The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marijuana and immigration

Marijuana is a dangerous, mind-altering drug. So dangerous that there are Federal laws that say that even possession of it is a crime. But the potheads of several States have managed to convince their State legislatures to enact laws making it legal to prescribe it for "medicinal" purposes. This, despite the fact that the medical profession has declared that there is no valid medicinal use for the drug, so "medical marijuana" is a serious oxymoron. So these States' laws are in conflict with Federal drug laws, as well as with common sense.

On the other hand, the State of Arizona has enacted a law that basically states that if you are illegally in this country under Federal law, it is also a violation of State law for you to be in Arizona. Obviously, no conflict with Federal law; it simply gives the state the power to declare illegals to be in violation of Arizona law, so they can be punished in accordance with State laws.

The Obama administration has declared that it will not enforce Federal law in the States which have flouted Federal drug laws to legalize "medical marijuana," but it intens to bring a lawsuit against Arizona, whose law is fully in accordance with Federal immigration law.

Isn't this absolutely crazy? But I guess that potheads vote, and are more likely to vote Democratic, while most Arizonans vote Republican anyway.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Obama and McChrystal

President Obama has fired General Stanley McChrystal and replaced him with Gen. David Petraeus. And no matter what you think of Pres. Obama, he had to do it.

The military operates under a "chain of command" system. And under our Constitution, the President is the commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy. So while Gen. McChrystal, had he been a civilian, would have been protected by the First Amendment, as a soldier, he was bound to defer to higher rank.

As commander-in-chief, Pres. Obama outranks any general, even the highest. And certainly, when such people as Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Joseph Lieberman (none of whom is a great friend of Pres. Obama!) condemned McChrystal's remarks, it was clear that they were beyond the limits of his free speech rights.

I cannot say how justified McChrystal was in his comments. But whatever their accuracy, they certainly constituted insubordination. I am one of the few people still alive who remembers Pres. Harry Truman's dismissal of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and as a child I was with MacArthur and against Truman. But if Truman was justified then, and after 60 years I think he probably was, so Obama is justified in getting rid of McChrystal.

Insulting Vice-President Biden was not such a great thing to do, either!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Arkansas and Nevada

Continuing the comments on Tuesday's primaries.

I usually do not comment on Democratic primaries, because I do not usually support Democrats and so I feel I should keep my nose out of their business, but I really have to remark on the result in Arkansas, where Senator Blanche Lincoln, though a Democrat, has defied the big leaders of Big Labor, and opposed the "card check" bill (which, in an irony of terminology worthy of George Orwell's "1984," they choose to call the "Employee Free Choice Act." In fact, it denies workers a free choice, opening them up to bullying by labor goons!)

But Arkansans rewarded Sen. Lincoln Tuesday with a renomination, though the Big Labor-endorsed candidate had forced her into a run-off. That is certainly good news.

In Nevada, the news was not so good. The candidate considered to have the best chance to beat Sen. Harry Reid in November, Sue Lowden, was unfortunately beaten by an extremist candidate named Sharron Angle. While Reid is so unpopular that Angle might yet beat him in November, his chances to remain in the Senate are a lot better than they would have been if Lowden had won. Here, it seems that ideological purity has unfortunately triumphed.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The California primary results

Well, I am certainly happy to see that both Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman got their nominations in yesterday's primaries. As I've said before, it is people like these who are desperately needed to fix this government. Now it's on to November for these candidates, and I'm cheering from afar. I don't have money to contribute — and neither of these candidates needs money; both have heavily supported their primary campaigns with their own money — but they have all the moral support I can offer.

Monday, June 07, 2010

I hate the telephone!

For a change, a posting about something more personal than the usual political and religious topics on this blog. But I needed to get this off my chest.

As the title says, I hate the telephone! And people always act weird when I tell them I don't have one, but, really, why should I pay tens of dollars a month for a service I hardly use? If I really need to make a phone call, I can go to a pay phone and make one for 50¢. Can you figure out how many of those 50¢ calls I could make for the cost of one month's service if I had a phone in my residence (much worse, if I had a {shudder!} cell phone? As you might imagine, I'll never own a cell phone. I used to say I'd never own one unless I had a job that required me to, but now I'm retired, so that exception isn't going to happen.)

Surprisingly, in the 1990s I actually had two phone lines in my apartment, but one was so I could access a dial-up account (and I didn't even have a phone on that line! Some few friends attempted to dial it, and it never got answered, because even if I weren't online, I would not hear a phone ring on that number!) The other line was at my wife's insistence; I so rarely used it that if it had just been up to me, I would not have had it.

Right now I'm no longer living with her, and my current landlord has a high-speed Internet connection installed, so I do not need a phone for either of these purposes.

The telephone is really the worst mode of communication that anyone has devised; it requires both participants' real-time presence. If I call someone and they're out, the best possibility is that it rings a few times and I hang up and call again sometime. Much worse is if they have an answering machine (or even a secretary) — If I'm at a place where there is a phone (say I was calling from my residence, and I still had one as in the 1990s), I could leave that number for a callback, but then I couldn't go out until the person calls back; I'd have to sit by the phone waiting for it to ring! Otherwise, as in my present situation, all I could do is say I would call again, but I'm still out the cost of a call, and with nothing to show for it!

The telephone is a 19th century invention, and I wish it would go away. People who insist on getting a phone number are my bane — even on the Internet there are sites where a phone number is obligatory, and I have to enter a bunch of digits like 000-000-0000 or 999-999-9999 (Heaven forbid I'd use someone's real number, so that's why I'd have to use one of those!) But then they sometimes check for a real area code, so I have to make it 301-999-9999, which usually goes by.

I have an e-mail address, so people can communicate with me that way. And anyone could send me a letter at my Post Office box. So it's not as if I'm unreachable.

Just this morning, I tried to contact my doctor. She had left a message on my wife's voice-mail to call her, which my wife relayed to me on the weekend, so I had to wait till today. When I called, the receptionist said she was with a patient and asked for a number to call me back, which of course I could not give her. She suggested I call back in an hour, but of course the doctor could well be with a patient again, so this could go on for days. Finally it was agreed that the receptionist would find out what it was all about and write it down, so if I called again and could not reach the doctor then, the receptionist could give me the information. But why couldn't they just use e-mail? The whole thing would have been completed by now!

Down with the telephone!

Friday, June 04, 2010

California and Kentucky

I've made some comments in this blog about Senate races in Pennsylvania and Florida, where I do not live, and now I'm adding some comments on two more states where I do not live, California and Kentucky. I hope that residents of those states who read this blog do not feel I should just mind my own business, but I think I need to make these comments.

In California, I've been very much attracted to the candidacies of two female entrepreneurs, Carly Fiorina for Senator and Meg Whitman for Governor. If either one wins the post she is seeking, she will instantly be my first choice for the Presidency in 2012.

Whitman seems to have a good chance of winning, and from 3000 miles away I am cheering her cause. In the primary, she is leading her closest opponent in recent polls by about 2 to 1. Fiorina may not even get the nomination, though she too is leading, more closely than Whitman, in recent polls, so lately I've been looking at her primary opponents, and I see one I like and one I do not.

What I've seen of Tom Campbell looks good. He's the sort of moderate Republican I think we need more of. It's too bad that Californians have to choose between Campbell and Fiorina; it would be nice to have both in Washington.

Unfortunately there is a third candidate, Chuck DeVore, exactly the sort of ideological purist I have been criticizing for weakening the party. I hope he is resoundingly rejected by California Republicans this coming week. (Latest polls show that he will be -- they show him getting around 15% of the vote.)

Kentucky already has had its primary, with Ron Paul's son, Rand Paul, getting a surprisingly strong win. While Rand Paul is not exactly an ideological clone of his father, they are not too different. And while Ron Paul is such an extreme libertarian that I'd be hard pressed to support him for the Presidency, I think his being in the House of Representatives as one of 435 is a good thing, as it gives libertarian ideas some exposure. And I think his son will serve the same purpose in the Senate. If the senate can have an openly avowed Socialist (Bernie Sanders), why not a far-out libertarian? It would be a good thing, I think, if Kentucky puts him in the Senate in the November election.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Israel under attack -- by words as well as weapons

The Israelis recently attacked a ship bringing stuff to Gaza, and were condemned for it. Oh come now... what do you expect?

Israel, the only free country in the Middle East, has enemies all over the world. At least when George W. Bush was president, the US was its friend. But not with Barack Obama. The Obama administration, through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, called the Israeli blockade of Gaza "unsustainable and unacceptable." In other words, the US government wants Israel to just lean back and let Hamas do its best to destroy Israel.

Christian countries can do whatever they want. Moslem countries can do whatever they want -- no matter what people say about Ahmedinejad, nobody really does anything to stop him. But let Israel engage in self-defense, in the face of a Hamas regime in Gaza that has its mind set on destroying Israel, and it is "unsustainable and unacceptable." My loyalty is to the US; I'm a citizen of this nation. But I cannot defend the position of the US government here, nor of such "friendly" governments as most of the ones in Europe. If they were under the same kind of attack as Israel is from Hamas, I'm sure they'd do at least as much as the Israelis did.