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01-20-2017
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Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Subject: Tracking The Trump Administration's Actions and Legislation

Well, it has been over two and a half years since I have added any content on this blog. During that time I have been haunting Facebook, posting comments and shorter pieces of analysis. If anyone is interested in communicating there, send me a message on Facebook referencing this blog and I would be happy to connect.

The purpose of this post is to make you aware of a new website that I am initiating, dedicated to tracking the significant actions of the incoming Trump administration in so far as they relate to upholding the rights of the individual and personal freedom. Here is the site's preamble:

On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the American presidential election. Over the course of his life and during the campaign Trump has made a large number of declarative statements staking out firm positions on a wide array of issues. The problem is that in almost every case he has contradicted his earlier stand—often more than once—making it impossible to know what he might actually do if given the opportunity. Well that opportunity has arrived.

It is my belief that the context of the moment is all that Trump understands, and because of that, the statements he makes regarding his "
intentions" are no predictor as to what future actions he might actually take. Therefore, rather than attempt to evaluate his "promises," the only rational course is to judge each specific action or piece of legislation produced by this administration as it occurs, weighing the pros and cons and deciding whether they are, on balance, good, neutral or bad for the rights and liberty of the individual.

However, having said that, as a person being handed the reigns of a government with the very real power to wield force against the country's citizens, some of Trump's statements rise above mere rhetoric to the level of actionable threats. In these cases, his words will be evaluated as peremptory actions and judged accordingly. This running list will record the events as they occur, providing a means of deciding which pre-election expectation for a Trump presidency turns out to be closer to the truth.

Up to this point I have only included four pre-inaugural event that I deemed as significant. Three of the four I rate as bad and one good. As I said, my criteria for judgment is based upon the impact that the actions have upon individual rights and personal freedom only. When I say that some action is good for America, please note that this is shorthand for saying that it is good for American individuals. It is the freedom, equally applied to all citizens, not some nationalistic concept of "country first" that matters.

Clearly, there is a wide spectrum of thought in evaluating Trump, leading to divergent expectations for his presidency. Based upon his history, I admit to being someone who currently holds low expectations. Nevertheless, I intend to be as objective as possible in my assessment of his actions, giving credit where due and laying blame when warranted, using freedom as the metric. There is nothing I would like better than to be surprised by Trump's commitment to our rights. Over the course of time, we will see.

Update:  After tracking the administration's activity for a little over a month, I quickly became worn down and discouraged by being so close to this sort of day-to-day political activity. Therefore, I have abandoned the effort. Sorry to let down anyone who was interested in using this as a resource.

05-18-2014
Permalink
John R. Schindler
John R. Schindler
Subject: Fighting the Wrong Battles

A friend brought a recent blog post to my attention titled, Ideology is Making America Stupid. Written by John R. Schindler, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, it argues that those on both the political left and right engage in pressing their personal ideologies — a process that he characterizes as: "the substitution of preset cliches over actual thought." Well, that statement gave me pause, as this is certainly not what ideology means to me. So off to the dictionaries I went. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary states:

  • 2a: a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
  • 2b: a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
  • 2c: the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program
  • For a rational individual, aspects of all three definitions describe what a personal ideology consists of and how it properly functions, being a systematic (i.e., integrated) body of knowledge used to guide one's thinking in relation to society, culture and sociopolitical ends. In other words, a rational ideology is merely a subset of a broader rational philosophy of life. However, this does not correspond to Schindler's usage. Further investigation at the online Dictionary.com yields this:

    1. the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
    2. such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.

    This less flattering definition seems closer to the author's meaning, where systematized knowledge is replaced by adherence to doctrine, myth and belief — what I would call a pseudo-ideology. And yes, it is easy to look around and find people who come to the majority of their positions through a process of osmosis devoid of any meaningful critical analysis. The ideology of a rational person is fact-based and always open to revision in light of new evidence. But for the person holding a pseudo-ideology, adherence to their world view is a precarious necessity since their unexamined identity has become equivalent to the ideology they have adopted. To change the latter would be to lose oneself — and people will fight tooth and nail to maintain their self-image. So when the author comments:

    The problem isn't that Americans have ideologies, it's that so many of them have embraced a worldview based on self-deception. Simply put, they devoutly, unshakably believe things that simply are untrue.

    This is a question of Zeitgeist more than naked partisanship, per se, as Americans both Left and Right seem equally devoted to beliefs that, upon close examination, turn out to be false.

    Given the second set of definitions, there is no reason to disagree. Schindler goes on to discuss U.S. foreign policy, but concludes:

    Letting our ideologies blind us in domestic matters has serious consequences for America, but refusing to see the world as it actually is endangers far more than our domestic tranquility.

    But what about the more rational meaning of ideology? Even if the average American implicitly operates more on whim than reason, this is not an excuse to abandon the pursuit of a reality-based philosophy as a guide for one's actions. Dealing with issues in isolation (i.e., in an unintegrated manner) is extremely dangerous and is probably the single greatest cause for the world's troubles. To properly address most national or global issues, a well integrated and rational perspective is a necessity. Let's be careful not to abandon the very real need for a properly based ideological framework as we go about exposing pseudo-ideologies for what they are.

    As I was reading this article, another thought struck me regarding the author's identification of the differences in ideologies. I realized that a great majority of the debate occurring in this country takes place over polarizing issues between left and right. Whether we are discussing abortion, the death penalty, gay rights, property rights, guns, social equality, taxes, the environment, health care, entitlements, wealth redistribution, foreign aid, privacy, etc., the focus is usually centered around pragmatic, concrete concerns. Yet, something important is usually missing, just as it is missing from the discussion in Schindler's piece. Regardless of one's position on any of these specific issues, there is another underlying struggle running orthogonal to them all — the fight for individual freedom versus collective totalitarianism. In other words, the battle for liberty.

    I was immediately reminded of the chart that David Nolan constructed back in 1969 (left below), which integrates a perspective on both economic and personal freedom.

    Nolan Chart- 1969
    Original Nolan Chart – 1969
    Nolan Chart
    Revised Nolan Chart – 2014

    This chart clearly demonstrates how the classical left-right tug-of-war has little to do with advancing towards greater freedom and, in fact, shows how focusing too much on standard political left-right issues can blind us to movement in the opposing direction. In 1969, it was commonly understood that the conservative Republicans were, in general, strong supporters of economic freedom while the liberal Democrats advocated for personal self-expression and choice. However, over the past four decades, the left-wing and right-wing designations have each shifted significantly towards the lower-left, moving ever closer towards the totalitarian position, as depicted in the revised chart to the right.

    Recent history shows that while people argue over their pet political left-right issues until each of them is ultimately decided, regardless of whether the specific outcomes are judged favorably or not, the bitter reality is that personal liberty is almost always further curtailed in the process. What becomes clear is that, in many cases, we are wasting precious resources and valuable time fighting the wrong battles. Of course, this is not to say that there are not important aspects affecting our liberty contained in every one of the left-right issues.

    The point is that while we focus on whether or not birth control should be mandated, or whether tax dollars should be used to bail out car companies, or whether common core is a good educational approach, or whether certain people should be allowed to marry, we are not directly focusing on our personal freedom. Why? Because personal freedom means autonomy and the ability to exercise control over one's own life. It means that the above questions, and many like them, are ones asked and answered in the privacy of one's own mind and are not subject to external debate, let alone government control. By engaging in these debates, we implicitly grant that the answers are up to others to decide for us.

    What we must do is stop looking to our left or right and instead look forward towards our goal located in the upper-right corner of the chart. We need to stop playing the politicians' game where they are the ones allowed to define the issues. Instead, we must adopt the other axis and reframe the debate in clear liberty-versus-slavery terms, making the choice clear through our own examples. It is time to set rather than follow the agenda. In other words, it is time to directly assert our liberty ideology in uncompromising terms.

    02-03-2014
    Permalink
    Tara Maller
    Tara Maller
    Subject: A Life of One's Own? — Fugget About It!
    "Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve our communities."

    Barack Obama – 2014 State of the Union Address

    Tick ... Tick ... Tick ... Tick ...

    Behind the scenes, the gears continue to turn slowly but continuously, always working to advance the progressive agenda. While Obama acts as the carney—the front man for our dark national circus—constantly repeating lies until they become accepted by many as though they were simple facts, there is an army operating in the shadows, often financed with our tax dollars, busily planning how to further exert control over our lives.

    While explicitly contravening the Declaration of Independence, our president stands on the national stage and asserts that you are not sovereign over your life, liberty and property. He states that your citizenship is not a right, but an obligation—a debt that must be repaid to your master, the state. And how does he intend to collect? Well, confiscation of property through increased taxes and ever expanding regulations is certainly one method, but insufficient in that it only asserts control over the material side of existence, leaving the spiritual realm unconstrained. The essence of Ellsworth Toohey residing within Obama and most other politicians, seeks to control the very souls of men, enslaving them to their purpose. And the best way to accomplish this is by initiating a program of national service—voluntary at first, but what, in the end, will be a mandate for all. And in accordance with his now famous proclamation, "I've got a pen and I've got a phone," for the most part, this will be accomplished outside of the legislative purview of Congress.

    In the past I have often discussed the federal tactic of bribing states into mandating compulsory community service for public school children of all ages, through a program known as Service Learning. Some of the better articles may be found here. This educational indoctrination is one of the major beachheads in the progressive's playbook.

    In an article titled, Answering the State of the Union's Call to Citizenship, Tara Maller, the associate director for strategic communications at the Aspen Institute's Franklin Project, reveals another significant approach for transmuting Obama's dream into reality. Here are some excerpts from Maller's missive:

    Service is not just the responsibility of our men and women in uniform or those serving at diplomatic posts overseas; it is a responsibility that falls on each and every one of us.

    The Franklin Project's mission is designed to help institutionalize this responsibility and transform the way young Americans — and our nation at large — view national service. Essentially, we aim to make national service a rite of passage for all young Americans.

    The Franklin Project is working with partner organizations, higher education, the private sector and the government to build national service capacity in the United States. As part of this effort, we'll be working on an online technology platform, creating a national service certification system and pushing for significant increases in the number of one-year national service opportunities in our country for young Americans between the ages of 18 to 28. This campaign will not only transform the lives of the individuals who serve, but it has the potential to help rebuild our economy, instill a sense of civic duty in young Americans, build leadership skills, and foster a greater sense of giving back — both domestically and globally.

    National service is not just about our nation, but it is also about our place in the world. The benefits of national service do not end at our own borders.

    These programs have the potential to foster a greater sense of global citizenship.

    The state of our union will be a lot stronger when future presidents can speak about a real transformation in national civilian service here at home and not simply lofty ideals about what citizenship demands of us.


    [Emphasis added]

    I have written previously regarding the Franklin Project, and looking at their home page we find the following statement:

    We're working for a future in which serving the nation, either in the military or as a civilian, simply becomes an expected—and, thus, accepted—rite of passage into adulthood. It is not a hard future to imagine: All Americans would choose to serve some time in the decade between when they are 18 and 28. Their service would be voluntary—not legally required—but instead culturally mandatory. No one would dare not have an answer if every conversation started with, "Where did you serve?"

    [Emphasis added]

    Voluntary? Unbelievable. Another case of the Big Lie writ large!

    Government is a repository of force. Voluntary programs are not "institutionalized" and they certainly do not involve a "national service certification (i.e., registration) system"! To call these programs "voluntary" is precisely equivalent to when Harry Reid tells us that paying our income tax is "voluntary".

    And notice the bait-and-switch involved with equating a program of national service with being a good "global citizen". This effort has nothing to do with our nation and everything to do with the establishment of a unified and collectivized world government under the auspices of the United Nations.

    Finally, let us not ignore the Orwellian threat that no one would dare "choose" to forgo their "voluntary" period of enslavement to national service. If ever there was "an offer that can't be refused," this would certainly qualify! Make no mistake, here we are looking directly into the face of pure evil — fully self-aware of its intent and consequences.

    It is through the Corporation for National & Community Service that the majority of these service programs are organized and funded. During the past five years this program has received somewhere in the neighborhood of $5.4 billion in taxpayer dollars to fund this push for national service. You might like to contact your state Senators and Representative and let them know what you think about how your money is being spent.

    In addition, the Franklin Project is being sponsored by the following private corporations. Where available, contact information is provided should you like to give any of them some personal feedback.

    The advance towards enslavement continues. Organizations such as the Aspen Institute, funded by private corporations, are working day in, day out to ensure that the ability to control our own destiny is eliminated and that the will of every individual is bent to the dictates of the collective state. The only thing capable of stopping this relentless march is for enough people to stand up and say NO! Say NO! to the corporations and foundations that fund these operations. Say NO! to the local school boards and organizations that implement them. Say NO! to the neighbors who promote these ideas. And say NO! to the politicians who believe that they have the right to substitute their thoughts and desires in place of our own. Do not remain silent and recede into the background. Instead, become a visible presence and a powerful voice for the principles of individualism and personal freedom.

    11-28-2013
    Permalink
    C. Jeffery Small
    Happy New Year
    Subject: Happy New Year
    Happy New Years

    (Click on image for a larger view.)

    Here's wishing everyone a joyful, prosperous and freer life in 2014.

    All the best to you and your families! — Jeffery Small

    11-04-2013
    Permalink
    Obama Lies
    My Agenda
    Subject: The Ends Justify the Means
    From Wikipedia:

    The Big Lie is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."
    "All this was inspired by the principle--which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

    Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume I, Chapter X

    Most contemporary politicians have learned to engage in the technique of the Big Lie as a routine part of their day-to-day speech. But President Obama is a master practitioner, surpassed by no one. Whether he is promising the voters that his administration would:

    or he is:

    he does it with a straight face, often accompanied by a wagging finger and condescending glare.

    Amidst all of these falsehoods there is a new one that has been bothering me of late. Everyone is talking about Obama's oft repeated lie that if you wanted to keep your current heath insurance, you could. It is then reported that many people with individual policies are now receiving termination notices from their carriers, but that these cancellations amounts to only a small percentage of the insured — typically somewhere between 5-15% of the total. This itself is another Big Lie, intended to deceive the public into believing that this was only a small problem with the law.

    However, the truth is that the vast majority of all insured people are having their policies canceled! It is just that the rest of the people get their group insurance through some third-party such as their employer. Nevertheless, every one of those group-based policies is also being canceled and the group administrators have been forced to negotiate new policies in their place. Just because the end users don't observe what is going on behind the scene, doesn't make this any less real.

    How could it be otherwise? The new legislation imposes untold numbers of new requirements on the health care industry, and new policies would be required in order to meet the conditions of the law. All of this was perfectly foreseeable from the very first day that this new nationalization of health care started to be discussed. It was crystal clear that this would be the case when Obamacare was passed. And it was known to every human on the planet who had their eyes open, every time Obama guaranteed that it was not true.

    Therefore, it is extremely aggravating to see people act surprised that policies are being canceled, or hear them say that it affects only a small percentage of people, or watch them profess to be shocked that Obama lied to them! Of course he lied! He always lies. For Barack Obama, the ends always justify the means. What's more saddening is how few have come to understand what his end game actually is.

    Randy Newman wrote a wonderful song (slightly modified here in the pursuit of accuracy) that does a great job of expressing the essence of Obama and his manifest disregard for truth and integrity.

    Big Hat, No Cattle   —   By Randy Newman

    Since I was a child
    I've tried to be what I'm not
    I've lied and I've enjoyed it all my life
    I lied to my dear mother
    to my sisters and my brother
    and now I'm lying to my children and my wife
    Big Hat, no cattle
    Big head, no brain
    Big snake, no rattle
    I forever remain
    big hat, no cattle
    I knew from the start
    Big boat, no paddle
    Big belly, no heart

    Can't remember why I do it,
    Oh, maybe I can.
    An honest man these days is hard to find.
    I only know we're living in an unforgiving land.
    And a little lie can buy some real big piece of mind.

    Oftimes I wondered what might I have become,
    Had I but buckled down and really tried.
    But when it came down to the wire
    I called the country to my side
    Stood up straight, threw my head back and I lied, lied, lied

    Big hat, no cattle
    Big shoes, well you know...
    Big horse, no saddle
    He goes wherever I go

    Big hat, no cattle
    Right from the start
    Big guns, no battle
    Big belly, no heart

    When it came down to the wire
    I called the country to my side
    Stood up straight, threw my head back and I lied, lied, lied
    lied, lied, lied

    Big hat, no cattle
    Big head, no brain
    Big snake, no rattle
    I forever remain
    Big hat, no cattle
    I knew from the start
    Big boat, no paddle
    Big belly, no heart
    Big boat, no paddle
    Big belly, no heart
    For additional past articles, please refer to the Archives page.