Monday, October 30, 2017

Corker is quackers & so is Flake.

Bob Corker changed his status as a senator to lame duck last week amid a furious flapping of wings and loud quacking about Trump's incompetence, childishness, etc. He was soon followed by another Republican poser announcing his decision not to run again, Jeff Flake of Arizona.

At first blush it is a head-scratcher how predominately conservative states like Tennessee and Arizona and South Carolina elect such mushy senators like Corker and Lamar Alexander, John McCain and Flake, and Lindsey Graham. But of course, these are guys who rival Baal for deception politically, wearing a staunch conservative coat while running for office, then shedding it once in office.

Corker and Flake have figured out the jig is up on that.

Corker, however, did what Carly Fiorina and some of the other candidates in the 2016 Republican primaries figured out was the way to get himself maximum publicity on his way out - he picked a fight with Trump. It later came out that Corker is considering a run against Trump in 2020. That explains that.

I look on the Republican Party with near equal disdain as the Democratic Party. They are both corrupt. They are machines for keeping the status quo in power. I look at Trump as a six-foot middle finger to the Establishment and thus support him despite his occasional gaffes or miscues, which may well be calculated for all I can tell. The problem is, the Republican Party has been for a long time the only place where at least some candidates pretend to be conservative, so I've had to vote Republican as the lesser of two evils.

With quackers like Corker and Flake dropping out, maybe that's about to change?

Books by John Arra:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

N.F.L. = Not For Long

At a glance, it is cloaked as, and it looks like, a protest over some vague notion of racial discrimination, but all this kneeling in the N.F.L. by both players and owners is just a prelude to a players strike.

Why else would a supposed tough guy like Jerry Jones be making a fool of himself by having a P.D.A. with his players, a Kumbaya group-hug? It's not to spite Donald Trump, although that is a money sport in itself among the entertainment industry. It is because N.F.L. owners all share one thing in common: not love of winning, not love of America, but love of money. The last thing they want is a players strike and they see in the kneeling thing just the vehicle for pitting players against owners, both groups of whom are completely drunk on too much money.

I have never paid close attention to professional football but living in Nashville I have not been able to avoid it. Nashville sold its soul to have an N.F.L. team. We got one, and we got the owner, too, Bud Adams. I can't imagine a crasser, uglier human being. No amount of having his coaches and players insert themselves into local charities could mask that. His family still owns the team and I guess the apples don't fall far from the tree. Instead of standing up for country, the team hid in the locker room during the anthem Sunday.

By turning their backs on their country and on common sense, the owners may keep their golden goose on life support by avoiding a strike, but the fans will find other diversions. The kneeling thing is repulsive. The easiest solution is to turn the channel.

Actually, maybe the death of the N.F.L. would be the best thing ever for the sport of football. It is a bunch of grown men playing a kid's sport. It's gotten ugly.

On the contrary, there's no better way to spend a Saturday morning than watching little kids play football in oversized helmets or than spending a cool Friday night with a couple of hot dogs, a marching band, and two high school football teams playing their hearts out. I think football will live on better at these levels where the players are playing for love of the sport, not love of the money, and no Bud Adams or the like can monetize that.

Books by John Arra:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Finally it's time to start a third party!

Donald Trump may or may not accomplish anything legislatively in his term as President, but I will always cheer him for this: He has been a walking, talking, man-sized middle finger to the Washington Establishment.

The fact that he is now having to flirt with Democrats is not his fault. The Republican Party has failed him miserably. It is no surprise, with backstabbing weasels like Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan running Congress and doddering old fools like Lamar Alexander and John McCain leading the muddle in the middle.

As for more dynamic figures like the junior senator from Tennessee, Bob Corker? Unfortunately Corker "has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful. He has not demonstrated that he understands what made this nation great and what it is today." Like the other dim lights of Congress, Corker talks big but comes up short every time he sallies forth into a substantive issue. One need look no further than the Iran debacle for proof of his incompetence.

What is apparent - most tellingly in the Republicans' refusal to fulfill their campaign promises on Obamacare and immigration among other issues - is that both sides, Democrat and Republican, are bought and paid for basically by the same anti-populist, anti-liberty, anti-local-rule forces. Who are they? Koch? Rockefeller? Soros? The Deep State? I don't know exactly and I am not sure any of us will know in this lifetime. All we can see clearly are their effects, not the forces themselves, like not being able to see the wind but knowing that there is wind, because it blows things over. They are globalists, fascists, Satanists, race-baiters, corporatists, the mainstream media, communists, socialists... Who knows their full and exact nature? They are, in short, the Establishment.

I submit that the Establishment rose to ascendancy after World War II. The Establishment was led then by the Dulles brothers' devious foreign policy. In charge of the State Department and the CIA, their credo was not that diplomacy is war by other means, but that "war by other means" meant simply assassinating foreign leaders who didn't toe their line. They were identified by President Eisenhower as the military industrial complex. He enabled them yet was surprised by how the cancer had grown under his presidency. They probably had a hand in killing Eisenhower's heir John F. Kennedy and brother Robert, perhaps even Martin Luther King, and in the botched assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. Their DNA is found in the Bush family and their bastard child is Bill Clinton. But I am getting far afield. The fact is that we can see their effects in interminable wars, open borders, the cult of death known as abortion, the upending of Judeo-Christian cultural norms, the rise in power of the centralized stated and the diminution of individual liberty and privacy, among other traditional American values.

What we know now is that a coalition came together in a huge voting bloc and elected Trump, not as a Republican, but as the middle finger against the Clintons and the Obamas and all of their ilk, the vanguard of all the aforesaid forces working against the traditional values and ideals of America.

But President Trump made a deal with the devil. He knew he could win and Reince Priebus, as titular head of the Republican Party, agreed on behalf of the Establishment to get out of his way as long as the party could raise money in his name. They're still doing it. I get solicitation letters almost weekly under Trump's signature with the donations going to the Republican Party. They figured they could let him win, keep the money coming in, and co-opt his presidency. Not a bad strategy for the Establishment. But potentially a very bad outcome for the American people.

If it is true that Trump is about to do DACA without a wall first and about to reverse direction on the Paris Climate Accord, there will be no denying it. As hard as he swam against it, he drowned in the swamp. The Establishment won.

Except for... the possibility of a third party. A real third party, not just a maverick candidate like Ross Perot or Patrick Buchanan, but a grassroots party of local candidates coalescing into a voting coalition reminiscent of the old Moral Majority but based on morality and ideology, not religious affiliation. There are candidates out there now, some not backed by Trump though certainly encouraged by his success, readying their campaigns for the next Congressional election. They are mostly running as Republicans but they would join a third party in a heartbeat if it projected their ideological identity better.

I am not talking about the Tea Party. It is a force indeed, key to Trump's victory, but it is reactionary and disorganized and has been largely marginalized as old and male and white. A new party must be young and dynamic and have charismatic leaders along with the grassroots, leaders as glib and quick as Stephen Miller and as tough as Steve Bannon.

And here's the clincher: A new party must be as dogmatic and disciplined as Bolsheviks. It must develop a platform of no-compromise planks and hold the candidates it funds totally accountable for adhering to it, disavowing those who go astray immediately and withholding funds. The planks of the platform would naturally involve the key elements that got Trump elected: health care reform, national sovereignty, Constitutional rights, law and order, federalism, free enterprise, jobs, defense, lowering taxes, cutting spending, deregulation, and local rule.

And it must be smarter than we've seen so far. It must be proactive in confronting the inevitable charges of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc. which the Establishment exploits shamelessly to neutralize dissenters from their orthodoxy.

The Founding Fathers were pretty darn smart but they didn't anticipate the two party system we have today. Two parties are fine when they're really competing in a sort of legislative dialectic, but they spell doom for the American republic when they're both colluding against social mobility, entrepreneurship, and exceptionalism and instead doing the bidding of... the Establishment. A strong, principled third party would force one or both of the other parties to work more in the national interest in order to win elections.

I love to name things. Dogs. Businesses. Kids. Web sites. But I'll be danged if I've been able to come up with a name for this third party. The Sovereignty Party is the best I have come up with, but that does not cut the mustard.

Beats me. But let's get the ball rolling now before Trump completely succumbs and his standing as thee great middle finger against the Establishment is just a memory.

Books by John Arra:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Big Lie Machine revs up the Hate-Hating Machine.

Usually on weekends I'm way out Charlotte Pike where we can't even get TV signals, but last Sunday I was in town. I happened to catch a few minutes of the "Today Show" that morning. This clip shows Chuck Todd, host of the venerable news show "Meet the Press," talking not about race relations, not about preserving history, not about the senseless murder of the girl in Charlottesville, but instead taking Donald Trump's statement blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville and spinning it into the absurd accusation that Trump supports Neo-Nazis. Watch for yourself.

Once again,  the Big Lie Machine was warming up for another assault on the truth. It worked at full throttle all last week, reminiscent of former Obama Chief of Staff (and now Chicago Mayor) Rahm Emanuel's eerie statement "never let a serious crisis go to waste."

So in this case, the Big Lie Machine has been exploiting the crisis of a First Amendment tragedy in Charlottesville, a general ignorance of history, and slanted journalism to distort the truth and mislead a public that tends to get its information in bits and pieces on handheld phones, all to the purpose, it seems to me, of undermining the one man with enough power to speak "truth to power" and throw a monkey wrench in to the workings of the machine. To help its momentum, the Big Lie Machine has turned the ignition of its sister machine, the Hate-Hating Machine, completely conflating and confusing disparate issues to get the public totally confused.

So in the interest of deconstructing some of this confusion, let's examine some facts.

Robert E. Lee

The tragic events in Charlottesville started with some genuine, average-citizen opposition to the removal of a monument to Robert E. Lee and the renaming of a park in which it resided. Robert E. Lee fought heroically and brilliantly in the Mexican-American War. When the American Civil War broke out, he was generally recognized as the best military mind of the day. Lincoln wanted him to lead the Union forces, but in those days still less than a century after the founding of the U.S., individuals thought of themselves first and foremost as citizens of their home states, secondarily as a citizen of the U.S. Virginia went with the Confederacy. Lee felt he had no choice but to serve his fellow citizens of Virginia.

He showed his genius as the South's military leader in four years of war against a much larger and better supplied Union army, but in the end he had to surrender his army at Appomattox. That led to the capitulation of the South and the end of slavery in the United States.

Lee's wife was a step-great-granddaughter of George Washington. Their home was turned into Arlington National Cemetery. He became president of Washington College after the war, later renamed Washington and Lee. He died of heart trouble, indeed suffering his first heart attack during the war. Like millions of Americans in the North and South, black and white, Lee lived through the catharsis of war to remove the Original Sin of slavery that had been sitting like a ticking time bomb in the Constitution.

Robert E. Lee died a loyal American. He did his part to bring the country forward. Though he may have been on the wrong side of history in 1860, by 1865 history worked that out. For many, Lee's greatness lies not just in his military genius but in his dignity and honor. Lee could have used his leadership abilities to spite his former foes, but he did not live out his final years in the bitterness and resentment of a loser. Rather, he did what he could to become a productive member of the new social order in America. There are many who think a man like that stands head and shoulders above the fray and honor him to this day. Those are the people who oppose the erasure of his statuary and name.

The Neo-Nazis, Antifa, and the First Amendment

It is important to understand about the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that it ensures freedom first and foremost and exclusively to political speech. It was added in the first of the amendments because of how important the founders of the country felt it was to protect the right of citizens to express their political views from the potential tyranny of a centralized government. It is not there to protect just happy talk. It is not there to protect obscenity. It is there to protect any expression of views that might go against the grain of the majority. It is tested most meaningfully precisely by views that the majority or the powers-that-be find offensive.

I can think of no more offensive political view than the white supremacist stance of Neo-Nazis. They are called Neo-Nazis because they are not the original Nazis - the National Socialist party that co-opted democracy in 1930s Germany and led to the fascist regime of Adolf Hitler. "Neo" means new, and thus the Neo-Nazis are essentially disaffected members of society who want a rebirth of the anti-semitic, white supremacist society that Hitler engendered. No thinking American with any kind of historical perspective supports their views. But as long as they are expressed peacefully, not violently, they are protected by the First Amendment just as are pro-abortion and anti-abortion views, pro- and anti-gay marriage views, communist, socialist, redneck, and elitist views.

I have personally never come across anyone who espouses such views, but I know that there are a few Neo-Nazi types out there. My first memory of them involved Skokie, Illinois, in 1978 when they proposed a march similar to the one in Charlottesville. The ACLU, which in essence exists to defend First Amendment rights but which most would consider leftist in most of their work, actually fought for their right to demonstrate peacefully in Skokie. Apparently the ACLU was involved in Charlottesville as well, preventing the city from moving the site of the demonstration to an area it felt was easier to secure. The city has since used this as an excuse for things getting out of control when in fact it seems they used very passive police enforcement until it was too late.

Unfortunately the Neo-Nazis chose to demonstrate at the same time the controversy over removing Robert E. Lee's statuary was coming to a head. This caused the conflation of two issues: the historical respect for Lee, and racism, both of which are political issues, but each of which is technically separate from the other. I am sure that the citizens who supported Lee's statue thought as soon as they heard the Neo-Nazis were coming, oh boy, this is a headache we don't need. However, the Neo-Nazis applied lawfully for a permit, got it, and there was no lawful way to stop them from demonstrating.

This opened the door for an outlaw group called Antifa to take matters into their own hands. Literally. The video at left shows what happened. You can see that the Neo-Nazis, ugly as they were, were marching down the street exercising their Constitutional right to assemble peaceably when they were assaulted by masked individuals wielding clubs and throwing punches.

Who is Antifa? That's as good a question as how the name should be pronounced. Considering that the name was virtually unknown before Charlottesville, they seem to have come out of nowhere. But indications are that they are descended from the same bunch that appeared at the beginning of the Obama administration calling themselves Occupy Wall Street.

The name is short for "anti-fascists." But that is a form of Newspeak made famous in George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984. Newspeak is the deliberate naming of something opposite to its true meaning to confuse the issue. Current-day examples are the Affordable Care Act which is anything but affordable, the Earned Income Tax Credit which is a welfare program that gives tax money to individuals who did not earn it, and the Hope scholarship program in Tennessee which takes money from poor people via a lottery and supposedly gives it back in the form of tuition grants, but in fact causes the schools to raise their tuition, thus negating any benefit to struggling students - i.e. giving false hope. Antifa, as can clearly be seen in the video, is using the very same tactics as the Brownshirt thugs of Hitler's and Mussolini's days who created anarchy out of which their fascist regimes could take tyrannical power in shaky democracies.

These attacks by Antifa quickly led to further violence culminating in one of the Neo-Nazi idiots, one even crazier than the rest, driving his car into a crowd, killing one and injuring several others. Although the Neo-Nazis are indeed a bunch of idiots, it is that one truly defective individual who committed the murder, not them. But by my reckoning, blood is on the hands of everyone involved who allowed the violence to start, including especially the government of the city of Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer, as seen in the video at left, dismissed critique of his government's response and attacked Donald Trump as the responsible party. Then he says it's not about Donald Trump. I believe that is called talking out of both sides of one's mouth. But he wasted no time introducing the theme that Chuck Todd exploited in the first video of this post. Through some sin of omission if not commission, Donald Trump embraced Neo-Nazis and it's his fault.

So what did Donald Trump say? Here at left is video of  the full press conference for which Trump has been relentlessly attacked not only for his original statement on the tragedy, but for even more forcefully denouncing the Neo-Nazis - and it's reported as the opposite! All because he speaks the truth: that nobody involved had clean hands. Watch for yourself. Incidentally, note that the content of this press conference shows not only the viciousness and attempts at misrepresentation of the press toward Trump on this issue, but also shows how well their strategy derails his attempts to govern, in this case as he was introducing policies to work on the nation's infrastructure.

The Hate-Hating Machine

Now, I'm just a guy who uses his blog to blow off steam. I'm no journalist (though I was Features Editor of my high school newspaper!). When I see something big going on that I think is bogus and I feel it's not being contradicted elsewhere effectively enough or I have something original to say, writing about it here gets it off my chest and thus helps me sleep at night. But I do think that in the series of preceding paragraphs I have laid out the truth of what happened in Charlottesville, and what has gone on since, better than almost anything I've heard from the mainstream media.

But I'm not finished. I keep thinking as new twists by his opposition's feral vitriol toward Trump come up, oh boy, this is what's finally going to take him down. But nothing ever does. I have never seen a fighter like Donald J. Trump. He makes mistakes, sure, but he stands his ground, he's rarely proved wrong on the facts, and he keeps his cool in the midst of the maelstrom. I don't know if the jackals are going to take him down or not, but he clearly doesn't need my help. If he goes, I will rue the day, but so be it. There are bigger issues at play.

Obviously, it is illogical to hate hate. And in a nation of laws, which we are supposed to be, it is the law that counts, not emotions. On a personal level harboring hatred toward anybody hurts yourself more than it hurts them. And it is a completely subjective matter. How can you ever really know what is someone else's heart? You cannot. That is why we as a society have laws, objective measures by which to judge each other as citizens of a larger community. And that is why the whole notion of "hate crimes" makes no sense. Any time you hurt another person either by physically hurting them or violating their property, you are acting hatefully towards them. Whether you do it because of the color of their skin or envy or spite or whatever reason does not matter; the damage to them is the same. You cannot be punished logically for the emotion of hate, only for the actual damage to the other person.

What the folks who oppose Trump and support Antifa are doing is exploiting hatred to justify criminality. He is no criminal, so they are painting Trump as a hater when indeed they are the ones doing the most hateful things - whether it's the outlaw violence of Antifa or the dishonest reporting of the situation. And to the disinterested citizen, the casual hearer of the news, the students who graduate from today's schools with no critical thinking skills, what they hear is that Trump is a hater, having a vague connection somehow to white supremacists, and therefore he's got to go. Along the way weak sisters like Bob Corker and bitter losers like John McCain and Jeb Bush and ever-hopeful candidates like Mitt Romney are induced to pile on. The Hate-Hating Machine slanders, libels, and stokes violence, supposedly in the name of hating hate. The target of their hatred is Donald J. Trump. But the victim of their hatred is the truth.

Friday, August 18, 2017

If you want to understand what is going on in this country...

...the thing you need to know is, that it was actually Ellis Wyatt who won the presidential election in 2016, aka Donald J. Trump. The question is, will President Ellis Wyatt persevere standing up to the looters and moochers who have take over the levers of power in this country, or disappear like the other producers of the world? We don't know. It's like asking, who is John Galt?

If you don't know what I'm talking about, you definitely need to watch the movie (click on upper graphic for listing) or better yet, read the book (click on graphic at left).

The fictional story makes for a great novel and movie. What is actually going on in this country now makes for an unending stream of Maalox Moments.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Beacon Center calls out corporatism.

Having owned and operated a small business for about thirty years, I totally understand why business starts have lately been at an all time low. It was far easier to start and succeed in a business when I got going than it is today.

Rules and regulations are smothering. Good, eager employees are hard to come by. Rents are through the roof. You're more likely to raise money from a bunch of strangers online than to get a bank loan. And the world of commerce now is all about the big guy, not the "little man." (Hear pertinent Alan Jackson song by clicking HERE.)

I started getting a taste of this several years ago. We got on the internet early and into e-commerce soon after. We discovered Google Ads and before long we had $1,000 a month devoted to it. I've got to give it to Google that it is a very clever way to sell advertising. It works as an auction, too complicated to explain here. So you are not paying a set rate for the advertising. And it is completely un-auditable. You are charged per click at the floating auction rate, and who the heck knows who's clicking. A year or so in I discovered through a roundabout way that about half the clicks I was paying for were from somewhere in Asia. I immediately pulled the plug on Google Ads. It's no wonder that company so quickly became worth billions. I think there was a class action lawsuit over this, but I don't have time for filling out all that stuff.

I was becoming discontented with Google Ads anyway, as the keywords we used to load advertisements were not pulling like they should. We are a niche business and we sell things that hardly anyone else has, but I noticed that big box retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart and even Lowe's were beating me out for advertising space on my unique keywords. I can't prove this but I suspected they were "blanket bombing" the search engine, paying for space on every single commodity keyword whether they sold the item or not, forcing up the ad price for small fry like me and positioning us out of the running. And I certainly cannot prove this, but I suspect they were doing it at a discounted price because of their volume despite the auction system.

Over the years I've noticed other ways we little guys subsidize the big guys, as especially in shipping. The Wall Street Journal had a story just last week about how the USPS is essentially subsidizing Amazon shipping. That's no news to me. I've watched my shipping costs go up exponentially in the past few years as Amazon and other big online retailers offer free shipping even on tiny orders. UPS and FedEx lust after their volume, bend over backwards for them, and take them as loss leaders so they can keep or grow market share, meanwhile letting the little schmucks make up the lost profits.

Which leads me to this latest Beacon Center mini-documentary. It's one thing when you are working against bigger competition. You can always try to out-service, out-smart, out-maneuver them. But when it's the government you're up against, the best you can hope for is a Pyrrhic victory. And operating like that does not meet payroll for long.

The video is just about twenty minutes and makes the point beautifully. Click on the graphic to view. Thank you, Beacon Center:

Monday, June 26, 2017

5 other things Trump-haters hate.*

  1. The weather. They call it euphemistically "climate change" as if they can do something about it. President Trump, of course, recognizes the climate change industry for the fraud that it is and consequently cancelled our participation in the Paris Climate Accord.
  2. Black babies. Of the nearly 60 million abortions in the U.S. since 1973 (Roe v. Wade), almost 18 million of the souls snuffed out were black. That's about 30%.  Yet only about 13% of the U.S. population is black. Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was a proponent of eugenics, the philosophy of culling inferior races from the population to improve the human race. Her belief was that blacks were inferior to whites. Hitler's regime built upon her ideas in its "final solution" of culling Jews from the human race. Planned Parenthood has done her proud as well. President Trump, of course, values human life no matter the race and has taken action to stop all federal funding for abortion on demand.
  3. Soldiers. Bill Clinton while a Rhodes Scholar famously wrote a letter in which he came down on the side of those who "loathe the military." Barack Obama famously fumbled the pronunciation of "corpsman" as "corpse-man" at a national prayer event. God forbid a Trump-hater's child might volunteer for military service; that would be stupid, as John Kerry famously suggested. President Trump famously has no such antipathy for the military. He has deferred to military commanders to make military decisions. We have not fallen headlong into war since Trump has assumed office as the Trump-haters predicted, yet Bill Clinton's weakness set us up for 9-11 and Obama's ineptitude with the "Arab Spring" has made it more like Arab Hell.
  4. Habeas Corpus. The longer the "Russian collusion" theme is pushed by the Trump-haters in the media and the Democrat party the more apparent it is that there is nothing there. This seems to be a trend, politicizing the justice system to thwart the opposition, whether we're talking the IRS's stonewalling conservative nonprofits' applications for tax-exempt status, the Justice Department's "Fast and Furious" debacle, or the national security apparatus' being used for massive spying on American citizens' innocent phone and internet traffic. Habeas corpus - the basic right of a citizen to be free from prosecution without evidence of a crime - is nothing more than a "negative covenant" like the entire Bill of Rights to the Trump-haters. President Trump, on the other hand, put a constitutionalist on the Supreme Court.
  5. National Security. To the Trump-haters, secure borders are nothing but a euphemism for racism, as are voter ID laws. If it's not racism, it's Islamophobia. Or homophobia. Or xenophobia. Or misogyny. Or whatever obscures the point and keeps the opposition on the defensive. The point of the system is to exploit it, right? Not to ensure equal opportunity, democratic rule of law, nor citizens' rights. Nations are an anachronistic construct. One is as good as another; might as well have open borders. Unless we're talking about Russia, of course. President Trump's Make America Great Again campaign is just code for everything bad. Bad bad bad.
* Of course, not all Trump-haters really hate these five things or the many other things that the core Trump-haters hate which are too numerous to mention but all of which have to do with American exceptionalism. Those of you who disdain Donald-Trump-the-New-York-Loudmouth might want to examine your guilt by association with the true, convicted Trump-haters. Their hatred is not for the obnoxious New Yorker; their Trump-hate is really hatred for the traditional values of the voters who put him in office.