical, or reasonable thing for him, or his patients, to do is a matter for personal analysis and conclusion. I think the point is that the more distanced most of us are from the actual act of committing homicide, the more comfortable we are with committing it by proxy. When it gets up close and personal, we don’t like it. Everyone is touched by the death of a loved one, many by terminal illness. Suicide touches an awful lot of families. It is much easier to feel an emotional connection to such events, which made it easier for many to condemn Dr. Kevorkian’s actions. I have sometimes wondered how many supporters of “capital punishment” would be equally willing to pull the trigger themselves (we even insulate ourselves linguistically, as we do with virtually any activity or concept we find distasteful).

In conclusion, legally sanctioned, premeditated, organized homicide should be recognized for the fruitless hypocrisy that it is. Thousands of years of “civilized” living, with countless remedies ranging from right up front revenge to convoluted rationalizations for sanctioned rituals of death-making have changed nothing. Giving the people who carry out these rituals a name tag, a title, and a salary does not change the fact that a human life is intentionally snuffed out.

This is not to say the perpetrators of civilian homicide without the proper permits and credentials should be let off with a scolding and a scholarship. On the contrary, I think they should be sentenced to excruciatingly long prison terms, without time off for good behavior or any of that since anyone can smile pretty and present whatever facade will earn the greatest reward. Sociopaths and other habitual offenders are especially adept at such play acting. The more outrageous acts of homicide should, of course, earn life without any chance of seeing daylight. Budget restraints are a pretty sorry reason for killing rather than maintaining a danger to society separate from society. If we as a society are to judge the taking of a human life to be wrong, except as a consequence of having to defend against threats to one’s own life, then that should morally, ethically, and legally apply to us all.


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