PostHeaderIcon My E-cigarette is Cheap and PC

E-cigarettes have been much in the news lately, both pro and con. While they are clearly a healthier way of consuming nicotine than inhaling tobacco smoke, there is concern that they legitimize smoking, and kids are drinking the refills. The Progressive PC control freaks are starting to ban their use in many circumstances and locales. What if an electronic substitute for smoking were available, which never needs refilling and would be considered PC to the most radical fanatic?

I have been smoke free for almost 5 months now. Nicotine itself no longer has a hold on me; but there are psychological triggers that still cause me to miss lighting up occasionally. Stress and/or anger is a big one. In the past, I have managed to quit for several months, only to blow it over a quarrel with a woman! Fortunately, no woman has such power in my life anymore, so that won’t be a problem this time. :)

Other triggers are circumstances which habitually induced me to light up in the past. Something as simple as being interrupted by phone call, can cause me to recall that I used to light up at such times. A classic example has surfaced since I recently reacquired my dog. Because I never smoked in my vehicles, every time I stopped to allow her to run around, sniffing and eliminating, I naturally lit a cigarette. The length of her potty break was the time it took for my smoke break.
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PostHeaderIcon Helping The Poor

I am having blog-withdrawal problems and must contribute something – however, continuing to point out the myriad wrongdoings of the Obamanation and his administration is boring and repetitive. Add to that the fact that I have lost nearly all passion for things political and I am left with the nearly overwhelming need to say something despite having nothing very inteeresting to say.

Then, voila, last evening I found a subject – although nothing really earth shaking. Congressman Paul Ryan was commenting that after several decades and trillions of dollars spent, US government programs to help those in poverty had not worked. (Imagine that!)

Finally, something to dispute, and from a conservative mouth to boot!
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PostHeaderIcon Slow Times At The Old Blog Game

Things sure have been slow around here. I know that I have not been holding up my end of things, mostly because there really is not much new to say RE our national condition. I just sit back and watch too many of the things I predicted come to pass with the honest hope that it stops short of my worst prediction (a full-fledged dictatorship).

It is still too early to guess whether the Obamanation will peacefully leave office at the end of his elected term. I suppose that much depends on the prospects for his successor. If the Obamanation’s masters can confidently predict that Hillary will be the next president, then they will no doubt let that happen, knowing that their power will continue undiminished. Should the GOP get its head out of — uh, wherever it usually keeps its head, then who knows what our true masters might then decide. However, such seems very unlikely. Just look at the speed with which assumed GOP front-runner, Krispy-Creame Chistie was reduced to almost-ran status.

Meanwhile, we are off this coming weekend for the next Reason Foundation cruise. Perhaps I will find sufficient inspiration there to write something new. I have been reading and thinking a lot about the effect of fundamentalist religion on our nation and on many of the bizarre happenings therein but have not seen fit to write about it because previous articles on this subject were not well received. While I don’t mind causing minor upset if it makes my readers think, I am not looking to get on any more enemies lists.

Dave, where are you? Have you abandoned this blog for greener pastures? (Or at least, for blogs with more activity?)

Troy

PostHeaderIcon He Said What?

I admit to being a fan of Duck Dynasty although I would be hard pressed to give a rational reason why. I guess it is the fact that I grew up in similar country (swamps) and enjoyed hunting (especially ducks although I was never especially successful at it – one needed $$ to hunt where there were lots of ducks and $$ I did not have).

So, GQ (of all magazines) interviews the Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson, a retired fundamentalist preacher as well as a duck call inventor. And they, along with the A&E cable network pretend to be surprised that he answered most of the questions exactly as one would expect from a fundamentalist preacher. Imagine that.

I don’t happen to agree with Phil about anything concerning religion or tolerance of my fellow man – but – that is not the point of their TV program. Sure, they work a prayer into every episode, usually at the dining table, but I somehow manage to ignore that just like I ignore the myriad times I am subjected to public prayer in my everyday life (part of the price of living in the rural South).
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PostHeaderIcon Just In Time For Christmas

Introducing the exclusive “Troy Sampler”. It does not look like much but you could be the only one who has one: IMG_5547

On a more serious note, in those 2 days between the surgery and my release from hospital, I was amazed how well I had gotten off. The doctor predicted weeks of miserable pain and here I was up and walking the day after. Needless to say, I could hardly wait to get home. Well……. it seems I had reckoned far too little on this innocuous little button that I was allowed to press (as needed) every 10 minutes or so. It was, in fact, a magic button. Each time I clicked it (and heard the answering “dong”, a dose of pure morphine was being injected into my system. Oh truly happy days!!!!

Now that I am home and dependent on nothing stronger than percoset (itself a schedule II narcotic), I clearly understand the doctor’s prediction.

Leading me to ask — why? If something that simple and that cheap can take a large chunk of the misery out of my life (or that of another), what business should government have in my decision to use it? Yes, after a few weeks of usage, I would be somewhat addicted. All this means is a few more weeks of tapering me off the stuff.

My fondest Christmas wish for those who rule me is that they could feel 1//2 of what I needlessly feel right this moment.

I also wish the rest of you peace and joy. Thanks to all of you for thinking of me and shame on those who think this nothing less than I deserve.

Troy

PostHeaderIcon Oh Happy Day

I have had to rebuild my hard-drive (after an accumulation of errors). That alone not being sufficient challenge, I decided to upgrade to Windows 8.1. In spite of all this, I am now up and (sort of) running again.

The bad news is that, despite backing up 3 times each week, I seem to have lost most of my personal data, including email history, address book, all documents created with Open Office, and much more. However, there is still a slight chance some of it may be recoverable by using St. J9′s system (which is still W-7).

So much for pain in the ass and on to pain in the back.

My surgeon is back to work after the holidays (and after the tragic loss of an infant son) and my surgery is now scheduled for December 2. If all goes as planned, I will be out of pocket for about 3 days – then home again with little to do but read and blog.

So much for me. Obviously, I have contributed almost nothing to this blog in recent weeks. This is because there is little new to say. Mostly I am watching things long predicted come to fruition and hoping the worst I have predicted might still NOT come to be. Having said that, about all I see left before a formal declaration of the dictatorship is the institution of martial law and the coming collapse of the national healthcare system may well serve as the catalyst.

Failing that, the recent “deals” with Iran that virtually assure they will obtain nukes should soon do the trick. Then there is the slight possibility that the treason surrounding the Benghazi debacle could come to light, prompting serious calls for impeachment. Or, perhaps no reason whatever is needed?

In closing, I hear that the Obamanation wants to “re-brand” his signature health-care destruction plan. I propose the new name of “ObamaCrap”.

Have a nice Thanksgiving!

Troy

PostHeaderIcon Introducing Objectivism

In political discussions, I generally identify myself as a small (el) libertarian, since it is too time consuming to explain what I mean, when I say I am an objectivist. There are, however, profound differences between some of the various schools of libertarianism, and the specific philosophy of Ayn Rand, which she named objectivism. This will serve as a succinct introduction to the subject, to which I can link in future discussions here and elsewhere.

The Ayn Rand Institute has some superb interactive online courses. They just added a short 15 minute introductory course on objectivism, narrated by Ayn Rand herself. It is very well done, and I highly recommend it. However, although it is free of charge, one must enroll in their online university to watch it. While safe and painless, few would probably bother to do so. Thus, the following is the transcript of Ayn Rand’s voice-over, without the visuals:

At a sales conference at Random House, preceding the publication of Atlas Shrugged, one of the book salesmen asked me whether I could present the essence of my philosophy while standing on one foot. I did, as follows:

1. Metaphysics: Objective Reality
2. Epistemology: Reason
3. Ethics: Self-interest
4. Politics: Capitalism

If you want this translated into simple language, it would read:
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PostHeaderIcon Defund the NPS

I am well aware that we are rapidly approaching the demise of America. If the last five years have not inspired the ruling class to do something to prevent the coming total crash of our economy and bankruptcy of the Federal government, nothing will. It is only a matter of (a short) time before we devolve into civil war/revolution (same thing) and the chances of holding it together until the mid-term election in ’14, much less the chance for a reset in ’16, are almost nil. Thus, wasting any time on anything other than preparing for the inevitable martial law looming on the horizon, is precisely that – a waste of time.

However, I am as prepared as I need to be at my age, so permit me to waste some time (as if we had a viable future), on a rather insignificant issue. On the other hand, if pondering it causes others, who may not be as psychologically prepared for what is coming as I am, to grasp the implications of Obama’s promised ‘civilian security force,’ then perhaps it is not such a waste of time, or so insignificant. I would like to suggest that we start a movement to totally defund and eliminate the National Park Service (NPS).

I am by no means the only one who has been outraged at these wanabe petty tyrants. The obvious relish with which they have been executing their egregious orders, to ‘make it hurt’ the taxpaying citizens, during the quasi-shutdown of the Federal government for the past couple of weeks, is truly disgusting. Somehow, they have lost sight of the fact that our national parks belong to the people, who are only paying them as caretakers and janitors to keep them tidy.
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PostHeaderIcon Natural Rights Rebutted

After some fruitful discussion on my “Natural Rights Explained” essay, posted here and elsewhere, my blogging partner, Troy, posted his “Natural Rights Refuted” post, neatly dismissing the whole concept. This is my rebuttal to that.

We may be twisting ourselves into semantic knots here, Troy. Suggesting there is no “such thing,” comports with the understanding we had already developed, which suggested that natural rights are ideas, akin to opportunities, rather than things. Yet, as Chris pointed out, ideas are ‘things’ too.

I had been working on the notion that it was sovereignty itself, which was the primary, and the concept of natural rights were mere corollaries of that proposition. Then, the Enlightenment era treatise by Quesnay, suggested that it was the right to pursue one’s own pleasure, which was fundamental and gave rise to the notion of sovereignty, and the other so-called natural rights.

In any case, I entirely agree with your assessment of the intention of Jefferson, et al. That was precisely the point I was making in my original “Sovereign Rights” essay back in ’07, when I interpreted and restated his most famous line about self-evident truths, in the Declaration of Independence, thusly:

“We freeborn Americans are sovereign individuals, each on par with King George III himself, with the inalienable right to live our lives as freemen, pursuing our own happiness, subservient to no one.”

Do natural rights exist? As ideas, they most certainly do. The meaning, validity, and/or effect of those ideas can certainly be fairly challenged; but their existence cannot, and more importantly, probably should not. I think we need to back up and look at the big picture, to assess the whole point of this discussion.
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PostHeaderIcon Natural Rights Refuted

I have a confession to make – one inspired by friend Dave’s recent articles regarding natural rights. The fact is, I do not believe there is any such thing as a natural right.

Yes, I truly support Mr. Jefferson’s sentiments, expressed in the Declaration Of Independence, that “all men are created equal”. However, I interpret that statement differently than most of my fellow citizens. I believe that what Mr. Jefferson meant, taken in the context of the document in which he said it, is that there is no “divine right of kings”. That there are no special humans, designated and recognized by some deity as having a special, deity-granted right to rule (or tyrannize) other people. One obvious reason this must be true is that there is no evidence of any deity with the authority or the power to grant such a right (actually, this would more correctly be defined as a privilege).

I also support Mr. Jefferson’s contention that all humans have an equal “right” to their lives, to the extent that they can defend their lives; to their liberty, to the extent that they can effectively demand and maintain their liberty; and, to whatever property they can morally and ethically accumulate, defend and maintain.
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PostHeaderIcon Natural Rights Explained

A typical comment directed at me elsewhere, inspired some cogitation resulting in the following explanation of ‘natural rights’:

“What is the point of the constitutional phrase right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you can murder babies in the womb? We only have a right to life if we are already born? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

That phrase is found in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution, and it was part of the sentence declaring the equality and natural rights of all ‘men,’ not babies, or children, and certainly not fetuses. In our Founder’s time, it probably did not even include women, and for an embarrassingly significant percentage of them, it excluded the entire negro race. Allow me to offer another way to look at this business of natural rights, which may help you make some sense of them.

When Enlightenment thinkers developed the philosophical concept of natural rights, it was in the context of individual sovereignty. The extant paradigm for Western civilization at that time, was that one was necessarily born into servitude, to the sovereign potentate claiming dominion over the territory in which one was born. There were different classes in society, enjoying differing levels of privileges; but all were born subjects of their king, whether serf or gentry. Supported by the clergy, the king had the divine right to rule over his subjects. He could order a subject’s head detached on a whim, and a serf was not permitted to relocate or change occupations without permission.
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PostHeaderIcon The Defensive Culture War

I am involved in an interesting discussion on a conservative site frequented by Christian fundamentalists. This morning, a fellow named Rich made a comment suggesting that the Left is waging a “war against Christians,” and that political activism by the religious Right, is “most always” to counter that. It inspired me to share a unique perspective I have, as a non-combatant in the culture war raging across our land, who has communicated extensively with participants in both camps. I think it is worth sharing with a wider audience, so it follows:

————–

The tragedy, Rich, is that most of those on the Left think they too, are playing defense. I spent a couple of years back in ’07 and ’08, frequenting freethinker forums, which were mostly populated with insufferable ACLU type atheist activists. There, I essentially played the opposite role that I have here. I referred to myself as a godless redneck heathen, and defended the traditional American culture extant in flyover country. I was as much an enigma there as I am here.

Here, my patriotism and more or less conservative political views, generally resonate; but my lack of faith, and unabashed willingness to challenge Christian dogma, is confusing and consternating to most. There, I passed their godless test; but my unabashed willingness to defend Judeo-Christian culture, and challenge their equally dogmatic Politically Correct ideology, drove them nuts. Thus, I can report with some authority, that they are irrationally afraid of the Piously Correct agenda.

While flawed in their support of government coercion, for the purposes of redistributing wealth for ‘social justice,’ they are fulsome in their support for civil rights for all mankind, and adamant in their insistence that government stay the hell out of their personal lives. In this, I was in full agreement, although I took pains to point out their inconsistencies, and insist that I wanted government to also stay out of my personal pocketbook.
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PostHeaderIcon WMD versus WID – Death By The Penny Or Death By The Pound

In the ridiculous “debate” now going on between various factions in what passes for a government in this sad Republic (if I may be so bold as to still name it such), regarding our potential intervention in the civil war currently raging in Syria, much seems to hinge on the method by which the victims of that war are wounded or killed.

Indeed, and for some years now, it has been United States policy to cause all manner of international uproar over the fact that nations, other than our own, might have and –shudder– actually use a WMD – otherwise known as a Weapon of Mass Destruction.

In the first place, there is one thing has never been defined to my understanding or satisfaction; that is, how large must a singular act of destruction be in order to qualify as “mass”?

In the second place, by what logic is it somehow worse for destruction to be caused by a singular act that meets the mysterious criteria of “mass” versus the same net amount of destruction being caused by repeated application of WID (Weapons of Incremental Destruction)? After all, did not our very Republic introduce the use of such WMD to end WWII in Asia under the theory that a couple of massive acts of destruction would, in the long run, result in less total damage than the continued application of WID? (Please note that I use the word destruction to describe the destruction of both people and objects.)
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PostHeaderIcon Reinstate Now

Saturday evening, we attended a presentation regarding a relatively new, grassroots effort to reinstate our Constitutional Republic using a bottoms-up approach. Details can be found at reinstatenow.org. I will share more regarding this as I learn more (a local group is holding weekly lectures to teach us how we can each participate.) In the meantime, please check out the website and offer your own opinions. From what I can tell so far, this group is focused on actions that can be taken now and by folk like us.

Note that this effort is being led by a number of people who have my respect, including Tom Woods (Nullification and others); G Edward Griffin (The Creature from Jekyll Island and others; “Sheriff” Richard Mack (founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and author of a number of books dealing with the role of the sheriff under our Constitution, gun control, and similar issues).

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Proposed Constitutional Amendment #9

(As promised (threatened?) in a previous article, I intend to submit a number of proposed amendments to our Constitution that, in my own judgment, would help restore a Constitutional Republic in our nation. Some of these are my own, some are based on Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments and some have been suggested by others).

Repeal of the 25th Amendment

The 25th amendment the the United States Constitution is hereby repealed. All legislation and regulation implemented under the authority of the 25th amendment is likewise rendered null and void.

The 25th amendment was implemented to allow appointment of a Vice President, when such office shall become vacant, rather than rely on the order of succession originally established by our Constitution. The main impetus for the 25th Amendment was that the then Speaker of the House (Carl Albert) was totally unwilling to succeed to the Presidency.

The 25th Amendment has already given us an “appointed President” (Gerald Ford). It also gave us an “appointed Vice President” in the form of Nelson Rockefeller, a person who had repeatedly been rejected by the people in his own attempts to win his party’s nomination for President. Given the assassination attempt on President Ford, the Republic was very nearly subjected to a situation where a person repeatedly rejected by the people would, nevertheless, have gained the Presidency.

Please offer constructive comments as you see fit.

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Proposed Constitutional Amendment #8

(As promised (threatened?) in a previous article, I intend to submit a number of proposed amendments to our Constitution that, in my own judgment, would help restore a Constitutional Republic in our nation. Some of these are my own, some are based on Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments and some have been suggested by others).

The Honest Currency Amendment

Immediately following ratification of this amendment, the unconstitutional banking enterprise known as The Federal Reserve System will be eliminated and no such future enterprise will be allowed under this Constitution.

The issuance of paper currency and coinage will be controlled solely by the Congress of the United States using a formula, of their own creation, which will limit increases in the total amount of paper currency and coinage to such amount as is indicated by the growth of the Gross National Product (GNP) of the United States. All such paper currency and coinage shall be backed by, and redeemable in, precious metals, and the total amount of paper currency and coinage in circulation at any given time will not exceed the value of the precious metals held in reserve by the Government of the United States.

Within one year following ratification of this amendment, the Congress of the United States shall commission a full public accounting of the activities of the late The Federal Reserve System and shall demand a refund of any and all treasure wrongfully taken and/or disbursed from the treasury of the United States for any private or personal gain by those attached to the late The Federal Reserve System. All participants in the wrongful taking or disbursement of the treasure of the United States, who are still living, will then be processed through the criminal justice system as appropriate.

The rates of interest charged on debt in the United States shall be determined by the free marketplace.

Since its inception in 1913, the The Federal Reserve System (FED) has operated for the profit of foreign and domestic bankers and other members of what amounts to a “financial cartel” and to the detriment of the people of the United States and to its government. During this time, the value of the United States dollar and been decreased by something between 95 and 97% of its value at the inception of the FED. In other words, between 95 and 97% of the private wealth of the people of the United States has been, for all intents and purposes, stolen. The FED has been a criminal enterprise by any means by which such can be judged. Elimination of the FED and its machinations will hasten the return of a true free-market system in the United States for the benefit of all of its citizens.

Returning the nation to a precious metals based currency will end the evil system by which fiat money is created, based on ever increasing debt, and of benefit only to the banking system which, by this very process, has become evil in nature and practice.

Please offer constructive comments as you see fit.

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Proposed Constitutional Amendment #7

(As promised (threatened?) in a previous article, I intend to submit a number of proposed amendments to our Constitution that, in my own judgment, would help restore a Constitutional Republic in our nation. Some of these are my own, some are based on Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments and some have been suggested by others).

The Congressional Constraint Amendment

Starting the year following ratification of this amendment, no member of the United States Congress may serve more than 12 years in office. This total will include time served in either the House of Representatives, the Senate, or both.

Starting the year following ratification of this amendment, the existing congressional pension plan will be discontinued. In its place, each member of Congress shall be awarded credits under the Civil Service Retirement Act for each year served. Such credits will be aggregated with similar credits earned through other federal employment, per the terms and conditions of the Civil Service Retirement Act . Any such other benefits provided to members of Congress will also be in accordance with the Civil Service Retirement Act . Likewise, any medical and/or health-care benefits provided to members of Congress will be the same as those provided to other federal employee.

I think this amendment hardly needs explanation or justification. Note that this is similar to, but not exactly the same, as that proposed by Mark Levin in The Liberty Amendments

Please offer constructive comments as you see fit.

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Proposed Constitutional Amendment #6

(As promised (threatened?) in a previous article, I intend to submit a number of proposed amendments to our Constitution that, in my own judgment, would help restore a Constitutional Republic in our nation. Some of these are my own, some are based on Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments and some have been suggested by others).

The Spending Constraint Amendment

Starting the year following ratification of this amendment, the Federal Government of the United States of America must operate by an established budget in which total budgeted spending does not exceed the total revenues collected by that government in the previous year.

Said annual budget must also contain a line item amounting to 10% of the total budget which will be used exclusively for retiring a portion of the public debt.

At the end of any budget year, should there remain any surplus revenue beyond that required to satisfy that year’s budget, such surplus will be used exclusively for retiring a portion of the public debt.

Under no circumstance is the public debt to be increased excepting for defending the Republic against a direct attack by a foreign power and in consequence of a Declaration of War, by the Congress of the United States of America, in accordance with Article I. of the United States Constitution.

I think this amendment hardly needs explanation or justification.

Please offer constructive comments as you see fit.

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Proposed Constitutional Amendment #5

(As promised (threatened?) in a previous article, I intend to submit a number of proposed amendments to our Constitution that, in my own judgment, would help restore a Constitutional Republic in our nation. Some of these are my own, some are based on Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments and some have been suggested by others).

Repeal of the 26th Amendment

The 26th amendment the the United States Constitution is hereby repealed. All legislation and regulation implemented under the authority of the 26th amendment is likewise rendered null and void.

The 26th amendment was implemented to give extend the voting franchise to people 18 years of age on the apparent assumption that people of such age have accrued a maturity level consistent with electing people to public office in the United States. All experience suggests just the opposite – that, in fact, the age of maturity and adult responsibility is generally being delayed into later years.

Please offer constructive comments as you see fit.

Troy L Robinson

PostHeaderIcon Proposed Constitutional Amendment #4

(As promised (threatened?) in a previous article, I intend to submit a number of proposed amendments to our Constitution that, in my own judgment, would help restore a Constitutional Republic in our nation. Some of these are my own, some are based on Mark Levin’s The Liberty Amendments and some have been suggested by others).

Repeal of the 23rd Amendment

The 23rd amendment the the United States Constitution is hereby repealed. All legislation and regulation implemented under the authority of the 23rd amendment is likewise rendered null and void.

The 23rd amendment was implemented to give residents of the District of Columbia, the seat of our Federal Government, much of the level of participation in the Federal Government that is given to citizens of the several States.

The District of Columbia is, in obvious fact, NOT a sovereign State and attempts to treat it as such work to the detriment of the legitimate States. For the purposes intended by the original amendment, after ratification of this amendment, the District of Columbia will be considered to be part of the sovereign State of Maryland, as was originally the case.

Please offer constructive comments as you see fit.

Troy L Robinson

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