Uncommon Sense

September 25, 2022

Has Conservatism Run Its Course?

Since there is no longer a conservative political party in this country I am guessing that it is a good idea to define what I mean by “conservatism.” (It is different for different countries and different for different times.) My computer tells me that social conservatism is a “commitment to traditional values and ideas with opposition to change or innovation” while political conservatism is “the holding of political views that favor free enterprise, private ownership, and socially traditional ideas.”

Since social conservatism is at the core of political conservatism, that seems a good place to start.

When I was a youngin’ I often wondered what conservatives were trying to conserve. I was told “tradition” but that just means “the ways we have always done things.” Combine that and “opposition to change or innovation” and conservatism equates to preserving or “conserving” the status quo. Political conservatism therefore equates to preserving or “conserving” the political status quo.

When I was young, there was a conservative political party, the Republican Party. They have shrugged off that mantle, in favor of becoming a personality cult of Donald J. Trump, something conservatives of my past would have run for their guns to prevent.

So, I ask: “Who would want to preserve the status quo”? My only answer would be “the well off.” People who are socially or financially or politically well off would prefer that the good times kept rolling (Laissez les bons temps rouler!). And, lo and behold, the Republican Party of my youth was the party of the rich people and older people. There was even a meme to explain why this was so. It went “If you weren’t a liberal when you were young, you didn’t have a heart. If you weren’t a conservative when old, you didn’t have a brain.” It only made sense for the old folks to preserve their gains whether ill-gotten or otherwise.

So, the Republican Party was the party of Big Business, the rich, etc. and the Democratic Party was the party of “working people,” aka the non-rich, labor unions, poor people, oppressed minorities, etc. And, if you can believe it, each party had conservative and liberal wings, because there were substantial differences between the members of the two parties. This resulted in some overlap between the two cohorts, which made collaboration somewhat easier.

Well, there is no longer a party that wraps a conservative mantle around its shoulders. The GOP is attacking the FBI and other governmental policing functions, when it used to be the party of “law and order.” Oh, yeah, the law, pfft who cares? The only law that applies is “If the Donald did it, it was legal.”

The GOP used to be in favor of infrastructure repairs, voting in favor of projects large and small to keep the country’s roads and waterways and electric power distribution grids useful. They were even in favor of having a clean environment, and having public healthcare. Now they seem to want everything to make profits for the richest of the rich, and government should stay out of almost everything, except the courts and the military. The courts are to keep people who can’t afford good lawyers in line, and the military is for anything else needed to keep the coffers of the rich full to bursting.

So, is conservatism dead?

Plain old social conservatism, you know, conserving the status quo, is dead in the water as the social conservatives have been infiltrated and taken over by the religious right, which is trying to turn the country into a theocracy (and if you really, really, really want a civil war, that sure is a way to cause one).

The conservatism of my youth is dead, and if not dead, it is certainly gone. (William F. Buckley, were he still alive, would surely agree.) So far, only a lunatic fringe has stepped up to take is place. I hope that is not the only candidate. And I am still wondering what will replace the liberals who have disappeared, also. Maybe the progressives currently starting to exert some power?

August 25, 2022

A Strategy I Perceive

I noticed that the Arizona House Speaker, Rusty Bowers, who has been in office for twenty years, lost his recent primary election after he testified before the House January 6 Committee about the 2020 election.

I remember his testimony. He said not one word critical of Donald Trump in his testimony, but apparently just being there is enough to brand him as being disloyal to Mafia Don. (Mafia Don doesn’t think subpoenas have any merit.)

This dismissal of a very competent Republican state official suggests an effective strategy. Just call as witnesses all of the remaining competent Republican elected officials to testify before that committee. There are probably just a few left, so it would be okay to include thorns in our sides like Mitch McConnell. The result will be that those people will be voted out and replaced with people whose most sterling qualification is that they are loyal, like a dog, to Donald J. Trump.

This will complete the Republican purge of their ranks of people of competence and ensure the demise of the GOP. You know, they need more people like Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz, Ron DeSantis, and Greg Abbott. Apparently people who vote for “the R” will vote in anybody, so this should work.

Sound like a plan?

August 24, 2022

The Life Begins at Conception Folks are Ignoramuses

Note—The word ignoramus has Latin roots being the first plural present indicative of ignorare “to be ignorant of”) which it is how it is being used here.

As a law professor, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett signed a statement that life began at fertilization, an embryo being a fertilized egg. This opinion alone should disqualify someone from any important office in government. It is a claim, based upon personal political desires, which are based upon personal religious beliefs (often not supported by scripture), that has nothing to do with reality.

Fertility clinics discard thousands upon thousands of abandoned embryos every year. That’s because a single round of in vitro fertilization treatment typically involves collecting 10 or more eggs with only one or two being implanted in the mother. Many countries actually require that these surplus embryos be destroyed after a certain period.

Shouldn’t states declaring embryos to be people require the clinics to preserve all unused embryos or close down? The cost of storing frozen embryos can exceed $1,000 a year.

In the opinion overturning Roe, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that abortion destroys “potential life” and the life of an “unborn human being.” Foes of contraception make the same argument, that sperm and eggs are potential life, even before they meet.

According to these people, a man masturbating is a serial killer (scattering all of those potential lives into oblivion), as are all women trying to become pregnant, because around half of all embryos don’t implant on the uterine wall and are naturally and normally aborted.

In fact, when born human females contain approximately 1 million eggs; and by the time of puberty, only about 300,000 remain. Of these, only 300 to 400 will be ovulated during a woman’s reproductive lifetime. So, God himself designed the system in which 99.96% of all human eggs are destined to be flushed.

Potential life my ass. These are people who claim life is sacred when nature abounds with myriad examples of life being disposable. Many animals birth hundreds of young which then get eaten by predators, often the males of the same species. Herd animals travel in groups so that when, (not if, when) members of the herd get brought down (and eaten alive!) the bulk of the herd survives. Trees often scatter their seeds far and wide, most of them getting eaten by birds and rodents and much of the rest either rots or gets dehydrated. As a simple conclusion, life is profligate because there is no protection, none whatsoever. If you don’t die sooner, you will die later. Where’s the fucking sacred in that?

And “unborn human being” is a bit like getting “unsweetened ice tea” in a Southern diner. Tea cannot be “unsweetened” as that would imply it was sweetened and then the process was reversed. Similarly a qualification for a human being is to be born. If you ask how old a human being is, that length of time is determined starting from the day of their birth. A one year old child is not one year and nine months old because it became human at conception.

Having Supreme Court Justices this ignorant and this unable to think clearly puts us all in peril.

August 23, 2022

The Repeal of Roe v Wade . . . Brought to You by a Billionaire

Filed under: Culture,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 12:28 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you do not think the money in politics is out of control and destructive, read this.

How a Secretive Billionaire Handed His Fortune to the Architect of the Right-Wing Takeover of the Courts

Apparently one of them is worth 70% of us, politically.

Gosh Conservatives Have Been Lying About Public Schools . . . for Decades?

It is common for reformers to overstate the ills they wish to address, but this is an abomination.

https://dianeravitch.net/2022/08/23/stunning-news-from-conservative-journal-u-s-public-schools-are-better-than-ever/#like-125362

August 22, 2022

WTF Why Do We Even Pay Attention to the Nut Jobs?

I recently ran across a post by Clarence Page, a highly respected political commentator ‘Defund the FBI’? Is Marjorie Taylor Greene serious? Mr. Page stated “Yes, I had to polish my eyeglasses and put them back on for a second look before I could believe what the always provocative and occasionally rational Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene had just tweeted. In a takeoff on the Black Lives Matter slogan, she tweeted “Defund the FBI.”

This seems to contradict a previous stance in which she claimed “The heroic action of American law enforcement is the only force standing between us and total anarchy.” (Marjorie Taylor Green)

Here are a selection of other things stated by the Georgia Congresswomen, leading with the most bizarre because I didn’t want to leave it to the end, where you might miss it. All of these call into question why we would pay attention to this person, ever. S

With regard to the 2018 California “Camp Fire,” Marjorie Taylor Greene speculated “because there are too many coincidences to ignore” regarding the fire, including that then-California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) wanted to build the high-speed rail project and “oddly there are all these people who have said they saw what looked like lasers or blue beams of light causing the fires.” She also speculated that a vice chairman at “Rothschild Inc, international investment banking firm” was somehow involved, and suggested the fire was caused by a beam from “space solar generators.”

Yes, she is the Jewish Space Lasers Lady!

If any place in America needs to close, it is Congress. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

President Trump can only do so much while pro-China socialists like AOC are in charge. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

Wait, AOC is “in charge”?

Democrats literally hate all police officers. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

President Trump taught us how to defend our values. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

And what values were those? Pussy grabbing, lying, tax evading, . . . .

The Gun Owner Privacy Act protects the right to keep and bear arms by preventing the Feds from collecting data to monitor and log gun ownership in America. This legislation will give Americans legal recourse and the ability to sue the Feds and collect damages for records illegally stored. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

I’ll be introducing a resolution to expel Rep. Maxine Waters from Congress for her continual incitement of violence. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

COVID is apparently the political tool to stop all of America, but yet if you’re an illegal alien coming into America, you’re welcome in with open arms and given every opportunity. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

I absolutely support President Trump 100 percent, and he inspired me to run. I got frustrated throughout his presidency watching Big Tech censor conservatives, so I’ll be fighting back on that, because everyone has the freedom of speech. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

MTG obviously doesn’t understand our concept of freedom of speech.

On our Southern border, Joe Biden has allowed hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal aliens into our country. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

In under two years! With closed borders! Amazing! Biden is a more capable administrator than any Republican.

Joe Biden and the radical, anti-gun Democrats want to unleash the ATF on law-abiding gun owners across America, attacking our God-given Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. (Marjorie Taylor Green)

“God-given” not Constitutional Second Amendment right? Please, someone, ask her for the Biblical basis she claims exists here.

And don’t get me started on Louie Gohmert of Texas. He may just be MTG’s intellectual inferior.

Why does anyone listen to the nonsense spewed by this folks (other than for entertainment—look up Jewish Space Laser Jokes, e.g. “This Jewish space laser thing makes no sense to me. Because, as every Jewish mother knows, you could put an eye out with that.”).

 Michael Ramirez for 8/22/2022

August 20, 2022

Why the Second Amendment?

Since this Constitutional Amendment is so often debated without the text in front of you, here it is:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Since the current iteration of the Supreme Court is so focused upon history, let us explore the history of this Amendment.

The Founding Fathers were adamant against having a standing army. Too many times despotic rulers used standing armies to wage wars of their convenience as well as used their “troops” to oppress their own people. (Yes, gun nuts, real tyranny.) So, there was not supposed to be a standing army in this new country under this new constitution.

So, the historical basis for the Second Amendment is now baseless. It has no foundation, no justification, none.

So, what happened when the nation needed to be defended? You can see what happened by reading the history of the months preceding the start of the Civil War and the few months after. The federal government asked the states to muster their forces and send them to serve under federal leadership. Each state had its own militia (or not), you see. Standing armies were very, very expensive and the United States was basically broke after the Revolutionary War (when the Constitution was developed). The states, however, often had militias that weren’t standing armies. These were ordinary citizens who trained from time to time. And neither the states nor the federal government had the coin to arm every soldier coming their way. They depended upon the citizen-soldiers to have their own guns, which they had shot enough to be proficient with and who could also be counted upon to have a supply of gunpowder and bullets for that gun. (Note There were no standard arms at the time, so one soldier’s fifty caliber rifle would not necessary be able to use another soldier’s 50 caliber ammunition. People often carried the molds and lead needed to make their own bullets for their own rifles with them.)

So, why the Second Amendment?

The safety of the country from foreign or domestic attack was in the form of such state militias that could be “called up” in the case of invasion or insurrection. Read the history of the Civil War and the agonies associated with prying militias from the various states. And those soldiers brought their own weapons. If the federal government had to equip every soldier sent to them they would have had an army equipped with rocks and spears.

An Historical Note In preparation for the Civil War, the officers of the U.S. Army who were Southerners and would later form the officer core for the secessionists, cleaned out the few armories the Army had and shipped those arms south. So, while the Army had the capacity to equip a few thousand soldiers, the traitors preparing for the secession made sure that only the South would have that option. The northern armories were basically empty when it came time to need their contents.

So, now you can see why the Second Amendment was necessary. The Militia members had their own rifles. If a local government or a misguided federal government took those away, the country would be defenseless or near defenseless.

But, those conditions didn’t prevail after the Civil War. We now have a standing Army (and Navy, and Air Force). We now equip every soldier with standardized weapons, with standardized ammunition, etc. And we have plenty of everything stuffed into armories all over the country to equip a multitude of call ups..

So, the historical basis for the Second Amendment is now baseless. It has no foundation, no justification, none. It has been co-opted by gun nut jobs and plays no real role in the defense of this country.

August 16, 2022

We Need to Be Better Organized—A Way Forward

Most of you have heard of the infamous Powell Memo of 1971. In that memo, Powell, then a lawyer representing tobacco companies, argued that businesses need to be better organized and stop shying away from participating in national politics. (Prior to that time, CEOs expressed a profound distaste for politics.)

The Powell Memo was the tip of the conservative’s spear as they surged forward. Ronald Regan passed out copies to all members of his cabinet, for instance. (By then Powell was on the SCOTUS, thanks to Richard Nixon.) One of the immediate outcomes of that memo was the creation of think tanks, like the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, etc. Cato was originally funded by Charles Koch and Heritage by the ultraconservative Joseph Coors, yes that Coors. The game plan was to get these things funded and conservative billionaires were more than obliging. These were added to with the American Enterprise Institute, and others to be a mighty organizing factor for conservatives.

Jack Vance, on Medium.com, suggested that we would benefit mightily from secular think tanks.

Bloody Hell, yes! The ranks of seculars are like the ranks of Democrats, numerous but very poorly organized.

Let’s take a page out of the conservative’s playbook, why don’t we? I mean they have been kicking our asses for decades, so why not?

Anybody know a Democrat leaning billionaire? There seem to be at least a half dozen of them. Putting a bee in one of their bonnets may pay big dividends.

August 13, 2022

Americans, Want to Know Why Your Life Sucks?

I have written on every topic in this essay, but I have never put it all together so well as has Mitchell Petersen. Well worth the read!

Charles Koch Won; We the People Lost

The Free Market Lie

A prominent feature of modern conservative rhetoric is a plea to allow “free markets” to run freely in businesses. This is a lie. Some of the purveyors of this lie know it is a lie, others have been indoctrinated to believe it is true, but it is still a lie.

The argument for free markets was made most prominently by Adam Smith, but he addressed a market that was entirely local. All of the businesses and customers were locals and shenanigans had repercussions. If the only baker in town raised his prices dramatically, blithely asking “Where else will you get your bread?” People would start baking at home and one of those amateurs might turn professional and offer better bread at better prices and “Down goes the greedy baker!”

And when you extend such market concepts to even somewhat larger regions, things immediately fall apart. People were not neighbors of all of the producers of the goods they wanted to buy. And where did the marketeers look to fix the problems with their systems? They looked to government (first from the royals and later the pols).

An analogy could be made to allowing every small village to create their own justice system, with their own rules and processes and laws. Of course, you can see the chaos that would ensue. In one village you could call witnesses, in another you couldn’t, in one you had a right to a trial, in another you wouldn’t, and so on.

The current state of American business shows the lie of “free market ideology” for what it is. Currently, every large corporation is working to have laws instituted that advantage their businesses over businesses owned by others. (The bulk of the codes in our current tax code are of this kind.) The result in the end game is a de facto monopoly. Monopolies have no competition and the monopolists can manipulate the markets any which way they want to. (Consider the biggest source of today’s inflation—corporations raising prices because they can, not because they need to.) With no competition, the advantages claimed for “free markets” evaporate.

So, why is the drum still being beat for “free markets” when so many corporations dominate their “market segment” to the point there is no market at all? Is it not clear? The plutocrats running those corporations want no resistance to their earning money any which way they can. Environmental laws? Please. Labor laws? Oh, please, no. Fair practice laws? No, thank you. Market manipulation prevention laws? If course not! Taxes? We’d rather not, thank you!

Capitalism’s greatest flaw, as currently constructed, is there is no cap upon greed. And despite what you may have heard, greed is not good.

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