David M. Brown's Blog

September 20, 2016

The case for Hillary Clinton

Filed under: Politics,Television — davidmbrowndotcom @ 5:56 am

Hillary Clinton is strong. Fighting for us. No matter how tired and weary and collapsing and decrepit she may be feeling at any particular moment, her lust for power so that she can help us (and the kids) will keep her valiantly crawling feebly forward. That’s the story and I’m sticking to it.

Dem chair and hack Donna Brazile says on TV in an I-don’t-even-believe-me, rattling-it-off-of-a-3×5-card tone of voice: “Every time I hear Hillary Clinton, I’m always inspired by her.” This is about as credible as Obama telling a bunch of grade-schoolers, “You inspire me.” (They laughed in his face.) So, super-credible.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

September 16, 2016

It’s my money.

Filed under: Ethics,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 3:34 am

Behold this sentiment, quoted at Instapundit, about the Trump camp’s child-care proposal: “Anything that helps them [parents] cover those expenses without being taxed on the extra money they have to earn to pay the costs of raising a family is a good idea.”

Um, just cut my taxes. Anything that helps me cover my expenses by letting me keep more of my own extra money I need to earn to pay for the things in my life that cost more money than I had before I earned the extra money is a good idea. You don’t need to know what I’m doing with my money. You don’t need to give me more of a tax break for one kind of thing I want to do with my money than another kind of thing I could spend it on. Let me hasten to assure you that the stuff I spend my money on is very important to me. I always spend it on whatever is the highest priority to me at that moment. It doesn’t have to be at all important to you. It’s not your money, not your life.

Forget the social engineering. Don’t try to encourage me to do this or that as the price of keeping more of my own money. I don’t need your opinion on whether certain peaceful activities that require money to do them are more deserving of my expenditures on them than other activities. I don’t need you to approve of what I do with my own money. Just let me keep my money. It’s my money.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

September 14, 2016

Rush Limbaugh’s shines pale “best light” on Comey’s conduct

Filed under: Ethics,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 9:05 pm

In a recent broadcast Rush Limbaugh said, as transcribed, “And the reason for [Comey’s failure to recommend indicting HC for sloppiness about classified material, ignoring laws and rules about classified material, then lying about what she had done] — I’m totally convinced — is he doesn’t want to the guy in American history who took out the duly nominated…Democrat candidate for president. That’s why he just didn’t want to go there, and knew they weren’t gonna indict. That’s looking at it in as favorable a light as possible.”

“Favorable” light? According to Rush’s own statement, Comey allowed his concern about how he would be perceived to prevent him from doing what the facts of the case objectively called for in his own judgment. I think if we reduce the example to (greater) absurdity, the fallacy of what Rush is saying will be more obvious: “And the reason for that [failure to recommend indicting Democratic candidate Jack the Ripper for a string of murders] — I’m totally convinced — is he doesn’t want to the guy in American history who took out the duly nominated…Democrat candidate for president. That’s why he just didn’t want to go there, and knew they weren’t gonna indict. That’s looking at it in as favorable a light as possible.”

Anybody with the job of being just and objective for a living who allows other considerations short of a gun being held to his head to cause him to be unjust and non-objective has willfully violated the fundamental principles it is the purpose of his job to uphold and apply. Anyone at any stage in the judicial process who deliberate fails to do his job because he anticipates that others would fail to do their job if he does his properly is defaulting on his responsibility. He is not responsible for what others do. He is responsible for what he does.

The actual “most favorable” way of interpreting Comey’s actions is to conclude that he honestly believed he had no proper grounds for recommending indictment. But Rush doesn’t believe this and I don’t either. There are no grounds for believing this. That Comey’s default is motivated goes without saying.

 

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

September 12, 2016

A tale of two interpretations of the general-election vote

Filed under: Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:01 pm

The structure of the electoral process is such that voters first choose among potential nominees for the parties; this is the primary process.

After the primary elections, we have the general election. In the United States, two parties are dominant. They are called the Republicans and the Democrats.

In most presidential elections, including this one, the overwhelming likelihood is that the winner of the general election will be either a Republican or a Democrat. Unnominated Ideal Candidate Pulling the Lever For Whom Will Erase All Operative Political Realities is not an option on the ballot.

Preferring one candidate to the other listed on the general election ballot does not preclude any possibility of affecting political life for the better over the next four years. Nor does preferring one candidate to the other constitute the voter’s affirmation that he endorses all policies and embraces all flaws of the candidate that he prefers.

What preferring and voting for one major-party candidate rather the other does mean is that, given a choice between Candidate A and Candidate B, and regarding the difference between A and B as significant enough to justify making a choice, the voter prefers either Candidate A to Candidate B or Candidate B to Candidate A.

August 27, 2016

So, uh, the name “iPad” worked out okay after all, eh?

Filed under: Language and grammar — davidmbrowndotcom @ 1:02 am

Remember how horrible, insupportable, inadvertently funny-ludicrous the name “iPad” was claimed to be when the tablet became available in 2010, inasmuch as it had the syllable “pad” in it? (Well, then, you’re very young.) It was supposed to automatically evoke images of Maxi Pads, etc. There was a thankfully brief “Mad TV” skit. (Nobody had been waxing merry over the embarrassing associations of “pad of paper,” though. And English-speaking humanity had always somehow endured double-entendre-susceptible names for cats, roosters, detectives, and lousy workmanship.)

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

August 25, 2016

Are you a fan of the super-corruption?

Filed under: Ethics,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 6:42 am

If you’re a fan of shameless super-corruption, socialist looting, and socialist handouts, you’re more inclined to vote for Hillary Clinton than to vote for Trump, for Whoever the LP Guy Is, or for None of the Above. One key question is how many of the voters, what percentage, are pro-super-corruption, and what import if any their answer will have for their electoral decisions. Let’s have a poll that asks about the super-corruption:

Are you a fan of the super-corruption?

If you knew for sure that a candidate was shamelessly super-corrupt, would you vote for that female Democrat?

Do you believe that Hillary Clinton is shamelessly super-corrupt?

Are you voting for Hillary Clinton?

Finally: When I asked whether you were a fan of the super-corruption, you said no; when I asked whether you would vote for somebody who is shamelessly super-corrupt, you said no; when I asked whether you believe that Hillary Clinton is shameless super-corrupt, you said yes; when I asked whether you would vote for Hillary Clinton, you said yes; do you wish to amend any of your answers?

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

August 24, 2016

Let’s not be “capturing” liberty

Filed under: Language and grammar,Politics — davidmbrowndotcom @ 11:57 am

In a recent post for the Liberty magazine web site about why some people are disinclined to discuss the current presidential election in mixed or any company, Wayland Hunter writes: “I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad that people [regard the presidency with cynicism]. The imperial presidency lost almost all of its glamour with the abject failure of Obama (whom, by the way, hardly anybody ever mentions either). That’s certainly good, and maybe it’s permanent. I’m not sure, however, that complete political cynicism is a good long-run strategy for the pursuit and capture of individual freedom.”

I’m not sure that isolating an objective-case usage of “whom” the way Hunter does here is a good long-run grammatical strategy, since it grates on the ear even after the wording that reveals its correctness finally arrives. I’m even more unsure that we should speak of pursuing and “capturing” individual freedom as a positive good. Freedom should never be hunted, wrestled to the ground, captured, tortured, and/or shot until dead. I’m all in favor of achieving and preserving it, however.

August 23, 2016

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say any of the following things to me. I will be offended.

Filed under: Economics,Ethics,Philosophy,Politics,Society and culture — davidmbrowndotcom @ 6:22 pm

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “Here are some words you may never use.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “Let’s soak the rich because they’re rich.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “A person accused of sexual assault is guilty regardless of the facts.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “A police officer who shoots somebody is automatically guilty of wrongdoing, regardless of the facts.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “I don’t have time to read the free Kindle sample of your new book The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “The earth, which I like to call Gaia, or Gaea, is in great danger from industrial civilization; therefore, we must outlaw plastic bags, incandescent light bulbs, and toilets that flush too vigorously.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “The meaningless, nihilistic smears and juxtapositions of modern pseudo-art are an eloquent and transcendent expression of something-or-other.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “As a journalist, facts are not important to me. What’s important to me is skewing or omitting the facts in service of my egalitarian or socialist ideological agenda, and always licking the boots of the politically powerful.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “Islam-motivated terrorism isn’t at all motivated by Islam and maybe it isn’t even terrorism.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “You will enjoy this movie as long as you turn off your brain before you start watching and desist with your importunate demands for originality, intelligence and honesty. It’s just a movie.” I will be offended.

#TriggerWarning: Don’t ever say “I don’t care how much wealth and survival is made possible by capitalism and ambitous profit-seeking; capitalism is evil. Why? Because production, division of labor, trade, freedom, human life and rationally fulfilling the requirements of human survival are evil, I guess.” I will be offended.

August 20, 2016

Thugs can be either friends or enemies of each other

Filed under: Ethics,History,Politics,War — davidmbrowndotcom @ 3:52 pm

In March of 1940 George Orwell wrote: “The plan laid down in Mein Kampf was to smash Russia first, with the implied intention of smashing England afterwards. Now, as it has turned out, England has got to be dealt with first, because Russia was the more easily bribed of the two. But Russia’s turn will come when England is out of the picture–that, no doubt, is how Hitler sees it. Whether it will turn out that way is of course a different question.” The accommodation with Russia had taken the form of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939.

A couple of thoughts that occur to me are, first, that although historical accounts of Germany’s pact with Russia tend to stress how flabbergasted the world was that these two “ideological enemies” (different hues of totalitarian) should agree to be cooperative comrades in divvying up Poland, Hitler’s short-term agreement with Russia does not at all contradict his long-term goal of smashing Russia, so that somebody at all perceptive, like Orwell, would not be surprised by such a pragmatic mere deferment; and, two, it was obvious to Orwell that the short-term agreement was short-term. And, indeed, Operation Barbarossa began in June of 1941, a little more than a year after Orwell published his column.

A third thought that occurs to me is that Orwell sees in Mein Kampf an “implied intention” to go after England sooner or later, whereas others see in it a desire only to come to terms with Britain, perhaps even as an ally. In Jeff Walker’s interview of the late, great Roy Childs, published in Liberty magazine in 1993, Roy says: “That Hitler had no intentions against Britain, I think can be argued very well. I mean Britain declared war on him and not vice versa. Hitler wanted to go East. Walker: Yeah, he thought that Britain could be his ally. Childs: Yeah. He didn’t want to knock off the French either. Why did he let the British escape at Dunkirk? He wanted to appease them, to a certain extent. He wanted to take central and eastern Europe.”

When I read this, I thought that RAC’s remarks neglected a lot of pertinent facts about Hitler; including, for example, the fact that Der Fuhrer could not exactly be relied upon to keep any very firm promise about what he would or would not do with respect to invading other countries, despite endless wishful thinking by Chamberlain and others. Shire’s heavily documented tome on the Nazi regime is full of behind-closed-doors contradictions of Hitler’s blatant, reassuring public lies about his intentions. Historians debate about why the Germans dithered at Dunkirk, but this is in any case a subsidiary question. What contemporaries could see is that Hitler’s many public assurances and instances of disingenous grandstanding were followed by actions that flagrantly contradicted his playacted promises.

Roy even goes so far as to say that it was a “bunch of lies” for anyone at the time to suppose that Britain might well have eventually been attacked by Germany if it had not gone to war over Hitler’s invasion of Poland. It’s not a certainty that Germany would have attacked Britain in that alternate timeline, of course. Perhaps Hitler would not have attacked the West immediately if he had gotten his way in the East. But was it a certainty that Hitler would never have turned his attention westward had he secured the East? And is it really a “lie” to have been concerned about the prospect? Was Hitler’s track record to date so auspicious? Roy is right about the terribleness of the West’s becoming allied with Stalin and handing Poland to the Soviet Union. But that is not the same question.

Of course, I could not raise these questions with Roy either when I first read the interview in 1993 or reread it later. He had died in the spring of 1992.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

Aging is not a “disease”; nor is finitude

Filed under: Ethics,Philosophy,Science,Self-help,Society and culture — davidmbrowndotcom @ 6:56 am

The blogger Instapundit, commenting on efforts to slow the inexorable advance of our decrepitude, says “Good to see aging being treated as the disease that it is.”

No, I veto this wording. A normal, universal and inevitable biological process is not a “disease,” even if it makes us more susceptible to disease as we careen toward the finish line. Is the intention here to be loose and metaphorical, deliberately inexact, in a sort of jovial and ironic way? Well then, fine. But it doesn’t sound like that’s the intention when the claim is being made repeatedly and emphatically. If biological limitations and finitude as such are a “disease,” living as such is a “disease,” and the concept of “disease” loses its meaning. Then we would have to find another word for colds, pneumonia, myocardial infarctions, et cetera. What’s next, prescribing penicillin for the Law of Identity? I’m all in favor of our slowing or stopping aging, and I’d also like us to slow or stop misuse of language.

A commenter at the Instapundit site, responding to the same Instapundit report on efforts to combat aging, wants to know: “So what gives the current generation the justification to live forever? Why shouldn’t they die like every other generation? I see no redeeming qualities about me to justify such a thing. In fact, I’d recommend resurrecting the Greatest Generation before letting the current morally and physically deficient generation continue for another breath.”

This is one of those strenuously nonsensical assertions that must exhaust and outlast any attempt to fully answer it. One may as well ask the commenter what “justification” he himself has to exert the effort required to live the next hour, month, year, decade, or whatever the full span is until he is no longer able to survive.

Justifications occur within the context of pursuing the ultimate goal of your own life. Taking medicine is justified to help keep you alive; you don’t stay alive to “justify” your taking medicine as an end in itself. If someone who might have died at age 59 instead lives until 89 because he improves his habits of exercise and diet, would this guy say unto him, “So what gives you [and other members of ‘the current generation’] the right to live longer? Why shouldn’t you have died at age 59 like every other person who dies at that age? I see no redeeming qualities about you [or ‘the current generation’] to justify such a thing”?

Organisms expend effort and energy to sustain their existence; that’s what it means to be alive. Whether a particular individual is “morally corrupt” or lacks “redeeming qualities” and is thus deserving of censure is a separate question. And no, there isn’t any mass indictment of all members of a generation as a group that can properly be made without consideration of what differentiates specific individuals in that group and their choices and actions as individuals.

Another commenter says: “This anti-aging obsession is very selfish….why do baby boomers and others think they are so special that they should live longer and grub more resources? Pathetic.”

This means that staying healthy and alive is a bad thing, because being alive is per se a bad thing. This also means that eating, exercise, shelter, medicine are all necessarily bad things too isofar as they foster the continued well-being and survival of a living individual.

Of course, doing the things you need to do to stay healthy and alive is indeed selfish, if selfishness simply means being concerned with and taking appropriate actions to foster and preserve one’s self. But I suspect that the commenter intends “selfish” to include also what he anyone would regard as bad and objectionable conduct rather than only acting rationally and peacefully to enhance one’s life–so that benign life-serving actions are guilty by association with the malignant actions. Note that he offers no argument or reasoning to explain why taking further steps to improve one’s ability to survive is bad. He offers only disapproval and guilt by association with some undefined evil, maybe bank robbery and murder.

Similarly, the production and consumption required to sustain human life are pejoratively transformed into “grubbing” if an individual should begin to do more than the commenter is willing to countenance in the way of living a healthier life. The connotation substitutes for argument. Folks have been “grubbing” to sustain their lives long before life extension or anti-aging research came along. No doubt each new advance of civilization making possible longer average lifespans was greeted with equal howls of protest by equivalent commenters in their day.

Read The Flying Saucers Are Very Very Real

Read Omelet: A Tragedy of Bill Shake-a-speare

Read The Case of the Cockamamie Killer

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