Monday, December 27, 2004

“Your Papers Please”

US adopts National ID: Homeland Security Now In charge of Regulations for all US States Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates

By: Jonathan Wheeler

In a chilling act more reminiscent of the now defunct Soviet Union or the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler, the United States Congress passed legislation yesterday that requires the States to surrender their regulatory rights over driver’s licenses and birth certificates to The Department of Homeland Security.

The massive US Intelligence Reform Bill weighed in at over 3,000 pages and though unread by individual Members of either the House or Senate nevertheless passed all of the legislative hurdles needed in order to become law.

President Bush lobbied hard for these provisions, only objecting when Senator Sensenbrenner attempted to require these same provisions for illegal aliens but which the President opposed. This provision was dropped from the final bill.

Beginning in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security will issue new uniformity regulations to the States requiring that all Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates meet minimal Federal Standards with regard to US citizen information, including biometric security provisions.

Added to currently existing Federal Laws and Supreme Court rulings American citizens when born will be issued a Social Security Number that will be included on their Birth Certificates, along with DNA biometric markers. All birth certificates will also be registered in a Federal Government database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. No child will be allowed enrollment to schools or be entitled to either State of Federal Government benefits programs without first presenting a certified Homeland Security registered Birth Certificate.

Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs. Previous Supreme Court rulings have also upheld State and Federal Law Enforcement authorities right to request Identification from any American citizen, for any reason and at any time as not being violations of their, the citizens, constitutionally protected rights.

Major Banks and credit card companies have applauded the adoption of a National ID system as being important to counter fraud and increasing instances of identity theft. National ID cards with biometric markers will eliminate them from having to issue Credit and Debit cards, which for the first time in US history have surpassed the usage of checks and cash. Utilizing The Department of Homeland Securities centralized federal database, Banks and credit card companies will only require the presentation of a citizens Driver’s License to make purchases as all of the persons financial information, including credit and cash ! balances, will already be known in ‘real time’. (The combining of Homeland Security and Banking databases on citizen’s balances and purchases, along with their past and present purchasing information, has been allowed under previous Federal Laws including the Patriot Act.)

Also included in this bill is a law to require The Department of Homeland Security to establish a separate ID system for citizens to use prior to boarding airplanes, and which is eerily reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi regimes dreaded Internal Passport.

Never before in our history have the words of Benjamin Franklin been so correct when he stated: "people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both".

Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as being the day that the United States of America, as it was founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.


"Mondays: In Christian countries, the day after the (football) game...."


Mur-ry Pigskinmas

Friday, December 24, 2004

"They are as sick that surfeit
with too much as they are that starve with nothing."

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Literature as Reification

The common view of literature is that it is the collected wisdom of great minds, the noblest thoughts expressed in verse, etc. I dispute this view. My view--materialist and moderate leftist--is that literature generally functions as reification--a type of reinforcement of the ideologies, attitudes, belief systems and indeed epistemologies of the ruling classes. Shakespeare's plays, used for centuries to teach the children of the bourgeoisie the Queen's English, are an apt example of this. In numerous plays the "courtly" attitudes are upheld, working class characters are mocked (and, as with Malvolio, presented as uneducated morose churls to the nobles), and in general Anglo-Catholic and monarchist views are reinforced and promoted.

That is not to say courtly and aristocratic virtues may not be in part valuable. Reason, ethics, eloquence, a certain aristo-world view may be in themselves valuable. Classical scholarship, mastery of latin, knowledge of the greek philosophers are not trivial affairs, however irrelevant to modern technocracy and market capitalism. Yet what is overlooked by literature which proclaims the superiority of aristocratic virtue, is the brutal reality of the monarchy, the prisons, the disparity between nobles and commoners, the "golden and sanguine laws" as Shelley said. Yet even a Shelley is, I assert, a spokesman for the imperial throne. For literature itself always relates to monarchist if not clerical context. It is no accident that most literary history involves "courtly " themes, the Paolo and Francesca , Tristan and Isolde types of things--Camelot.

For most students of literature, courtly love and aristo virtue--whether hypocritical or actual-- are the contexts for literary interpretation. And 20th century realist writers, say a Dreiser or Hemingway, are repositioned, recontextualized in relation to the "perennial truths" of the aristocratic writers. The French realists are seen in relation to the ancien regime (which is, let's admit, secretly loved). It should not be surprising that a catholic-monarchist such as TS Eliot would be viewed as "official" literature by the academic ideologues, and "realists" such as Hemingway or Dreiser disparaged--either implcitly or explicitly-- as yokels. So even the realist and leftist attempts to counter the monarchist and/or clerical Weltanschauung are, I believe, defeated. For the entire context of literature and literary interpretation is in essence aristocratic, and thus anti-empiricist, anti-democratic, anti-humanist......It also should not be surprising that Marx himself disparaged liberal writers and fabian socialist types who thought "exposing social injustice" was a proper political stance. For Marx, regardless of his flaws, perceived that the institution of "belle-lettres" is contaminated with a sort of otherworldly (ultimately theological or superficially platonic ) ideology, where Truths simply exist immutably and unquestioned. The move away from idealistic metaphysics--towards Darwin and economics-- is thus also a move away from belle-lettrist dreams.......

An effective leftist action? Burn a Riverside Shakespeare, and your Norton Anthologies of English Verse; turn to Darwin instead of Dickens, Keynes instead of Kerouac, Einstein instead of Jane Eyre-head.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Applied Ethics lesson for Friday

From Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals

-- Ich gebrauchte das Wort "Staat": es versteht sich von selbst, wer damit gemeint ist—irgendein Rudel blonder Raubtiere, eine Eroberer- und Herren-Rasse, weiche, kriegerisch organisiert und mit der Kraft, zu organisieren, unbedenklich ihre furchtbaren Tatzen auf eine der Zahl nach vielleicht ungeheuer überlegene, aber noch gestaltlose, noch schweifende Bevölkerung legt. Dergestalt beginnt ja der "Staat" auf Erden: ich denke, jene Schwärmerei ist abgetan, welche ihn mit einem "Vertrage" beginnen liess.--

Cheap anglo translation:

I used the word "State"—it is self-evident who is meant by that term—some pack of blond predatory animals, a race of conquerors and masters, which, organized for war and with the power to organize, without thinking about it, sets its terrifying paws on a subordinate population which may perhaps be vast in numbers but is still without any shape, is still wandering about. That's surely the way the "State" begins on earth. I believe that that fantasy has been done away with which sees the beginning of the state in some "contract."....


Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Psychopathology of the Rightwing Mind


Saturday, December 04, 2004

"HOG, n. A bird remarkable for the catholicity of its appetite and serving to illustrate that of ours. Among the Mahometans and Jews, the hog is not in favor as an article of diet, but is respected for the delicacy and the melody of its voice. It is chiefly as a songster that the fowl is esteemed; the cage of him in full chorus has been known to draw tears from two persons at once. The scientific name of this dicky-bird is _Porcus Rockefelleri_. Mr. Rockefeller did not discover the hog, but it is considered his by right of resemblance."

Porcus Episcopalia, vr. San Joaquin


Friday, December 03, 2004

Burton's Prop. 59 victorious (with various Beasts of the Kern)

Burton's Prop. 59 won. Though it is far too tame, it may be a start to real political reform. Prop. 59, now the law, would at least in theory give the public access to all communications by elected officials. Inquiring minds might want to know something about say the deep thoughts of a Kevin McCarthy or King Ahh-nuld himself and now they have the right to, at least to some degree. Everything Ahh-nuld says or writes or speaks, or pays someone to write, should be a matter of public record.

The implications of this law are interesting: perhaps eventually the CA public will be far more involved in the decision making process. Do you trust the likes of Assemblywoman Sharon Runner making decisions about economics or really anything? Better that say the CA teachers union make political decisions than a Sharon Runner. All of the proceedings of Sacramento elite, in public or chambers, should be wired and on videotape. There is no "off the record" for elected officials.

Anyone interested in ethical governing should appreciate John Burton for putting forth this rational proposition.

"What will Proposition 59 do? It will create a new civil right: a constitutional right to know what the government is doing, why it is doing it, and how. It will ensure that public agencies, officials, and courts broadly apply laws that promote public knowledge. It will compel them to narrowly apply laws that limit openness in government—including discretionary privileges and exemptions that are routinely invoked even when there is no need for secrecy. It will create a high hurdle for restrictions on your right to information, requiring a clear demonstration of the need for any new limitation. It will permit the courts to limit or eliminate laws that don't clear that hurdle. It will allow the public to see and understand the deliberative process through which decisions are made. It will put the burden on the government to show there is a real and legitimate need for secrecy before it denies you information."

Bakersfield Gray Rat, Martini Georgius

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veteran's Day Poppy

Veteran's Day is to be counted, I believe, among the fairly insignificant patriotic "holidays," similiar to Labor or Memorial Day; the American Legion guys are featured in the paper wearing their nice caps with medallions; politicians appear at various veterans functions to shake hands with some grizzled old WWII infantrymen, or Shriner-like survivors of the Korean War, though we don't see the politicos too often shaking hands with the Vietnam type vets, who are, as the media would have it, all long-haired street psychotics searching for some decent bud and underground assault rifles. Solid conservative opportunities to obtain vet. photographs--photos of stern hawk-faced elders that a backwater republican congressman like Big Billy Thomas might display like trophies on a web site festooned with flags, schoolkids, and the expected rows of healthy crops or orchards--are rather slim with former Ranger-marksman turned freaks who think the local mall is "in country" and whose most profound spiritual memory is most likely of Thai or Subic Bay bar girls on a table top performing for the crew.

But words are so feeble, as are sentences and propositions, and ultimately, statistics, in terms of capturing the monumental psychopathology of war; the photographs and documentary footage present the truth far more effectively and more evocatively. Old grainy photos of dead German or French dogfaces hanging in barbed wire above trenches at the Battle of Verdun or something are as beautiful as Van Gogh's drawings of whores, perhaps more so, and the beauty is not one of artifice; it's not contrived, as most war writing and Ho-wood films seem to be. (Though having recently read Tim O'Brien's "The Things they Carried" I must say it is quite powerful).

Yet given the millions of 20th century war dead--whether soldiers, civilians, or genocide victims--it's surprising and in fact dismaying that so few pictures of the dead are to be seen in newspapers, on TV, on the web, in books. And this "corpse image control" continues presently with the Iraqi conflict: we see a few pics of blasted cities, perhaps a few graves or bodies, and the occasional beheading, but on the whole the American public does not have to endure, say, the sight of dozens of mangled bodies blown apart by a US cruise missile. This is a type of modern political injustice if not hypocrisy. It is not unreasonable to argue that the US Government, and any govt. engaging in warfare, has an obligation to show graphic pictures of death and military destruction; indeed, the war should be live and media-streamed on TV and the Net for all to see, including schoolchildren.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

H.L. Mencken on Voting

"[W]hen a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental--men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or be lost... [A]ll the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre--the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

H. L. Mencken, in the Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1920.

"Rotarian Luncheon"

Monday, November 01, 2004

South Park vs. Sean Penn

Matt Stone, one half of South Park's dynamic duo, recently uttered, "if you don't know what you're talking about, there's no shame in not voting." Matt has a point. Although Democratic or Republican party leaders could care less about the intellectual status of those who vote "their way," there is some danger in just assuming that a popular vote will result in ethical or equitable politics. Democrats surely hope that uneducated, working class types vote their way, but if the working class vote tends to go to the GOP, then perhaps the implications of Stone's comment would be more appreciated.

Ahh-nuld's (and earlier, Reagan's) popularity among the poor and working class demonstrates that voters no longer adhere to the old classifications, i.e., poor = democrat voter; wealthy = republican. In other words, requiring prospective voters to pass a poll test or possess a modicum of education might be in the Democrats' or third party's interest.

The South Park duo were denounced by Sean Penn, and this is perhaps understandable. Even Comrade Penn should be aware, however, how Stone's logic can be viewed from a democratic or leftist perspective: if voters, whether poor or wealthy, college educated or not, continually support GOP candidates, or even conservative democrats, then we should question the voting process itself. Hopefully Kerry (and dems across the US) will prove victorious over Our Chief Commanding Redneck with DT's, but if he doesn't, then Dem.s might do well to rethink their innate love of voting and "the democratic process."

"On this week's 60 Minutes Wednesday, which features an interview with the Team America masterminds, Stone lets loose on Penn. "It's funny to take...activist actors and...elevate them to the level to what they think they are in their minds," Stone tells 60 Minutes correspondent Vicki Mabrey. "When Sean Penn is on TV before the Iraq War talking about the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...that is pure comic gold. I don't care what side of the aisle you're on."

Both Stone and Parker seem to have it in for the Oscar winner. Parker told Variety last year when he announced plans to make Team America, "We hate those actors who take themselves so seriously and think they are a productive and important part of society. The subtle joke here is that all actors are puppets. This will probably piss off everyone in town--and might well be our swan song."

Thanatopolis Towers

Thursday, October 14, 2004

La Mort du Derrida, cont.

Derrida and postmodernism are a mockery not only of science, and of a humanistic technology, but of authentic philosophy, whether analytical or speculative. His quasi-hegelian writings are the latest collections of useless, unconfirmable, unspecifiable obscurities. Students do not need phenomenology, whatever that is taken to be--pretty much subjective descriptions of consciousness with no proof or evidence offered.

Po-Mo is one of the greatest disasters for academia, even worse than Marx or Sartre, and I say that not as a conservative or puritan. Marx's economic concepts remain relevant, even if we object to marxist ideology or aesthetics; Sartre, regardless of his infatuation with "nothingness" and his cafe decadence, could write quite well, and certainly had something of a humanist's sensibility.

Neither rational or empirical, deductive or inductive, analytic or synthetic, Derrida's slithery little ideas are really a sort of a low grade pantheism, and he is the hierophant for the lit.crit. initiates who somehow crawl into academia and tenure without ever having mastered basic cognitive skills--quantitative and analytical-- that most of us have to work at for years. It is questionable whether Derrida even had the qualifications to teach in philosophy or literature departments (the French BAC for the most part still churning out 12th century clerics). Methinks Frere Jacques would not have fared too well on any objective measurement of intellectual ability, such as the GREs. But then neither would Showalter or Kristeva or Bloom or a typical UC feminist hack such as Judith Butler ( total venting stooge, really) or any of the other literary papists now spewing their drivel at the US public's expense (even Bake-field has a few po-mo pheminista smegmoid spewers out at CSUB)...
Reification of the Cephalopod

Those non-post-modernists (hopefully there are some remaining) who read a contemporary writer such as Thomas Pynchon in regards to specifiable technological as well as psychological/linguistic contexts are, I think, by necessity, required to denounce Derrida's entire project, if not speculative philosophy as a whole. Read Pynchon's essay "Is it OK to be a Luddite" (a nice antidote to continental lit.crit garbagio), and note TP's tentative approval, or at least slacker modification, of CP Snow's idea of the "Two Cultures"...

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

The Grand Myth of Objective Ethics

During campaign time, many of us may note that the words "ethics," "values", and "morality" are continually bandied about, by both left and right, as if we all agreed on what they meant. None of the political moralists ask the meta-ethical question: Why should we be moral? And what does morality really consist of? Obviously, it is in some people's interest to be moral (and to have others be moral); it is in some people's interest to be "immoral" (and to have others be what we might term "immoral," or act immorally). The needs of the moralists and immoralists are certainly going to clash sometimes. Imagine the requirements and goals of the following groups: teetotalers vs. bar owners and brewery owners; vegetarians vs. cattlemen; Kern residents subjected to refinery air pollution vs. petroleum executives; schoolteachers vs. pornographers, etc.


Moreover, does Corporate America (or international capitalism ) operate on moral grounds? I think not. In fact it's debatable that those of us counted among the marginalized have a duty to respect the law. It certainly is not pragmatic to hack say a personnel database and get the SS#'s and DOBs of state employees and then open credit accounts in their name, but it might be in some sense justifiable. Robbing say Larry Flynt OR Bill Gates or Harvey Weinstein does not seem, in principle, unethical.

Morality is not simply about being nice or even respectful; it's about creating an ethical society based on entitlement, on the notion that everyone--except perhaps for criminal psychopaths--has a right to participate in the economy, to the best of their abilities. Malthus and Darwin would have something to say about this as well, however--what is the status of values and morality during a famine, or plague, or warfare? Little to no status, to be sure.

Expecting humans to all suddenly become ethical (or rational) is about equivalent to expecting the barons and baronesses on the Forbes 400 list to start doling out cash, with no strings attached, to the millions of needy and impoverished.
I think it was Bertrand Russell who said that teaching people to be "moral" is nearly impossible, but teaching logic and rationality is possible; therefore, we should focus on developing intelligence rather than simply do-goodism, and with that intelligence hopefully morality will increase as well. But someone like VI Lenin certainly had some pragmatic strategies for bringing about a more economically-just society. So did, say, John Dillinger....

Deep thought for the day: humans, even ones that can program computers, spin integrals, or compose symphonies, are far more animalistic (and acquisitive, hungry, greedy, lustful, etc.) than any traditional ethics or philosophy portray them as, and any attempts at rational ethics are most likely doomed. The great liberal myth of the "rational man" is a sentimental fiction, useful to justify capitalism and greed.

"Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun." Mao

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Welcome to Oblivion

The friendly staff at recently posted a question regarding the existence or non-existence of an "afterlife." Although the uptight X-tian or hedonistic mallrat relishes an opportunity to leap into the fray and provide an analysis-lite, any rational, well-thoughtout answer to this metaphysical chestnut will require a decision on materialism vs. immaterialism. Though most philosophers and brain scientists appear to hold to non-mystical and anti-theological positions, there may be some grounds to believe that consciousness may not be entirely material. Philosopher David Chalmers (web search him) argues that since there are facts about consciousness that are not deducible from physical facts, materialism is false:

(1) There are truths about consciousness that are not deducible from physical truths.

(2) If there are truths about consciousness that are not deducible from physical truths, then materialism is false.

(3) Materialism is false.

Verifying the first premise is of course the crux, and the "hard problem" of consciousness that Chalmers discusses. I am not sure how one goes about establishing the truth of that first premise: is it a purely scientific question? Let us assume that is true. The argument does not necessarily imply God, or immortality, or heaven or hell. Though admittedly not a quantum neuro-scientist or whatever the "consciousness experts" are termed these days, I tend towards skepticism of any immaterial accounts of consciousness, yet it is not logically impossible that immaterial states of consciousness exist; and if these states do exist then some form of "spiritual incarceration," or, conversely, a spiritual reward, is a possibility, however remote.

We can quite easily conceive of a Hitler or Pol Pot in some form of hell, or perdition, or Tartarus. Some would situate George W. Bush there (though his sin is more of stupidity perhaps than evil); others might conceive of say Rosie O'Donnell in some uncomfortable hot vat. Hell may be formulated perhaps on ethical and logical grounds, as well as religious grounds. Dante was more than willing to put hypocritical Christians in hell--simply ingesting the eucharist each and every Sunday is certainly not sufficient to gain admittance into the realms of the Blessed.

Thus I object to the notion of automatic forgiveness that so many fundamentalist morons would have us believe is true. What about virtuous pagans, such as LitKickers? In Dante's Inferno, the greek philosophers were placed in Elysium, not in Hell, but more like Purgatory, where it's sort of gloomy, but the light of reason was always observable. Yet the pagans never escape from Purgatory. Purgatory is really not a bad idea--remember that Professor that gave you a B when you definitely earned an A? Perhaps after 5000 years or so, when her spiritual errors are purged, she crawls out of her hole of excrement and is allowed admittance into the bottom rings of Heaven. If a person lived a fairly ethical and rational life, then he or she may be rewarded, sort of like being admitted to the cosmic fraternity, and joins the "elect"--Alpha Beta Epsilon, or whatever.

Virtuous pagans and skeptics, say Thomas Jefferson or Einstein, thus are admitted into some spiritual land of the blesssed, regardless of their doubts of Scripture; whereas moronic violent believers (say Falwell) are not. The parallel worlds hypothesis of some quantum physicists also offers interesting afterlife scenarios; though I think a Newton, whose constants and equations, for the most part, still accurately map the mechanics of planetary motion, is ranked much higher than irrationalists and equivocators such as Derrida and the post-modernists, who may be hard-pressed to gain entrance into Purgatory. Is knowledge of integrals, set theory, special and general relativity, etc. a requirement for access to upper echleons of Paradise? That is not implausible. Is the ability to conjugate French verbs a requirement? Membership in the Rotary Club? Have in your possession at the time of death a well-behaved wifey and kids, as well as property--Welcome to the Pearly Gates Country Club: ONLY WHITE MALE PROPERTY OWNERS ALLOWED. Or perhaps there are heavens and hells for everyone, of all religious or non-religious creeds, a sort of pantheistic play of forces, where in one realm, a Derrida or a William Burroughs is near some linguistic paradise, and in another they are being looked over by jackal-faced demons characteristic of the egyptian underworld......

As an aside, I must say I find Dante's Inferno quite entertaining. I especially enjoy contemplating the lower levels, the Malebolge, where the Hypocrites and Betrayers are located, quite a bit lower than those guilty of mere sins of the flesh (whores and sodomites, etc.). Signior Dante obviously felt that those who had betrayed their country, their countrymen, and/or children were near the bottom of Hell. There seem to be quite a few corrupt Catholic clergymen and noblemen, assassins and murderers as well. The Prophet Mohammed is down there, as are numerous other heretics, as well as corrupt judges such as Caiaphas. In the icy center of the hell-lake Cocytus, Brutus, the assassin of Julius Caesar, and his cohort Cassius are being gnawed on by Lucifer, their heads out; Judas Iscariot of course is being swallowed eternally head-first by the massive Lucifer, who, in a mockery of the Trinity, has 3 mouths.

Contemporary professionals--Liberal and Conservative--should absorb a bit of this. Those academics and professionals who would consistently violate Jeffersonian principles of meritocracy (though sworn to uphold such principles), reject logic and reason, and dismiss any notions of objective ethics or justice, as well as blithely ignore the general humanistic teachings of Scripture, those are our contemporary Caiaphases, who, in some perdition, considered either from a secular or sacred standpoint, art to be damned.....

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Mojave Rocket Show: Spectator Capitalism at its Finest

At the risk of revealing some traits of libertarian geekness, I admit that I enjoyed viewing the White Knight webcast from Mojave. The Rutan Brothers' bizarre airfleet of gliders, home-built planes, and micro-rockets is impressive, and provide some of us with a Ray-Bradbury sense of wonder. Others, however, watching from the cheap seats might be a bit dismayed at the corporate overtones of the entire spectacle. The Rutan Brothers supersonic adventures are of course funded by the 3rd wealthiest man in the world, Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft with Bill Gates, El I.T. Padron Supremo. Now Virgin Airlines, owned by former punk rock producer Richard Branson, has jumped into the civilian space race as well. 7-up and the M n Ms have also made an appearance: NASCAR in orbit.

There are plans to offer commerical space travel, though tickets for the Virgin/Rutan space vacations are not cheap: about $190.000.00 a seat--not exactly coach rates. One wonders how many jobs the Rutan Brothers offer to Mojave and the surrounding communities. They must have a team of dedicated programmers, assemblers and some engineers, but it's probably not more than about 100-200 people. To be honest, it appears like some expensive fun for really rich geeks like Allen and Branson--hire some propeller heads out in the Mojave Desert to build neat toys, and maybe someday, there will be a little fleet which various IT barons and celebrities and their dates du jour may use to jet around in orbit for a few very expensive minutes. Yet does such high concept, rocket science capitalism do much for the economic and social problems of Kern County and SoCal as whole? I do not think it does. It is more of a sort of high tech hedonism, a dangerous and exciting game for the Corporate Boys to marvel at while many of us, not Einsteins or Lindbergs, are allowed to watch mutely from the sidelines, or in front of monitors, our computers, our entertainment, our dreams stamped with Microsoft Inc.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Objection Overruled

The "overrule" right of Superior Court judges offers many possibilites for injustice, if not tyranny. Since judges are under no obligation to establish or prove whether a given piece of evidence is true or false, they may simply overrule objections to evidence and thus a falsehood or mistake may become accepted as truth.

Imagine this scenario: a policeman or probation person gets up on the stand in a civil or family law matter (or presents a report) and asserts that you had a FIREARM or drugs in your possession once when arrested, for say, being intoxicated. Yet let us say you were arrested, but DID NOT have a gun nor drugs at the time and there is no additional charge for this, no sheriff's report etc. You and your attorney strongly object to this admission (a defense attorney may not even want you to object--and you have to fire him or her on the spot). Regardless of the actual truth, the judge has the power to overrule your objection and in effect introduces a falsehood into the record, which is now accepted as a "fact."

This happens quite often in fact. The facts become phucked. But since the judge has no requirement to prove anything to anyone (except to himself and others in the black gown posse), nor is he obligated to check the police report (assuming of course that the police report is correct...hah), the "facts" introduced into the court record may or may not be what actually happened. Yet the absurdity does not end there. If you lose at the trial court (maybe due to the introduced falsehoods) and then file an appeal, you cannot introduce new evidence at the appellate level showing these facts were wrong or mistaken--such introduction, though generally not granted anyways, was recently prohibited by a US Supreme Court decision. You may file a separate Writ of Habeas Corpus which may or may not be heard; in a civil case, you generally do not have this recourse.

At the appellate level, the judges generally are there to protect their fellow country club members, er, junior colleagues. Unless you are lucky enough to be granted a habeas corpus hearing, you can protest such bogus admissions all you want, and nothing will happen--that's the "law " of the land. As far as a Habeas Corpus or Petition for Review, the Lord Justices are not required to take ANY case, and if you are a day late with your filing....dem's da breaks, peasant. Years ago, when Grand Juries still had power over the judiciary, I imagine judges were far more reluctant to make any unconstitutional and/or unethical decisions, knowing that any lapse of judgment was likely to cost them their jobs. Since the county grand juries have been neutered (a few decades ago), certainly many judges have returned to the "off with their heads" style of courtroom procedure, especially in low profile cases, plea bargains, or backwater districts.

A much more scientific and logical court system is needed at all levels, with rigorous requirements for evidence and perhaps tribunals consisting of a panel of judges, psychologists, experts. etc. Shouldn't judges also possess have a great deal of psychological expertise since they are oftne making character assessments? Creating a special State Grand Jury--comprised say of academics, psychologists, reporters, citizens, etc.--to review the judiciary (superior, appeals, supreme courts)--would be a start. Take a look at the California supreme courts's record of denying review for a laugh--it's about 98% denial.

American judges are not scientists, nor are they usually ethical or logical. They are sort of petty aristocrats following the tradition--a mostly corrupt and privileged tradition--of the English barristers. At least we could make 'em wear a wig.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan: None of the Above

Whether they are fundamentalists or muslims, pagans or Catholics, “faithful” people continually argue and bicker over their respective belief systems and their rights. No one seems to argue, however, about the actual truth of these “faiths.” Are they all true? All aiming for the same spiritual goal? Obviously the Christians—-whether protestant or catholic--have the majority and the weight of tradition behind them, for better or worse. So their “faith” would appear to merit the term “religion,” whereas pagans who follow, say, Wotan, or Hecate or whatever are better termed a “cult”: the distinction seemingly a matter of how many sheep are in the fold.

It seems not to have occurred to any of these “faithful” humans (regardless if they are Baptist conservative-hypocrite types, muslim zealots aiming their prayers towards Mecca, or a small group of lesbian orgy gals chanting to the Moon Goddess) that there is no rational explanation or justification for their beliefs. Faith is not a method of proof. And no miracles have ever been confirmed (notwithstanding regular reports of, say, the Virgin of Guadalupe), nor are there any grounds for believing in occult or mystical phenomena. Jesus walking on water OR an all-seeing prophet such as Mohammed OR a moon goddess OR the zodiac are all, I assert, equally false.

We might agree that there are noble ethical truths expressed in religious texts; the Sermon on the Mount provides some decent rules for human conduct, even if we don’t subscribe to the belief system. Many reasonable humans would agree the Ten Commandments are in principle correct, I think; we might also respect Buddha’s teachings that “life is suffering.” Yet these ethical rules are not usually what is being debated. What is debated is who or what we should worship, what is the proper theological authority, what is the appropriate spiritual King that we should obey.

Instead of obeying some godly authority (which is, if we adhere to any reasonable, scientific viewpoint, at best a metaphor), however, we should obey reason, or rather base our actions and beliefs on reason and scientific thinking if possible. Your car does not operate courtesy of Jesus, the Buddha or Hecate; “Mohammed” has nothing to do with your computer. Wotan or Krishna do not make an appearance on the Periodic Table.

Obviously the Founding Fathers made sure that no particular faith would become the state religion, and no citizen is required to be a member of any church. We should recall that Founding Fathers such as Jefferson or Franklin or Washington did not subscribe to any organized form of Christianity; their ideas and thoughts being more molded by Enlightenment thought and Greek rationalism. That type of rationality is now, unfortunately, in short supply.

Prove me wrong.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Feminist Bureaucracy Rises at C-SUB

Cal State Bakersfield now features a Women and Gender Studies Department. That's rather amusing, especially considering that one of the most sexist and racist "professors" of C-SUB and of the Cal Skank bureaucracy is a member of the WGS faculty: its name rhymes with "Merry Dykowski." I am sure there are quite a few CSUB alumni who might attest to Professor Dykowski's irrational, domineering, anti-male classroom manner. The unstable, nearly hysterical Dykowski, who admits that she cannot do basic mathematics or logic (which are just part of the oppressive phallocracy, right?), has, notwithstanding her lack of basic analytical skills, forged herself quite a career as a literary parasite; one of her biggest and most profitable lies is that "all men are fascists" and that nazis were the embodiment of masculinity.

Queen Merry is known, among that union of little rhetoric-belching creeps and freaks who now make up the belle-lettrist biz, i.e., the MLA, as an "expert" in the writings of Virginia Woolf. Woolf was a mentally-ill writer who killed herself by putting stones in her jacket and jumping into a river, though she is now proclaimed as a great feminist icon. Woolf apparently hosted tea parties in some place termed Bloomsbury, and her guests included intellectuals such as Keynes and the philosophers GE Moore and Bertrand Russell. Unfortunately, the logical and scientific rigor that characterizes the writings of the economist Keynes and the philosopher Russell never penetrated Virginia's writing; instead of addressing the nature of probability or the theory of reference and meaning, Woolf instead wrote obscure, salacious novels about an aristocratic bisexual woman whom she lusted after in real life. Yet in the current academic milieu, Russell--whose Voltaire-like wit, and Apollonian reason and wisdom completely tower above the fuzzy, pop-Freudian rhetoric of Woolf--has been pretty much pushed to the side; instead it is the madwoman Woolf who represents Bloomsbury and indeed English civility and "rationalism."

Feminist scholars such as Dykowksi and the other parasites that make up the CSUB Women Studies Dept. also have no need for the logical rigor which characterized the works of men such as Keynes and Russell: researching the theory of probability or Zeno's paradoxes requires quite a bit more careful analysis and mental clarity then simply spewing out Sapphic fantasies or implying that "all men are fascists." Yet in the current academic climate of postmodernism, logic has been relegated strictly to a few corners of philosophy departments. In fact the typical feminist distrust of logic and science, and indeed even of the traditional empirical methodology of social sciences (how many fems. know what ANOVA is) leads them, more often than not, to hold beliefs and attitudes about men and about society which have no empirical support whatsoever; feminist "scholarship," if not most humanities scholarship, thus mainly consists of sweeping, vague generalizations, sometimes eloquent, but possessing no more truth than some redneck’s political and racial prejudices.

Though it's unlikely they could make it through the first paragraphs of "Of Grammatology", many feminists (such as Merry Dykowski) assume that Derrida, Lacan and crew justify their own lack of reason and evidence: "..there is no transcendental signifier, like, and reason and science are phallologocentric, just an oppressive discourse, and so we don't need any evidence for our claims." If feminists and postmodernists carried out their irrational hatred of logic and the products of logic, they would, to be consistent (though if you're in the po-mo biz consistency is not much of a concern) not drive cars, not use bridges, not use their computer (i.e. get off of the web, made up of phallocentric networking protocols and programming languages, sistah), and, indeed, never visit a doctor.

Yet the CSUB WGS Dept. will of course make use of the college website, and the faculty members--nearly all females--will commute to their state-funded offices and classrooms in their luxury cars, where they can teach classes chock-full of like-minded, hot-to-trot bisexual and lesbian women who think they are doing some deep thinking when reading Woolf's garbled, overgeneralized idiocy such as that found in "Three Guineas," or in attempting to explicate Dykowski's further mangling of reason and philosophy: all believers, if not acolytes, in the Liar's Church of Feminism.

Monday, August 09, 2004

How would Arnold Schwarzenegger score on a standardized test?

Governor Schwarzenegger has slashed public education budgets, which has led to cutbacks in teachers in public schools and in CA colleges. His administration is now planning on raising tuition across the board for CA college students. However, Governor Schwarzenegger seems to enjoy his reputation as a supporter of education. The Governor claims he has worked hard to alleviate the financial crisis CA education is facing and also boasts about his relationships with leading CA “educrats” such as Barbara Kerr and Carla Niña. He also gave his crony and former LA mayor Richard Riordan the job as Secretary of the CA Dept. of Education.

Yet I doubt that many rational educators would agree that Schwarzenegger is an ally of CA education. And though he may be a talented “thespian” and an expert bodybuilder, I suspect that Arnold would be unable to attain a decent score on the SAT. What about an easier standardized test, such as the CBEST? I will assert, hypothetically, that Arnold Schwarzenegger could not pass the CBEST. The CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test) is required for all those people who desire to obtain a teaching credential or enter the teaching profession. It is not very difficult—it tests reading comprehension, reasoning skills, essay writing, and basic algebra and math skills. Yet 30 to 40 percent of CA college students still fail the CBEST.

It would seem that if teachers must pass some sort of basic test such as the CBEST to teach (aspiring lawyers and doctors also must pass rigorous entrance exams), then politicians—who have far more of an impact on children and citizens--should also have to meet basic educational requirements. A college degree requirement for, say, congressmen and representatives is a good start. Yet even many college grads. manage to finish a degree without developing any substantial writing skills or math skills. Thus the CBEST-type of screening test would prevent those humans who managed to weasel through a BA or BS from getting into positions of power. Don’t we want policy makers that can do statistics, read and write effectively, and make informed economic decisions? Or is politics now simply a matter of popularity and mass appeal.

Arnold Schwarzenegger—and really all people in positions of administrative or political power—thus should should be required to demonstrate and indeed verify his educational skills, his administrative abilities, and, really, his logical acumen by taking and passing the CBEST or something like it.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Meaning of “Republican”

Each day across America, local newspapers feature the columns and letters of those who proclaim themselves “Republican” and upholders of “republican values.” In fact, a rough and ready definition of “republican”--at least the current American variety—can easily be derived: it is a person who is against “big government,” somewhat of a moralist, usually militaristic, opposed to taxation, and generally pro-business and a supporter of capitalism. Yet it is quite obvious to anyone who possesses a negligible amount of historical awareness that this colloquial American definition of “republican” is not in keeping with the traditional definition and use of the noun “republican.”

Etymologically, "republican" is from Latin, lit. res publica: "public interest, the state." This basic Latin meaning seems to counter the current American usage of the word— associating say a Reagan or Bush with “public interest” or even the “the state” is difficult. In political science, a republican is defined as one who is opposed to monarchical governments: i.e., the Irish Republican Army and its offshoots are opposed to the British monarchy, and earlier the Spanish republicans were opposed to the monarchy led by the dictator Franco. I doubt that many American “republicans” would care to be associated with either the Irish or Spanish variety of republican, who often might be a bit closer in ideology to what the American republican would term an anarchist, and indeed the Spanish republicans were allied with anarchist and left-wing groups. It is certain then that the European republicans bear little or no resemblance to the American variety, and in many ways are diametrically opposed.

Limiting the discussion to American history, an assertion can be made that the current type of republican bears little resemblance to his historical predecessor. Republicans like to proclaim that Abe Lincoln is the father of their party, and yet Lincoln was in many ways quite opposed in mind state and political policies to what is known as a republican today.

There are many examples of Lincoln’s liberalism: the Emancipation Proclamation being perhaps the most clear example. Lincoln wrote poetry and was in no way a fundamentalist Christian, being closer in mind and outlook to, say, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Additionally, Lincoln favored a national banking system and worked towards creating a more stable currency based not on gold or silver as many conservatives would like. Indeed some of Lincoln’s comments on economics sound surprisingly like current liberal if not leftist rhetoric, as in this following passage following the National Banking Act of 1863:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people, until the wealth of the nation is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed.”

When has a current Republican stated his fear that the wealth of the nation would be “aggregated” in the hands of a few? The current “republican” has no problem with wealth and capital being so divided and in fact argues for policies that support this disparity—such as Bush’s recent tax cut for the super rich.

Therefore, not only is the current American usage of the term “Republican” etymologically not consistent with traditional usage of the word (assuming, perhaps naively, that political semantics should be consistent), but in ideology, the current American republican bears little similarity in outlook or philosophy to at least one of his putative political idols, Abe Lincoln.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Kern Boy in the Big To-mah-toe

Kern representative of greed, violence, pollution, and racism, KEVIE McCARTHY (as in "Joe"), thinks the efficiency-minded Repugnicans could have already settled the economic issue: sure, just cut all the programs, slash education budgets, eliminate state jobs, no more unemployment offices, etc. That's the official GOP line, which, as so many liberals have pointed out ad nauseum, is pretty much in direct contradiction to the principles of the Good Book (i.e., the Bible, if anyone still reads that useless "old book" as Hank Thoreau once said) which quite a few conservative hypocrites like to think that they uphold....

The simple solution of raising taxes on the very wealthy--on income, wealth, and luxury--seems to not have crossed the minds of anyone lately, including the overly placating democrats, who more and more seem just like Republicans with a few sentimental attitudes held towards gays and unions...At least Cruz Bustamente had the cajones and modicum of intelligence to suggest that the CA budget could be repaired with a few adjustments to the income tax brackets (increases in both federal and state income taxes and capital gains on wealthiest brackets would be most prudent)..........

Note also that the DNC and Kerry are sort of skirting the tax cut issue---Kerry in fact supported Bush's tax cut, to Kerry's disgrace. The only dem to have really mentioned it was Billy Clinton in his preacher-like rant on Monday night, to his credit. Although he was too conservative in many aspects, liberals and leftists should not just dismiss Billy Clinton's record, which was (apart from the one rather large faux pas with a pretty jewess's mouth) successful in many basic, measurable ways: i.e. solving the deficit and creating jobs.....

Monday, July 19, 2004

RAISE Taxes on Wealthy
Too many democrats have fallen for the ridiculous GOP policy of cutting taxes and programs across the board (which King Ahh-nuld is doing each and every day) . We need to RAISE taxes, not on lower and middle classes; but on the wealthy, on those making more than say approx. $250,000 a year; not only income but wealth, assets, property, capital gains should be taxed at much higher rate....Kerry supporters should push Mr. Kerry to raise taxes across the board on the wealthy of USA....
Also...If Girlie Man had only taken an econ. class he might have realized some time ago that a simple raising of taxes--say by 5%-- on those in upper wealthy brackets could have saved many programs, school budgets and brought CA out of deficit...but his fellow millionaire Barons and Baronesses wouldn't care for it....

* * *

It's the good ol' summertime 'n Daisy Mae is man hung-ray!

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

What a Concept: Disclosure

Citizens are obviously concerned about abuses of power among elected officials, at the local, state, and national level. To prevent skullduggery, nepotism, graft, fraud of all types, the public should have a right to inspect and monitor any and all conversations and communications (whether telephone, e-mail or letter) made by elected officials at all levels of government.

Videotaping all local and state government proceedings (including Bakersfield City Council meetings, BC Trustees, school districts, etc.) should be mandatory and records of ALL correspondence should be readily available. An argument also could be made that private meetings and “chambers” conferences among public officials should be banned ; furthermore, the public’s rights to disclosure should extend to inspecting-monitoring public school administrations, the judicial business, and police departments.

Indeed, having a team of trained, competent reporters (I guess that would eliminate the Californian staff from the running) along with video and cameramen following the actions of Governator Conan is not a bad idea. One would hope that at Ahh-nuld’s private “insider” gatherings (replete with fellow "genius" members of the Ho-wood mafia) there are a few objective and rational humans present to record the conversations and activities of the Humvee King and his court.

Conservatives vs. Liberals

Many citizens don't realize it but many ideas valued by dems (and even repugs.) are socialistic in nature:

Public education, social security, worker's rights, unemployment insurance, health care, unions, public museums and parks, safe and clean work places and restaurants, even taxation: those are all fairly socialistic ideas...


On occasion I am willing to consider the leftist and marxist critique of the Founding Fathers: they were anglo-saxon males and mostly property and estate owners, and in many cases puritanical X-tians. So while TJ's Declaration is very eloquent, obviously in practice those ideas were not (and are not) realized.....


You might be quite politically confused if you know nothing about Jeffersonian ideals, nothing about statistics, nothing about economics, nothing about the environmental movement, nothing about the history of American politics, including the civil rights struggle....


The right wing, in addition to supporting militarism and greed, is always against the public sphere, and really against a notion of ethical government. We leftists and dems should strongly oppose the move to privatization while trying to uphold equity and equality in the public sphere (not necessarily arguing for affirmative action, but the right to work, home, school, health care, and decent cannabis )

Additionally. whatever may have happened to authentic marxism (most would say Stalinism was not real marxism but more fascist and totalitarian), many marxist ideas (especially about financial exploitation ) should not just be dismissed....


"Conservative: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the liberal, who wishes to replace them with others." Bierce


I simply must work on my time management skills!

Friday, June 18, 2004

Kern County Judge overturns man's conviction on 17 counts of child molestation

(from John Johnson, LA Times, 5/01/04)

BAKERSFIELD — John Stoll had spent nearly 20 years behind bars imagining what it would feel like to hear a judge say he had been wrongly convicted. Now that it was happening, his heart was racing so fast he feared he might not survive the experience.

"I thought, 'Oh great, I'm going to have a heart attack and die in front of all these people,' " Stoll said Friday afternoon.

Hours earlier, Kern County Judge John Kelly had overturned his conviction on 17 counts of child molestation in connection with the infamous Bakersfield "witch hunt" cases. Kelly ruled that techniques investigators used to question the alleged victims two decades ago amounted to manipulation and "resulted in unreliable testimony."

Prosecutor Lisa Green said the district attorney's office will not seek to retry Stoll, even though she believes he is guilty. "I'm disappointed," Green said outside court. "You win some, you lose some."


As soon as he is able, he said, he will leave Bakersfield. That's where, in the summer of 1984, he was accused of being the ringleader of a band of child molesters and pornographers. Stoll and his friends constituted one of eight alleged child molestation rings in town, committing a litany of sex acts against children, authorities said.

The "witch hunts," as critics called them, were the first of a wave of multiple-victim child molestation cases to sweep the nation in the mid-1980s. Unlike the McMartin Pre-School case in Manhattan Beach, in which nobody was convicted, dozens of people in Bakersfield were sent to prison. Stoll is believed to be the longest held of all the convicted molesters around the country.

Stoll had long maintained his innocence, claiming there was no evidence for any of the charges. No indecent photos were ever found, and the child victims, who included his own son, were never examined by a physician. As in many of the cases, Stoll's conviction was based almost solely on the testimony of child witnesses who defense attorneys maintained had been badgered and brainwashed by overzealous investigators.

As time went on, the convictions of others around the country were reversed on appeal. But Stoll was unable to find an attorney willing to look into his case.

Two years ago, public-interest lawyers from the California Innocence Project in San Diego and the Northern California Innocence Project in Santa Clara tracked down several purported victims who are now adults. Four of them trooped to the stand several weeks ago to describe horrifying treatment, not at the hands of Stoll but of law enforcement and prosecutors. Investigators cajoled, badgered and even threatened them to convince them to testify to sex acts they now said never happened.

Several of those witnesses apologized in court to Stoll and two of them, Eddie Sampley and Victor Monge, were in court Friday to hear the judge's ruling. Tears rolled down Monge's cheek when Kelly threw out Stoll's conviction. "I'm glad and happy," Monge said afterward.

Stoll's happiness over the judge's reversal was tempered by the damaged relationship with his son. Jed Stoll, 25, testified against his father in February, repeating his allegations of two decades ago that his father molested him.

Under questioning, however, he said he couldn't remember any details of the alleged molestation. He also admitted to lying about some details in court when he was a child.

Defense attorneys this year called an expert who said young children — Jed was the youngest victim at 6 — who have been repeatedly questioned can manufacture false memories. Stoll's lawyers also asserted that Jed was under pressure from his mother, Stoll's ex-wife, who filed the original complaint against Stoll during a nasty custody battle.

"That was the only thing this day didn't cure," Stoll said of his relationship with his son. Jed's testimony "hurt me. But I can't do anything about it."

Stoll's habeas corpus petition relied on three main arguments: that the investigators tape-recorded victims but now claimed they couldn't find the tapes; that the questioning techniques were improper; and that Stoll's conviction was a result of false testimony.

Although several of the former victims remembered a tape recorder, Judge Kelly dismissed that claim after the original investigating sheriff's deputy, Conny Ericsson, said there was no tape recorder. After finding that the interviews were improper, Kelly said the third argument was unnecessary.

After Friday's decision, Stoll's attorneys hugged and cried in the hallway outside court. "I'm beside myself," said Linda Starr, legal director of the Northern California Innocence Project at Santa Clara University. "To actually see the system work."

Ironically, as the project savors one of its greatest triumphs, it is facing the prospect of going out of business. Because of state budget problems, the project has lost $400,000 in funding this year.

"There are more John Stolls out there," said project Executive Director Kathleen Ridolfi. "Unless we raise some money, this project will die."

Stoll was allowed to meet with reporters at Kern County's Lerdo jail facility. Reporters asked how he felt about his victory. "I can't describe it," said Stoll, sitting at a table in a holding area. "It's indescribable."

Kelly's ruling does not amount to a finding of actual innocence. It means simply that the first trial was so compromised that the conviction must be overturned. Stoll said it was the most he could expect after all these years, and it had to be enough.

"I'm not a child molester," he said.

One of his attorneys recounted a conversation in which Stoll bemoaned the loss of his early middle age behind prison bars.

The mostly bald head, the lined face, the weary eyes are those of a man sliding into old age. Asked if he was angry that he had to wait all these years for vindication, Stoll shook his head.

"I've got a fresh start," he said. "Let's move on."


Assuming that Stoll is in fact innocent, the prosecutors, DAs, judges and police who are responsible for sending this innocent man to prison should themselves be imprisoned and sued.

Judicial and prosecutor immunity is the height of injustice.

here's an interesting proposal:
Death of a Bad Actor-----

The great daddy figure for the US conservative horde has now passed. Yet hopefully some of us won't participate in the cheap nostalgia and flag waving.

Reagan's optimism and conservative populism was calculated and appealed to the sentimental and irrational aspects of the masses. At first I tried to think along the "nice" liberal lines: "I objected to his politics, but he was great, inspiring, heroic, etc. etc."

However, after going through some of his speeches, looking at his ugly mug (he was not handsome--he looks simian to me), listening to the conservative flag wavers go on about their lost leader, I must say I feel little or no empathy or sense of tragedy for the demise of this former sports broadcaster. The worst part is that the conservatives want to compare him to Washington, Jefferson, or Lincoln. Hah.

He was far less intelligent a president (and man) than FDR or Woodrow Wilson, and I would venture to say even Nixon was above him in political and economic abilities. (not that I am supporting Nixon at all). His policies created the S n L crisis, he tripled the deficit, increased military spending to some unreal amount. His admin. helped support death squads in Central America. He deregulated necessary environmental protections (remember James Watt?) and helped develop corporate welfare.

As CA Governor Reagan was nearly a fascist, calling in tanks on protesters, stuffing the courts full of totalitarian judges, increasing police. His Hollywood connections are also I think quite objectionable, as was his and his wife's leaning towards astrology. He was perhaps a great father figure for American peasants, but for any rational human--and I would say even rational conservatives--his administration is not a model of an effective or clearly thought-out political philosophy.

I've been away for some time. (not that anyone cares). Nonetheless, the river of scum keeps flowing in Kernland. See the
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