Sunday, March 19, 2017

Just War

Nobody asked but ...

It takes more than one side to make a just war.  But is it possible for two warring sides both to have just causes?  Can both sides be on the footing of self-defense?  I have been on a War & Peace binge lately.  But no matter the legitimacy of Russia's defense, how does one justify Napolean's march to, or sacking of, Moscow?  The warmonger will say that Russia's previous decision to defend itself in the lands of its allies, justified Napolean's decision to eliminate Russia's war capability.  It's an Ouroboros.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Little Kings

Nobody asked but ...

As I watch the excruciating ramble of POTUS in Nashville, the hair stands up on my neck at the lauding of Andrew Jackson, who was our first wheeler dealer little king.  We have had more than a few of those.  The rogues who have been little, maladroit kings include WW (same as World War), FDR, LBJ, RMN, WJC, GWB, and now, DJT.  Our Constitution defines the office of POTUS -- it is the first culprit.  Lysander Spooner might observe that if any instance of POTUS is what we have gotten through the Constitution, then the Constitution is a failure, along with the 45 of 45 instances of POTUS.  History has painted a truer picture of the thieves gallery of little kings.  POTUS is an impossible job, designed as it is as a little king, after the clown parade in our putative mother country, England.  Our POTUS acts out as if he is the crowned head in his court.  Is he mad King George III or Henry VIII?

-- Kilgore Forelle

Saturday, March 4, 2017

This Is Good

Nobody asked but ...

There are wides spaces, vast expanses, long durations, deep wells of good in our lives.  Today, my granddaughter played in a church league basketball game.  It was a beautiful day.  Boys and girls, parents, coaches, and grandparents were everywhere.  Only the referrees made grievous errors.  The good outweighed the bad, so greatly, there for awhile it seemed we would be happy forever.  Just to be remembered the next time something in life makes me feel profoundly sad.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

POTUS

I have come upon a new usage for the term POTUS.  Actually, it is an old use.  It refers to the position but not directly to the incumbent.  This works in the same way as does the juxtaposing of tyrant and tyranny.  Is there a difference between the Emperor of Rome, Caesar, Nero, or Caligula?

There is nothing going on in the current administration that was not predicted in the bold words of H. L. Mencken, when he wrote:
As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.
I would argue that we are several innings past opening day in this ballpark.  I don't know a useful president in my lifetime, from FDR's last, partial term, to, it is to be desired, DJT's first and last term -- and I plan on living several more years, maybe two decades more, maintaining that ignorance.

So when you read POTUS from my pen, it will be in observation of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the USA's little royal ruler of England replica.  I could also, more artfully, refer to Humpty Dumpty.

Firstly, King George III of England, the American Colonies' Lord and Master, became, it is told, nuttier than a fruitcake, to speak irreverently.  There is a great deal of wiggle room in the tale of his madness regarding the cause and the inception.  But he had to be crazy to think that a 3000-mile remote control would work over people who were English by birth.  Just provisioning a military occupancy that far away (unlike India and Africa, there was not an abundance of cash-industries or readily tapped natural resources in America).  One must wonder why minds like Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson did not see this pitfall, when playing make believe with America's future as a state.  Well, I don't think they thought much about it.  When the Declaration was written (mainly by the three gentlemen above) there were no concerns about the form of government, at least compared with the enormity of ditching a European monarchy.

So what did the drafting committee of the Constitution seize upon as a model, more than a dozen years later?  Like pre-teen boys huddled in a tree house, this set of founders(?) probably considered all kinds of Huck Finn/Tom Sawyer blood oaths, but finally selected a model as close to British monarchy as they could devise.  Most of the colonies had already transplanted whole something very similar to whatever was in favor in their section of England at the time of their charter migrants' having left the mother shore.

So, when I say POTUS, I really mean to say KOTUS -- king of the United States of America.  Our system started as a monarchy and has made no strides since then.  Worse, it seems that almost every royal court has in it a secret conniver, such as Alexander Hamilton, Henry Kissinger, or Steve Bannon, or the master POTUS/conniver in one, FDR.

What is the purpose of this linguistic dipsy-doodle, you may reasonably ask.  It is to focus on the tyranny NOT the tyrant.  Tyrants can be unseated on most good days, but the hard part is keeping him or her from being replaced by another tyrant.  If the systematic, structural tyranny is not disturbed, what hope is there to not replicate it.

Mencken seems to write that it is the office of president and the method of choosing that results in poor consequences.  He can say that again!

I'm here to tell you that no matter who tickles your fancy for the next POTUS, it will be in error.  And for the fools who championed anybody in the recent race, are you serious?  The only possible satisfaction in selecting the winner of a POTUS race is that you might see your opposition get treated like mud, before you begin to be treated that way.  The POTUS race is not for the appreciation of T. C. Mits.

But what is the practical effect of this screed?  It is to emphasize that the wrong cure for the problem is repetitively installing new versions of the problem.  George Washington is Problem 1.0, John Adams is Problem 1.1, Thomas Jefferson is Problem 1.2, ... , Barack Obama is Problem 1.43, and DJT is Problem 1.44.  During Washington's Royal Incumbency, Problem 1.0.0 could have been Alexander Hamilton, while the Iago of Obama's reign, Problem 1.44.0 could be Eric Holder, the world's foremost punt-kicker.

Let us review just for a few moments the chock-full parade of POTUS-farts-in-the-spacesuit in just the first seven weeks of this version.  Then we will call your attention to how it arose from beans eaten by previous occupants of the Oval (Offal/Awful Office).

Executive Orders -- These are like Russian nesting dolls.  We never reach the inner doll, nor finish adding outer dolls.

Dog-and-Pony Shows with High Profile Special Interests and Cultural Niches -- Remember General Motors?  Remember the coal and steel barons (multiple times).  Remember the people (Ask not what your country can do for you?)   Remember the coal and steel unions?  Remember the illegal immigrants (at least twice)?  Remember the druggies?  Remember the economically oppressed?  Remember the gun owners?  Remember "Dont ask, don't tell?"  Remember education.  Remember taxes, tariffs, and fees?  Remember the hippies?
Good bye to my Juan
Goodbye Rosalita
Adios mis amigos Jesus, my Maria
You won't have a name
When you ride the big airplane
All they will call you
Will be "deportees"
from Deportees, or the Los Gatos Plane Crash, by Woody Guthrie

Wow The Groundlings with Fancy Footwork -- All POTUS start off with bureacratic fireworks, missiles and cannons in the Inauguration Parade.  Look at FDR's alphabet soup agency-creation-fest to "end the Depression," or Obama's appointment of a Transparency Csar (where is she today?)

Promise Them Anything -- The current POTUS is not the first to grandstand at the expense of some far less powerful group.  This is political theater as "straw man" (a straw man is a bogus argument that you should not lose, even if it is unrelated to the true problem).

Reliance on Very Short-term Memory Deficiencies -- Smack everybody in the face with as much empty, ostentatious, exorbitant, meaningless pomp-and-circumstance as possible.  Pomp-and-circumstance is always an effective action, until the morning after.

Start Kicking a Common Enemy in the Ribcage -- Up until now, the media have always been ideal in this role.  First of all, the citizenry don't know if the media are singular or plural, but nonetheless, out of control.  Nobody likes bad news, such as "the jamoke you just elected is a drooling idiot, being played by all the crazies out there."  Furthermore, the media being made up of discrete, not-usually-interdependent sacks of mediocrity, has an impossible time putting together a coherent defense on a news cycle basis.  Whereas politicians ordinarily have at least two years to work on their alibis.

FLOTUS Absorbs much of the Personal Attacks -- The "First Lady" no matter how charming or scurrilous takes the lion's share of most of the catty remarks.

Staged Fight with Lawyers -- Have a yelling match with a professional group that everyone hates.  Try to do something that you know the legal system will not allow, particularly if it was one of the most populist undeliverables out there.  It is especially good to lose to a segment of the court system that has pissed off your populismos, previously.  This can work out as a long term strategy as well.  Keep doing things against the law until you can invoke Robin Hood and Jesse James.  Also, try to make sure what you do will fail, but it is something that you have really sold, big-time, to your bases.  There was once an elective insurance commissioner in North Carolina who in all cases disapproved rate increases.  He knew he had no grounds to be upheld, but he became a martyr to the insurance purchasers of his state.

We Make Way Too Much of It -- I found it so refreshing that I spent a dozen days or more in places like Ireland, New Zealand, Spain, Panama, and Austria, while never knowing who was the Grand Eminent Archon for any of those places.  I still do not know.

We Argue about the Wrong Question -- There's a debate trick called moving the fulcrum.  A true argument balances between what is known and/or resolved, and what is yet to be known and/or resolved.  The Question is misposed as whether we should have a state, whether we should have a POTUS, does POTUS have appropriate powers, is the selection method for POTUS effective, but WHO will be POTUS in a one-and-done, no-review, witch-trial-process that has no room for correction.



Now, if I insult you and your favorite POTUS, please understand that I am not taking a side against you.  Also, quickly abandon any idea that I may soothe you confirmation bias.  Maybe Lysander Spooner hated the office of POTUS more than me, but you will have to prove it.  I revere Thomas Jefferson as a man of the Age of Reason, but even he made a poor POTUS -- there is that matter of the nonconsultation regarding the Louisiana Purchase.  I would have done exactly the same thing, but I cannot tell you from where the license came.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ireland

Ireland
This past Autumn, we finally made a trip to Ireland.  It was so overwhelming that I could not decide where to start in writing about it.  I've been fermenting the tale for nearly 4 months now.

The nature of goals.  Back in the early 70s, when my wife and I were involved in a multilevel marketing (MLM) system, by coincidence I had a training session at my day job on the techniques of Management by Objective (MBO).  One of the things I learned was that when success itself was ambiguous, tough to define precisely, try instead to identify a condition that would be true when you had achieved success.  With that in mind, we posted a giant map of Ireland on the wall of our home office, agreeing that success would certainly manifest itself in a journey to the Emerald Isle.

  

But neither of these paths to riches worked out in the long run.  I was making good money for the time at my administrative job with a coast-to-coast insurance firm, but Lin and I were disasters at MLM.  We enjoyed the people we met, we believed in the products, we could see how the revenue would build.  But we were awful at sales;  we had no clue how to sell to strangers, we always felt bad when selling to friends, and I don't even need to talk about selling to family (that's like living in your parents' basement.)  So, ambitious but ineffective, we didn't go overseas in our twenties.  That goal, however, that map of Ireland stayed in our lives.  Fifty years was all it took.

The last 20 years also prevented us from going to Ireland, but for reasons that Frédéric Bastiat would understand.  Our trips were visible, but they caused us to defer Ireland, a trip that was not visible.  We went to Bermuda, England, Wales, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, Aruba, The Panama Canal, (a sick cruise passenger caused us to miss Costa Rica, and we missed Costa Rica again when one of our horses stepped on and broke Lin's foot on the eve of our departure), and the farther reaches of Mexico (Huatulco, Acapulco, and Cabo), Lin went to Alaska, then we went to Maui, Spain, and Gibraltar.  I wouldn't barter any of these experiences, but in hindsight I would have put Ireland ahead of any but New Zealand, in timing and in preference.

I also want to make a brief mention of another nearly lifelong goal, a trip to Australia
.  I first acquired this longing for a place when I first met Lin, and her Father, Charlie Smith.  Charlie spoke glowingly of Australia from the day I met him (a few years before the map of Ireland exercise described above). He soon convinced me.  Australia was #1 on my list, and I regret that Charlie never made it -- his last decade was consumed in a fight against cancer, a fight in which he prevailed for 9 years, often by traveling beyond the tentacles of the American medical establishment.  My yearning for Australia continued until 2003, when almost by accident, an opportunity to go to New Zealand arose.  Kiwi country has been the subsequent place of my life.  I love Kentucky as I love my late Mother, eternally.  I love South Carolina as my home away from home.  I love New England as the origin of my late Mother.  I love travel because of my late Father.  I'll bet he visited every thoroughbred race track in America.  But the place of my life is New Zealand.

New Zealand did cause, however, a reshuffling of priorities.  I am extremely unlikely to ever actually go back to New Zealand.  That 17-hour flight is a deal breaker.  And, according to Bastiat, a choice necessitates the foregoing of another choice.  New Zealand shoved both Australia and Ireland off of my front burners.  Australia was gone permanently, because if I ever travel that far again, I'm going back to New Zealand.  Then Ireland fell to the back row, over the years, due to the phenomenal success of my other travels.

But I am thankful for the passage of my time and the distortion of the modern world.  The passage of my time has been thoroughly wonderful.  Each new day is a gift from wherever the finest gifts are conceived.  The distortion, on the other hand, relates to events such as the attack on the World Trade Center and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).  My wonderful new days are just as frequent here at home, where the distortions wrought by the power-addicts are far away.  My advancing age makes it easy to enjoy the former, and makes it difficult to tolerate the latter.

Our trip to Spain's Mediterranean coast and to Gibraltar left memories that are more golden with each passing day, but the jet lag (3 flights one-way in 24 hours) was killing for 3 days -- we laid around our ocean villa like dead fish washed up on the beach.  Then the TSA in Detroit was an unimaginable bad dream.  I never believed I would be treated that way by the people for whom I paid, as a taxpayer, their salaries.  I swore I would not leave the USA again, unless there was some way to circumvent the TSA.  The goal was disappearing with Life's Sinking Sun.

So, about four and a half decades separated the realization from the goal.  Forty-five years ago, America, and in fact most of the world, was only about halfway chronologically, and far less than halfway developmentally, from the world today.  Think just about the topsy-turvy phenomenon that at the end of the 19th Century, 95% of humans lived in rural environs.  In a hundred years 95% were headed for the larger cities, and their 'burbs.  I was a bit taken by surprise that Ireland, particularly Dublin, was extremely faster, quicker, more dynamic than I could have imagined.  There was a robustness that I could not have anticipated.  Dublin has become an information age city, offering high tech jobs as its principal character in the modern world.  I was reminded much more of New York City, Silicon Valley, and the Boston 128 Corridor than I was of Kentucky, which has retained many bucolic expanses.  Check the comparative figures that follow:

2016 population of  sq mi
Ireland 4,713,993 27,133
New Zealand 4,565,185 103,483
Kentucky 4,339,367 40,409
Ireland is both most populous and least endowed with terra firma.  In Kentucky, there are 2 city areas with greater than 6 figure populations, and only 1 over half-a-million.  Lexington accounts for 1-in-16 bluegrassers, while Louisville does for 1-in-8. Northern Kentucky, adjacent to Cincinnati, Ohio takes up most of the rest of the state's people.  In New Zealand, there is one major city, Auckland, three times as large as the Capital, Wellington, as well as Christchurch on the far less densely peopled South Island (LOTR movie fans would recognize many venues).  The only other 6-figure city is Hamilton, between Auckland and Wellington, all squeezed into a corridor of the North Island.  Great expanses of countryside and spectacular scenery lie beyond the scattering of cities, observing the major industries of shepherding and forestry.  Now, think of Ireland, with her 3 largest cities in a crescent from Dublin, on the River Liffey via Cork to Limerick, on the River Shannon.  Dublin City and County has a population of 1-and-a quarter million, about 5/8 of the people who live in the Greater Dublin Area, a region comprising Dublin and the counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow.  The traffic jams are white-knuckle time.  Dublin itself is about the size of Louisville, in Kentucky.

These are three of the most beautiful places on Earth, with two still largely quiet and rural.  Ireland has become one of the few vigorous places in the European Union's economy.  Day or night the cities above are pulsing with life.

Next time, I will include my view of Bristol and Bath, in England, where we spent 3 days decompressing from the trans-Atlantic flight and the jet lag.  That didn't work very well, getting blown away in our second experience with Heathrow International and first experience with Aer Lingus.  I definitely wish to cover, in a future installment, why Ireland has historically been, and remains, one of the most voluntary and natural societies on Earth.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Non Sequitur -- A Tanka

Nobody asked but ...

Non sequitur, does
Not follow, does not lead, it's
Not reality.
The Bowling Green Massacre
Was e'er last night in Sweden.

-- Kilgore Forelle

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Patchwork

Nobody asked but ...

If actions are not based on the NAP, peace, non-authoritarian, non-nationalist, anti-protectionist principles, indeed, they are just a patchwork of greedy impulses, non-libertarian to an extreme.

File under: why a POTUS can never be a voluntaryist or a libertarian.

Kilgore Forelle