Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Presses Are Silent This Saturday

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny



The presses at Rational Nation USA will be silent this Saturday. For this day is reserved exclusively to my inspiration and better half... My gracious and lovely bride of 24 years.

We are celebrating our anniversary today and all else, except maybe our grandson, will take a back seat.

See you Sunday!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Catholic University Faces Complaint of Human Rights Violation by Muslim Students

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


I am not religious. I do respect the right of all peaceful religions to worship as their theocratic theological (religious) dogma would have them. How they worship, or the symbols of their religion do not affect me. Unless they are engaged in trying to force change in places they have no moral or legal right to do so.

Which is precisely why the following article reporting on Muslims attempting to force change on Catholic University {a private institution} because of alleged human rights violations should tick everyone of rational mind off greatly.

The Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights confirmed that it is investigating allegations that Catholic University violated the human rights of Muslim students by not allowing them to form a Muslim student group and by not providing them rooms without Christian symbols for their daily prayers.

The investigation alleges that Muslim students “must perform their prayers surrounded by symbols of Catholicism – e.g., a wooden crucifix, paintings of Jesus, pictures of priests and theologians which many Muslim students find inappropriate.”

A spokesperson for the Office of Human Rights told Fox News they had received a 60-page complaint against the private university. The investigation, they said, could take as long a six months.

The complaint was filed by John Banzhaf, an attorney and professor at George Washington University Law School. Banzhaf has been involved in previous litigation against the school involving the same-sex residence halls. He also alleged in his complaint involving Muslim students that women at the university were being discriminated against. You can read more on those allegations by clicking here.

Banzhaf said some Muslim students were particularly offended because they had to meditate in the school’s chapels “and at the cathedral that looms over the entire campus – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.”

“It shouldn’t be too difficult somewhere on the campus for the university to set aside a small room where Muslims can pray without having to stare up and be looked down upon by a cross of Jesus,” he told Fox News.

Skip

Banzhaf said that it is technically not illegal for Catholic University to refuse to provide rooms devoid of religious icons.

“It may not be illegal, but it suggests they are acting improperly and probably with malice,” he said. “They do have to pray five times a day, they have to look around for empty classrooms and to be sitting there trying to do Muslim prayers with a big cross looking down or a picture of Jesus or a picture of the Pope is not very conductive to their religion.”

Skip

Garvey {the University President}, in his 2010 interview with NPR, addressed that issue.

“It’s just not something that we view as an activity that we want to sponsor because we’re a Catholic institution rather than Muslim,” he said.

Patrick Reilly, the president of the Cardinal Newman Society, an organization that promotes Catholic identity among Catholic schools, seemed stunned by the complaint.

“I don’t know what the attorney wants them to do – if he wants them to actually move the Basilica or if the Muslim students can find someplace where they don’t have to look at it,” he told Fox News.

Catholic University, he said, is a Catholic institution.

“One wouldn’t expect a Jewish institution to be responsible for providing liturgical opportunities for other faiths and I wouldn’t expect a Catholic institution to do that,” he said.

“This attorney is really turning civil rights on its head,” he said. “He’s using the law for his own discrimination against the Catholic institution and essentially saying Catholic University cannot operate according to Catholic principles.”

Read coverage from Catholic University’s student newspaper by clicking here.

the facts are:

A) Catholic University is a private institution of higher learning.
B) Students make the decision to attend Catholic University by their own free choice, even the Muslims who matriculate at CU.
C) Before entering the university all students, and their parents visit the campus and learn about the institution.
E) Given the above, all students {including the Muslim students} are fully aware of the conditions into which they are entering.


So, what's the problem? What moral or legal right do the Muslim students believe supports their {and their representative} position? What do they not understand about the choice they made, and how it would impact their lives while attending CU? Do they really believe their human rights have been violated, even given they made a free choice to attend CU?

What is even more disturbing is there are many who will side with the irrationality of their complaint. Truly disturbing. What once was largely a given in America, that one accepted the consequences of their free and independent decisions is rapidly vanishing. We can thank political correctness, accompanied by increasing thin skinned people for the change.

More @ The Conservative Guild and @ just a conservative girl

Via: Memeorandum

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pure Gold: Peter Schiff Debates Occupy Wall Streeters

Crossposted at the Left Coast Rebel

This is simply just too cool. You can almost hear the collective "Occupy-I-am-entitled-to-everything-I-want-simply-because-I-have-a-pulse" synapses misfiring in the crowd as Peter Schiff engages them (poor saps have probably never even heard his viewpoint that he aptly expresses).

There are too many quotable moments from Schiff here, "WalMart doesn't hold a gun to their head" may just go down in interweb infamy:





I love how Allahpundit notes that Schiff pulls this thing off like an Austrian-school ninja.

Indeed.

More from Nick Gillespie at Reason.com:

"Did a corporation end slavery, or did the government end slavery?!?!"

That's the sort of question investment guru and radio show host Peter Schiff fielded as he debated Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters last week in New York's Zuccotti Park.

Schiff is no ordinary observer. As the prinicipal of the financial firm Euro Pacific Capital, he's a full-fledged and unapologetic member of "the 1 Percent." As an outspoken radio show host (listen online here) and commentator, he not only predicted the housing crash and financial crisis, he railed bank and auto-sector bailouts as they were happening. Schiff believes that capitalism offers is the only hope for young, frustrated people to have a vibrant and prosperous future (get information on his latest book, How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, here). So he went to Occupy Wall Street to engage and debate the protesters.

Touring the Occupy Wall Street scene in New York with a sign that read "I Am the 1%, Let's Talk," Schiff spent more than three hours on the scene, explaining the difference between cronyism and capitalism, bailouts and balance sheets, and more.

"The regulation we want is the market," said Schiff. "That's what works."

Via Memeorandum.

James Carville May Have It Right For Once

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


James Carville, you know the man, Mary Matalin's democratic husband. We all know Mary is by far the brighter of the two and probably keeps him around for entertainment value.

Today, for the first time in my blogging journey I ran across something he offered up that actually made some sense. So, I decided to pass his quote on with some additional commentary from POLITICO, as well as yours truly

"Everything worries me in this environment. Nobody’s gotten elected with these kinds of numbers. So, I’m worried in the general election. I profoundly admit that. Again, Romney’s just making a technocratic kind of confidence argument, and he’s really kind of a windsock of a guy. If you don’t like his position on something, give it a day he’ll change it."

James is right, nobody gets elected with the kind of numbers Obama is sporting these days. Indications are the economic situation is not going to improve much before November 2012. Naturally this has democrats seriously worried.

POLITICO goes on to highlight Carville's remarks further.

To some extent, underscoring concern helps gin up the Democratic base and crystallizes the fact that there will be a nominee fairly soon, after months of a slow-moving race.

Carville, in addition to panning Mitt Romney, broadly trashed Rick Perry, and said that Herman Cain "is not going to be the president of anything. Herman Cain goes out and he got a 999, and it’s 909, and he’s like changing area codes. The guy can’t even figure out what his position on abortion yet, which is kind of a basic issue. He gleefully professes ignorance on foreign policy. Again, I’m not, but if I were a person, if I had a conservative world view and I was looking for our next election to have somebody to articulate that view, I would be unbelievably disappointed. Herman Cain is a salesman. I mean, he’s not trying in one sense. He’s just trying to get some attention. He’s not going to get the nomination."

Carville is probably correct in his assessment Herman Cain, the executive of Godfather Pizza is unlikely to get the republican nomination.

Anyone who analyzes Perry's record can only come to the conclusion the big hair ex democrat is as much a part of the problem in conservative politics as Obama is in democratic politics. Perry certainly wouldn't bring the change America needs.

Romney is still a force, although it is difficult to understand why. Given his flip flops and close ties to corporate America one would think everybody would recognize he is merely old establishment with a younger look.

Which leads to the question... Who is the real conservative (with libertarian principles) that is offering real change as well as possessing an in depth understanding of constitutional government? The answer of course is Congressman Ron Paul.

If we are interested in a real and deep shift in direction. If we truly are desirous of addressing and ending crony capitalism, corporatism, taxpayer funded bailouts, reducing our deficit and national debt, as well as curbing and ultimately cutting the growth of the MIC then Ron Paul must be our man.

Via: Memeorandum

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Is America Heading Towards the Tyranny of Underemployment, Unemployment, and a Disappearing Middle Class

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


Capitalism is the economic system responsible for the United States of America becoming the great economic power it did. Our democratic republic is the system of government that gave us great liberty and freedom from oppressive governmemnt. The dynamics of the two systems together gave us the greatest middle class the world has ever seen and resulted in a measure of economic freedom only dreamed about in other lands.

Today these realities seems to be rapidly slipping away. Perhaps We the People took too much for granted, and thought we need not keep a watchful eye on government. The result over time has been an unholy alliance between corporations and government. The crony capitalism, corporatism, government bailouts of private sector companies, the impact of pull peddlers and lobbyists has changed the dynamics of our once capitalist system and our democratic republic form of governmemnt. We are heading towards a fascist oligarchy.

Tyranny can be defined in many ways I suppose. When one who enjoyed a comfortable middle class life style finds themselves financially strapped because they lost their job through no fault of their own, and can't find another well paying job because no one is hiring, well... I guess it could be considered the tyranny of a possibly approaching poverty.

We hear about the 9.1% unemployment rate in the country and we see how things haven't improved. That unemployment number folks is a bogus number, and we all know it. The real unemployment numbers are upwards of 16%. If I were a betting man I'd bet we will see an unemployment figure of 20% plus before this great recession burns itself out. That of course is making the assumption it will. The possibility exists it may not.

Our nation is without a doubt undergoing tremendous fiscal and political strain. The Tea Party movement and now OWS are both indicators of these growing realities.

Americans innately understand there are serious fiscal, tax, regulatory, and governance issues that s must be dealt with if we are to preserve our economic place in the world. Most importantly they understand the need for businesses  provide the opportunity for good paying secure jobs upon which the can build a future for themselves and their family.

There is room for both the wealthy class of Americans and a broad and successful middle class to flourish together. After all it was the contributions of the wealthy industrialists, the bricklayers and carpenters, the iron and steel workers, the engineers and scientists, the machinists and plumbers, the auto makers and the construction workers, and the list goes on that resulted in our nation's rapid  growth. Unified in a common cause to build a better future for all... this nation did great things.

It is now the 21st century. Globalization, as inevitable as it was should not deter us from rising to the modern realities of our present day existence and proving yet once again we are a truly exceptional people.

But of course first we must begin to realize and accept that the rational self interest of all Americans rest in a strengthening and expansion of the middle class I was fortunate enough to spend my entire life enjoying. Today that same reality does not exist for many. Through no fault of their own.

Ayn Rand taught what rational self interest meant, and its value to an individual. The realities of my business and personal life only served to solidify the validity of Rand's teaching,  and that rational self interest can and should be applied to matters of national interest as well.

So crony capitalists, corporatist(s), oligarchs, and statist beware. Because the current mood of the American people is not moving in your favor. Continuing to divide, with the idea of ultimately controlling all the wealth and power is not in your rational self interest.  It will backfire. As all ill conceived and irrational things eventually do.

Oh, and one more thing. To accomplish breathing new life into our  national well being WILL require, whether both sides of the political aisle like it or not, actually sitting don with the intention of fining common ground and working out the myriad of problems our nation faces. Just a hint... Think long term.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Revisiting Rush, the Lord's Resistance Army, and Obama's Decision to Engage In Uganda

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny



Rush Limbaugh, the the man with self proclaimed talent from God, and with half his brain tied behind his back just to make things fair {or something along those lines} probably isn't gaining any converts lately. Especially given his comments last week with respect to Obama's decision to send American troops to Uganda to hunt down the leader of Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, and other members of the LRA.

With just a bit of research it is relatively easy to find information about the Lord's Resistance Army. Most of the information ain't pretty. It exposes the atrocities the organization has committed, from abducting thousands of people, the largest share being children, to torture, murder, and looting and the destruction of property. What is most disturbing is Limbaugh apparently failed to do any significant research into the LRA and its record before his comments.

When Limbaugh's remarks first aired October 14th I was immediately going to jump on the story in a most critical fashion. However, realizing in so doing the post would be driven by emotionalism, rather than thoughtful considerations the idea was shelved for another day. Looks like today is that other day.

Limbaugh, had he just made the argument the internal affairs of a African country should not become the affairs of the United States he was on solid ground, and his argument would have been defensible. Many will argue that the U.S. military should be used only when the security of the nation and its people are threatened by an act of aggression. Like Iraq, and Libya Uganda was not a threat to our security and therefore the U.S.A need not have become engaged.

Consistency in the application of philosophical principles is important. When one fails to consistently apply the principles they espouse their motives become suspect. In the case of Mr. Limbaugh, who largely supported President Bush and his incursion into Iraq it seems to many reasonable people his only motive is to use the incident to damage Obama further as he enters the 2012 campaign for re-election. Unseating Obama may be a very desirable and erstwhile pursuit, but national figures should use the force of reason to do so, not emotionalism and what largely amounts to hyperbole.

Mr. Limbaugh, rather than taking the high ground chose to resort to hyperbole and without the facts on the LRA set out to appeal the emotionalism of his audience.

RUSH - So nothing to worry about here, folks, only gonna be for a few months. Now, up until today, most Americans have never heard of the combat Lord's Resistance Army. And here we are at war with them. Have you ever heard of Lord's Resistance Army, Dawn? How about you, Brian? Snerdley, have you? You never heard of Lord's Resistance Army? Well, proves my contention, most Americans have never heard of it, and here we are at war with them. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. It means God. I was only kidding. Lord's Resistance Army are Christians. They are fighting the Muslims in Sudan. And Obama has sent troops, United States troops to remove them from the battlefield, which means kill them. That's what the lingo means, "to help regional forces remove from the battlefield," meaning capture or kill.

Lord's Resistance Army objectives. I have them here. "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people." Now, again Lord's Resistance Army is who Obama sent troops to help nations wipe out. The objectives of the Lord's Resistance Army, what they're trying to accomplish with their military action in these countries is the following: "To remove dictatorship and stop the oppression of our people; to fight for the immediate restoration of the competitive multiparty democracy in Uganda; to see an end to gross violation of human rights and dignity of Ugandans; to ensure the restoration of peace and security in Uganda, to ensure unity, sovereignty, and economic prosperity beneficial to all Ugandans, and to bring to an end the repressive policy of deliberate marginalization of groups of people who may not agree with the LRA ideology." Those are the objectives of the group that we are fighting, or who are being fought and we are joining in the effort to remove them from the battlefield. {Read It All}

Limbaugh put out information that at best was only partially factual and therefore misleading. So again I say, if you are a national media figure like Rush, present the facts and then let the people decide for themselves.

A few more bits of information on the LRA. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), FACTBOX-Key facts about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army, Lord's Resistance Army - Wikipedia, Lord's Resistance Army

Hopefully the information links are helpful and useful. Perhaps the additional information makes it easier to decide where you side. If Limbaugh had only presented the information and then made his case firmly based on conservative principles that he consistently advocates he would be more credible and likely would have an even larger following.

But as with most talk show hosts, both liberal and conservative, I won't be holding my breathe for a change anytime soon.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dems. Up For Re-Election Avoiding Obama

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


Most members of Congress dodged Obama during his last visit to North Carolina. | AP Photo

It seems President Obama has lost his once messiah like appeal. Democrats up for re-election in 2012 are avoiding the President as though he might be a liability. Hm, could there be anything to the sentiment?

POLITICO - Despite President Barack Obama’s sagging poll ratings, top Democratic leaders from around the country insist they’d love for him to visit. From state party chairmen to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the message remains remarkably consistent: No one views the president as a political liability.

Roughly a year out from the 2012 presidential election, that may be true. But already, as Obama’s most recent forays into battleground states indicate, there are growing signs that many Democratic politicians don’t want to get too close to him either.

In trips to Michigan, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — all states that he carried in 2008 — members of Congress were notably missing from the president’s side. Though none came out and said they were deliberately avoiding him, they didn’t have to: Dodging a presidential candidate who’s riding low in the polls is a time-honored political practice.

For Obama, who’s led a charmed political life since bursting onto the national stage in 2004 — he was in high demand on the campaign trail even before he won his Senate seat that year — it’s a harbinger of a humbling election year to come.

In North Carolina, only Sen. Kay Hagan, who isn’t up for reelection until 2014, and veteran Rep. Mel Watt, who represents a majority black seat, appeared with the president. The state’s other six Democratic House members took a pass, offering a variety of excuses.

“[Obama] may end up being Walter Mondale of 1984,” said Raleigh-based Democratic strategist Brad Crone, recalling how the only elected official who risked being seen with the party’s nominee that year was the longtime agriculture commissioner.

In Pennsylvania, where Obama visited Pittsburgh two weeks,the story was much the same — no members of Congress to be found. Though two of southwestern Pennsylvania’s three Democratic congressmen greeted the president on the airport tarmac, neither of them attended any of the public events Obama held, choosing instead to return to Washington. {Read More}

The president does face problems. His re-election is far from certain. However, given the caliber of potential republican challengers {Ron Paul being the exception} it is just as likely he will be re-elected as not.

Via: Memeorandum

Libya's Future... Sharia Law?

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


With the demise of Libyan dictator Col. Qaddafi the world now waits to see what law will replace the prior 42 years of oppression. Given early appearances it may well be a law just as oppressive as Col. Qaddafi's.


Libya's interim leader outlined more radical plans to introduce Islamic law than expected as he declared the official liberation of the country.

Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of the National Transitional Council and de fact president, had already declared that Libyan laws in future would have Sharia, the Islamic code, as its "basic source".

But that formulation can be interpreted in many ways - it was also the basis of Egypt's largely secular constitution under President Hosni Mubarak, and remains so after his fall.

Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi's era that he said was in conflict with Sharia - that banning polygamy.

In a blow to those who hoped to see Libya's economy integrate further into the western world, he announced that in future bank regulations would ban the charging of interest, in line with Sharia. "Interest creates disease and hatred among people," he said.

Gulf states like the United Arab Emirates, and other Muslim countries, have pioneered the development of Sharia-compliant banks which charge fees rather than interest for loans but they normally run alongside western-style banks.

And if the Libyan people are good with it, then, as the song says "Let it Be."

Via: Memeorandum

Update: President Obama weighs in here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Really? How Does This Square With the Constituton...?

From the desk of: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


The Daily Caller - Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran told The Daily Caller on Thursday evening that President Obama should “refinance every home mortgage” without congressional approval in order to “reset the economy.”



“Absolutely, I think [Obama] should do that but there are not a lot of places where he can act unilaterally,” Moran told TheDC during Conservation International’s Oct. 20 dinner in Washington, D.C.

“If he chooses to act unilaterally,” Moran said, “the likelihood is that there will be language in the appropriations bills that will prohibit him from spending money for that purpose. That’s just the political reality. But notwithstanding that, I think he should do everything he can do on his own to stimulate jobs.”

Obama has already asked his Council on Jobs to identify areas of the American Jobs Act that can be implemented without congressional authorization.

Moran told TheDC that he would “like to see” the Obama administration “refinance every home mortgage at three-and-a-half to four percent” interest, which he said can be accomplished without approval from Congress.

“The banks aren’t doing it, but the federal government can borrow money at three-and-a-half percent today. They should use that money to refinance every home mortgage, and that would put $750 billion into homeowners pockets,” he said. “It would reset the economy, and I think it’s the one thing that would most quickly get this economy back on its feet.”

Moran said that the plan “doesn’t cost any federal money. The people who are opposed to it are the Wall Street investment banks, the ones that we bailed out for hundreds of billions of dollars,” he added. “The federal government could do that because most of these loans are now owned by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told TheDC this month that Obama could “get away” with creating jobs without authorization from Congress.

“I’m sure that the president and other presidents before him, Republican and Democrats, have tried to exceed their constitutional authority,” McCain said, ”but we will do everything we can to try to stop it but I’m not saying he can’t get away with something.”

Indeed.

It seems under Obama's reign of American plutocracy the federal government {Leviathan} may very well become accustomed to unilateral decisions and imposing its will on the people.

I thought our government was to be the servant of the people, rather than the reverse. Funny how our government under this President has managed to corrupt our political process.

If we the people don't stop the statist trend now I freely ask when?

Perhaps I misread the Constitution?

Via: Memorandum

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thoughts On Our Current Political Climate

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


Editors note: Given the issues we face today as a nation Rational Nation USA is re-posting this article. Originally posted on October, 22 2011 it defines the nature of, and danger in wedge politics.

Politics is a strange business. Politicians are without a doubt a breed apart from the rest of the nation. Well, maybe when a person enters politics in the beginning they are just like the average person and want to make a difference. But, inevitably it seems that they lose their principles. Influenced by special interests they become part of the problem they initially hoped to change.

Maybe it's just the times we live in. But doesn't it seem that we are a nation that has become so polarized by competing ideologies we are no longer able to discus issues of national concern in a civil and respectful manner? It is sad that politics, and political discourse has sank to the level of a sporting event. In the process the nation and its people lose the values the nation was founded on.

Americans have always had competing views. From its birth as a nation the United States of America has dealt with differing political philosophies. Throughout her history she has always found a path to resolve any challenge facing the nation. Yet today we cannot find the wisdom and courage to resolve the issues the nation faces at present.

Should it be any different today than it was during that hot sweltering summer of 1787 in Philadelphia when great men drafted our Constitution? The document that united us and has withstood the strain of over two and a quarter centuries. Our constitution is perhaps one of, if not the greatest political document in history. It set a nation on the path of governance whereby the government was responsible to the people. Rather than the other way around as it had always been up until that time in history.

There are those who will argue that the Constitution was flawed. And it was. The singular glaring flaw, one that still haunts us today, was the blight of institutionalizing slavery. It was a contradiction of the very principles Thomas Jefferson so eloquently spoke to when he penned The Declaration of Independence. But (as in all things), it is important to understand the political realities of the time when the nation was being formed. When drafting the Constitution compromises were made so that the United States of America would become a reality. For the delegates to the constitutional convention, as well as most of the people, establishing the United States was the highest priority.

As 2011 approaches the end of the year we are witnessing the greatest internal threat to our nation since The Civil War. The polarization of our people through the divisive use of wedge issues in politics is tearing at the very fabric of our nation. Our politicians {as well as corporate America and other special interest groups} seem only too willing to stand by and let it happen. Perhaps the interest of ideology and irrational self interest are more important to them than pursuing (rational) interests that will help strengthen the nation both economically and politically.

I am a conservative with strong libertarian leanings, and a fair amount of classical liberalism mixed in for good measure. As my readership knows Ayn Rand has held strong influence as well. Many Americans I believe share some of the principles and values discussed here at Rational Nation USA. I am equally as sure that the majority of Americans want our politicians to find a path that benefits the nation and all people, not just the few who hold the power.

If this country is to resolve the issues that have us bordering on becoming a second class democratic republic, as well as a second class world power, our leaders in Congress, the Senate, and in the one in the Oval Office had better get it together. For if they don't this heretofore nation of liberty and prosperity shall cease to exist as we have know it.

Ayn Rand said, "The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." Putting this in the context of governance,... As long as our government protects the rights of the individual as enshrined in our Constitution and The Bill of Rights we should all be okay with opposing views on present day issue. In fact we should encourage opposing views. It has been said that the word {written} is mightier than the sword. And so it is. Through the use of words to describe rational concepts minds are changed, and so is society as a result.

If conservative and libertarians are to win the day then they must do so on the strength of their ideas. Ideas presented in such a way that people can first understand them. Then, if they determine the idea is a rational one be willing to ultimately accept and support it.

It serves no purpose, other than to divide, when politicians, the news media, and bloggers {on both the left and right}, use wedge issues to drive their point home.

The refusal to consider any opposing view with a active mind is not the mark of intelligence or wisdom. Rather it is the mark of a fool.

At the end of the day the future rests in the hands of those living in the present. What kind of future do you want for your children and grandchildren? It is up to each and every one of us to make it a better one.

Rational Nation USA leaves you with the following to consider. Written by Octopus a contributor at The Swash Zone in response to comments on a liberal blog.

This hyper-partisanship has damaged our country in ways too numerous to count. Let me elaborate. Hyper-partisanship translates into hyper polarization. It colors how we relate to one another. It turns neighbors and normal decent folk into the “other,” the enemy, those hateful liberals or those despised conservatives. It is a function of “identity” politics whose aim is to divide persons with common economic interests into warring factions. Divide and conquer. And a great many of us, liberals and conservative alike, buy into this bullshit and later pay a heavy price.

Hyper-partisanship colors how we think. It gives rise to ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING, where a party, a group, a person are either all black or all white with no shades of gray. Very few people in life are either all good (saints) or all evil (devils); yet hyper-partisanship demands that you think this way.

No matter what a person may achieve, the game of politics commands you to ignore the accomplishments and focus on the flaws; or spin good deeds into failures or characterize all deeds as evil deeds, despite evidence to the contrary. Demonize your opponent, that is the way the game is played.

Suddenly, one of our readers says: “Hey, wait a minute! I’m pissed off at something but I don’t know why.” It is this hyper-partisan programming pulling, tugging, sucking you under until you gasp for air. Time to break the cycle.

We are living in an era of non-stop character assassination and defamation, of political hostage taking, and legislative gridlock at a time when millions of people are suffering. There are powerful corporate interests that want us to be this way – divided – so they can cash in their chips and turn into serfs. Unless we break this cycle and say “To hell with you, I am not buying this bullshit anymore, then they win, and our country will wither away as dry wind-blown leaves of Autumn.

Sorry folks! Either we get our act together, or we will have no future at all.

And this.

All of us guilty of allowing ourselves to get sucked into the vortex of hyper-partisanship, and I admit to being as rabid as any … especially when baited by “libtard” epithets or facsimiles thereof. Sometimes I run hot or cold trying to end the cycle of mutual recrimination.

Case in point: Almost two years ago (October 26, 2009), I posted this article: DEMOGRAPHIC CLUSTERING AND THE SELF-SEGREGATION OF AMERICA, which touched on some these points. The comment thread is even more revealing than the post (and you will recognize the names of our conservative friends). Here is a quote from the article:

“Over time, according to Bishop, a preference for living with like-minded neighbors in extreme homogeneous communities incubates ever more extremist views. Voters in landslide districts tend to elect more extreme members to Congress while moderate candidates shun public office. Among highly polarized lawmakers, debates degenerate into shouting matches as legislators engage in obstruction and gridlock. That is how our most urgent and pressing issues go unresolved.”

When I look at the current political situation, it seems the article was prescient: We are now more polarized and gridlocked than ever before, and the current slate of candidates are even more extreme to the point of caricature.

Recalling some of RN’s recent comments, he distrusts the corporate plutocracy as much as we do – for the same reasons – and you would think we would have common cause; yet, identity politics and old habits always get in the way – witness the hyper-sensitivity that always accompanies hyper-partisanship.

I am wonder if it would be worthwhile revisiting this subject again and see where it takes us.

Conservatives, libertarians, and classical liberals can and should remain true to our principles, so should modern liberals to theirs. However, it is time to back away from the wedge issues that both sides of the debate have used to polarize the nation.

I think Jefferson and Rand would understand.

Ron Paul... The Libertarian Republican Presidential Candidate, and Brightest in the Field

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny



Rep. Ron Paul, the long shot candidate for president. A member of the Republican party {why I haven't a clue} who is by far more Libertarian than Republican. A man who is different from your typical politician. Who unlike Romney, Perry, Cain, Bachmann, Gingrich, and Santorum {did I forget anyone?} is consistent in principle and his understanding of our Constitutional foundation.

A man who could, if given a shot have a profoundly positive impact on the health of the nation. He is not beholden to the power structure in the party of R. Nor is he warmly in bed with the monied Wall Street monied interests. He understands the need for monetary reform and has been instrumental in exposing the need for oversight of the Federal Reserves. And he sees the definite and immediate need to reign in the MIC.

Paul may not be the perfect candidate. In fact it is very likely there is no such thing as the perfect candidate. After all, candidates are human and thus perfection is not possible. And, for my liberal friends out there the same would apply to Ayn Rand ... ;)

Seriously, Paul may represent the best chance to change the nation's direction and point it to a positive path for both economic and social growth. Which I suspect is precisely why the establishment, both political and business will do everything in their power to misrepresent his ideas and insure he becomes only a footnote in American political history.


He's a long shot, but he is worth taking a serious look at. That would include reading his book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, in which he concisely lays out his principles and provides insight into what he would likely do if he were the leader of the free world.

Paul was recently in Newton Iowa where he visited a wind turbine blade manufacture and briefly outlined his views on limited and responsible government.

Newton, Ia. – Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul toured a wind-turbine blade manufacturer here and outlined his views on limited government to about 25 employees Friday afternoon.

Paul, a Texas congressman with strongly libertarian leanings, argued that good-intentioned efforts by the federal government to provide food, shelter and medical care have left Americans dependent and unproductive.

“It’s well-intended,” Paul said of government social programs, “but the truth is that you have to produce in order to live better. The tragedy in our country is that we’ve changed the conditions such that it’s very hard for us to be a productive country.”

The solution, he said, is to return the state to a far more limited role that merely ensures an environment in which the free market can thrive.

Reducing federal spending is also critical, he said. To accomplish a $1 trillion cut to annual spending, Paul said he would draw down U.S. military involvements in other nations and slash defense spending. Troops now stationed in Germany, South Korea and elsewhere should be brought home and put to work in their own communities, he said.

“It has to quit,” he said of military spending. “That’s why I take a bold stand. I’d cut the spending. I’d cut the overseas. I’d cut a lot of this militarism overseas.”

Beyond that, Paul said, the United States must undertake fundamental changes in its economic and monetary systems.

“Unless we look at this as a big picture looking at currency reform, tax reform, regulatory reform in order to restore confidence in the economy, we’re going to continue to get poorer,” he said.

The message was politely received by the plant employees, many of whom came off the factory floor still wearing their safety glasses to hear him speak.

Employee Douglas Barcus, of Newton, said he didn’t entirely share Paul’s views, but appreciated his libertarian perspective and the simple fact that he was different from the typical Republicans and Democrats on the national stage.

“I know he’s been in politics a long time, but he does seem like an outsider,” Barcus said. ”He’s outside the beltway, you know? The mentality of Washington D.C. and all the politics, whether Democrat or Republican, they’re just all the same. I don’t see much of a difference anymore.”

Responding to a question about this week’s Republican debate, which was notable for the contentiousness displayed by candidates, Paul was frank about his distaste.

“I can tell you that after the first 45 minutes I was tempted to walk off that stage,” Paul said. “I thought it was disgusting.”

The number of debates and their tenor indicate a demand for theatricality in politics, Paul said, that perhaps indicates a lack of seriousness about the process.

“These TV shows where they beat up on each other, I think that’s what the people like,” he said. “They enjoy this. They think it’s a game they’re playing.”

For a brighter future for America.

Via: Memeorandum

Friday, October 21, 2011

Obama Facing Dissatisfaction

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


As the recession continues {the company I work for just laid off another 100 + people yesterday and today} Obama finds himself vulnerable as the possibility he may be a one term president appears to be more likely with each passing week.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The extreme funk that settled over the country during the summer has eased slightly, but Americans remain gloomy about the economy and more than half say President Barack Obama does not inspire confidence about a recovery.

A sizable majority - more than 7 in 10 - believe the country is headed in the wrong direction and, in a new high, 43 percent describe the nation's economy as "very poor," according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. Among those surveyed, less than 40 percent say Obama's proposed remedies for high unemployment would increase jobs significantly.

The pessimism is not a good sign for the nation's recovery hopes and presents a more urgent challenge for Obama as he mounts his re-election bid.

About 4 in 10 think unemployment will rise in the coming year; just 23 percent expect it to decrease. And few expect the government to be able to help. Only 41 percent say the government can do much to create jobs, and less than 40 percent say the main elements of Obama's jobs proposal would increase employment significantly.

What's more, expectations for the coming year have not improved, with 41 percent believing the economy will remain the same, 27 percent saying it will get worse and 30 percent saying it will improve.

Obama's plan to create jobs by increasing spending on public works projects such as schools, roads and bridges finds only 37 percent of respondents believing it will create a significant number of jobs. Tax credits to companies that hire those who have unemployed for six months or more elicits a similar response.

Only 27 percent of the respondents said a Republican proposal that reduces regulations on businesses would create a significant number of jobs; 45 percent say it would create few or no jobs.

The poll, however, found substantial support - 62 percent - for a proposal by Senate Democrats to pay for Obama's jobs proposal with a surtax on incomes over $1 million. One quarter of the respondents opposed the idea and 10 percent said they were neutral. Though the surtax has little or no chance of passing, the poll results underscore the view of Democrats that the proposal has political appeal.{Read Full Article}

There are no easy answers to the issues facing us. Sometimes less is more, and recognizing that government should only do so much can result in positive change.

The question that remains for the American people to answer is... How much, and in what form should it take.

Perhaps the politicians, and the leadership of the nation ought to start talking with one another rather than at one another.

Via: Memeorandum

The Positive Aspects of OWS and... North Korea's State Run Media Backs OWS

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


Like most concerned citizens OWS has held my attention as I try to analyze where the movement may eventually lead us. Certainly OWS protests represent America's unrest with the business and financial world as well as our federal government.

To the degree the movement focuses on the need to end corporatism, crony capitalism, taxpayer bailouts, and an inequitable tax system the movement has a justifiable purpose. As many conservative and liberal bloggers have noted there is common ground for OWS and the Tea Party to unite and work to effect the needed changes in government's relationship with the business and financial sectors.

One major issue standing in the way however is OWS has no leadership, no clear and cohesive vision, and thus no direction. Hopefully, much as the Tea Party did, OWS will quickly develop into a cohesive group of patriotic American capitalists who with the Tea Party can bring unbearable pressure on Washington and the corporate world to change or end their destructive impact on America's security.

Even given the several positive goals of OWS a most disturbing development has surfaced. OWS has began to attract anti Semites, neo-Nazis, anti capitalists, and individuals looking for that free ride. Please don't read more into the preceding statement than is there. Certainly these kind of individuals do not make up the majority of OWS advocates.

Freedom of speech is often offensive, but nonetheless these groups are entitled to their voice as long as they remain within the law and maintain common respect and decency for others and their property. Just as those attending Tea Party rallies did. And lets hope these groups do not gain strength within the movement. They do deserve the cold shoulder and chagrin of every thinking person advocating OWS.


Tuning abroad to witness the most recent in global support for OWS.


WSJ - North Korea’s state news agency weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street protests Thursday, highlighting the “stern judgment” of “millions of people” against a capitalist system that “brings exploitation, oppression, unemployment and poverty to the popular masses.”

The Korean Central News Agency’s daily dispatches usually contain a few accounts of the woes of the rest of the world, so KCNA’s editors were probably rubbing their hands with glee at the chance to play up the Occupy movement, which the report says is “sweeping across the capitalist world.”

With no apparent sense of irony, KCNA says that in capitalist society “1% of privileged class is granted all preferential treatment while 99% of working masses are forced into poverty and death.”

Predictably, the report focuses on the woes of the U.S. in particular, reeling off a list of stats about declining incomes, increasing homelessness and unemployment.

“Low-income earners’ pent-up wrath against avaricious big banks and companies that caused economic inequality finally gave its vent,” the report says.

In the final few paragraphs, the report appears to start channeling Karl Marx in predicting the decline and ultimate fall of the “exploiting class” under the weight of “the socio-class contradiction of capitalism.”

“The end of capitalism is one of inevitabilities of history,” it signs off.

It remains to be seen if the backing of Pyongyang will give the Occupy Wall Street movement fresh momentum.

What say you?

Via: Memeorandum


UPDATE Much closer to home. A birds-eye view if you will of OWS's leaderless {and perhaps in many ways clueless}movement. It is still early yet, but as the movement continues some things are beginning to appear not so positive.

Daily Intel - All occupiers are equal — but some occupiers are more equal than others. In wind-whipped Zuccotti Park, new divisions and hierarchies are threatening to upend Occupy Wall Street and its leaderless collective.

As the protest has grown, some of the occupiers have spontaneously taken charge on projects large and small. But many of the people in Zuccotti Park aren't taking direction well, leading to a tense Thursday of political disagreements, the occasional shouting match, and at least one fistfight.

It began, as it so often does, with a drum circle. The ten-hour groove marathons weren’t sitting well with the neighborhood’s community board, the ironically situated High School of Economics and Finance that sits on the corner of Zuccotti Park, or many of the sleep-deprived protesters.

“[The high school] couldn’t teach,” explained Josh Nelson, a 27-year-old occupier from Nebraska. “And we’ve had issues with the drummers too. They drum incessantly all day, and really loud.” Facilitators spearheaded a General Assembly proposal to limit the drumming to two hours a day. “The drumming is a major issue which has the potential to get us kicked out," said Lauren Digion, a leader on the sanitation working group.

But the drums were fun. They brought in publicity and money. Many non-facilitators were infuriated by the decision and claimed that it had been forced through the General Assembly.

“They’re imposing a structure on the natural flow of music," said Seth Harper, an 18-year-old from Georgia. “The GA decided to do it ... they suppressed people’s opinions. I wanted to do introduce a different proposal, but a big black organizer chick with an Afro said I couldn’t.”

To Shane Engelerdt, a 19-year-old from Jersey City and self-described former “head drummer,” this amounted to a Jacobinic betrayal. “They are becoming the government we’re trying to protest," he said. "They didn’t even give the drummers a say ... Drumming is the heartbeat of this movement. Look around: This is dead, you need a pulse to keep something alive.”

Skip

Daniel Zetah, a 35-year-old lead facilitator from Minnesota, mounted a bench. “We need to clear this out. There are a bunch of kids coming to stay here.” One of the hoodied men fought back: “I’m not giving up my space for fucking kids. They have parents and homes. My parents are dead. This is my space.”

Other organizers were more blunt. “If you don’t want to be part of this group, then you can just leave,” yelled a facilitator in a button-down shirt, “Every week we clean our house.” Seth Harper, the pro-drummer proletarian, chimed in on the side of the sitters. “We disagree on how we should clean it. A lot of us disagree with the pile.” Zetah, tall and imposing with a fiery red beard, closed debate with a sigh. “We’re all big boys and girls. Let’s do this.” As he told me afterwards, “A lot of people are like spoiled children." The cure? A cold snap. “Personally, I cannot wait for winter. It will clear out these people who aren’t here for the right reasons. Bring on the snow. The real revolutionaries will stay in -50 degrees.”

“The sunshine protestors will leave,” said “Zonkers,” a 20-year-old cleaner and longtime occupier from Tennessee. (He asked that his name not be used due to a felony marijuana conviction.) “The people who remain are the people who care. You get a lot of crust punks, silly kids, people who want to panhandle ... It disgusts me. These people are here for a block party.”

Skip

In response to dissatisfaction with the consensus General Assembly, many facilitators have adopted a new “spokescouncil” model, which allows each working group to act independently without securing the will of the collective. “This streamlines it,” argued Zonkers. “The GA is unwieldy, cumbersome, and redundant."

From today’s battles, it’s not yet clear who will win the day: the organizers or the organized. But the month-long protest has clearly grown and evolved to a point where a truly leaderless movement will risk eviction — or, worse, insurrection.

Not sure what it all means. But it might be just an unruly block party after all.

Via: Memeorandum

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Obama on the Campaign Trail...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


For a President that has talked about unifying in the past it certainly seems this segment of the Presidents recent remarks focus more on divisiveness than unity. I guess politics are, after all just politics. It is more about building a base, telling people what you think they want to hear, and getting reelected than it is about telling the truth.

Unfortunately this can be said about both party's.

The President: "The Republican plan comes down to this, ‘Dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.”


h/t: Real Clear Politics

"My plan says we’re going to put teachers back in the classrooms, construction workers back to work," President Obama said at a campaign event today. "Tax cuts for small businesses, tax cuts for hiring veterans, tax cuts if you give your workers a raise –- that’s my plan."

"The Republicans plan, Obama says, boils down to this: 'Dirtier air, dirtier water, less people with health insurance.'"

Via: Memeorandum

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Moment/Lifetime in Hell

Bill Buckner was one of baseball's premiere hitters from the 70s and 80s. The dude won an N.L. batting title, was exceedingly good in the clutch, and was almost impossible to strike out. He finished his career with a gaudy total of 2,715 hits, the 59th most in Major League history. Among the players with a lesser amount include Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Willie McCovey, Mickey Mantle, Orlando Cepeda, Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, Richie Ashburn, Duke Snider, Nellie Fox, Ozzie Smith, Bill Mazeroski, Luis Aparicio, RalphKiner, Eddie Matthews, Billy Williams, Jimmie Fox, Reggie Jackson, Ernie Banks, Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg, Enos Slaughter, Mike Schmidt, Willie Stargell, Yogi Berra, Gary Carter, Roy Campanella, and Harmon Killebrew - Hall of Famers, ALL..........................................................................................Now, granted, a lot of these other players either hit for more power and/or were better fielders but, still, 2,715 hits is 2,715 hits. Add to that the fact that nobody, NOBODY, ever played the game any harder and, yeah, you really are looking at a hell of a Major League ball player in Bill Buckner..................................................................................................Unfortunately, we tend not to remember much of any of this, do we? We remember that miserable Mookie Wilson dribbler that skipped to the right of a gimpy Bill Buckner's glove in game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I mean, really, though, how frigging unfair is that?..................................................................................................P.S. Bill Buckner's legacy gets even more accentuated when you compare it to that of former Yankee hero, Don Larsen. Larsen, folks, had an exceedingly mediocre Major League career. But, because he pitched that frigging perfect game in the 1956 World Series, he's a God damned frigging legend now. Go frigging figure, huh?

What Meets the Eye...

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


In a recent post that somehow ended up with Marxism finding its way into the discussion, it was suggested by the Griper that I do a post on Karl Marx. Realizing that I had little actual knowledge of Marx I was not in a position to do a in depth post on Marx, who by the way was above all an economist more in the vein of Adam Smith than not.

Recognizing my shortcomings with respect to the depth of Marx's works, and not desirous of doing to Marx what many who lack depth of knowledge and understanding do to Ayn Rand, I went to a trusted source who majored in economics and studied Marx in depth. While he is many years removed from his studies of Marx his knowledge has not been lost nor colored by political hyperbole.

Before moving on I find it necessary to make two very important statements. First, my belief is that one must always seek the truth and in so doing stay true to reason and logic. Secondly, I am, always have been, and will remain a strong advocate of capitalism for reasons that I believe are obvious.

My knowledge of Marx is that he was an economist, combined with all the references to his ideology when discussing modern day communism and totalitarianism. That's it folks. Pretty much like the majority of folks today I would guess. So I asked one who has a deeper knowledge if he would provide some of his insights on Karl Marx. He agreed to do so anonymously. His thoughts...

Marx was quoted as saying, "I am not a Marxist". Even during his life he was appalled at some of the interpretation of his work.

In the Communist Manifesto there is a famous line (which much like the second amendment, is almost always half ignored) that goes something like this. "The first job of the proletariat is to raise itself to the position of ruling class i.e. **to win the battle for democracy **"

It is always important to put things in the historical context when they were written, and no less so with the works of supposedly "timeless" great thinkers. Marx lived in a time when feudal monarchies were a significant barrier to economic growth (Marx would have phrased it something like an impediment to the release of the tremendous potential inherent in social forms of production, of which capitalism was the first (and necessary) form). In a real democracy, workers would be a majority, hence the "ruling class".

I don’t have any specific references at hand for this point, but (IMO) it is
essential to realize that Marx was about production, not distribution of goods. He had nothing but contempt for his socialist contemporaries who focused on (re)distribution of economic output. The point was to understand the fundamental forces behind economic production and to take the steps necessary to unleash the potential inherent in social forms of production (as opposed to e.g. feudal guilds).

As an economist, he was a classical economist who admired Adam Smith. Basically, he thought capitalism was a revolutionary, positive development in human economic society that was nevertheless not without its problems. Those problems were pretty obvious at the time (look no farther than the writings of Charles Dickens for examples). The inherent "contradiction" in capitalism he identified is playing out (again). Capitalists are driven to extract value out of the system. But capitalism relies on mass consumption and if the people producing the goods can't afford to buy the things they produce, well ... you end up with a lot of folks struggling to make ends meet who start to get pretty pissed and raise a ruckus.

That's what the Great Society was really all about--saving capitalism. Even as staid a capitalist as Henry Ford understood this innately , though I suspect he would have been appalled at the suggestion that by producing cars efficiently and cheaply and paying his workers enough that they could afford to buy them he was validating a basic tenet of Marx's economic theory.

But I've found it is pointless to try and have this sort of discussion. Bring up Marx and all you will get is mindless rhetoric about totalitarianism, class warfare (as though there were no such thing as classes of society with competing interests and politics were not the process of reconciling those interests, hopefully without breaking out the guns), etc.

The above kinda sounds like Marx really was a proponent of a democratic capitalism that he believed would eventually result in a democratic socialism resulting in greater economic equality for all peoples. If my thesis is true perhaps it is understandable why the capitalists of his day, the early 20th century. and today might actually fear a true understanding of Marx's economic and social philosophy. In Marx's world power would not be vested in the hand of just the very wealthy. It would rest in the handS of the people. Sounds oddly familiar, doesn't it?

What say you?

My thanks to Anon, for providing his time and knowledge in response to the Griper's valuable suggestion.

Footnote: This just in from Anon: "And there's always that quote to the effect that government exists largely to advance the interests of one class over another ..."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Zuckerman Exasperated With Obama.

From the desk of: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


The following article is quite interesting. Many are exasperated as well! For those who may have missed it.

WSJ - It's as if he doesn't like people," says real-estate mogul and New York Daily News owner Mortimer Zuckerman of the president of the United States. Barack Obama doesn't seem to care for individuals, elaborates Mr. Zuckerman, though the president enjoys addressing millions of them on television.

The Boston Properties CEO is trying to understand why Mr. Obama has made little effort to build relationships on Capitol Hill or negotiate a bipartisan economic plan. A longtime supporter of the Democratic Party, Mr. Zuckerman wrote in these pages two months ago that the entire business community was "pleading for some kind of adult supervision" in Washington and "desperate for strong leadership." Writing soon after the historic downgrade of U.S. Treasury debt by Standard & Poor's, he wrote, "I long for a triple-A president to run a triple-A country."

His words struck a chord. When I visit Mr. Zuckerman this week in his midtown Manhattan office, he reports that three people approached him at dinner the previous evening to discuss his August op-ed. Among business executives who supported Barack Obama in 2008, he says, "there is enormously widespread anxiety over the political leadership of the country." Mr. Zuckerman reports that among Democrats, "The sense is that the policies of this government have failed. . . . What they say about [Mr. Obama] when he's not in the room, so to speak, is astonishing."

We are sitting on the 18th floor of a skyscraper the day after protesters have marched on the homes of other Manhattan billionaires. It may seem odd that most of the targeted rich people had nothing to do with creating the financial crisis. But as Mr. Zuckerman ponders the Occupy Wall Street movement, he concludes that "the door to it was opened by the Obama administration, going after the 'millionaires and billionaires' as if everybody is a millionaire and a billionaire and they didn't earn it. . . . To fan that flame of populist anger I think is very divisive and very dangerous for this country."

This doesn't mean that Mr. Zuckerman opposes the protesters or questions their motives. When pressed, he concedes that the crowd in Lower Manhattan may include some full-time radicals, but he argues that the protesters are people with a legitimate grievance, as the country suffers high unemployment and stagnant middle-class incomes.

It is a subject he has obviously studied at length, and he explains how the real unemployment rate is actually well above the official level of 9.1%, which only measures people who have applied for a job within the previous four weeks. In fact, he says, unemployment has even surged beyond the Department of Labor's "U-6" number of 16.5% that has received increasing attention lately because it includes people who have given up looking for work within the past year, plus people who have been cut back from full-time employees to part-timers.

Mr. Zuckerman says that when you also consider the labor-force participation rate and the so-called "birth-death series" that measures business starts and failures, the real U.S. unemployment rate is now 20%. His voice rising with equal parts anger and sadness, he exclaims, "That's not America!" {Read More}

Via: Memeorandum

Just Shaking My Head... And Wondering

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


OWS has a legitimate purpose in that crony capitalism, corporatism, bailouts, and politicians bought by special interest money must go. Whether said special interest money be corporate or union.

However, it will be next to impossible to support if Occupy Portland becomes typical of the movement's mentality. The likes of, for the lack of a better description, jackasses like the ones in the video below will turn off any rational and reasonable person to the issues OWS presumably stands for.

h/t: Verum Serum

Krugman’s Army…of fools.


I think this pretty much sums up the real agenda of the Occupy movement. If this is Krugman’s Army, then this is their reveille. They aren’t gaining anything for themselves from these ridiculous protests, so they might as well defecate on the country the rest of us love.

Via: Memeorandum

Saturday, October 15, 2011

OWS... The Positive and the Dangers

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


You, the readership of Rational Nation USA be the judge.



This from Weasel Zippers... There has certainly been no shortage of vile anti-Semitism at the Occupy Wall Street protests.

The “Occupy Wall Street” Movement — WhiteHonor (I’m not linking to it)

Many racialists are unsure about, and even against, these Occupy Wall Street protests all around the country. It has been pointed out to me that many protesters are non-white and/or “communists.” Well my answer to that is: “WHO CARES?!” They are against the same evil, corrupted, degenerate capitalist elitists that WE are against! Instead of screaming, “6 million more!” The pro-white movementites should be JOINING this Occupy movement and supporting it!

Seriously people, just WHO is our enemy? The unemployed left-wing 25-year-old holding up a sign, OR the judeo-capitalist banksters who swindled the American taxpayers out of A TRILLION dollars in the “bailout” scam AND continue to oppress the White Working Class?!? Even Adolf Hitler’s NSDAP had to vote with open communists on some issues to achieve their goals. WE need to utilize and support every movement of dissent against this evil American empire, regardless of which end of the political spectrum it originates from.

The foremost authority on National Socialism in America has this to say about “Occupy” [ANP leader Rocky Suhayda — ed.] :

What is really MISSING — is the “MOVEMENT” from these popular protests — its time to pull WN heads out of their collective ass’s, and JOIN IN the attack on Judeo-Capitalism. What do you suggest? That WN Working Class White people DEFEND the Judeo-Capitalists? IF the “movement” wasn’t so PATHETIC it would be OUT THERE — LEADING these protests! The fact that its these “lefties” as you call them, who are picking up the ball and running with it — only shows how much more in tune THEY are with the fed up masses of White Workers, than the fossilized, reactionary “right-wing”. WHO holds the WEALTH and POWER in this country — the JUDEO-CAPITALISTS. WHO is therefore the #1 ENEMY who makes all this filth happen — the JUDEO-CAPITALISTS. WHO therefore do WN need to FIGHT? My heart is right there with these people, perhaps someday the “movement” will SHOW the same COURAGE and DEDICATION that these people OUT THERE FIGHTING are SHOWING!

Sincerely, ROCKY SUHAYDA Hail Victory! 88!

The fight to end crony capitalism, corporatism, and bailouts is worth the support of all Americans. But beware of other nefarious interests with a vested interest in the collapse of the capitalist system.

Via: Memeorandum

Altruism -vs- A Proper Morality of Rational Self Interest

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


Altruism is found in the field of morality  and what constitutes ethical values. Rational Nation USA has often referred to, and identified altruism as a destructive force for the individual as well as broader societal relationships.

Given the number of philosophers who have written about morality  I have found few actually understand the concept of altruism. While I acknowledge my own lack of "formal higher education" with respect to the field of ethics an morality I have spent many hours in self study and self education.

It is my belief that self study, freely chosen by the individual is often the most productive. This is so because the individual who devotes the time and effort to study solely because of their desire for knowledge will ultimately learn a great deal more than the student who is merely in it to complete a scholastic requirement.

As my philosophic and ethical beliefs are grounded in Objectivist philosophy I freely admit the following discussion of altruism is that of an Objectivist thinker. Many, perhaps the majority of readers will find themselves on the opposite side of the Objectivist argument. For those who do, you are surely not alone.

It is my hope the following will provide food for thought for those who are not familiar with the concept of altruism, strengthen the resolve of those who are already Objectivist thinkers, and hopefully change the mind of the skeptics.

Ayn Rand, one of the 20th centuries most controversial yet brilliant thinkers developed the philosophy of Objectivism and exposed the destructive forces of pure altruism. It is from this we begin the discussion of altruism.

Altruism's dictionary definition is: unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others.  At its root altruism requires one to place the welfare and happiness of others before themselves. In so doing one effectively  negates the importance of ones own welfare and happiness. Which in short leads to the loss of self and prepares one to accept the role of sacrificial animal for the good of others happiness and welfare. For many altruism is considered to be the moral value that makes ones life significant.

A question to be considered is this, why is the devotion to the welfare of others a virtue and morally correct when the concern for ones own welfare and happiness over that of others is considered selfish and by implication lacking in morality.? To which the altruist an offer now rational answer. Altruism is in effect collectivism in full bloom.

The antithesis of altruism is rational self interest. Many refer to rational self interest as selfishness and therefore immoral. Nothing could be further from the truth. To understand the meaning of rational self interest requires an understanding of its component words.

The dictionary definition of each:

Rational - a:having reason or understanding b: relating to, based on, or agreeable to reason...

Self - a: the entire person of an individual b: the realization or embodiment of an abstraction 3: the union of elements (such as body, thoughts, emotions, and sensations) that constitutes the individuality and identity of a person.

Interest - 3: welfare, benefit: spec: self interest c: the quality of a thing that arouses interest

Based on the preceding rational self interest is the reasoned concern for ones own well being and happiness based on the value one places on his or her own life. The value an individual perceives another has in relationship to their own life will generally determines the degree to which one may be concerned with the welfare and or happiness of another.

Kindness is not to be confused with altruism. Kindness is the goodwill humans show toward others out of sympathy or to be helpful. More often than not showing acts of kindness is in ones own rational self interest as kindness often comes full circle.

Altruism on the other hand is the belief that one is obliged to be concerned with the welfare of others above their own. Life is the highest standard of value. Each individual by virtue of their own life and existence rightly deserves to place their own welfare and happiness as paramount.

Acting in ones own rational self interest does not mean to show disregard for others. Nor does it imply getting ahead at the expense of others. It does not mean others with whom one has interaction are to be treated as lesser individuals. Because we live in a societal situation and we are social beings it is in our rational self interest to rationally determine when to act in a manner that is in the interests of another person{s}.

Altruism is responsible for our concern for the welfare of the peoples of other nations. Often at the expense of our own nation and people. Thus the billions in foreign welfare the people of this nation are doling out year after year. That is not only irrational, it is immoral as well.

Some Interesting Facts on the Plame Caper

1) Robert Novak was never approached by the Bush administration.............2) Valerie Plame drove to work/Langley in public view every day.............3) Henry Waxman allowed only one rebuttal witness at the hearings; Victoria Toensing, who he constantly harangued and threatened.............4) Plame was not covert as defined by the Intelligence Identities Act of 1982 (this, in that she hadn't been stationed overseas during the previous 5 years).............5) All that Robert Novak reported was that the wife of former Ambassador, Joe Wilson, is/was "an agency operative on weapons of mass destruction". Nothing was ever reported by Mr. Novak that Joe Wilson's wife was ever covert.............6) A media brief (comprised of some 36 media outlets) clearly states that "NO CRIME HAD BEEN COMMITTED" (in this supposed outing of Valerie Plame).............7) The first indication that Valerie Plame had ever been a covert operative came from a column by liberal ramrod, David Corn (2 days full after the Novak column).............8) In this column, Mr. Corn hypothesizes that Plame had been outed to punish Joe Wilson, something that Mr. Novak had NEVER suggested....9) Mr. Corn's source? It had to have been Joe Wilson. I mean, he doesn't mention anybody else in the piece, does he? And being that Robert Novak never mentioned it.............10) The original leaker of Plame-Wilson's name was Richard Armitage, in the words of Mr. Novak himself, "not a partisan gunslinger" (not to mention, an opponent of the Iraq War).............11) In the aforementioned media brief, it was alleged that Mrs. Plame-Wilson's cover was actually blown (in the mid-90s) by the C.I.A., first in Russia, and then through a C.I.A. disclosure to Fidel Castro.............12) According to Novak, he only learned the name, Valerie Plame, by reading Mr. Wilson's entry in "Who's Who in America".............13) Only two Republicans bothered to show up for the hearings. This, according to former Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays (not exactly a partisan gunslinger, either), was predominantly because of Henry Waxman's "extreme bias".............14) Mr. Novak also points to sworn F.B.I. testimony which states that Mrs. Plame-Wilson's C.I.A. employment was common knowledge in Washington.............15) Novak never denigrated Wilson in the initial column. In fact, he spoke quite highly of him (referring to Mr. Wilson's "heroism" during the first Iraq War).............16) Novak opposed BOTH Iraq Wars and was never a fan of either Bush.............17) Conservative columnist, Cliff May (who I almost always disagree with when it comes to issues of foreign policy), lays it all out pretty well, I think; Either the Bush administration intentionally exposed a covert CIA agent as a way to take revenge against her husband who had written a critical op-ed OR this same Bush administration was attempting to set the record straight by telling reporters that it was NOT Vice President Cheney who had sent Wilson on the Africa assignment, as Mr. Wilson himself had claimed, but rather it was Wilson’s wife, a CIA employee, who had helped get him the assignment (and that that in fact is the conclusion of the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee). You make the call, I guess.............18) Yeah, I know, I'm a little late to the party on this one.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Liberals View of OWS... From the New Republic

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Liberty -vs- Tyranny


OWS, the movement lacking leadership as well as defined objectives having a reasonable chance of success. The longer it grinds on the more it look like a bunch of misfit radicals looking for the free ride.

However, on the other hand there are certainly those who have a clear vision as to what and why Wall Street needs to change. The reasonable people supporting OWS are doing so to end crony capitalism, corporatism, the unethical practices of banking executives and mortgage lenders, as well as government bailouts of businesses. They also recognize corporate lobbyist must become a extinct group.

Given the majority of people would tend to agree with the above someone ought to be asking the question, why doesn't the reasonable Tea Party folks and the reasonable OWS folks come together and pool resources so to speak? Tea Party individuals want more fiscal discipline and restraint so as to bring balance to national fiscal policy. And the Tea Party people also want an end to some of the same things OWS protesters want.

Keep in mind we're talking about the reasonable and rational folks in The Tea Party and the OWS crowd.

Labels get in the way. If your a conservative you're almost automatically viewed as a Tea Party nut by the liberals. If your a liberal you're almost automatically viewed by conservatives as looney socialists. What many fail to realize on both sides of the political label divide is there is common ground in many area's. Common interests are were dialogue needs to begin. It is where solution to real problems can be found.

In trying to understand OWS better I went out of my way to find a reasonable and rational perspective from the the viewpoint of a liberal. It didn't take me long.

The following I believe is representative of the liberalism that a conservative should be able to do business with for the sake a building a stronger nation.
The New Republic How should liberals feel about Occupy Wall Street? If you follow politics and you think of yourself as a liberal, then you have undoubtedly been grappling with that question in recent weeks. At first blush, it would be difficult not to cheer the protesters who have descended on lower Manhattan—and are massing in other cities across the United States—because they have chosen a deserving target...

But, to draw on the old cliché, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. Just because liberals are frustrated with Wall Street does not mean that we should automatically find common cause with a group of people who are protesting Wall Street. Indeed, one of the first obligations of liberalism is skepticism—of governments, of arguments, and of movements. And so it is important to look at what Occupy Wall Street actually believes and then to ask two, related questions: Is their rhetoric liberal, or at least a close cousin of liberalism? And is this movement helpful to the achievement of liberal aims?

This task is made especially difficult by the fact that there is no single leader who is speaking for the crowds, no book of demands that has been put forward by the movement. Like all such gatherings, it undoubtedly includes a broad range of views. But the volume of interviews, speeches, and online declarations associated with the protests does make it possible to arrive at some broad generalizations about what Occupy Wall Street stands for. And these, in turn, suggest a few reasons for liberals to be nervous about the movement.

One of the core differences between liberals and radicals is that liberals are capitalists. They believe in a capitalism that is democratically regulated—that seeks to level an unfair economic playing field so that all citizens have the freedom to make what they want of their lives (emphasis mine). But these are not the principles we are hearing from the protesters. Instead, we are hearing calls for the upending of capitalism entirely. American capitalism may be flawed, but it is not, as Slavoj Zizek implied in a speech to the protesters, the equivalent of Chinese suppression. “[In] 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV and films and in novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel,” Zizek declared. “This is a good sign for China. It means that people still dream about alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dream. Here, we don’t think of prohibition. Because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on. But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.” This is not a statement of liberal values; moreover, it is a statement that should be deeply offensive to liberals, who do not in any way seek the end of capitalism.

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And it is just not the protesters’ apparent allergy to capitalism and suspicion of normal democratic politics that should raise concerns. It is also their temperament. The protests have made a big deal of the fact that they arrive at their decisions through a deliberative process. But all their talk of “general assemblies” and “communiqués” and “consensus” has an air of group-think about it that is, or should be, troubling to liberals. “We speak as one,” Occupy Wall Street stated in its first communiqué, from September 19. “All of our decisions, from our choices to march on Wall Street to our decision to camp at One Liberty Plaza were decided through a consensus process by the group, for the group.” The air of group-think is only heightened by a technique called the “human microphone” that has become something of a signature for the protesters. When someone speaks, he or she pauses every few words and the crowd repeats what the person has just said in unison. The idea was apparently logistical—to project speeches across a wide area—but the effect when captured on video is genuinely creepy.

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In the face of the current challenge from Tea Party conservatism, it is more important than ever that liberals make a compelling case for our vision of America. But we will not make this case stronger by allying with a movement that is out of sync with our values. And so, on the question of how liberals should feel about Occupy Wall Street, count us as deeply skeptical. {Full Article}

The above views are worth considering. They are rational. They are presented in a matter of fact non emotional manner. And they certainly do not represent a socialist view.

Sure conservatives and libertarians will find issue with some of the more liberal elements of this individuals thoughts. But anybody who clearly professes to believe in capitalism is worth listening to and working with.

Labels get in the way of rational considerations sometimes. The world is continually changing and evolving. In all likelihood the process will continue. If what the conservatives and libertarians want to conserve is our republic I suggest it might be a good idea to think a bit more like a "classical liberal."

Via: Memeorandum

Footnote: This post is not intended to suggest conservatives  should drop their  drive to achieve fiscal discipline or accept socialism. Nor should it be read that conservatives and libertarians shouldn't stand by principles that are based in reason. What it is suggesting is that reasonable and rational liberalism, in the vein of our founding fathers ought to be considered not as the "enemy", but rather as part of our understanding of what makes America both unique and great. There is the old saying  "don't cut off your nose to spite your face."  Given today's realities methinks it very appropriate to consider.

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