Thursday, May 19, 2011

The next revolution . . .

It occurs to me -- it's become a fairly commonplace and untested belief that we, here in the United States of America, have become too rich, too well-educated, too civilized, and just beyond that sort of thing, for there ever to be another civil war or revolutionary war or serious armed rebellion.  Not now, in the 21st century.  And certainly not with guns.  There will be no fighting to the death over politics here.  Our polity has grown beyond all that icky conflict.  It's no longer a matter of whether there should be a social preference for the ballot over the bullet.  The question now is whether it will be the ballot or the bribe that decides our collective situation.

And it occurs to me that if it is true that it is flat impossible to present a serious armed challenge to the government, then it is only a matter of when, and not if, the constitutional guaranteed limits on government becomes a mere historical fun fact, having no contemporary meaning at all.

Government is all about regulation, control, power, and the dependency of the governed on the government for whatever security the governed may get out of the deal.   People being what they are and government agencies being what they are, government involvement in one's everyday life will necessarily increase right up to whatever limits on its growth might exist.  Without at least the possible chance that government could be overthrown by force, there is no effective limit to the growth of government.  The government busies will always find it necessary for yet another regulation, yet one more punishment, another license to be obtained and another agency to be consulted, all for the so called common good.  They can't help themselves and it isn't reasonable to expect that they could ever resist the temptation, once the notion occurs to them.  Most of them do their job sincerely intending to provide a benefit when passing a new law or making a new regulation.  It's just that consequences are frequently unintended and unanticipated.  There is no "too much" built into our system of government as things now stand, and mistakes can and do happen frequently.

So, am I advocating armed rebellion?  Oh, for heavens sake of course not.  That would be horrible.  It's just that when armed rebellion truly becomes unthinkable -- then we've all lost the liberty that this country reached for in 1776.   

I simply think it would be healthier if we decide that rebellion is far from  necessary, for now, for the time being, and not that rebellion is totally unthinkable.  

Oh, and once in a while tar and feathers should be applied, simply for purposes of improving the breed, so to speak.

Today's question . . .

What kind and how good an education do you think you are going to get when your college instructors can't -- not won't but can't -- distinguish between ideology and information?  It's all the same to them.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Illegal alien problem solved . . .

A whole bunch of Tunisians are skipping out of Tunisia and ending up in Italy. Italy feels overwhelmed and is asking for help from the European Union -- you know, their federal government. The E.U. says that Italy may not deal with the problem on its own, and also, that there isn't going to be any help from the E.U. These are refugees fleeing violence and civil turmoil.

Sound familiar? A whole bunch of Mexicans are skipping out of Mexico and ending up in Arizona, which is forbidden by the federal government from doing much -- the feds are suing the state-- and the federal government isn't going to do anything effective about it.

But these Mexicans aren't refugees like Tunisians. They are undocumented immigrants. They used to be legally described as illegal aliens, but that hurt the delicate sensibilities of the college educators, assorted wannabes, pseudos, dipshits and undocumented journalists who objected to the terminology. So now they're immigrants, simply yearning for freedom, a place in the sun, and a chance to cut grass and do jobs Americans won't do, and also to sell drugs.

Anyhow, since we are already going to mess with the language with no sense of shame, why don't we just call the Mexicans who have arrived here without due process something else? They can be refugees. That makes them sound even more desperate, needy, and pitiful and less likely to be deported. You'd have to inhumane to deport a poor, wretched refugee, right?

You'd have to repatriate them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Things you probably should never say to people. . .

I'm curious. Are you a moron in real life, or is it that the demands of your job require you to behave like one at all times?

They like me, they really like me. . .

Well, I'll just be dipped. It turns out that my call is really important to them, and they would like me to please stay on the line a little longer so that my call can be answered by an operator in the order in which it was received. It is a real comfort to know that I'm cared about, and I'm especially reassured when I hear that same message repeatedly while I wait interminably, like about forty times.

Without receiving that message about forty times before talking to a live person, I might have thought they didn't give frozen gilded moose turd about their customers one way or the other.

My bad.

Somebody needs a life script . . .

Alicia Silverstone, a celebrity who I'm not sure I recognize, has named her baby "Bear Blu." Honestly, these people celebrated for their attractiveness and whose whole life is built around their appearance need to have a script written for them by somebody else, so as to avoid doing or saying anything stupid. Bear Blu! Good luck with middle school, kid.

She also said she was destined to be a mother. Yeah, that kinda comes with having ovaries and intimacy. But it's okay, Alicia, Sweetie. If you want your biological determination to be a destiny, you go right ahead. Just, maybe, check with your scriptwriter before saying things in public.

Oh, maybe I'm being a mite harsh. It's not as if she's doing a Lindsay Lohan or a Charlie Sheen, both of whom evidently could be much improved by having both scriptwriters and keepers.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday reading confessional . . .

Just finished Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth; Evidence for Evolution. Now half way through The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Part I, and just started Epstein's How Progressives Rewrote the Constitution. What are you reading?

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

If we can't screw our customers, well, who can we screw?

I heard on the news this morning that a big-time national bank has scrapped its plans to raise its fee for using their ATMs by out of system customers from $3 to $5. They evidently did a test, and people stopped using their ATMs. For $5, people are willing to drive to an ATM in their own banking system -- the cost outweighs the convenience of using the nearer ATM for an out of system charge. Imagine that.

Of course, I remember when the banks were trying to encourage the use of ATMs. It was pretty obvious. If they only could get people to use ATMs, they could dispense with hiring tellers some of whom were actually paid more than minimum wage. Providing ATMs relieved the banks of the need to offer customer service.

Yeah, I can remember going into a bank and standing in a long line waiting for my turn at the teller's place, and while waiting having a bank employee come up and offer to show me how to use an ATM so I didn't have to stand in line so long. But I knew how to work the ATM; it was raining out there and the ATM was not sheltered. Thanks for your offer, lady, but this is Oregon and it rains, here. How about getting your sweet little banker butt behind the counter and serving customers instead of pushing them outdoors into the rain.

Now that the teller staffs have all been successfully reduced in favor of ATMs, the banks want to act as if the ATMs are extra special conveniences that the bank offers at great expense and difficulty. Accordingly, we should be grateful for ATMs and willing to pay extra to use an ATM services if we aren't one of their loyal customers.

Oh, bless you, bankers! If I couldn't do my bank business at a machine without human warmth or understanding, I just don't know what I would do.

Loyalty. Yeah, right. One of my banks reminds me from time to time about the great deal on a bank card they would like me to have. I would be charged 0% interest on charges for the first 6 months. Of course, if instead of borrowing, I loan the bank money by leaving it on deposit, what do they pay me? Maybe 1% annually. What do they do with my money? Lend it out to credit card holders for 0% interest for the first 6 months, and then 20+% on the unpaid balance thereafter. And they charge those credit card holders an ATM access fee on top of it, all using my money at 1%!

Yeah, I'm happy to accept their 1% on my deposits so that they can make 20%. That 1% they pay makes me feel like they really appreciate me and not like a sucker at all.

Sounds like a license for banks to print money, doesn't it? Laws have been passed to permit them to do business in this fashion. But then, even with this sort of advantage it's possible for banks to screw up. And when they do, what happens? The government bails them out, using guess-whose money.

I think they may be in cahoots.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Osama Bin Fishfood

They say his body was buried at sea with appropriate wrappings to be respectful of Islamic custom, and so as not to give offense. Of course, they, when they have a body of one of ours, drag the body triumphantly and with cries of jubilation all around the town square for a few hours, so as to avoid giving us offense.