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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Hark

"Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see, Hail the incarnate deity! Pleased as man with men to appear, Jesus Our Immanuel." -Charles Wesley

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Residents Alerted to Obamas’ Hawaiian Holiday Plans | Hawaii Reporter http://www.hawaiireporter.com/residents-alerted-to-obamas-hawaiian-holiday-plans/123

As Americans face a fiscal cliff, the Obamas make do with 54 Christmas trees by Andrew Malcolm - Investors.com http://news.investors.com/politics-andrew-malcolm/120312-635425-fiscal-cliff-talks-stall-as-obama-white-house-erects-its-own-tree-grove.htm

Saturday, November 24, 2012

What to post on your Facebook "About" page to prove you are not a thinker

****PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning--any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/ or the comments made about my photo's or any other "picture" art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee(s), agent(s), student(s) or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Peter Konetchy versus Voter Fraudgoblins

Peter Konetchy is a little off. I have taken this from the Michigan CPAC Facebook page:
In prior years I couldn’t have considered the possibility that our presidential elections could have been fixed and stolen. But today my gut feeling is that the just past election for the president of the United States was fraudulent.

There are too many inconsistencies for me to trust the results.
• Reports of busloads of non-English speaking immigrants dropped off for voting,
• Multiple, verified reports of electronic voting machines malfunctioning,
• Voter participation in key precincts at 100% or higher,
• 3 million fewer Republican votes than received by McCain,
• Exit polls directly contradicting key precinct results.

I am a programmer, and have always detested electronic voting. Voting machines can be programmed to generate any result desired, and I believe some were manipulated in key precincts generate desired results. I’ve read many confirmed reports of individuals voting for Republican, but having the Democrat selected. Touch screens machines can be manipulated to generate any results desired. How do we know that the vote tallies from touch screen systems reflect the actual votes cast? We don’t.

Why do I believe there was fraud in this election? Independents heavily favored Romney over Obama; Republicans were charged and wanted to vote because of the policies Obama was forcing upon the country; lines at Republican precincts in key battleground states had backups estimated at over an hour,. The momentum in this election decidedly shifted in Romney’s favor after the first debate. Romney spoke to packed events whereas Obama spoke to half empty venues. All these factors together don’t guarantee a Romney victory, but it’s inconceivable that there could be fewer votes for Romney than McCain received in 2008.

It’s known that Obama and his cronies were desperate and tried to manipulate the system any way possible in their favor. What we know as fact that they disenfranchised the military vote, disallowed asking for Identification or proof of citizenship, refused to prosecute those charged with voter intimidation- allowing it to surface again, and encouraged untold millions of illegals to remain in the country and support Obama.

Disgustingly, I feel this administration is capable of sinking to the lowest of lows and rigging the election to ensure another term for Obama.
It’s central to our Republic that we have fair and honest elections. If it can be proven that this election is fraudulent, I cannot sit back idly and allow the people of the United States to be defrauded.

I propose the following:

Ask the Governor of each state, and each member of every state legislator to vouch for the accuracy of their state election results before certifying the electors. Ask if they can vouch for the fact that:
• All military ballots were counted?
• Only U.S. citizens voted?
• Only alive, legally registered voters voted once?
• The provisional ballots were checked for accuracy prior to being counted?
• The touch screen selections were registered to the correct candidate?
• Physical backup exists allowing the actual vote cast to be verified against the vote totals generated by the machines?
• The precincts with grossly abnormal results – such as recording 100% or more voter participation, precincts reporting 100% of the vote for a single candidate, or precincts where the exit polling results are drastically different from the electronic voting machine results, have been verified as accurate?

If the Governor and Legislators cannot vouch for the accuracy of the election within their states, I would suggest they send their electoral votes to the Senate in Abstention.

According to the process, if no candidate receives a majority of the electors, then the vote for president goes to the House and the vote for vice president goes to the Senate. It’s very possible we could end up with a president from one party, a vice president from another party, along with a house and senate controlled by opposing parties. We would have gridlock in Washington – brought about wholly by an administration trying to rig an election.

I have no proof that the election was rigged, but there are people who have first hand proof of abnormalities or fraud. I would suggest that these people document their instance of fraud, and then send it to their state representatives and governor. I would also suggest they send it to every press and media outlet available to publicize documented voter fraud. If gross fraud is documented and it is communicated to the people, then the affected states would have no choice except to vote in abstention.

Public pressure is key.

If the elections can be rigged to produce desired results, what is the use of voting? We have lost our republic. I need confidence that the elections are honest. Anyone who feels this is a valid idea, please develop it further and pass it along to as many people as possible so we can raise awareness of election fraud, and take the necessary steps to bring integrity back to the election process.
Let's not minimize the importance of eliminating voter fraud, since fraudulent votes are a means of disenfranchisement as it is, but speaking about voter fraud like this makes people as a whole doubt its existence all the more. And to be perfectly frank we cannot accept as logic the argument that we were going to win because people were "energized".

brief espionage lexicon

The following is from a so-called "Terms and Definitions section of Spylopedia." We find the claim that "The most common terms related to espionage and intelligence can be found within this page. This is an on-going dictionary- all of these terms have been pulled from common sources including encyclopedias and internet reference sources." One should keep in mind that apparently they really were writing this in alphabetical order; they only get up to the letter C. The website was last update March 13, 1999 at 7:24 PM. It was published on tripod. Who remember Tripod?

A

  • ACCESS- the ability to obtain classified information through the possession of appropriate security clearances.
  • ACOUSTIC INTELLIGENCE- intelligence derived from the collection of acoustic data.  The best example is the collection of noice "signatures" of surface ships and submarines detected by sonar.
  • AGENT- an individual who acts under the direction of an intelligence services to obtain or assist in obtaining information for intelligence purposes or perform a variety of intelligence functions..
  • AGENT OF INFLUENCE- an asset usually in an important government position, who is assigned the job of influencing policy, rather than collecting intelligence.
  • AGENT PROVOCATEUR- an asset, usually under control of a counterintelligence agency, assigned to infiltrate a political organization and instigate violent action designed to discredit that organization.
  • ANGEL- slang used by intelligence officers for member of an opposing intelligence service.
  • APPARAT- an espionage ring or cell.
  • ASSET- any resources available to an intelligence service for operational use.
  • ATTACHE- officers assigned to foreign capitals to provide laison to foreign military forces, overtly to collect information and to gather intelligence.

B

  • BABYSITTER- slang for a bodyguard.
  • BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION- a detailed inquiry to determine an individual's reliability and honesty, usually required to prodive an individual with a security clearance.
  • BIOGRAPHIC LEVERAGE- use of secret background information to force or blackmail a person to work in the intelligence field.
  • BLACK LIST- listing of hostile collaborators, sympathizers, intelligence suspects, or other person.
  • BLIND DATE- a meeting by an intelligence officer and another person at the time and place of the other person's choosing.
  • BLOWBACK- deception planted by an intelligence agency to mislead people in other countries, then returning to the originating country, where it misleads the government.
  • BLOWN- exposure of intelligence personnel or similar elements.  A blown agent is one whose identity is known to the opposition.
  • BRUSH CONTACT- a brief, public but discreet meeting of an agent and an intelligence officer in which information are exchanged, usually with no conversation between the two.
  • BUG- a concealed listening devise used in audio surveillance.
  • BURN- slang term for the deliberate sacrifice of an intelligence agent, usually to protext a more important spy or when there are indications that he has already been compromised.

C

  • CASE- an intelligence operation as a whole or a record of the operation.
  • CASE OFFICER- an intelligence officer who is responsible for providing direction to an agent.
  • CELL- the lowest and most expendable group in an intelligence network.
  • CHICKEN FEED- intelligence knowingly provided to the enemy through an agent or double agent.
  • CLEAN- any intelligence asset, including an agent, safehouse, or material that has never been used operationally and is probably not known to enemy intelligence.
  • COLD APPROACH- an attempt to recruit a foreign national as an agent without any prior indication that the person might be perceptive to such an offer.
  • COMBAT INTELLIGENCE- knowledge of the enemy, weather, and terrain that is used by a commander for the planning of tactical operations.
  • COMMUNICATIONS INTELLIGENCE (COMINT)- Intelligence derived from the intercept of communications.
  • COMPANY, THE- term used within the CIA and by CIA intelligence officers for the organization.
  • COMPROMISE- known or suspected exposure of classified personnel or materials to unauthorized persons.
  • COMPUTER ESPIONAGE- the tapping of computers to gain access to classified information or to alter data.
  • CONFIDENTIAL- U.S. security classification for national security information- the lowest security classification.
  • COUNTER-ESPIONAGE- activites to protect classified information from enemies.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Ladies and gentlemen: Touré | The Daily Caller http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/01/ladies-and-gentlemen-toure/

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Damn right about the rite

Rant-Man's Notebook http://www.monkeyspit.net/rantman/halloween2.php

Biden Spins a Football Yarn - By Eliana Johnson - The Corner - National Review Online http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/330548/biden-spins-football-yarn-eliana-johnson

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Notre Dame at MSU

http://graphics.collegesports.com/graphics/teams/team-logo-nd.gif

vs. Notre Dame
Day: Saturday
Date: Sept. 15, 2012
Location: East Lansing, Mich.
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
No. 10 Spartans Take On No. 20 Notre Dame In Prime-Time Showdown
 

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Mass Presidential Knife Fight To the Death (and Panel Discussion)

My colleague R.B Probst linked via Facebook to a wondrous and magnificent blog entry about the concept of a "Mass Knife Fight to the Death" involving every President of the United States in American history. (This was based on a Reddit thread that I never bothered to read and I doubt I will). The general consensus is that the end of it, the final three Presidents would be Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln. Most who read this pick Jackson as the last one standing. The scenario is as follows:
  • Every president is in the best physical and mental condition they were ever in throughout the course of their presidency. Fatal maladies have been cured, but any lifelong conditions or chronic illnesses (e.g. FDR’s polio) remain.
  • The presidents are fighting in an ovular arena 287 feet long and 180 feet wide (the dimensions of the [1] Roman Colosseum). The floor is concrete. Assume that weather is not a factor.
  • Each president has been given one standard-issue [2] Gerber LHR Combat Knife , the knife [3] presented to each graduate of the United States Army Special Forces Qualification Course. Assume the presidents have no training outside any combat experiences they may have had in their own lives.
  • There is no penalty for avoiding combat for an extended period of time. Hiding and/or playing dead could be valid strategies, but there can be only one winner. The melee will go on as long as it needs to.
  • FDR has been outfitted with a [4] Bound Plus H-Frame Power Wheelchair, and can travel at a maximum speed of around 11.5 MPH. The wheelchair has been customized so that he is holding his knife with his dominant hand. This is to compensate for his almost certain and immediate defeat in the face of an overwhelming disadvantage.
  • Each president will be deposited in the arena regardless of their own will to fight, however, personal ethics, leadership ability, tactical expertise etc., should all be taken into account. Alliances are allowed.
Now I have read the blog entry and aside from the last three standing I disagree necessarily about who will go down in what order, in part because FaceInTheBlue is unfamiliar with John F. Kennedy's near-debilitating back injury and the fact that Abraham Lincoln was physically powerful and loved a good tussle.
Now I have skimmed the comments of the blog entry. I loved what Mr Probst had to say although I recall little in the way of discussion. I know Radley Balko posted it on his Faceboo and the exchange was less awesome than one would hope. Just before Mr Balko posted the link to his I arranged a Panel Disccusion!

The panelists include Brian Koss, Jonathan Farley, Darrin Moore, and Chuck Dixon.
  • Brian Koss, is a Republican political activist, philosopher, generally described as a happy warrior. His favorite American president is Andrew Jackson, a man that has bears very few similarities with the modern members of his Party. His kind of Democrat is the sort of political partisan that modern Democrats scorn and modern Republicans wish they were on their best day. I say all of that despite some occasional evil committed on his part.
  • Jonathan Farley is a Navy veteran, foreign policy maven and historical wunderkind. His favorite American President is Theodore Roosevelt and knows and understands far more about Teddy Roosevelt than Glenn Beck ever will, including why Teddy Roosevelt is to be praised and respected. 
  • Darrin Moore is co-founder out of the New Centurions, bent and determined to carry on the work and legacy of Russell Kirk. His ultimate intention is to better Americans' understanding of Conservatism so that we do not take our own First Principles for granted. 
  • The final panelist is Chuck Dixon. Mr Dixon is an action writer. His usual chosen medium is comic books. He created Bane, the character that broke Batman's back in the early nineties, as well as the antagonist of the film The Dark Knight Rises. His knowledge of war, warriors, tactics, and violent American Presidents is not to be underestimated. He was one of the key Batman writers in the last twenty years; he has written Airboy; he currently writes G.I. Joe for IDW.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln would be the final survivor. Typically people lean towards Roosevelt and Jackson because Teddy was the consummate warrior and Jackson is a deadly and somewhat murderous savage. It is important to recall that at the time of his Presidency Teddy Roosevelt was the youngest of the Presidents of the United States and thus closer to his physical prime than Andrew Jackson, who was in his seventies when he was in the office.
The Panelists' interjections were short; busy weekend I suppose.

Brian Koss:
No question in my mind it comes down to Andrew Jackson and Teddy Roosevelt!
Darrin Moore:
Reagan would turn the knife-fight into a gunfight, start an arms race that would bankrupt the others, so that all he had to do to was bitchslap them and they'd commit suicide.
Jonathan Farley:
This is a tough call. Ok, so as much as it pains me to say, I think I have to give it to Jackson. He killed more people (if memory serves) and he got drunk and burned a tavern down. But it's a close call.
Chuck Dixon came later, and I think I persuaded him:
I'd go with Lincoln. He was probably proficient with a knife and certainly (as a former Indian fighter) not afraid of a fight with blades. And reach is everything.
Mr Moore does not quite stick to the parameters of the conflict. That said his assessment of President Reagan's character is accurate.

Ultimately I would say that Abraham Lincoln will win because he was a strong and powerful scrapper, but mostly because even in his Presidency he was not merely lanky but strong nad tall. He had reach. If we are talking a knife fight then the man with the longest arms would defeat Teddy Roosevelt and even the most savage Andrew Jackson, whose biggest handicap would be his age. I hope at a later time I can parse out with more detail. I believe that the Presidents Bush would go far, as well as President Washington, but this may be an analysis for later. To say Lincoln would win rests on the idea that reach is everything.



Friday, September 07, 2012

Dystopic Posthuman Automotivity

This reminds me of something.
Google's self-driving autos are the first step towards the post-human, autonomous vehicle dystopia envisioned by Pixar's CARS. Seriously, watch the movies... They have sidewalks! Humans ONCE roamed those streets, until the sentient cars consumed them for biofuel. Like the Cylons, the cars took certain characteristics of their human creators, but were still merciless in wiping them out. Hence the "faces" and the desire for romantic love. And the vestigal organs like doors.
-- Joshua Elder, August 19, 2012

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Mike Huckabee on DNC2012 calling out GOP Nazis

Mike Huckabee hits his stride early in the day:
The Chairman of California’s Democratic Party, John Burton, was the first at their convention to call Republicans Nazis. He compared Paul Ryan to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels at a breakfast before the convention even began. Now, a top Kansas delegate has already one-upped him. She told a reporter that when Republicans say voter ID laws are to prevent voter fraud, not suppress minorities, that, quote: “It’s like Hitler said, if you’re going to tell a lie, tell a big lie.” So now, the name-calling has escalated from Goebbels to Hitler -- and it’s only day two! You know, they really need to learn to start out a little lower with the scurrilous name-calling. Now, all that’s left is to call Mitt Romney Satan on Wednesday, and that leaves them no place worse to go on Thursday. They might actually be forced to talk about how their own policies have worked out. And avoiding that is the whole reason that politicians call their opponents Nazis in the first place.
2012-09-06

Kobus on DNC2012 voter fraud

I think the most ironic part of the Democratic Convention is two-fold. #1: The Democratic Party subverted the democratic process by ramming through platform changes even though the voice vote of credentialed delegates was opposed to the change. #2: For the party that claims there is no voter fraud, they blatantly committed voter fraud in full view with that same 'vote'.
-- Chris Kobus, 2012-09-06

Policy Continuity and Continuity Revision, Retroactive continuity

Travis Norton on President Clinton's Democrat National Convention 2012 speech:
Okay folks, I had enough of Bill Clinton's revised economic history speech. In economic terms, the 1990s was a decade that loosened banking regulations and allowed "fractional reserve lending to rapidly grow from 10 to 1, to 100 to 1, and then to over 1,000 to 1." It's now 10,000 to 1. What does this mean? It means the Federal government pumped trillions of dollars into the economy, allowed for more student loans, home loans, and gave the US economy a brief bump of prosperity. Then in 2007...well we all know how that ended the fairy tale economy.

Basically President Clinton raised the credit limit on America's credit card knowing damn well that America's economy wouldn't even be able to pay the minimum monthly balance, hence the US Government currently borrowing more money each month just to pay off it's debt. Imagine using a credit card to pay the monthly minimum payment on another credit card. CRAZY, HUH!

So when you hear the Democrats advocating to increase America's credit card limit for more student loans and mortgages, be scared. Very, very scared
I did not see the speech. I imagine there is a bit of continuity revision. There are two points to make derived from this analysis, if not the speech.

The first is that we should see all of this less as history and more as continuity because we are talking about policy more than human events. Bills passed lead into laws for following administration.

The second point is that these employees of ours, as Clint Eastwood said, are stewards of wealth and resources and power. Certain politicians see the power as theirs and the choices as theirs. In the end they report that they made stuff happen, regardless of whose property was wielded to make stuff happen. The other kind see it as their responsibility but not their material.

Addressing the first point, only briefly, the simple fact is that a bill passed into law under one administration leads into events occurring "under the watch" of another.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Joe Biden does not think very much of his mother

This is from a Barack Obama Presidential campaign social media site.




I am going to assume that Vice-President Biden actually said this and his phrase "it's just that simple" is not how he refers to himself in the third person.
Here is my quick-dash response to it on left-wing counterpart Chad Guerrant's Facebook wall:
What a nasty thing to say about your own mother. Also telling that he wouldn't help his mother and the choices in his head are "government" or "mom is on her own and screwed"
Yes, Joe Biden did indicate that his own mother is incompetent, whether it be addled by age or simply addled by Joe Biden it is difficult to say.

Humor aside the Leftist message is that our citizens reach a point where their faculties decline at an automatic age point and thus 'the freedom to make a difficult choice' is suddenly less virtuous to have than the 'freedom from making a difficult choice'. That is one sample of the Essence of Leftism in contrast to the Right. The Right raises as one of its highest to tenets "freedom to" and the Left embraces "freedom from".

As I noted before Joe indicated he will not help his mother. It is never strictly implied whether he was too busy or she had simply outlived him; I bet the latter.

The Left is very quick and insistent to claim that if the Federal Government, the highest level of government and bureaucracy, is not directing, determining, and "helping" you with very specific details of the difficult parts of the life of the common individual citizen, that individual citizen will be alone and as a result be in trouble. In this paradigm there are no loved ones to help an individual divine the best plans or devices. This paradigm especially dismisses the presence of a community or more local level of government, eschewing all sorts of helpful interaction with the real citizen, insisting that only the highest hand of human power is between the hypothetical elderly and destitution.

That really says that either Joe Biden and his fellows think so little of the American spirit of Generosity OR that these Leftists wish to dissuade you from helping others as an individual effort of your own free will.







Tuesday, September 04, 2012

from Socrates to Aristotle (explained by someone else)

When I was a nineteen-year-old would-be philosopher I was among many students that went through Martin Zinman's introductory course on western political philosophy. I hope it was Dr Zinman's course; otherwise my memory betrays me. I any case it was how James Madison College presented the descendent nature of western political philosophy that informed one of my own dogmas: that each line of thought or system of thought, or thinker, is descended intellectually from a specific influence or certain influences, as those were from another. In other words, one idea led to another and then another. These ideas were either derived from their prior philosophers' or made in response to those philosophies. Unfortunately the course did not, according to memory, give further memetic links from Aristotle to the present day. Likely such a task would have been impossible given such a short time. Although it is this approach to tracking the history of a given a track of philosophy that attracts me to Russell Kirk, as he studied and explained the history of Conservative thought in his The Conservative Mind, and Jonah Goldberg for his Liberal Fascism. Mr Goldberg's work appealed to me as he constructed a compelling argument that modern American leftist thought was directly influenced by European fascism and that Conservative philosophers and philosophies lacked the corresponding links. In either case I leave it to Steven Kreis's The History Guide to explain how Socrates leads to Aristotle.
Socrates

Further details about SocratesFrom the ranks of the Sophists came SOCRATES (c.469-399 B.C.), perhaps the most noble and wisest Athenian to have ever lived. He was born sometime in 469, we don't know for sure. What we do know is that his father was Sophroniscus, a stone cutter, and his mother, Phaenarete, was a midwife. Sophroniscus was a close friend of the son of Aristides the Just (c.550-468 B.C.), and the young Socrates was familiar with members of the circle of Pericles. In his youth he fought as a hoplite at Potidaea (432-429), Delium (424) and Amphipolis (422) during the Peloponnesian Wars. To be sure, his later absorption in philosophy made him neglect his private affairs and he eventually fell to a level of comparative poverty. He was perhaps more in love with the study of philosophy than with his family -- that his wife Xanthippe was shrew is a later tale. In Plato's dialogue, the Crito, we meet a Socrates concerned with the future of his three sons. Just the same, his entire life was subordinated to "the supreme art of philosophy." He was a good citizen but held political office only once – he was elected to the Council of Five Hundred in 406 B.C. In Plato's Apology, Socrates remarks that:
The true champion if justice, if he intends to survive even for a short time, must necessarily confine himself to private life and leave politics alone.
What we can be sure about Socrates was that he was remarkable for living the life he preached. Taking no fees, Socrates started and dominated an argument wherever the young and intelligent would listen, and people asked his advice on matters of practical conduct and educational problems.
Socrates was not an attractive man -- he was snub-nosed, prematurely bald, and overweight. But, he was strong in body and the intellectual master of every one with whom he came into contact. The Athenian youth flocked to his side as he walked the paths of the agora. They clung to his every word and gesture. He was not a Sophist himself, but a philosopher, a lover of wisdom.

In 399 B.C., Socrates was charged with impiety by a jury of five hundred of his fellow citizens. His most famous student, Plato, tells us, that he was charged "as an evil-doer and curious person, searching into things under the earth and above the heavens; and making the worse appear the better cause, and teaching all this to others." He was convicted to death by a margin of six votes. Oddly enough, the jury offered Socrates the chance to pay a small fine for his impiety. He rejected it. He also rejected the pleas of Plato and other students who had a boat waiting for him at Piraeus that would take him to freedom. But Socrates refused to break the law. What kind of citizen would he be if he refused to accept the judgment of the jury? No citizen at all. He spent his last days with his friends before he drank the fatal dose of hemlock.

The charge made against Socrates -- disbelief in the state's gods -- implied un-Athenian activities which would corrupt the young and the state if preached publicly. Meletus, the citizen who brought the indictment, sought precedents in the impiety trials of Pericles' friends. Although Socrates was neither a heretic nor an agnostic, there was prejudice against him. He also managed to provoke hostility. For instance, the Delphic oracle is said to have told Chaerephon that no man was wiser than Socrates. During his trial Socrates had the audacity to use this as a justification of his examination of the conduct of all Athenians, claiming that in exposing their falsehoods, he had proved the god right -- he at least knew that he knew nothing. Although this episode smacks of Socrates' well-known irony, he clearly did believe that his mission was divinely inspired.

Socrates has been described as a gadfly -- a first-class pain. The reason why this charge is somewhat justified is that he challenged his students to think for themselves – to use their minds to answer questions. He did not reveal answers. He did not reveal truth. Many of his questions were, on the surface, quite simple: what is courage? what is virtue? what is duty? But what Socrates discovered, and what he taught his students to discover, was that most people could not answer these fundamental questions to his satisfaction, yet all of them claimed to be courageous, virtuous and dutiful. So, what Socrates knew, was that he knew nothing, upon this sole fact lay the source of his wisdom. Socrates was not necessarily an intelligent man – but he was a wise man. And there is a difference between the two.

Plato

Plato ResourcesSocrates wrote nothing himself. What we know of him comes from the writings of two of his closest friends, Xenophon and Plato. Although Xenophon (c.430-c.354 B.C.) did write four short portraits of Socrates, it is almost to Plato alone that we know anything of Socrates. PLATO (c.427-347 B.C.) came from a family of aristoi, served in the Peloponnesian War, and was perhaps Socrates' most famous student. He was twenty-eight years old when Socrates was put to death. At the age of forty, Plato established a school at Athens for the education of Athenian youth. The Academy, as it was called, remained in existence from 387 B.C. to A.D. 529, when it was closed by Justinian, the Byzantine emperor.

Our knowledge of Socrates comes to us from numerous dialogues which Plato wrote after 399. In nearly every dialogue – and there are more than thirty that we know about – Socrates is the main speaker. The style of the Plato's dialogue is important – it is the Socratic style that he employs throughout. A Socratic dialogue takes the form of question-answer, question-answer, question-answer. It is a dialectical style as well. Socrates would argue both sides of a question in order to arrive at a conclusion. Then that conclusion is argued against another assumption and so on. Perhaps it is not that difficult to understand why Socrates was considered a gadfly!

There is a reason why Socrates employed this style, as well as why Plato recorded his experience with Socrates in the form of a dialogue. Socrates taught Plato a great many things, but one of the things Plato more or less discovered on his own was that mankind is born with knowledge. That is, knowledge is present in the human mind at birth. It is not so much that we "learn" things in our daily experience, but that we "recollect" them. In other words, this knowledge is already there. This may explain why Socrates did not give his students answers, but only questions. His job was not to teach truth but to show his students how they could "pull" truth out of their own minds (it is for this reason that Socrates often considered himself a midwife in the labor of knowledge). And this is the point of the dialogues. For only in conversation, only in dialogue, can truth and wisdom come to the surface.
Plato's greatest and most enduring work was his lengthy dialogue, The Republic. This dialogue has often been regarded as Plato's blueprint for a future society of perfection. I do not accept this opinion. Instead, I would like to suggest that The Republic is not a blueprint for a future society, but rather, is a dialogue which discusses the education necessary to produce such a society. It is an education of a strange sort – he called it paideia. Nearly impossible to translate into modern idiom, paideia refers to the process whereby the physical, mental and spiritual development of the individual is of paramount importance. It is the education of the total individual.

The Republic discusses a number of topics including the nature of justice, statesmanship, ethics and the nature of politics. It is in The Republic that Plato suggests that democracy was little more than a "charming form of government." And this he is writing less than one hundred years after the brilliant age of Periclean democracy. So much for democracy. After all, it was Athenian democracy that convicted Socrates. For Plato, the citizens are the least desirable participants in government. Instead, a philosopher-king or guardian should hold the reigns of power. An aristocracy if you will – an aristocracy of the very best – the best of the aristoi.

Plato's Republic also embodies one of the clearest expressions of his theory of knowledge. In The Republic, Plato asks what is knowledge? what is illusion? what is reality? how do we know? what makes a thing, a thing? what can we know? These are epistemological questions – that is, they are questions about knowledge itself. He distinguishes between the reality presented to us by our senses – sight, touch, taste, sound and smell – and the essence or Form of that reality. In other words, reality is always changing – knowledge of reality is individual, it is particular, it is knowledge only to the individual knower, it is not universal.

Building upon the wisdom of Socrates and Parmenides, Plato argued that reality is known only through the mind. There is a higher world, independent of the world we may experience through our senses. Because the senses may deceive us, it is necessary that this higher world exist, a world of Ideas or Forms -- of what is unchanging, absolute and universal. In other words, although there may be something from the phenomenal world which we consider beautiful or good or just, Plato postulates that there is a higher unchanging reality of the beautiful, goodness or justice. To live in accordance with these universal standards is the good life -- to grasp the Forms is to grasp ultimate truth.
The unphilosophical man – that is, all of us – is at the mercy of sense impressions and unfortunately, our sense impressions oftentimes fail us. Our senses deceive us. But because we trust our senses, we are like prisoners in a cave – we mistake shadows on a wall for reality. This is the central argument of Plato's ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE which appears in Book VII of The Republic.

Plato realized that the Athenian state, and along with it, Athenian direct democracy, had failed to realize its lofty ideals. Instead, the citizens sent Socrates to his death and direct democracy had failed. The purpose of The Republic was something of a warning to all Athenians that without respect for law, leadership and a sound education for the young, their city would continue to decay. Plato wanted to rescue Athens from degeneration by reviving that sense of community that had at one time made the polis great. The only way to do this, Plato argued, was to give control over to the Philosopher-Kings, men who had philosophical knowledge, and to give little more than "noble lies" to everyone else. The problem as Plato saw it was that power and wisdom had traveled divergent paths -- his solution was to unite them in the guise of the Philosopher-King.

Aristotle

Aristotle ResourcesPlato's most famous student was ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.). His father was the personal physician to Philip of Macedon and Aristotle was, for a time at least, the personal tutor of Alexander the Great. Aristotle styled himself a biologist – he is said to have spent his honeymoon collecting specimens at the seashore. He too was charged with impiety, but fled rather than face the charges – I suppose that tells you something about Aristotle.

At the age of eighteen, Aristotle became the student at the Academy of Plato (who was then sixty years of age). Aristotle also started his own school, the Lyceum in 335 B.C. It too was closed by Justinian in A.D. 529. Aristotle was a "polymath" – he knew a great deal about nearly everything. Very little of Aristotle's writings remain extant. But his students recorded nearly everything he discussed at the Lyceum. In fact, the books to which Aristotle's name is attributed are really little more than student notebooks. This may account for the fact that Aristotle's philosophy is one of the more difficult to digest.

Regardless, Aristotle lectured on astronomy, physics, logic, aesthetics, music, drama, tragedy, poetry, zoology, ethics and politics. The one field in which he did not excel was mathematics. Plato, on the other hand, was a master of geometry.

As a scientist, Aristotle's epistemology is perhaps closer to our own. For Aristotle did not agree with Plato that there is an essence or Form or Absolute behind every object in the phenomenal world. I suppose you could argue that Aristotle came from the Jack Webb school of epistemology – "nothing but the facts, Mam." Or, as one historian has put it: "The point is, that an elephant, when present, is noticed." In other words, whereas Plato suggested that man was born with knowledge, Aristotle argued that knowledge comes from experience. And there, in the space of just a few decades, we have the essence of those two philosophical traditions which have occupied the western intellectual tradition for the past 2500 years. Rationalism – knowledge is a priori (comes before experience) and Empiricism – knowledge is a posteriori (comes after experience).

It is almost fitting that one of Plato's greatest students ought to have also been his greatest critics. Like Democritus, Aristotle had confidence in sense perception. As a result, he had little patience with Plato's higher world of the Forms. However, Aristotle argued that there were universal principles but that they are derived from experience. He could not accept, as had Plato, that there was a world of Forms beyond space and time. Aristotle argued that that there were Forms and Absolutes, but that they resided in the thing itself. From our experience with horses, for instance, we can deduce the essence of "horseness." This universal, as it had been for Plato, was the true object of human knowledge.

It perhaps goes without saying that the western intellectual tradition, as well as the history of western philosophy, must begin with an investigation of ancient Greek thought. From Thales and the matter philosophers to the empiricism of Aristotle, the Greeks passed on to the west a spirit of rational inquiry that is very much our own intellectual property. And while we may never think of Plato or Aristotle as we carry on in our daily lives, it was their inquiry into knowledge that has served as the foundation for all subsequent inquiries. Indeed, many have argued with W. H. Auden that "had Greek civilization never existed we would never have become fully conscious, which is to say that we would never have become, for better or worse, fully human."

Did Rand derive her law of identity from Aristotle?

I'm hardly a Randian scholar.

Some would say that I am barely a scholar at all. This blog is never about me.

I have heard that Rand derived much of her ideas from Aristotelian or Aristotelean thought. I cannot prove or disprove it. As stated my familiarity with Objectivism is through various ideas floated around Steve Ditko and Ayn Rand. Most of what I have read confirms my knowledge that Objectivism rejects the notion of unseen spiritual worlds, that we can only deal with the world(s) that we can detect or discern using whatever tools are at our disposal. The other basic element that is relevant to me is that a healthy individual acts in the proper self-interest of that individual. A facet of that basic element is that individuals should not bare the interests of strangers on their own backs, nor should they force their own interests upon the backs of others.

Most people like to frame Randian Objectivism as simply license to be a selfish jerk but in light of the libertarian notion of not using force to finance your ideas with another person's resources it seems rather benign.

I have not finished my research regarding Ayn Rand. I may never.

Now I read that "A is A", the law of identity is a tenet derived from Aristotle. That is difficult for me to confirm directly, easily, or simply from my experience.

Back in 2000 or 2001 standard reading from James Madison College was Aristotle and his work Politics.

What we were taught, and this informs my understanding of how political philosophy works, is that philosophers tend to beget other philosophers, philosophically if not genetically speaking. Socrates inspired Plato. Plato taught Aristotle. Aristotle is a father of logic and political philosophy as we know it. Socrates wrote nothing. But he was a character in Plato's work, The Republic. Aristotle wrote Politics. Many philosophers for thousands of years take off from there, some directly, and many taking their lead from others that took from others that eventually took from Aristotle. Given that it is not unreasonable to state that Ayn Rand incorporated Aristotelian thought into her doctrine. How Rand incorporated it is my question. But the last time I studied Aristotle, and this was his published stuff, was ten years ago. So I have limited direct research of one philosopher's writings and limited memory and research of another's and I am attempting to find a link between the two? And I wanted to do it quickly and shortly? That is madness!

My research and readings suggest that it lies in "Metaphysics" but I have my doubts.

NEXT: I reprint someone else's research regarding Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

NEXT in my series on Aristotle and Aristotelian thought -- I attempt to parse just what the philosopher meant by "Logic".

Monday, September 03, 2012

Can you hear these 170 Clint Eastwood quotes?

Because I can't!

Clint Eastwood speaks at the 2012 Republican National Convention

others' words work

I am aware that the past posts for a certain period of time are merely others' work instead of my own. I'm building something here.

Longer Randian quoteable regarding Identity

Identity

To exist is to be something, as distinguished from the nothing of non-existence, it is to be an entity of a specific nature made of specific attributes. Centuries ago, the man who was—no matter what his errors—the greatest of your philosophers, has stated the formula defining the concept of existence and the rule of all knowledge: A is A. A thing is itself. You have never grasped the meaning of his statement. I am here to complete it: Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.
Whatever you choose to consider, be it an object, an attribute or an action, the law of identity remains the same. A leaf cannot be a stone at the same time, it cannot be all red and all green at the same time, it cannot freeze and burn at the same time. A is A. Or, if you wish it stated in simpler language: You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.
Are you seeking to know what is wrong with the world? All the disasters that have wrecked your world, came from your leaders’ attempt to evade the fact that A is A. All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A. The purpose of those who taught you to evade it, was to make you forget that Man is Man.
 
from For The New Intellectual

Randian quoteable concerning identity




"James you ought to discover some day that words have an exact meaning."

--  Fransisco d'Anconia

from Atlas Shrugged



Ronald Reagan and the oranges

As the 1980 presidential campaign wound down, Ronald Reagan got into the habit of rolling oranges down the main aisle of the press section of his aircraft.

One of the reporters mentioned to Reagan that he may soon have to start autographing the oranges.

Reagan assured the reporters he'd have plenty of time, arguing that: "once I've cancelled social security and started the war, what else is there to do?"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Joe Biden is an actual bad guy

Most Republicans and Conservatives alternate between joy and terror observing all of the idiotic things that come from Joe Biden's lips.  Many of the accidental things he stays are incredibly ill-thought out, embarrassing or stupid.  Mind you, many of the lines his campaign calculates for him to say are incredibly awful too.   I don't want to go into that now.

Now the joy comes from imagining that Biden is a vulnerable individual and can be (1)easily dealt with in a debate-type setting and (2) can be used to embarrass the other Democrats in a sort of 'guilt by association' thing.

On the other hand every intelligent individual should be pondering what kind of President of the United States Joe Biden would be.  Democrats may assume (and I cannot say if they do) that the present Vice President is merely gaff-prone in his speech but is actually competent, intelligent, and capable, especially if he were to become POTUS.  The fact is that as Vice-President of the United States Joe Biden is the living alternative to a President Barack Obama.  Until inauguration of a possible Republican President in late January 2013, Mitt Romney is NOT the closest alternative to Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden is. I doubt his judgement would help up.  We should not let him be that one whom is the heartbeat away from the Presidency.

I do not believe Republicans can use that reason for terror as a campaign tactic.  I doubt most people would believe the outlandish idea that Biden is that stupid.  So there is no joy for this.

I won't see the Vice President as a mistake-prone innocent as many do.

Long ago before he was experienced veteran US Senator, let alone back-up leader of the free world, Biden, Biden's first wife and children were killed in a car accident.  It was an innocent and horrible thing. 

Which raises the question of why Vice-President Biden continuously lied, over and over and over again as to the cause of the accident.  This complete reprobate claimed repeatedly that the other driver was drunk, when no such thing had occurred.  Even after driver died, years after the accident, the Vice-President besmirched the man's name and humiliated the man's family.  This is hardly a slip of the tongue.  This is a bonafide lie.

This lie is so grievous it should be brought up and rectified at every opportunity, not spread further.

transcript of Clint Eastwood's remarks to the Republican National Convention

Stolen from NPR

Transcript of actor and director Clint Eastwood's remarks Thursday at the Republican National Convention, as delivered:
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.
Save a little for Mitt.
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, what's a movie tradesman doing out here? You know they are all left-wingers out there, left of Lenin. At least that's what people think. But that's not really the case. There's a lot of conservative people, a lot of moderate people, Republicans, Democrats, in Hollywood. It's just that the conservative people by the nature of the word itself play it a little more close to the vest. They don't go around hot-dogging it. So, uh ... But they're there, believe me, they're there. I just think, in fact, some of them around town, I saw Jon Voigt, a lot of people around here in town.
Jon's here, an Academy Award winner. A terrific guy. These people are all like-minded, like all of us.
So I — so I've got Mr. Obama sitting here. And he's — I just was going to ask him a couple of questions. But, you know, about, I remember three-and-a-half years ago, when Mr. Obama won the election. And though I wasn't a big supporter, I was watching that night when he was having that thing and they were talking about hope and change and they were talking about, yes we can, and it was dark outdoors, and it was nice, and people were lighting candles. And they were saying, you know, I just thought, this is great. Everybody's crying. Oprah was crying.
I was even crying. And then finally — I haven't cried that hard since I found out that there's 23 million unemployed people in this country.
Now that is something to cry for because that is a disgrace, a national disgrace, and we haven't done enough, obviously — this administration hasn't done enough to cure that. Whatever interest they have is not strong enough, and I think possibly now it may be time for somebody else to come along and solve the problem.
So, so, Mr. President, how do you, how do you handle, how do you handle promises that you've made when you were running for election and how do you handle, how do you handle it?
I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just — you know — I know — people were wondering. You don't? You don't handle it.
Well, I know even some of the people in your own party were very disappointed when you didn't close Gitmo. And I thought, well, closing Gitmo — why close that? We spent so much money on it. But, I thought maybe as an excuse.
Oh, What do you mean shut up?
PBS NewsHour/YouTube Video: Clint Eastwood's speech, from PBS NewsHour
OK, I thought it was just because somebody had the stupid idea of trying terrorists in downtown New York City. Maybe that was it.
I've got to, I've got to hand it to you. I've got to give credit where credit is due. You did finally overrule that finally. And that's so, now we're moving onward. I know, in the, you were against the war in Iraq and that's OK. But you thought the war in Afghanistan was OK.
You know, I mean — you thought that was something worth doing. We
didn't check with the Russians to see how they did there for 10 years.
But we did it, and it was, it's something to be thought about and I think that when we get to maybe — I think you've mentioned something about having a target date for bringing everybody home and you give that target date, and I think Mr. Romney asked the only sensible question. He says, "Why are you giving the date out now? Why don't you just bring them home tomorrow morning?"
And I thought — I thought, yeah — there's, I'm not going to shut up. It's my turn.
So anyway, we're going to have, we're going to have to have a little chat about that. And then, I just wondered, all these promises and then I wondered about, you know, when the, What? What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. That. He can't do that to himself.
You're crazy. You're absolutely crazy. You're getting as bad as Biden.
Of course we all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic party.
Just kind of a grin with a body behind it.
But I just think that there's much to be done and I think that Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are two guys that can come along. See, I never thought it was a good idea for attorneys to be president anyway, because ... Yeah.
I think attorneys are so busy. You know, they're always taught to argue everything, and always weigh everything and weigh both sides and they're always, you know, they're always devil's advocating this and bifurcating this and bifurcating that. You know all that stuff. But, I think it is maybe time. What do you think for maybe a businessman? How about that?
A stellar businessman. Quote, unquote, a stellar businessman. And I think it's that time. And I think if you just kind of stepped aside and Mr. Romney can kind of take over.
You could still use the plane. Though maybe a smaller one. Not that big gas guzzler when you're going around to colleges and talking about student loans and stuff like that.
You're an ecological man. Why would you want to drive that truck around?
OK, well, anyway. All right, I'm sorry. I can't do that to myself either.
But I'd just like to say something, ladies and gentlemen. Something that I think is very important. It is that, you, we, we own this country.
Thank you. Thank you.
Yes, we own it. And it's not you owning it and not politicians owning it. Politicians are employees of ours.
And, so, they're just going to come around and beg for votes every few years. It's the same old deal. But I just think that it's important that you realize and that you're the best in the world.
And whether you're Democrat or whether you're a Republican or whether you're Libertarian or whatever, you're the best. And we should not ever forget that. And when somebody does not do the job, we got to let 'em go.
Let 'em go.
OK, just remember that. And I'm speaking out for everybody out there. It doesn't hurt, we don't have to be ...
I do not say that word anymore.
Well, maybe one last time.
We don't have to be — what I'm saying, we don't have to be metal masochists and vote for somebody that we don't really even want in office just because they seem to be nice guys or maybe not so nice guys if you look at some of the recent ads going out there. I don't know.
But OK.
You want to make my day, huh?
All right.
Go ahead...
(AUDIENCE: Make my day!)
Thank you. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ruby Ridge 20th Anniversary via Cato.org and National Review Online

Remember Ruby Ridge

by Tim Lynch

This article was published in National Review Online, Aug. 21, 2002. 

"Ruby Ridge" used to refer to a geographical location in the state of Idaho, but after an incident that took place there 10 years ago on Aug. 21, the phrase has come to refer to a scandalous series of events that opened the eyes of many people to the inner workings of the federal government, including the vaunted Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now that 10 years have passed, the feds will accelerate their ongoing effort to "move forward" and have the scandal declared "ancient history." But the Ruby Ridge episode should not be soon forgotten.

On August 21, 1992 a paramilitary unit of the U.S. Marshals Service ventured onto the 20-acre property known as Ruby Ridge. A man named Randy Weaver owned the land and he lived there with his wife, children, and a family friend, Kevin Harris. There was an outstanding warrant for Weaver's arrest for a firearms offense and the marshals were surveilling the premises. When the family dog noticed the marshals sneaking around in the woods, it began to bark wildly. Weaver's 14-year-old boy, Sammy, and Kevin Harris proceeded to grab their rifles because they thought the dog had come upon a wild animal.

A firefight erupted when a marshal shot and killed the dog. Enraged that the family pet had been cut down for no good reason, Sammy shot into the woods at the unidentified trespasser. Within a few minutes, two human beings were shot dead: Sammy Weaver and a marshal. Harris and the Weaver family retreated to their cabin and the marshals retreated from the mountain and called the FBI for assistance.

During the night, FBI snipers took positions around the Weaver cabin. There is no dispute about the fact that the snipers were given illegal "shoot to kill" orders. Under the law, police agents can use deadly force to defend themselves and others from imminent attack, but these snipers were instructed to shoot any adult who was armed and outside the cabin, regardless of whether the adult posed a threat or not. The next morning, an FBI agent shot and wounded Randy Weaver. A few moments later, the same agent shot Weaver's wife in the head as she was standing in the doorway of her home holding a baby in her arms. The FBI snipers had not yet announced their presence and had not given the Weavers an opportunity to peacefully surrender.

After an 11-day standoff, Weaver agreed to surrender. The FBI told the world that it had apprehended a band of dangerous racists. The New York Times was duped into describing a family (two parents, three children) and one adult friend as "an armed separatist brigade." The Department of Justice proceeded to take over the case, charging Weaver and Harris with conspiracy to commit "murder." Federal prosecutors asked an Idaho jury to impose the death penalty. Instead, the jury acquitted Weaver and Harris of all of the serious criminal charges.

Embarrassed by the outcome, FBI officials told the world that there would be a thorough review of the case, but the Bureau closed ranks and covered up the mess. FBI director Louis Freeh went so far as to promote one of the agents involved, Larry Potts, to the Bureau's number-two position.
When Weaver sued the federal government for the wrongful death of his wife and son, the government that had tried to kill him twice now sought an out-of-court settlement. In August 1995 the U.S. government paid the Weaver family $3.1 million. On the condition that his name not be used in an article, one Department of Justice official told the Washington Post that if Weaver's suit had gone to trial in Idaho, he probably would have been awarded $200 million.

With the intervening events at Waco, more and more people began to question the veracity of Department of Justice and FBI accounts and whether the federal government had the capacity to hold its own agents accountable for criminal misconduct. Like the Watergate scandal, however, the response to the initial illegality turned out to be even more shocking and disturbing.

When an FBI supervisor, Michael Kahoe, admitted to destroying evidence and obstructing justice, he was eventually prosecuted but only after being kept on the FBI payroll until his 50th birthday -- so that he would be eligible for his retirement pension. And when Larry Potts was finally forced into retirement, FBI officials flew into Washington from around the country for his going-away bash. Those officials claimed to be on "official business" so they billed the taxpayers for the trip. After the fraud was leaked to the press by some anonymous and apparently sickened FBI agent, the merry band of partygoers were not discharged from service. Instead, a letter was placed in their personnel file, chiding them with "inattention to detail."

An Idaho prosecutor did bring manslaughter charges against the FBI sniper who shot Vicki Weaver. That move really outraged the feds because they insisted that they were capable of policing their own -- so long as they did not have any outside "interference."

The Department of Justice was so disturbed by the indictment of its agent that they dispatched the solicitor general to a federal appellate court to argue that the charges should be dismissed. (The solicitor general ordinarily only makes oral arguments to the Supreme Court). The solicitor general told the judicial panel that even if the evidence supported the charges, the case should be thrown out because "federal law enforcement agents are privileged to do what would otherwise be unlawful if done by a private citizen." The appeals court rejected that sweeping argument for a license to kill, but by the time that ruling came down last June, a new local prosecutor was in office in Boundary County, Idaho, and he announced that it was time to put this whole unpleasant episode behind us and to "move on." Thus, the criminal case against the sniper was dropped.

A new generation of young people who have never heard of Ruby Ridge are now emerging from the public school system and are heading off to college and will thereafter begin their careers in business, education, journalism, government and other fields. This generation will find it hard to fathom that the federal government could have killed a boy and an unarmed woman and then tried to deceive everyone about what had actually occurred and, in some instances, rationalize what did occur. That is why it is important to remember Ruby Ridge. Someone needs to remind the young people (and everyone else) that it really did happen -- and that it will happen again if the government is not kept on a short leash. No one will learn about the incident when they tour the FBI facility in Washington. It goes unmentioned for some reason.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crockett on Government and Charity

I question if the following is genuinely part of the historical canon or is merely David Crockett apocrypha.  Regardless it is well established as part of the Crockett Legend.

Not Yours To Give

Davy Crockett on The Role Of Government

from: The Life of Colonel David Crockett
compiled by: Edward S. Elis (1884)

“Money with [Congressmen] is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it.”

Introductory note by Peter Kershaw:
Davy Crockett served four terms in the U.S. Congress from 1827-1835. In 1835 he joined the Whig Party and ran a failed attempt for the Presidency. Immediately thereafter he departed his native Tennessee for Texas to secure the independence of the "Texicans." He lost his life at the battle of the Alamo and forever secured his legendary status in history as "king of the wild frontier." The following story was recounted to Edward Elis by an unnamed Congressman who had served with Colonel Crockett in the U.S. House of Representatives.

...Crockett was then the lion of Washington. I was a great admirer of his character, and, having several friends who were intimate with him, I found no difficulty in making his acquaintance. I was fascinated with him, and he seemed to take a fancy to me. I was one day in the lobby of the House of Representatives when a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. It seemed to be that everybody favored it. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose. Everybody expected, of course, that he was going to make a speech in support of the bill. He commenced:

"Mr. Speaker -- I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the sufferings of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House; but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into argument to prove that Congress has no power under the Constitution to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. "Mr. Speaker, I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks." He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as no doubt it would, but for that speech, it received but a few votes and was lost. Like many others, I desired the passage of the bill, and felt outraged at its defeat. I determined that I would persuade my friend Crockett to move for a reconsideration the next day.

Previous engagements preventing me from seeing Crockett that night, I went early to his room the next morning and found him franking letters, a large pile of which lay upon his table.

I broke in upon him rather abruptly, by asking him what the devil had possessed him to make that speech and defeat that bill yesterday. Without turning his head or looking up from his work, he replied: "I will answer your question. But thereby hangs a tale, and one of considerable length, to which you will have to listen."

I listened, and this is the tale which I heard:

"Several years ago I was one evening standing on the steps of the Capitol with some other members of Congress, when our attention was attracted by a great light over in Georgetown. It was evidently a large fire. We jumped into the hack and drove over as fast as we could. When we got there, I went to work, and I never worked as hard in my life as I did there for several hours. But, in spite of all that could be done, many houses were burned and many families made houseless, and, besides, some of them had lost all but the clothes they had on. The weather was very cold, and when I saw so many women and children suffering, I felt that something ought to be done for them, and everybody else seemed to feel the same way. "The next morning a bill was introduced appropriating $20,000 for their relief. We put aside all other business and rushed it through as soon as it could be done. I said everybody felt as I did. That was not quite so; for, though they perhaps sympathized as deeply with the sufferers as I did, there were a few of the members who did not think we had the right to indulge our sympathy or excite our charity at the expense of anybody but ourselves. They opposed the bill, and upon its passage demanded the yeas and nays. The yeas and nays were recorded, and my name appeared on the journals in favor of the bill.

"The next summer, when it began to be time to think about election, I concluded I would take a scout around among the boys of my district. I had no opposition there, but, as the election was some time off, I did not know what might turn up, and I thought it was best to let the boys know that I had not forgot them, and that going to Congress had not made me too proud to go to see them. "So I put a couple of shirts and a few twists of tobacco into my saddlebags, and put out. I had been out about a week and had found things going very smoothly, when, riding one day in a part of my district in which I was more of a stranger than any other, I saw a man in a field plowing and coming toward the road. I gauged my gait so that we should meet as he came to the fence. As he came up I spoke to the man. He replied politely, but, as I thought, rather coldly, and was about turning his horse for another furrow when I said to him: 'Don't be in such a hurry my friend; I want to have a little talk with you, and get better acquainted.' He replied: "'I am very busy, and have but little time to talk, but if it does not take too long, I will listen to what you have to say.' "I began: 'Well, friend, I am one of those fortunate beings called candidates, and . . . .' "' Yes, I know you; you are Colonel Crockett. I have seen you once before, and voted for you the last time you were elected. I suppose you are out electioneering now, but you had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again.' "This was a sockdolager .... I begged him to tell me what was the matter. "'Well, Colonel, it is hardly worthwhile to waste time or words upon it. I do not see how it can be mended, but you gave a vote last winter which shows that either you have not capacity to understand the Constitution, or that you are wanting the honesty and firmness to be guided by it. In either case you are not the man to represent me. But I beg your pardon for expressing it that way. I did not intend to avail myself of the privilege of the constituent to speak plainly to a candidate for the purpose of insulting or wounding you. I intend by it only to say that your understanding of the Constitution is very different from mine; and I will say to you what, but for my rudeness, I should not have said, that I believe you to be honest. ... But an understanding of the Constitution different from mine I cannot overlook, because the Constitution, to be worth anything, must be held sacred, and rigidly observed in all its provisions. The man who wields power and misinterprets it is the more dangerous the more honest he is.' "'I admit the truth of all you say, but there must be some mistake about it, for I do not remember that I gave any vote last winter upon any constitutional question.' "'No, Colonel, there's no mistake. Though I live here in the backwoods and seldom go from home, I take the papers from Washington and read very carefully all the proceedings of Congress. My papers say that last winter you voted for a bill to appropriate $20,000 to some sufferers by a fire in Georgetown. Is that true?' "'Certainly it is, and I thought that was the last vote which anybody in the world would have found fault with.' "'Well, Colonel, where do you find in the Constitution any authority to give away the public money in charity?'

"Here was another sockdolager; for, when I began to think about it, I could not remember a thing in the Constitution that authorized it. I found I must take another tack, so I said: "'Well, my friend; I may as well own up. You have got me there. But certainly nobody will complain that a great and rich country like ours should give the insignificant sum of $20,000 to relieve women and children, particularly with a full and overflowing Treasury; and, I am sure, if you had been there, you would have done just as I did.' "'It is not the amount, Colonel, that I complain of; it is the principle. In the first place, the government ought to have in the Treasury no more than enough for its legitimate purposes. But that has nothing to do with the question. The power of collecting and disbursing money at pleasure is the most dangerous power that can be intrusted to man, particularly under our system of collecting revenue by a tariff, which reaches every man in the country, no matter how poor he may be, and the poorer he is the more he pays in proportion to his means. What is worse, it presses upon him without his knowledge where the weight centers, for there is not a man in the United States who can ever guess how much he pays to the government. So you see, that while you are contributing to relieve one, you are drawing it from thousands who are even worse off than he. "'If you had the right to give anything, the amount was simply a matter of discretion with you, and you had as much right to give $20,000,000 as $20,000. If you have the right to give to one, you have the right to give to all; and as the Constitution neither defines charity nor stipulates the amount, you are at liberty to give to any and everything which you believe, or profess to believe, is a charity, and to any amount you may think proper. You will very easily perceive what a wide door this would open for fraud and corruption and favoritism, on the one hand, and for robbing the people on the other. "'No, Colonel, Congress has no right to give charity. Individual members may give as much of their own money as they please, but they have no right to touch a dollar of the public money for that purpose. There are about two hundred and forty members of Congress. If they had shown their sympathy for the sufferers by contributing each one week's pay, it would have made over $13,000. There are plenty of wealthy men in Washington, who could have given $20,000 without depriving themselves of even a luxury of life. The congressmen chose to keep their own money, which, if reports be true, some of them spend not very creditably; and the people about Washington, no doubt, applauded you for relieving them from the necessity of giving what was not yours to give. The people have delegated to Congress, by the Constitution, the power to do certain things. To do these, it is authorized to collect and pay moneys, and for nothing else. Everything beyond this is usurpation, and a violation of the Constitution.'

"I have given you," continued Crockett, "an imperfect account of what he said. Long before he was through, I was convinced that I had done wrong. He wound up by saying: "'So you see, Colonel, you have violated the Constitution in what I consider a vital point. It is precedent fraught with danger to the country, for when Congress once begins to stretch its power beyond the limits of the Constitution, there is no limit to it, and no security for the people. I have no doubt you acted honestly, but that does not make it any better, except as far as you are personally concerned, and you see that I cannot vote for you.' "I tell you I felt streaked. I saw if I should have opposition, and this man should go to talking, he would set others to talking, and in this district I was a gone fawn-skin. I could not answer him, and the fact is, I was so fully convinced that he was right, I did not want to. But I must satisfy him, and I said to him: "'Well, my friend, you hit the nail upon the head when you said I had not sense enough to understand the Constitution. I intended to be guided by it, and thought I had studied it fully. I have heard many speeches in Congress, but what you have said here at your plow has got more hard, sound sense in it than all the fine speeches I have ever heard. If I had ever taken the view of it that you have, I would have put my head into the fire before I would have given that vote; and if you will forgive me and vote for me again, if I ever vote for another unconstitutional law I wish I may be shot.'

"The farmer laughingly replied: 'Yes, Colonel, you have sworn to that once before, but I will trust you again upon one condition. You say that you are convinced that your vote was wrong. Your acknowledgment of it will do more good than defeating you for it. If, as you go around the district, you will tell people about this vote, and that you are satisfied it was wrong, I will not only vote for you, but will do what I can to keep down opposition, and, perhaps, I may exert some little influence in that way.' "'If I don't,' said I, 'I wish I may be shot; and to convince you that I am in earnest in what I say I will come back this way in a week or ten days, and if you will get a gathering of the people, I will make a speech to them. Get up a barbecue, and I will pay for it.' "'No, Colonel, we are not rich people in this section, but we have plenty of provisions to contribute for a barbecue, and some to spare for those who have none. The push of crops will be over in a few days, and we can then afford a day for a barbecue. This is Thursday; I will see to getting it up on Saturday seek. Come to my house on Friday, and we will go together, and I promise you a very respectable crowd to see and hear you.' "'Well, I will be here. But one thing more before I say good-bye. I must know your name.' "'My name is Bunce.' "'Not Horatio Bunce?' "'Yes.' "'Well, Mr. Bunce, I never saw you before, though you say you have seen me, but I know you very well. I am glad I have met you, and very proud that I may hope to have you for my friend. You must let me shake your hand before I go.' "We shook hands and parted that day in gentlemanly friendship and amity.

"It was one of the luckiest hits of my life that I met that man. He mingled but little with the public, but was widely known for his remarkable intelligence, incorruptible integrity, and, for a heart brimful and running over with kindness and benevolence, which showed themselves not only in words but in acts. He was the oracle of the whole country around him, and his fame extended far beyond the circle of his immediate acquaintance. Though I had never met him before, I had heard much of him, and but for this meeting it is very likely I should have had opposition, and had been beaten. One thing is very certain, no man could now stand up in that district under such a vote. "At the appointed time I was at his house, having told our conversation to every crowd I had met, and to every man I stayed all night with. In fact I found that it gave the people an interest and a confidence in me stronger than I had ever seen manifest before. "Though I was considerably fatigued when I reached the home of Mr. Bunce, and under ordinary circumstances should have gone early to bed, I kept him up until midnight, talking about the principles and affairs of government, and got more real, true knowledge of them than I had got all my life before. "I have told you Mr. Bunce converted me politically. He came nearer converting me religiously than I had ever been before. He did not make a very good Christian of me, as you know; but he has wrought upon my feelings a reverence for its purifying and elevating power such as I had never felt before. "I have known and seen much of him since, for I respect him -- no, that is not the word -- I reverence and love him more than any living man, and I go to see him two or three times every year; and I will you sir, if every one who professes to be a Christian lived and acted and enjoyed it as he does, the religion of Christ would take the world by storm.

"But to return to my story. The next morning we went to the barbecue, and, to my surprise, found about a thousand me there. I met a good many whom I had not known before, and they and my friend introduced me around until I had got pretty well acquainted -- at least, they all knew me. "In due time notice was given that I would speak to them. They gathered up around a stand that had been erected. I opened my speech by saying: "'Fellow-citizens -- I present myself before you today feeling like a new man. My eyes have lately been opened to truths which ignorance or prejudice, or both, had heretofore hidden from my view. I feel that I can today offer you the ability to render you more valuable service than I have ever been able to render before. I am here today more for the purpose of acknowledging my error than to seek your votes. That I should make this acknowledgment is due to myself as well as to you. Whether you will vote for me is a matter for your consideration only.' "I went on to tell them about the fire and my vote for the appropriation as I have told it to you, and then told them why I was satisfied it was wrong. I closed by saying: "'And now, fellow-citizens, it remains only for me to tell you that most of the speech you have listened to with so much interest was simply a repetition of the arguments by which your neighbor, Mr. Bunce, convinced me of my error. "'It is the best speech I ever made in my life, but my friend Horatio Bunce is entitled to the credit of it. And now I hope he is satisfied with his convert and that he will get up here and tell you so.' "He came upon the stand and said: "'Fellow-citizens -- It affords me great pleasure to comply with the request of Colonel Crockett. I have always considered him a thoroughly honest man, and I am satisfied that he will faithfully perform all that he has promised you today.' "He went down, and there went up from the crowd such a shout for Davy Crockett as his name never called forth before. "I am not much given to tears, but I was taken with a choking then and felt some big drops rolling down my cheeks. And I tell you now that the remembrance of those few words spoken by such a man, and the honest, hearty shout they produced, is worth more to me than all the honors I have received and all the reputation I have ever made, or ever shall make, as a member of Congress.

"Now, sir,' concluded Crockett, "you know why I made that speech yesterday. I have had several thousand copies of it printed, and was directing them to my constituents when you came in. "There is one thing now to which I will call your attention. You remember that I proposed to give a weeks pay. There are in that House many very wealthy men -- men who think nothing of spending a week's pay, or a dozen of them, for a dinner or a wine party when they have something to accomplish by it. Some of those same men made beautiful speeches upon the debt of gratitude which the country owed the deceased -- a debt which could not be paid by money -- and the insignificance and worthlessness of money, particularly so insignificant a sum as $10,000, when weighed against the honor of the nation. "Yet not one of those Congressmen responded to my proposition. Money with them is nothing but trash when it is to come out of the people. But it is the one great thing for which most of them are striving, and many of them sacrifice honor, integrity, and justice to obtain it."

Monday, July 30, 2012

attractive woman anecdote

Where do we find more awesome women like this?
RIP Mickey.
I recently started dating a girl. It was going really well so I took her to Disney Land for a the solid "get to know each other" day. We were in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad when I noticed a mouse in the bushes. I pointed it out to her and soon everyone around us (including very small children) were watching and cooing at the aptly named 'Mickey' scurry through the bushes. Seconds later we found out the the mouse was actually raiding a birds nest when several birds flew in and ripped the mouse limb from limb. Children screamed, I gasped in astonishment, and my girl laughed hysterically... This one's a keeper.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Jewel Staite in a bikini II

Jewel Staite wearing a bikini on television.

Ignore the guys.




From The LA Complex s01e05


Obviously I am just posting this to drive up my traffic.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

WE CAN DO THIS, PLEASE

Good day,

It is understandable that you might be a little bit apprehensive because you do not know me but I have a lucrative business proposal of mutual
interest to share with you. I got your reference in my search for someone who suits my proposed business relationship.

I am Lani Li, a manager in the Hang Seng Bank. I will need you to assist me in transferring some funds valued at USD $22,500,000 (22.5 million
dollars) from a bank in Europe to your country. This transaction shall be legally done without hitch. Please endeavour to observe utmost discretion
in all matters.

I shall furnish you with more information as soon as I receive a positive response from you.

Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.

Kind regards,

Lani Li.