Wednesday, September 29, 2010

With these kind of "Friends", Who Needs Enemies?

If you believe in freedom and want to save this country, then a book promoted at Pajamas, Lee Harris's "The Next American Civil War," is a very bad book. 

The Founding tradition of this country rests on one thing: the protection of individual rights.

All else follows from this, but nothing that Harris advocates follows from this.

Harris misinterprets the "general welfare" clause of the Constitution to promote the notion that we are a country founded on altruism. In historical context, the meaning of that clause is the opposite:  that freedom begets the "general welfare" by protecting life, liberty and opportunity for the pursuit of happiness.

For anyone who wants to save the United States from despotism, almost nothing that Harris advocates is of value. In essence, his woeful ignorance of history, his mindless advocacy of "tradition" and egalitarianism, and his profoundly anti-reason obscurantism paints Harris as someone standing against everything the Founders fought for.

The Founders were not "traditionalists" -- they broke with over 2000 years of tradition to create the first society in history that placed the natural rights of the individual -- those necessary to sustain his life by his own effort -- above those of society, and defined a limited role for government.  The Founders said, in essence:  these rights are reserved for the People and government may not infringe them.

Some of the Founders were religious, others weren't, but all agreed:  the "general welfare" isn't promoted by forcing people to do "good" for any undefined person who may or may not be worthy of help.  The Founders weren't "altruists" in any modern, traditional sense.

The Founders were all advocates of Reason.  They used their minds to study history and conceive a new society founded on Reason and Rights.  This had never been done before.

They made some mistakes such as Jefferson's advocacy of public education -- understandable in a time when illiteracy was rampant. But they never made the mistake of thinking “civilization can pose a threat to freedom,” or that "science and technology" was a threat to freedom based on "unwise departures from well-worn traditions and for promotion of unnecessarily complex concepts".

I'll leave it for Harris to show us what he regards as a "complex concept".  Perhaps he can have that conversation with Bill Clinton -- over the meaning of the word "is". 

Public education today can be rightly criticized for many evils, and should be abolished (how? just sell them off and let people keep the taxes they now pay), but to assert, as Harris does, that public education promotes "consensus building and adulation of brains... as a superior route to success" is not just foolish, but a criminally ignorant distortion of history for the purpose of promoting the modern agenda of a theocratically-inclined Luddite, and an indictment of the anti-mind education Harris himself received.

One has to wonder if his book isn't some product of "The Onion" when he asserts that the primary "threat to liberty today as not emanating from Marxism... but from prosperous modern civilizations", while then going on to advocate altruism, egalitarianism, duty in the present and duty to the future, and civil war as the solution -- the main precepts of Marxism.

Yes, we do have other threats besides Marxism.  We have threats from false philosophies in the Post-modernism era that advocate relativism, mysticism, blind tolerance to any creed (such as Islam, the most profoundly anti-mind creed today, though Harris seems determined to prove Christianity is more so), and a host of other wrong ideas.

The solution is not to be anti-intellectual, anti-philosophical and anti-mind like Harris.  The solution is to use our minds to the best of our ability to identify a correct philosophy that correctly grounds our rights in reality and discovers the real meaning of the Founder's achievement. Listen to Ayn Rand's speech delivered to the graduating class of West Point to understand this fully:

As I said, Harris has written a very bad book. It could have been written by Karl Marx himself (or even the Islamist's patron, Mohammed) to dupe the Tea Party into accepting his premises, while counting on their ignorance and anti-intellectuality to miss the trick. What Harris misses is that most Tea Party types are exactly the opposite of what he advocates:  they love this country, whether by conscious realization or not, for the profound intellectuality behind the creation of a government that (in its founding principles) valued their lives.

That Harris fails to grasp this simply shows the consequences of his willful rejection of reason, intellectuality and historical fact, in his pathetic attempt to reach a preordained conclusion.  For anyone who might feel they are being sucked into this miasma, I suggest, in the spirit of Ayn Rand, you check your premises.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A New Start for America

For anyone who hasn't noticed or hasn't read it, the so-called "Pledge to America" is a pathetic, cynically pragmatic, unprincipled attempt by the neocons in the Republican party to pander simultaneously to the libertarians of the Tea Party and the social advocates of the Religious Right with platitudes, cliches and nearly empty rhetoric. (And let's be serious -- Paul Ryan is a neocon's neocon. A RINO in sheeps clothing who will say anything to get elected to promote the Bush legacy.)

The "Pledge" makes only one clear statement of principle -- that we all have rights to life/liberty/pursuit of happiness -- and then does everything possible to undermine that principle by defending it in terms any member of the Democratic Party could sign up for: like "sacrifice" and service to the "common good" and the "social fabric". Not just rhetoric, but Marxist rhetoric, because folks, that's where it started. 

For anyone who doesn't know: for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to mean anything, it has to mean something. It doesn't mean a litany of concrete issues like "balancing the budget", "restoring trust", or "funding missile defense".  That all sounds nice, but in the grand hierarchy of really important priorities, they are so far down the list, and deserve no more than a footnote in this so-called "Pledge" -- if that. (Seriously, if we sent the right kind of people to Washington to defend rights, we don't have to worry that they'll balance the budget, restore trust or fund missile defense.) 

If you have a right to your life, liberty and happiness then there is one and only one proper function of government:  to protect your individual rights. (There is no such thing as a "group" right.) 

In a properly delimited government, the only power politicians should have, besides budget authorizations, is the power to protect individual rights -- freedom of human action in a social context -- meaning:  the right of individuals to act in any way they damn well choose without having to seek the permission of a government bureaucrat -- so long as they don't violate the rights of others in the process. 

That is a principle you can get your teeth into. That is what the Tea Party is groping to understand about itself -- what it is trying to defend. That is what this Pledge should be pledging.  It is the most important underlying meaning of our Constitution, and all else follows from it.

What individual rights?
  • The right to free speech. To advocate your ideas, beliefs, convictions, observations, or judgments without interference or fear of persecution (of which "freedom of religion" and "freedom of the press" are two forms, and what "campaign finance reforms" so grotesquely violate).  
  • The right to own property without it being indentured to the State for any kind of tax, or stolen from you for any kind of so-called "public good". 
  • The right to defend oneself when the government can't (of which the right to guns is one form). 
That's only a start.  Those rights not enumerated in the Constitution are reserved to the People -- not the government.

Here's another principle that the old-guard GOP missed entirely in their attempt to usurp the power of the Tea Party:  that power corrupts absolutely, and powers not dedicated to protecting individual rights, like the power to tax, regulate and dictate "social policy", are absolute powers corrupting everything about the principle of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness", not to mention Washington D.C. 

(Taxation is the power of a blank check in direct contradiction to the principle of individual rights -- it is the power to destroy lives for undefined ends.  A proper government, delimited to its essential functions, can very easily be funded by charging fees for services actually rendered -- police, courts, defense. Taxes, on the other hand, become carte blanche for the government to give your money to others while you get nothing in return.)

You will notice the so-called "Pledge" didn't make one single statement renouncing government's right to tax, regulate or dictate social policy.
  • It offered to "stop tax hikes", "provide tax deductions" -- but not end taxes.  
  • It offered to "repeal job-killing mandates" -- but not mandates as such. 
  • It offered to limit federal spending -- but not end federal spending for functions the federal government has no business doing. 
  • It offered to "put people back to work" -- somehow. Meaning, via more federal programs, tax incentives, TARP incentives, regulatory "tweaking", ad infinitum -- but not get the federal government out of the business of interfering with business.
So what you see in this so-called "Pledge" is this:  some chicken bones with a little gristle, thrown out for people to gnaw on, to fool them into thinking they are being fed, while the essential power of the politicians is preserved -- the absolute power to offer handouts to a people starved for real freedom.  Let them eat cake.

If you have a right to your life, then no one (most especially the government) has a right to tell you how to live it.  No one has the right to tell you how much of your life, your earnings, your possessions they have a right to.  No one has a right to sacrifice your life for any "good" cause, not for the "poor", nor the "disabled", nor the destitute in Africa or the con-artists in Washington. That is for you to choose.

What does sacrifice really mean?  The renunciation of a greater value to a lesser one. A person with a right to his life must hold the power to choose how he will spend it -- or it means nothing.  To tell him he must sacrifice is to abrogate the very principle of life. 

Note: if you choose to help someone you love that is not a sacrifice!  If you choose to fight to defend your country, that is not a sacrifice! -- it is giving your highest value for your highest value.  But the altruist advocates of self-sacrifice and duty to the collective don't want you to realize that.  They want you to believe that you are nothing but a serf to the feifdoms of their ends.

No one has a right to tell you what social policy or "cause" you must support, who you must help, what "common good" you must serve, or how much wealth you can accrue on the way to your happiness. No one has a right to tell you how to live by imposing regulations of any kind whatsoever to "guide" your actions. The government's job is only to punish actual violations of rights, not to presume you are guilty before proven innocent and tie you up in a straightjacket of rules.

So what should a proper "Pledge" uphold? As a start for the next legislative session of 2011 - 2012, we resolve to:

1. Pass a resolution asserting that the government's only function is to protect the rights of the individual and that we will work to end all government functions not dedicated to that principle.

2. Resolve to work towards a plan for a complete Separation of State and Economics, on the principle that the government has no proper function "guiding" the economy or "fixing" it.

3. Commit to repeal the Health Care Act of 2010, and repeal all government regulation of the health care industry.

4. Develop a plan to fully privatize Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

5. Commit to eliminating all "economic stimulus" programs, including TARP, and resolve to prohibit any future Federal bailouts for private businesses or any state in the union.

6. Resolve to place the United States on a gold standard, and prohibit issuance of any more debt by the U.S. Government.

7. Commit, as a necessary measure in the current economic crisis, to eliminate all funding for non-essential government functions, including: HHS, Transportation, Foreign Aid, HUD, Education, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, EPA, and the "Corporation for National and Community Service".  (Savings: $311 billion)

8. Pass legislation eliminating "Fannie Mae" and "Freddie Mac" on the principle that the government has no business dictating housing policy.

9. End "nation building" as a function of the Department of Defense or any other branch of government, and de-fund all activities dedicated to that end.

This is just a start.  But it is a start based on solid principles.  I would call it that:  A New Start for America.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maybe there ARE commies under every rock...

This symposium transcript is very interesting in presenting the case for how the overthrow and execution of dictator Nicolai Ceaucescu in Romania was orchestrated by the Soviet Union, even if it backfired on them when the Soviet Bloc collapsed.  The supporting evidence comes from top secret documents smuggled out of Soviet Bloc archives by one of the participants of this symposium. 
The discussion by people who actually lived in the Soviet Bloc under communism offers insight into scope, range and audacity of Soviet intelligence operations.  Many thousands of people were involved over decades of planning to put thousands into all high government positions of many countries.  

Without going into all the other evidence I know of, I would say there is no question whatsover that the Soviets and the communists in Russia who replaced them would attempt something as bold as my own pet theory: that they might work for decades to plant a mole in the presidency of the United States -- let's say, Barack Obama.  

The article is long, so I distilled the key highlights obliquely relevant to that thesis, and italicized or highlighted a few things I thought especially important.  The speakers are former dissidents from the Soviet Union and other East Bloc countries, and one Soviet general, the highest official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc.  (Of course, the other highest ranking defector from right *after* the collapse of the Soviet Union, Sergei Tretyakov, died a few months ago, though there is the peculiar timing of our arrest of 10 Soviet moles only a few days later.)

What's the cash value of this?  If one assumes an unorganized opposition, then all one must do to save the United States is persuade people of the right ideas.  Time and reason is on your side.  If the opposition is highly organized however, with a specific plan and agenda driven by unlimited resources and committed people who are ruthlessly dishonest (or worse) about what they will do to succeed -- you've got a much harder job ahead of you.  (For example, you wouldn't have fought Nazi Germany or the Soviets with nothing but persuasion -- we'd all be high-stepping to the Horst Wessel song or worse.)  Know thy enemy, for it will dictate the necessary strategy and tactics required to win.

------ excerpts: ---------------

Stroilov: ...Gorbachev wanted the Politburo to work out a clear strategy in case of a serious crisis, so as to keep East Europe under control without a military intervention. This task was given to a special commission chaired by Alexander Yakovlev.

...There is a lot of evidence to suggest that the coup against Caeusescu in 1989 was secretly directed from Moscow. It is known that at least some of the key figures in the National Salvation Committee (such as Gen. Militaru or Silviu Brucan) had been secretly in touch with the Soviets for years. After the revolution, the new government took a very pro-Soviet line,

...we are not talking about different interpretations of events – the evidence is overwhelming, while all the main participants are in total denial. After all, about a thousand people were killed is those events – so it would take a lot of courage for Gorbachev, or Iliescu, or Baker to tell the whole truth and accept their share of responsibility.

Lt. General Ion Mihai Pacepa:  ...In real life, it often happens that a person may go out to find wool and come home shorn, as they say in Romania. Neither Gorbachev nor his intelligence services were able to predict that their efforts to hold Romania within the confines of glasnost and perestroika  would in the end—to use a Marxist image—dig their own graves.

Buchar: ...One has to keep in mind that all of this was carefully planned for a long period of time. The name of Anatoly Golitsyn is such a taboo till today, yet he brought to the West information about the Soviets planning these changes back in 1962. Then another defector, Gen. Jan Sejna in 1968, said the same thing. But nobody in the West listened or wanted to hear it. ...It looks like this mind-blowing operation was carefully planned for some thirty years. The Soviets used Ceausescu as a guinea pig to test how to create the communist leader likeable to the West. At the same time, they created a little monster, because Ceausescu’s ego became so big it crossed the point of no return.

Bukovsky: ...Let me start with a fresh Polish joke about a conversation between two pigs in a barn:

Pig #1: “You know, I cannot believe that they are feeding us and looking after us just because they are kind. They must have some ulterior motive. In the end, they will probably kill and eat us.”

Pig #2: “Oh, stop this. To hell with your conspiracy theories!”

...A few years ago, when Iliescu was still the president [of Romania, after the overthrow of Ceaucescu], I mentioned in an interview to a Romanian newspaper that he and his ‘National Salvation Committee’ were secretly backed by Moscow. Even at that stage, the evidence was already overwhelming, so I felt free to refer to that as an established fact and did not expect any controversy. But suddenly, Iliescu went out and threatened to sue me for libel in a Romanian court. I replied I would be happy to have the evidence tested in court, but invited him to sue me in Britain...

...Indeed, the known facts and documents leave me in no doubt that the whole so-called 1989 revolution was simply a Soviet operation. However, even I did not suspect that Iliescu was so close to Moscow that he actually asked for a Soviet invasion. particular, a lot of questions to be asked about the role of the West: how much did State Secretary Baker know about the Soviet backing for the revolution? ...But one thing is now abundantly clear: Iliescu and his committee were little more than just Soviet puppets. Throughout history, it was typical for Soviet-sponsored subversives in any country to request a Soviet invasion when they lost control of events.

[I asked] ...Alexander Yakovlev ...the architect of the 1989 revolutions... How did it get out of control? ... Yakovlev was adamant: there had been no plan, no decision, no discussion of that issue by the Politburo. All happened by itself.

At that point, we were approached by Radek Sikorski (at that time, he was not the Foreign Minister of Poland yet), who also had a question for Yakovlev:

“Alexander Nikovayevich, I wanted to ask you for a very long time: when exactly have you stopped believing in communism?”

“Do you think I am an idiot?” Yakovlev asked. “I never believed in communism in my life.”

Amazed, Radek turned to me and said in English:

“It looks like the whole f…ng Soviet Union was governed by anti-communists!”

Now we learn, from Pavel’s documents, that not only did the Politburo have a plan, but Yakovlev personally was in charge of its preparation.

...Romania is the main reason why Gorbachev and Yakovlev denied their responsibility for the 1989 revolutions. After all, over a thousand people were killed there. Still, our opponents have hardly anything to say on the substance of the matter – you cannot argue against the documents. All they can do is dismiss all the evidence as a “conspiracy theory.” Sadly, though, when multiplied by all the power and money of the neo-communist Establishment, even this cheap propaganda trick works.
Nowadays, the “conspiracy theorist” label is being used in the same manner as “enemy of the people” under Stalin. Nobody ever gave a clear definition of a conspiracy theory, and yet, it is a perfect way to silence dissenting voices without any debate on the substance of the matter. We seem to admit that conspiracies do happen and sometimes succeed, so much so that we even recognize them in criminal law. It is quite respectable, for example, to blame the 9/11 tragedy on an al-Qaeda conspiracy. This is not a conspiracy theory – but any alternative theory is. So, a conspiracy theory is simply a view which does not fit into the margins of what is acceptable to the Establishment, simply a deviation from their propaganda line.

It is time to admit that, because conspiracies sometimes occur, a conspiracy theory may happen to be accurate, just like any other theory. In the case of the Romanian revolution, the “conspiracy theory” is simply the only possible explanation of the known facts.

...Alas, as I said many times before, we did not win the Cold War. No war is over until the minefields and unexploded bombs are cleared away, unless gangs of marauders and surviving enemies are disarmed. Above all, no war is over until its crimes are investigated and condemned, and the truth about its history is revealed and accepted. So far, in the world in general and Romania in particular, we only see communists writing history and dictating the conditions of peace. The most optimistic comment I can make about this is that there is still a long way to go.

Stroilov: ...Paradoxically, ...while the history of communism is being distorted and falsified, at present the recovery is going on just fine. I agree with Vladimir: recovery is simply not possible without revealing the whole truth about the past. While the Iliescus of this world are lying about their communist past, I shall never believe a word of what they say about their ostensibly democratic present.

...The EU membership or even NATO membership do not guarantee democracy. On the contrary, today’s European Union is a notoriously anti-democratic, socialist structure. It is a direct continuation of the Soviet plan for a ‘Common European Home,’ where Eastern Europe would be sandwiched between a Soviet Russia on one hand and a socialist United Europe on the other.

...So, if Iliescu was pro-Soviet and then suddenly turned pro-EU, it tells us more about the EU than about Iliescu. If he is pro-Western now, this only means something is very wrong with the West.  The EU we know is simply a clever device for the Iliescus of the East and the West to preserve their unearned position of power.

...what is the meaning of ‘pro-Western’ today, when the United States is fighting a losing battle against Marxist reforms by its own government? Can we still seriously say that the free world has won the Cold War? ...the communists have suffered some losses but survived as an international Mafia. The real question is: how much has survived of the free world? ...The Second Cold War has already started. The question is: do we – in the East and the West – have the strength to resist? ...indeed, the greatest rebellion in today’s world is to put two and two together.

Pacepa: I fully agree with Mr. Bukovksy: “It looks like the whole f…ing Soviet Union was governed by anti-Communists.”  ...How is it possible for Communists still to be calling the shots in a NATO country twenty years after Communism collapsed there? ...Romania had moved from rigid [Communist] egalitarianism to super-inegalitarianism run by corrupt ex-Communists who merely pay lip-service to democracy. This “new predatory elite” has “widened the gap between a parasitic state and a demoralized society.” ...Let me put it my own way. Today we know how a democracy could be changed into a Communist tyranny, but we are still learning how to reverse that nightmare.

...The Kremlin had a similar “Dnestr” plan for every bloc country. In 1990, I found a Stasi extension of the “Dnestr” plan for East Germany in the newly-opened Stasi archives.

The Stasi extension was called Plan OibE (Offiziere im besonderen Einsatz—officers on special assignment), and it defined the Stasi’s ultra-secret tasks in the event that “the [Communist] Socialist Unity Party of Germany were to lose its power.” ...The plan provided that 2,587 undercover Stasi officers, whose identity was extremely tightly held, would on signal move into high-level positions in the German Democratic Republic (2,000) and its embassies (587). is noteworthy that most of the new politicians who rose to prominence in Germany after Communism’s collapse were secretly affiliated with the Stasi. Among them: Lothar de Maziere, the first democratically elected East German prime minister; Ibrahim B√∂hme, a founder of the eastern Social Democratic Party; Wolfgang Schnur, the founding leader of the Democratic Awakening, a once burgeoning political party, which collapsed after Schnur’s exposure as a Stasi asset.

...The success of the “Dnestr” plan in Romania may make life miserable for that country’s population, but it can scarcely be said to threaten world peace. The spectacular success of the “Dnestr” plan in Russia might, however. Today over 6,000 former officers of the KGB, which killed tens of millions during the Soviet years and terrorized a third of the World’s population, are running the country’s federal and local governments, and nearly half of all top governmental positions are now held by former officers of the KGB. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. Putin’s Russia has one FSB officer for every 297 citizens. We are facing the first intelligence dictatorship in history.

Buchar: ...The biggest problem we are all facing is the total blackout of media on this issue, globally. No media outlet is willing to challenge the official version of the story regardless of the evidence presented. Why is that? ... “We deny it because when we admit it, we have to do something about it. Better do nothing.”

...As a result the worldwide neo-communist movement is spreading like a cancer with the goal to destroy Western civilization and nobody is willing to mention it. Besides, it would be bad for business. And meanwhile, the “first intelligence dictatorship,” as Mr. Pacepa put it, is working in overdrive—just look at the Russians’ activities in former Eastern Europe countries and in the EU, not to mention in the US and in other parts of the world.

...How does one open the eyes of people in a consumer society today? The problem seems to be so distant, almost abstract. Their perception of reality was already shaped and massaged by the media. After all, people prefer to believe what they want to believe. They want to go shopping, be entertained and have a good time. Maybe they will awaken one day but it may be too little too late.

Bukovsky: ...Before the latest presidential elections in Romania, the socialist candidate, Mircea Geoana, was caught secretly talking to Moscow about financing his campaign, in exchange for the further lucrative opportunities he would open for Russian businesses after becoming president, and an improvement of relations ‘reset‘-style. ...What kind of democracy is this, where at least one of the major parties is little more than a Russian fifth column, and every election presents a very real threat to the country’s independence and freedom?

Robb:  The kind of democracy where Barack Obama can be elected President.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Wings of Prayer Ain't Enough

In response to an article on Pajamas Media asserting that we were now at "stage 3" towards proving the existence of a God or any other flightless bird, I couldn't resist the reply,

That's the short answer. And no one is at "stage 3" for any kind of validation of God except in a countdown on imploding reasoning.  Call it belief, call it a desire for some kind of moral code because you can't imagine one yourself, call it a desire to cling to a child-like belief in an all-knowing father figure who will always be there to protect you from a hostile world and your own screw-ups, but let's not pretend it's anything more than that -- a rationalization for a state of unjustified emotional security. It's just an unfounded belief, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown. 
 That last, of course, was cribbed from Ayn Rand's essay on "Philosophy: Who Needs It", a speech delivered to the graduating class at West Point circa 1971.  (You can listen to it here.)

Ed Cline also made a great identification:
Postulating the existence of God or the Big Bang is a form of the classic Abbott and Costello routine of “Who’s on First?“ A long line of philosophers, from Plato to Kant to Nancy Pelosi (she of the pass-the-bill-so-she-can-let-you-see-what’s-in-it school of reality) averred that we cannot know anything for certain or at all. the same approach applies: Why bother contesting the non-rational or the irrational? 
 To get a sense of what he means, look at this:

Monday, September 13, 2010

Trans-Fact meets Fiction

Well, I knew that last post wasn't going to be a big hit, so let's do something more fun. I made a comment to some friends on a silly newspaper story to illustrate how infantile our country is becoming -- the most important thing the survivors of a major disaster needed (a forest fire, and none of them was even injured) was an acupuncture therapy.

This reminded me once again of a favorite movie, "Demolition Man", a story in the year 2032 where touchy-feely wimpy people in the San Angeles metroplex (San Diego to Santa Barbara) live a safe, secure, pampered, passive, and oh-so non-violent existence -- until a ruthless villain from 1999 (Wesley Snipes) escapes from his suspended animation prison and terrorizes a society that has simply lost the capability of  dealing with someone like him.

Mellow greetings, what seems to be your boggle?

A man of action (Sylvestor Stallone) from the same past (1999) has to be released from his own cryo-prison to save everyone, and he discovers that the world of the future ain't what it's cracked up to be:

As I watched this scene once again, a light came on, and I quickly had to look up a scene with the real villain of this story -- the benevolent Dr. Raymond Cocteau, savior and ruler of this world, who was responsible for all the rules, regulations and prohibitions that poor Sylvestor Stallone (the Demolition Man) has to now put up with.

Yep, there ain't no doubt. Dr. Cocteau (Nigel Hawthorne) not only acts like Michael Bloomberg, who is hell bent on banning salt, transfats, smoking, and every other vice known to man, but Dr. Cocteau bloody well looks like Michael Bloomberg! And this was from 1993.

What I really love in this scene is one brilliant identification: that kindly people who want to put us all in a straightjacket of "don'ts" for our own good are nothing more than "evil Mr. Rogers'".

There has to be a scare message here, somewhere. Or maybe it's a really good omen. The speech I love in this movies sums up my attitude toward all the evil Mister Rogers in our world:

Be well.

(P.S.: if you look real close, the guy who blasts Dr. Cocteau into oblivion is Jesse Ventura.)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Tables, Swans, Dogs and Other Abstract Stuff

Some friends initiated an extensive discussion yesterday on the subject of what kind of concepts can be considered "self-evident". The subject was closely related to the so-called "problem of induction" in philosophy, a very old question going back 2500 years, concerning how you know you've developed (ie, abstracted) a valid concept, theory, hypothesis. The question is important in relation to complex scientific theories such as quantum mechanics or evolution, but applies to any new idea.

My friends were going round on different definitions for "self-evident", and following the lead of many past philosophical discussions on this topic (especially as found in Ayn Rand's "Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology), and references to simple concepts like "table" were made, to illustrate "self-evident" concepts.

Here is how I weighed in on the topic:

Put aside definitions for a moment. Concepts are a relationship between a mind and existence, obtained through a sequence of perceptions and cognitions. One, two, three, many, but think of each instance as a short movie. Though sometimes you have to go a lot higher than "three" and usually you have to define the sequence yourself.

No one -- I repeat, no one -- can form the concept of "table" by being shown one for the first time as a static picture. At that point it is simply an entity with a specific concrete shape. There is not enough information to form a concept. Only when you start to see it being used by people for specific purposes (to set things down on), do you start to get a glimmering of the idea "table". For part of the concept is not just the purely perceptual of the moment (flat top, legs, wood, 3 feet high), but how it is used -- by people.

Even then you still don't have enough information to form the concept "table". How a table is used is essential to the concept, but not sufficient. We have here the black swan fallacy (ie, if you only abstract the concept "swan" from white swans, do you have a valid concept that can embrace the rare black swan): you need more than one concrete example, and you need a sufficient number of concretes, of the right kind, if you are to form any concept. SO: we need at least a second table, different from the first (maybe made of metal instead of wood, red instead of brown, round instead of square), and we need to see it used as a table. It has a function: to set things on.

So you can see, to form the concept "table" we need not just multiple discrete perceptions of different tables, we also need continuous sequences of perceptions for each table we see: how they are used. We have to watch people approaching different tables, setting things on tables, sitting at tables, doing things at tables (like eating) -- though with enough perceptual experience we might reach the conclusion that "sitting at" is a non-essential characteristic for certain types of tables. But for the sub-concept of "dinner tables", we conclude it is.

This is for a pretty simple concept. But even for this, you can see that the mind has to retain a lot of memories and integrate all those cognitions before a concept can be formed. Some of this integration can be semi-automatic: there are basic automatic capacities of any healthy brain that will associate similarities and differences between previous observations and cognitions. The mere act of recalling any specific cognition from any point in our lives depends on this. You can call it an "automatic filing system", but this is a woefully inadequate description of a much more complex and sophisticated process. (The entire analogy of concepts as "file folders" for an unlimited number of concrete observations should not be pushed beyond mere analogy; it simply misses the most important points of concept formation.)

But the process of forming the primitive level concept "table" (I shall avoid saying "first-level concept" -- what's first is debatable) isn't entirely automatic, even if there are automatic cognitive processes involved. It can't be: the very nature of concepts requires volition. This necessitates some conscious awareness of both the perceptions necessary to form the concept, the relationship in time of these perceptions as discrete instances or cases (eg, today I saw a white swan, yesterday I saw a black swan), and the temporal sequence of each case (the swan flying, walking, swimming, rather than just a static picture). For tables, you need not just observations of individual tables in an empty cafeteria or laboratory, but how they are used by people, in a certain context such as eating, working, etc.

Is this process "self-evident"? It's easy for any normal human (though maybe not for a person with severe brain defects, such as a missing right hemisphere), but does that make it self-evident? Again, we're dealing with a concept. "Self-evident" is a concept that implies a certain context of its own: to whom and for what.

You may recall Ayn Rand discussing the fact that all values imply the question "of value to whom and for what?" But go back to another identification she made: all facts imply a value proposition attached to them. Facts, being conceptual identifications about true statements of reality, are only of use to human beings--but therefore, in principle, they possess value. It is by identification and grasp of facts that people grasp reality, and by grasping reality we acquire the means to manipulate it to promote our lives and happiness -- to survive.

Likewise, all concepts (not just facts) imply a value proposition -- to use a concept means it has a value to someone, for some purpose.

But here's an implication Ayn Rand didn't address: the value proposition implicit in every concept doesn't exist in isolation, as a mere statement of the value of the concept to people in general, or even just to an individual person. There is also a value proposition inherent in the very process of concept formation itself.

For example, the concept "table" critically depends on the fact that it is used by people for their purposes. Any purpose implies a value. But take away the purpose of setting things down on it and eating or working at it, and do you have a table?  No. You simply can't form the concept "table" at all. All you can form, if you look at enough different tables (looking at the same table rolling off an assembly line doesn't qualify) is the concept "flat surface with legs". Without seeing it put to some human purpose, you don't have enough information to form the concept we call "table". (If you see just one table without seeing it used, all you know is a shape. If you see a million identical tables, all you know is a million identical shapes.)

All concepts, being relations of a human mind to existence, implicitly have "value", but I will assert the hypothesis (without proof) that all concepts (I think) require an understanding of their "value" in the very process of their formation: that is, part of grasping a concept is grasping the human purpose to which it is put. Ie, how it's used. For whom and for what.

I've put my assertion categorically simply because I can't at this moment think of a single example of a concept that doesn't have human purpose as essential to its formation. For example, "number". Or "lamp". Or "map". I'm open to delimiting my assertion, but it is not debatable that most concepts require a grasp of the human purpose to which they are used before they can be understood. I mean this especially for very abstract concepts.

Oddly, I've been consciously aware of this since I was a child. It always drove me nuts that textbooks frequently didn't state the purpose of the concepts they propounded, because this made it much harder for me to grasp those concepts. So I was frequently actively seeking the purpose, and my textbooks are riddled with margin notes like "WHAT'S THE POINT OF THIS???" But once I got the purpose -- blam. I got the concept. I could see how it related to facts and ideas and applications it was connected to. This applied to physics, engineering and mathematics especially, but you could just as well apply it to economics, history, literature, or any other field.

I will make an even stronger hypothesis: any concept formed without reference to a human purpose is an invalid concept. For example, let's say we are forming the concept "table" for the first time, and shown 1000 pictures of flat-topped shapes with three and four legs, but different colors and other characteristics. Just tables in isolation, out in a forest, not a single other human artifact around. What conclusion do we form? That there are 1000 things with flat tops and 3 and 4 legs. We don't even know how big they are. They're just -- flat-topped and supported by legs.

Is that a concept? No. It's simply a conjunction of two common attributes. A concept is not just a collection of attributes that you can check off on a list to determine if some new concrete is an example of it. As AR discussed in ITOE, a concept is an abstraction (or mental integration) formed by isolating a class of existents according to a common characteristic (their similarity) while omitting the differences and particulars such as the range or degree or magnitude of the common attribute (the "measurements" in AR's terminology). We can form the concept "blue" without regard to "how" blue something is, or whether it's a bird or the sky or a car or how big the car is. Likewise, we form the concept "number" as a quantity without regard to what quantity of number it is -- 1, or 2, or 3.7, etc.

But are flat-topped things with 3 and 4 legs a concept? Okay, we're omitting measurements of size and shape. We are describing a class of entities. But is that a concept? Okay, it needs a symbolic referent to become a concept (a word). So we decide to call all flat-topped, 3 and 4 legged things "glibfritz's". Is that a concept?

Imagine you're walking down the street and you recognize a flat-topped, 3-legged object. It's 12 feet tall, and the flat surface is on the bottom with the legs sticking up in the air, like an upside down table. You say to your friend, "Look, there's a glibfritz!" Then your friend remarks, "Hey, look over there! There's a flat top with 4 posts holding it up. Of course, each end of the flat top is attached to a hillside, and it's much bigger than your glibfritz, but I think that's a glibfritz, too." (It's a bridge.)

Then the first guy says, "but your object isn't really flat, you know. It's got side-rails to keep people from falling off, and curbs up to a sidewalk, and pot-holes." And the second guy says, "but your flat-top is really a flat bottom." And the first guy says, "yeah, but we formed this concept without any reference to up or down. We omitted that measurement."

And so on. Then a third guy comes along and asks, "what do you guys want to do with these concretes? What does a bridge have in common with a gazebo that was blown over?" Both stare at him blankly. The second guy says, "Well, they both have flat-tops and 3 or 4 legs." The first guy says, "but yours isn't flat-topped".

What's the error here? Well, for one, a collection of attributes does not make a unique common attribute. It's just a collection of attributes. What is "unique"? Is "flat-top" and "3 or 4 things" even an attribute?? Not in the sense required by a concept: there must be some relation between the separate attributes -- not just the fact that they are in spatial proximity, but more particular than that.

We could specify a purely physical relationship, like "the legs are normal to the surface of the flattop", but that doesn't resolve it. We've just shifted the problem to another shape.

The key here, is that for a concept you have to omit the measurements of just one thing: the common attribute. What are the measurements unique to a disparate collection of attributes? There aren't any.

But suppose we add a human purpose. We say glibfritz's are "flat-topped things of 3 or 4 legs, oriented with the top side up, for humans to set things on while they sit and eat."  Putting aside the possibility of having dinner in the median of bridge, now we know the approximate scale of the thing -- it's not a bridge -- and it doesn't have to be perfectly flat, as long as you can set things on it so they don't fall off, etc. The human purpose provides a crucial differentia as well as a uniquely common similarity for which we can omit measurements.

Try something more abstract: the mathematical relationship for a cube. 8 vertices, 6 sides, equal side lengths. Is this a concept? Of course. We omit measurements of the distances between vertices beyond saying they are equal (or approximately equal), or the stuff of which the cube is made, and isolate the fact of 8 vertices. But unlike the glibfritz, this is a valid concept because there is also a genuine human purpose behind the identification: to describe a vast number of things in reality that are cubic in nature.

I might remark that an essential attribute of the purpose implicit in any concept is the context in which it is formed and applied. For instance, Newton's theory of gravity has been criticized as being "wrong" and inaccurate. But in what observational context was it formed? To what accuracy is it true? The context didn't assume certain kinds of facts, like Einstein's alleged space-time "warping". We can debate the validity of Einstein's theory another time (though there are effects not explained by Newton's theory), but in his observational context, Newton's theory is a valid concept, even if it doesn't predict all gravitational phenomena accurately to an infinite number of decimal places. As discussed in ITOE, later knowledge doesn't invalidate early concepts, it simply delimits their context of application, and when relativistic effects are incorporated, that context is the 10th decimal place.

So we have concept formation -- any concept formation -- as requiring discrete perceptions, continuous perceptions (sequences in motion), memories, sensations (not discussed), automatic cognitive functioning, conscious volition to grasp similarities and differences in guiding the selection of concretes for the process of abstraction (though this can be easy for simple concepts), and we need some idea of the human purpose to which this identification is to be put (though we often grasp this implicitly and subconciously). And to grasp a concept all these concretes and retained knowledge must be sufficient in quantity and type to isolate and associate the similarities of the concretes from the non-essential differences -- you simply can't form a concept without the right concretes (it's not just how many concretes you have).

All that goes into grasping "table". Is it self-evident? Well, it's an easy concept to "get", as I said, but there's nothing "self-evident" about it. If "self-evident concept" means anything, it means a concept is a completely automatic product of cognition -- without intervention of volition to grasp the great number of perceptions, sensations, memories and human purposes that anyone ordinarily must select to do concept formation.

I could go on about other concepts. Axioms, for instance. Are basic axioms, such as "existence exists" self-evident? If you buy my argument, I think you can see that simply because something is an "axiom" and implicit in everything, that doesn't qualify it as being "self-evident". If it was so obvious there would be no debate. All humans would automatically grasp it the same way we all grasp the presence of a 14,000 foot mountain when we stand in front of it. That would have put an end to differing philosophies 2500 years ago.

I would define "self-evident" in functional terms like that "mountain" example: a concept is only "self-evident" if no human being of normal experience and brain functioning could disagree about its application to new concretes.

There's certainly some simple concepts where this is true. For instance, certain words of grammar, like the word "the", which always identifies a particular physical or cognitive entity that follows -- ie, outward and  inward objects of awareness. (I know, I know -- there are philosophers and career politicians who make careers out of parsing the meaning of words like "is"; I'm talking about honest disagreement.)

So much for "self-evident" concepts. But none of this even begins to address non-evident concepts, which relates to the more complicated "problem of induction"--which involves not just concept formation, but validation of formed concepts. How do you know you've formed a valid concept? Well, for the so-called "self-evident" concepts, like "table", the assertion is you just "know" them. This is the notion that if you see enough tables, you just form the concept "table" -- somehow.  Until some wiseguy says a black swan is joining you for dinner, and then you have a big debate about whether it's really a table you're sitting at or a barnyard.

But how about "quantum theory". Or Newton's theory of gravity? Etc. How do you know that a tentative concept (like Schroedinger's equation) is valid?

The entire question of validation relates directly to whether you've got enough concretes of the right kind to say that you can form a concept. Again, by "concretes" I mean perceptions, sensations, cognitions (such as other validated concepts), including the purposes for which your proto-concept is applied.

Because it is only a proto-concept until it's validated. Unlike the simple "self-evident" concepts, it's practically impossible to form a concept like Schroedinger's equation or Newton's gravitational theory or the Theory of Evolution while holding all the relevant facts in your head at once. Just impossible. So you hold some subset in your head and make a tentative generalization -- but only tentative, because the very nature of my definition of a "complex" concept is that it's too complex to hold all the facts at once when forming the concept.

So you make a preliminary generalization (an induction) and then have to validate that against all the facts. How do you do that? This is the problem of induction.

My take on the solution to this is that it's got three parts: 1. the validation of the integration process (the reasoning), 2. the validation of the concretes (to make sure there is a sufficient number of the right kind) and 3. the definition of the context of validity for the generalization. Once again, you can't form "table" by watching an assembly line at a furniture factory (you can't form "swan" from a single white swan), and you can't know what a table is without knowing the context in which that concept is used.

For the so-called "self-evident" concepts, you can get away with validating a relatively few number of concretes ("few" meaning many tables, many experiences of their different attributes while watching people use tables, etc). But when you get to higher-level concepts the quantity of concretes becomes simply overwhelming. You need a systematic and uniquely conceptual approach for the validation. It isn't just a checklist to see that you've done X, Y and Z and applied the right logic.

My partial answer to this is that your system has to apply a principle of sufficiency, to know that you've got all the right types of concretes from which you've generalized the concept you're validating. Part of this principle is simple: in a sense, a concept is the collection of types when grasped by a particular process of cognition, for particular purposes, and this defines the context of validity. For instance, you've got to have enough different types of tables or swans to form "table" or "swan" as concepts, and those types have to exhaustively represent all tables or swans.

But maybe you don't have any grasp of the concept "DNA". You're a caveman. You observe a bunch of mangy curs and form the concept "dog". Maybe there's a deformed jackal or two in this pack, but your context (whether you realize it or not) is four legs, teeth, 50 - 75 pounds, mean, dangerous, but tamable. Your version of "dog". Maybe later DNA analysis by your descendants shows that some of those creatures you tamed were jackals, but your functional concept (as a caveman) was still valid, in your context of knowledge and purpose: creatures you can domesticate for herding, hunting, protection, keeping warm, affection, etc. You don't have to validate too much here, in the way of the types of concretes, to know that you have a valid context for your concept. But it is a valid concept, even if it isn't the same concept as our modern idea of "dog". They just share the same word and a few other similarities.

It gets much tougher for things like "quantum mechanics", which describes some facts of reality (indeterminism of certain physical phenomena according to a mathematical formula) while having a very inadequate base of concretes for validation, along with some totally bogus philosophical interpretations. But I contend: the basic outline of validation I've propounded is still correct.

One way I get insight into this stuff is that I'm an engineer, not a zientist, and my brand of engineering is very abstract and creative by it's nature -- I invent complex circuits on an almost daily basis. Every design is a sort of concept dedicated to a purpose: I construct complex relationships among entities such as transistors and resistors and capacitors, according to well-defined principles, so that my circuits behave in a certain way to achieve a human purpose (amplifiers, data converters and complex processing).

In essence, I put forward hypotheses: I make a schematic for a proto-concept that I want to do something. Does it work? Does it satisfy all the criteria I've been given as my objective? I'm drawing on a large number of concretes and principles when I build a schematic, guided by 30 years experience, but there's always problems that arise because I can't hold all the facts in my head at once. So my first proto-concept might be close to working as I intended, but normally it fails validation in some respect, sometimes catastrophically.

The concretes I'm mentally juggling can be overwhelming. Well beyond the 7 or 8 things the human brain can hold at once -- the so-called crow epistemology. (A flock of crows wait for four hunters to come out of the woods one at a time. But after the third hunter leaves, the crows conclude "many" have left, so they emerge from hiding, and -- blam.  Because their brains can't hold more than three things at once.)

So engineers being what they are, we've developed procedures of review of the facts and assumptions and principles and procedures and systems of computerized checking to handle the myriad details. Believe me, this is the only way you can validate a new microchip that might have a billion transistors in unimaginably complex relationships. The only thing that saves you is the principles you know, and a clear statement of your objectives. For instance, your amplifier's gain, or your microprocessor's instruction set or your power supply's output voltage. Based on this, you can automate much of the checking and form generalized conclusions as to whether your chip will work under all the conditions for which it is intended to be used. I don't have to prove that a VCR works as a gatling cannon for instance. If it happens to eject tapes too energetically, that's just an ancillary function. All I have to validate is my "specifications".

But even this isn't enough.  This just tells you the database is pretty good before you ship it out to be fabricated.  What you really need is a physical device. 

So what we do is define "test vectors": a finite number of concrete stimuli that exercise my hypothesis (the circuit schematic) to see if it works according to the objectives. We do this before we make the device, in computer simulation, but that's not good enough -- simulation models make approximations.  The only real proof is the real world.  So we eventually apply these vectors to the physical device, too.  Only when you see a physical device doing what it's supposed to do the butterflies in your stomach really go away.  That's the acid test.

The trick is to define these "test vectors" so that they exhaustively exercise the circuit for all objectives, representative of the unlimited "real-world" stimuli that the chip is likely to encounter. If the test vectors aren't properly selected, I might miss a condition for which my hypothesis wasn't correctly constructed. In the software world, this is called a "bug".

So you need a principle for defining and knowing that you've correctly identified a complete set of valid test vectors. They exist in relation to your objectives (your context of purpose), but they are concretes representative of abstractions in relation to those objectives -- Ie, each test vector is a concrete standing in the place of a more general abstraction that represents an almost unlimited number of real-world stimuli to my circuit (the "inputs)".

By analogy, a proper test vector is rather like a good work of art, which is a concrete that stands for the abstraction of the theme. For instance, Michelangelo's "David" is a concrete standing for the abstraction "heroic strength". Or Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged is a concrete standing for the abstraction "the role of the mind in man's existence". Much more mundane, a test vector for a microchip stands for the abstraction "all the inputs of a certain type which exercise the chip to achieve a certain function I've designed it to do

Say I want a microprocessor to multiple two 128 bit binary numbers. Each number represents 340 x 1036 possible values, and there are 115.792 x 1075 possible multiplications. You can't possible test all those combinations one at a time. There isn't enough billions of years left in the universe, even if you revv'ed up the chip to operate a trillion times faster. The multiplier circuit for this chip can have 100,000 transistors, and if just one of them is bad, you're screwed. You may remember a famous case about a decade ago -- Intel had a "floating point error" in the multiplier for their new Pentium chip. It only showed up as something like a 10th decimal place error in 1 out of a trillion trillion calculations. But that was enough to cause serious errors in some computer programs.

So how do you validate that the multiplier works for all binary combinations? Partly by design: you design the multiplier according to well-defined principles of logic so that you can say in principle that it must work for all inputs. But what do you do in a production environment? A chip testing machine can't answer questions about principles--but you have to.

So you define a finite number of test vector inputs to your multiplier that are guaranteed to exercise every one of the 100,000 transistors in the multiplier circuit. Any single test vector might not exercise all the transistors, but you form a set of test vectors that do. It's sort of like a "Venn diagram": there may be overlap among the vectors, but with enough overlap, all the transistors get checked.

The full, yet very finite set of test vectors must represent ALL the possible valid inputs to my chip, in the context for which it is intended to be used. I don't have to claim the chip works for other input combinations. But if I exercise my chip for those delimited number of exhaustive test vectors, I can say my chip is validated and my hypothesis is proved. The chip works. This is how chips are verified during production.

Note that there may be many different possible sets of valid test vectors. The proof lies in the definition of the entire set, not in any particular set.

I might add, there are other factors like the context of validity of the design principles I'm using, too. For instance, Ohm's Law breaks down in many applications where the speed of light of an electromagnetic wave becomes a factor. Again, I define my context of validation, just like the caveman does with his dog.

But what I don't ever do is generate test vectors randomly on the premise that enough of them will verify my chip works. Years ago, as a student in college I had a night job that required me to test computer boards on this principle. A test machine compared two computer boards, one known to be good. Both boards were driven with identical sequences of random test vectors, and the outputs were compared. When they differed, that told us the "board under test" was bad. When the outputs of both boards were the same, the board under test was allegedly "good".

Not. This testing principle only worked for really simple boards -- and sometimes not even then. For a board of even moderate complexity (a few thousand logic elements) the random testing approach often failed to detect faults.  Too many permutations.  You've simply got to have some kind of principle behind the definition of the test vectors, to keep them finite (you've got to test in a reasonable amount of time), and the testing has got to be exhaustive to guarantee you aren't shipping a bad CPU or other part to someone.

The same applies to a complex scientific theory: it's not enough to just accumulate a ton of experimental evidence. You've got to be able to make some general statements about the nature of the experiments, which demonstrate that they exhaustively test the propositions of the theory in relation to reality. Each experiment is a concrete, but every experiment must stand for a conceptual class of possible experiments (if you omit the "measurements" of the measurements, so to speak), so that a finite number of experiments can test the totality of all possible experiments or conditions which the theory is intended to describe. At that point, you can say, "my experiments describe the entire context assumed for the validity of this theory."

So going back to the problem of induction, my suggestion here is that the process I've described is somewhere between analogy and the actual solution to the problem of induction. A circuit is a sort of concept, and its design is a complex product of abstraction that bears similarities to a hypothesis, only, instead of describing reality, it does something in reality. It has attributes, and a specific nature, and a unity of purpose.

So by analogy, I suggest that the approach to validating a circuit can be instructional: validation of complex concepts and hypotheses and propositions requires a similar approach. This hypothesis is not self-evident, but it is probably true.

The main thing I haven't yet addressed with this theory is the specific principles by which you know that your conceptual "test vectors" have truly exhaustively validated the full context of your theory.  I'll leave that for another discussion.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

From Morbidly Bad to Even Worse

I got this link forwarded to me on legislation Obama will try to have passed in the upcoming session of Congress about to start -- before he loses control of the House and maybe the Senate. They're all bad, and some I knew about, but this one struck me as unbelievably bad:
"3. Another new tax idea being floated by the Obama White House is the so-called “transaction tax.” This tax will initially be a 1% tax on any transactions you make at any financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. If you make a deposit or withdrawal, move money from one account to another, or even take cash from an ATM you will have to pay 1% of each amount to the Federal government. Think about how many such transactions you make a month and you can see how quickly this amount can add up."
#4 is also bad -- cancelling of the tax credit given to American businesses for taxes they pay to foreign governments.

It's simply not debatable with me that Obama's goal is anything less than the explicit destruction of the United States.  His actions aren't simply "misguided" or even random nihilism.  That changes how you view everything he does, and what he will yet attempt.

           “No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe, while the legislature is in session.” This is a quote that has been attributed to everyone from Daniel Webster to Mark Twain, but regardless of who first said it, the words have never been more applicable than they are today. The 111th Congress is about to return from recess, and the year of “tax and spend” will get underway once again.

            It is amazing that the lemmings in Congress seem to be preparing to run off the cliff and drown in the sea by sacrificing their seats in the upcoming election in order to continue to pass the Socialist agenda of President Obama. Americans need to be aware of what will be attempted in the next few months prior to the election and even after that in a lame duck session of Congress.

            Much of this is being kept under the radar by the Obama administration in the hope that American citizens will not know until the deed is done that they are being savaged even more by their government. So here is what the Congress will have before it in the next few weeks.

            1. A new stimulus package to add another $50 billion dollars to the deficit that is already the largest in history. This money is supposed to be used for building and repairing infrastructure such as highways, railroads, etc. It is also supposed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. However, since under the first massive stimulus package unemployment has actually gotten higher, and the economic recovery has ground to a halt, there is no reason that this bill would do anything but increase the deficit.

            In reality, it is not really meant to help the economy. Instead, most of the jobs that would be created would go to members of unions that support the liberals in Congress. This is an unconstitutional use of taxpayer funds to bribe the unions into staying with Obama and the liberals in the upcoming election.

            2. The Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year and that is exactly what Obama wants. If the tax cuts are not renewed it will result in the most massive tax increase in American history. It is rumored that Obama is considering extending the cuts for those making under $250,000 per year so that supposedly it is only the “rich” that will be taxed. The truth is that the vast majority of people in this country that make over that amount are small business owners that create most of the jobs.

            There is already enough uncertainly among small business owners. Large tax increases on them will cause them to stop creating new jobs, and in some cases even go out of business. Unemployment will get even higher.

            3. Another new tax idea being floated by the Obama White House is the so-called “transaction tax.” This tax will initially be a 1% tax on any transactions you make at any financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. If you make a deposit or withdrawal, move money from one account to another, or even take cash from an ATM you will have to pay 1% of each amount to the Federal government. Think about how many such transactions you make a month and you can see how quickly this amount can add up.

            4. Probably the most dangerous action being considered is a cancelling of the tax credit given to American businesses for taxes they pay to foreign governments. Since the United States already has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world, this tax credit is one of the few things that keeps our businesses competitive with businesses in the rest of the world. Now Obama wants to end that. The repeal of this tax credit will be an enormous blow to American businesses while greatly benefiting some of our enemies like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. This is because the oil companies will be among those feeling the greatest impact. Therefore foreign oil companies will have a competitive edge.

            Energy prices in this country will increase across the board with American families probably paying an average of $1500 more per year for things like gasoline and home heating oil. At the same time our dependence on foreign oil will increase even more. 

            5. Finally, there is going to be another major push in the Senate to pass the Disclose Act in order to limit the rights of businesses and independent conservative organizations to participate and influence the upcoming elections.

            Every freedom loving American needs to immediately contact their Senators and Representatives and demand that there be no more laws passed in this session of Congress increasing spending or creating new taxes, that Congress extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, and that the Senate defeat the “Disclose Act.” In other words, we need to tell these people to leave “our life, liberty, and property” alone.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saving the Squirrels

What's most amusing about this guy, James Lee, who took over Discovery Channel HQ was that, before he was killed in phase 1 of our implementation of his manifesto to rid the planet of human filth, an AP story (by 4 or 5 of their ace reporters) tried to spin him as an anti-environmentalist.   In fact, he's actually a lot like the Unibomber.  A certifiable environmentalist nut case.

Skip the news story and read his "manifesto", if anything (copied after the news story) to see what a completely contradictory pistachio he was -- he wanted to "stop all war", but shooting up/blowing up the Discovery Channel didn't qualify as "war".  Or, he wanted us to solve all our problems with "inventive solution ideas" in the spirit of the Industrial Revolution -- to end the Industrial Revolution.  Inventive solution ideas like... game shows.  Indeed.  That will do it.  Wasn't that answer on Jeopardy awhile ago?  Most insane of all,


Seriously.  He went way overboard there.  Too radical for me.

How curious that ABC chose to only post excerpts of his manifesto on their site, given that the full manifesto was only a few hundred words longer, but you will see that even they couldn't temper too much what this guy said. If you read the full "manifesto" and compare to ABC's version, you will see they adroitly avoided the guys' rants about "finding solutions for global warming".   Mustn't discredit the AGW supporters, you know. 

Some of the best quotes of all were left out by ABC.  For instance,

"FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!"

I've had bosses who provide scintillating direction like this. No clarifications or footnotes on which book he was referring to, but being an engineer, I would like to know.  I just can't get my head around the mental monkey bars that led to this brilliant solution:

"The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's 'My Ishmael'"

For the life of my I haven't a clue what that one is about.  Some kind of Jewish self-help show for circumcising the elderly?

Mr. Lee goes on:

"Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels."

Yes, of course.  The Squirrels.  And the Froggies.  Along with the green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty-backed camels and some chimpanzees.  Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as they're born, don't you forget my unicorn.  ( They are all so very important. 

He concludes:

"These are the demands and sayings of Lee."

From now on I'm ending every engineering planning meeting like this.  I think I need to be more assertive.  But, you know, not as inventive as Lee. 

I'm not makin' any of this up.  You can't make this kind of stuff up.  I have to wonder who Mr. Lee associated with.  Or where he went to school.  These are the demands and sayings of Robb.

Environmental Militant Killed by Police at Discovery Channel Headquarters

Police Say All Hostages Are Safe, Gunman James Lee Shot Dead


Sept. 1, 2010
A radical enviornmentalist who took three hostages at the Discovery Channel headquarters while wearing what police may be explosives was shot and killed by officers, police said.

The gunman, identified as James Lee, was killed by police following four hours of negotiations but the hostages are all safe, said Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger.

Manger said the suspect had "metalic canisters" strapped to his chest and back. When Lee was struck by police bullets, one of the canisters "popped." Police have not confirmed if the canisters were a bomb, but Manger said the "device may have gone off" when he was shot.

Manger said police will search the building looking for other potential explosives Lee may have left inside.

"All the hostages are safe," Manger said, ending a four hour standoff in which some 1,900 employees were evacuated from the building as well as the company's on-site daycare center.

Manger said police spoke with Lee "for several hours" during which time he expressed "a wide range of emotions during those communications."

Law enforcement identified the suspect as James Lee, 43, from Washington, D.C., who has for at least two years called for protests against the company and who was arrested and found guilty of disorderly conduct for a protest outside of Discovery's headquarters in 2008.

In a rambling manifesto   on Lee's website, believed to have been written by Lee, the writer rails against "disgusting human babies," "parasitic infants," and says people should "disassemble civilization." The manifesto also calls on Discovery to "broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet."

The drama began ... (go to link for rest of story)

MANIFESTO of JAMES LEE from his website: 

The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:

1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other's inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and uman civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!

2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs' places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.

3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military mechanized conflict.

Again, solutions solutions instead of just repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!

4. Civilization must be exposed for the filth it is. That, and all its disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed. Broadcast this message until the pollution in the planet is reversed and the human population goes down! This is your obligation. If you think it isn't, then get hell off the planet! Breathe Oil! It is the moral obligation of everyone living otherwise what good are they??

5. Immigration: Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding  he population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)

6. Find solutions for Global Warming, Automotive pollution, International Trade, factory pollution, and the whole blasted human economy. Find ways so that people don't build more housing pollution which destroys the environment to make way for more human filth! Find solutions so that people stop breeding as well as stopping using Oil in order to REVERSE Global warming and the destruction of the planet!

7. Develop shows that mention the Malthusian sciences about how food production leads to the overpopulation of the Human race. Talk about Evolution. Talk about  Malthus and Darwin until it sinks into the stupid people's brains until they get it!!

8. Saving the Planet means saving what's left of the non-human Wildlife by decreasing the Human population. That means stopping the human race from breeding any more disgusting human babies!

You're the media, you can reach enough people. It's your resposibility because you reach so many minds!!!

9. Develop shows that will correct and dismantle the dangerous US world economy. Find solutions for their disasterous Ponzi-Casino economy before they take the world to another nuclear war.

10. Stop all shows glorifying human birthing on all your channels and on TLC. Stop Future Weapons shows or replace the dialogue condemning the people behind these developments so that the shows become exposes rather than advertisements of Arms sales and development!

11. You're also going to find solutions for unemployment and housing. All these unemployed people makes me think the US is headed toward more war.

Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what's left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture. For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition over the course of 60 to 100 YEARS of that new human's lifespan! THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!! All human procreation and farming must cease!

It is the responsiblity of everyone to preserve the planet they live on by not breeding any more children who will continue their filthy practices. Children represent FUTURE catastrophic pollution whereas their parents are current pollution. NO MORE BABIES! Population growth is a real crisis. Even one child born in the US will use 30 to a  thousand times more resources than a Third World child. It's like a couple are having 30 babies even though it's just one! If the US goes in this direction maybe other countries will too!

Also, war must be halted. Not because it's morally wrong, but because of the catastrophic environmental damage modern weapons cause to other creatures. FIND SOLUTIONS JUST LIKE THE BOOK SAYS! Humans are supposed to be inventive. INVENT, DAMN YOU!!

The world needs TV shows that DEVELOP solutions to the problems that humans are causing, not stupify the people into destroying the world. Not encouraging them to breed more environmentally harmful humans.

Saving the environment and the remaning species diversity of the planet is now your mindset. Nothing is more important than saving them. The Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, the Squirrels.

The humans? The planet does not need humans.

You MUST KNOW the human population is behind all the pollution and problems in the world, and YET you encourage the exact opposite instead of discouraging human growth and procreation. Surely you MUST ALREADY KNOW this!

I want Discovery Communications to broadcast on their channels to the world their new program lineup and I want proof they are doing so. I want the new shows started by asking the public for inventive solution ideas to save the planet and the remaining wildlife on it.

These are the demands and sayings of Lee.