Sunday, July 31, 2016

Results, Processes and Principles

By Kirk

A problem I see today is that people think about the results they want,  but don't think enough about the process and, more importantly,  the principles and unintended consequences.

Especially in politics,  someone agrees that something is bad,  decides it must be corrected, and away we go.

The two parties epitomize this. They don't care about principles.  They both claim to want freedom,  but only with regard to goals they want. Their platforms are rife with goals, but the principles seem to be filled in to back up the goals,  not vice versa.

Just because an outcome is desirable,  does not mean any means can be used to achieve it.

I think this is why,  for now,  I'm a libertarian.  Their policies flow from principles,  at least until they get power, and the principles are as simple as can be and respect YOU and your choices.

Cue the comments on the 2 parties principles,  most of which are actually policies disguised as principles. (Example: sanctity for life,  while supporting the death penalty and endless war. )

On Israel...

By Ray Zen

I found something I disagree with Johnson on... he thinks we should cut support to Israel...

This is a bad idea.

I like Israel... yes they are kind of like a cousin we have that can be a dick sometimes.... but Israel would come to our aid if we needed them....

For a country, that my friend Benny pointed out to me, that has less of a population than then then that of the New York City metropolitan area...

Them is some tough Jews.... and to be honest, we should support them even if it's just on a ethical plain.

Israel has a right to exist!

Now with that said... Palestinians too have a right to exist... they have right to opportunity... of course if their leadership sought to exist rather than destroy.. this whole point would be moot.

Fundamentalism creates a false sense of masculinity and martyrdom.  Even the Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet (at a minimum) and isn't Christ that said "Blessed is the Peacemaker."

Now some of you don't even belief He existed.

 I get that.

But let us acknowledge that Israel, it's creation and our support is charged with so many emotional and spiritual roots that whether or not you understand them are very real to the people that believe them.

That acknowledging that people believe a particular way does not mean you agree with said beliefs but that you acknowledge the importance that people place in them.

Beyond the scope of the emotional and spiritual...supporting and defending Israel is America's ethical duty.  As is helping the Palestinian people grow and prosper.

Sorry Gary...  I disagree.



Quick comment on NATO Social Democracies

To be clear...Trump is a buffoon.
NY Times has an article about his comments on NATO commitments.
It's behind a pay wall so no link.
Trump's approach was,  as usual,  blunt and inept,  but he actually had a point.

I constantly hear about countries,  who happen to be NATO members,  who's glorious social welfare programs we should be emulating.
I also hear about how we could be like them if we didn't spend so much on the military.

The missed point is that all these socialist paradises are supposed to spend 2 percent of gdp on their military to support their commitment to mutual defense.  5 of them are...5.
These countries rely on the United States military spending to make up for their lack thereof.
Until these countries meet their obligations for mutual defense and stop being military moochers, I don't want to hear about how we should be like them.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Ray Zen's Gun to the Head Post

Editors Note...Ray Zen is one of my smartest and most articulate friends.   He has kindly granted permission for me to post some of his stuff here.  I will do so without comment in the future,  and will simply start labelling the beginning of the post worth the author's name or pseudonym.

By Ray Zen:

Okay here's the deal... if I wasn't voting for Gary Johnson.. I'd be voting for Clinton...

Okay... that's probably a lie...

I think she is corrupt, unfit to be President, irresponsible with her authority, and generally very unlikable... but let's be clear here she is unfit in the sort of way that has been unfit for any person who desires a title...a milestone on the highway of history.

Now Obama is not all beds and roses... I really don't like the Affordable Care Act, it has hit me... a middle class person.... in a lot of ways...

But I got to be honest..history will remember him well.. naysayers be damned...

He did a lot for the Republic.  A lot for people.  I benefitted from some of his programs...

And I got to be honest.... he is a smooth talking son of a gun....and I genuinely like him.

I'm proud I voted for him.  I was proud to vote for W. Before the invasion of Iraq....

(BTW I wore the uniform during that time and I'm from NY.)

I will never forget the leadership he displayed when we were face to face with our invincibility...he was a comfort ti me...give credit where it is do.

I have no regrets in my decisions.

This Trump guy... and you guys know me... I think it out...

This guy is belligerent.

100% entertaining.

But frighteningly out of touch and irresponsible...

I'm positive that like most people he has shown glimmers of hope.  I'm sure he has expressed generosity...and there's something to his shtick... he says a lot of what many of you are thinking.

It gives him a sense of authenticity.

You kind of admire his "I don't give a fuck [ness]."

I get that.  He speaks to a part of you... and I only can respect that.

Let's face it .. he is the anti-obama.

And wow do people hate Obama!

I understand why....but let's be really real here...

The thing people who support Trump like about him the most is the way he really doesn't seem to really give crap about what he says....

We just have to see what will come out of his mouth.  For or against... I'm dying to hear the stupid shit that will come out of his silly little mouth.

It's completely engaging.

It's unsophisticated.

It is completely what is on his mind. (Which is actually the most frightening thing about him).

It's like having a conversation with a drunk.

It is

And sometimes you think.... "yeah, I think that."

Combine that with

(1) some hate for Obama
(2) distrust and dislike for Hillary
(3) a little dose of fear.... and don't be macho... I too am scared for our future
(4) a lack of understanding for the Middle East
(5) a lack of understanding for the minority experience in America

...I'm not calling you ignorant by the way... I'm calling you unempathetic...

(6) it fundamentally breaks down to the feeling that many of us are being left out of the story.

Take a moment... put down the phone.. and if you're voting for him... think that out.. don't "Trump" your vote.... think it out.

We feel like...well my ancestors parents struggled... I worked hard...where is the recognition of my pains?

Where is the recognition of my hardships..I've overcome...

Where is my yellow sticky of approval?

Who is speaking for me?

I'll tell you honestly... I feel that way sometimes....

I'm white.

The only thing that puts me in a protected class is that I'm a disabled, "combat" veteran...and to be candid... my "disability" and my "combat" fall in line with the semantics that the VA and State and Federal Law has outlined...

I tip my hat for the people that really experienced life altering events...

But still I'm White.

I don't feel guilty about it.  I don't owe anyone anything but an unbiased truth that they are people before they are a religion, color or sexual orientation... and that is what Martin Luther King Jr  challenged us to do.

And I accept that challenge.. and from that I've been enriched with great coworkers, great bosses, beautiful children and my most beloved bride...

Yet still... who will recognize that I deserve prosperity for the devotion to my vocation?

What Government entity will say I deserve an opportunity over someone else who may be "less worthy" but may still get the program benefits or the job or the social recognition?

What WILL I miss out on because I'm supposedly priveledge?

Doesn't my unrivaled work ethic justify my success?  Doesn't my sacrifice? Doesn't the fact that I did the right thing so many times despite the fact that the easy path seemed so inviting?

And for that.. it shouldn't matter that I'm white or another rival is a different color...

Acknowledging that racism exists does not mean that you're apologetic for your hard work.

It does not mean that undeserving people will gain opportunity at your cost.

It just means that you recognize the truth of our society... and that talent will be recognized not at the cost of your own opportunity but will contribute and yes.. change... the landscape and face of our culture.

It will enrich us.

Bring greater dimension and ability...bring us true conquest not with bombs and soldiers but by the merit of our society based on multiculturalism, inclusion and the human experience... we will win because of inclusion.

We will create "buy in" from the common person.

For what is the world but common.

I believe this... I don't want my children to have advantages because they're minorities...I want their merit to be earned because they are Batkays... they are Santiagos.

... because they are fucking beautiful and you would be a fool not to give them a shot....

Now some of you somehow think Trump is sending this think he is going to "relevel the playing field.. "

He's not.

He comes off as anti establishment because he hasn't made a career out of compromise in back rooms....

But on the contrary.. he is the establishment indeed... he's the same "gut feeling".... the same latent and to be frank overt bias that is decades behind where we stand today....

He appeals to the lesser men and idealogy of yesteryear...

The concept that somehow America was a better place 50 or 100 years ago....

Hey fuckheads 50 or 100 years it was illegal (that means AGAINST THE LAW) for me to marry my wife in many American States... and fuck you if you think you're going to tell me who to love.

I love who I love and you or any law have zero governance over my heart.. or anyone else's.

That's not a "greater" time...

There was conscription.... Gays could be beaten without suffering the penalty of hate crimes...lynchings could happen enmasse without outrage.

People could put up signs that said "Irish need not apply."

The mafia could operate without reproach... exploiting my own people for their criminal enterprise.

In many states... my own couldn't share a meal with me in a restaurant.

This is not a "greater" America.

Yes there were great achievements.... But how many more great things could we have achieved had we included the best and brightest of all races and cultures?

This man wants to build a wall to our brown south and keep the north white border open?

You think terrorists are all Arabs?

One word:  Chechnya

Drug dealers all latino:  La Cosa Nostra

This man makes sweeping generalizations to pander to simple assumptions and the body politic of the GOP has bought into it... shame on them. Shame. Shame. Shame.

I'm not buying it.  He either believes his gibberish or he has nefarious intentions.  Either way he's either ignorant or evil.

So if you believe in a fair shake.

If you believe in Martin Luther King's dream...

If you believe that America is indeed great and a leader,  not just in ass kicking, but a leader in Freedom and the human experience....

Then vote for Gary Johnson.

Gun to my Head Time - Election Edition

Cards on the table...

I will be voting for Gary Johnson

That said, people have asked me who I would support and why, if it was just Hillary or Trump.

Besides the obvious answer of not voting...I will indulge.

I am leaning Hillary, for 3 reasons...

1. As PJ O'rourke said (I think and paraphrased)...Hillary is wrong about everything, but she is wrong within the normal range.
2. Hillary is a lying, corrupt, self serving, pandering, elitist, power hungry scumbag. Or, to put it another way, everything I expect from a major party candidate.
3. To expand on 2, I have no idea what Trump is.

All that said, I'm kinda hoping Trump wins  (if not Gary), because I think it would accelerate the 2 party dumpster fire apocalypse and help bring a third party to the table, but I think that violates the spirit of the question which was who sucks less.  Voting for trump because he sucks more is cheating...for this imaginary game.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Risk Assessment - Terrorism and Civil Liberties

No one seems to care about the erosion of their civil rights.
The arguments I get often are that if you don't do anything wrong you don't have to worry.  It won't happen to me. It only happens to criminals.
All somewhat rational,  if short sighted, arguments.
If only we applied that to terrorism.  We demand more,  often draconian and illegal action to prevent terrorism than can be justified by the risk.
You are NOT going to be the victim of a terrorist attack.
I can say car accidents, lightning strike,  heart disease and many other far more likely events,  but I'm going to list some unusual ones.

All of the following are more likely than you being the victim of a terrorist attack:

Your phone being tapped
Your being placed on the no fly list
Your social media being monitored
Your car being searched
Your being frisked by a police officer
The TSA stealing something from your luggage
You being stopped by police as a pretext for searching your car
You being arrested for a crime you didn't commit
A prosecutor illegally withholding evidence from your lawyer
A police officer lying to you
A police officer quoting the law to you incorrectly.
A police officer shooting you
A no knock raid at your house at 3 am
Your stuff being stolen by the government (civil asset forfeiture)

You don't even want to imagine the risks of the above if you are black...

Terrorism or civil's not even close.