Archives for category: Political

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Are you worried about WWIII? You should read this. Do you love history? You should read this. Do you wonder at Russia, especially the enigma of the old USSR? You should read this. Russia is not the USSR. Putin may be cold, but he is rational, and he is a patriot. Russia plays defense. It does not think offense. Even the unimaginable numbers asserted by the Soviet at the height of the Cold War, Russia thought of defense. Her offense was only intended, at least in the Russian heart, to ensure the battle lines were drawn far from Russia’s heartland.

Perhaps the grand communist experiment, the epic failure (which was and always will be inevitable), was able to happen largely due to the mindset of the Russian-related peoples. Perhaps they had lived in danger so long, that stable dread was tolerable. I hope it cannot happen again. Surely enough people know that communism, socialism, in all its forms, fails, moreover, it kills and destroys.

The article is long. Read it anyway. Grab a mug and learn, enjoy it all.

Mr. Hitchens mentions a movie, a documentary of the sorry conditions in the USSR.

In Russian, of course. No English text. So, learn your Russian or guess.

A note of one who was looking for the movie in 2015. https://www.reddit.com/r/russia/comments/2uhv7b/trying_to_find_a_movie/

From the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100738/

 


The misreading of Russia’s geopolitical situation is especially sad because for the first time in . . . .

Source: The Cold War Is Over by Peter Hitchens | Articles | First Things

Presumptive Democratic nominee for Governor of Oklahoma, Representative Scott Inman, posted to his Facebook page an article about the 2005 conversation of Donald Trump, the recording of the crude comments. Of course, Trump had replied that Bill Clinton has said far worse to him directly while playing on the golf course; a statement that cannot be doubted.

As bad as Trump’s comments may be, the presumptive Oklahoma nominee claims to presently represent me as my representative to the State House of Oklahoma. He doesn’t think it a problem to make fun of the majority of Oklahomans who support Trump. There may be a majority of people in this house-district that don’t support Trump, but Oklahoma will probably be the reddest of red states once again on 08 November. Obviously, Scott doesn’t think it is a problem in his run for Governor. I think that is sad, because for the last ten years, I have felt that Scott tells me one thing (because I am libertarian, and somewhat conservative, and outspokenly against progressivism in all its soul-killing forms), and he does another.

Scott has often angered me with public comments that grab headlines that contradict my express views and his polite replies. He claims to be my representative, but he has often taken aggressively opposed stances to all I stand for. He is, obviously, a Democrat. He is a party man, first and last. I understand that, but he offers me platitudes face to face, and takes opposing stances publicly. Worse, he privately scolds me, calling me hateful and angry.

Mr. Inman captioned his Facebook post, “Faith. Family. Forget it.” Nothing else but a link to the Washington Post news article.

His post caused a firestorm of comments, but Mr. Inman has yet to comment further. I posted, “I recall our Lord allowing him without sin to cast the first stone. I also remember it was the elders who left first.” (Mr. Inman’s uncle queried about my point. I chose not to pick up the gauntlet.)

I don’t understand why a politician, especially a normally cordial, polite, and politically minded one, will post jibes at opponents and those of other parties. Scott hopes to get the majority of Oklahomans to vote for him in two years, but he makes fun of their Presidential candidate. He recently ridiculed Rush Limbaugh. Sure, Rush is an obvious target for all leftists, but to make fun and then not bother to explain just seems wrong to me. I see only potential for harm for all involved.

That is the main thing that worries me. I don’t understand why Scott takes the shot then doesn’t elaborate. What kind of a leader is that? How is it helpful to throw jabs and then let the pieces fall where they may?

I’ll repeat that I won’t be voting for Trump. I cannot condone him nor the GOP. Far worse is HDR and the Democratic Party. (A comment from Winston Churchill comes to mind.) I will soon change my voting registration. I cannot stay in the GOP. I do not support the GOP. I’m debating whether to just be independent, or perhaps I can support the Libertarian Party, but they need to be a bit more serious. While I appreciate his sense of humor, and Gary Johnson is a man I can admire, I cannot support him for President. I cannot put my vote of approval on him (regardless the lack of weight and value in a vote nowadays). Johnson has significant flawed views, and he is still progovernment. I cannot support anyone who proposes more of the same when government has become so clearly the primary factor in most all our problems.

Trump has admitted the mistake and apologized. Seems ancient history to me.

HDR continues to lie and deceive. She has shown no signs of honesty, nor of even learning. She only goes on always stepping on anyone and everyone available to advance herself.

It looks to me that my representative is planning to spend his last two years as House Minority Leader running for Governor. He has always touted his Del City roots. Good. I don’t doubt his devotion, but I do question his commitments. I see only signs of political ambition, not commitment to people. I’m sure he will think I’m being hateful and angry, but I only see it as practical. I’ve been watching Scott, talking to him, and writing him, for a dozen years. He sure is a nice guy, but his political ambitions and commitment to the Democratic Party seem to be his core. He has shown me over and over that he is committed to leftist, progressivist values. He has no commitment to individual freedom and individual responsibility. He has shown me over and over his commitment to statism and bigger government with  more spending.

That is my honest view and assessment. If that makes me angry and hateful, well, point out how I should improve, and I will try to implement.

Mostly, I’m hoping that Scott goes home after his term limits force him out of the State House, and I hope he takes care of his young family and stays active working for the people of East Oklahoma County in his occupation and associations.

There will be three candidates on every Presidential ballot in the country. Why on earth would anyone consider not having all three of these candidates in every debate and forum sponsored? Don’t we want the voters informed?

In the late 70s, about the time I started driving, I sat in conversation with my mother, explaining how emerging electronic communications and information storage were going to revolutionize the world by making nearly all knowledge readily available to everyone; anyone who needed the knowledge would be able to access it in minutes, instead of spending days at the public library, as I had done a summer or two prior while researching wind-power and realizing even before my engineering training what a pipedream it was. (I rode my bicycle on those excursions.)

While my vision was significantly different from what the internet has become, the central tenet, readily available information and fact checking at a moment’s notice with easily afforded effort has become true beyond my wildest imaginings.

But has it made any difference?

When faced with a lack of knowledge, or when someone challenges an opinion, nearly everyone appeals to whatever authority they find appealing at the moment. They spout something like, “The greatest minds on the subject disagree with you,” and they go merrily along without ever bothering to think, and, especially, without ever bothering to consider the correctness of the objection, never questioning whether or not they themselves might be wrong.

In the late 80s, I wrote a paper for a college writing class extolling the self-evident virtues of email systems that were coming into their own, at least on college campuses and at research centers.

I detailed why the near instantaneous written communications capabilities would let us all respond as quickly or as thoughtfully as was necessary to maximize understanding and minimize confusion. We could respond immediately to urgent information, or respond with thought and deliberation when emotion seemed to be obscuring clarity.

Of course, email, text, video chat, social media, all have all those qualities, with limits, but no one uses them that way.

I eventually learned there was no substitute for the KISS principle in email. Brevity and abbreviation are forced in texting and twitter.

Still, writing used to involve rather thoroughly stated points with detailed information. It still does, but instant communications muddles more than elucidates.

I find that nearly no one uses Facebook for anything substantial.

I don’t understand that.

Facebook has a significant flaw in its apparently random way it calculates who to show posts to, and how it picks what it shows. I don’t blame Facebook for developing and evolving those picking-algorithms per client preference. Of course, they must maximize the user experience to keep them and to keep growing, but it eliminates the effectiveness of Facebook as an actual communications medium.

It is good for keeping track of family, friends, and acquaintances, but it sucks for trying to coordinate most anything, since it cannot be relied on to transfer information to all concerned.

Facebook would follow us if we changed.

If we used Facebook to try to be substantive, and tried to actually communicate, Facebook would figure out how to facilitate.

Sadly, I think it will never be. The decades have taught me that communication is hard. None of us really care enough about it with most people to make the effort.

That is doubly true, and doubly sad, regarding our politicians.

Scott Adams is correct. We don’t care about facts, we care about emotional motivators, and politicians know that and take advantage of it. We all complain about negative campaigning, but every politician knows it works, either because they succeeded using it or lost because of it.

Well, the flow stopped. So, I end. Let’s all try to communicate better.

Especially, when discussing in social media, let’s try to consider context, not just some point we want to make in response to some small aspect of what was posted. Also, try not to take things personal, but never dismiss how much your words can actually hurt. (I too often find I still need to work on these things.)

Mr. Gornoski has hit it.

I add my agreement. I add CS Lewis:

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

Faces. We all have one, and only one, even if we try to present more than one. The gods, our God, only knows the one face. Each of us must present our truest face as truly as we are able, and we must each consider the face of our neighbor, be it black, or any other color. Be it gay, addicted, prostituted, abused, rich, powerful, humble or proud, we must face each other openly and equally.

We must speak in truth. We must try to understand. Sure, we need tolerance to ensure we only bounce, that we don’t break, but we need so much more. We must try to understand, and we must walk in love in the understanding.

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Who among you will carry out the next act of violence against your nonviolent neighbor? We cannot hide behind the veil of the voting or jury booth. Face to face, we must make our choice.

Source: Law Has Become the Anonymous Violence of the Crowd | Foundation for Economic Education

My comments on Rodney Stark’s Triumph of Christianity are what strikes me, and not an effort to be thorough.

Constantine’s combining of Church authority with State power was a mistake. It has hurt society and humanity.

Constantine was tolerant and cooperative with the pagans and other religions, yet he was intolerant of dissent within Christianity from Christian orthodoxy. His objection to dissent, and his application of state power against it was probably mostly trying to keep a strong unity, probably largely motivated by political ambition and avoidance of schism, which tends to lead to strife. (I don’t think Constantine was power-mad. I think he was sincere, but perhaps suffering from some noble-cause-corruption.)

I suppose Constantine was generally traditional.

That would mean that he expected people to honor their traditions whether they were different from his or not. It seems the Roman distaste for Christianity from the beginning was rooted in an expectation of following tradition and honoring the beliefs and gods of one’s family and heritage. Conversion to Christianity thwarted that. Conversion to Christianity abandoned one’s religious heritage. Traditionalists are likely to be incensed by such a change. Gradual change over generations was one thing. The dramatic conversion to Christ alone was seen as extreme, extremist, and antisocial.

For Constantine, with his Christian mother, Helena, he probably did not see his own conversion as abandoning his heritage and tradition. However, he probably respected such traditionalism among the pagans and other religions. He probably also tended to judge individuals by the content of their character, their abilities, and their political loyalty. He apparently continued always to honor and promote people around him without regard for their religious beliefs. He probably only considered whether or not they were reliable, and consistent behavior with regard to one’s beliefs, whether Christian or other, was evidence of conviction and reliability.

Regarding Constantine’s conversion, I suspect he was raised consistent with general Roman pagan tradition and beliefs. He probably had significant influence from his mother with regard to Christianity, but as a likely ruler of Rome, Roman religious practice was probably his own before conversion.

If one runs the numbers, given reasonable and plausible mathematical models (as Stark does in the book), one realizes that the Christians, who had been feared as potentially adverse political opponents, were at least a large minority, and probably already a majority, especially in the aristocracy. Constantine probably was mostly an opportunist. He saw the trend of increasing Christian unity and population proportion, and he decided it was time to embrace his mother’s faith. I think he was sincere, but I am nearly certain he saw only advantages for himself politically. Emperors were often assassinated by troops or guards. Applying Christian ethics in his administration and military leadership was very likely to improve his chances of staying in good graces with his subordinates and bodyguards.

I close this comment by reiterating that I consider the use of state power with any regard to religion a mistake and inherently wrong.

Well, I didn’t make sure I was getting things correct in an earlier post. I forgot to make clear distinction between the County Clerk, who deals with county money, property, records, etc., with respect to the County Court Clerk that deals with items specific to the courts, like fines, etc.

http://newsok.com/article/5507042

So, we have a runoff coming Tuesday, 23 August 2016.

In short, Caudill has been in the County Clerk office forever, or maybe longer. I think Hooten looks like a good replacement.

As to the County Court Clerk, the new guy looks good, and the experienced challenger looks good too. She had a good showing against him a few months ago for the fill-in-term. I’ll be thinking. I don’t think I’ll post which one I decide to vote for.

 

I received a flyer from Ms. Mena Samara for Oklahoma County Clerk.

There are no primary races for the Democratic or Libertarian primaries this summer.

The Republicans have two besides Ms. Samara. Ms. Linda Amick Dodson, and Mr. Rick Warren.

Two of those names were just voted on a couple of months ago. The clerk position came open, and we had a special election. Ms. Dodson is in the Oklahoma County Clerk’s office, and she ran a good race. Mr. Warren edged her out though, and then he won the general (special) election for the abbreviated term. So, he is up again, and he has the two challengers.

To be clear, I enthusiastically support the right to ignore the voting booth. If you don’t want to vote, okay. If you want to go and leave a given block blank, I support you. That is our right just as much as to cast the ballot. Either way, we are free. Frankly, in the system as it is now, not voting is probably more important than voting. Either way, I hope you have looked into it and made an informed decision. I encourage all to evaluate the choices available and decide, then act. I hope you don’t just muddle through and find yourself in the ballot booth with no idea what you are looking at, or waking up Wednesday morning realizing you just hadn’t bothered. Life in general, and voting in particular, is worth some effort. Think it through and decide and act.

Mr. Warren has the following description of the Clerk office on his page.

The Oklahoma County Court Clerk presides over the largest, and busiest, Court Clerk’s office in the state. Approximately 120,000 new court cases are filed in Oklahoma County annually, more than any other state, local or federal court in Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s primary duty is to record and maintain court records filed in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. From the inception of the office until 2002, records were maintained almost entirely in paper form. That year, the first ever document imaging process began, with approximately one-third of the county’s case files being electronically recorded. The large majority of records kept by the Court Clerk are open for public inspection.

Another important duty of the Oklahoma County Court Clerk is to collect and account for all funds deposited in connection with court proceedings. The Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s office annually receives more than $60 million in criminal fines, court costs, bond forfeitures, child support and other such payments. Fiscal oversight of Court Clerk funds is provided by the Supreme Court, the State Treasurer, the State Auditor, the County Treasurer, by internal audit staff and the dozens of government entities to which the Court Clerk transmits funding.

Other services provided by the Oklahoma County Court Clerk’s office include passport processing; marriage licenses; and licensing of private process servers and low point beer providers.

It is a significant public position.

I’m glad we seem to have three well qualified candidates.

Mr. Warren gives some sound files worth hearing. He’s only been in office long enough to get started, but I can’t find complaints. So far, so good.

Ms. Dodson certainly has the experience, and she seems to have the mindset and attention to detail that would keep her successful in the position.

Interesting news note on Ms. Samara’s current occupation at the link.

My hope for the county, our courts and all the county offices, is that we simplify.

From the 120,000 cases per year information above, that is 10,000 per month, which works out at over 460 cases per day (work days). That is practically a case a minute. Really?

Do we need to have so much going in our county that legally requires government involvement?

That doesn’t even count the city or the fed. It is all such a waste.

At least we can pretend we are free when we consider voting, right?

We need less government. We need fewer laws. We need much less regulation.

I wonder if I can get one or more of these candidates to commit to such reductions?

The wiki article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Oklahoma is brief, but it includes details that should lower the heads of all Oklahomans. We aren’t like that in most regards, but we didn’t always do so well.

One key fact is the state was run by democrats since the beginning. The leaders of Scott Inman’s party ran this state, and they buggered it up pretty bad in over a century. Scott Inman is minority leader in the Oklahoma state house, and he is term-limited after this next election. Public records indicate he has in the neighborhood of a quarter-million in his war chest. Jason Sansone filed to run against Inman, but his funds available will probably be a tenth of Inman’s. Money is unlikely to be a deciding factor, but if it comes to it, I’m sure the state Democrat party would back their leader.

Inman is nearly certain to fill the 12-year max, and he will probably run for statewide office in 2018. His name is being dropped already as the likely Democratic nominee for Governor. Radio hosts even talk that way when interviewing Joe Dorman, last round’s governor candidate, and Dorman has expressed his intention to run again.

I’m not sure what I think of Dorman, overall, but he shoots straight. He is also in favor of drug legalization, but you might have noticed I’ve concluded the war on drugs failed; it was mostly racist anyway, more a war on the poor than anything else. So, I favor drug legalization too. The system is broke. There are no viable alternatives to a fix other than legalizing it and working the new problems from that. Those new problems can’t be worse than the mess we have now.

Inman is a solid guy. Not much negative can be said about him, except that he is a politician, and his party seems to come before anything else in his public presentation. The only real complaint I have of him is he is one of them. One of the politicians that thinks politics can fix things, and if you only give him and his party the power to do it, they will fix everything.

Of course, there is that truism that power corrupts.

Sadly, nearly all politicians are like that. They think they just need a little more power, one more law, a little more revenue to spend, and everything will get better.

Of course, it won’t.

It so happens that the government and politics cannot fix the problem because the government and politics are the problem. Power and authority, authoritarianism, cause nearly all the problems that most of us deal with throughout our lives, at least all those problems we can’t actually do something about on our own.

My main point in my writing here is that Scott Inman keeps saying the problem is those Rs. He keeps saying if the Ds were in charge everything would be better. I see a lot of comments on his Facebook page that indicate many people agree with him.

I point out that the Ds had well over a century to set things wrong in Oklahoma, and they set them wrong in a lot of ways. The Rs have had scarcely 10% of that time to try to set things right. Sadly, they have made a poor show of it, but one can hardly pass judgement so soon.

Still, a good way to gain headlines is to blame the opposition and loudly spin anything and everything they are doing wrong. Representative Inman has been very good at that a few times, so much so that I was embarrassed to admit I live in House District 94. (Not because of the failings of the Rs, but because of the lack of responsibility in the words of my representative.)

I’m sure he will pivot to positive in just about two years, but for now, negative gets headlines.

I almost supported him for a while, several months ago. The Rs were making quite a mess of things, and it just seemed reasonable to support the opposition. I reached out, especially when he seemed offended at some of my comments in social-media. I was hoping for some push for compromise and reason. All I got was finger pointing. It has only gotten worse.

I have no plans regarding writing more about politics. Maybe more, maybe not. I’ll probably write if I do much digging and come to any conclusions. I mostly write to see what I think. I have no illusions of persuading anyone to my views. Life just isn’t like that. Emotionalism, rhetoric, polemic, sensationalism, and the like can push mobs and sway crowds, but sound reason never wins the day. Sound reason is rarely even accepted as such, must less accepted as persuasive.

I’ve become disillusioned and cynical with regard to politics and government on the whole. Such are the past, and the past is dead. Sadly, before the powers that be actually expire, there will be suffering and death. The Gods of the copybook headings, with terror and slaughter return!

I do pray that it will be less severe than the global conflagrations of war of the twentieth century. Perhaps the pains will birth a new sense of brotherhood and respect for the person, each individual. Perhaps we will begin to see that each is invaluable beyond our mortal concerns.

What is socialism, even in the ideal, if not state-enforced charity?

1“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Is not this a direct injunction directly from the mouth of our lord against socialism?

 With socialism, not only does our left hand know what our right is doing, but so does half the government.

 Forced charity, forced humility, is worthy of no accolades.

Let’s make sure we don’t repeat the obvious mistakes.

http://www.history.com/news/little-ice-age-big-consequences

The Little Ice Age was bad. Similar global cooling now will be harsh. Hopefully earth won’t significantly cool, but we have more reason to prepare for cooling than warming. A little warming is a good thing. A little cooling will cause famine and worse.

From the article, and this is my point:

Witch Hunts
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII recognized the existence of witches and echoed popular sentiment by blaming them for the cold temperatures and resulting misfortunes plaguing Europe. His declaration ushered in an era of hysteria, accusations and executions on both sides of the Atlantic. Historians have shown that surges in European witch trials coincided with some of the Little Ice Age’s most bitter phases during the 16th and 17th centuries.

I consider it exaggerated to blame that pope for ushering in an era of hysteria, but the official papal declaration did lend credence to the noble-cause-corruption evident. Of course, the Pope held responsibility for the Inquisition in his day.

I doubt I’m the only one with misgivings regarding the Pope’s recent stances on environmentalism, socialism, and a few other ominous topics, especially his assertion implying Trump cannot be Christian (and by association and extension, all who support wall-building).

Similarities between now and more than a few grave moments in history are striking.

Let us not lose sight of what is right. Do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Too many lives were sacrificed in learning those lessons and overcoming the mistakes.

No one can claim history has not warned us.

http://www.bbc.com/news/election-us-2016-35607597

The Pope backtracked a bit, but he erred when he judged Donald Trump as not a Christian.

Click the link and watch the statements. Someone might make something of translation, but I think the Pope was clearly judging Trump. If he had simply said something like, “Good Christian charity focuses on building bridges, not walls…” I could have supported him. Nope. Not with this.

I supported the Pope when he refused to judge a homosexual. I agree, if you are honestly seeking God, who am I to judge?

Fundamentally, none of us can judge another person’s soul. We do not know if a person is a Christian. That is why it was wrong to judge the President. He has made a declarative statement. Actions and fruit from his life give us indications, but they do not allow us to judge.

Such judgement is exactly what Jesus forbid.

Good thing we know the Pope is human, subject to the frailties common to us all.

“Let us always remember that he does not really believe his own opinion, who dares not give free scope to his opponent.” Wendell Phillips

Over the years, life has convinced me the primary difference between left-leaning and right-leaning in politics can be summed in the difference between the reaction, “That is bad. There ought to be a law,” and “That is bad. What can I do about it?”

Oversimplified, certainly, but I ask you to agree. People who lean left in politics generally want to have laws against all things they think are bad. There are, of course, two areas of politics, the civil and the moral. Again, oversimplified, and nebulous regarding the division between those two categories, but the simplification lets me explain.

The left-leaning that’s-bad-so-make-a-law group tends to identify as Democratic in the USA for individuals who emphasize the civil over the moral. Likewise, the left-leaning that’s-bad-so-make-a-law group tends to identify as Republican if they focus on the moral over the civil.

I suspect my readers have to pause and rectify my calling moralist-Republicans “left-leaning.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

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